Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, February 05, 2009


These reports come from Al Jazeera and the San Diego Union Tribune.

World Social Forum had a prophetic voice

"Walden Bello has attended every World Social Forum (WSF). He is a senior analyst at Focus on Global South, president of the Freedom from Debt Coalition and a professor at the University of the Philippines.

"As the WSF was winding down in Belem in Brazil, Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo spoke with Bello about his thoughts on this year's meeting.

"Al Jazeera: How has the 2009 World Social Forum different from the past years'?

"Bello: This represents the triumph of the World Social Forum over the World Economic Forum.

"Basically I think that what the forum has been standing for is the strong critique of neo-liberalism and warning the world of the kinds of difficulties neo-liberalism was bringing to the world.

"And I think that now this economic crisis has really shown that we had a prophetic voice. A consistent voice of critique that was being put forward...

"I think that people are now looking to the World Social Forum more than ever for the kinds of alternatives that we need, to be able to restructure the world now that neo-liberalism has failed, now that capitalism is in severe crisis, now that the whole system has lost its legitimacy...

"I think there are a number of very strong themes that have emerged over the last few years.

"One is that there must be strong controls and regulations over the market...

"Two, that globalisation was creating a very fragile world and that we needed... to make internal markets the drivers of development, rather then the global market. Also that we needed controls on transnational corporations.

"We have always held that democracy was very central... [A]t the level of economic decision making, people should be able to intervene and make decision on what kind of industries should be developed...

"I think any peoples in government and other sectors are going to look at the kinds of things being discussed at the WSF, because the formulas from Davos no longer work."

Cool vibes, muddy results at social Brazil forum

"BELEM, Brazil — The world's biggest counterculture political gathering ended Sunday with a flurry of photo-snapping, tent folding and farewell embraces – as well as uncertainty about what concrete results were accomplished in the stifling heat of this jungle city...

"This year's forum has a renewed sense of purpose and importance, participants said, coming as it does amid a global financial crisis.

"'This colonial economic model – capitalism – that pits a state against its own people has to end and has clearly failed,' said Daniel Pasqual, an Indian rights leader from Guatemala.

"Five Latin American presidents joined about 100,000 activists from around the world whose discussions – in conference rooms and around beer coolers – feed the debate of the world's political left..."

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home