The Porto Alegre Manifesto – Twelve Proposals for Another Possible World, a declaration of proposals signed by 19 intellectuals associated with Brazil’s World Social Forum (WSF), is, according to one of its signers, Ignácio Ramonet, a political synthesis of the WSF’s proposals and does not signify a split between the Forum’s Council and the signers of the document.
The document was read by Argentinean activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, winner of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize. According to the signatories, the 12 proposals “would permit citizenship, finally, to seize back its own future.”
In the document the 19 intellectuals affirmed that their statement was strictly personal and that they did not in any way mean to speak for the Forum. They also emphasized that the letter is susceptible to modifications and new signatures.
“We identified twelve proposals which together give sense to the construction of another possible world. We submit these basic points to the appreciation of social movements in all countries.
“They are the ones who, at all levels, global, continental, and national, can advance in the battles necessary for the proposals to be turned into reality.
“We harbor no illusions about the real desire of governments and international institutions to adopt these proposals spontaneously,” the letter states.
The suggestions include transferring the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) from New York to a country in the Southern Hemisphere and overhauling the organization on the basis of the Declaration of Human Rights, as well as restructuring the other international agencies, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The proposals also call for the cancellation of the Southern Hemisphere’s countries’ government debts and the dismantlement of all foreign military bases that don’t have an explicit UN mandate.
Ramonet said he believes that the concern of many of the dignitaries who signed the manifesto and are participating in the Forum or participated at some moment in the event is that the fundamental principles of the Forum be remembered.
“The idea is to return to a handful of central, basic ideas that are unquestionably common to and consensual among the immense majority of the Forum’s participants. It is a kind of political synthesis of what the Forum is promoting on an international scale in terms of transformation of institutions and political philosophy,” Ramonet explained.
The signers of the manifesto are: Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Aminata Traoré, Eduardo Galeano, José Saramago, François Houtart, Armand Matellar, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Roberto Sávio, Ignácio Ramonet, Ricardo Petrella, Bernard Cassen, Samuel Luiz Garcia, Tariq Ali, Brother Beto, Emir Sader, Samir Amin, Atílio Borón, Walden Bello, and Immanuel Wallerstein.
Translation: David Silberstein