Global Justice's New Face

The second World Social Forum was held in Porto Allegre, Brazil during the first week of February. Conceived in 2001 as a counterpoint to the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland (but moved to New York City this year), the event brought together more than 50,000 activists, leaders and writers from 131 countries. The six-day whirl of workshops, rallies and celebrations in many ways overshadowed the WEF conference, and showed clearly that the spirit of Seattle is alive and well in the aftermath of September 11.

This year's participants tackled a tough job -- articulating what global justice movement is for, rather than merely against. Many of the speakers addressed the need to build alternatives to global insititutions like the WTO and the IMF. The euphoric theme -- "another world is possible" -- was reflected in the festive mood of the participants, who clapped, chanted, and danced through the week. Most participants agreed that the WSF had grown in strength and importance this year, perhaps acquiring an entity of its own as a symbol of social change.

AlterNet has put together a package of stories that provide in-depth analysis of this event and its significance for the global justice movement:

"Bad Capitalist! No Martini"
Naomi Klein,
The story of Porto Alegre's second annual World Social Forum far outshines the pomp and protests of the World Econonic Forum in New York, and even the corporate CEOs knew it.

Two World Forums: Ideology vs. Pragmatism?
Mark Weisbrot, AlterNet
Of the two world forums that happened this weekend, the Economic one was deemed "practical" and the Social one "idealogical." But a closer look shows the economic elites to be the stubborn ideologues, and the social entreprenuers to be the realistic pragmatists.

The End of the Beginning?
Paul Kingsnorth,
The World Social Forum is no longer simply an "alternative" to Davos's illustrious jamboree -- it is a phenomenon in its own right, a key channel for making the arguments and longings of global protest and radical movements into a coherent force for a different social order.

Today, Porto Alegre; Tomorrow ...
Jennifer Block,
Can the World Social Forum have a meaningful impact without adopting a more formal structure? The counter-summit's organizers insist it can.

Listening In on the World Economic Forum
Doug Henwood, The Nation
Though well-heeled WEF participants tried to project an upbeat and responsible tone, the gathering's mood was clearly troubled.

The Anti-Globalization Movement Changes Its Tune
Walter Truett Anderson, Pacific News Service
Anti-globalists, stung by charges that they are too simplistic, idealistic or just plain behind the times, are beginning to develop an alternative global vision, asking what they stand for, not just what they're against.

All these articles, and much more, can also be found on AlterNet's Globalization page.


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