Now's the time to sign up for the third stage of the polycentric World Social Forum in Karachi, Pakistan. The deadline is February 28th, and the Forum will be held from the 24-29th of March, 2006.
The Pakistan WSF was originally meant to happen at the same time as those in Mali and Venezuela, but the earthquake and subsequent humanitarian crisis sucked up all the funding the event could have hoped to attract. One of the Karachi organisers explained the situation at the WSF in Venezuela, and also said he on one level was happy for the extra time, because some of the women's groups felt they had been slighted and no longer wished to participate. He hoped to negotiate peace with them.
When the original organisers of the WSF decided on Porto Alegre, it was because it was a city of hope and economic alternatives. Their participatory local budget was an inspiration to Forum activists. Later, as the Forum has grown, the relationship to place is sometimes inversed and it seems organisers now hope activists might bring inspiration to the location instead. Pakistan is a dictatorship and women's rights are tread on heavily there. How will Karachi respond to the Forum? In Venezuela, the Karachi organiser said one of their biggest problems was getting the government to accept visa applications from activists from India.