Friday, January 28, 2005

Anti-US Sentiment Prevalent as 5th World Social Forum Begins

Porto Alegre Brazil, 1/28/05-- Slogans and images opposing US economic and military policy clearly dominated the 50,000 person opening march of the World Social Forum (WSF) on Wednesday. Banners opposing Bush and the Iraq War were the most prevalent, although many addressed corporate domination and globalization. One gigantic banner summed up all the messages; a red X through the letters “USA”.
An anonymous protester explained, “I'm not opposed to the people of the USA, just the policies.”

While many protested the US policy others were happy to see many participants from the USA at the WSF. Felipe, a WSF volunteer, commented “I'm glad to see so many people from the US, especially the media. I didn't know people from the US supported this kind of social movement.”

However, the WSF covers hundreds of issues beyond action against US domination. Over 100,000 people will participate in over 2000 planned activities. The activities are proposed and managed independently by organizations around the world. Any organization can plan an activity.

The forum is laid out in 11 thematic villages along the riverbank of Rio Guaibe. The themes are:

1.Autonomous thought, reappropriation and socialization of knowledge and technologies.
2.Defending diversity, plurality and identities.
3.Arts and creation: weaving and building people's resistance culture.
4.Communication: counter-hegemonic practices, rights and alternatives.
5.Assuring and defending Earth and people's common goods- as alternative to commodification and transnational control.
6.Social struggles and democratic alternatives – against neoliberal domination.
7.Peace, demilitarisation and struggle against war, free trade and debt.
8.Towards construction of international democratic order and people's integration.
9.Sovereign economies for and of people- against neoliberal capitalism.
10.Human rights and dignity for a just and egalitarian world.
11.Ethics, cosmovisions and spiritualities- resistances and challenges for a new world.

At the center of the WSF is the gigantic Youth Camp, a festival within the festival. The campers partied until day break after Manu Chau played the final set of the opening ceremony of the WSF.

For more on the WSF visit:www.forumsocialmundial.org.br

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