Activists gather at the March of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre

The Democracy, Peoples and Planet Rights March, a traditional World Social Forum (WSF) event that brings together activists from the most diverse fields in a lively and colorful walk, exposing the demands of the movements that make up the event, took place on the night of this Wednesday (25), in the center of Porto Alegre.

The forum was created in 2001, in Porto Alegre, to oppose the World Economic Forum, which takes place annually in Davos, Switzerland. The idea is to discuss social guidelines, inclusion, diversity and sustainability. Since then, most editions have taken place in Porto Alegre, but editions have also been organized in Mumbai (India, 2004), in Nairobi (Kenya, 2007), in Dakar (Senegal, 2011), in Tunis (Tunisia, 2015) and in other Brazilian cities, such as Belém (2008) and Salvador (2018).

Participants of the World Social Forum march in the center of Porto Alegre

The World Social Forum march was animated by a small drum set from a samba school in the open-wing and by the Maracatu group Truvão – Tânia Rego/ Agencia Brazil

The director of the Union of Journalists of Rio Grande do Sul, Kátia Marko, explains that most of the forum’s activities are self-managed, that is, the movements and entities themselves organize debates, workshops, artistic interventions, conversation circles and cultural activities.

Kátia points out that, since 2016, the forum has lost strength and size, but, in Porto Alegre, the Social Forum of Resistências continued to take place, which was virtual in the last two years, because of the covid-19 pandemic. Now, with the change of government and the more controlled pandemic situation, social movements are celebrating.

“Right now, we are going to take it back [Fórum Social das Resistências] here it gives a joy, it warms the heart to be meeting people again. Especially at this moment when we are resuming Brazil and public policies. You feel that people are rescuing this hope. There’s a lot to be done, it won’t be easy, but now we have doors and possibilities to really build this other world that we’ve been fighting so hard for and wanting since the first forum, in 2001.”

According to Kátia, the preliminary balance of the World Social Forum had 1,500 people registered and 170 self-organized activities scheduled, in addition to seven large debate tables organized by the facilitating committee of the event.

activists

During the march, it was possible to see the most diverse social agendas, from global issues, such as the struggle of the World March of Women, to local ones, such as the movement against the concession of public parks in Porto Alegre. Free Palestine Forum, LGBTQIA+ visibility, rural workers, indigenous people, black movement, trade unions and leftist political parties, among others, joined in the walk.

Enlivened by a small drum set from a samba school in the opening wing and by the Maracatu Truvão group in the final part of the procession, the march stopped a few times to shout “no amnesty”, in reference to the crimes attributed to former president Jair Bolsonaro and the vandals. who carried out the coup attack on the headquarters of the Three Powers in Brasília on the 8th.

One of the people who carried the banner for the World Social Forum was the indigenous leader Kantê Kaingang. She says that since the first forums, native peoples have seen the event as an important space for dialogue and unity.

“The forum for us indigenous people is very good, it is the meeting of the children of the Earth, for us to unite positively, to put an end to differences. Our president, with a lot of work we brought him back. While the one who left wanted to kill the human being, he wanted to kill Mother Earth, he tried to kill my relatives. Him [Bolsonaro] I was supporting these mining companies. Mercury, poison, all of that. But thank God we put our brother Lula back.”

Participants of the World Social Forum march in the center of Porto Alegre

Participants of the World Social Forum March presented several demands of the movements that integrate the event – Tânia Rego/ Agencia Brazil

space of democracy

An activist for the NGO LGBTQIA+ Nuances, Célio Golin considers that the forum has established itself internationally as a space for democracy, in which it is possible to discuss topics such as social inclusion policy and population participation.

“For us, the LGBT population, it is very important because it is the space where we can dispute, along with other movements, this visibility, this empowerment. I think that democracy, to be representative, needs to be contemplating all audiences and we, LGBTs, have historically participated in the World Social Forum and we need to resume the World Social Forum in its protagonism that it had in the beginning”.

For mental health, feminist, black, peripheral and hip-hop activist Solange Gonçalves Luciano, the forum provides visibility to topics that are rarely discussed.

“It is important because this is the only way for the invisible to become visible, even if they want to make us invisible. I came because I wanted to breathe life. If we occupy our place in the sense of not being the place that other people try to put us, we see ourselves and feel that we are doing well. We have to place ourselves, to fill that place where we want to be”.

Participants of the World Social Forum march in the center of Porto Alegre

Participants of the World Social Forum march in the center of Porto Alegre – Tânia Rego/ Agencia Brazil

Since the first edition

Participating in the forum since the first edition, silkscreen artist Marcelo Roncato says that he is active in several movements, such as the one against the privatization of public parks, agroecology and peasants. For him, the forum enriches all movements.

“It is an exchange of experience between different experiences in Brazil and even in America. It strengthens the movements here, because you already identify that these guidelines are not just for the city. They go beyond states and even countries, so it is very important for you to exchange ideas and see who has more advanced experiences.”

The World Social Forum runs until Saturday (28). The complete schedule is available on the event’s website.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News