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News of the Alliance > 2003, February : After Porto Alegre ...
Here are several articles written following the latest WSF, Porto Alegre 2003. Through them, we wish to illustrate the diversity of the Allies’ contributions to this event.

Economy of Solidarity Becomes Major Theme for International Civil Society - Workgroup on a Socio-economy of Solidarity (WSSE)
Philippe Amouroux and Françoise Wautiez

"Mapeadores" at the WSF - Experience of a mapped appreciation of the debates
Véronique Rioufol, with the contribution of the "mapeadores"

Re-enchantment of the World Social Forum - The Alliance Artists’ Network
Hamilton Faria

Proposals for the Future of the Alliance - Report on the meeting of the Allies in Porto Alegre
Marti Olivella and Laia Botey

You will also find the short presentations of the four Dialogue and Controversy Round Tables, which was one of the innovations of this latest edition of the WSF.

1. What type of globalization and how should the world be governed?

2. We are faced by a major economic and financial crisis: what kind of crisis is it? What are the alternatives?

3. Misunderstanding and tension between social movements and political parties and institutions: how can the fight for participatory democracy be won?

4. Against the wars of the 21st century, how can peace be built between peoples?

Re-enchantment of the World Social Forum
World Alliance Artist’s Networks
Hamilton Faria

There were a hundred thousand hearts beating in Porto Alegre. A hundred thousand eager to meet and build a better world, a world of all colors, a world where souls are not bought and sold, where souls are enchanted with the joy and dignity of a different humanity. Once again, the World Social Forum showed that it was the most powerful venue of major political importance when it comes to joining hearts and minds to guarantee the right to life on this planet. Social movements, NGOs, environmentalists, artists, the religious, the holy and the lay, politicians, pacifists, etc. were there debating themes from “the role of mercury in the daily routine of odontology” to “the writer’s role in re-enchanting the world”; from faith and politics to an economy in solidarity; from tolerance and diversity to love for animals. The spectrum of life is vast and not limited to politics and economics per se: that is what the World Social Forum has demonstrated. This year, given the imminent war to be waged by the U.S.A. against Iraq and the culture of violence governing daily life the world over, peace was the focus of the meetings and debates.

According to the assessment by the World Alliance Artists’ Network, compared to last year’s Forum, the quality of the participants changed for the better: less enthusiasm but greater depth of thought. Perhaps, too, less dreams, but greater, well-grounded creativity. On the other hand, the Forum was also much more scattered and disorganized than in 2002.
And yet, the WSF is still too small to host all the world’s diversity, the broad spectrum of cultural groups who believe in a better world. The WSF is still essentially Euro-American: it lacks representation from Asia, Africa, Oceania, from the Native and Black peoples and from all the world’s Diasporas. All the same, this year’s WSF seemed more representative, although not as organized.

The Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World was featured, active, and visible—in the conferences, panels, seminars, workshops and in the street activities. On every page of the program, the Alliance was present in several languages: Artists’ Network, Drums for Peace, informal debates in the street, etc.
The stands disseminating Alliance material—including that of the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation, Pólis, etc.—also helped to give the Alliance proposal visibility.

The World Artists’ Network was very active in designing the cultural part of the World Social Forum. We began attending the Culture Workgroup meetings in mid-2002, in Sao Paulo and Rio. Our idea consisted in generating lots of space for culture at the WSF, beyond the usual artistic activities and performances; it was to enter into the field of values, of the cultural task, understanding culture in its broad sense of works of art, humanities, and works of the imagination. We also thought that the Forum should speak for the people, not just for itself, in an educational and artistic interaction with the people in the streets. This led to workshop and conference activities, testimonies and panels; artistic presentations; the museum of diversity, instant memory, and Street Sunday. Dozens of entities, networks, and forums became involved in the organization of all this. The results were hundreds of artistic activities, videos on “instant memory,” activities in the living museum of diversity including the flag of all flags, informal debates with the population at seven different spots in Porto Alegre on the theme “What world do we want?”, Voices and Drums for Peace, which delighted the people at the Municipal Market at the start of the Forum’s opening event.
There were many more workshops this year. Last year, there were barely half a dozen, most of them organized by the Alliance Artists’ Network. Something to be highlighted in 2003 was the active presence of culture in all sections of the Forum.
The Artists’ Network participated this year in the following networks: Identity, Afrodescendants, and the Media; Social Integration Policies and Movements’ Demands; Anti racism and Building National Identity; Why write: the writer’s role in the re enchantment of the world; Art, Social Integration, and Peace Culture; Reading Circle on (In)tolerance and Identity; and How young people are seen on TV. The workshops as a whole were attended by about 1000 persons.

In our assessment, we came to the conclusion that the workshops had grown in quality. It would be necessary, however, to provide for greater use of nonverbal, play language (in two of the workshops, the puppet Tonico facilitated the public and debated the themes, in two others we carried out demonstrations for the re-enchantment of the world) and to break academic patterns. It would also be necessary for us to be more skillful and find better combinations of the rational with dreams and desires.
Practically all the workshops we organized and in which we participated turned into cultural and artistic demonstrations for re-enchantment.

It is important to remember, besides, that many of the feelings in the forum rallied to the idea of re-enchantment—whether through street demonstrations with choruses or in the workshops. Re-enchantment is impalpable, its natural habitat is more Utopia than the concrete politics of the real world, and yet people hugged us, became emotional, clapped, vibrated, and thanked us for brining to the fore a feeling that is dying out, but is also in the process of being born.
For this, the presence of the Andean Embassy of Music was remarkable, re-enchanting the places where it performed.

The number of participants, the dispersal, and the lack of organization makes it difficult to have an view of the whole of the forum. We always see the events from some specific place. The sum of the Alliance’s contributions could give us a view of the whole. The fact is that we were very active in the Forum, contributing to it all our accumulated thinking and experiences. The Alliance has increasingly demonstrated that it is an innovative, creative, and truly plural proposal for the whole of the actions carried out during the WSF.
It is now the turn of India: it is fundamental for the life of the Forum to leave Porto Alegre and immerse itself in other civilization contexts. In India we will have again to take up intercultural dialogues, street meditations or ceremonies, silent demonstrations for peace (How would you see something like the Silent Drums for Peace?), interreligious dialogues, Peace Culture (we could set up a workshop on this theme) and above all, learn with India (as Alliance participants we should not so much stick to the workshops as address the population, go on visits, organize caravans, etc., and learn with India). We can learn a lot to build a responsible, plural and united world.

It is now the turn of India, of its ancient civilization, of Krishna’s dream of populating our imagination, of the gentle Ganges bathing the voices of the future, of the awakening of politics to the spirit of the world, of the generous hearts of gurus spreading love around the planet, of the simple life and elevated thought, like the great message of ancient India and Makarand and Siddhartha and all of us going there and learning to live more and more, and forever.

© 2001 Alliance pour un monde responsable, pluriel et solidaire. Tous droits réservés.