The Rise of the Global Left: The World Social Forum and Beyond

Zed Books Ltd.
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Leading sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos makes an impassioned case for the politicisation of the World Social Forum, arguing that its full potential as a force for social, economic and political change can be achieved only by taking a stand against neo-liberal globalization, war, famine and corruption. However, since its inception in Porto Alegre in 2001, the World Social Forum has refused to adopt political positions on world events, preferring instead to provide a platform that facilitates cooperation between diverse social movements. Through a detailed analysis of the WSF's history and organization, he demonstrates that it has always been an inherently political organization, and argues that if the WSF is able to realise its potential as an institution for a new form of politics, it will become a global power to be reckoned with in the 21st century.
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About the author

Boaventura de Sousa Santos is Professor of Sociology at the University of Coimbra in Portugal and a Distinguished Scholar of the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a leading Portuguese social theorist and has written and published widely on issues of globalization, sociology of law and the state, democratic theory, social movements and epistemology.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Zed Books Ltd.
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Published on
Jul 4, 2013
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781848137745
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Since the end of World War II, global capitalism, spearheaded by US financial interests and backed by the most lethal military force that has ever been assembled, has consolidated its power over the world economy. In the past decades, especially, transnational corporations have tightened their control over national governments and international institutions. The imposition of free trade policies and the increasing privatization of social services have facilitated the accumulation of fabulous wealth for the owners of capital at the expense of working people and the environment worldwide. Contemporary capitalism now dominates every major sector of the world economy. The social and environmental costs of contemporary capitalism are prohibitive. The global megatrends of rising inequality and absolute poverty, political instability, and global climate change-all compounded and accelerated by this predatory mode of production-are adversely affecting the lives and threatening the future of every inhabitant of nations and the entire world. In view of these megatrends and the current global economic crisis, the conclusion that contemporary capitalism does not serve the interests of the vast majority of the people on the planet and is both economically and environmentally unsustainable, is self-evident. History offers harsh lessons. The political violence of the 20th century, which resulted in an estimated 200 million deaths and untold economic and environmental destruction, cautions us to work for socialism in the 21st century with every means at our disposal except violence. Facing the awful power and willingness of capitalism to coerce and corrupt, we must find ways to make soft power prevail. Clearly, a revolution is in order-it is time to place the socialist alternative on the national and world agenda.
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