Comparing version 2 with version 4
The launch of the second edition of World Social Forum : Challenging Empires
Thursday, September 18 2008, from 1-3 pm; co-organised with Black Rose Books, Montréal.
CACIM’s first event at the ESF – and which was one of the first to take place in the European Social Forum as a whole, taking place at lunch on the first day – was to launch the second edition of a book that had come out in 2004, World Social Forum : Challenging Empires, and that Black Rose Books of Montréal had asked Peter Waterman and Jai Sen to prepare for them. We have audio recorded the session, and with luck will soon be uploading both the recording and some photographs on OpenSpaceForum? (www.openspaceforum.net), with a link also from www.cacim.net.
With the book coming out just in time for the ESF, BRB flew the books over to Malmö, accompanied by Dimitri Roussopoulos himself, the publisher; and where BRB also took a stall in the Folkets Park (‘People’s Park’) for the book sales.
Following a welcome by Dimitri where he underlined that he felt that this was an important book around an important political development, the World Social Forum, Peter and Jai, in turn, put the book in context and invited those contributors to the second edition who were present to say a few words. We had with us there Emma Dowling (scholar-activist from the UK), Gina Vargas (Articulación Feminista Marcosur, Peru), Samir Amin (Third World Forum and World Forum for Alternatives; Egypt, Senegal, and France), and Teivo Teivainen (NIGD, Finland and Peru), each one of whom spoke briefly; and where this was followed by a fairly long, intense, and spirited exchange between the speakers and with several of those present, including Dorothea Haerlin (ATTAC Berlin, Germany), Graeme Chesters (UK), and Gustave Massiah (CRID, France). In all, we had some forty people there. Another contributor to the book, Irene León from ALAI in Ecuador, was also to have joined us, but was finally unable to come to Sweden because of political developments in her country.
Among many other contentious points that were debated, Samir Amin’s emphasis on what he sees as being “fragmentation” in the (global justice) movement – and the need therefore for greater order - was strongly contested by Gina Vargas and Dorothea Haerlin, and others, who argued that seeing the diversity and plurality that they see as the hallmark and strength of the global justice movement as ‘fragmentation’ was a part of the problem; and part of how those who want more centralised, and centrally driven and led, movement see and characterise what is by nature a very diverse movement, in their attempt to being it under control and organise it. Samir, unfortunately, left early, to go to another meeting; but it was interesting to see Teivo Teivainen, who one normally associates with taking other positions, in this case expressing his cautious agreement with Samir’s point about fragmentation.
This, and many other points, led to a long and very engaged discussion about the Forum and its possible futures. Because this discussion took place on the very first day of the Forum, and as one of the first session on the first day, this was perhaps one of the very first such discussions to take place in this area at the ESF at Malmö. And one could argue that it therefore may have contributed to sharpening the focus of all those who were there – several of whom are key players in the WSF process - on the deliberations during the days ahead.
The session then moved to the bar part of Babels, where Black Rose Books treated all those who bought a copy of the book to a drink, and we at CACIM all the contributors to the book who had spoken, on behalf of the editors. The discussions then continued in small groups, deep into the afternoon….
Let us end this quick report by urging you all as people interested in the WSF as a social and political phenomenon to please buy this book and to promote it and push it as much as you can. While it has been a great privilege to be published by Black Rose Books, they have also invested heavily in doing so and in bringing the book over to Malmö from Canada, and they need your help to make the book pay its way. To order it, go through the publisher’s page on it, http://www.blackrosebooks.net/wsf.htm; and other things being equal, for those in North America the book should be on the shelves of your local bookshop any day now, and in Europe soon after.
In addition, please do urge other people to buy it : Especially Forum and movement organisers, teachers giving courses in any and all related areas (political sciences, social sciences, government, etc), and libraries; please do try and get the book reviewed in journals and newspapers – including by doing so yourself; and : please try and get key people to prepare ‘testimonies’ that can help us promote the book (and send those to firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com). Thanks for your solidarity !
For more information on the book and to place advance orders, see : http://www.blackrosebooks.net/wsf.htm
(See below for information on the speakers.)