It’s a meeting held every January (coinciding with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland) of members of the so-called anti-globalization movement, which encourages its participants to coordinate campaigns, to share and improve organization strategies and to report on different worldwide movements. It holds as many supporters as detractors.
International economic and political leaders gather annually in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the most pressing problems of the world: this is how the main participants of the World Economic Forum define the event.
However, the organizations and personalities most critical of world trade, governments and multinationals, haven’t felt represented in Davos.
The World Social Forum was born as protest of the elitism and cronyism of the World Economic Forum. The first conference was held from January 25 to 30, 2001 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, organized by the French Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens (ATTAC) and the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT).
Since 2001, every January (coinciding intentionally with the World Economic Forum) a World Social Forum is convened: in Porto Alegre, besides that of 2001, hosted the meetings of 2002, 2003 and 2005; in Mumbai, India, in 2004; that of 2006 took place simultaneously in Caracas (Venezuela), Karachi (Pakistan) and Bamako (Mali). Nairobi, Kenya, was the site of the seventh forum, celebrated the 20th to 25th of January, 2007.
The World Social Forum, according to its organizers
The organizers of the event define it as “an open meeting place where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism. (..) The World Social Forum is also characterized by plurality and diversity, is non-confessional, non-governmental and non-party. (…) The World Social Forum is not a group nor an organization.”