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World Social Forum

I enter this experience with a predisposition of hope and positivism. I fly a flag of high expectations and wish not to be let down. However, things here at the WSF are not quite as I assumed. The forum seems to be plagued by a prevalent sense of disorganization and convolusion. I do not write this to whine, or to entirely criticize this ambitious and noble project. Without this massive convergence of people from spots all over the world, I would not have stumbled across the dozens of inspired and inspiring youths with whom I have conversed about everything from politics to psychedelic transcendental experiences to the shortage of vegetarian food. I value this greatly. Nonetheless, the notable lack of organization here is undeniable. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, there is an extended and tangential debate currently transpiring over the possible relocation of the youth camp. Two locations currently exist and there seems to be a bit of a competition for primary youth camp status. This means that, in the relentless rain and troublesome mud, we may have to move down into the stuffy exhaust of the city, out of the luxuriant green of the mountains surrounding caracas. All I really want is a coherent and reasonably centralized place in which to converse with people from countries far and wide, a place conducive to the kinds of interactions I came here for. Hopefully things will settle down a bit, and the vivacity of the youth camps will emerge from its timid and troubled hiding place.

Today was the first day of the actual forum. I went to three lectures, one of which was in spanish, despite the programs indication that is would be translated. This, of course, hindered my ability to comprehend the depths of its offerings. I left early. On to a small school room with undersized chair-desk units and windows lining its eastern wall, overlooking the giant red fiberglass coffee cup which rests on the roof of the Nestle headquarters. A short, neanderthalic man from Canada conducted a slow and monotonous lecture on the necessary relationship between urban and rural permaculture (sustainable agriculture and environmental engagement) and political activism. He maintained that the two could not be separated. However, after two hours of typical disenfranchised conspiracy theorist talk he had still not uttered the word permaculture once. So I left that as well.

Sorry this is so discouraging. In the end, it is not. I had a day long, fragmented conversation with Jonah about the relationship between nature and humans, spirituality and technology, empirical perceptions and the Platonic notion of ideal natural forms, drug-altered mental states and our sober ability to perceive and make sense of the world. And moreover, we have just come from a truly inspiring talk on the Earth First movement, a 25 year old decentralized movement which employs illegal direct action tactics in order to protect and preserve biodiversity and ecosystems from the onslaught of capitalism and an intentionally disposable culture. And I realized that it is simply not enough to acknowledge the problems and dangers in the world, to only understand that the Earth, the very entity responsible for our entire existence, is under attack with a reckless desire to make human life more convenient and luxurious. No, it is not enough to simply understand, we must act on our understandings. Without direct, immediate action--without actually preventing the destruction of our host by facing it directing--we concede to self-aware apathy and indifference, something much more dangerous in the end than the destructive institutions of capitalism themselves. I as a person must, to the best of my ability of personal health, attempt to blocade ecological slaughter and the reckless exploitation of definitively limited resources on which life itself depends.


posted by slimfit on Wednesday, January 25, 2006