RÁDIO CARTA MAIOR ESPECIAL
World Social Forum towards Mexico - January 2021
Listen now to two new interviews with WSF Councilors:
RITA FREIRE, from Ciranda of Shared Communication.
FRANCISCO “CHICO” WHITAKER, from the Brazilian Commission for Justice and Peace.
Members of the International Council of the WSF, which met in January in Porto Alegre and built consensus on the need to politically reinvigorate the Forum's process on a global level towards Mexico.
And be sure to read the article ''The challenge is to create new Democratic World Social Networks - A project based on the World Social Forum''. (Click here)
By Carlos Tibúrcio.
Carta Maior - a counter-hegemonic media that was born with the World Social Forum and has one of the largest collections of journalistic coverage on this process - now launches on its Radio a series of interviews and debates on the WSF Towards Mexico, scheduled for the end January 2021, in political opposition to the World Economic Forum in Davos and in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the creation of the WSF in 2001, in Porto Alegre. Get to know the analyzes and positions of members of the International Council of the WSF and the organizations they represent.
English (Automatic translator)
RITA - Ciranda / some highlights:
I want to thank you, Tibúrcio, and congratulate the Carta Maior for promoting this debate. I really think that the leftist media, progressive media, free media, should not shy away from discussing this process (of the World Social Forum) that for 20 years has managed to gather a diversity of forces, a diversity of voices, occupied with the construction of alternatives, with the resistance and with the confrontation of the systems of domination in the world.
The discussion on the next Forum was made in the light of a reflection on the current situation that really refers to that word that you used "confrontation". Because economic power, financial power, has long been violent against humanity to impose its interests. But at the present time, and with the use of much more powerful control resources, what is felt is that the limits and scruples have been lost to the point that, in order to reproduce, the system no longer cares about jeopardizing the existence the planet, the survival of humanity. So this limiting situation was considered by the Council as a factor in thinking about the role that the next Forum should have.
The challenges posed for the edition of the World Social Forum in Mexico, in January 2021, were actually brought up as conditions by the Mexican organizations themselves - and they are challenges that already arise for the preparation process. I think a condition that was brought up is that they do not want to be supportive, mere participants, nor do they want to be “outside” - they want to be at the center and be protagonists in the construction of the Forum, its content and its objectives. The other condition is that they do not want to be alone, that is, international organizations must be committed and engaged in making this edition a truly global event. And the third condition, which has to do with the role of this Forum, is that it has to be built to have an international political impact.
Another aspect to consider when building the next Forum is the importance of contact between social struggles and the accumulated experiences of the Mexican people. I think a very important characteristic to consider is that, just like in the entire American continent, colonizations were devastating, especially of the native cultures and civilizations that existed here, but Mexico managed, with all the suffering and all the losses, keep this continental soul, this indigenous soul, that is present in your daily life very much alive. And for resistance movements it is always very important to know this cultural and political vitality of a people like the Mexican. So I think that the Forum in Mexico will bring this possibility of contact with diverse political struggles and cultural characteristics that will enrich the global movement.
The Ciranda of Shared Communication is part of the International Council and, therefore, participates in all these debates and systematically contributes to them. As an organization that participates in the Forum, Ciranda has its agenda and its fronts of struggle, in which communication is the main one. We see communication as a strategic issue in social struggles. Ciranda was born together with the first World Social Forum in 2001, in Porto Alegre, at a time when the Internet was a factor of great hope, that communication could one day be democratic inside, horizontal, without hierarchies, without controls of capital.
Since its birth, Ciranda has had its priority agenda on the Internet. As of 2009, this agenda also became the World Forum for Free Media, of which Ciranda is one of the facilitators, and which has already held five worldwide editions. And all of this is always in dialogue with the International Council of the WSF.
Now, Ciranda - and you, Tibúrcio, is a fundamental part of this process - is committed to contributing, with the International Council, to making feasible a project for a new network that is being built with the participation of technology experts to connect the debates that happen in the Forum universe. The WSF is not just a worldwide event, it is a process and a forum for forums. This network should connect all these spaces where debates are held to build another possible world. And this project is moving forward. We hope that even Mexico already has something more concrete, perhaps a prototype, a first module of that network. It is being designed so that this connection can take place, as far as possible, with the protection of everyone's data and without the modulation or moderation of private corporate networks, which determine whether information should be propagated or whether it should be contained according to its requirements, interests or those of your customers.
So this is a bold project from the World Social Forum. It is a project of the International Council and Ciranda acts as a facilitator of this dialogue between the Council and the technological universe that is contributing with the necessary instruments to make it possible. This new network will make it possible to build, in addition to the Forum that exists in time and in physical space, a forum for forums in this digitalized universe of social struggles.
English (Automatic translator)
CHICO - CBJP / some highlights:
The decision that was taken by the members of the International Council who went to Porto Alegre in late January was more than timely. We resumed the holding of World Social Forums, after the last one we did in Salvador in 2018, as a world event.
The World Forum has a special role in this period because we are experiencing enormous crises in the world and these crises are becoming more and more acute. Among many, mainly climate change - which is possibly even determining that living conditions will not be available in many places on Earth in the near future - and the crisis of democracy due to the growth of fascism in the world - a process that can simply, nothing less, ending democracy as a form of civilized life for human beings in different nations.
We are living at a crucial moment in human history. So it is more than urgent and necessary to hold this Forum. We all continue to believe that another world is possible, as we said 20 years ago - in fact, this Forum will celebrate 20 years of the first World Social Forum. So we are all absolutely aware and fully believe that another world is possible, necessary and urgent.
I just hope that the other members of the International Council who could not be in Porto Alegre at this meeting, which were many, will receive the same message that we received going there, and that we are now relaying, that this Forum in Mexico is very important and we all need to strive to prepare so that it is not just another, bureaucratic event, done because it is done every two years, but a really significant event in the current World Panorama
And we will try to do it on the same date as Davos, on the date therefore when the owners of the world come together to decide how they will continue to dominate the world, and we will meet again, all those who think the world can be differently, to exchange ideas, exchange proposals, exchange experiences, carry out actions, learning from each other, trying to build a climate of collaboration, of solidarity, that extends long after the Forum, overcoming any and all competition between us, building the our union in our diversity.
So we are very confident that everyone will commit themselves with the same determination with which we who left Porto Alegre to make this Forum work more.
My organization is the Brazilian Commission for Justice and Peace. We will obviously transmit the invitation for more Catholic organizations linked to a liberation theology to be present at the Forum and we will, as a Commission, also build, propose activities that facilitate this exchange of information. experiences and facilitate mutual learning and mainly facilitate the definition of concrete actions with which we can face these enormous crises that we are experiencing in the world.
The challenge is to create new Democratic World Social Networks
A project based on the World Social Forum. The WSF International Council, meeting in late January 2020, in Porto Alegre, supported the elaboration of the new Network's Executive Project in the process towards the next planetary edition of the Forum scheduled for January 2021 in Mexico.
Carlos Tibúrcio (*)
Mankind certainly will not give up communicating through social networks.
At least until something technologically faster, comprehensive, user-friendly and effective comes along.
The problem is that existing social networks, with the participation of billions of people around the world, have already shown that they are not democratic.
On the contrary, they are essentially harmful to the interests of citizenship and violate human rights.
They use, as is well known, the personal data of all participants, often unaware of them, for illegitimate and even illegal purposes, becoming the most profitable multinational private companies on the planet.
In recent years such networks have been used intensively by the right and far right to circumvent electoral processes in dozens of countries.
Today there is already a lot of literature and research on this. Who at least watched the Netflix documentary “Hacked Privacy” certainly has some knowledge of this situation.
And you will remember testimonials given in March 2018 to the Fake News Committee of Inquiry in the Parliament of Great Britain, which investigated for 18 months the role of Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 Brexit referendum:
Two of these statements, reproduced in that movie:
“When you get caught in the Olympics by dopping, there's no discussion of how much illicit drugs you used. Right?
It is not said: 'He probably would have come in the first place the same'. Or ... ‘He only took half the dose.’
Does not matter. If you get caught cheating, you lose the medal. Because if we allow cheating in our democratic process, what will happen next time? And the turn after this? You simply should not win by cheating. ”
"Our electoral laws are not appropriate for this purpose. We cannot have a free and fair election in this country. And we cannot have it because of Facebook. Because of the technology giants that are still totally unpunished.
And in the end there were those who considered Facebook simply a "digital gangster".
The issue at this point, therefore, is no longer fundamentally diagnostic, although the vast majority of those within social networks are still unaware of the seriousness of the situation in which they are involved.
The question is what to do to address and overcome it.
I would then like to try to contribute a little in this direction by pointing out collective alternatives.
As one of the Brazilian members of the International Council of the World Social Forum, formed by over one hundred and a half of social organizations and movements from around the world, we raised in June 2018 the challenge of trying to build a new World Social Network based on the principles and the enormous capillarity of the World Social Forum itself.
The Brazilian members of the Council heard information technology experts from here and abroad and decided to invite Sergio Amadeu, a member of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee, to draft the technical part of the proposal. He accepted, assembled a team and developed the current proposal, along with representatives of the Shared Communication Ciranda at the WSF International Council, which I include myself, along with Rita Freire.
We know that there have been other attempts to build alternative social networks, both here in Brazil and in other countries, which did not achieve the desired success. This was certainly due to at least two reasons: the diagnosis of the harmfulness of private social networks was not yet sufficiently elaborated and a broad social base was lacking to enhance and sustain these initiatives.
The question of clarity of diagnosis is already largely overcome, as we have already discussed here. And the lack of the initial social base may be countered by the broad representation of the World Social Forum.
To attest to this perspective, there is a big recent news that may not yet be well known.
The creator and director of Wikipedia, the largest collaborative digital encyclopedia in existence, Jimmy Wales, announced just a month ago (29/10/2019) at the Digital X Fair in Cologne, Germany, the launch of a new Network, WT Social.
At the time, he said something like this: This network is being created because I realized that the problem of fake news and low quality content stems from both social networks (Facebook and Twitter in particular) and news sites. WT Social will allow users to directly edit misleading headlines and flag problematic posts.
The new network is still with a basic look, similar to Wkipedia, but it is already possible to register on it. On Twitter, Wales said he relied on massive community membership to "replace poisonous social networks." He promises that WT Social will guarantee privacy, will not sell participant data and will not accept advertising as it does not accept on Wikipedia.
This initiative by Jimmy Wales demonstrates in practice that the necessary and urgent path is the same as we are proposing to create new democratic world social networks, alternatives to private networks.
The objectives and functionalities of each network can be differentiated, but if there is a common grounding in the democratic principles that underlie them, convergences can occur within a certain period.
It should be noted that the proposal that we will summarize here is already quite mature. It was initially evaluated and refined at a meeting of the International Council of the World Social Forum in November 2018 in Mexico, which endorsed its continuity. Then, in June 2019, it was again debated at a meeting of the Council's Working Group in Bogota, Colombia, which authorized the preparation of an Executive Project for the new World Social Network. This project, depending on the resources approved in Bogota, should be presented next January, in Porto Alegre, in the context of the Resistance Forum, at a meeting of the International Council.
The Executive Project of the new World Social Network based on the World Social Forum should continue to be debated in the field of social and technologically specialized organizations, as its implementation will imply political decisions and collective efforts to make them viable.
Summary of the Proposal
Social network of debates of the WSF
For activists, activists and people who support democratic and progressive causes (reference: WSF Charter of Principles) worldwide, who have great difficulty to inform themselves and to debate the vision of the movements in the midst of private social networks that censor and take advantage of their data for profit and surveillance, amid fake news and low quality information.
The New Platform / World Social Network based on the WSF is a new type of collaboration and communication tool on relevant content among movements, debate circles, activism within activist communities, according to their interests and patterns of face-to-face and virtual events.
Unlike traditional social networks, the FSM Platform does not focus on individual profiles or the registration of friends, but rather on the contribution of groups (Circles), which produce content such as texts, debates, events supporting voice and audio, with the focus to move rapidly more relevant debates and forums on local or global issues.
But each participant of the WSF Platform around the world must have a unique ID, which will identify and enable registration at WSF events (if the WSF International Council so decides).
To function as an online and permanent version of the forums of debate and mobilization of the WSF, welcoming and organizing and making progressively available debates and contents of global activism.
Home Planet: public interface of the network, with manual and automatic curation (assisted by an algorithm of artificial intelligence) with audiovisual contents of quality and relevance in the universe of interest of the WSF, where users can comment, mark and save the contents and debates of their interest.
Action Circles: space for groups of activists who work in the thematic areas of interest of the WSF, where the group can make independent publications of texts, images, audios, debates and events, which can eventually be selected to feed the Home of the Planet.
Timeline: a personalized tool that allows users to have full control of the frequency, type and format of the content they want to see, being able to "Zoom" in time bands, looking closely at what was published in a day, or viewing a summary of the week, or month, with the most relevant content only.
Events Calendar: Simply summarizing events of interest to the user, allowing complete management of events of the Action Circles even with limit of vacancies and confirmation of participation
Artificial Intelligence: counting on an algorithm that learns with the tastes of the users and suggests content, circles and events based on research interests, readings and participation
Audio Editor: allowing you to cut, insert effects, background music and other resources so that Circles of Action can express themselves more naturally, including indigenous and peripheral communities , giving accessibility, with the ability to automatically recognize and convert to text.
to increase impact in the digital universe
Differential: There are several platforms to organize actions, petitions, or votes. It is not the goal of this project. This is a complete platform in which WSF circles, local and global, organize actions and debates. She is also a content producer and curator.
Artificial Intelligence: using the latest in artificial intelligence to improve the user experience and deliver relevant and filtered content to the individual profile, enhancing the masses of data produced.
Holochain: state-of-the-art cryptographic open source technology that enables security, validation, high performance and maximum traceability of data without relying on centralized databases.
Distributed hosting: to ensure the security, resiliency and inviolability of user data, hosting will be distributed in a distributed cloud system offering maximum privacy and cost optimization.
Progressively and integrated by common protocols, with autonomy of management in each circle (in several countries / continents) and possibility of intercommunication with initiatives already existing in the field of the Forum around the world.
This is the summary of the new World Social Network proposal based on the World Social Forum as it stands today.
It is not difficult to imagine the benefits that such alternative networks could bring to the communication of democratic, popular and progressive governments with society around the world.
(Base text for the presentation given at the Seminar “The Challenge of Communication in Public Administrations”, promoted by the Barão de Itararé Alternative Media Studies Center, with the support of the Bahia State Government, held on November 29 and 30, 2019 , in Salvador, Bahia.)
(*) Carlos Tibúrcio.
Journalist, editor of the Carta Maior Portal, member of the Ciranda of Shared Communication, member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, former Coordinator of the Speech Team of the Presidents of the Republic of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff (2003 - 2016 ).