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Choose an example of an anti-globalisation social movement and examine its nature, rationale and effectiveness.
DISCUSSION ON THE NATURE, RATIONALE AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ANTI- GLOBALIZATION SOCIAL MOVEMENT, WORLD SOCIAL FORUM Anti-globalization social movements have played a role in informing the world and possibly even affecting global policy. One of the most famous examples of an anti-globalization social movement is the World Social Forum (WSF) (also known as the Porto Elegre Forum), launched at the Alternative Social Summit in Geneva, 2000. The first annual meeting of the WSF was held in 2001, at Porto Elegre, Brazil. Since then, the forum has changed dramatically in size, organization and format, and has become a large forum spread over several countries, focusing on representing countries of low economic development, often referred to as 'south' countries. Firstly, for the purposes of this report, the term 'anti-globalization' must be altered. This term is now considered to be a term of propaganda, used to slander the very organizations that it describes. In this day and age, most organizations opposed to neoliberalism consider themselves to be 'alter-globalization', as it is generally accepted that globalization can be a positive thing if accompanied by proper controls and boundaries. The irony of the term is that without globalization it would be impossible for a large, international organization such as the WSF to exist. In an interview by Sniježana Matejčić (June 2005), Noam Chomsky is reported to have said the following: The dominant propaganda systems have appropriated the term "globalization" to refer to the specific version of international economic integration that they favor, which privileges the rights of investors and lenders, those of people being incidental. In accord with this usage, those who favor a different form of international integration, which privileges the rights of human beings, become "anti-globalist." This is simply vulgar propaganda, like the term "anti-Soviet" used by the most disgusting commissars to refer to dissidents. It is not only vulgar, but idiotic. Take the World Social Forum, called "anti-globalization" in the propaganda system -- which happens to include the media, the educated classes, etc., with rare exceptions. The WSF is a paradigm example of globalization. It is a gathering of huge numbers of people from all over the world, 1
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DISCUSSION ON THE NATURE, RATIONALE AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ANTI- GLOBALIZATION SOCIAL MOVEMENT, WORLD SOCIAL FORUM from just about every corner of life one can think of, apart from the extremely narrow highly privileged elites who meet at the competing World Economic Forum, and are called "pro-globalization" by the propaganda system. An observer watching this farce from Mars would collapse in hysterical laughter at the antics of the educated classes. According to The Forum Social Mundial (2002), the nature of the WSF is to be an open forum for the discussion of ideas opposed to neoliberal globalization in the global economy, and to build alternatives supporting human development. Essentially, the forum is a place for different organizations to meet and communicate their ideas with other organizations who may or may not be like-minded, but share a common goal: opposing corporate globalization. No one person or organization can claim to speak on behalf of the WSF, and the WSF itself will not take direct action. Rather it enables free communication of information, research and ideas, hopefully putting forward proposals which may result in action taken by member organizations in alliance with, or on behalf of, each other. Therefore, in it's essence as a forum and nothing more, the WSF doesn't have any specific goals. However, one could assume that a goal of such an organization would be to grow in size and diversity, and to increase the reach and spectrum of the shared ideas (i.e through global media present at the meeting). Regarding the rationale and effectiveness of the WSF, it is extremely difficult to measure the exchange of ideas, or discover exactly what the result of such an exchange is. Although there are organizations and websites such as which claim to report on issues reflecting the goals of the WSF as well as the forums results, it is impossible to attribute any results to the WSF itself, especially considering that it is against the forums charter for any person or group to speak or act on behalf of the entire forum. There are, however, other ways that we can examine the achievements of the forum. First of all, consider the attendance rate. According to Geoffery Pleyers, the number of participating attendees at the WSF grew from 15,000 to 170,000 from 2001 to 2005 (open democracy, June 2009). This means that in just four years, the forum had grown to more than eleven times it's original attendance. This 2
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