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World Social Forum 2009: Taking on corporate giants

30 January 2009 - 12:35pm

Coca-Cola was one of the most inspiring and motivating of events at the forum. Lots of people turned out and packed a very hot room to hear about the crimes of Coca-Cola in Colombia and India. One of the most impressive achievements of the WSF is its ability to internationalise a campaign. When fighting the crimes of one of the most globalised companies in the world, the ability to link up and build a global campaign to match the reach of Coca-Cola is vital.

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World Social Forum 2009: Making connections

30 January 2009 - 10:12am

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One recurring theme of the week has been the unpredictable phone service. Despite this lack of instant communication it is amazing we were able to find people in such a vast place. Nevertheless this random system of meeting up in a crowd of 100,000 people isn't always successful. This morning we spent a long time tracking down War on Want's Colombian partners Cactus in a hotel across the city - and an even longer time trying to find a bank that would accept Visa.

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World Social Forum 2009: A very presidential forum

29 January 2009 - 8:58pm

This is the first time that the WSF has had four sitting presidents participating in one of its debate: Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Fernando Lugo (Paraguay) and Fernando Correa (Ecuador) were all in attendance. Each president presented similar statements on the need to build a new brand of socialism that works towards a new model of development in Latin America. The pillars of this new system were described in detail: it should promote Latin American integration; uphold the principles on social justice and gender equity; protect workers' rights; reject all forms of violence; and assume total responsibility for the earth and the environment.

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World Social Forum 2009: A lucky break

29 January 2009 - 7:03pm

While Dave, Ruth and Nadia had a productive and informative day running workshops, networking and sharing information, Graciela got an unexpected phone call which would change her day.

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World Social Forum 2009: Global meltdown

29 January 2009 - 5:45pm

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Dave participated in a meeting called 'a global answer to the financial crisis', which was organised by global and regional networks in Europe and Latin America as well as European trade union networks. The meeting was an attempt to bring together groups working on the financial crisis and to create a convergence of conclusions and concrete proposals for alternative models, with particular emphasis on global public finance. The main speakers were John Christiansen from Tax Justice Network, and representatives from IBON, Philippines and Bank Track in Geneva, UNAM and The World Council of Churches.

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World Social Forum 2009: Building a global campaign on mining

29 January 2009 - 5:13pm

Anglo American and the need for proper corporate accountability.

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World Social Forum 2009: Palestine workshop -- afternoon session

29 January 2009 - 4:34pm

wsf_workshopMost of the participants present for the afternoon session had not been to the morning session, so there would have to be quite a lot of repetition. Also, at least half of those present were students unaffiliated with any organisation or campaign. We therefore decided that it would be more productive to split the meeting, with organisation/campaign representatives discussing Palestine proposals and the WSF process with Stop the Wall in adjacent room and Nadia leading a Q&A on BDS and general session on actions to take on the issue.

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World Social Forum 2009: A hectic end to a great day

28 January 2009 - 5:20pm

We finally made it to the tents and events. We had been hoping to attend a meeting organised by Stop the Wall, the Palestinian Farmers Union and Via Campesina on the displacement of indigenous peasant people. We thought it would be held in the Stateless People's Tent, but instead found the World March for Women setting up their event there. So after a short rest we decided to brave the sun and made our way to the last corner of the site in search of our meeting. Despite the WSF volunteers being incredibly friendly and going out of their way to help, we still could not find the location. About two hours and three bottles of water (each) later, and just as we were going to give up, we saw a small sign by a small building marked 'Prefietura' - the place which no one could find!

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World Social Forum 2009: Break on through to the other side

28 January 2009 - 1:12pm

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After a bit of exploring we took the free shuttle bus to the other university campus where we first registered. We had little idea just how much more walking was in store for us. All the tents and buildings holding events were located on the other side of the campus and we had to walk through the youth camp to get there. As we walked past we had to remind ourselves that on the 'other side' there would be exciting and provocative seminars and meetings we had long been looking forward to.

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