2005 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre

Thursday, January 27, 2005

PORTO ALEGRE-RS, Brazil — The fifth World Social Forum (WSF) has kicked off in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. The Forum is back in its original home, Porto Alegre, after last year being held in Mumbai, India. The event was opened January 26, 2005 and it is scheduled to continue until January 31.

The World Social Forum is an annual meeting organized by left organizations, mainly from Brazil. It discuss strategies to fight back against the neo-liberalism, capitalism and imperialism. According to the organizers "The World Social Forum is an open meeting place where groups and movements of civil society opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism, but engaged in building a planetary society centred on the human person, come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action."

Just under 6000 different groups and organizations will participate in the six day event which joins discussions, protests and festivals.

Both the Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez are to be guests at the forum; however the reception of the two leaders is set to be quite different. Da Silva (commonly referred to as Lula) has faced criticism from the leftists set to make up the majority of participants at the forum due to the allegedly weak results of the government social politics and the way the government conducts the Economy. This is in stark contrast to the reception that he received at the 2003 forum (also in Porto Alegre), where he was hailed as a hero.

Hugo Chávez on the other hand is set to receive a warmer welcome for enforcing a 2001 law allowing for the expropriation of idle agricultural land from large estates. However, the government of Venezuela has also received criticism for what some feel to be intimidation of journalists and other anti-democratic acts.

This year the event has been tarnished by the Brazilian journalist Políbio Braga, who alleges illicit negotiations between the World Social Forum and GP Equipamentos Elétricos Ltd, a Brazilian company contracted to work on the infrastructure for the forum. He also accuses the Brazilian government of trying to stop the police investigation into the matter.

In 2006 the forum is scheduled to be held in Venezuela and/or simultaneously in different cities around the world.


  • World Social Forum (archived from the original on October 6, 2010 via the Internet Archive).