The establishment of The Americas Social Forum (ASF) derives from a bigger entity that is the World Social Forum (WSF) which sprung up to life in 2001 as a space of resistance to the neoliberal economic order represented by the World Economic Forum. WSF has prided itself in becoming an activist haven towards the development not only of critical thinking, but also of alternatives to the current economic global order. Furthermore, under the slogan “Another World is Possible”, the WSF has promoted change at a global level through the integration of the struggles of a diverse set of movements, associations and organizations, in actions both small and large.
ASF has met in Latin America on three occasions during the last decade. The first ASF took place in Quito in 2004, followed by gatherings in Caracas in 2006, and Guatemala in 2008. The fourth ASF 2010 will meet from the 11th to the 15th of August, in Asuncion, Paraguay
The focus of attention of the forum soon to take place in Asuncion will concentrate on six major themes for discussion in which the topics of gender and diversity play a transversal role. The themes are:
• The challenges of the changes in the hemisphere specific to post-neoliberalism, integration, socialism, good giving and civilizational changes
• Militarization and imperial domination strategies, resistance directly from the people
• The defense and transformation of the conditions and ways of life in the face of predatory capitalism
• The ideological dispute among communication, culture, knowledge and education
• The challenge of plurinationality among Indigenous and Afro- descendant people and nationalities
• Memory and historical justice
Moreover, it is important to highlight the relevance of specific themes to the actions and activities carried over by CADTM. The first theme will address the topic of alternative integration processes in the context of South-South cooperation and the related geopolitical, social and economic challenges. ASF will conduct dialogue on a “new financial architecture” for Latin America, focusing on the issues of financial sovereignty and responses to the current economic crisis.
The third theme will also require an important role from CADTM considering that the cancellation of third world debt is a key part of the process to construct a more just and fair economic order. Most pertinent to the CADTM workshops is the topic of the struggle against social-economic and historical debt, and the interventions of International Financial Institutions in the region; it will examine the impact of labor and worker exploitation in Latin America. ASF also analyzes climate change and sovereign responses to the destruction of the environment by proposing new production and consumption patterns as viable solutions.
The forum in general will deepen an understanding of Latin America in its historical and current context in order to effect the change that is necessary in the region through resistant movements and continuing reflection. This activism will also promote solidarity in the face of destruction that neoliberalism has brought with its imperialist agenda.
CADTM has an important role to play because Latin America’s problematic requires due course of action in terms of establishing new forms of government policies towards geopolitical and economic structures through civic struggle and participation. CADTM will work in conjunction with Jubilee South and LATINDAD in the organization of a special workshop to be held August 12th, on the topic of Debt Auditing in Latin America. The activity will highlight the accomplishments of the recent Parliamentary Inquiry Commission of the Public Debt of Brazil, which took place under the coordination of Auditoria Ciudadana de la Deuda. CADTM will also hold a workshop on the impact of debt crisis and structural adjustment programs on the livelihoods of people of the North and the South.