by Teivo Teivainen, 9 March 2011
Some busy time has passed since the International Council meeting of the World Social Forum, held immediately after the WSF in Dakar in February 2011. One of the key open questions for the future of the process is where to organize the WSF 2013. It was mostly assumed that the process has gotten new energies with the Dakar experience and that there should be a global WSF event in 2013, maintaining the two-year periodicity we have had for a while.
As could be expected, no decision was made on this question during the IC meeting. There were some “candidates”, and even if it is somewhat uncomfortable to talk about the process as if it were a question of choosing the site for Olympic Games, we are now facing a process of proposals and assessments.
The key possible sites that were mentioned were Porto Alegre, Galicia and Montreal. Other places were also mentioned in informal discussions (example included “new Tunisia”, Barcelona, somewhere in East Asia, India, and the United States), but the three seemed the most serious proposals, with some preparatory work behind them. One new thing is that we are now seriously discussing the possibility to organize the WSF somewhere in the global north.
The Expansion Commission of the IC, in which I have been relatively active over the years, was given the task of preparing a report on the question. As I will be visiting Canada a couple of times this Spring, including the International Studies Association meeting next week in Montreal, I was assigned some of the responsibilities for following the Montreal proposal. I have agreed to meet some of the key proponents of the WSF 2013 there (e.g. from the organization Alternatives (http://www.alterinter.org/article2505.html), and also people critical of the proposal (from anarchist/autonomous activism).
For the time being, I do not have any personal position on where the WSF 2013 should be organized. I would be most grateful for all proposals on what kinds of things we should take into account when assessing whether it might be a good idea to organize the WSF 2013 in
Montreal or somewhere else.
This text was originally part of a message to the e-mail list of the Network Institute for Global Democratization on 8 March 2011