Brazil Has Shown That ‘Another World Is Possible’

    Imagine more than one 150,000 people from one hundred  and thirty five different countries getting together for five days in the  same city and doing more than two thousand activities.

    I know it is hard to  imagine that, but I was one of those thousands of people who were in Porto  Alegre in Brazil last January for the 5th World Social Forum. It went very  well.


    The World Social Forum was created by an Israelian naturalized Brazilian,  Oded Grajewm and other activists to oppose the World Economic Forum that  happens every year in Davos in Switzland.


    One could find from radical  leftists to new age folks doing meditation, from environmentalists to a  gathering of Franciscans. The best thing is to see everybody “playing their  own instrument” and respecting the other “players”.


    Another thing that  impressed me was the number of young people, challenging the idea that  youth are not interested in politics anymore. The Youth Camp had more than 35,000 people from all over the planet.


    The 5th version of the Forum had a lot of new things in comparison to the  previous times. All the activities – work shops, debates, cultural events,  marches, rituals, lectures, etc. – were self-organized by the groups and not  by the coordination of the WSF, freeing them from small responsibilities  and helping the event to become more democratic.


    Another novelty is that  this year any group could give a proposal and it would be publicized in the  Mural of Proposals. There were exposed more than three hundred proposals on  how to improve our world.


    One of the major issues this year was fair trade. For that reason, most of  the goods were commercialized in the Porto Alegre area where the Forum was  happening were been sold by peasants who are organized in projects of the  Economy of the Solidarity.


    Even little mementos were sold by art craft  cooperatives. Besides that, the organization made seven hundred computers  connected to the Internet available to the participants.


    The Forum was  divided in eleven themes. Among the themes, Spiritualities and Cosmovision  was one included with special attention to the indigenous spirituality.


    I  was impressed by the diversity of the religious groups. There is still a  lot to be done, but I could see the theme of the Forum: ‘Another World Is  Possible”, is already happening when people from so many life experiences  and political visions get together not to fight, but to say that they are  tired of oppression and injustice in our planet.


    SEJUP – Brazilian Service of Justice and Peace
    www.sejup.org

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