by Jason Nardi
The World Social Forum this year took place for the first time (as international event) in the “global north”, hosted in the city of Montreal, Quebec – Canada, from the 9th to 14th of August 2016. According to the organisers, there were a total of 35.000 participants from 125 countries, 1000 volunteers, 1300 self-managed activities, 15 great conferences, and 6 days of events. The success of this 12th edition of the WSF was severely tested by the missed-participation of activists (especially from Africa and Latin America) who were denied VISA permits by the Canadian government.
The event in itself was well organised and structured, with several convergence spaces and a final “Agora” of the convergences. For the first time, the thematic axes on “Economic, Social and Solidarity Alternatives facing the Capitalist Crisis” was not only the first of the 13 ones around which the Forum was organised, but the one with the most workshops and activities. At the International Council of the WSF that took place right after the event, RIPESS was finally accepted as a member.
Since so many activities linked to SSE were taking place – and many linked to the Commons debate, it is hard to make a summary. As a result of the convergence session on Fair Trade, a unanimous proposal was made by those present to organise a Thematic Social Forum in 2018 on SSE, Fair Trade and economic alternatives (the title is to be decided) with a process to lead to it shared by many networks and organisations who are present in the WSF. The Forum could be part of the next WSF if it will be organised in 2018, or a separate event altogether. WFTO and RIPESS, among others, could be the main promoters. The idea is to have a 3 days event, the first day dedicated to each alternative / movement, the second to shared strategies, projects, campaigns and the third to work on a convergence (document, manifesto, etc. to be discussed). As part of the preparation, we shared the proposal of hosting in the congresses of each network a session to discuss on common issues and ways to collaborate. WFTO will have its next world congress in India in 2017 and RIPESS in Latin America. Other more specific meetings could be organised at country/continental level.
Another convergence which was particularly well attended was the one on Post-capitalist transition. Some interesting proposals were made there as well (see: https://fsm2016.org/en/groupes/initiatives-of-the-convergence-for-post-capitalist-transition/), in particular on sharing mapping alternatives methodologies and on initiatives to bring together the different alter-economic solutions.