WSF, NGOs and the

Revolutionary Standpoint






Globalisation and the NGOs

A Brief Outline of the NGOs

The main aims of the NGOs

Formation of the World Social Forum

Character and aims of WSF

Reflection of the inter-imperialist contradictions in the WSF

What should be the policy of the proletariat towards the WSF?

In the first week of January last, Hyderabad witnessed a massive gathering of various organizations and individuals from different countries of the world who were supposed to be opposing Globalization. The event was organised by the World Social Forum (WSF) under the banner of Asia Social Forum (ASF). The chief sponsors at the local level were the revisionist CPI(M) and CPI. And some organizations belonging to the broad ML camp too took part in the ASF jamboree.

However, some revolutionary organisations, progressive organi-sations and individuals boycotted the event and exposed the hollowness of the slogans of the WSF and ASF such as "Another world is possible!" "Another Asia is possible!’. A parallel rally was organised by the Forum Against Imperialist Globalisation (FAIG) in the same week (January 4th) in Hyderabad which showed how another world and another Asia is possible only through the complete elimination of imperialism. It brought out the link between the imperialist funds and the WSF, the dubious stand of the ASF and its parent organisation, the WSF, towards Globalisation, and exposed the hypocrisy of the organisers of the ASF in trying to project it as an alternative before the people.

There were heated debates in the progressive and revolutionary circles about the stand to be taken towards the ASF.

Initially, there was some confusion even among the genuine revolutionary forces regarding the standpoint to be adopted. Though it was clear to everyone that the WSF and ASF provided no real solution for Globalisation and the basic issues of the people, some felt that participation would help in putting forward our views before a larger audience. Some others felt that we would be isolated by not participating in the event since a large number of progressive organisations and individuals were taking part in it. There were also opinions that the WSF should be regarded as a friend, that we should seek to forge a united front with it, that we should use it to focus attention on the ongoing state repression in AP and elsewhere, that one can interact with the various organisations and individuals by participating in it, and so on.

The confusion in the understanding regarding the nature of the WSF, its purpose and aims, its impact on the people’s revolutionary movements and class struggle was reflected in the various stands taken by the revolutionary and progressive organisations and individuals. This is also due to the lack of proper understanding regarding the role of the NGOs and the relation between the ongoing Globalisation, the various imperialist agencies such as the World Bank-IMF, and the NGOs. The active participation of the CPI and CPI(M) in organising the ASF had also lent a "Left" image to the WSF and created illusions among some intellectuals and progressive sections in society. The facts regarding funding by the TNCs and imperialist agencies to the WSF are being glossed over and even hushed up by the organisers and the revisionist parties. And with some prominent intellectuals in the forefront in organising the ASF (and now WSF), the event gains more credibility.

Since the bulk of the constituents of the WSF comprise NGOs, it is very essential to have a clear-cut understanding regarding the role of NGOs, the philosophy, politics and the aims of the WSF, and adopt a correct Marxist-Leninist stand. This is all the more important and urgent for the revolutionaries as the WSF is now planning to hold its next Conference in India in January next year and the city of Mumbai is chosen as its venue. This is the first time that the WSF is holding its conference outside Brazil and one must also understand the reasons behind choosing India for the event.

Globalisation and the NGOs

Ever since the onset of the present phase of Globalisation and Liberalisation in the late 1970s, and particularly since the collapse of the bureaucratic capitalist states in the Soviet Union and East Europe in the late 1980s, a new propaganda campaign with fashionable, radical terminology is being unleashed by international capital in the subtlest of ways. The vehicles of the new vocabulary are the so-called Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that have proliferated on a massive scale.

The new vocabulary of the NGOs is ‘empowerment’ of the deprived sections, ‘civil society’, ‘anti-statism’, ‘social justice’, ‘human rights’, ‘identity movements’, ‘sectional movements’, ‘self-help’, ‘community development’, ‘sustainable development’, ‘participatory democracy’, ‘environmental protection’, and so on. It is not surprising to see the same vocabulary in the documents of the World Bank, ADB, and other UN agencies and UN-sponsored World Summits. It may look paradoxical that the very same imperialist agencies that vigorously promote liberalisation and globalisation all over the world are also the ones promoting the concepts of grassroots democracy, empowerment, human rights, and so on.

But if one analyses the strategy of the exploiting classes we find that it is the most common thing to resort to both repression and reform simultaneously. While letting loose the worst type of massacres on the struggling masses, the same fascist governments also dole out funds for so-called welfare schemes, development activity, and so on, at least for a tiny section of the population. Worse still, they even talk at times of human rights violations by their own mercenary forces and set up human rights commissions.

And we have seen the worst massacres unleashed by the US imperialists in Afghanistan and Iraq recently while at the same time distributing food packets and other humanitarian "aid" to the victims of their inhuman bombardment. The same UN that authorises the use of brutal force to bombard territories in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq also sends humanitarian missions through its "aid agencies" supplying water, food, medicines, and so on. The same World Bank that displaces lakhs of people making them homeless and landless by constructing large dams, sets up organisations to fight for compensation and build homes for the displaced people. The same imperialist agencies that degrade the environment through incessant felling of the forest through various projects also set up NGOs demanding protection of the forests. And precisely in the same way, the imperialists who ravage the entire world through their policies of liberalisation and globalisation, also set up organisations like the NGOs to provide relief to the people afected by these policies. (The main purpose of course is to depoliticise and demobilise the oppressed masses). Even political parties are established by the imperialists among the struggling masses in order to provide a "safety valve" for people’s wrath as in the case of the Congress party in 1885 by the British colonialists.

However, the pace of forming the so-called NGOs has increased since the beginning of the 1980s coinciding with the phase of imperialist globalisation. The reasons are not hard to understand.

Globalisation as we all know is a policy of the imperialists intended to maximise their plunder of the world’s oppressed people, particularly in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is sought as a way out of their deepening crisis that had set in since the mid-1970s. The imperialists are aware that the process of globalisation is bound to be accompanied by mass impoverishment, unemployment, starvation deaths, debilitating diseases and environmental degradation at unheard of levels. It is bound to give rise to massive anti-imperialist movements on a global scale and armed resistance to the imperialist onslaught. The unity of the oppressed classes that inevitably follows can spell doom for the authors of globalisation—the imperialists and their comprador stooges in the Third World. The ongoing Maoist people’s wars will further intensify and will spread to new regions in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The working class struggles in the imperialist countries will deepen and a revolutionary crisis is bound to develop in these countries. The oppressed masses all over the world will look towards socialism as the only alternative to the present system of capitalist greed and exploitation that alienates human beings, and pushes them into the most miserable conditions of existence. It is this spectre of socialism being resurrected that is haunting the imperialists and all their running dogs ever since the collapse of the bureaucratic capitalist regimes in the former Soviet Union and countries of Eastern Europe.

In fact, with the collapse of these regimes, the entire imperialist camp was overjoyed and the reactionary media under their control wrote stories after stories on the totalitarian nature of "communist regimes", about the "crimes" of Stalin, and endless accounts of atrocities under the Communists that were supposed to have been dug up from hitherto hidden archives. This temporarily unfavourable situation for the revolutionary forces is sought to be utilised to the maximum by unleashing vicious propaganda that communism is dead, that Marxism has become outdated, that there is no basis for working class unity as the workers are divided and subdivided into various sections, nations, sexes, religions, and so on. Post-structuralism, post-modernism etc became fashionable trends particularly since the early 1990s among several left intellectuals who had lost faith on class struggle and working class dictatorship. The ideological offensive of the imperialist capital went on throughout the decade of the 1990s but began to fizzle out towards the end of the decade. The theoreticians and ideologues of the new theories trumpeting the "final triumph of capitalism", "end of history", "demise of Marxism and communism", "Identity politics" in place of class politics, and so on, began to be discredited as the crisis and the inherent contradictions of the world capitalist system deepened further with the brutal onslaught of globalisation.

On the one hand, the collapse of the bureaucratic capitalist regimes could not provide any worthwhile succour to the imperialist capital. And, on the other, in almost all these countries the old discredited revisionist parties came back to power rejecting the new dispensation of the Western variety. Intense struggles against imperialist globalisation began to take root in several countries and these began to acquire a global character. Further advances were made in the ongoing people’s wars under the leadership of the Maoist parties in Nepal, Philippines, Peru, India, Turkey, and elsewhere. Capitalism became further discredited in the eyes of the vast masses though socialism did not yet become the dominant ideology in the eyes of the world people who are yet to understood the full implications of the setback to socialism.

Growing working class unity and the birth of new Marxist-Leninist parties in several countries of the world shattered the myth of identity movements being the dominant theme in the contemporary world and that unity of the class was a thing of the past. All these developments unnerved the reactionary ruling classes in the imperialist countries and their comprador henchmen in the Third World.

Thus it was in such a background of all-round crisis of imperialism, the upsurge in the people’s movements worldwide, and the loss of credibility for the capitalist ideology, that the need for depoliticising the masses and diverting their struggles into peaceful channels became a pressing one for the imperialists in order to carry out their globalisation offensive smothly. NGOs were perceived as convenient tools for fulfilling this need. Globalisation thus provided the basis for the mushrooming of the NGOs during the decade of the 90s and the beginning years of the new millennium.

It was in Latin America where globalisation was first thrust on the countries during the 1980s and where the people’s struggles against it became quite sharp that the proliferation of the NGOs could be seen the most. In Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru the policies of liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation played havoc with the lives of the people. Most of the assets were privatised resulting in massive unemployment and poverty. The scrapping of subsidies and welfare programmes brought mass revolts against the ruling classes by the middle of the 90s. The IMF riots in Venezuela, the general strikes of workers in Bolivia, the Zapatista rural rebellion in Mexico, the indigenous people’s revolts in Brazil, the urban uprisings in Caracas and cities of Brazil and Argentina, and, most particularly, the Maoist movement in Peru, made the imperialists jittery. They began to increase their so-called aid to these countries and also promote the setting up of more and more NGOs besides simultaneously unleashing the most brutal repression on the rebellious masses. For instance, as noted by James Petras, while there were about a 100 NGOs in Bolivia in 1980, they increased to 530 by 1992. They received an amount of $738 million in 1991 from the World Bank and the various imperialist governments with the claim of eradicating poverty that had reached horrendous levels due to globalisation.

According to a report released by the OECD (The organisation of the richest 24 countries in the world which had later admitted Mexico and Turkey too) in 1989, there were 4000 NGOs in the member countries. They spend about $3 billion (around 15,000 crore) every year. There were some 50,000 NGOs in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America according to an estimate in 2000. The annual budget of these NGOs is around 40,000 crores of rupees. These are actually underestimates. The number of NGOs actually runs into lakhs.

For instance, in India alone, as on March 31, 2001, the number of NGOs registered under the FERA were 22,924, which again is a gross underestimate of the actually existing number. They received an amount of Rs. 4535.23 crores of foreign funds increasing by more than 15% over the preceding year. The NGOs in Delhi received the highest amount followed by Tamilnadu and AP. The highest share in these grants was contributed by the US followed by Britain and Germany. Besides, the Indian government too had allotted funds to the tune of a few hundred crores in consecutive Five Year Plans to the NGOs with the claim of promoting social services and micro-level planning. And the various state governments have been using the NGOs for carrying out their so-called reform schemes in their respective states. As a result thousands of NGOs have cropped up in some states like Jharkhand, Chathisgarh, Tamilnadu, AP, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi and so on. In fact, it is the World Bank that is directly instructing the governments to implement the welfare and development schemes through the NGOs. And most of the World Bank-aided projects in the Third World have the involvement of the NGOs. This fact was brought out in an official document of the Word Bank itself. Entitled "The World Bank and Civil Society" (September 2000), it states: "More than 70% of the projects supported by the World Bank that were approved in 1999 involved non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society in some manner."

A Brief Outline of the NGOs

The term Non-Governmental Organisations is actually a misnomer. The NGOs are financed and directed by the various imperialist agencies, the imperialist governments and the comprador regimes. They act as the liaison between the people and the governments. They are the vehicles through which the exploiters seek to influence the opinions of ‘civil society’. They are the servants of imperialist capital. Almost all the NGOs are directed by the invisible hand of the imperialists who set them up or fund them in accordance with their strategic goals. Huge funds are thus poured into the coffers of the NGOs in the name of development, social justice, human rights, grassroots democracy, etc. In the past decade the World Bank and other UN agencies have been insisting that funds should be utilised through the NGOs. So do the various governments. With such huge funds at their disposal the NGOs act as elitist organisations completely divorced from the masses. Yet they focus themselves as benefactors for the people. It is estimated that hardly 10-15% of the allocated imperialist funds reach the needy people while most of it goes for the maintenance of the NGO establishments and the running expenditures of the so-called volunteer workers.

There are three categories of NGOs according to the type of functions they perform. The first category of NGOs are those that provide immediate relief to the victims of war, natural calamities, accidents, etc. These were the most prominent form of NGOs until the time of European reconstruction in the aftermath of the Second World War.

The second category of NGOs focus their concentration on long-term social and economic development. These came into prominence in Europe from the 1960s. In the Third World countries these NGOs are engaged in imparting technical training, in the construction of schools, hospitals, toilets, etc. They claim to promote self-reliance, development of local productive resources, development of rural markets, people’s participation in development activities, etc. They encourage self-help groups, micro-credit societies, and so on.

The third category of NGOs concentrate on social action. They talk of strengthening people’s capacities, releasing their inherent potentialities, enhancing the social awareness of the masses, overcoming the influence of pre-capitalist social systems, etc. These NGOs negotiate with the World Bank, IMF, WTO, and other UN agencies and suggest reforms, moblise people peacefully and build pressure on these imperialist agencies and the governments to bring reforms and changes in policies.

The first category of NGOs comprise mainly of Christian religious institutions like the Churches, though these are also present in the second and third categories of NGOs. Broadly, we can characterise the first category of NGOs as charity organisations; the second category as developmental organisations; and the third as participatory and globalist organisations. The first category of NGOs characterise the period of direct colonial rule, the second dominated the period of the ‘cold war’, and the third are active in the period of globalisation. Though there is an overlapping of functions in the case of some NGOs, their categorisation is made basing on the dominant activity.

It must be kept in mind that the functions of the NGOs in different periods are decided by, and accord with, the changing needs of the imperialists in different periods.

NGOs came onto the scene mainly in the 20th century though a handful existed in the 19th century. There were 344 NGOs in the West at the time of the First World War. The main purpose for which NGOs were formed was for propagating and spreading the culture and values of the colonial powers in the colonies along with collecting the necessary information and indulging in espionage activities. Hence they received the support from the colonial governments. The Missionary institutions like the Church were the main form assumed by the NGOs at that time. And these extended all sorts of support to the colonial rulers.

In the next phase following the end of direct colonial rule, i.e., the phase of neo-colonialism, there was a spurt in the number of the NGOs throughout the world. The role of American NGOs surpassed that of the European ones during this period. Since America did not have colonies, barring the Philippines, and since there was generally hatred for the other colonial powers in their former colonies, America could easily penetrate into these countries after the end of direct colonial rule. The strength of the US vis-à-vis the other imperialist powers that got weakened during WWII was an advantageous factor for the American imperialists. Hence along with American capital the NGOs too entered almost every country of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The most important factor that had acted as a catalyst for the proliferation of the American NGOs was the need to contain the ‘threat of communism’ that seemed to loom large over several countries. The ideological, political and military leadership to counter the ‘communist threat’ was taken over by the US imperialists. It may surprise us to hear that America had sent its NGOs to the Soviet Union during the famine in 1921 supplying food, clothes, medicines, etc. worth over half-a-billion dollars. The American Relief Administration (ARA) was the NGO most actively involved in relief work in post-revolutionary Russia. This was done after all the efforts of the American imperialists to quell the Russian revolution by supporting the counter-revolutionaries failed miserably. The American NGOs had also supplied food grains to Austria and Hungary after WWI to check the advance of revolutions in those countries and to wean them away from Bolshevism. The aim of the imperialist aid passed on through the NGOs in the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe was to strengthen the capitalist forces, push those economies toward liberal economic policies, and to create a good impression about US imperialism. There was, of course, the economic factor. For instance, the 5,40,000 tonnes of American foodgrains that were shipped to Russia by the ARA helped stabilise the prices of foodgrains in the American market while acquiring the label of philanthropy in exchange. The American NGOs also served as important vehicles for transferring the surplus foodgrains of the US to the Third World countries through such schemes as ‘Food for Work’, ‘Mid-day Meals’, etc.

There was a proliferation of the second category of NGOs in the US especially since the time of John F Kennedy. He declared that socio-economic development and political democracy were the two pillars of US foreign aid, as he considered these to be the real guarantee against communism in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Hence programmes of self-help, community development, technical training to the youth, literacy programmes, agricultural development schemes, etc were initiated. The success of the Cuban revolution in1959 in the very backyard of American imperialism and its tremendous influence on the countries in Latin America gave a sense of urgency to this task. The American ruling classes on the one hand unleashed fascist repression in Latin American countries through the existing military dictatorships and despotic regimes or installing them where necessary, while on the other initiated several reform programmes. The then Pope too called upon the Church in Europe to send at least ten per cent of the missionaries to Latin America to "help the people overcome poverty and misery" so as to counter the spectre of communism.

The way the NGOs operate in the countries invaded by, or attacked by the imperialist powers, that makes a mockery of the humanitarian aid, should open anyone’s eyes. In Vietnam, for instance, even as the US dropped bombs and napalm creating death and destruction on a massive scale, it deployed its NGOs such as CARE(Co-operative Assistance for Relief Everywhere), CRS(Catholic Relief Services), WV(World Vision), IVS(International Voluntary Services), American Red Cross, Vietnam Christian Service, and so on to provide relief and rehabilitation to the war victims in Vietnam. And in Afghanistan and Iraq we have seen how the most savage bombing by the US-led imperialists was accompanied by humanitarian aid. Bombs and bread were dropped simultaneously. As soon as a country is ravaged and people are killed, maimed and uprooted from their homes, the NGOs would step in giving the ‘healing touch’.

What is more ironic, the US Congress had amended its Act concerning foreign assistance in 1975 stipulating that aid can be stopped in countries where human rights were being violated. It was a time when the most notorious dictators were being nurtured by the US imperialists in almost every continent—a Pinochet in Chile, a Marcos in the Philippines, a Suharto in Indonesia, a Mobutu in Zaire, to cite a few. And the US itself was guilty of the worst violations of human rights through acts of direct aggression. The direct offshoot of this new policy was the rise of human rights NGOs which talk of human rights even as their masters impose fascist dictatorships.

The American NGOs act as sub-contractors for the government projects in the Third World. They serve as tools of American policy when compared to their European counterparts, the simple reason being the huge funding they obtain from the government, which has been more than 80% of their total spending. They work to spread the American influence, the American world outlook and the Western ideology in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America through education and training. Charity is the smokescreen under which funds from the Fords, Rockfellers, Carnegie and other TNC foundations flew to these regions. As the increasing dependence of the NGOs on government funds posed the danger of the latter losing their credibility, the US Congress had tried time and again to enact laws that at least 20 per cent of the funds should be procured by the NGOs from private sources by 1985. Later it extended the date by a few more years. However, even this clause had to be given up as most NGOs failed to procure the stipulated 20 per cent of private funds.

In the phase of globalisation, particularly after the collapse of the regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the NGOs have taken up as their main task the neutralisation of the ill-effects of globalisation and liberalisation. They are not against globalisation but want it to be implemented by involving the people or ‘participatory globalisation’ as a UN official put it. They campaign for globalisation with a human face, sustainable development, and so on. They create the illusions among the people that it is possible to reform the imperialist agencies such as the World Bank, IMF, WTO, ADB and others. Thus they try to dilute the wrath of the masses against imperialism and veer them to reformist ideology.

The main aims of the NGOs

These can be stated as follows:

1. They channelise the popular discontent along constitutional, peaceful and harmless ways by acting as ‘safety valves’.

2. They seek to divide the oppressed people into sections and identities thereby preventing the development of class unity of the oppressed classes.

3. They further seek to obliterate and obfuscate the class divisions and distinctions within the social groups and sections by advocating the unity of the oppressors and the oppressed on the basis of identity alone such as gender(women), caste (dalit), ethnic (adivasi), nationality, etc.

4. They try to instill the false belief among the oppressed that there is no alternative to capitalism and that capitalism has finally triumphed. They proclaim that Marxism has become outdated and communism is dead, and hence one should strive to improve the contemporary world by democratising civil society and promote ‘globalisation with a human face’.

5. They take up an anti-state stand, which looks outwardly attractive to progressive circles too. However, they try to accomplish privatisation at the micro-level what their masters do at the macro level. That is, while international capital lashes out at the role of the state in regulating the economy and wants the market to operate freely without state intervention (how false this is in reality is a different thing), the NGOs talk of self-help, co-operation, community development, and so on. The state is thus absolved of all its social responsibilities towards the people in matters such as providing education, health care, clean drinking water, sanitation, irrigation, employment, etc that are placed in the hands of individuals and private groups. Thus the NGOs make common cause with the imperialists with regard to privatisation. And they concentrate particularly among the poverty-stricken masses in the backward rural areas and urban slums. The backward areas inhabited by the adivasis are given priority for their so-called charitable work and development schemes. Through this they strive to neutralize the wrath of the deprived masses.

6. They seek to depoliticise the masses by talking in terms of non-Party activism. They claim that they are apolitical and call upon the masses to stay away from all political parties; that they should solve their problems themselves through self-help, cooperation etc. Thus, by advocating such a seemingly apolitical strategy the NGOs actually work to preserve the status quo and to retain the influence of ruling class ideology and politics on the masses. They pose themselves as alternatives to the political parties and try to replace the revolutionary parties by projecting themselves as the champions of the poor.

7. They seek to demobilise the masses by diverting them from the path of struggle and coopting the best elements into the establishment and reformism. They have succeeded to a large extent in rallying the left intellectuals to the side of capital while maintaining a progressive and even radical posture. With huge funds at their disposal, the NGOs have been able to attract and coopt the left intellectuals by funding them for attending seminars, workshops, conferences and involving them in projects and Institutes for research and policy studies. Hundreds of projects and Institutes are set up by imperialist capital all over the world that manufacture theses as per the requirements of the imperialists. By associating themselves with these projects intellectuals lend credibility to them and create illusions among the people.

8. NGOs serve as a medium to mould the opinions of the people, to create the ideology and illusions needed for the perpetuation of capitalist exploitation. They can influence the ideas of the people in a way that the state and the ruling class parties directly cannot. By trying to project themselves as selfless philanthropists and committed to people’s welfare, they seek to win the sympathy of the people. Their radical, anti-imperialist rhetoric and talk of development, modernisation, and grassroots democracy, democratisation of the civil society, social justice, anti-statism, humanitarianism and human rights, empowerment and so on, can dupe the progressive and even some revolutionary sections. Thus they create ideological mystification among the masses and pave the way for the smooth plunder by imperialist capital.

9. They act as tools of international capital for the colonisation of the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. They prepare the ground for the penetration of imperialist capital into these countries and create the conditions for the smooth operation of capital and extension of the market. By selecting the most backward areas for their work, the NGOs have succeeded in introducing market relations in these areas in the name of community development, promoting self-help groups, etc and actively promoting the imperialist-aided development schemes. They are actively involved in so-called development projects in almost all the countries of the world and particularly in backward tribal areas.

10. They seek to stall the advance of revolutions in the subtlest of ways and, where revolutions are victorious, seek to destabilize the working class regimes and restore the capitalist system. Hence the NGOs select the most backward, strategic regions that are the potential storm-centres of revolution for their work besides concentrating on the basic classes in the urban slums.

Post-modernists, who believe more in individual enterprise than the collective, talk in terms of identities such as gender, caste, ethnic and national entities and reject the very concept of class unity. And, having succumbed to political defeatism, they advocate the view that we have come to the ‘end of history’, that ‘there is no alternative to capitalism’, that reforming capitalism from within is the only recourse left to us in the given circumstances, and thus provide the ideological basis for the modern-day NGO phenomena. As several post-modernists were one-time Marxists, they lend credibility to the NGOs as progressive, and even radical, organisations.

To sum up, the NGOs are apologists for imperialism who cloak themselves in attractive language. They trade in people’s dire poverty and secure funds from imperialist donors or individuals abroad by showing the poverty-stricken masses from the Third World. Like parasites they live on funds acquired in the name of the impoverished women, children and disabled people; in the name of development; in the name of empowerment, and so on. They serve as ideologues for imperialism by justifying the penetration of imperialist capital into the countries of the Third World, and promote the vice-like grip of the imperialists over the economies of these countries. That is why the imperialists, selfish blood-suckers as they are, pour in huge amounts to form and nurture these organisations. Ford Foundation, Rockfeller Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, Heinrich Boll Foundation, and a host of other imperialist institutions pump in millions of dollars every year to maintain these NGOs. They fund every type of project, institute, study etc. For instance, the Ford Foundation has granted funds to numerous organisations and projects in almost every country in the world that had reached an astronomical figure of $ 8 billion (almost 40,000 crores of rupees) since its formation in 1936. It had commissioned research scholars and intellectuals to undertake studies on subjects that are of relevance for the imperialists. Also known as Non-Profit Organisations, these NGOs actually work for increasing the imperialist profits. Without a consistent and relentless struggle against these disguised imperialist agents and apologists, revolutionaries cannot bring the masses out of reformist and constitutional illusions. Lack of vigilance will lead to the weakening of the revolutionary parties and movements as witnessed in several countries especially in Latin America. These NGOs played no less a role in subverting the working class dictatorship in the former socialist countries and later the bureaucratic capitalist regimes in the Soviet-bloc countries by doling out Western capital, funds and ideology.

While the above is our basic assessment regarding the NGOs, we should also keep in mind that the NGOs have been able to attract a large number of progressive and anti-imperialist elements that are genuinely interested in social change. These elements have joined the NGOs attracted by the latter’s radical rhetoric and also due to the weaknesses of the revolutionary forces.

Some NGOs who work at the grass roots among the deprived sections of society have to necessarily take up the people’s issues and initiate struggles. Though these struggles are watered down ultimately there is potential to give these struggles a correct orientation through our active orientation. The limitations and the role of the leadership of the NGOs should be exposed through such intervention.

The outwardly anti-imperialist standpoint of some of the NGOs is actually directed not against imperialism as a whole but against a particular imperialist power or powers. The NGOs in Europe, for instance, adopt a radical posture towards the rapacious and aggressive polices of US imperialism; the NGOs in the US often adopt an approach directed against the European imperialist powers; the NGOs belonging to different countries in Europe adopt standpoints supporting their own respective governments and exposing other countries within the EU, and so on. A particular TNC within a country too can employ or fund an NGO to expose its rival TNC in the same country. Hence we should be extremely conscious when making an assessment about the NGOs and not go by their rhetoric or their proclaimed objectives that are quite often radical-sounding. Inter-imperialist contradictions are invariably reflected in the operations of the NGOs.

Formation of the World Social Forum

As we had noted in the foregoing, the decade of the 1990s witnessed a massive movement against imperialist globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation, first in the countries of Latin America and then throughut the world. As the imperialists were determined to carry out their plan for opening up every country to their globalisation offensive, they had also to think of ways and means to contain the people’s struggles against globalisation by channelising them into peaceful path. The massive demonstrations in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America that spread to the imperialist countries themselves by the end of the 90s as witnessed in Seattle, Prague and elsewhere, made the imperialists think of a worldwide forum to channelise this wrath into a manageable way.

The plan for WSF was first floated in the year 2000 by Bernard Casen of ATTAC. In that year, eight Brazilian organisations came together to form a Brazilian Forum in Sao Paulo. They decided to hold a conference in Porto Alegre where some more organisations joined them in March 2000. Later in June of the same year, they attended the anti-Copenhagen plus five conference in Geneva where several European organisations agreed to join the proposed WSF.

There were actually two parallel meets of the first World Social Forum in Porto Alegre at that time. The official congregation of the WSF consisting of NGOs could gather only 10,000 people while the parallel meet of WSF attracted more than 50,000 people. This fact, however, was suppressed by the organisers of WSF. Finally, the official conference of the WSF released an 18-point Manifesto.

The COB (Organising Brazilian Committee) acts as the International Secretariat of the WSF and is dominated by the social democratic trend of PT which is linked to its European counterpart—ATTAC (Action for Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens) The International Council is comprised of some 80 organisations, including ATTAC, Genoa Social Forum, a section of the Trotskyite Fourth International (Revolutionary Communist League), American Council of Social Sciences, Samir Amin’s World Forum of Alternatives, and the Communist Refoundation from Italy.

Among the French delegates to the Second WSF at Porto Alegre in Jan 2002 was a high-level government delegation sent by the French President Jacques Chirac and the Prime Minister Lionel Jospin that included six government ministers and four top presidential aides. Also part of the delegation was the mayor of Paris, three French presidential election candidates and the general secretary of the Centre-Right RPR. Then there was the Prime Minister of Belgium, and the ex-President of Portugal who had overseen the implementation of the neo-liberal policies in his country in the midst of fierce opposition from the working class.

With the presence of such a delegation at the WSF one can easily imagine the nature and the outcome of the debates on matters such as Third World debt, privatisation, liberalisation, etc. Needless to say, hardly anyone would take the discussion on these matters seriously since the delegates such as those mentioned above were the very ones who represented governments that fleeced the people of the Third World in the most rapacious manner. For instance, Charles Josselin, the Minister for Cooperation of France, is directly responsible for dealing with the foreign debt of the African countries. And France expropriates, in the form of interest payments, a sum representing over 60 % of the national budgets of the former French colonies in North Africa thereby pushing the vast majority of the masses of these countries to grinding poverty and miserable living conditions.

And the anti-globalisation rhetoric too borders on the farcical since it is these European imperialist powers that are vociferously promoting the globalisation and privatisation leading to massive job lay-offs of millions of workers in their own countries and forcing the Third World countries to open up their economies for unbridled plunder of their capital. The talk of ‘participatory democracy’ by the imperialist spokesmen as mentioned above is only a smokescreen to cover up their most brutal assault on democracy in their own countries.

Character and aims of WSF

Firstly, as we had seen in the foregoing, the WSF is a loose congregation of various NGOs, mass organisations and trade unions of the social-democratic variety, sectional organisations and groups, some Trotskyite elements and even mayors, administrators, ministers and local administrators representing the interests of imperialist plunderers mainly of the European Union. Such a hotchpotch congregation is the logical outcome of the politics on which the WSF was built. And the constituents, in turn, further manipulate the Forum to their ends.

What are the declared aims and objectives of the WSF? It says it is an "open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas....and interlinking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neoliberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism....." and that it "brings together and interlinks only organisations and movements of civil society from all countries in the world..."

The actual trap is in the key concept of "civil society" that transcends all class differentiation and lumps together capital and labour, oppressor and the oppressed, imperialist-backed NGOs and genuine people’s movements. This concept has become the most fashionable, attractive, and populist one especially after the setback to socialism. It is being promoted by the liberal bourgeois classes and also by the imperialist agencies like the World Bank and the United Nations. The concept of civil society helps to obfuscate the reality of the existence of classes, class contradictions and class exploitation. It preaches for a dialogue between the oppressors and the oppressed and to resolve the mutually irreconcilable contradictions in an amicable way, which means to give up the basic class interests of the working class for the sake of a few reforms. And for achieving this objective, the WSF will provide space for debate and discussion to both sides. That is why it invites the representatives of the governments and the associations of businessmen along with trade unions and other organisations involved in mass movements. But even on this ground the WSF is not sincere. Its hypocrisy is revealed in its attempt to prevent the revolutionary forces from participating in the Forum while inviting representatives of governments, bourgeois political parties and even of the UN. It had refused to invite the FARC of Columbia (thought it had expressed its willingness to attend the WSF meeting), the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (mothers of the disappeared in Argentina), or the Basque groups from Spain.

Point 9 of the Charter says that "Neither party representations nor military organizations shall participate in the Forum. Government leaders and members of legislatures who accept the commitments of this Charter may be invited to participate in a personal capacity". The room is thus made for the participation of the representatives of the ruling classes and the imperialists while debarring the revolutionary parties and military wings from attending the Forum.

The question that naturally arises is: How can the WSF boast of being a meeting place for free exchange of experiences when the experiences of committed and serious organisations conducting armed struggles are not even taken into account? How can it remain a body that is committed to fight neo-liberalism, war, all forms of domination and all subjection of one person by another when it rejects the participation of those who are fighting these in all earnestness? Its talk of the "means and actions to resist and overcome the domination" (by capital) while closing its doors to armed means of resistance only shows its true character of disarming the people and maintaining the staus quo. Point 13 of the Charter makes this very clear when it asserts: "the World Social Forum seeks to strengthen and create new national and international links among organizations and movements of society, that - in both public and private life - will increase the capacity for non-violent social resistance to the process of dehumanization the world is undergoing and to the violence used by the State, and reinforce the humanizing measures being taken by the action of these movements and organizations."

The WSF thus seeks to resist brutal state violence and the process of dehumanisation in the world with non-violent social resistance—the most Utopian of dreams. One wonders at the audacity of the authors of these principles of the WSF Charter to preach non-violent social resistance to the fighting people in the killing fields of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, Kashmir, Afghanistan or Iraq. Their means will end up, whatever their intentions be, in helping the ruthless violence and plunder by the Israeli Zionists, the Indian ruling classes, and the blood-thirsty American mercenaries.

The WSF proclaims that "the meetings of the WSF do not deliberate on behalf of the WSF as a body. No one, therefore, will be authorised, on behalf of any of the editions of the Forum, to express positions claiming to be those of all its participants. The participants in the Forum shall not be called on to take decisions as a body, whether by vote or acclamation, on declarations or proposals for action that would commit all, or the majority, of them and that propose to be taken as establishing positions of the Forum as a body. It thus does not constitute a locus of power to be disputed by the paarticipants in its meetings."

The above only shows the ineffectiveness of the WSF as a body since it cannot take any decisions that are binding on the members. It thus becomes a mere debating club that deliberates on issues but does not go into action.

Another point in the Charter of Principles of the WSF indirectly attacks the Marxian political economy and the Marxist concept of social development by saying that the WSF is "opposed to all totalitarian and reductionist views of economy, development and history and the use of violence as a means of social control by the State (what it means here is the socialist state—editors)."

Then it talks of upholding "respect for Human Rights, the practices of real democracy, participatory democracy" and so on. Its example of participatory democracy is the one practised in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul and, particularly in its capital, Porto Alegre.

Half of the organisations in the WSF are imperialist-funded NGOs. The Ford Foundation had given a grant of about $3,28,000 during the years 2001 and 2002 to the Brazilian Association of NGOs for conducting the WSF conference and seminar as well as for strengthening the International Council of the WSF as a policy-making body. (Of this amount $65,000 was granted to the Feminist Studies and Assistance Centre). These funds were alloted by Ford Foundation in the name of ‘Peace and Social Justice’. Thus in the eyes of Ford the WSF was supposed to bring in peace and social justice even as the MNCs and TNCs like his continue to plunder the world without any hindrance.

The facts regarding funding by the Ford Foundation were refuted by the organisers of ASF in Hyderabad when it was raised by some people. That this was a blatant lie was proved incontrovertibly by a critic who brought out the facts by digging them from the website of Ford Foundation. In fact, after the ASF conference in Hyderabad, the Ford Foundation had granted another $5,00,000 to the Brazilian Association of NGOs claiming that it was meant for the WSF conference of 2003. This is clearly mentioned in its website. Thus the denials by some of the organisers that the Ford Foundation does not fund the WSF is only meant to dupe the people.

Another important constituent of WSF—Oxfam—has a long history of being funded by several imperialist agencies. Oxfam or the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, was formed during the Second World War in Britain. It spread to several countries during the 1960s and 70s. Oxfam International is formed with 12 Oxfam organisations and have activity in almost every country in the world. In Iraq, it is involved in providing clean drinking water to the citizens after the American bombardment of Iraq’s basic infrastructure. It is well known for its lobbying with the UN agencies and various governments to bring about laws that will alleviate the conditions of the people. It claims that after its work in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, it had "become aware that the fundamental causes of poverty are to be addressed. As a result, development programming was directed toward self-realisation and community action". It claims to tackle the "root causes for poverty, social injustice and inequalities" (!).

The Heinrich Boll Foundation is another partner in the WSF. This NGO claims it is fighting for social justice, gender democracy, ecology, sustainable development, and so on. It is affiliated to the Green Party-a partner in the ruling coalition in Germany, has offices and networks in several countries of the world and runs several institutes such as the Feminist Institute.

The ICCO(Inter Church Co-ordination Committee for Development Projects), another partner of the WSF, is a Protestant NGO funded almost entirely by the Netherlands government.

ATTAC (Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and for Assistance to Citizens), one of the main founders and organisers of the WSF, was formed first in France in 1998 in the name of James Tobin, a Nobel laureate in economics and a fervent advocate of corporate "free trade". ATTAC was later developed on an international scale. One of its goals is the establishment of a Tobin Tax of 0.05-0.1 per cent on international transactions and the amount thus collected would be used as an international fund to aid in "development" and the "struggle against poverty". ATTAC thinks "another world is possible" through "better control over globalisation". ATTAC received grants from the European Commission of the EU, the French government’s Department of Social Economy, the National Ministry of Education and Culture and some local governments.

According to the daily Le Monde, "ATTAC and Le Monde Diplomatique received 80,000 Euros from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help them organise the World Social Forum."

And, simultaneously the same Ministry was whole-heartedly supporting George Bush Jr’s so-called "war on terrorism". No wonder, the spokespersons of ATTAC like Susan George, are the most vehement opponents of direct action in the form of big protests but also campaign for excluding those who engage in such tactics.

It is due to the financial support from these NGOs that the ASF could spend eight crores of rupees for its jamboree in Hyderabad.

While imperialist-funded Foundations and imperialist-backed NGOs are one face of the WSF, the other face is the social-democratic one. All these social-democratic parties—whether it is the Brazilian PT, the French ATTAC, the German Greenpeace, India’s CPI and CPI(M)—are vigorous champions of globalisation. They only talk of neutralising its negative impact on the masses or advocate ‘globalisation with a human face’. Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil, claimed to be building bridges between Davos (World Economic Forum of international predatory capital) and Porto Alegre (WSF). Hence he flew to Davos directly from the WSF meeting in Porto Alegre in Jan 2003 to impress upon the imperialist sharks to make globalisation more humane and advised the imperialist countries to do away with protectionism and promote ‘free trade’. He became a spokesman for so-called ‘free trade’ which had delighted the imperialist representatives who attended the WEF meet at Davos. The comprador character of Lula is further revealed in the deal he had recently struck with Bush even after the brutal US invasion of Iraq and butchering thousands of Iraqi people.

The CPI(M), the Indian counter-part of Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT), is actively implementing the World Bank-dictated policies in West Bengal.

Thus the WSF is a fusion of social-democracy and NGO social activism. It seeks to diffuse the struggle against imperialist globalisation, strives to seek alternatives within the status quo i.e., within the world capitalist system, rejects class struggle and opposes revolutionary violence, and acts as a safety valve for venting the wrath of the masses through peaceful channels.

That is why the ASF meet in Hyderabad was silent about the devastation wrought by the WB-IMF-WTO policies in India and more specifically in the state where the Conference was held. The brutal repression and human rights violations in Kashmir find no mention. The ruthless onslaught by the World Bank’s most loyal stooge in India, Chandrababu Naidu, on the people of AP and the daily killings of revolutionaries and their sympathisers in the state is glossed over. It is not that the organisers were incapable of understanding the link between globalisation and state terror; it is their political standpoint that had prevented them from spelling out the truth. Its slogan of "Another Asia is possible!" or the WSF slogan of "Another World is possible!" is vague and abstract, not addressing the question of what is the nature of that another world, what are the means to achieve it, and how is it possible to achieve another world without eliminating imperialism completely. But the rhetoric and the slogans of the WSF and the ASF are appealing to the liberal intelligentsia, the petty-bourgeois radicals and elitist sections of society who see no other alternative to capitalism and hence think of reforming it from within. It is also appealing because people are disillusioned by all political parties and the WSF poses itself as an alternative to political parties. The social-democrats strengthen these illusions.

Reflection of the inter-imperialist contradictions in the WSF

One should not be misled by the harsh words used by the WSF against the US. Its silence with regard to European imperialists is a reflection of the inter-imperialist contradictions as explained earlier. Even the anti-US stand is not anti-imperialist but only against some policies of the US. Europe has been a stronghold of the Social-Democratic parties since several decades. They have been wielding state power in several countries for long periods after the Second World War. As a result of the long history of working class struggles in Europe, and the spectre of socialism due to the proximity of the socialist countries in the aftermath of the Second World War, the ruling classes in the European countries had to accede to the demands of the workers and initiate several social welfare measures. Hence the workers in most countries of Europe enjoy better working conditions—shorter working week, higher pay, and better social welfare benefits—when compared to the workers in the US. Faced with strong resistance from the workers the ruling classes in the European countries are finding it quite difficult to push through the policies of liberalization, privatization and globalization with the same ease as carried out by the American ruling classes. Hence even some ruling class parties talk of ‘globalisation with a human face’, ‘sustainable growth’, ‘environmental protection’, or ‘protecting bio-diversity’, and so on.

The mouthing of these phrases is not due to any compassion for the suffering humanity or genuine philanthropy, but is meant to get an edge over the US in the cut-throat competition for the limited market. Hence these governments have been funding the NGOs, and some governments like the French had extended their support to the WSF. Most of the European NGOs adopt an anti-US stance but remain silent about the exploitation and oppression carried out by their own respective governments. This factor has also set the framework for WSF’s agenda of reform within the existing system. The politics of Social Democracy that has been a significant factor in European politics has become the dominant trend in the WSF too. The campaign of the NGOs against the deteriorating working conditions and living standards of the working masses in the US, against the protectionism practiced by the American ruling classes, and against the wars of aggression led by the US reflect the interests and the standpoint of the countries in Europe. Hence the close collaboration between these groups of ‘civil society’ and their respective governments.

The politics of the WSF is the politics of class collaboration. In the name of ‘civil society’, it attempts to bring together the oppressed and the oppressors into the same platform. Instead of approaching the question of Globalisation and war from the standpoint of the oppressed people, it tries to promote a pacifist approach and to give a human face to the terrible exploitation carried out by the capitalist class.

These facts were brought out by several trade union leaders of Brazil in their ‘Open Letter to the Trade Unionists and Activists Participating in the World Social Forum 2002 in Porto Alegre, Brazil’, that starts with the thought-provoking question "Is it possible to put a human face on globalization and war?" It says:

"The WSF has presented itself, since its inception, as a forum for "civil society." The very concept of "civil society," which is so popular of late, erases the borders between social classes that exist in society. How, for example, is it possible to include in the same category of "civil society" both the exploited and the exploiters, the bosses and workers, the oppressors and oppressed — not to mention the churches, NGOs, and government and UN representatives?

And further:

"The politics of "civil society" are today officially the politics of the World Bank. What is the content of these politics? Judge for yourself. The World Bank’s World Development Report 2000/2001 puts it this way:

"It is appropriate for financial institutions to use their means ... to develop an open and regular dialogue with the organizations of civil society, in particular those that represent the poor. ... Social fragmentation can be mitigated by bringing groups together in formal and informal forums and channeling their energies into political processes instead of open conflict."

"Could it be a coincidence that among the funding sources of the WSF one can find the Ford Foundation — or that the World Bank’s website promotes the Porto Alegre Forum?"

Exposing the hoax of the so-called ‘participatory democracy’ so vigorously promoted at the WSF gatherings and propagated by the media, the open Letter states:

"The World Bank has just created an international department charged with overseeing the implementation of "participatory democracy" in 26 countries. It has also translated, published and distributed the book "The Participatory Budget: The Experience of Porto Alegre," written by Tarso Genro [former mayor of Porto Alegre] and Ubirata de Souza.

Is this simply disinterested propaganda of the World Bank? Or, on the contrary, do the

"participatory democracy and "participatory budget" processes not, in fact, embody the above-cited strategy of "channeling energies" to avoid "open conflict"?

It goes on to explain how the so-called ‘participatory democracy’ and ‘participatory budget’ of Porto Alegre is a farce. It shows how it is only a small portion of the municipal budgets, which amounts to 17 % in the case of Porto Alegre, is earmarked for discussion and allocation by the assemblies of representatives of popular organisations while the bulk of the budget money falls outside any discussion as it goes to pay back the foreign debt and other expenses. And how even the meagre amount that is to be allocated by the popular organisations (civil society!) after discussion, is manipulated and who benefits ultimately from this, is also exposed in the Open Letter.

The signatories also stated why they cannot attend the WSF:

"We will not be there because we are convinced that the defense of the organizations that workers have created to fight against capitalist exploitation is contradictory with the politics of "civil society" — which dissolve the borders of social class. It is contradictory, moreover, with the politics of "giving a human face to globalization" — which, as we know, is not a phenomenon of nature, but rather the product of global capitalism. "Globalization" by definition necessitates the destruction of our workplaces, our jobs and our rights. Capitalist globalization has destroyed nations, democracy, and the sovereignty of the poor. It cannot be "humanized."

"We, who affirm the need to defend the trade unions as instruments of working class struggle, deny any legitimacy or authority to the NGOs to speak in the name of the exploited and oppressed."

The Second WSF also held a special session under the appealing banner "A world without war is possible". But it did not even have the bombing of Afghanistan in the agenda thus condoning the US-led imperialists for their barbaric deeds in Afghanistan and lulling the world people into passivity regarding the diabolic schemes of the imperialists, particularly the US imperialists, for recolonising the world. The Palestinian issue was discussed without going into the root causes for the problem, the Zionist expansionism and the imperialist support to the Israeli ruling classes, but went all out in stressing on the UN-sponsored "peace plan". The WSF aspires to establish a world without war not by fighting imperialism but by preaching to the imperialists and bringing pressure on them.

La Haine, an Argentine organisation, issued a fitting reply to the invitation to the Third WSF that was held in Porto Alegre again in Jan 2003. Entitled "We cannot participate in the Porto Alegre World Social Forum because we do not believe that another world is truly possible unless capitalism is destroyed", La Haine made a scathing attack on the class collaborationist politics of the WSF in the folowing words:

"Our relationship to the capitalists resembles the relationship that a herd of docile sheep entertains with an insatiable wolf pack. The WSF pretends to convince us that, somehow, we can change the skewed relationship into one of cooperation and equality; that the wolves will act like sheep.

"Those of us that maintain that wolves will behave as wolves will, that they are carnivorous and therefore will not stop feeding from their natural prey, well, they cannot participate in forums that, whether consciously or not, collaborate with the maintenance of oppression...."

It thus concluded the role of the WSF: "The Forum’s role, a well known one now, is to deactivate real resistance by promising changes that, appealing as they may seem, even in the best of cases, do anything to alter the essential injustices that we struggle against."

Thus, after the euphoria created by the Social-Democratic-NGO-establishment media over the emergence of an alternative to the present system of globalisation, war and neo-liberalism of the imperialists (and to which even some revolutionary organisations fell prey), we find a large number of progressive and revolutionary organisations in various countries realising the true character and aims of the WSF.

What should be the policy of the proletariat towards the WSF?

We have seen from the foregoing analysis that the WSF is basically an amalgamation of NGOs and social-democratic organizations, that it aims at maintaining the status quo while chanting radical rhetoric, that it strives to hush up class contradictions in society and in the capitalist system and promotes a non-class approach to the problems confronting the contemporary world in the name of ‘civil society’, that it strives to divert the people from militant revolutionary struggles by channelising their wrath and disenchantment with the system into peaceful ways, that it creates illusions on bourgeois democracy and that the ills afflicting the society can be cured from within by means of so-called ‘participatory democracy’, and that it seeks to replace the revolutionary political parties by forming thousands of social forums at various levels with vague programmes thereby leaving the masses leaderless and disorganised. An entire generation of rebellious workers, student, youth, women, intellectuals and other oppressed sections is sought to be pacified, neutralised and rendered impotent by confining these people to peaceful channels of protest. Thus depoliticisation and demobilisation of the masses by way of institutionalisation of their dissent, thereby rendering the masses impotent and disarmed in the face of the growing offensive by the imperialists and local reactionaries, is the inevitable result of the politics of the WSF. This poses a great threat to the genuine people’s movements and to the struggles led by the revolutionaries for the establishment of socialism and working class dictatorship. All this has to be exposed thoroughly before the masses.

Reaffirmation of the proletarian world outlook and the ideology of Marxism and communism among the various oppressed classes becomes a task that is all the more pressing before the revolutionaries. We must strive to break the ideological shackles placed by the NGOs and the WSF on the oppressed, educate them regarding the true character of imperialism and lead them into militant revolutionary class struggles to completely root out imperialism, feudalism and all the reactionary filth that is blocking the progress of the society. Various fashionable theories such as post-structuralism, post-modernism and their numerous variants that are attracting the intellectuals and the middle classes should be ideologically exposed. In this we must specifically target, ideologically and politically, the social-democrats, revisionists of various hues, and the so-called revolutionaries, who form part of the WSF and promote illusions on NGO-type activity. And in carrying out this task, we must strive to unite with all those forces that adopt a consistent anti-imperialist approach and a correct standpoint towards the WSF.

At the same time, we should guard ourselves against adopting a sectarian approach towards those sincere forces attending the WSF. Our approach should be one of unity and struggle — unity in so far as they adopt an anti-imperialist approach and take up people’s issues, and struggle in the ideological-political sphere on their non-class or supra-class standpoint and their reformist approach in fighting imperialism. We must openly express our willingness to fight unitedly along with those within the WSF if they engage in militant struggles of the people. We must keep in mind the fact that the WSF has been able to attract a good number of progressive organizations and individuals, who are disgusted with the alienation and dehumanization resulting from the inhuman capitalist system, are genuinely opposed to imperialist globalization and war and yearn for a radical change in the present exploitative system. We should not take the approach of condemning all those who participate in the programmes of the WSF. Instead, we must have a concrete programme to wean away these sections from the politics of WSF and draw them into the struggle against imperialist globalisation and war and for the revolutionary transformation of society.






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