We Cannot Participate in the Porto Alegre World Social Forum Because We Do Not Believe that Another World is Truly Possible Unless Capitalism is Destroyed

La Haine's response to the Barrios de Pie Piquetero Movement's invitation to participate in a communication workshop at the 2003 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre.

Friends at Barrios de Pie,

We thank you for inviting us to participate in the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, but, we cannot accept your offer.

We will not attend the WSF because we believe in neither its foundations nor in its principles:

We don't believe that a "third way," one that is neither capitalist nor socialist, a better world, by way of a newly "humanized and socialized" capitalism, or a "civilizing and humanizing" globalization, are real possibilities.

We don't believe, as it was said in the last WSF, that a "second phase" of globalization is needed, that "the first phase...created so much poverty and inequality only because the social side was neglected."

We don't believe in a forum that was organized by people like Bernard Cassen, the director of Le Monde Diplomatique and president of ATTAC-France, who use the Forum to realize a "new" political concept, that of an "organized international civil society" which can overcome the differences between workers and employers without altering their essential relationship.

We don't believe in a forum that does not invite Basque groups, intellectuals like James Petras, fighters like the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the Columbian FARC, but does invite French ministers, Brazilian politicians and Spanish judges, such as Baltasar Garzon, who have actively repressed many real political alternatives.

We don't believe, unlike the WSF, as the closing Declaration of its last meeting stated, that there is a need to "reinforce parliamentary democracy."

We don't believe, unlike the WSF, that we should be looking to "negotiate" with the creditors of the external "debt" in order to "abolish" it.

We don't believe that the message sent by Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the United Nations, to the last WSF, the one where he urged "civil society" to be ready to "work collectively for change, rather than remain isolated through confrontational politics," can be qualified as any sort of success.

We do believe in direct action, decentralization, participatory democracy and autonomy as proper responses to the monopoly of violence, information, culture and administration exercised by contemporary imperialism. We don't believe that popular rebellions can be qualified as "terrorism;" what is terrorist is the repression that States exercise against peoples the world over. We believe that any change towards a cooperative, feminist and environmental world needs to be radical.

We understand, initiatives like the World Social Forum to be the mechanisms whereby a globalized social-democracy, capitalism's left wing, attempts to dampen the effectiveness of the movements of resistance that are beginning to rise in coordinated opposition against it. These initiatives silence the movements that truly threaten the system, they replace any real political alternatives with a moderation that accepts the worst neo-liberal precepts of European social-democracy, that marginalizes alternate initiatives, as they are now deemed to be "politically incorrect," and replaces them with the harmless and pacifying strategies of anti-globalization.

Our relationship to the capitalists resembles the relationship that a herd of docile sheep entertains with an insatiable wolf pack. The WSF pretends to convince us that, somehow, we can change this primordially skewed relationship into one of cooperation and equality; that the wolves will act like sheep.

Those of us that maintain that wolves will behave as wolves will, that they are carnivorous and therefore will not stop feeding from their natural prey, well, they cannot participate in forums that, whether consciously or not, collaborate with the maintenance of oppression by pretending that there can be a modicum of sobriety within the drunken orgy of oppressive exploitation that we call capitalism.

The Forum's role, a well known one now, is to deactivate real resistance by promising changes that, appealing as they may seem, will not, even in the best of cases, do anything to alter the essential injustices that we struggle against.

So, this being the case, we are convinced that we are taking a political route that is entirely different to that of the WSF, therefore we can only decline your courteous invitation and continue to struggle for a world that is free of oppression.

Having said that, we should add that we remain perfectly willing to entertain discussions on alternate modes of organization and collaboration, but only under the condition that these discussions are undertaken outside the once so promising structures of, the World Social Forum.

If the forum has decided to exclude certain organizations, because they are deemed to be neither "respectable," "tolerant," or "reasonable," then La Haine, a group that falls outside such models, has nothing to do over there.

In solidarity with the brave struggle of the Argentinean people.

La Haine

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