World Social Forum 2004, Mumbai, 16 – 21 January, 2004
Twin blasts in crowded and strategic places in Mumbai on 25 August 2003 send shock waves across the country. The India Organizing Committee (IOC) that met after the blasts in Mumbai city took stock of the situation and was unanimous in their resolve to take the WSF 2004 process ahead. The IOC stated that such events would never deter them as they rely upon the resilience of Mumbai city and the spirited support of its citizens.
India Organizing Committee meeting at Chandigarh
The IOC meeting was held at Chandigarh on 22 August 2003. The committee has resolved to organize eight main conferences on the themes: Gender and Patriarchy; Exclusions, Discrimination, and Oppression: Racism and Cateisim; Labour and the World of Work; Sustainable Development: Land, Water and Food Sovereignty; Militarism, War and Peace; Religious, Ethnic and Linguistic Exclusion and Oppression; Globalisation, Economic and Social Security; and, Media, Culture and Knowledge. There would be now four self-organized conferences. The IOC short-listed 43 speakers from the 91 member list prepared by the Programme Group that met in Delhi prior to IOC meeting. The short-listed names include Asma Jehangir, Aung Sung Su Kyi, Chandra Muzzaffar, Edward Said, Gigi Fernandez, Hannan Asharafi, Istan Meszaros, Jose Bove, Lui Fernandez, Michael Moore, Noam Chomski, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, Pat Mooney, Regoberto Menchu, Samir Amin, Susan George, Susan Sarandon and Toni Morrison.
Mobilization Group meeting
The Mobilization Group meeting was held in Delhi on 20th August 2003. It was reported that the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in its Bhopal session have resolved that it would participate in WSF 2004 but would not join the India Organizing Committee.
As the state level processes are very important to WSF2004, there would be a greater initiative to invigorate the state process. The state level process has to be inclusive to include all groups, movements, ideologies, streams of thought etc. The groups and movements in Gujarat are planning to have a Gujarat Social Forum in the first week of September. The Tamil Nadu process is going ahead with thirty district level campaigns and events that would culminate in the Tamil Nadu Social Forum in December 2003. A meeting of the Jharkhand groups was held after the WSF IOC-IWC meetings on 20th July 2003. The Bihar process has started with a meeting on 17 August 2003 and a wider meeting on 16 September 2003 is expected to heighten the pace. The trade unions (TUs) in India will organize a national meeting in Mumbai to ensure greater participation of the working class in WSF2004. The central TUs have resolved to participate in WSF2004. The Dalit sector meeting on 2nd and 3rd of August 2003 in Hyderabad has formed a group of five people to formulate the credo of Dalit Participation in the WSF2004 process. The Dalit sector group will help the IOC in identifying the speakers for the main conference on Caste and Race. A common panel with Adivasis and women will be organized to discuss common issues and agendas. The dalit sector would initiate separate state processes and would be in coordination with the general state processes. Four dalit rallies lasting 30 to 45 days will be originating from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and would merge together in Mumbai prior to WSF2004. A pre-WSF2004 gathering of Global People’s Health Movement titled People’s Health Assembly would be held in Mumbai on 14th and 15th of January 2004. The preparatory meeting for the same will be held on 23rd and 24th of October 2003 in Teheran.
World Social Forum 2004, Mumbai, 16 – 21 January, 2004
WSF – All India Women’s Meeting
The first WSF – All India Women’s meeting took place in New Delhi on 21st August 2003. Thirty-five organizations had been represented in this meet. The theme of the WSF conference on Gender and Patriarchy emerged as: War against Women: Women against Wars. The suggested speakers identified for this conference are: Nawal el Sadawi, Asma Jahangir, Hannan Asharafi, Amina Mama and the suggested chairperson is Arundhati Roy. The suggested women speakers for the opening and closing ceremonies of WSF2004 are Hannan Asharafi (Palastine), Zilla Eisenstien (USA), Dita Sari (Indonasia) and Mahasweta Devi (India). It was decided to request WSF to give women an additional slot for panel discussion on Women and Globalization. The five foci of this proposed panel would be Women and Work; Women and Violence; Women and Social Sector; Women and Religious Fundamentalisms; and, Women, Media and Culture. The suggested speakers for this panel are: Lourdes Valeria, Gita Sen, Dita Sari, Jyothi Raj, Sunila Abeyasekere, Radhika Kumaraswamy, Fatima Castello, Jayathi Gosh, Sonia Correa, Lilian Corbeti, Nawal el Sadawi, Fatima Mernissi, Julia Kristeva, Rosi Braidotti, and Naomi Wolf. A cultural exhibition on women’s issues would begin from Usulampeti in Tamil Nadu and reach Mumbai prior to WSF2004.
The Open Space Seminar Series at University of Delhi
A seminar series on the theme: Are Other Worlds Possible? Cultures of Politics and the World Social Forum is being organized in New Delhi at the University of Delhi. It is being organized in two inter-weaving streams, one, Exploring the Forum and its Politics and the other Confronting Empires: The World Social Forum. The series would envisage to understand and evaluate the evolving culture of politics that the Forum offer: the question of old versus new politics; the increasingly contested question of Forum as a space or as a
movement, its understanding of violence and the challenges before the Forum.
Asian Solidarity Group Meeting
The Asian Solidarity Group (ASG) meeting would be held in Chennai, India on 24th and 25th of September 2003. This consultation would consider the proposals put forward by the Programme Group and India Organizing Committee and give its suggestions. The ASG would suggest changes and improvements on topics of conferences and panels and deliberate on translation facilities for the Asian languages.
· The Open Space Seminar Series will be held at University of Delhi on 09 September 2003. The theme of this session would be: The WSF and Old versus New Politics: Political Parties, Social Movements and Civil Groups
· Programme Group meeting will be held in Delhi on 19th and 20th of September 2003 at B. T. Ranadive Bhavan.
· A Trade Union sector meeting will be held on 20th and 21st September 2003 in New Delhi.
· Asian Solidarity Group will meet on 24th and 25th of September in Chennai. India Working Committee and India Organizing Committee will meet on 26th September 2003.
· India Governing Council will meet on 27th September 2003 in Chennai.