Going Global and the World Social Forum: The Struggle for Justice Beyond the Nation-State
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In the past ten years beginning with the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle 1999 there has been an intense wave of international activism not unlike the political activism of the late 1960s. Unlike the 1960s, however, grassroots organizations, social movements, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other civial society networks are forming large cross-border networks. They have launched international campaigns against neoliberal globalization, militarism, and war. Neoliberalism is an ideology that asserts that "free" markets, not states, should be the means by which most of society's resources are allocated. Those networks campaigning against neoliberalism and tis global effects, for example, privatization of public services, now have created their own political space, the World Social Forum (WSF). The WSF now attract up to 150,000 participants to its meetings and, along with, regional and local social forums, has spread to all continents. The WSF, among other things, initiated the global day of action against the Iraq War in February 2003 which attracted 12,000,000 people in 800 cities worldwide. My powerpoint presentation will address three questions: 1) Why has the shift to global political activism occurred?, 2) What is the World Social Form?, 3) Why has it grown to massive proportions? I will use as case studies two Canadian NGOs, the Council of Canadians and Alternatives, a Quebec based NGO, and an India based NGO, the National Campaign On Dalit Human Rights (formerly "untouchables") which has become part of an extensive global network taking the cause of the Dalits beyond India.