feminists at the World Social Forum
Porto Alegre, 25 January. RIF/FIRE
By air, sea and land, feminism has increased and strengthened its presence throughout the five events of the World Social From since 2001 to date. “It has provided a space to ‘ground’ the main themes feminists share with other social movements but which are not always visible”, said Sara Longwe from Zambia, representative of FEMNET, Africa. That is how she evaluated the participation process of the feminist movement when she addressed the Press Conference organized by the Coordination Group last night.
The main themes to which Longwe referred to have to do with an extended agenda of the Forum, centered in neoliberalism and corporate globalization without addressing fundamentalism until feminists put it in the agenda.
Similarly, although militarism is in the agenda of the social movements, the Forum hardly addressed the impact militarism has on women until women themselves made it visible in the fora. Furthermore, the input of women highlights their participation in the struggle for a lasting peace which takes into account all forms of violence, including domestic violence as one form of war in almost two thirds of the partnership or heterosexual partnership and dating, considering data from the UN, two thirds of women in the world suffer some kind of violence.
The theme of fundamentalism was taken to the World Social Forum in 2002 by air. In occasion of the inauguration of such Forum, also in Porto Alegre, feminists of Marcosur inflated a huge gas balloon which read “your mouth is fundamental against fundamentalism”, thus presenting a campaign which has spread around the work as an expression of the urgency to expose the backlash of those forces against the globalization of the human rights.
Against all odds, the main feminist input is the intersection of these themes: neoliberalism, fundamentalism and militarization. The feminist view integrates these three forces in the same articulated way they are in today’s globalized world where domination and the use of capital, religion and weapons share a common goal: the control of the bodies and sexuality, especially of women, the control of resources and even of genetics, of populations, all for the market.
But, besides “grounding” these themes in 2002, in today’s V World Social Forum feminists are going to sail against mainstream, as Lucy Garrido, from Uruguay and representative of the feminist organization Marcosur, said today in a live interview from Brazil on FIRE.
“The boat, anchored at the Rio Grande do Sul, is going to do a combined navigation. Sometimes it will be anchored as it is now, full of women doing workshops. Some other times the boat will host parties, some other it will cross the river. It’s a provocative boat where women will design strategies, for instance to participate in Beijing + 10; black women will design their actions to further their struggles; in all, a whole series of activities during the five days of the Forum.”
On 26 January, during the opening of the World Forum, women decorated the boat with flags and posters, and other symbolic expressions of their struggles, their demands and their worlds. When finished, the hornet of the boat was activated and the boat got ready to sail. “Navigating is a journey you do with compass, maps, a route and which requires the articulation of many people at work, of all its tripulation. Marcosur has organized it, but it belongs to all the women and they will be there.”
Even with regards to the logo of the Forum feminists have another view to bring to the process. Lucy says that the main logo World Social Forum “another world is possible” leaves other views out. “We do not want a world of the possible, we want a better world! We want “worlds”, where diversity has a place.”
The Feminist Dialogue closed today with a final session with commitments to different campaigns, like the Campaign against all fundamentalisms which seeks to amplify the voices of those who oppose the practices, discourses and discriminatory social representations.
It reported about the activities of women in the Forum, in preparation for the 10 years evaluation of the UN adoption of the Declaration and Platform for Action of the IV World Conference on Women celebrated in Beijing 10 years ago.
For more information and photos of the boat, visit www.fire.or.cr
FIRE’s team is integrated by Acting Director, Katerina Anfossi and journalist and communicators Andrea Alvarado and Yarman Jiménez. (Press releases translated from Spanish by Ana Ugalde of FIRE.)
FIRE will broadcast the deliberations of the Beijing 10 process from 28 February and 11 March, 2005 live from New York. To that effect an appeal is being made to communicators and journalists with the aim of building a media pool which allows for the articulation of information initiatives. For further information write to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Translated from Spanish by Ana Ugalde of FIRE)