World Social Forum in Brazil

January 31, 2005

From January 26-31, the fifth "World Social Forum" was held in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Under the theme of "Another World is Possible," people from 140 countries participated in thousands of conferences, workshops, rallies and marches opposing neo-liberalism and the economic dictates of U.S. and European monopolies.

In numerous meetings, trade union activists, members of peasant organizations, environmental groups, etc., discussed opposition to the debt imposed on the developing countries, environmental and human rights issues and many other concerns. Participants this year also called for the total forgiveness of foreign debt owed by the 11 countries hit by the recent earthquake and tsunami that killed so many people.

This year's World Social Forum again emphasized not only opposition to capitalist globalization, but also the urgent need to take action against the U.S. war on terrorism and the occupation of Iraq. Over 200,000 people participated in the January 26 rally to mark the beginning of forum. Another massive march, with tens of thousands of anti-imperialist demonstrators, was held on January 31st to conclude the rally.

For the past five years, this forum has been held as an alternative to the World Economic Forum, an annual summit of capitalist political and business leaders meeting at the Swiss alpine resort of Davos.

After the first World Social Forum, organizers drafted a "Charter of Principles," which states, in part, "The World Social Forum is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and interlinking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism."