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World Social Forum
World Social Forum in Karachi
ON SATURDAY 25 March the World Social Forum (WSF) began in Karachi, Pakistan, with some 5,000 to 8,000 present.
CWI reporters in Karachi
The turn-out was not very high, as the WSF was not very well organised and not really aimed at the wider population.
NGOs (Non-Governmental Org-anisations) dominate the event. And while there are some trade union leaders present, there are few rank and file workers. The entrance fee of 100 Rupees, is partly to blame (low paid workers, on average, get paid about 3,500 Rupees a month, in Pakistan).
The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) was present with about 50-60 members from all over Pakistan and Kashmir and international visitors. The CWI participation was different to most of the other organisations attending. We are not an NGO but a political group defending socialist ideas.
We held two meetings. The first one dealt with the fight against imperialism, the war in Iraq, and workers' struggles in Europe. It was introduced by Geert Cool, from Belgium. About 100 people were present. Amongst them were leaders of a newly-formed postal workers' trade union.
The CWI meeting was very successful. CWI comrades from Pakistan and Kashmir were impressed by workers' struggle in Europe. After the meeting, an Indian television station did an interview with CWI members.
This postal workers' union held a meeting on Friday evening, at which Kevin Simpson from the CWI spoke against privatisations. Kevin's speech was broadcast on local television.
A second CWI meeting on 'Socialism in 21st Century' attracted around 150 people, making it one of the most successful meetings at the WSF. The CWI explained how capitalism does not provide for the mass of working people, and why we need a socialist alternative. This led to some discussion, mainly amongst visitors from India.
The Socialist Movement Pakistan (CWI) stall at the WSF attracted many visitors. We sold an Urdu translation of the Communist Manifesto, and also CWI pamphlets on Che Guevara and on Venezuela. Many of these pamphlets were sold at the stall.
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