Incredible scene as the WSF kicks off. This went on for hours. Tens of thousands of people marching and chanting and dancing in the rain. Carnival like atmosphere with political purpose.
Belem, Brazil, Jan 27, 2009
Tens of thousands of Brazilians and social activists from around the world opened the World Social Forum today, marching, chanting, and dancing through the streets amidst a torrential downpour that lasted several hours.
WSF Parade: Marching in the Rain
WSF Parade: Greenpeace
WSF Parade: Torrential Downpour
Greenpeace, Deforestation Zero – It’s now or now
WSF Parade: Joy is a form of resistance
WSF Parade: Our Planet is Not For Sale
WSF Parade: Marching in the Rain
WSF Parade: Global March of Women
WSF Parade: Amazonian Peoples
WSF Parade: Videographers Make Do
WSF Parade: Amazonian Peoples at the World Social Forum Parade
Nice WSF coverage by Bradley Brooks of AP, accurate and on target:
“BELEM, Brazil (AP) — Some 100,000 activists of all stripes converged on this steamy Amazon city Tuesday, opening the World Social Forum with a rambunctious march to the beat of samba drums”
‘Citing the “complex, urgent and global threat of climate change,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today appointed a special envoy for climate change [Todd Stern], who will lead the United States in international climate negotiations…
The appointment caps off a day of aggressive environmental moves by the Obama administration. Together they signal a sharp break from the Bush administration, which took little action to mitigate climate change.’
Todd Stern coordinated the Clinton administration’s Initiative on Global Climate Change from 1997 to 1999, acting as the senior White House negotiator at the Kyoto and Buenos Aires negotiations.
“At a news conference on Monday, Mr. Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to consider immediately California’s application to set its own rules on greenhouse-gas emissions from cars and trucks. Mr. Bush had rejected that application.”
The New York Times skims sour milk off the surface of the World Social Forum, focusing on Brazil leadership issues rather than catching the renewed significance of the world’s largest anti-neoliberalism event at a time when the neoliberal economic model itself is in extreme crisis.
“When groups critical of globalization decided three years ago to organize a World Social Forum as an alternative to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this seemed a logical place to gather. Brazil’s Workers Party, one of the main sponsors of the event, was in power here and considered the state of Rio Grande do Sul an ideal showcase for its brand of ”post-Marxist” democracy and social revolution.”
“PRETORIA, South Africa, Jan. 26 (UPI) — South Africa and Denmark signed an agreement to work together on wind power.”
“South Asia has a cloud over its head — an unpleasant, unhealthy and climate-affecting soup of sooty haze that envelops the region, particularly in winter….
Orjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University in Sweden and colleagues have now removed the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the brown cloud. Burning of biomass, they report in Science, is the greater culprit.”
Critical view of carbon trading and the CDM – Clean Development Mechanism, as seen in hydroelectric projects in China:
“The AP has found that hydroelectric projects, whose climate impact is most widely questioned, have quickly become the No. 1 technology in the CDM, and China in particular is rushing in to capitalize.
The Chinese now have at least 763 hydro projects in the CDM approval pipeline and are adding an average of 25 a month. By 2012, those projects alone are expected to generate more than 300 million “certified emission reductions,” each supposedly representing reduction of one ton of carbon dioxide. Even at recent depressed market prices, those credits would be worth $4 billion.”
Today registration was open for the World Social Forum in Belem, the cost being 30 Reais (~$13 US) for those from the geopolitical North. Yes, world travelers, bring your passports for registration. At this point of early registration the vast majority are Brazilians, though as the official opening draws near expect a more international crowd.
The event is taking place at two conjoined universities in a jungle amazon river edge setting on the Northern edge of Belem, “The Federal University of the Rural Amazons” and “Para Federal University”. Expect a lot of long distance walking to are fro events, careful venturing off the roads as there is thick fresh mud to be avoided, and also red fire ants.
The crowds moving through the registration hall.
Some tents going up for locals.
Larger structures still going up all over the place…
A group of Brazilian Christians was out on colorful display at an early parade at the WSF site. I didn’t really get this, no political signs, just Bible verses. But I must admit they knew how to party.
To the question – “what are you doing here?” one marcher replied “bringing Jesus to save the world”. Well, I suppose everyone pretty much agrees on that goal – and we’ll be sure to ask around for other possible solutions to the how to save the world question in the coming days.