WSF International Council Meeting Report

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World Social Forum Office
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Cep : 01223-010 – São Paulo – SP – Brazil
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www.forumsocialmundial.org.br

Tunis – Tunisia

March 31st – April 1st

SUMMARY :

1. Agenda

2. WSF Evaluation

3. Costs and Financial balance

4. Informs

5. Discussion of the Future of the IC

6. Working Groups’ discussion and decisions

Annexes :

1. Attendance List

2. Working Group

3. Main Topics of the debate for the IC Meeting

1.Agenda

Morning Afternoon
March 31st WSF Evaluation by Local Committee and IC members Discussions on the Future of the IC
April 1st Discussions on 3 Working Groups Plenary and Final Decisions

2.WSF Evaluation

WSF was very satisfying for the local committee. Most of them had never taken part on a WSF before, but even so were engaged to make it in Tunis.

Local committee was formed not only by Tunisians, but also had the collaboration of Moroccans, Egyptians, Palestinians, Libyans and others. Such presence was reflected by the multiplicity of subjects brought by them to the WSF. Their presence was influential on the representative objectives of the WSF

WSF gave new strength to Tunisian people.

1070 activities were confirmed, and 95% happened successfully. There were some issues, mainly concerning the translation team. There were not enough translators for all the activities that happened, what can be explained by the very high number of activities requesting translation (more than what was expected), and the trouble of recruiting young local people to help with the translation. Some activities have paid for translation, but it didn´t have the service after. Nonetheless, it was decided not to ask for the money back, and this would be a contribution for the coverage of the expenses of the event, since there was no solidarity fund.

In a general perspective, the WSF was very good, and had great impact. It was very well organized, and the central role of the local committee was essential to that. It’s important to recognize the conjuncture of Tunisia, and the great impacts

that hosting the WSF may bring to the revolutionary process. For the WSF process and spirit, the event was powerful and to give back the strength to the movement.

Women’s assembly gathered many movements together. It’s very important that women’s rights are discussed now in Tunisia, in order to make sure that such rights will prevail. Nonetheless, as the assembly happened before the opening march, for many it was taken as a side event, and didn’t participate fully of the WSF process, as it should have.

Very good voluntary team, with a lot of students from the university, and also some young people from neighbor countries. They were very well prepared and informed, thus being vital to the organization.

There was consideration for the accessibility of handicapped, but it could not always be guaranteed.

Over 30 convergence assemblies, that, as a whole, could cover all the main themes from the WSF. However, the moment of the assemblies was not very well organized, and some people were lost, didn’t know where exactly to look for each assembly.

The Palestinian cause was very strong, and gave a lot of visibility to the issue. However, acts like burning the Israeli and North American flags are dangerous, and must be avoided.

3.Costs and Financial balance

It was the less expensive WSF, and much of that is due to the costs of infrastructure that were paid by the university.

At the moment the IC meeting happened the total cost of the WSF was of approximately 1 100 000 euros. The local committee had, at that moment, the certainty of being able to pay for almost everything, being left a deficit of 45 000 euros, that would be covered by FTDES in case it was necessary.

Inscriptions were about 23% of total revenue

4.Informs

Iraq Social Forum will happen by the end of the year, probably in November, in Bagdad. A representative came and made an official invitation for all IC members to take part.

All Convergence Assemblies’ statements must be sent to Romdhane Ben Amor, from the Tunisian Local Committee.

Kurdish representative informed about the prison of another Kurdish activist in Brussels, member of the Kurdish Network and World Network of Collective Rights, while he was travelling to come to Tunis. The police alleged he’s part of the PKK. A petition was written, and signed by many IC members

The Women’s World Education Forum will take place in Palestine in November 2014

The Second World Forum on Solidarity Economy will happen in Santa Maria, Brazil, in July 2013

The World Education Forum has already three confirmed activities. It will happen in end of January 2014, in Porto Alegre, in 2015 in Recife and in 2016 in Sao Paulo.

5.Future of the IC

Chico Whitaker started the discussion clarifying his idea about the future of the IC. A group to think about the future of the IC was created in Monastir, after realizing that there was a bad review of its actions. Chico proposed to make an “euthanasia” on the IC, and replace it by a collective that is really engaged on the WSF, formed by WSF and local forums’ organizers. The WSF Office would be itinerant, and would change place every two years, and the commissions wouldn’t be permanent. Instead, commissions (or working groups) would be created to deal with the needs of a specific moment. Also stresses that it must not be decided in this meeting, but discussions should happen during six months, and in the future IC decide what to do.

A Working Group on the Future of the IC was created in Monastir in 2012 in order to start the discussion and evaluate the role of the WSF in the world today.

Nonetheless, contributions only started by the end of 2012 and the work was done by only a part of those who were part of the WG. After Chico Whitaker’s first contribution (synthetized above), some other proposals and comments were made by other IC members.

Francine Mestrum and Gina Vargas presented a document that intended to organize the discussion, exposing the main points of discussion. This document is fully reproduced in annex 3.

The WSF Tunis was very successful and it gave new strength for the WSF process. The IC must use this moment to rethink what is its role and its objectives. IC has primary objective of converge common struggles not only during the WSF, but permanently. Thus, it’s important to rethink if that’s the actual objective and how to achieve it.

The IC must be considered in the context today. In order to think what is the role of the IC, a lot of effort must be put in the analysis of the situation worldwide, and how the IC can and should act. Objectives and strategies for the IC must be put in context.

The IC must change in order to become more democratic, and have structures that can guarantee the horizontality and equality of participation for all involved in the process.

The integration of new organizations and movements was a very debated topic. It’s accepted by the IC members that, in order to keep the IC up to date with new struggles worldwide, some relevant and active new movements should have a voice in the IC as well. More importantly, if the WSF still wants to be presented as a relevant space for debates and struggles, it must dialogue with the new movements in the world. Nonetheless, it’s not consensual among IC members if the IC must first be reformed, and after integrate new members, or integrate them before the modifications.

How do deal with misrepresentation in the IC ? There are not enough participants from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Also, it’s important to aggregate new actors considering gender, age, religion, struggles and claims.

The role of the Secretariat was also questioned. It must work together with the local committee and also with the IC to coordinate the process. Nonetheless, financial and organizational problems damaged the Office, and it’s important to

rethink what would be the part of the Office now, how to sustain it, and where it should be placed.

6.Working Groups’ discussion and final decisions

Three Working Groups were formed in order to discuss the main topics that should be decided in the meeting. Such debates shall continue through the OpenFSM platform, and present their final work at the next IC meeting.

Group 1 – Decisions for the next year

1.Organization of the next IC : 4 propositions were made : Democratic Republic of Congo, Austria, Québec and Morocco. The meeting shall happen in October, because it is important to know then where the next WSF will happen so that the local committee can start organizing. In the plenary, it was decided to have two plans for this next meeting : if possible, the meeting will be in the Maghreb/Machrek region. In case there isn’t local condition to make the meeting in the region, it should happen in Vienna.

2.Organization for the next WSF : The group must write a letter to make clear the organizational and political criteria for a country or region host a WSF. Everyone in the IC is responsible for the local and regional mobilization for this next WSF.

3.Future of the Secretariat : Keep a technical secretariat in Brazil until the next meeting. Once the next WSF place is decided, the secretariat shall be transferred to this country, and work together with the local committee.

4.Integration of information system : Local committee, Communication Committee and WSF Office must work together in order to create an integrated communication system.

5.How to spread the information from the Convergence Assemblies and other documents ? The Office must work together with the local committee and communication committee.

Group 2 – Future of the IC

1.Make cartography of IC members. What’s their level of participation and commitment to the meetings ? It’s a first step to evaluate the IC.

2.Such topics need further discussion by members of group 2 :

a.Consultation on new IC members. There must be efforts to decide how to engage the participants of the convergence assemblies, members of organizing committees, new movements, and others. In order to make this consultation, some points about the work in the IC must be clear to everyone, such as : the concrete work of the IC, the perception of the part one must take on participating on the IC. Also, an evaluation of former decisions of the IC would help to set this debate.

b.Discussion on the criteria of representativity (in terms of gender, subjects, geography…)

c.Discussion on the operation and methodology of the IC, and on its resources.

3.Organize the tools we use : email lists, newsletters, etc.

4.Collect documents on the IC (mandate, comments, proposals on changing the IC). Make such documents available and make a synthesis of the discussions.

Group 3 – Strategies

1.Necessity to understand the world today and the context in which the WSF happens. The group must rethink the strategies of action in order for the WSF to have a bigger impact globally.

2.Focus on a synthesis of the struggles happening worldwide and in the WSF space. How can the IC interact and help these struggles ?

3.Write short texts on the global situation and strategies to act at the moment to help the Council to rethink strategies. The world vision inside of the IC must change, and the texts are supposed to create a clearest vision on such changes.