The 5th World Social Forum, which took place between January 26th and 31st in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, gathered once again people from all over the world. There were 155 thousand people from 135 different countries.
The Via Campesina participated with nearly a thousand people from 40 countries and four continents. Latin American countries that sent representatives were Bolivia, Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Brazil.
The forum started and finished with two big demonstrations. The opening demonstration’s main subject was the war in Iraq. Banners, flags and signs conveyed the disappointment caused by the Bush government. Support for the Iraqi people and to Palestinians was expressed throughout the week.
On the 27th, the Via Campesina donated water pumps to the Palestinian people. On the last day, the criticisms focused on the FTAA. During the meeting -and following the decision to decentralize the Forum- the organization confirmed that the 2006 American Continent Forum will be held in Venezuela. In 2007, the meeting will be again global and will take place in Africa.
We would like to share with you some parts of the final statements made by the social movements gathered in Porto Alegre:
In this same place, four years ago, the collective and global claim that another world is possible breached the lie that neoliberal domination was inevitable, as well as the normality of wars, social inequality, racism, casts, patriarchy, imperialism and the destruction of the environment.
Each year, the massive and plural participation in the World Social Forum gives us the possibility and responsibility to organize more and better campaigns and mobilizations to expand and strengthen our fights. The social movements’ ability to build common global actions already mobilized thousands of men and women for peace and against the invasion of Iraq.
Popular fights in defense of Nature, the rights of the peoples and the common properties, against privatization, like those held in Bolivia, Uruguay and other countries had shown the possibility to challenge the neoliberal domination. New spaces for political and social struggles were opened.
Aware that we have a long path ahead, we call all the social movements of the world and each of you to fight for peace, human, social and democracy rights, for the peoples’ right to self determination and for the immediate cancellation of the external debt of countries of the South.
We demand the end of the Iraq occupation. We demand that the United States stop threatening Iran, Venezuela and other countries. We call right now on the movements to join a global action on March 19 to demand the withdraw of troops from Iraq. No more wars!
We fight for the universal right to a healthy and sufficient nourishment. We fight for the right of the peoples, the nations and the peasants to produce their own food. We fight for the rights of the peoples, the nations and the peasants to produce their own food.
We reject transgenic products because they put our health and environment at risk, and because they are a tool for domination by five transnational companies. We also reject the patents on any form of life, especially on seeds, since with this they attempt to take over our resources and the associated knowledge.
We demand land reform as a way to guarantee the peasants’ access to land ownership, and that it be a guarantee to a healthy and sufficient nourishment. We support a sustainable way of production based on the conservation of natural resources and the promotion of ecologic and organic production.
We support the Palestinians’ fight for their national and fundamental rights, including the right to return to their land, based on the International Law and UN resolutions. And having their resistance as a model, we continue our fight. We will make our fight global, we will make our hope global.
Porto Alegre, January 31st, 2005.
Landless Workers Movement (MST)