WSF 2004 – Another world is possible

    WSF 2004 – Another world is possible

    The 4th World Social Forum, the largest annual global event that challenges imperialism and neo-liberal globalisation, will be held in India in 2004. About 75,000 people from across the world will come together in Mumbai from January 16 to 21, 2004 to discuss strategies to build a more just, people-centred world order.

    The six-day Forum is to be held at the NESCO grounds in Goregaon and will include huge public meetings, panels, and about 800 seminars and debates focussing on: Imperialist globalisation, Militarism and peace, Communalism, religious fanaticism and sectarian violence, Racism, casteism, work and descent-based exclusions and discrimination, Patriarchy.

    The majority of the activities at the WSF will be in the open space, left to the initiative of organisations within the WSF process across the world.

    Alternative modes of cultural expression are also a part of the WSF process. WSF 2004 will include participation from leading artists, musicians, singers, painters, poets, writers and filmmakers that will capture the flavour of cultural responses to the onslaught of globalisation, the politics of exclusion, sectarian violence and war.

    Globalisation today is on trial. The WSF was born in 2001 as an international forum to contest the prescriptions offered by neo-liberal economic policies and capitalist-led globalisation. Built around the slogan “Another World Is Possible”, it seeks to provide a space for discussing alternatives, exchanging experiences for strengthening alliances and building coalitions between mass organisations, social movements and NGOs.

    The first three editions of the WSF were held between 2001and 2003 in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, and were timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Over the last three years, the WSF has become a symbol of the gathering strength of forces fighting against globalisation and war. WSF 2003, with over 100,000 participants, became a rallying point for the protests against the invasion of Iraq.

    The themes for WSF 2004 have a global perspective while ensuring that the questions are addressed from grassroots concerns. Moving out of Latin America for the first time, the WSF will have a greater participation from Africa and Asia.

    A Youth Forum, similar to the earlier WSF editions in Brazil, will be a part of the Mumbai event to highlight the significant role played by young people across the world in the global movement. Approximately 10,000 delegates will participate in the Youth Forum, out of which about 2,000 will be from outside India.

    Groups that are part of the WSF process are already organising seminars, rallies and cultural festivals to highlight the forum’s objectives across various states in India. Across the world, local, national, sub-regional and regional WSF processes are already underway.

    Come January 2004… Mumbai will get a glimpse of another world… that is possible.

    A Splash on City Trains
    A veritable who’s who of India’s art world come together late in December 2003 to paint Mumbai’s suburban trains with messages about the World Social Forum 2004. On December 21, 2003 artists including Sudhir Patwardhan, Nalini Malani, Nilima Sheikh, Navjot, Altaf, Atul Dodiya, Meera Devidayal, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Anjana Mehra, Kavita Shah, TV Santhosh and Ratnadeep Adivrekar, along with students from Jeevan Shalas from the Narmada valley, Sir JJ School of Art, and art schools from Nasik and Pune painted a Western Railway train at the Kandivili yard.

    On December 28, another group of artists will paint a Central Railway train in the Kurla yard. They include Gulam Sheikh, Rekha Rodwittiya, Sudarshan Shetty, Vasudevan, Manisha Doshi, Anjum, Kyong Aye, Molina Khimani, Jehangir Jani, Nikhileshwar Baruah, Arunanshu, Hiral, Jayakumar G, Indropromit Roy, Shubha Dey, Mayur, Tamal Mitra, Rai College, Shruti Nelson, Ajay Sharma, Pulak Sanpui, Uday Mondal, Sajal Sarkar, Rajeev Chowdhury and Vijay Bagodi. Students from Sir JJ School of Art, Dombivili’s Karandikar Kala Academy, Baroda’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Pune’s Bharti Vidyapeeth will work along with the artists.

    The painting of the trains is a demonstration of the belief of organisations involved in the WSF that culture and the arts are essential vehicles for communicating political and social ideas.

    The WSF is not just an event but is a democratic political process that draws people together.

    Archived from Communalism Combat, December 2003. Year 10, No. 94, Good News