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An article by Hassan EL AMRI for Agence Marocaine de Presse (translated by CPNN)
Following up the previous forum in the Tunisian capital Tunis, in March 2015, the Canadian city of Montreal is welcoming, from 9 to 14 August, the 12th edition of the World Social Forum (WSF). The forum will have a very diverse program, consisting of more than 1,300 activities presented as part of its anti-globalization theme.
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Organized under the motto “Another world is necessary. Together we can make it possible “, the WSF in Montreal will make history this year as the first such event to be held in a country of the northern hemisphere. Since its inception in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001, the Forum has been held exclusively in the South (Latin America, Asia and Africa).
Despite only 15,000 people registered before the start of the conclave, the organizers of the Montreal edition are optimistic to achieve their goal of 50,000 participants from 120 countries, as agents of change to bridge the North-South divide, to exchange ideas, make their claims, initiatives and action plans and give birth to a positive momentum for change: Think globally, act locally.
The organizing committee has expressed their displeasure with Canadian immigration authorities because they have refused to issue entry visas to Canada for hundreds of participants and guests. This refusal particularly affects the countries of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. It adds to the inability of others o come because of financial reasons, especially with the high cost that characterizes the metropolis in full summer season.
Despite these obstacles, the Committee has not lost hope and insists on making this WSF 2016 an open meeting place for reflective thinking and debate of ideas, formulation of proposals and free exchange of experiences in order to achieve efficient action by actors and movements of civil society that are opposed to neoliberalism and imperialism, and to build an inclusive global society and egalitarian.
The committee members said at a news conference Monday that the WSF in Montreal aims to promote a convergence of solutions and energies to construct a globalization that is more inclusive, and to transform the Canadian metropolis during those few days into a meeting place for social movements, self-expression alternatives, citizens’ exchanges, artistic events and concrete commitments.
The WSF 2016 also aims they believe to be a space for the development of networks of actions that promote social economy, international solidarity, social and environmental justice, participatory democracy and the recognition of equal dignity for all.
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The various sites and venues of the Forum will allow local and foreign participants to engage in a genuine debate for an inclusive and mobilizing society with proposals for tomorrow’s world, where the slogan is the change based on civic engagement, plural and positive, which gives life to the initiatives and solutions of social actors.
The Montreal Forum will begin Tuesday afternoon with a festive anti-globalization march in the center of the metropolis. It aims to mobilize around social issues that affect all citizens of the planet, and to celebrate reconciliation and solidarity between peoples, while the weekend will be marked by presentations of practical solutions of projects in the short or long term.
During the conclave, 13 major themes have been selected after a collaborative process which aims to enable participants to better identify issues of interest and importance to them. These, include: ”
– “economic, social and solidarity alternatives against the capitalist crisis”;
– the “democratization of knowledge and communication rights”;
– the “culture of peace and struggle for justice and demilitarization”;
– “defense of the rights of nature and environmental justice”;
– “migration and citizenship without borders”;
– “democracy, social movements and citizens”;
– the “struggle against the dictatorship of finance and the sharing of resources.”
– the “world of work against neoliberalism”;
– “cultural, artistic and philosophical expressions for another possible world”;
– “global struggle and international solidarity”;
– “human and social rights, dignity and struggle against inequality;
– and “struggles against racism, xenophobia, patriarchy and fundamentalism. ”
Furthermore, the WSF 2016 will be punctuated by 22 major conferences which will aim to raise awareness of the current challenges and stimulate citizen engagement on issues as diverse as climate change, socioeconomic inequalities, racism and discrimination, the impact of international finance, indigenous struggles, labor and feminist, education and the place of youth.
Following up on the forums in Latin America, Asia and Africa, the participants in Canada want to counterbalance the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. In addition to denouncing economic globalization and the neoliberal model, they will also think about how to change the world today, including the provision of solutions and practical alternatives for a better, more just, egalitarian world with respect for human being, nature and the planet.