The World Social Forum At A Crossroads

By Betsy Bowman and Bob Stone, GEO Collective

The 6th World Social Forum held January 24th to 29th in Caracas was the highlight of our recent tour of newly democratized enterprises in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. We had been to the first regional social forum, the European Social Forum, in 2002. Our first World Social Forum was at once festival and oversized university, all aspiring to be the "world parliament in exile." We made our way to many stuffy rooms around town, some calmed by academics, others apulse with the energy of pioneers. The largest delegations came from Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia, but it felt exhilaratingly global. We walked into a Forum that is debating its future, and we developed some opinions on the subject of our own. But first some history.

The slogan of the World Social Forum movement -- "another world is possible" -- is not universally loved. "Another Slogan is Possible" some signs had said at the European forum. Yet it has stuck since the first World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Brazil in January, 2001. It all started in February, 2000 when French and Brazilian opponents of the free-market policies of neo-liberal globalization met in Paris to maintain the momentum of the great 1999 Seattle protest against the World Trade Organization -- which first uncovered a global movement against globalization. They settled on a social forum to oppose the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland every January, where neo-liberalism set global economic policy: privatize public goods, stop social spending, and let "free trade" be regulated by treaties favoring transnationals. Porto Alegre, Brazil, cradle of "participatory budgeting," was chosen since this solidarity economy practice was evidence that "Another World is Possible."

Participatory budgeting, is simple: a city's citizens, not just its politicians, get to help allocate its capital expenditures. All sorts of civic groups in a neighborhood send representatives to regular meetings to prioritize spending on streets, education, whatever. The core theme in the new "alternative" economic forms was local, in-person, democratic control of all units of economic life, be they neighborhoods, producer or consumer co-ops, credit unions, or media. The aim is a solidarity economy run on this principle. Whatever such an economy's goal might be it could not be profit, simply because that goal would have been set by human decision.

Participatory budgeting reveals a capacity in government to strengthen civil society without favoring some private interests over others, as Len Krimerman has argued on GEO's pages. It sets in relief non-market voluntary associations and their social property -- the middle term between individual property and public property that is neither. The long-occluded power of social property to meet needs and build communities, two important public goods, is on display in participatory budgeting. Government and private enterprise are not after all the only two ways to realize those goods.[1] And vampiric sucking by multinationals of the value created by a community is short-circuited when its plain citizens construct such solidarity-based economic power.[2] Not only is it revolutionary, it works! Porto Alegre's practice has generated: a new fiscal transparency and regular budget surpluses; scores of successful new worker co-ops; UNESCO designation as a model city; and emulation in some 200 cities all over Brazil[3] and in Canada, Scotland and elsewhere.

Except for one in Mumbai, India, all WSFs up to 2006 have been in Porto Alegre. The 2005 leaders, aiming at greater inclusiveness, set up a "polycentric" forum this year. The first such "center" was in Bamako, Mali, January 19-23, then 24-29 in Caracas, and then March 24-29 in Karachi, Pakistan. Drawing about 10k, 70k and 30k participants, respectively, this year's total equaled the roughly 100k of each of the last four forums. In an important first, the 2007 Forum will be in Nairobi, Kenya, the first single-centered WSF to take place in Africa. We've noted a radicalization. When we asked those who had been to the first two forums what the forums' adversary was, they often answered: "globalization," or "corporate globalization." When in Florence in 2002 we asked similar participants, they were likely to designate "capitalism" as adversary. New first-world/third-world and North/South alliances against the same system --however it is described--is also part of this radicalization.

The WSF was initiated by and remains in the hands of social movements separate from political parties. For example, prominent among founders of the forums in 2000 were ATTAC and MST. In France, the Association for Taxation of Transactions to Help Citizens (Association pour la Taxation des Transactions pour l'Aide aux Citoyens) advocates, among other reforms, taxation on all international capital transfers. In Brazil the MST, the Movement of Landless Workers (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra) occupies unused land so as to establish producer cooperatives. But today hundreds of social movements animate the forum, including advocates for: women, workers, peace, the unemployed, the indigenous, rain forests, bio-diversity, immigrants, alternative media, access to water and food, and of course the solidarity economy.

"Solidarity economy" names not just participatory budgeting but any economic activity -- co-ops, fair trade, ethical consumption, credit unions, local currencies, micro-finance, socially conscious investment -- that democratizes an economy, subordinating profit to human ends. It includes: ethical consumption, fair trade, local currencies, micro-finance and credit unions, socially conscious investment, and co-ops of all kinds. Organizational forms seen at the WSF include: think tanks, civic and solidarity economy associations, advocacy groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While there are many socialists and anarchists, the WSF is as a matter of principle independent of all governments, political parties, and ideologies (see the WSF website at www.forumsocialmundial.org.br).

This independence also frees participants from the burdens of partisanship. And not being tied to nation-based parties, WSF social movements find it easier to think globally "from below." The Forums' guiding International Committee is open to all. A regular participant, Alexander Buzgalin, a Moscow University economist, told us that at the meetings one's party's position--most present are members of one party or another--gets left at the door. Focus can then be solely on what's best for the WSF. This is a liberation, he said, not to be lightly discarded.

The Options Being Debated

Yet before and at Caracas the feeling was widely expressed that the WSF was at a crossroads and needed to evolve in new directions. Around the Caracas forum the debate over which direction to take appears to be the start of a wrestling match for the very soul of the forum itself. Unfortunately we can only summarize it here.

The need for change had originated among some of the forums' strongest supporters. Referring to the 2005 forum, Ignacio Ramonet of Le Monde Diplomatique wrote: "One could see in it a sort of exhaustion of the initial formula: because of the number of participants, the forum couldn't go on being just a space of meeting and debate which didn't give rise to action...[If it does not,] it runs the risk of depoliticization and turning into folklore."[4] Explaining why she had declined to participate in the Karachi part of the recent WSF, Arundhati Roy said the forum, "has now become very NGO-ized and...it's just become too comfortable a stage. And I think it's played a very important role up to now, but now I think we've got to move on from there....I think we have to come up with new strategies."[5]

Many at Caracas concluded that the forum should now "get political." But what exactly would that mean? One answer came from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Having taken on hosting of the Forum, he also challenged it to "draw up strategies of power in an offensive to build a better world," forming a socialist "front." Speaking at the Assembly of Social Movements, a coalition of 300 networks central to the Forum, Chavez explained "We cannot allow [the WSF] to become a folkloric and touristic event....We must have diversity and autonomy, but also unity in a great anti-imperialist front." Atilio Boron, an Argentine theorist who directs an alliance of Latin American social scientists and participates in the International Council, even asked that the WSF convert itself into "a new international to counter the international of the bourgeoisie."[6]

But one Forum organizer said that to undertake global action through political parties, on the model of the series of socialist "internationals," would require a uniformity of ideology that could be fatal. WSF activist Candido Gryzbowski warned: "If you look at the history of the left, these are the debates that happened in the internationals, and they explode when they try to impose that unity on everyone."[7] He added "there should not and cannot exist an Inquisition or Politburo to dictate what is correct and what is erroneous."[8] Created by social movements, the Forum has stuck to its founding charter and should not now abandon it, Gryzbowski contended. The charter prescribes "an open meeting place where social movements, networks, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other civil society organizations opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, to formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action." But is the WSF now so "NGO-ized" and shy of joint action as to require the charter be changed to allow representation by political parties as such? Gryzbowski defends founding principles. But he offers (to our knowledge) no clear alternative to proposals for a "front" or "international."

The World Social Forum's Power as Organizer of Global and Regional Action

Some distinctions would help this debate. It is one thing for a world-wide network of equal movements to organize joint, even massive actions; it is another to initiate an "international" or alliance of national political parties bound by ideology and a central bureaucracy. One can do the former without doing the latter. Even global action by such a network needs no advance doctrinal agreement. A prime example was the global anti-Iraq war protest of February 15, 2003. Called at the November 2002 European Social Forum, planned at that January's World Social Forum, this global protest set the nakedness of the U.S. aggression in stark relief, a perception that endures today.

It was the largest demonstration in history and the first global one. Main streets of 800 cities on all continents were filled in answer to a WSF call. San Miguel had a bi-cultural crowd of about 1000, Atencion reported. Astonished at the scale, a New York Times writer said: "there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion."[9] Both sides in the debate above assume collective action demands uniformity of ideology. But February 15 built on and did not negate the vast variety of regions, nations, languages and cultures of the WSF itself. It proved that the WSF needs no uniform beliefs in order to stimulate the appearance of the "new superpower."

Such global organizational power was never attained by any party-based international. On February 15 when, on a scale never before seen, millions acted in person and not through representatives, the Forum was no longer a mere platform but a movement capable of indefinite expansion. Some argue that it failed: the war started on March 20. But February 15 was meant to consolidate global opposition, which it did more quickly and thoroughly than opposition to any previous war. [10] For a moment, the Forum's participants and collaborators became "a new popular and historical subject." [11] The day allowed us to imagine a future when humanity itself and in person consciously makes its history.

And there are other cases of successful international collective actions that arguably were due to or coordinated by World Social Forum participants and collaborators, animated by Forum meetings. These include:

  • Massive protests outside all free trade meetings, organized at Forums, allowed emergence of new voting blocks within the World Trade Organization that deadlocked its Cancun meetings in 2003.[12]
  • The spawning of regional and local social forums (Europe, Mediterranean, Latin American, even the New York City social forum) that have taken on their own life in seeking grassroots system change.
  • When Argentine president Nestor Kirchner, not the IMF, set terms of debt restructuring, "the aura of invincibility surrounding the Fund was dispelled." Such defiance was unthinkable before Forums had mobilized Latin American public opinion against IMF imposition of economic policies (on penalty of frozen credit). [13]
  • The act of Latin American leaders who, as one, blocked Bush and his FTAA at Mar del Plata in 2005, was politically possible due to the strong presence in their countries of the global movement consolidated by the forums.[14]
  • Recent left-ward elections in Bolivia, Chile and Peru would have been highly unlikely had Porto Alegre Forums not fostered a continent-wide unity against neo-liberalism that connected struggles in a mutually empowering way. [15]
  • The threat of being cast into even deeper odium by "the other superpower" of world public opinion, may have helped protect the Chavez government to date against overt U.S. attack on the model of Chile in 1973 (see our "Reflections on Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution").
  • And finally the global opposition to "free trade" that the Forums have both generated and legitimized has stymied trade negotiations globally and may stop Doha Round progress this year.[16]

These are six extraordinary accomplishments. Go political"? Become a platform for political action? February 15 and these other large-scale attainments are already major political actions. They eclipse the World Economic Forum in direct political effects, bringing off in a few years what would take a "front" or "international" a decade. They are no less political for being effected by social movements instead of parties. Gustavo Codas of the Central Unica dos Trabalhadores, Brazil's largest trade union federation, may have had the accomplishments in mind when he observed: "There is no contradiction between maintaining the Forum as an open space for discussion and using it to build alliances and platforms for action."[17] But then how should it be used now?

This major political impact of WSF-linked social movements indicates that for now "going political" in the partisan/electoral sense is unneeded. Take Evo Morales's electoral victory. In a way that a party sponsoring him could not, the indigenous movements that made it possible remain independent, standing ready to challenge Morales if he deviates from the revolutionary path. [18] Building an international alliance of parties might even dampen these political effects by suspending forward motion for debate. Or take the recent upsurge of the so-called "new European left" against the neo-liberalism that is decimating Europe's retirement funds and labor regulations. Hilary Wainwright points out that the more left parties in Norway and Italy ally as equals with the huge non-partisan social movements opposed to globalization, the more elections they win. And this despite doctrinal differences. Social movements, she shows, have influenced electoral politics without yielding their political autonomy, instead bending political parties to their ends.[19] Most political parties are globally mistrusted for yielding to neo-liberalism, which suggests that the political successes we've listed may not have been in spite of the Forums' non-partisan character but because of it.

So the issue is not whether to "go political" but how. There are at least two options: invent new non-partisan global actions that build on past political successes, or build linked parties aimed at electoral victory in order to gain and wield state power?

The ascents of Chavez and Morales to state power were certainly celebrated in Caracas. Old hands said it was as much a big party as the Porto Alegre meetings but less organized and centered. Oddly, the thronged Hilton lobby became a mini-center. Amidst potted palms an anti-Bush Canadian posed in a Condy costume. A fit Tom Hayden strode by. We carved out a program from 2000 events around town, accessible by subway (gratis to all registrants). We missed session with Gore Vidal, Cornell West, and Cindy Sheehan. Fearing Chavez's domination, an "alternative world social forum" was set up -- with government help. Its fears proved groundless. The day after Chavez's socialist "front" appeal, an open leadership session roundly rejected a proposal to make a statement in the name of the Forum, precisely what a front would do. A Nation writer was told: "It makes sense that a political leader like Chavez would make that appeal, but even though we admire him, we can't repeat the mistakes of the past century." [20] Yet such defenders of independence are weak on what to do.

As a resource, the political successes listed, especially February 15, have been passed over. As a result, deepening the Forums' proven capacity for such success has not appeared in the debate as a political option alongside of the "front" proposal. Examples of such "deepening" might be:

  • Following start of the Iraq war a large, spontaneous boycott of products of US multi-nationals such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds spread and was sustained for months, especially in the Middle East and Europe. A global boycott organized by the WSF in advance and held at the ready, could be so planned as to be triggered, say, by invasion of Iran, attempts to unseat President Chavez, or other imperialist aggressions. Multi-nationals that have been so far unhurt by purely political protest might in this case act quickly to restrain such aggressions.
  • A global "buy co-op, boycott multi-nationals" day or days would withdraw spending from the capitalist economy and at the same time build the solidarity economy. Such a conversion boycott, effected world-wide, could start the shift away from capitalism to a more democratic alternative such as worker, not state, control socialism.
  • A global "economic democracy" day would be one in which workers would divert their labor away from the capitalist economy and toward building a democratic economy. Instead of working to profit others, they would stay home to set up participatory budgeting in the neighborhood, a local currency, a credit union, a child or elder-care co-op, or a politically aware investment group.
  • A global "general strike" might be undertaken in which workers confront the inherent injustice of wage labor and a system that pits classes against each other, in order to initiate a more equitable, cooperative way of meeting needs.

Such actions could be coordinated by the World Social Forum and regional forums. The aim would be to replace a system that subjects all humans to itself, with a collective practice in which system as such is demoted to the status of instrument of human needs. Inspired by February 15, the Forum movement can foster such a shift away from capitalism. But then it must make sure an alternative economy exists that can be strengthened and shifted to.

The World Social Forum as Workshop of the Solidarity Economy

As it happens, besides the Forums' function as coordinator of global and regional political actions, the other ongoing role they have played, also often unnoticed, is precisely as builder of the solidarity economy. Francois Houtart of the Third World Forum remarked: "If the Forums don't want to become the Fifth International, they should also avoid becoming a social Woodstock. Therefore other initiatives must be taken." [21] We agree, their role as debating platform is not enough. However, Forums have all along also been fulfilling the charter's prescription of a "network for effective action." Besides global coordinating agent, the Forums' other "effective action" is as workshop in which "another world" is no longer debated but constructed. Cross-border economic organizing is an ever-expanding activity conducted by social movements in the Forums' basement, as it were. National solidarity economy organizations are forming regional ones for mutual aid, commerce, and intercooperation. Such construction avoids both Houtart's "international" and his "Woodstock" perils. Most important: regional networks are now connecting with larger South-South, North-South, and global networks--thanks to the WSF "switchboard."

Here are some of the international solidarity economy groups that are holding working meetings at the Forums:

  • The Ibero-american Network for Integration of Cooperatives and Organizations of Social Production (Red Iberoamericana de Integracion de Cooperativas y Organizaciones de Produccion Social) was formed only in late 2005 in Caracas. Most delegates from the networks represented had occupied and cooperativized their workplaces. This network is parallel to but separate from the respective "official" national bodies for producer co-ops and democratic enterprises -- though the latter very often go to Forums too. The Red's leaders were from networks in Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Ecuador. Its work was "integration" of Latin America: continent-wide cooperation instead of competition in education, communication, commerce, and finance. The principle that had initially brought individuals into co-ops was now bringing co-ops as such together: a co-op is individually more effective as a member of the Red than on its own.
  • Another is the Workgroup on a Solidarity Socio-Economy (WSSE), a mostly South-South network for mutual aid and strategizing among actors and researchers. As part of Alliance 21, a major group, it seeks to integrate initiatives in fair trade, social money, solidarity finance and co-ops in workable cross-border and cross-sector relationships.

These were just the meetings we attended. Many other working groups use the Forums to network and cooperate in production, supply, and marketing--always for need more than for profit. [22] This is far from the "revolutionary tourism" that Chavez fears if Forums do not form political parties.[23]

These two under-emphasized functions of the World Social Forum movement could be combined to initiate the biggest political action of all: direct transformation of the current system. The Forums' capacity to organize millions in global and regional actions could be put to turning the solidarity economy into a real alternative to capitalism.[24]

Here is one scenario for how this might unfold: as humans awaken to the transformatory possibilities of the solidarity economy in their midst, an awakening mediated by the Forums, growth in demand will elicit more democratic production capacity. At the same time it will push neighborhoods to intensify participatory organizations that meet needs without going through the commodity form. As the conversion boycott spreads, preparations will be needed for even larger increases in capacity and local organization. World and regional forums and newly invented organizations could then be used to address problems of credit, reorganization of production, and technical assistance. Satisfying these higher-order needs stemming from inter-cooperation among cooperatives would elicit either new cooperatives in those areas or cooperativization of existing enterprises.

On to Nairobi 2007

The Forum's capacities for global action and development of the solidarity economy are available for other uses. Debate is needed. We insist only that these powerful capacities exist, and that there is a new way to use them. This third way is an alternative both to organizing an alliance of political parties and to resting content with the non-partisan and somewhat static forum function. It is also best suited to a still-growing movement

To be sure, if this third way is successful, organizing to take state power will ultimately be inevitable. After an occupation strike had seized 40% of French industry in May 1968, the French non-Communist Marxist philosopher, Lucien Goldmann, remarked: "It is false to say, as is often done, 'self-management is not possible except in socialism,' because generalized self-management is socialism."[25] We are less optimistic. Generalized worker control is for us a necessary first step in order to abolish the labor market and exploitation, but it does not by itself attain other aspects of socialism such as replacement of markets by production for need and democratic control of planning.[26] First things first. Just as the bourgeoisie's economic ascent preceded its political consolidation of power in the French revolution, so worker control of the economy will likely prepare a corresponding ascendancy into and transformation of, political life. But our point is to grant political power its place, not to pursue controversial views of our own.

The Chavez government, for example, is empowering its electorate and the solidarity economy and an alliance with Bolivia's new socialist government could have similar effects regionally. But we are discussing options for a global movement that is rooted in civil society and whose distinctive contribution so far has been to foster highly varied economic experimentation. If this movement narrows itself by the ideological uniformity required to enter electoral politics, without first establishing the viability of global economic alternatives, much is risked, while little is risked by postponing that entry so as to deepen that work. For it is precisely the exclusion of party politics that has given the social forum movement the freedom which allows it, on globally shared issues like opposing the Iraq war, to engage millions in world-wide actions. This prodigious capacity has had much swifter and more global impacts -- including political impacts (witness February 15, and halting of the WTO and FTAA) -- than did Vietnam war resistance or than could a front of new national parties. But underpinning such effectiveness has been the WSFs' non-partisan and oblique relation to state power. This has lent its actions a moral side. Arundhati Roy called the global protest of February 15: "The most spectacular display of public morality the world has ever seen."[27] Once lost by recruiting to take power, the legitimacy of this enormous power will be hard to recover. By contrast, a use of it that would be compatible with its civic and economic roots would be to foster a global shift from the capitalist to the solidarity economy.

What is so special about the World Social Forum is that in the social movements it brings together, unlike a front or international of political parties, ideological variety is a strength, not an impediment. This comes out in the slogan "one no, many yes's" by which participants refer to the WSF "movement of movements." It implies that the yes's can proceed down the same path together, perhaps a very long way, before diverging. And as struggle nears the "yes's," their realizations may turn out to be less incompatible than thought. And since divergence may ultimately prove to be unnecessary, postponing it can only help.

A global debate is needed between social forums. A detailed action proposal has finally emerged from some WSF leaders. Called "the Bamako appeal" it was drafted by some 80 researcher/activists just before this year's Bamako, Mali meeting (www.forumtiersmonde.net). It calls for dismantling all U.S. bases not on U.S. soil, suppression of tax havens, cancellation of Third World debt, resumption of national control of national economies, and study of how capitalism reproduces itself. It devotes sections to environmental issues, women's rights, food sovereignty, media reform, and international legal reform. It calls for "a world-wide anti-imperialist network that could coordinate a variety of mobilizations throughout the planet" and "a workers' united front" of new transnational trade unions independent of "the traditional trade-union structure or a specific political party." It envisions transcending capitalism but does not mention the solidarity economy and democratizing production as tools for overcoming wage-labor. Nor does it say how production for markets is to be replaced by production for needs. It prepares for transformation but is short on strategies of transformation. An excellent dialogue has grown up around it on the Open Space Forum website.

While overall we welcome it, the Bamako appeal's omissions in content are related to the procedure that generated it. Derived by its authors from a survey of past forums and from their own intellectual resources, it proposes a consensus so WSF constituencies, presumably by agreeing, can move ahead together. It does not start with the ongoing struggles and movements and, examining their practices and stated aims, describe the visions implicit (or explicit) in them, so that those so engaged might try to make them compatibile. For a movement which still does not include large sectors of humanity affected by globalizing capitalism, we think the latter procedure is indicated. Consensus statements are premature.

Africa, for example, has been underrepresented in the WSF for various reasons. The strongest argument for postponing consensus-building is that none can be complete without this major part of humanity - perhaps the one most affected by neo-liberalism. At the Nairobi forum in January of 2007 many more of Africa's peoples will at last speak. All manifestos will need re-writing after voices of a new spectrum of social movements struggles are heard.

As advocates for the solidarity economy that was the original root of the forums, we were inspired by the Caracas Forum. Its under-appreciated powers raised our hopes and drew us into debating its direction. We hope many others will join in. While this debate is only starting it already belongs to all of us.

 

NOTES

[1] Unfortunately, some defenders of public goods assimilate social property to individual private property. See Anatole Anton, Milton Fisk, & Nancy Holmstrom (eds.) Not for Sale: In Defense of Public Goods (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2000). Market defenders who assimilate social property to government property make a cognate error.

[2] Douthwaite, Richard, Short Circuit: Strengthening Local Economies for Security in an Unstable World. Dartington, U.K.: Green Books, 1996.

[3] Gianpaolo Baiocchi, "The Citizens of Porto Alegre, In which Marco borrows bus fare and enters politics" by Gianpaolo Baiocchi, in The Boston Review, http://www.bostonreview.net/BR31.2/baiocchi.html

[4] Ignacio Ramonet, "Never Give Up on the Other World," Le Monde Diplomatique, January, 2006, as quoted in Jack Hammond, "The Possible World and the Actual State: The World Social Forum in Caracas."

[5]Remarks made on the TV show "Democracy Now," as reported by Ingmar Lee, "Reflections On Karachi World Social Forum" 28 March, 2006, Countercurrents.org

[6] Jack Hammond, "The Possible World and the Actual State: The World Social Forum in Caracas," Latin American Perspectives, Issue 148, Vol. 33, No. 3, May 2006, pp. 122-131.

[7] Nation March 6, p. 20.

[8] Hammond, op cit

[9] Patrick E. Tyler, "Threats and Responses: News Analysis; A New Power in the Streets," New York Times, February 17, 2003.

[10] Hammond, op cit.

[11] The phrase comes from the introduction to the Bamako appeal, see below.

[12] Immanuel Wallerstein, "Cancun: The Collapse of the Neo-Liberal Offensive," Commentary No. 122, Oct. 1, 2003, http://fbc.binghamton.edu/commentr.htm

[13] Mark Engler, "Latin America Unchained," 16 March 2006, www.tompaine.com and www.DemocracyUprising.com

[14] Ivan Briscoe, November 4, 2005, "The Summit of the Americas' free-trade farewell," www.opendemocracy.net

[15] Mark Engler op cit.

[16]By Steve Schifferes, "What stymied the Hong Kong talks?," BBC News, Sunday, 18 December 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4540704.stm

[17] Humberto Márquez, "World Social Forum: It All Boils Down to Politics," Febrary 1, 2006, www.venezuelanalysis.com

[18]Raúl Zibechi, "El Otro Mundo es el â??Adentro' de los Movimientos," Volver atrás, 26-07-2004.

[19] Hilary Wainwright, "The Emerging New Euroleft" Nation April 10 p. 20-24.

[20]Nation, March 6, 2006.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Setting aside national groups, here are some other regional and global solidarity economy groups that met in Caracas: Rede de Gestores de Politicas Publicos de Economia Solidaria; Associação de Trabalho e Economia Solidaria; Instituto de Desarrollo Human y Economia Solidaria; Proutist Universal; Red Latino-americano de Mujeres Transformando la Economia; Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativas; Centro de Assessoria a Autogestão Popular; red de Mujeres Solidarias; International Association for Feminist Economics; Alternatives International; Network Institute for Global Democratization; Convergencia de Movimientos de los Pueblos de las Americas.

[23] Humberto Márquez, op cit.

[24] We have described how this shift might unfold in our essay "Cooperativization as Alternative to Globalizing Capitalism," available on GEOs website.

[25] Goldmann, Lucien and Serge Mallet, "Débat sur l'autogestion." Le Nouvel Observateur, July 6, 1968. Reprinted Autogestion, No. 7, Dec. 1968.

[26] See our essay on the GEO website.

[27]Quoted by John Pilger, "The Other, Man-made Tsunami," New Statesman, January 6, 2005.