Other key issues of the Forum were: land grabbing, climate justice, water and the dangers of geo engineering. There were also several caravanes to Dakar, protesting against the migration policy of the EU. We talked to Wangui Mbatia from the People’s Parliament, Nairobi, and Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria, about the importance of the Forum for social movements.
David Goeßmann: Apart from the uprisings in North Africa, key issues were the climate and food crises as well as migration politics. Especially west african initiatves were protesting against the politics of the EU ecternal borders agency FRONTEX and against deportations. With several caravanes from different African states they came in busses and cars to Dakar.
Caravane spokesperson: There were caravanes from Mauretania, from Niger, Mali, Marokko, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Ivory coast, from Nigeria, Benin, Togo und Camerun. And from Guinea. And from West-Sahara.
David Goeßmann: On their way, the activists held meetings in villages and communities. One of the issues was the food crisis.
Fabian Scheidler: This crisis is exacerbated by what has become known as „land grabbing“: the buying up of large agricultural areas in Latin America, Asia and particularly Africa by states, corporations, banks and funds. One of the pulling factors of land grabbing is the production of energy crops. The political support for agrofuels with compulsory blending as with the E-10 fuel in the EU and similar quotas in the US has contributed to a run on farm land worldwide. During the last years more than 22 million hectares – the equivalent of one quater of the agrictural aera of Europe – have been bought up by investors. Also German companies as „FloraEco Power“ and the „Deutsche Bank Group“ are involved. Agrobussiness schemes are driving peasants from their land or harm their rights to the land. This is an extract from the final declaration on land grabbing at the World Social Forum:
Fatimatou Djibou: We appeal to parliaments and governments to stop the massive land grab wich is taking place now and which is coming up in the future, and to rstore all stolen land.
Fabian Scheidler: Our next broadcast dedicated to Africa will have land grabing as a key issue.
David Goeßmann: In the run-up to the next UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa, in december, the climate crisis was one of the main focusses in Dakar. A key demand in this discussion is climate justice. The industrialized countries are called on to pay their „climate depts“ to the global south which is hit hardest by climate change.
Nicola Bullard: The first part of the climate dept is what we might call the historical emissions of the industrialized countries. They have used up much more than their fair share of the global commons, the atmospheric commons. So part of the dept that they need to repay is actually sort of to reduce emissions. They have to repay their atmospheric dept by radically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Climate dept - you can't quantify it in terms of Dollars or Euros. It's acutally a moral dept, it's a dept that needs complete changes in global economic regulation, the global trading system. And which requires the North to make significant changes in the way they both act in the global system but also their own realities domestically.
Nimmo Bassey: At this forum people are already meeting on climate justice platforms to prepare for Durban. You know how to see how to turn that thing inside out. The South African Cop should be really a people's Cop. Let it be on the outside, not just inside the air condition rooms.
David Goeßmann: Water was also one important subject at the Forum. In a call for an Alternative Forum on Water a change in water policies was demanded. Quote: „The right to water and the worldwide access to water have to be implemented effectively.“ For march 2012 the Alternative Forum on Water is planned in Marseille, France, in order to push for a democratic, socially and ecologically just water policy. Movements, trade unions, NGOs, local politicians and citiziens are invited to participate. With regard to the climate and food crises, the dangers of technocratic proposals for mitigation like geo engineering and nano technology were discussed – also looking ahead to the forthcoming earth summit Rio +20 which is going to take place in Brazil in 2012.
Fabian Scheidler: With regard to the climate and food crises, the dangers of technocratic proposals for mitigation like geo engineering and nano technology were discussed – also looking ahead to the forthcoming earth summit Rio +20 which is going to take place in Brazil in 2012.
Pat Mooney: When we first came to World Social Forum and talked about nano technology it went from being a none issue for everybody in civil society to suddenly becoming an issue that many partners wanted to talk about, many social movements, many trade unions picked up and said: "Yes we are concerned about this." The same is true with geo engeneering now. We find talking about this here at this Forum for the first time friends in Africa, Latin America, Asia, America as well as in Europe are saying: "Hey, this is important. We want to be involved in this."
Fabian Scheidler: An exclusive interview with Pat Mooney, winner of the „Right Livelihood Award“, on the dangers of nano technology, geo engineering and synthetic biology will be published soon on www.kontext-tv.de
David Goeßmann: The World Social Forum is for many politically active people around the world a place of networking and inspiration. We asked two renowned activists, Wangui Mbatia from Kenia and Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria, what the Forum means to them.
Wangui Mbatia: For one, the World Social Forum has created a space where alternative thinking is acceptable. It is a space where alternative solutions that we have been discussing for very long and that have not really found their way to the mainstream, there’s a space where you can discuss it and that’s very important. The World Social Forum is also an important space for convergence, it brings people from different parts of the world together and I think that is extremely important because all too often the world is separated into Europe, into North America, into Africa, and in Africa then they say Northern Africa, the Arab side, then there is West Africa and the Sub-Saharan Africa, so there are too many divisions around the world and I think what the World Social Forum does is to try to reduce those. If you come to the World Social Forum, the interesting thing is that you’ll find a lot of discussions about different things, but you also get a different kind of feeling from the World Social Forum. The World Social Forum is a space where people who are personnally and directly involved in certain causes get an opportunity to be heard, to exchange with each other. It is not about a scholar, studying a certain economic crisis in Tunisia tcoming to give a talk, it is about a Tunisian who lives in Tunisia and who understands the economic crisis, coming to talk to some Iranian who is also is talking to a Brazilian and talking to a German in the same space. That is the World Social Forum, it’s valuable for that.
Nnimmo Bassey: I think of the World Social Forum as a great space for mobilizing social movements and for people to exchange ideas and just to get to know themselves face to face. And because it is also highly decentralized, the forums in various countries and regions are forcing people in regions and countries to mobilize and act together. And when we come together in a global forum like the one in Dakar here, one will ? and built more linkages. For me, this is the greatest achievement of the forum and this is the part for the future, because the future would not be good to …competition, competition will drive the world underground, we gotta build on solidarity. And the Social Forum shows to the world clearly that things can be done in cooperation and that people from around the world can come together and agree and move forward.
Wangui Mbatia: It allows you, when you come from social movements; it gives you a moment to get a certain sense of validation. You actually come to the World Social Forum and you actually find you’re not crazy and the others are even more crazy if (than?) you are. So there’s a certain sense of validation, but it is also for me, the time when I have come to the WSF, and this is my second one, you get a sense of energy. You do come and pick up a lot of things people are doing and you do realize: ‘Wait a minute; there are a lot of people doing a lot of things’, so you not only get validation, you get a certain sense of reenergization, you get more refreshed. And most importantly, you’re able to learn. For me, the World Social Forum, because it brings so many people from so many different places in one place, is an excellent opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences. And because most of the discussions that are found at the World Social Forum are not mainstream, they’re not discussions you will find in the mainstream media, it makes it even more important to have a space where we can have a discussion between the Dalit, who are the untouchable of India and the illegal immigrants in Europe who are in some way also untouchable in Europe – their circumstances are just about the same, the kinds of jobs that the Dalits are forced to do are not so different to the kinds of jobs that illegal immigrants in Europe are doing. And to find that kind of space where you have a discussion about that and all of it surrounded by a certain sense of value in human beings – that’s another thing I enjoy.
Nnimmo Bassey: I see the social forum also as a space to further arrangements and mobilizations for particular campaigns that people have to face in different regions. So you can share ideas and go back and know how to do things when you go back home. And when this all add up, the aggregate is that things will change. When we say "Another world is possible" is really not just a slogan, it is actually a roadmap. We want to create a new world, we want to resist destructive developments and actions, we want to resist on undemocratic governance, we want to mobilize to act like we see it happening where people are just packing up and take a life on their own somewhere, in Tunesia, in Egypt, Jemen, in Jordan and who knows where else it’s going to happen. We hope that the desert will not be a puffer to stop the revolution spreading southward. You know in Africa what we really need is someone down here.
Wangui Mbatia: So the fact that it challenges a system, you can have a discussion about the failure of capitalism, you can have a discussion about alternatives, about working alternatives that really get away from that model that capitalism is bad, but it’s the best alternative. The fact that you have people who have alternatives that are different and that there is a space to share them, that’s the value of the World Social Forum, I think.