People's Struggles, People's Alternatives is the theme of the
World Social Forum in Nairobi, a theme, which certainly is of
relevance to antimilitarists and pacifists. And a theme, that is also
very relevant in the African context, where people struggle against
neo-colonial exploitation, and against war and violence.

Since the beginning of the World Social Forum process in 2001,

antimilitarists and pacifists have remained more on the sidelines of
this process, thus missing the opportunity to engage in a debate with
movements from all over the world. Certainly, there are differences
of opinion, of strategy, and most importantly often a differing view
on the use of violence. While we should stand firm in our commitment
to pacifism and antimilitarism, we still have a lot to learn from other

movements – but also a lot to give.

Nonviolence has a huge repertoire of tools and experience in
practicing real grassroots democracy, empowering people, and building

This experience – often derived from anarchism and feminism – is
valuable for the World Social Forum process, which struggles with
issues such as participatory democracy, decision making and others.
Not that we have all the answers – far from it – but we can
contribute our valuable experience.

We think it is now not the time to sit on the fence and criticise the

WSF and other movements from a purist perspective. It is time to
engage with other movements, to use the space provided by the World
Social Forum – not uncritically – in order to be part of the
development of new

alternatives and new strategies to change the world. Because change –
radical, revolutionary change – is needed, if we want to break out of
the cycle of violence, poverty, environmental destruction, and
potential nuclear overkill.

Andreas Speck & Javier Gárate

WRI Office

Programmes & Projects

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