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World Social Forum meets in Brazil

At the same time that businessmen and bankers were crying on each others‘ shoulders at the World Economic Forum (WEF), over 100,000 activists have gathered together in the Amazonian city of Belem, Brazil for the ninth World Social Forum (WSF). Under the often repeated slogan of „Another World is Possible“, the WSF 2009 is expected to counter the world economic crisis with alternative development models.

Brazilian president Lula da Silva has snubbed the WEF, and is instead expected at Belem to rub shoulders with Venezuela’s Chavez and Bolivia’s Morales. His Workers Party (PT) has been heavily involved in the WSF process since the beginning in 2001 – but it has also been carrying out IMF policies in Brazil, which may explain the weak-kneed and reformist nature of the WSF. Instead of challenging the capitalists for power and becoming a real organising network for action, the WSF confines itself to being a „space“ for the actors in the anti-capitalist movement. What is laughable is that it banned political parties from participating openly, so even the PT has to hide behind its „social movement“ front organisations.

Far from being a radical voice, Lula – governing for capitalism in Brazil – applauded the results of the emergency G20 summit in November which tried to offload the burden of the financial crisis onto developing countries. His answer is just more regulation of the financial system and a breakthrough in the long-running Doha round of world trade talks.

Workers Power has consistently fought within the WSF and the European Social Forum for a permanent coordinating body to unite the struggles, for the right of political parties to participate openly, and the need to fight for political power in order to overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with something better – socialism. To do that needs an international political party, which is why we fight for the formation of a Fifth International, a new world party that would wage a global struggle for working class power.

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