world social forum: 2005 – cwi members campaign for socialism in Porte Allegre

Over 70 members and sympathisers of the committee for a workers’ international will be making sure that the ideas of socialism are brought to the tens of thousands who will attend the meetings and demonstrations of the World Social Forum (WSF), from 26 – 31 January, in Porte Allegre.


cwi members campaign for socialism in Porte Allegre

Many of the CWI members are from its affiliated Brazilian organisation, Socialismo Revolucionario, and there are also CWI members from eight other countries (including the Socialist Party MP from Ireland, Joe Higgins), who have travelled from Europe, the US, and other parts of Latin America, to take part.

Thirty thousand copies of a leaflet (in Portuguese, Spanish, and English) entitled, "Down with global capitalism – Fight for revolutionary socialism" have been produced for distribution at the WSF, outlining a socialist alternative for the anti-capitalist movement. An all-Latin American newspaper has also been produced, covering the many important developments in the region in more detail. A Portuguese translation of the book, ‘A socialist world is possible’, by Peter Taaffe, has also been printed for the event.

Widespread radicalisation across the Latin American continent, over the last couple of years, will, undoubtedly, have an effect on the political character of this World Social Forum. And CWI members are clear that this will mean a greater interest in socialist and revolutionary ideas.

Tens of thousands will undoubtedly attend the meeting to be addressed by Hugo Chavez, the populist President of Venezuela, who will be speaking on Sunday 30 January. Many in Latin America have read about his nationalisation of the bankrupt paper firm, Venepal, and his threat to speed up land reform. Amongst the most radical sections at the WSF there will be a hope that these actions by Chavez will be the start of a mass movement to overthrow venal and corrupt capitalism in Venezuela, with whom Chavez has co-existed since he was first elected to power.

The last WSF in Porte Allegre, two years ago, followed soon after the election of President Lula. There were many illusions at that Forum that Lula and the PT (Workers’ Party) government would bring about significant change in the lives of the mass of working people in Brazil. Instead, Lula has proceeded to make vicious attacks against living standards. Activists who have seen the reality of a PT government feel hugely betrayed and angry, and are looking for an alternative.

Many of them are enraged that in the same week Lula took delivery of a 30 million pound Presidential plane, made by Airbus, he announced that he would speak, alongside NGOs, at the first full day of the WSF to launch a campaign against gobal poverty. Undoubtedly, Lula, along with right-wing reformist leaders of the WSF, will attempt to cut across the search for radical solutions at the Forum, through their support for "capitalism with a human face".

But neo-liberal policies have brought devastation across Latin America. In response, workers and the urban poor have struggled in their millions. In Brazil, the formation of the Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL), last year, arose from Lula’s neo-liberal attacks and the search by many activists for a socialist alternative. PSOL will hold its second national meeting at the WSF. CWI members will participate in this important meeting, alongside many others, explaining our case for the overthrow of capitalism and imperialism, and their replacement with a socialist society, based on a democratically, planned economy.

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January 2005