geert lovink on 28 Feb 2001 04:26:53 -0000

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<nettime> a different take on porto alegre

Febr. 21, 2001: Diario Las Américas, Miami, FL


CubDest Information Service, from Porto Alegre, Brazil

The so called World Social Forum (WSF) that took place from January 25 -
30 in the city of Porto Alegre, in the southern region of Brazil, near the
border with Argentina and Uruguay, was announced as an alternative from the
moderate left capable of presenting solutions that would be "concrete and
viable" for the world's problems. However, the WSF could not hide its true
face and its revolutionary claws, with the protagonist role from the delegation
from communist Cuba, from the Colombian narco-guerrillas from the FARC, from
the "liberation theologians" from several countries, from the Communist Party
of Brazil and from the Movement Sin-Tierra (MST), also from Brazil, which
has been eulogized by Fidel Castro as a new model of social unrest.
In the inaugural session, which took place in the Convention Center of the
Pontifical Catholic University of Porto Alegre, the Frenchman Bernard Cassen,
director of Le Monde Diplomatique and one of the promoters of the WSF, 
proclaimed the motto of the encounter before 16,000 participants and members 
of the delegations coming from 122 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe: "We are
gathered here to show that a different world is possible."
A while after, when a prolonged ovation was given to the delegation from
communist Cuba, headed by Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Assembly of the
Popular Power, and an euphoric theater began chanting slogans in favor of
the Zapatist guerrillas from Mexico, and from the Colombian FARC narco-
guerrillas, was made evident which was that "different world" desired by a 
good portion of the participants.
After the opening session, the participants made a demonstration through the 
center of the city waving flags with the hammer and sickle ,showing pictures
of Lenin and shouting slogans in favor of communist Cuba, of the Colombian
guerrillas, etc. The demonstration included the presence of the governor
of Río Grande del Sur and the mayor of Porto Alegre, both from the leftist
Party of the Workers, and with internationally known people like Danielle
Mitterrand and the French agitator-farmer José Bové.
During the days of the encounter -which was financed by the Ford Foundation
(United States), Novib (Holland) and Heinrich Böll (Germany) - there were
more than 400 conferences and workshops relating to the most various political,
social and ecological themes. One cannot affirm that all those reunions had
a subversive orientation. But what became very clear was that the most dynamic
and better attended , which gave the tone of the event, were those of
revolutionary contents, in which strategies were delineated of "armed 
resistance" in Latin America. A Colombian guerrilla named Javier Cifuentes, 
advocated to fight for "the construction of the only regime reserved to carry 
happiness to the human species, which is socialism" and he affirmed that 
"FARC is completely sure that the 21st Century is the Century of socialism, 
is the Century of Latin America."
On various conferences the exhibitors manifested contempt for the so-called
"3rd way" sociodemocrat. "We do not admit the humanization of capitalism,
but we favor its annihilation by socialism," affirmed the economist Jorge
Benstein, from the University of Buenos Aires(UBA), who announced the 
"apparition of popular unrests in Latin America." A director of the Central 
Unica de Trabajadores(CUT), from Brazil, made a call to articulate "actions of
simultaneous resistance in various continents," such as strikes and street 
protests, already this year.
A Belgian priest Francois Houtart, an important proponent of the liberation
theology, who during many years advised dictator Castro and continues to
be a frequent visitor to Cuba, affirmed that before the actual systems based
on private property the only way out is "to fight for its radical destruction."
The repeated ovations to the members from the communist Cuba delegation were
judged by José Barrionuevo, a well known reporter from Porto Alegre, as "the
mayor contradiction of the World Social Forum" because it refers to "ovations
to oppressors" of the Cuban people. But that contradiction apparently did
not have any effect on its participants. Francisco Whitaker, one of the WSF
organizers and director of the Brazilian Commission for Justice and Peace
from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops from Brazil, while he was
waiting for the  arrival of  the chief of the Cuban delegation, Ricardo 
Alarcón, said: "The rationale for that support is very simple: because Cuba 
is a symbol."
The Colombian priest Oliverio Medina, who is active in the FARC guerrillas,
added that "Communist Cuba is the proof that capitalism is not the panacea
for humanity, while socialism is. Cuba is like a sister which shines with
her own light. I say this because I lived there." Meanwhile the Italian 
Riccardo Petrella, professor from the Catholic University of Lovaina, Belgium,
interpreted the ovations given to the Cuban delegation as "an homage to the 
myth it represents, even though the reality of Cuba is not entirely in 
agreement with the myth. People need myths. If the myths of Cuba and the Che 
are destroyed, what do we have?"
Simultaneously, the 1st World Parliamentarian Forum took place, with the
assistance of 400 legislators from the left from 30 countries, and who 
announced the founding of an "international network" to assure that the leftist
proposals coming from the WSF have "a truthful legislative interpretation."
What came out clear in Porto Alegre was the presence of an enormous laboratory
for world subversion; "a planetary archipelago of resistance," as it is defined
in an official document of the WSF. No wonder the main trade unions and
political parties that played a relevant place in this Forum, including the 
guerrillas from FARC, and communist Cuba, taking part also on the Forum of São
This was created on July 1990 in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, by petition
from the dictator of Cuba, Fidel Castro, worried by the dismantling of the
soviet empire and seeing the need of jointing the leftist revolutions in
the Americas(cfr.Ariel Remos, "Foro de São Paulo y toma del poder en América
Latina,"DIARIO LAS AMERICAS, Miami, Sept. 14, 2000). The World Social Forum
(WSF) and the Forum of São Paulo (FSP), are two faces of the same revolutionary
coin, of an international pro-communist that is getting more active, with
extensive "support networks" from all over the world.
Ignacio Ramonet, editor from the Le Monde Diplomatique, announced that "the
new Century begins in Porto Alegre." If this bad prediction would become a
reality, the 21st Century would be noticeably revolutionary. Whoever has
eyes to see let him see and take action, contributing to denounce this
anti-christian jointing.

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