Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Many struggles, one movement

Tag Archives: Arab Spring

Cindy Wiesner at World Social Forum Opening Ceremony

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Gilberto Gil performs at the World Social Forum opening ceremony

World Social Forum Interview – Hiba Laameri

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Hiba Laameri is a 15-year-old Tunisian girl who attended the World Social Forum. Below is the lightly edited transcript of a short conversation with her after she participated in one of the sessions.

I am 15 years old I am here in the forum because it’s a beautiful opportunity and I might not get it again. It’s in my country – I might not get to travel in the future to go to the forum.

I like to read. Really, I love books. You would always see me carrying a book around, reading it. I read all kinds of literature, I watch a lot of movies and my favorites are documentaries. I don’t know if that’s common at my age but I love documentaries and whenever I hear about some subject I am really curious I want to know more about it. And I see that my peers may not enjoy that, but you have no idea how much I enjoy knowing more.

It’s inspiring to see all these people and it just really inspired me because I’ve always been a person to see what’s wrong and I’ve always thought to myself, “Why wont somebody do something about that?” And these days at the Forum I realized I was somebody. Everyone here, we’re somebody. We should just get together and work, spread awareness of our causes, work together.

I don’t think the revolution in Tunisia is doing so well. We have our freedom, we can speak: an event like this would not have been possible in Ben Ali’s time. But capitalism is still there, imperialism is still there. Nothings changed socially, economically, culturally. Nothing has changed except we have more freedom and Ben Ali’s changed and now he’s been replaced by some other people who are carrying on the same international policies.

Here at the World Social Forum, it’s an anticapitalist movement. I am aware that I cannot expect this country to change on it’s own because we can’t survive as an anticapitalist nation in a capitalist world. You have to all change together. But I’d like to see them start, I’d like to see the beginning of  policy changes. I’d like to see them building for something new, rather than continuing the same thing that is already wrong.

As for the Arab Spring, it’s a good beginning because people are seeing that something is wrong. Maybe they haven’t realized exactly what is wrong but at least some people are trying. And it feels so good to see everyone gathered here and see that they are aware that we need change. I am more hopeful now, from having been here.

World Social Forum Interview – Samir Amin

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Below is a lightly edited excerpt from a conversation with Marxist Economist Samir Amin during the World Social Forum in Tunisia. He answered questions about the continued relevance of the World Social Forum, and the current state of the Arab Spring.

Those who come to the World Social Forum are those who are able to pay for it, and therefore it makes a selection which excludes, unfortunately, many of the movements which are in struggle, of organizations, classes, which are in struggle here or there. And which of course are perhaps sometimes more important than the extent that they are reflected by the number of intellectuals that come here or not.

I have written on the subject of the Arab Spring. Even a book, that you can find in English, which was published last year. But I would say what has happened should be no surprise. That is, there was a gigantic, popular, movement. I am referring  particularly of Tunisia and Egypt – the other countries’ conditions are very different – a gigantic, popular, movement which got rid of the dictators Ben Ali and Mubarak, but not of the regime, not of the system. And the outcome of this first stage has been expressed, you can read it on all the walls of Cairo for the past six months: “The revolution has not changed its system, but it has changed the people.” The refers to the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood, who are in power in both countries, are just continuing the same system, exactly the same system. Nothing has been changed. The same so-called liberal policy, the same submission to imperialism, the same social disaster. Everything is continuing, under the so-called democracy. And this democracy is seriously menaced in both countries by the monopoly power of the Muslim Brotherhood. They seized this power through going forward with fast elections. While the transition should have been what the movement wanted, a longer transition, in order for this movement to be able to organize itself.

But the overthrow of Mubarak and Ben Ali has changed the people. In the sense that the people now, who have proved to themselves their capacity to overthrow any dictatorship, will also get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship.