Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/240/24925
World Social Forum: Another World Is Possible - Socialism
AS THE world's rich and powerful gathered in New York to discuss their plans for the capitalist new order (see above), 100,000 anti-capitalists, trade unionists, socialists and environmentalists met at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
CWI members in Brazil and from around the world, including Irish Socialist Party TD (MP) Joe Higgins, participated in the many discussions and events as the following report explains.
THERE ARE literally dozens of meetings every day and demonstrations organised by various political groups.
At the official meetings the predominant idea from representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations, trade union and political leaders is one which downplays the role of the organised working class in affecting fundamental social change.
A COSATU (South African trade union federation) representative, for example, argued that workers need to forge alliances with other social classes because they are too weak to struggle against globalisation on their own.
In contrast, the CWI argues workers should link up, in struggle, with the rural poor and the middle classes (who are protesting on the streets of Argentina), providing this alliance is based on a movement and programme for socialism led by the working class because of their central role in capitalist economic production.
With many social democrat politicians present, including former Portuguese prime minister Mario Soares, the Belgian Prime Minister and even representatives of French president Jacques Chirac's office, the idea of 'capitalism with a human face' was given an airing.
Ideas about reforming the multinationals to make them accountable and to separate corporations from governments were put forward but without explaining how it is possible to break the power of capitalism without changing the system.
The 'S' word (socialism) was barely spoken. One US intellectual who replied (in writing) to our question on socialism and socialist planning said: "You cannot expect people suffering from capitalist propaganda to go straight from step one to step ten in one go".
Clearly, the idea of building a socialist alternative to the chaos of the capitalist profit system is relegated to the dim and distant future.
In contrast, Joe Higgins got a fantastic response when he explained the socialist and internationalist programme of the CWI and also the issues in Northern Ireland. He pointed to the recent trade union strikes against sectarian killings as evidence of the potential power of the workers to change society.
Unlike many 'left-wing leaders' Joe shunned the plush hotels for a mattress in a student block.
The WSF appears to be two worlds - one of the official line up and opinion makers and another of thousands of young people, mainly from Brazil but also including many from Argentina.
MEMBERS OF Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI) and from the MSE student organisation in Brazil sold hundreds of socialist papers and distributed 10,000 leaflets which advertise International Socialist Resist-ance (ISR - the youth movement initiated by the CWI). The MSE are calling for university occupations and protests on 15 March to fight against cuts and privatisation.
In The Socialist 8 February 2002: