Another Message for Another World?

15.02.2011 22:25

AnotherWorld is Possible; thiswas the key sentence, the calling card of every attendant of the World SocialForum that took place in Dakar last week. But what world did it mean? Is it a second world, or a single world, altered bythe fruitful reflection that takes place at the World Social Fora every twoyears?

Asevents go, this one really is a conundrum; it is not perfectly organized; it isnot perfectly structured... Far from that! Among other issues, this year’sevent managed to survive a fight between Morrocan and Sahraoui delegates, thealleged opposition of the Dean of Cheikh Anta Diop University, where the eventwas held (and who is said to have withdrawn permission for the many workshopsto take place in his classrooms a bare week before the WSF was set to start).And yet… anyone who thought the event inconsequential or irrelevant would bewrong. Plainly and simply.

Aspublished in various media outlets, Francisco ( “Chico” ) Whitaker, one of the“fathers” of the WSF, put it like this: "ouroriginal intention was not to create a new movement that would changeeverything but to increase the possibility of people to get to know each other andcome together. Politically, we needed to change our methods. Instead ofcreating a pyramid based on power, we decided to launch networks".

Studentsof the ECo-C will be able to relate to this in many ways. In retrospect, itwould be silly for the ECo-C to send a delegation to the WSF, because the ECo-Cteaches people about possible means…not ends.Communication, self-marketing, teamwork and conflict management are not thepoint, but the tool. The bigger the end, the greater the importance of thistool. And in the context of the FSM… the end is indeed great.

The“other world” that the WSF is seeking seems to be a world of networks, ofbrainstorming, of bringing together causes without knowing if they will,eventually, appear related. But bringing them together with the expectation of communication,hoping that they will marketthemselves authentically to one another, and team up to avoid and/or defuse conflicts,then and later, at the WSF and in the wider world. It is, in short, a massivenetworking and brainstorming event, starting with a march and a number ofworkshops, and distilling towards convergence assemblies that find commonground on important issues the world is facing.


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