The World Social Forum – Dakar, Senegal

6-11 February 2011

by Marcelo Ernesto Ferreyra

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WSF - MFToday we have carried out the thematic assemblies.

The World Social Forum was conceived by its founders as a place where the anti-globalization movement and social actors, social movements, networks, unions, and NGOs can exchange experiences and define and clarify common agendas. This goal is reflected in the 14-point Charter of Principles that, since 2001, serve as a conceptual framework for this process in motion.

The proposal results from the analysis of the current situation of social movements, with contradictions and differences between all of them; where indigenous people’s movements are pitted against farmers’ movements or women’s movements and where women’s movements distance themselves from sexual diversity movements. The Forum creates space and opportunity to stop this and to build a strong synergy and convergence between different social actors that can be limited and ineffective separately. Today, North Africa features a strong popular movement in which there has been a very favorable political context for social movements that would not be possible without this synergy.

Women's Assembly WSF - 2011

For these reasons, the World Social Forum is a space without a final document or conclusions that would involve hours and hours of endless discussions. In contrast, the Forum provides the space to express content proposals that are not statements from the WSF itself but from its important actors. These statements are expected to guide global action. The process of articulation of networks and social movements takes all its shape through the Thematic Assemblies of women, farmers, economic solidarity against war, for climate justice, and more. Thematic Assemblies write their own statements to be read at a General Convergence Assembly.

The Assembly of Social Movements, sponsored by La Via Campesina, the CADTM (The Committee for the Cancellation of the Third World Debt), the World March of Women, among others, adopted a statement in a large assembly with about three thousand participants that affirms: “We, gathered in the Assembly of Social Movements, held in Dakar during the World Social Forum 2011, … defend sexual diversity, the right to gender self-determination, and fight against homophobia and sexist violence.”

The bonds of solidarity with the comrades of the Feminist Association Marcosur prompted me to participate in the Women’s Assembly which was held in the tent of the movement for African Women. Here again the turnout was massive. There, Angélica Roa Romero representative from Paraguay and member of the Marcosur proposed from the discussion table that the declaration of the Assembly take as a starting point, the statement drafted for the last Forum in 2009 held in Belem do Para, Brazil. Angelica also emphasize three key points that for the Feminist Association Marcosur were unrenounceable and should appear in the declaration of the Assembly of Women:

  1. A firm opposition to intolerance and persecution of sexual diversity.
  2. A strong statement against any cultural practice that affects women’s bodies.
  3. Further reflection on the sexual division of work, with special attention to the issue of domestic work.
Angelica Roa Romero
Angelica Roa Romero

Statements like this, besides meeting the objectives of the Forum, raise the voices from civil society around the world, this time with a strong African leadership. These voices express their concerns, motivations and priorities as well as creating awareness that effective action to transform the world must involve all segments and each member of society.

World Social Forum 2011 – Part One »

World Social Forum 2011 – Part Two »

World Social Forum 2011 – Part Three »

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WSF 2011