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CACIM at WSF Tunis 2013

Tunisia Now: Some articles about the situation in Tunisia in the context of the WSF 2013 being held in Tunis.

Decolonising the WSF : A critical discussion of the production of knowledges within and about the social forum process

Workshop at the World Social Forum at Tunis on March 28 2013, second slot, organised by Ciranda, CACIM, University of Hildesheim, and NIGD

Who produces knowledge about the WSF ? And for whom ? This workshop seeks to intervene in current debates about the future of the WSF by putting decolonisation on the agenda, and coming up with proposals - and perhaps actions - for shifting the balance of power. While the WSF has enabled an unprecedented diversity of movements to come together and learn from one another, and to a significant extent succeeded in giving voice to marginalised groups, it also suffers from its own hierarchies and exclusions which reflect the colonial, capitalist and patriarchal power relations that structure the world as a whole. The aim of this workshop is to bring together participants who in various ways are involved in producing and/or disseminating knowledge about the WSF and the world of movement – including researchers, organisers, educators, communicators, publishers, ordinary movement members, and members of official WSF bodies – for a critical discussion of knowledge and power, and to consider how we can construct more sustainable, inclusive, and reflexive processes of knowledge production that can contribute to decolonising the WSF.

The workshop will be participatory and organised in two parts :

The first session will critically interrogate the formations of power that currently structure the production of knowledges within and about the WSF, asking whose knowledges ‘count’ and whose knowledges are marginalised. Participants will critically and self-reflexively discuss how different knowledge producers are positioned – in relation to popular movements and within geopolitical hierarchies –, how they produce knowledge from these positions, and the consequences this has for knowledge production. This will involve, among others, exploring the meaning of categories such as ‘activists’ and the relationship between ‘academic’ and ‘other’ knowledges.

The second session will look more specifically at the production and dissemination of knowledges within and about the WSF, and the value of such knowledges for those about whom or in whose name/s such knowledges are often produced, considering the possibilities for as well as obstacles to co-production and sharing of knowledges. Participants will examine the political economy of knowledge production and -publication, including the role of academia and the knowledge industry, and discuss possibilities for inclusive and collaborative forms of knowledge production – of which communities and movements can become the primary beneficiaries – offered by practices of shared communication, popular education and open publishing.


Back in Africa, Forward to Another World: World Social Forum 2011 in Dakar

The International Council (IC) of the World Social Forum (WSF) decided on 8 May 2009, in Rabat that the next WSF shall be organized in Dakar in 2011. The Senegalese capital was presented as a consensual proposal of the Council of the African Social Forum, after months of intense deliberation. Read More


Just published Jai Sen, May 2009 - On open space : Explorations towards a vocabulary of a more open politics ...Arguing that open space, horizontality, and networking are now emerging as a general tendency in the organisation of human social relations, and that the WSF is a major historical experiment in this idea, the paper seeks to open up the concept towards a more critical discussion and understanding of it, in relation to the times we live in... Download Here (external link)..


In Depth

Radicalise the alternatives Josep María Antentas, January 2009

WSF 2009: A generation's challenge Geoffrey Pleyers, January 29 2009

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Minga en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y los Pueblos

(Minga in Defence of Mother Earth and her Peoples)

(and where ‘Minga’ means communitarian, collective, joint, and solidarious work or action)


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WSF Updates



Just Published

The Intercontinental Youth Camp 2001-2005 : Linking Open Space Activism, the World Social Forum, and Imaginaries for Alternative Worlds Download
Daniel H.O. Morrison
The Intercontinental Youth Camp (IYC) has opened distinctive spaces of experience to link activist networks, the World Social Forum (WSF), and alternative imaginaries. It originated in reaction to the inaugural WSF in Porto Alegre, Brazil, although both initiatives emerged in 2001 in broader struggles to challenge neoliberal globalization. Some 80,000 campers from diverse backgrounds and mostly under 30 lived in the five Camps, which lasted from six to ten days. Four took place in Porto Alegre and the other (in 2004) in Mumbai, India. The IYC's central imaginary of horizontal self-management was largely shaped by Camp organizers and key volunteering onsite; the WSF and local political conditions were also crucial. While the Camps exhibited contradictions – such as those arising from hierarchical leadership and many participants more interested in apolitical partying than in social change – they cultivated exciting possibilities for an emerging new political generation of human agents.
 (external link)
Policing Dissent: Social Control and the Anti-Globalization Movement

Author: Luis A. Fernandez

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY PRESS, March 2008
A firsthand account of the changing nature of control efforts employed by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies when confronted with mass activism. Based on ethnographic research, and using an incisive, cutting-edge theoretical framework Fernandez maps the use of legal, physical, and psychological approaches. This book does not merely seek to explain the causal relationship between repression and mobilization. Rather, it shows how social control strategies act on the mind and body of protesters. Read More
A bibliography on the policing and repression of anti-globalisation protests and movements drawing on a variety of sources - academic, media, movement and security forces. Tomás Mac Sheoin, First draft, March 21 2008 Download

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