World Social Forum: listening and discussing on responsibilities
January 2005, Porto Alegre, Brazil – participation of a team of partners of the Charter of Human Responsibilities
A group of members of the Charter regional Committees along with partners were in Porto Alegre, Brazil, at the 2005 Word Social Forum. We were there to listen, participate to workshops and for some to facilitate them, to discuss on the Charter of Human Responsibilities and diffuse it. The workshops have been an opportunity to introduce the ongoing process of the Charter, to allow a debate on the notion of responsibility, on the Charter, and to make contacts.
The event was inaugurated with a long march in the streets of Porto Alegre, gathering a peaceful and joyful crowd of people, who were expressing both the whole problems of the world and addressing some proposals, mostly claiming for more justice and less poverty. The Charter team was holding up huge panels in the hands (thanks to Isis de Palma, coordinator of the Brazilian Charter Committee!) with the different principles of the Charter written on them, in Brazilian and English. These many messages in the street drew the attention of the individuals, and were good pretexts to start discussing with the people around. And from there started, during the long march in the streets, discussions, exchanges of views, new contacts...
The Charter regional partners and coordinators facilitated workshops on many topics related to the 11 main topics (‘terrains’) of the Forum. Among them: Common goods - Responsible governance and Indigenous responsibilities (Betsan Martin, New Zealand); Re-enchanting the world - Artists and human responsibility + Street conversations (Hamilton Faria, Isis de Palma, Brazil); Ethics, spirituality and human responsibilities, Culture and human Responsibilities (Carlos Liberona, Chile); Responsibilities of the journalists and the media (Manola Gardez and Nathalie Dole, France); Women social development activists, motherhood and human responsibilities (Pinky Cupino, Philippines); Empowerment of grassroots women and human values (Pinky Cupino and Sudha Reddy, India); Creating & implementing national strategy plans for full sustainability (Rob Wheeler, USA); Network for a new social, ecological and of Human Rights Pact (Carlos Liberona, Chile); Citizens Alliance for a Charter of Human Responsibilities (Edith Sizoo, Netherlands-France); Non violent action and strategies for social change; Charter for Human Responsibilities - village and popular views (John Stewart, Zimbabwe); Can religions be democratized? (Siddhartha, India); The left and the struggles for reform and the liberation in Lebanon and the Arab world (Ziad Majed, Lebanon); Innovations and challenges for a local democratic Governance (Polis, Brazil); Zimbabwe’s crisis – Homegrown, imposed, allowed? - what determination, what processes, what solutions?, Non violence as intervention, non violence as action (John Stewart, Zimbabwe); The Army and the civil society (FPH and Ecole de la Paix - School of Peace, France)
The participants also contributed to the ‘WSF live memory’, being invited to write files of proposals after the workshops, useful both to keep a memory of this event and to facilitate the follow-up and links between complementary activities (see live-memory WSF web).
In short, this kind of events confirms concretely that a citizen alliance is indeed under construction.