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20 January 2006

They say a better world is possible, but as the sixth World Social Forum approaches the world’s global social justice activists still seem to have a lot of work to do.

For the past few years these Forums have attracted more than 100,000 of the most committed NGOs, activists, students, professors from all over the world. Almost no English is spoken, and there are a myriad of over one thousand events for participants to attend.

South Korean unionists rub shoulders with landless people from Brazil. Children from the slums of Rio mingle with teenage diamond cutters from India. Organisations pool their ideas on economic development and campaigns against privatisation of water. You name it; it’s here.

On this blog, openDemocracy brings you the inside story of the Forum. Our correspondents in Venezuela share with you news, wit, and details, and as best we can updates on what other bloggers are saying too. Thanks to Global Voices and Civiblog for their support.

This year the Forum is split in three. First stop was Mali, next Venezuela, and finally Pakistan in March. What we really want to know is where the Forum is headed politically.

It’s the biggest global left gathering in the world, but when it comes to trying to consolidate the movement there is more tension than harmony. This year, there will be additional controversy over Hugo Chavez, who some adore and others despise. Some Venezuelan activists have even set up an Alternative Social Forum.

Enjoy.

Please contact Solana Larsen [email protected] in Venezuela (or text message to: +1 646 220 1459) for more information.

If you have an urgent press inquiry, you can also try openDemocracy’s office in London +44 207 608 2000, please ask for Becky Hogge [email protected]

We are happy to accept contributions for the blog.

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics based on class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put the need for protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this an opportunity for a realignment around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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