Saturday, January 27, 2007

Poor Protest Against WSF

Following up on the Global Warming conference which the UN held in Narobi, the movers and shakers of the anti globalization movement also held their World Social Forum this year in Nairobi, Kenya. And ironically this progressive alternative to the Davos World EconomicForum, happening at the same time, faced more grass roots protests than the ruling class conference in Davos....

The left wing has become the mirror of capitalism itself.

The Davos forum is an economic boom for this tourist town.

And now that it is no longer a secret meeting of ruling class cabals, it has become a voice for the social reform of the worst excesses of capitalism.

The World Social Forum travels the world and is an economic boom for the region it is held in.

The Davos Economic Forum promotes captialism including the need to ameliorate the worst aspects of capitalism.

The World Socisl Forum promotes amerlorating the worst aspects of capitalism while promoting a more humane capitalism.

There is no difference.

Charities working in Nairobi's slums have complained about slum dwellers being required to pay to enter the Moi International Sports Stadium in Kasarani, where the World Social Forum was taking place.

Meanwhile, protesters raided two food stalls operated by five star hotels at the venue of the World Social Forum. The last two days had been marked by protests over the high cost of food at an event meant to discuss issues of poverty.

"I am a hawker. We are harassed in town. We came here to present our problems, but we found the big bosses selling food at exorbitant prices, and yet this function is meant for the poor," said one of the protesters.

Another one said: "The hotels are selling food at a price we cannot afford, and yet the forum belongs to the poor. That is why we invaded. We are going to eat all the food meant for the rich." The protesters grabbed the food which they then ate as the hotel staff watched in disbelief.

Kenya: World Social Forum - Just Another NGO Fair?

The World Social Forum, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya for the first time in Africa, was supposed to be a forum for the voices of the grassroots. But despite the diversity of voices at the event, not everyone was equally represented.

But to describe only the diversity would be to miss the real, and perhaps more disturbing, picture. The problem was that not everyone was equally represented. Not everyone had equal voices. This event had all the features of a trade fair - those with greater wealth had more events in the calendar, larger (and more comfortable) spaces, more propaganda - and therefore a larger voice. Thus the usual gaggle of quasi donor/International NGOs claimed a greater presence than national organisations - not because what they had to say was more important or more relevant to the theme of the WSF, but because, essentially, they had greater budgets at their command. Thus the WSF was not immune from the laws of (neoliberal) market forces. There was no levelling of the playing field. This was more a World NGO Forum than an anti-capitalist mobilisation, lightly peppered with social activists and grassroots movements.




Workers Control Vesus Trade Unions


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