By Jaya Ramachandran
ROME (IDN) – Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the international edition of the World Social Forum (WSF) will take place virtually this year from January 23 to 31, marking the 20th anniversary of an extraordinary global gathering. The forthcoming WSF will be the longest ever held since the first World Social Forum in 2001 in Porto Alegre, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.
This event will enable global and local political responses to the serious and urgent challenges in times of the profound crises of capitalism.
“The Forum intends to contribute significantly to the consolidation of all forces of resistance in defence of a world with social, economic and environmental justice, at a time of authoritarianism, despoliation and unparalleled political and social repression on all continents,” the Working Group of the Virtual World Social Forum said in a communication.
Since its creation in January 2001 in Porto Alegre, the World Social Forum has penetrated and influenced public policies around the world with international editions and thematic, regional and national forums. The World Social Forums have focussed on the fight against “neoliberal capitalism and in bringing together social, cultural, progressive, anti-imperialist, feminist, environmental, indigenous, ancestral peoples’ movements and many others”.
On January 23, the first day of the Virtual WSF will open the ‘World March of Openness for Rights, Justice, Democracy and Good Living’. It will be held through the diffusion of videos presenting testimonies of leaders from various parts of the world in defence of the above-mentioned themes and related challenges.
During the March, the Global Opening Panel will be held with about six major social and political leaders from around the world, under the slogan: “What world do we want today and tomorrow? – Not the world of Davos!”
Among the confirmed and to be confirmed guests are: Aminata Traoré (Africa); Angela Davis (North America); Ashish Kothari (Asia); Leila Khaled (Middle East); Former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Latin America); Yanis Varoufakis (Europe).
From January 24 to 29, large panels will be held on each of the Virtual WSF Thematic Spaces (https://wsf2021.net), in addition to numerous self-organized activities, a unique feature of all the forums.
The penultimate day will be dedicated to convergence assemblies, meant to push forward initiatives, actions, fights and global political campaigns.
On the last day, January 31, ‘the Agora of Futures’, an activity in which social movements and organizations from around the world will present their actions, challenges and campaigns that should extend from 2021 to the next WSF (post-pandemic) to be held in Mexico.
“This Virtual Forum takes place in the context of an intense phase of the political and organic revitalization of the World Social Forum process with debates that have re-evaluated the experiences of these two decades and pointed to new transformations under the motto: Another World is Possible, necessary, and urgent,” the Working Group of the Virtual World Social Forum said in a communication.
The activities promoted by the Forum Facilitating Group (panels, self-organized activities, among others, will be held in periods compatible with time zones around the world (generally, from 2pm to 5pm GMT).
The Virtual WSF Facilitating Group is available to answer questions or to clarify any of the above-mentioned elements to the media from around the world: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org [IDN-InDepthNews – 14 January 2021]
Image credit: World Social Forum
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