U.S. Greens Attend World Social Forum.
THE GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
U.S. GREENS ATTEND THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM
Activists from around the world gather in Porto Alegre, Brazil; call for the globalization of democracy, economic fairness, peace, and a zero hunger campaign; Greens adopt a statement opposing the war on Iraq.
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Greens joined nearly 140,000 registered participants at the Third Annual World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil from January 23 through 29. Annie Goeke, co-chair of the International Committee of the Green Party of the United States, and Alan Kobrin, International Committee member and Florida Green, attended as official U.S. Green representatives. Party member Christopher Doran attended on behalf of the NGO Pressure Point.
"This is the first time that U.S. Greens sent an official delegation to the World Social Forum," noted Goeke. "The Forum's theme this year was 'A New World Is Possible.' Greens from all over the world united in opposition to President Bush's threat of war against Iraq."
On Sunday, January 26, representatives of 20 Green Parties from around the world held a Green Social Forum to discuss common concerns. Annie Goeke spoke on a panel titled "Toward a Culture of Peace, Solidarity and Sustainability" along with Olivier De Leuze, Secretary of State of Energy and Sustainable Development, Belgium, and Jose Luiz de Franca Penna, President of the Partido Verde do Brazil (Green Party of Brazil).
The six-day World Social Forum was held as an antidote to the World Economic Forum taking place simultaneously at the luxury Swiss ski resort of Davos. The event featured more than 1,700 seminars and workshops on the poverty, environmental damage, and erosion of human rights and democracy caused by corporate globalization and the establishment of unelected, secretive international authorities such as the WTO, NAFTA, IMF, and World Bank. Numerous Forum attendees, including Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, also spoke out against the impending U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Greens from several nations walked with Brazilian Greens, who are represented in the cabinet of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, during the ceremonial march for peace that opened the Forum. President da Silva's cabinet led the march through Porto Alegre. Da Silva addressed the Forum on Friday, January 25, before flying to the Davos conference, where he appealed for assistance in the fight against poverty and other harmful effects of globalization. In a symbolic gesture during his absence from Brazil, da Silva temporarily transferred his government to Porto Alegre.
In his speech before the World Social Forum, da Silva noted that themes like poverty, health care and distribution of wealth would not be on the agenda at Davos if it weren't for the Forum's growing importance. Da Silva, a former steelworker, noted that his overwhelming victory was achieved with the support of a politically conscious population and without the traditional backing of major media and financial interests.
"The importance of what is happening in Brazil cannot be underestimated," said Kobrin. "This process is a model for re-evaluation of the corporate globalization process, a showcase of aspirations of much of the world's population left behind in the race to control resources by a few. While uncertainty is in the air at home in the U.S., here there is a sense of optimism and hope."
"It is now up to the Brazilians and the support of people like the Greens around the world to help ensure that the proposals put forward at the World Social Conference will come to fruition," observed Annie Goeke.
"It's a goal of Greens in the U.S. to help build a society with an electorate that's politically informed enough to elect candidates with the same qualities as Lula, and to demand democratic reforms -- including repeal of restrictions against third parties," Goeke added.