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Entries : Category [ World Social Forum ]
Since the first WSF in Porto Alegre 2001, this is an open space for the transnational social movements and campaigns for justice and peace

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25 February

The World Social Forum and the Open Conspiracy

[World Social Forum] 

The World Social Forum is an embodiment of the phenomenon which H.G. Wells called the Open Conspiracy. There have been other instances of it earlier, and more of it is most probably coming, even  should the WSF utterly fail.

The first broad principle of the Open Conspiration is "the complete assertion, practical as well as theoretical, of the provisional nature of existing governments and of our acquiescence in them".

The second principle: "The resolve to minimize by all available means the conflicts of these governments, their militant use of individuals and property, and their interferences with the establishment of a world economic system".
The second principle compels us to do what H.G. Wells saw as groundwork, namely,  to  "systematize resistance to militant and competitive imperialism and nationalism".

The World Social Forum has resolved to do some of that groundwork, even it does not pass any resolutions. An oft cited example is the role of the WSF in the coordination of the great demonstrations against the war in Iraq on February 15, 2003.  

I only wish that we would have achieved something similar, or an even stronger coordination, for March 2006! Because, there is now an imminent risk for a military attack against Iran by the USA and its allies. During the last months, the imperialists and their mainstream media have done everything to create the political climate in which such an attack, possibly with nuclear weapons, can be carried out. That is their conspiracy.  And, needless to say, their conspiracy is not an open conspiracy.

The events of the 11 September 2001 where also the result of a conspiracy, but not of the alleged conspiracy of Osama Bin Laden and his twenty Islamistic terrorists. That official story cannot be true. That is why I fear that a nuclear attack against Iran is not unthinkable at all.

The knowledge that 9/11 was an inside job is almost as hard to stand as the knowledge that the Nazis used people as raw material for soap must have been for those who lived at that time. A journalist told me that she prefers not to think about it, because otherwise it would fill all her thoughts and make it impossible to concentrate on her job.  

Our balance of thoughts and peace of mind is being challenged!

Why cannot the official story be true? This has been explained  by David Ray Griffin, an old American professor of the philosophy of religion. The relevant books by Griffin are not on the philosophy of religion, though. They are called "The New Pearl Harbour. Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11" (2004), and "The 9/11 Commission Report. Omissions and Distortions" (2005).

The inconsistency of the story we have been and are being told (the basic story of what is happening in today's world, if you like) is also being demonstrated by physics professor Steven Jones, and by other Scholars for 9/11 Truth.

I enclose the most recent press release ofrom Scholars for 9/11 Truth at the end of this message. Please  consult their website http://www.scholarsfor911truth.org/

Now back to H.G Wells and the Open Conspiracy - let it become a common reference among those who participate in the process of the World Social Forum. Heikki Patomäki and Teivo Teivainen indirectly refer to Wells's pamphlet in their sketch of research on global political parties:

"From the frontiers of science fiction and social analysis, the possibility of a world party has been most powerfully imagined and analyzed by Warren W. Wagar, inspired by the earlier ideas of H. G. Wells." (see http://www.nigd.org/globalparties/articles)

Although I have not yet seen the book by Warren Wagar, I should like to make an objection here:  the Open Conspiracy is not a (global) party. Wells is actually envisioning a  (world) government.  I agree that a clear
distinction between party and government can be difficult to make, because a party can be seen (and it often sees itself) as a government in the making.

Yet it is necessary to make that distinction if we are talking about world government, or even about "global governanance",  which is sofar only a myth whereby we are being lulled into the belief that a government already exists on the international scale.

The first observation to make about world goverment is that  it is nowhere and has never been. The second - if we are Open Conspirators: that it is coming.  

H.G.Wells is an inspiring author on the subject because he realizes   that a world government must be very different from our present governments. So he does not actually describe a "world government"; he even very rarely uses the term (searching his  text by  computer I only found one single instance of the phrase "world government").

Wells, for instance, notes that:
"The fundamental organization of contemporary states is plainly still military, and that is exactly what a world organization cannot be."
Some parts of H.G.Wells thinking are clearly antiquated, but this does not not mean that they are obsolete. The text of the Open Conspiracy (1928), or of What Are We To Do With Our Lives?, as he preferred to call its second revised edition (1930) is easily found on the internet, see for instance:

By the way, H.G. Wells who so clearly anticipated many of its features, would certainly have loved the internet!

PS  Try to think of M.K Gandhi as an Open Conspirator, and consider federalism as an alternative to imperialism.


Scholars for 9/11 Truth call for verification and publication by an international consortium.
Duluth, MN (PRWEB) January 30, 2006 -- A group of distinguished experts and scholars, including Robert M. Bowman, James H. Fetzer, Wayne Madsen, John McMurtry, Morgan Reynolds, and Andreas von Buelow, have concluded that senior government officials have covered up crucial facts about what really happened on 9/11.

They have joined with others in common cause as members of "Scholars for 9/11 Truth" (S9/11T), because they are convinced, based on their own research, that the administration has been deceiving the nation about
critical events in New York and Washington, D.C.

These experts suggest these events may have been orchestrated by elements within the administration to manipulate Americans into supporting policies
at home and abroad they would never have condoned absent "another Pearl Harbor."

They believe that this White House is incapable of investigating itself and hope the possibility that Congress might hold an unaccountable administration accountable is not merely naive or wishful thinking.

They are encouraging news services around the world to secure scientific advice by taking advantage of university resources to verify or to falsify their discoveries. Extraordinary situations, they believe, require
extraordinary measures.

If this were done, they contend, one of the great hoaxes of history would stand naked before the eyes of the world and its perpetrators would be clearly exposed, which may be the only hope for saving this nation from ever greater abuse.

They hope this might include The New York Times, which, in their opinion, has repeatedly failed to exercise the leadership expected from our nation's newspaper of record by a series of inexplicable lapses. It has failed to vigorously investigate tainted elections, lies leading to the war in Iraq, or illegal NSA spying on the American people, major
unconstitutional events. In their view, The Times might compensate for its loss of stature by helping to reveal the truth about one of the great turning-point events of modern history.

Stunning as it may be to acknowledge, they observe, the government has brought but one indictment against anyone and, to the best of their knowledge, has not even reprimanded anyone for incompetence or dereliction of duty. The official conspiracy theory -- that nineteen Arab hijackers under control of one man in the wilds of Afghanistan brought this
about -- is unsupportable by the evidential data, which they have studied.
They even believe there are good reasons for suspecting that video tapes officially attributed to Osama bin Laden are not genuine.

They have found the government's own investigation to be severely flawed.
The 9/11 Commission, designated to investigate the attack, was directed by Philip Zelikow, part of the Bush transition team in the NSA sector and the co-author of a book with Condoleezza Rice. A Bush supporter and director
of national security affairs, he could hardly be expected to conduct an objective and impartial investigation.

They have discovered that The 9/11 Commission Report is replete with omissions, distortions, and factual errors, which David Ray Griffin has documented in his book, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions. The official report, for example, entirely ignores the collapse of WTC7, a 47-story building, which was hit by no airplanes, was only damaged by a few small fires, and fell seven hours after the attack.

Here are some of the kinds of considerations that these experts and scholars find profoundly troubling:

In the history of structural engineering, steel-frame high-rise buildings have never been brought down due to fires either before or since 9/11, so how can fires have brought down three in one day? How is this possible?

 The BBC has reported that at least five of the nineteen alleged "hijackers" have turned up alive and well living in Saudi Arabia, yet according to the FBI, they were among those killed in the attacks. How is this possible?
Frank DeMartini, a project manager for the WTC, said the buildings were designed with load redistribution capabilities to withstand the impact of airliners, whose effects would be like "puncturing mosquito netting with a pencil." Yet they completely collapsed. How is this possible?

Since the melting point of steel is about 2,700°F, the temperature of jet fuel fires does not exceed 1,800°F under optimal conditions, and UL certified the steel used to 2,000°F for six hours, the buildings cannot have collapsed due to heat from the fires. How is this possible?
Flight 77, which allegedly hit the building, left the radar screen in the vicinity of the Ohio/Kentucky border, only to "reappear" in very close proximity to the Pentagon shortly before impact. How is this possible?
Foreign "terrorists" who were clever enough to coordinate hijacking four commercial airliners seemingly did not know that the least damage to the Pentagon would be done by hitting its west wing. How is this possible?

 Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, in an underground bunker at the White House, watched Vice President Cheney castigate a young officer for asking, as the plane drew closer and closer to the Pentagon, "Do the
orders still stand?" The order cannot have been to shoot it down, but must have been the opposite. How is this possible?
A former Inspector General for the Air Force has observed that Flight 93, which allegedly crashed in Pennsylvania, should have left debris scattered over an area less than the size of a city block; but it is scattered over an area of about eight square miles. How is this possible?

 A tape recording of interviews with air traffic controllers on duty on 9/11 was deliberately crushed, cut into very small pieces, and distributed in assorted places to insure its total destruction. How is this possible?

 The Pentagon conducted a training exercise called "MASCAL" simulating the crash of a Boeing 757 into the building on 24 October 2000, and yet Condoleezza Rice, among others, has repeatedly asserted that "no one ever
imagined" a domestic airplane could be used as a weapon. How is this possible?

Their own physics research has established that only controlled demolitions are consistent with the near-gravity speed of fall and virtually symmetrical collapse of all three of the WTC buildings. While turning concrete into very fine dust, they fell straight-down into theirown footprints.

These experts and scholars have found themselves obliged to conclude that the 9/11 atrocity represents an instance of the approach--which has been identified by Karl Rove, the President's closest adviser--of "creating our own reality."

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24 March

At the IC of the WSF in Nairobi (1)

Notes from the 1st day of the meeting of the International Council (IC) of the World Social Forum in Nairobi from 19th to 22nd March
[World Social Forum] 

The meetings of the commissions and the plenary sessions take place at the   Archbishop Desmond Tutu Ecumenical Centre in Nairobi from 19th to 22nd March. It is a huge conference and training centre of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC).  

The ca 100 IC-members and observers from various international organisations and networks begun the day by decising whether to attend the  Methodology Commission or the Expansion Commission. The majority went to the Methodology Commission.  

Ca fifteen persons, I among them,  chose  to attend the Expansion Commission, where I stayed until 5.3. pm (thereafter I participated in the Communications Commission).  


The meeting the Expansion Commission was opened and chaired by Moema Miranda from the Brazilian IBASE Institute. According to her and Roberto Savio (from the Inter Press Service, IPS), the work of Expansion Commission (started a couple of years ago at the IC in Miami)  is about expanding the WSF process in general, while at the same time it should strike a balance between the great variety of the participating organisations and movements. Currently, one of the priorities  is to achieve an  increased participation from the USA, Africa and Asia, while Europe and Latin America are seen as being already relatively well represented.

The Expansion Commision also deals with balancing the representation in the International Council, and , more precisely, it is the body which recommends acceptance of new members to the IC.


  Onyinga Oloo and Oduor Ongwen from the Kenyan organising committee of the Nairobi WSF (2007) reported on the ongoing expansion of the WSF in Africa.  People's Caravans will set out to  the WSF in Nairobi from Capetown in South Africa and  Bamako in West Africa. The idea is to do political mobilization and have new buses join the caravans at each stop.
 Also being planned is a Peace March from Mogadishu (Somalia) to Nairobi.
 Oloo and Oduor also told about the replication of (local) social forums in the slums of Nairobi, such as the Uruma Social Forum, where he security of tenure (of habitation) is a major issue.  
 Human rights, the environment and the historical  issues of land are main areas of concern in Kenya, where an estimated  7 percent of the population are refugees.

 According to Oloo and Oduor, the orgaisers of the Nairobi WSF have succeded in involving the government of Kenya in  the preparations of the event. The (new) minister of planning is informed, and a representative from the ministry participates on the logistics subcommittee. The Mayor of Nairobi is also on board. A formal request for funding has been submitted, and  to the government is expected to grant at least a symblic sum to the WSF when the state budget is decided on in  June.
 An ecumenical gathering here at the AACC   decided one week ago to  support the Nairobi WSF 2007 and the Caravans.
However, fundraising for the WSF in Nairobi is still only starting. There has not yet been much progress with the international agencies, Oduor said.

  Several participants in the discussion noted the failure of the Bamako WSF (Jan 2006) to attract the attention of the media, and, by consequence,  the need to inform widely and effecteively about the WSF in Nairobi from now o.  Especially, the huge African diaspora in Europe should be engaged in spreading news and information of the event. Emigration-immigration is common issue for Africans and Europeans and should be at the centre of concern before and at the WSF in Nairobi.
Obviously, the People's Caravans will provide good media opportunities, but we need  to be sensible about the role of the funders in this mobilisation, Amit Sen Gupta from WSF India said.


 The IC meeting in Utrecht (March 2005) decided to map the composition of the present IC. Moema Miranda presented the results of the survey to the Expansion Commission and circulated a copy of the statistical tables and diagrams, which will later be made available via the internet. Note: The numbers I give below are uncertain, as I do not have the results of the questionnaire at hand.

Until today, only 39  IC-member organisations of ca 129 IC-members all in all  have  filled in their answers and returned  the questionnaire. Among them is NIGD.  9 are based in Latin America, 4 in the USA, 2 in Africa, 4 in Asia, 0 in the Middles East and 14 in Europe. The rest are not based in any particular continent or region.

The participation statistics reveal that 7 IC-members have participated i all the 12  IC meetings which have been held (NIGD is one of these); 9 in 11, 8 in 10, 6 in 9, 9 in 8, 8 in 3,  17 in 2,  and 17 in 1 meetings. 18  IC members have so far not participated in a single meeting of the IC.

The Expansion Commission  decided to :
- send a letter to the IC-members who only have participated in 0-2 meetings, asking them whether they wish to remain members;
- go on with the questionnaire as it (without changing its content) ;
- recommend that IC-members who fail to return the questionnaire  after 1 month would not be able to attend the next IC meeting.


Teivo Teivainen's message (previously circulated on the NIGD list) calling for more openness and transparence of the work of the IC had reached at least some members of the Expansion commission on beforehand. I confirmed my support of it, and I added  some points of view about how we should cooperate with librarians and libraries in order to secure the availability and accessibility of information about the WSF and its IC. It was decided that the commission should return the questions of information and openness in the afternoon, but that did not happen. One is tempted to remark that the commission is totally overwhelmed already by the task of keeping track of itself and its own work. Thus it is simply incapable of informing  others about it. ( By sending you these notes, I for one wish to prove that remark wrong.)

Roberto Savio's constatation that " The IC is objectively responsible for the organisation of the WSF" was not met with any objection. There is, however, much uncertainty about the composition and role of the International Council. How many members do we want it to have, e.g. 100 or 1000 (not even the order of magnitude has been fixed).  To what extent can it function without written rules? Should it applie rules of "qualified consensus" ( e.g. 10 percent of members needed to block a decision)  

The IC and the WSF badly need a  "road map" for its future expansion. However, the Expansion Commission had to constate that more discussions and analyses will be needeed before it can present the precise proposals which would form the essence of such a road map. Once more, a subcommittee was nominated to continue the work until the next IC meeting. I suggested that Teivo Teivainen (NIGD's ordnary representative to the IC meetings)  would probably like to participate in its work. The subcommittee, then, will be  composed of Moema Miranda (IBASE), Roberto Savio(IPS), Olivier Bonfond (CADTM), Neil Coleman and Bheki Ntsthalinsthali (COSATU), Teivo Teivainen (NIGD) and Amit Sen Gupta.


The Expansion Commission then set out to decide about the 19 new IC-membership applications, one after one. 8 were not considered. 11 were considered. The unanimously recommended new IC-members were: Action Aid International, Habitat international, Poor people's Economic Human Rights Campaign (USA-based),  Vashudaiva Kutumbakam (India and Finland based int'l network, supported by NIGD's letter and, at the meeting, by others as well), Grassrot Global Justice Network, Kenya Debt Network, Sodnet (Kenya), PANOS (journalistic, West Africa),  DAWN (Women's organisation, Tanzania) , Forin (immigration issues, France based). Some of the applications were left pending for various reasons (not filled the application form, lacking sufficient support etc.).

Two applications aroused controversy, namely that of Askapena-Herriak Aske, a Basque-Palestianian-Venezolan network, and the World Progressive Forum, which is close to the socialist international. The application of Askapena was opposed by the representative of the international trade union movement ICFTU, who said that their members are of the opinion that Askapena is linked to ETA, and therefore, to violent actions. The application of WPF was opposed by Walter Baier from the network TRANSFORM, on the grounds that actors of the WPF, like Tony Blair, are currently waging war in Iraq.
There was consensus that both of these controversial applicants fill the formal critera for membership. However, it was not possible to overcome the differences in political opinion among the particiapants.

I left the meeting of the Expansion commission before it ended, in order to participate in the meeting of the communications commission.  Afterwards, I heard that  the Expansion commission had finanlly decided to recommend acceptance of Askapena and WPF, while at the same time pointing out that their applications had been opposed.

As for the solidarity fund (to help IC-members from the South to cover the travel expenses for attending IC meetings), it was decided that 3 meetings of the IC should be planned in advance, to allow proper budgeting.


Roberto Savio, the chair of the Communications commission, opened by calling it an exercise for masochists.  The main purpose of this meeting would have been to discuss the media plan of the Nairobi WSF. Funding for the realisation of such a plan are presently  being  raised in Italy. However, the media plan for the  Nairobi WSF could not be much discussed in the absence of the Africans who are, or will be responsible, for that plan and its execution. In addition to Roberto Savio, the participants in the meeting were Norma Fernandez (secretary), Oded Grajew (from Brazil), Esther Obachi (secretary of the Kenya Library Association; observer) and myself.

For Esther Obachi and myself the meeting was, anyway, a good opportunity to present and explain our plans about involving libraries and librarians in the WSF-process. (See  my leaflet  about the WSF and libraries, which I have distributed to several IC-members and observers.)

 Our plans  include, more precisely, the training of East African librarians to participate in the WSF in Nairobi and to produce a documentation thereof in their libraries.
Our plans were well received and supported. Roberto Savio asked Esther Obachi and myself to obtain a list of libraries from IFLA with email addresses. The WSF secretariat in Brazil is ready to provide documentation about the previous WSF:s to the libraries once they know where to send it, he said. He also asked us to go on with our efforts to raise funding for the training courses and the documentation project.

 Greetings from Nairobi!

 - Mikael

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At the IC of the WSF in Nairobi (2)

Notes from the 2nd day of the meeting of the International Council (IC) of the World Social Forum in Nairobi from 19th to 22nd March
[World Social Forum] 

On Monday morning 20 March the international council of the WSF met in plenary to evaluate the polycentric social forum of Bamako and Karachi last January, and to pre-evaluate the PWSF which is to start in Karachi after a few days (24-29 March).

After lunch the plenary continued with the presentation and discussion of the preparations of the WSF 2007 in Nairobi. The first speaker was Oduor Ongwen, a key figure in he Kenyan organizing committee. Oduor works with the Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)   and is also a member of the council of the African Social Forum.

During the afternoon and until the evening followed the report of the Methodology commission and a long discussion about the programme of the Nairobi WSF.


The Nairobi WSF must not be focussed mainly on African issues. It should have a strong African imprint, but since it is a World Social Forum it must not be dominated by African issues,  Oduor Ongwen  stressed. Another way of saying this, repeated by many of the praticipants here, is that the Nairobi WSF must not be about charity for Africa. Solidarity, not charity!
The Kenya organizing committee is presently being merged into an East African structure with members from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The new regional organizing committee will meet for the first time on 22 April to  set up subcommittes for content, mobilization, resoutces, communications and logistics.
Keeping in mind the lesson from Bamako, where the WSF events were dispersed in too many different venues, all events of the Nairobi WSF will (hopefully) be arranged in the centre of the town. The government owned Jomo Kenyatta international Conference Center has been selected to be the main venue. Negotiations are going on with the university of Nairobi to use some of the university's facilities. The Youth Camp of the WSF will,hopefully, be located in the  park ner the university, which is owned by the city council. Thus a closer interaction between the Youth Camp and the WSF than at earlier WSFs should also be made possible.

The Caravans of buses from Capetown and Bamako to Nairobi and the Mogadishu-Nairobi Peace March should help to expand the involvement of Africans in the WSF.  The South African organisers have already designated the routes and stops of  the Capetown-Nairobi Caravan.

The website of the Nairobi WSF is hoped to be up and running in 2-3 weeks from now, Oduor said. The suitability of the web concept of the European Social Forum is presently being tested for the purpose.

After Oduor, Taufik completed the presentation of the preparations from the African side  by stressing the responsibility of the African Social Forum for the WSF in Nairobi.

THE DATE  OF THE WSF IN NAROBI : 20-25 January 2007

The first issue to decide on was brought up by Oded Grajew from Brazil, namely the date of the WSF in Nairobi. Some of the participants wanted it to take place at the same date as the World Economic Forum in Davos which is scheduled to 24-28 January. However, during the  discussion it became clear that the Jomo Kenyatta Int'l Conference Centre is very competitive, and that it has  already been booked by an Indian organisation at the end of January, starting January 26. The Kenya organizing committee, for their part have pre-reserved  the Kenyatta Centre for the period 10-25 January.

The IC then unianimously decided that the WSF in Nairobi will be held 20-25 January 2007.
20 January is opening day.
21-22-23-24 January are full working days.
25 January is the closing day.
The planned World Forum of Local Authorities and the World Parliamentarian Forum will then take place on 26 January.

Roberto Savio proposed that the IC of the WSF will hold a 2-days meeting after the WSF.


The discussion about the methodology - the methodology to be agreed upon and used in  the planning and organisation of the WSF - was long and at times tedious. Considering the both multinational and  multicultural (in terms of political and organisational traditions)  composition of the IC of the WSF, this could hardly be otherwise. However, the chairman of this session, Vinod Raina (from Jubilee South) managed to lead the IC to a number of reasonable conclusions and decisions:

1. A common working committee with representatives from the ASF and the IC will  be set up. (This had been requested by Tawfiq.)

2. A working meeting is to be held in June to finalise the working plan. (This is to ensure that the IC, the council of the ASF and the East African organising committee are working on the same plan.)

3. A working group will be set up to do the consultation and mapping of themes for the actual program during 20-25 January. The IC will come up with a proposal about the composition of this group.

4. There should be some ("a few") events which are sponsored by the IC.

In addition to these points, the African organisers are expected to come up with a proposal about how to increase the visibility of marginalized groups of people.

muzungu, kwa heri, they say, although I do not know what it means.
(Karibu, welcome i s the only word I have learnt so far.)

  - Mikael

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At the IC of the WSF in Nairobi (3-4)

Notes from the 3rd and 4th days of the meeting of the International Council (IC) of the World Social Forum in Nairobi from 19th to 22nd March
[World Social Forum] 

The reports of three commissions (Communications, Resources, Methodology) were discussed and decided upon. The fourth Commission (Strategy) did not report, but its agenda the planning for the  WSFs after Nairobi 2007, was also discussed.


In the discussion on Communications, not much was added to what had been said during the two previous days about mass-media relations and strategy, and even less about the libraries. The debate about the problems of providing the WSF events with  linguistic interpretation and interpreters, and decent technical equipment for this purpose, took the main part of the discussion. This is, of course, also a main point in the discussion of the Resources. Panos from the BABELS group said that they expect 80 % av the interpreters to be African (and mainly from East Africa?), and 20 % from other parts. All in all at leats 500 interpreters would be needed. He mentioned the figure 300.000 USD as an estimate of the total costs. BABELS is building 150 interpretation booths for the ESF in Athens in April; these should be reused in Nairobi. He asked the IC to participate in the raising of the necessary funds.
 Several IC members said that the the FM radio equipment used by BABELS does not meet the needs. The quality of the radios has been bad, said Celita Eccher from ICAE, referring to the experience of e.g. the WSF in Porto Alegre 2005. At the IC meeting itself,  we also experienced some technical problems with the radios.

It was decided, firstly, that question of interpreters and interpretation on the one hand, and about the technical equipment on the other hand must be separated and handled by two different working committees.

Secondly, it was decided that both working committeese shall be convened by the East African organising committee; and that both committees should include representatives of BABELS.


After lunch on the 3rd day, the IC returned to the recommendations of the Expansion Commission. After a first round of discussion, the following decisions were taken:

a) a working group (WG)  inside the commission is to make further proposals  on the expansion in Africa;
b) a letter will be sent to 52  "non-participating  IC-members", i.e. those who have attended only 0-2 meetings, asking for an explanation of their absence and confirmation of their will to remain IC members;
c) the IC makes clear to all that IC-members who do not fill the form of the questionnaire cannot participate in the next IC-meeting;
d) a subcommittee on the restructuration of the work of the expansion commission and the IC is to submit precise proposals to the next IC;  
e) a calendar of at least the 3 next IC meetings must be agreed in order raise the necessary Solidarity Fund for participants from the South.

The IC then went on to decide about the new IC members. After a  couple of hours, the discussion had to be interrupted without any clear decisions, in order keep the  appointment with Kenyan social movements, singers, dancers, dancers, musicians and theatrical actors  in the afternoon. At the reception of the Mayor of Nairobi later that day, veteran WSF-activist Chico Witaker later said that the Kenyans saved us.

I  will return to this discussion later, in separate notes. On the morning of the 4th day, Chico Witaker summarised all the discussions and put forward a proposal o to reach unity. He stressed that in the WSF, if one cannot agree, one has to continue to discuss,  because splits and divides cannot be allowed. Then he proposed that we we accept all the recommended new IC members, including the World Progressive Forum, but with the exception of Askapena Herriak Aske. In this last case, discussions would continue.  I had asked him to  state explicitely, that NIGD is not opposed to the acceptance of the WPF, which he also did. Chicos proposal was then unanimously supported, and so the matter was finally decided. In addition, a WG was set up with the supporters and opponents of Askapena Herriak Aske, to continue the discussions about that case.


Several different proposals were aired:

- to arrange the WSF 2008 in Porto Alegre; this was put forward delegates of the trade union organisations;

- to arrange the WSF 2008 on the border between USA and Mexico

- ta arrange in 2008 only a forum on the forums plus, for instance, "a global day of action for Human Dignity" (Raffaella Bollini).

- to arrange the WSFs herafter only each second year.

The Strategy Commission will (have to) come forth with a proposal before the WSF in Nairobi 2007.


A calendar of the 3 next IC meetings was successfully agreed upon:

6-9 October 2006 in India (probably Delhi or Mumbai). All for commissions to meet during the two first days, IC-seminar during the two second days.

26-27 January 2007 in Nairobi IC-meeting without commission meetings.

April 2007 in Italy, on the same premises as the IC-meeting in Passignano.

An open working group is to prepare the October meeting in India. Nandita Gandhi took on the task to organise fundraising in India for the solidarity fund of the IC.


Further open WGs are to work on
- methodology and mapping of the themes  and actions (Amit,
Joel, Demba, Chico, Philip, Moema , Raffaella, Hassan, Tawfik
Joki, Vinod, Brian and others)
- the  relation with parlamentarians and politicians
- the integration of the world forum of local authorities with the WSF.
Vanessa Marx presented the plans of FAL. Vanessa Marx (FAL), Chico and Gus Massiah and the  conference "Afrique inter cités" in Nairobi on 23-25 Sept 2006 will   go further with this issue.

Contributions to the the solidarity fund were made during this IC meeting by, among others, : ICFTU, Caritas, EU Commission,  FPH, Ubuntu and Transform.



  - Mikael

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14 October

The finance-related peace prize

[World Social Forum] 

The choice of the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 is a natural continuation of the vaguely progressive line that Norwegian Nobel Committee is following since many years.

Still it is news of some sort that the peace prize is being awarded to a bank, that is Grameen Bank, and to its founder Mohammed Yunus. Would it not have been more appropriate to give them the Nobel prize in economics?

It certainly would. We can congratulate dr Yunus and Grameen nevertheless.

Some seem to start from the assumption that Grameen is taking Capitalism to the poor. That is a somewhat superficial analysis. Surely, Capitalism has been plaguing the poor long before the coming of the microfinance industry.

In the context of the grotesque financial system (or lack of system) that the whole world suffers under today, Grameen is a wonderfully exceptional capitalist business bank.

The efforts by Grameen to combine the microcredits with the microchips are extremely interesting. The mobile phones and/or the computers (which can be one and the same) are replacing the money, or rather, they are the new money. Will the world's finances become more transparent and public? Could the banks become more like the libraries - institutions that serve the citizens with information and information technology?


Former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari had been one of the favourite candidates of the mainstream press for the Nobel Peace prize 2006. Here in Finland, however, many citizens were drawing a sigh of relief when the winners were announced. While dr Yunus is an example of a banker and an economist who became a true social democrat, former president of the republic Ahtisaari is yet one social democrat turned into a true capitalist.

I am probably not alone with this opinion. In the webforum of the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, one of the first comments to the topic "Where you disappointed on behalf of Ahtisaari?" , said: "This man supported the war in Iraq, and only two days ago it became known that more than 600.000 Iraqis have died because of the aggression of the USA".

Yours in peace.

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25 October

What a "world government" has to be like

[World Social Forum] 

What worries me is this: I see the WSF as being the embryo to a "world government", but I do not yet see that this is widely understood.

A "world government" has to be very different from the governments of national states. This is an important part of the "Another" in our slogan "Another world is possible".

The difference is not in ethical values, this is not an ethical issue. It is a question of structure. A great illustration is the example of the military apparatus, as H.G.Wells clearly understands in his pamphlet from the 20ies (The Open Conspiracy). A "world government" does not - never will - build on military might!

A "world government" is an informational government. It has to be a "self-government", it must be cybernetical in its nature -- like the internet, of course. And the internet is, basically, a new kind of library. It is an outgrowth of our literacy.

Literacy is our predicament. There is no escape from it.

The principle of "world government" is identical with the principle of the modern public library: to make all information available without delay to all the people.

The WSF must follow that principle, that is its only chance. Or, more to the point, a "world government" must be like that. Like a modern public library.

Let us build it!

Another world might be possible, after all...

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06 December

Independence Day

[World Social Forum] 

Dear C.,

thank you for the sign of life. I look forward to reading your comments on my little Spinelli-inspired essay.

Maybe we can meet and discuss over a cup of tea in Nairobi during the WSF?

You seem to apologise for what you wrote eight years ago about markets and politics. Don't. I think you were on the right track already then.

Besides, considering that you are in your early thirties, eight years may seem a longer time to you than to me, who is in my late fifties.

In the past, I used to take a negative stand to the whole EU project, which seemed a very natural thing to do for a Finnish leftist, but the French NON in May 2005 forced me to go deeper and seek after the original ideas. I learned that those ideas had grown out of the experience of the two European world wars of the last century - that the EU is, essentially, a peace project.

Unfortunately, the original project has not been completed, and all too often capitalist economism and Western imperialism have been allowed to replace the original content.

Thus the recent decision of Tony Blair and his associates to renew and modernise the British nuclear arsenal - and of Jacques Chirac & Co to maintain and modernise the force de frappe - reveal the persistence of imperialistic and racist attitudes among the European political leaders. They continue to reserve for themselves the option to "exterminate all the brutes" (Joseph Conrad).

Unfortunately we, the peoples, are co-responsible for the criminal deeds of our leaders.

What we need in the coming months and years is a restauration and innovative continuation of the Spinelli Project from the 1980ies. Whether Attac can play a leading role in that necessary process remains to be seen. However, the existing political parties are (voluntary) prisoners of their respective national states. They are not capable of initiating the necessary transformation of the international system; they are indeed the bearers of the system that must be transformed. Therefore, transnational movements of citizens - like Attac - will have to play key roles.

Today Finland celebrates its 89th year of Independence. That might be one of the reasons why I have bothered you with these very general remarks.

All the best.

- Mikael

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14 December

Attac Europe is re-inventing the wheel

[World Social Forum] 

[From now on, I will put all my English blog-entries into the category 'World Social Forum'. ]

In these days Attac Europe meets in Catania, Sicily, in order to discuss, among other things, an alternative constitutional treaty for the European Union. But that alternative already exists, althought it needs, of course, to be updated to the internet age. The alternative European Constitution is the treaty of Spinelli and the European Parliament from 1984.

Below, two further email messages which I have sent to the list of the European Attacs.


    Dear Catania-goers,

    for a number of reasons, it would be a serious mistake to include a "copyright on the personal genetic code" in a constitution, or constitutional treaty.

    As soon as the genetical code is copyrighted, it becomes a tradable commodity. This is the meaning of copyright. It is a tradable right. In the case of the genetical code, the very concept of the copyright creates a market for the selling and buying of it. You must have noted that some persons are even willing to, or forced to, sell one of their personal kidneys. How much easier is it not to sell one's personal genetical code for money!

    Those who propose a "copyright on the personal genetic code" could soon end up achieving precisely the contrary to what they want. I assume that they want to keep the personal genetical code sacrosanct, which is close to saying that it should not be subsumed under Capitalism. However, theintroduction of the concept of copyright on the genetic code into our political constitution would make the door wide open to the invasion of Capitalism into our genetical constitution. Therefore, I hope that you will agree to drop the "copyright on the personal genetic code" from the envisaged "Ten Principles of a Democratic Europe" of Attac.

    All the best, - Mikael



    Dear Catania-goers, once more

    the material you have sent out is already quite impressive. I am a bit disappointed, though, to see that you have not included the comments which I sent some days ago under the title "Restore Spinelli's Treaty", because those comments were written exprès for the debate within the movement Attac before the Catania-meeting.

    In my notes, I said that the movement Attac is re-inventing the wheel. That technological parallell was actually not very appropriate, because once a technical invention is made it stays, while in the politics, we probably always will have to re-invent old ideas and solutions (and alas, old problems, too).

    Furthermore, there is the risk that we completely lose sight of the valuable ideas that were invented by our predecessors.

    This is what has happened, to an inadmissible degree, with Spinelli, the legacy from Ventotene, and the "Draft Treaty Establishing the European Union" that was adopted by the European parliament 1984.

    Thus Mrs Robert Joumard, Henri Paraton, Michel Christian and Jean-François Escuit start their little historical lesson as follows:

    "Les "pères" de l'Europe que furent Robert Schuman, Jean Monet, Alcide de Gasperi ou Konrad Adenauer tentent de réaliser les États Unis d'Europe par étapes successives, en commençant par des "réalisations concrètes, créant d'abord une solidarité de fait". (See among the Catania-materials: Quelle Europe construire? Les termes du débat p 6).
    But the history of the EU does not start with Schuman, Monnet, de Gasperi and Adenauer. It starts somewhere else. If you dig a little bit deeper you may even re-discover yourself in the mirror of that history. I sincerely wish you a good meeting in Catania,


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05 January

Activist Librarians

[World Social Forum] 

- An activist librarian goes out, collects the information, and packages it for the people, says Esther Obachi from Kenya Library Association. She is one of the lecturers at the 3-day workshop for Tanzanian librarians in Dar es Salaam 3-5 January. Today we shall study Wikis and Blogs in the computer lab of the Dar es Salaam university, and guess who is going to give the presentation.

We are all preparing for the World Social Forum in Nairobi 20-25 January, 2007. The librarians are going to document it and repackage it for dissemination to the people. About one thousand activities (events, conferences, workshops etc.) have already been registered by the movements, associations and networks participating in the WSF. The list of these activities and events are available in 5 databases on the web at www.wsf2007.org. The databases are presented in Excel sheets.

I am bad at Excel sheets, but my Open Office software can at least open and handle them.

Mr Leonard Ngowo from the public library in Morogoro (Tanzania) helped me to prepare printouts from the Excel sheets for our workshop.

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08 January


[World Social Forum] 

After the 3-day workshop in Dar es Salaam, we decide to pay a visit to Zanzibar. Getrude, one of the Tanzanian librarians, accepts to be our guide. She turns up promptly at six on Saturday morning, and we are off to the port which is crowded with Zanzibaris and tourists waiting to embark on one of the morning ferries.

    Adam's Exchange near the port of Zanzibar.
On our way from the Palace of the Omani Sultans to the Bububu beach, we pass by the library in the Old Zanzibar Stone Town. The library is full of visitors who read the books and the newspapers. Some of them, obviously students, take notes. This is the only point of activity of Zanzibar Library Services, which started 1989 with support from the Japanese Embassy, says Chief librarian Hamid Rajabu Juma. The Zanzibar islands have a population of about one million.

    Mgani Said and Maryam Mohammed at their desk, serving one of the 5700
    registered users of Zanzibar Library Services.
    Behind: head librarian Hamid Rajabu Juma. .
Consulting my own traveller's library, I note that in 1964 "armed African gangs in Zanzibar incited an uprising against the Arab ruling elite, forcing the Sultan to flee in his yacht. Some 5,000 Arabs were killed, thousands more interned, their houses, property and possessions seized at will. A revolutionary council, led by Abeid Karume, appealed for assistance from China, the Soviet Union and East Germany. Hundreds of communist technicians duly arrived, prompting Western fears that the island might become another 'Cuba'. On mainland Tanganyika, Nyerere, worried by the prospect of Zanzibar being drawn directly into the Cold War and anxious to exert a moderating influence, proposed a union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The union was subsequently named Tanzania" (quoted from Meredith, Martin: The State of Africa, Simon & Schuster 2005, p. 176. According to Bob Geldof, "you cannot even begin to understand contemporary African politics if you have not read this fascinating book". Which is an exaggeration, of course.)

    On the ferry back from Zanzibar to the mainland are many elders with
    children who return to school after New Year.


On Sunday, I flew from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi in the company of Rosemary and Esther.

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