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Number 8 June 2001

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"Peace on the world", James Muratha

The Booklets of proposals for the 21st century
Olivier Petitjean (France)

Since the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre, the question of proposals has been raised time and again like a leitmotiv in every speech and in all the documents that circulate between organizations and networks active at international level. Since they want to go beyond mere protestation to the collective formulation of alternatives, it was inevitable that even movements carrying out very different types of activities have ended by identifying with the stakes set out by the Alliance and its methods. Inventing methods for joint action and reflection capable of taking into account and respecting diverse social and cultural positions, the need to link strategies for short term changes with a vision of major long term transformations, the debate on values as a condition for legitimacy and so forth are all questions that the Alliance has attempted to deal with in the Booklets of proposals and which are now on the international agenda.

Thus the formulation of the proposals by the Alliance's different workshops can be described as a process with two facets. There is the "internal" facet, entailing setting up tools, procedures and methods common to all the workshops (for example, the emphasis placed on electronic forums), and an "external" facet that consists in drawing advantage from different opportunities (whether they be local or global) to check the pertinence of the proposals put forward to a wider public. The organization of twelve workshops in the framework of the World Social Forum was a good example of this type of opportunity, which was a full-scale test and allowed forming concrete alliances with new partners.

Identifying the major changes

The capacity to link these two aspects, by setting the Alliance's internal agenda in a more general context, will permit combining a wealth of ideas with efficiency, leading to the production of a series of Booklets of proposals in the next few months that match the initial aim, that of identifying the major changes to be implemented in our societies (these are the "breakthroughs" that will be gathered and discussed for the World Assembly in December 2001). This aim will also be achieved by linking them to concrete strategies for change adjusted according to the diversity of the actors involved, capacities for action and geopolitical and cultural contexts. In 2002, after publication in 6 languages by a small intercultural network of publishers, the diffusion of the proposals will permit extending and widening the "external" facet of the process.

* To obtain a full panorama of the progress of the Booklets of proposals, see the Alliance website: Proposals

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