World Social Forum - Day 5: "The Fight Will Go On"
Photo: Stephen Messenger
After a week of meetings to discuss a wide range of global issues, the World Social Forum ended this afternoon with a commitment to move forward with their far-left agenda. Among the topics discussed, namely the various "crises of civilization and collective rights," an ant-capitalist sentiment reigned supreme--particularly in regards to environmental issues. The solutions put forward to resolve these looming dilemmas would likely be considered quite radical in most developed countries, but their was no shortage of intellectuals and politicians to endorse a dramatic restructuring of the world's economic and political machinery. Whatever the overall result of the Forum is, participants believe the items they've discussed this week will become increasingly relevant in years to come.A Diverse Forum
The events of the 10th annual World Social Forum were attended by roughly 35 thousand people from 39 countries. The Forum's panelists and speakers were made up of sociologists, economists, intellectuals, and politicians from around the globe participating in 915 different conferences, seminars, and workshops throughout the five day event.
Anti-Capitalism Sentiments Throughout
As with previous Forums, capitalism and consumerism were held responsible for much of the world's economic, cultural, and environmental woes. The capitalist fueled global economy, it was said, is an unsustainable system. Because capitalism is based on continual growth, it will one day collapse, either by an orderly deconstruction from the world's governments--or by a chaotic upheaval once sustaining natural resources have been depleted.
In addition to the environmental troubles caused by the requirement for growth through capitalism, many speakers at the Forum saw the world's cultures under threat. Just as economic growth requires resources to continue, it also needs an ever-expanding consumer base. In the process, previously self-sustained communities become indoctrinated with the tenants of consumerism--diminishing their heritage, quality of life, and ability to maintain a sustainable existence--which, in turn, further exacerbates the environmental impact.
But Does it Add Up?
From a logical standpoint, it may be difficult to object to the reality of the economic climate outlined in the various discussions no matter how disturbing or radical they may come across as. After all, the capitalist system in its current form demands unending growth in closed-system. The question that then remains is whether the pursuit of monetary gain supersedes the survival instinct--or, whether the planet will be habitable by the time that question is answered.
Despite radical ideas discussed at the Forum, which are likely to generate some strong responses, the speakers weren't terribly radical themselves. Certainly there was energy and vigor and urgency to the anti-capitalist remarks which pervaded the Forum, but the tone was a bit short of a revolutionary's battle-cry.
Rather, it was a bit more unnerving--like a doctor soberly delivering the bad news of a terminal illness--even though you may feel fine today.
Some might shake their heads and block such notions from their mind; others may carry on normally and hope for the best. Forum organizers are hoping people will take a different approach:
All organizations are leaving here with a proposal to fight.
More on the World Social Forum 2010
World Social Forum - Day 1: "Another World is Possible"
World Social Forum - Day 2: "Rich Nations, Clean Your Mess!"
World Social Forum - Day 3: "Earth Can't Sustain Capitalism"
World Social Forum - Day 4: "We've Reached the Age of Limits"