Programme and Methodology
FSM India


WSF India has adopted as its principle focuses: Imperialist globalisation; Patriarchy; Militarism and peace; Communalism (religious sectarianism and fundamentalism); Casteism & racism (oppression, exclusion and discrimination based on descent and work).

The WSF2004 event in India would not limit itself to the large event in Mumbai, but would seek to be the culmination and initiator of a much wider process of social mobilisation that involves large numbers from diverse sections. Such processes, in the spirit of the WSF, would be open, inclusive and flexible and designed to build capabilities of local groups and movements also seeking to leverage on their individual strengths. The language of dissent and resistance towards imperialist globalisation, communalism (religious sectarianism and fundamentalism), casteism, patriarchy and militarism will have to be informed by local idioms and forms.

WSF, 2004 following on the previous World Social Forums, will include diverse forms of interaction including plenary sessions, conferences, seminars, round table discussions, workshops, cultural events, and mass meetings, rallies and marches. A special effort will be made to make all events participatory and dialogic as far as possible, i.e., allowing for responses from the audience, question and answer sessions, etc. Speakers should reflect the diversity of the WSF process, with emphasis on the representation of women and underprivileged and the most oppressed sections of society.

Program Format

The format of the program is to provide a larger space for the self-organised activities. The official organisers – various bodies of the WSF i.e., the International Secretariat, the International Council and the host committee WSF India, will confine itself to only a part of the activities. It will be ensured that WSF organised activities do not impinge on the self-organised activities in terms of time.

Based on the available space, the type of events that have been envisaged each day (with these events taking place for four days) is as follows:

1 Conference of 15,000-20,000 people
1 round table and table of dialogue and debate of 4,000 people
3 panel discussions of 4,000 people
200 spaces for seminars and workshops with capacity ranging from 50 to 1000 people
Cultural spaces in around the venue for continuous and spontaneous activities
Organised cultural spaces for events such as theatre (proscenium and street), music, folk form in dance and music, poetry recitations, etc.
8 concurrent spaces for films ranging from capacity of 50-200
Spaces for living display of crafts
Spaces for dialogue and alliance building
Testimonials and voices of resistance: 6-8 per day

The organisers will confine themselves each day to the conference (of 15-20,000 people) and 1 round table and debate and dialogue event (of 4,000 people), i.e. organise eight events apart from the opening and closing plenary and the testimonials every day. As described earlier the overall focus of events will be informed by the basic issues related to imperialist globalisation, communalism (religious sectarianism and fundamentalism), casteism & racism (oppression and exclusion based on descent and work), patriarchy and militarism.

All other events, including 200 seminars and workshops every day and three panel discussions every day (i.e. about 800 seminars of varying sizes and 12 panel discussions for 3-4,000 people each throughout WSF 2004) will be self-organised, with the WSF organisers providing space and facilities. While considering the self-organised part of the program, it is clear that there may be demands on more than 200 spaces per day. It has been observed by many that the seminars and workshops quite often have a similarity of themes. Should participant organisations collaborate with each other it could enhance the quality of programmes and facilitate alliance building as well. It is therefore proposed that registration for self-organised events be closed by 1st November 2003 so that the participating organisations can identify, through the website, other organisations that have proposed similar events and work out alliances and partnerships. The WSF will facilitate this process but although in the first instance the initiative for drawing up collaborations between organisations registering events. This would also leave room for those organisations that miss the deadline for registration. These organisations too could combine with others that have already proposed similar events. If there are conflicts over spaces, i.e., the spaces are less in number than the number of events proposed, then the selection would be based on the following criteria:

Diversity of the groups proposing the topics
Balance of various topics
Global perspective

Panels that are being organised by other organisations will also be based on the same criteria for selection amongst various proposals. Subgroup may be formed in the IC along with the India Program Committee and International Secretariat for this negotiating and finalising proposals.

The broad proposal, in terms of a daily time-table, is for panels to be organised in the mornings, seminars and workshops in the afternoon, conferences in the evening and cultural programmes for most of the day. Film festivals, cultural programs, exercises in alliance building, the Youth Forum and other activities will run concurrently with the rest of the events.

Summary of Events

Events Numbery
per Day
Number of attendees
per event
Duration Time
Panels/ Round Tables (Morning) 4 4,000 3 hours 9-12 A.M.
Testimonials 2-4 4,000 1 hour 12-1 P.M.
Seminars (Afternoon) 200 50-200 3 hours 2-5 P.M.
Conference (Evening) 1 15,000-20,000 2 hours 6.30-8.30 P.M.
Cultural Events Events throughout the Day

Programme Themes and Sub-themes

The World Social Forum 2004 will be organized around the themes and sub-themes detailed below. The scope is provided in broad terms, a point of entry into the process of working out more elaborately the agenda for discussion to be proposed by the participant organisations interested in organising events at WSF 2004. The themes and sub-themes were drawn up through a consultative process that four meetings of the Programme Group, the Asian consultation of 1-2 June 2003 and written suggestions and comments from several organisations involved in the WSF India process.

The organisations that are interested in hosting events as a part of the WSF 2004 in Mumbai are free to add under each of the thematic area additional sub-areas and topics. Participant organisations are also free to consider even areas of discourse that cut across boundaries of thematic areas by organising a dialogue of their choice. While proposing events, participant organisation would be advised to go beyond academic discussions on the impact of globalisation by offering strategies of resistance and concrete alternatives to the various forms of capitalist globalisation and other forms of oppression.

The broad themes and sub-themes for WSF 2004 will be:

1. Militarism, War and Peace

US Militarist Agenda and Resistances
Against global and permanent war
Identities and Peoples Right to Determination
Growing militarisation of society; impact on women
Imperialist war and control of resources
Role of United Nations and war
Aggression on Iraq and consequences
Palestine: a continuing war
Building culture of peace
Genocides and crimes against humanity
Global disarmament and nuclear weapons
International law and war
Peace, well being and regional cooperation
Self determination and nationalities
State terrorism: Civil and Political Rights

2. Media, Information, Knowledge And Culture

Against merchandising information, culture and media
Media concentration and loss of pluralism
Media and the commodification of women
Sponsorship and Censorship
Alternate media
War and media – manipulation of images and « embedded » journalism
Art and social transformation
Culture of dissent
Role of culture: youth and the marginalized
Privatising science and knowledge
Community's loss of knowledge through patenting
Genetic Engineering, Patenting life forms
Access to knowledge for the third world
Information Technology: Opportunities and Challenges
Media as an instrument of exclusion and a space for democratic struggle (social audit of old and new media, changing content and form, state-owned media vs. public broadcasting)

3. Democracy, Ecological and Economic Security
Debt, finance and trade

Critical examination of the IMF, WB, WTO – Institutions of Capitalist Globalisation
Scope of selective de-linking with respect to national development
Breaking the power of financial markets
Politics of Aid
Illegitimacy and Burden of Debt
Bilateral and regional trade, investment processes and its impacts
NAFTA and other bilateral treaties
Fair trade
Participatory economics
Solidarity Economics
Agreement in Agriculture (AOA) and Food Sovereignty

4. Sustainable and Democratic Development

Land and agriculture
Privatising basic services: energy, water, transport and telecommunications
Livelihoods and Natural resources – access, entitlements, etc.
Climate change – Kyoto Protocol
Bio-safety and GM foods
Governance, accountability and peoples resources
Dumping of hazardous wastes
Peasantry and village economy under globalisation
Urban development and displacement of the poor
Feminisation of Poverty and immigration
Innovative models of sustainable livelihoods
Forests, Land, Air, Water: Democratic control of common goods
Regulation and de-regulation: removing democratic controls
Corporate Accountability

5. World of Labour and Work in Production and Social Reproduction

Creating and distributing wealth differently: monetary, budgetary and fiscal policies in favour of employment
Work and the logic of profit
Closing of industries, relocation of production and the trade union movement
Trade union movement and the informal and small scale sector
Migrant labour and protectionism
New technologies of product automation: impact on women and men workers
End of work and other theories
Abolishing the wage system: liberating workers or liberation from work
Valuation of social reproduction and housework
The trade union movement within the construction of the global social movement

6. Social Sectors - Food, Health, Education - and Social Security

Impact of service sector liberalisation/GATS
Entitlements, social security and the "safety net": ensuring universal access
Social Security, pensions and medical welfare
The marginalized and their access to social security and the safety net
Privatisation of and Merchandising health and education
Politics and agenda of population control and use of reproductive technologies
Food Security of communities and households and public distribution
Employment, Job Security, Pension Schemes, VRS
Reproduction, Health and Sexual Rights

7. Exclusions, Discrimination, Dignity, Rights and Equality
Nation, state, citizenship, law and justice

State, Civil Society and the disadvantaged (Dalits, indigenous peoples, religious/ethnic/linguistic minorities)
Changing institutional and legal frameworks for labour and peasant rights in the context of globalisation
Loss of economic sovereignty under globalisation
Privatisation, Liberalisation and impact on the disadvantaged
Rise of the right, legitimisation of majoritarianism and intolerance of minorities
Race, migration and citizenship
Effect of globalisation on legal and institutional frameworks of decision making
Militarising the state and erosion of civil liberties/human rights
Disability and discrimination
Trafficking in women and children
Refugees, displaced persons, IDP, cross-border migration, racism and human rights
Alternative visions, practical experiments and struggles for inclusive, plural and radical democracy
Autonomy, separation, reconciliation

8. Caste, Race and other forms of Descent and Work-based Exclusions

Caste, race and other work/descent based discrimination: exclusions in the market and in governance
Community/group specific (dalits, indigenous peoples, tribals and ethnic religious, national and other minorities): analyses of the new and emerging forms of exclusions
Gender related exclusions and 'double' exclusion of women from marginalised communities
Ending affirmative action in education and work
New voices in social movements

9. Religion, Culture and Identities

Communalism — Religious sectarianism and exclusions - and religiosity
Globalisation, homogeneity and pluralism
Cultural imperialism and shaping subordinate identities
Globalisation and cultural resistance
Fundamentalism and Sexual Identities
Re-enforcement of stereotypes

10. Patriarchy, Gender and Sexuality

Patriarchy and capitalism
Law and women: the global scenario
Personal, constitutional law and human rights
Women and men: from equality within the law to equality in reality
Against the sexual division of labour
Liberty of women within society
Forms of resurgent patriarchy
Right to sexual orientation: from claims for rights to the assertion identities

Events to be organised directly by WSF 2004


Opening plenary on 16th

Closing Plenary on 21st

Conferences (one each from 17-20th January)

The conferences to be organised by the organisers (each with a capacity of 15-20,000) would focus on each of the basic themes elaborated above, i.e.:

Militarism, War and Peace
Media, Information and Knowledge
Democracy, Ecological and Economic Security
Exclusions, Dignity and Rights

Round Tables and tables of debate and dialogue (one each from 17-20th January)
The Round Tables and tables of debate and dialogue to be organised by the organisers would revolve around the following areas:

The culture of Violence and the Global Peace Movement
Media and the Construction of Consumerism and Militarism
Challenges and New Forms of Struggle
Political Parties and Social Movements: Engagement and Tensions

Testimonials (from 17-20th January)

3 or 4 Testimonials could be organised by WSF. A similar number could be self- organised

Youth Forum

The Youth Forum will highlight and promote the significant role played by youth across the world in the global movement to assert that 'Another World is Possible'. It will define alternatives to sustain and defend the dignity, identity and democratic space of individuals and societies, and expose as well as oppose their violation, carried out on a global scale by neo-liberal and imperialist policies.

The Youth Forum will add value to the WSF in spirit, thought and action, not merely as a parallel event but with the objective to 'mainstream' the discourse of the youth.

10,000 delegates will participate in the Youth Forum out of which about 2,000 will be from outside India. The process of networking and mobilisation among international youth organisations has begun. The Forum will be open to all those who fall within the age group of 15- 35 years.

The major programmatic themes that are under consideration are: peace, security and overcoming violence, religious sectarian violence (communalism) and fascism, dalits, casteism and racism, patriarchy and gender, media and culture, health and education, human rights and child rights, globalisation and sustainable development, employment and livelihoods, identities and nationalities, indigenous people.

The forthcoming national assembly of Youth and Students of India on July 5-6, 2003 at Mumbai will further consolidate the programme and organization of Youth Forum.

Cultural Events

A functional group on Culture is co-coordinating the various cultural events to be organized on each day of the WSF. These events will be designed to capture the flavour of cultural responses to the onslaught of neo-liberal globalisation and the politics of exclusion and sectarian violence. They will include various expressions of art and various forms of performing arts. Groups from all over the World will be encouraged to participate.

Film Festival

In the run-up to the final event in January, a four day multiple venue film festival between October and December is planned. This festival will disseminate information and create awareness about the WSF, complementing mobilisation efforts for the event. Short films focusing on the broad themes of the WSF from all over the world will be selected by a specially appointed committee and be made available to interested organizations all over India for organizing similar film festivals in their cities as precursor to WSF 2004.

The same package of films will be screened during WSF 2004. One suggestion under consideration is that each day can end with screening of an epic scale anti war film.

Stalls and Exhibition Areas

Stalls will be available for exhibitions and for sale of books, posters, souvenirs, food, and music.

Communications and media

A website and communication system has been put in place to deal with correspondence and list serves. This system will also provide a service for participant registration, booking of space for self-organised activity, accommodation bookings and general information. A regular newsletter will be sent out from July 2003 to aid the process of reaching out to organisations outside the WSF process. The communication and media group will also aid the mobilisation process with campaign and publicity material.

This group will work with the International Secretariat for international communications and publicity. A press conference will be held, in Mumbai, in mid-July, to formally announce WSF 2004. It is expected it will attract the foreign media from bureaus in New Delhi, which is home to nearly 800 non-Indian media correspondents, as well as those from within India. It is proposed that the press will be addressed by IC members representing each of the five continents and ideally representing different section of society apart from representatives of the WSF India process. In addition to this we plan a 'road show' with the IC members travelling to the three other big Indian cities – Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) to meet with press in these cities too. If possible WSF processes in continents other than Asia could also hold press conferences timed with the Mumbai one to announce the extent of their participation in WSF 2004. The IOC is also putting in place a media team that will work to foster relations with the media and the press in the run-up to WSF 2004. A full-fledged media centre at the WSF site will provide press briefings before and during the event.


WSF India seeks support from all the member of the International Council to assist in the process of raising funds. The total estimated expenditure for WSF 2004 is US$ 3.8 million. The WSF India puts high premium on self-mobilised funds and supports a careful use of finance. The activities included in WSF 2004 will be funded by the participants, organizations of India General Council, development co-operation agencies, and private foundations and through solidarity funds from all over the world. The exercise in budgeting for WSF 2004 has been to minimize fund requirement through use of the existing resources organizations in the WSF process and voluntary labour of organisations in the WSF India process. The financial estimates are based on the experience of the first three editions of the WSF as well as the WSF India's experience of the Asian Social Forum January 2003. All the same, the subsidies that have been possible from the state and local governments in Porto Alegre may not be possible in India although efforts are on to win concessions in water and electricity charges from local authorities and utility providers and state support in transport by bus and by train.

World Social Forum – India invites you to join the process of conceiving and constructing alternatives to globalisation.

« Another World Is Possible »

Let's Build It! |