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13 April

Which force is the truth-force?

[World Social Forum] 

I agree with the proposal of Tord Björk, Luciana Castellina , Ramon Duran, Susan George and Thomas Wallgren - to choose 9/11 as our worldwide Day of Action.

However, in the present context of the WSF, the Day of Action is generally thought to be organised instead of the WSF event itself, and therefore preferably at the time when the WSF has previously been arranged, which means January 2008. So I think we need to have it then.

But why could not the WSF also decide to have 9/11 as a Day of Action?

I must admit that my very first, spontaneous reaction was negative, because 9/11 is to such an owerwhelming extent a negative date. But then, at closer sight, we find also that positive link to Gandhi and non-violence, which we can celebrate and be inspired of.

Permit me to add a few more words about 9/11 2001. Some, like Alexander Cockburn in "Le monde diplomatique", and Georges Monbiot in "The Guardian" seem to ask us to forget about digging into the inconsistencies of the official story about that past event in order to concentrate more intensely on the crimes that are being committed now. They have not convinced me. I do not pretend to know precisely what happened at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon on that day, but I continue to be vexed by what has been said, and not said, about it.

But here, again, it is good to remember the birth of the Gandhian "movement of non-violent resistence and truth-force -- on 9/11 1906"!

What force is the truth-force? Is it power? And what power is that, if not the power of information and of communication?

At a certain point the New York Times ranked us as "The Second Superpower". But we were not what we were called. We were no more than a gesture, and so was that epithet. It was an empty word.

The WSF must become a strong and powerful "movement of non-violent resistence and truth-force", as was the Gandhian movement. The "form that the Forum was given" (Chico Whitaker) is the right one. Global democracy can grow out of it. But more than an open space (even if the forum would be much broader than it is) is needed to make the democracy possible. It cannot live for long without institutions and a constitution.

One of the pre-existing institutions, which history has created for the sake of the coming global democracy, is: The Library. Thus it was an event of some importance when the then chair of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) participated in the WSF in Mumbai 2004. But it went almost unnoticed in the circles of the WSF. Again, in Nairobi, when about 70 East African librarians participated in the WSF in order to collect information about it and contribute to its own Memory Project, the International Council of the WSF paid no particular attention.

This situation has to be changed. The International Council of the WSF must recognise the need to achieve permanent links between the social forum and the libraries and librarians of the world. Therefore, I would like the representative of the Network Institute for Global Democratization (NIGD) to take up this subject at the next meeting of the IC in Berlin, and to explain, that the Memory Project and the Communication Plan must be extended to the Library.

The Memory Project of the WSF is not worth its name, if it does not extend the WSF to the libraries. What are we going to do with the memory of the Memory Project (the memory of the civil society!), and how shall we transmit it, if not via the institution of society which exists for precisely this purpose? - The Library, obviously, also should have a place in the Communication Plan of the Forum.

Individual librarians, mostly, are in favor of the social forum. However, as a group, the librarians, like engineers, economists, doctors, lawyers, journalists, scientists and other professional, intellectually highly educated groups, tend to be loyal, in the first place, to their national governments. But that loyalty, hopefully, shall fade away, and the professionals in the various countries shall become more loyal to the common causes of humanity than to the leaders of their nations. Are we not talking about a new political world-system? Global democracy? (All the professionals are needed to build it.)

The internet, too, is part of the library, and henceforward of prime importance for the construction of political power in so far as power consists of "truth-force". Let's build the public library system of the world together with the librarians, in the libraries and in that new extension of libraries, the internet. Both the librarians and the social activists need to be pushed in the right direction, though. The NIGD might have a positive role to play in this regard.

As a short-term goal, let's try to get the IFLA and the library associations on board. - The East African library Associations of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda already activated themselves towards the WSF in Nairobi! (http://www.wsflibrary.org/)

The WSF-IC should be able to send out clear signals to the library community about the need to link the libraries to the civil society at the world level.

PS The above is a slightly amended version of a message which I posted to friends in the NIGD and the WSF earlier today. Only now, when I make it available on this blog, does it strike me that the points, which I touch upon - such as deciding on the date of the Day of Action, the symbolic meaning of 9/11 and the Memory Project of the WSF - are almost inedited (in the sense of 'not published'). This discussion only goes on in private and/or closed fora like the mailing list of the International Council (IC) of the WSF! And perhaps echoed on webpages such as the one I am writing. The very fact that the IC is soon to meet in Berlin is unknown to the public. Have you seen something about it in your newspaper? Or heard about it on the radio? No, the media silence around the process of the social forum is almost total. And perhaps rightly so, because what - one may ask - is the WSF actually doing?

Puolustusmenoista| Paradsidan | Founding a library
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