World Social Forum in India

From January 16-21, the 4th annual World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Mumbai (Bombay) India.

For six days, over 150,000 people from 132 countries participated in conferences, workshops, rallies and marches opposing neo-liberalism and the economic dictates of U.S. and European monopolies. In numerous meetings, trade union activists, members of peasant organizations, environmental groups, etc., discussed opposition to the debt imposed on the developing countries, environmental and human rights issues and many other concerns.

Participants at this year's World Social Forum emphasized not only opposition to capitalist globalization, but also the urgent need to take action against the U.S. war on terrorism and the occupation of Iraq. A concluding agreement was reached on the need for organizing a global anti-war march on March 20th, the one-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The forum also took a stand in solidarity with Cuba and called upon the U.S. to lift its economic blockade of Cuba and end its interference and aggression against that country. Demands were also raised to oppose the growing number of U.S. military bases throughout the world. A massive march at the conclusion of the WSF on January 21, attracted over 100,000 people, and filled the streets of Bombay with banners denouncing the U.S. war against Iraq. The march was led by a giant banner declaring "Another World is Possible!"

The WSF was meant to be a counterpoint to the World Economic Forum, a summit of capitalist political and business leaders at the Swiss alpine resort of Davos, which was being held at the same time.

After the first World Social Forum, held in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001, organizers drafted a "Charter of Principles," which states, in part, "The World Social Forum is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and interlinking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism."

Next year's WSF is scheduled to be held again in Porto Alegre, Brazil.