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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 12:35 PM


World Social Forum 2012

By liberation theologist Frei Betto

Porto Alegre will host, on 24-29 January, the World Social Forum (WSF) centered on the theme "capitalist crisis - social and environmental justice." The event is one of the preparatory activities of the Peoples' Summit of Rio +20, which will meet in the Marvelous City between June 20 and 21, 2012.

The WSF takes place at a time when many people move for freedom and democracy, as in the Arab world. In the West, the crisis of capitalism gives rise to the Occupy Wall Street movement. What the two demonstrations have in common is not clear as to what they want without having made, however, any viable alternative proposals.

Last 15th of October, there were mobilizations in almost 1,000 cities in 82 countries! In the Andean world, indigenous people question the capitalist model of development and rescue the values ​​of right living - sumak kawsay.

As a result of the incompetence of a system that prioritizes private accumulation of wealth at the expense of human, social and environmental rights, capitalism now knows a new crisis. Before it, the reaction of those in power is the one-note samba: austerity, cuts, tax increases and unemployment, flexible labor laws, wage freezes.

Save the banks and to hell with the people! More misery in sight, youth with no prospect for the future are sentenced to drugs, crime and disorderly migration flows.

On the side of hope, and after three decades of neoliberal global colonization, the demonstrations indicate positive values ​​such as empathy for the suffering of others, solidarity, defense of equality, the search for justice, recognition of diversity and environmental preservation. Without this ethical universe, there is no possible hope to build another world.

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