Equívocos y contradicciones / Oswaldo Barreto

Misunderstandings and Contradictions

This sixth edition of the World Social Forum has revealed itself, from the beginning, as an event plagued by misunderstandings and contradictions.

Conceived as an instance where global civil society can confront the strategies of domination that are outlined annually by the leaders of the planet's main economies in the city of Davos, Switzerland, the WSF began to suffer a metamorphosis during its previous edition, the V, which was celebrated in Porto Alegre. Until then, the WSF had been able to present itself to the entire world as an encounter of wills destined to elaborate the best strategies for confronting the will of the powerful to impose "neoliberalism" and "forced globalization." Brazil and India, countries that had been hosts to previous assemblies, received activists from however many organizations on the five continents consecrate themselves to combating the plans of Davos and to sketching out alternative plans in politics, economics and ecology. But in January of 2005, in that V encounter of the WSF in Porto Alegre, the antiglobalization activists, who up until then had directed their sights toward global issues, turned their eyes toward the orientation of Lula's politics, not simply relating to those issues, but instead to those pertaining to the politics, economics and ecology of their own country.

So, at that moment began the radical transformation that Valentina Álvarez, a sagacious BBC journalist, synthesized in the title of one of her articles concerning what was happening in Porto Alegre during that V forum: "WSF: Goodbye Lula, Hello Chávez." A metamorphosis in politics and ideology, undoubtedly, but also and above all, a mutation in the behavior of the participants. Now it is no longer the world crisis of imperialism, or the militaristic wars and politics propagated throughout the world by imperialists, that interest them.

Now it is the economic, ecological, sociological and cultural realities of the country that take on an enormous importance. And this is the source of all types of misunderstandings and contradictions.

On one hand, the participants in the forum are not perceived by everyday people as the standard-bearers of the fight against globalization and neoliberalism, but rather as the followers of Chávez's politics. And, on the other hand, whether they are partisans of Chávez or not, the activists of this forum cannot avoid noticing the contrasts between what they preach as healthy and just for the world and what they can see in Venezuela, regardless of where they might direct their glance.

{ Oswaldo Barreto, TalCual, 26 January 2006 }

No comments: