This week, for the second time in a row, the World Social Forum (WSF) gathered in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab spring. During the five-day event, 70,000 delegates from more than 4,000 organisations representing 120 countries discussed a wide range of issues and topics including, climate justice, immigration, media freedom, women’s rights, refugees and energy.

A group from 350.org was in attendance to talk about climate justice, the growing divestment movement and the inter-sectionality between environmental, social, economic and political issues.

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Thelma Young

Women’s groups amongst those marching at the World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Poster reads: “The Solutions Are in Her Hands.” Photo credit: Thelma Young

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

“Right to the City” highlighting the demand for a transformed and renewed access to urban life among the many topics discussed at the WSF. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

The WSF’s 10th global meeting is seen as the critics’ answer to the Davos World Economic Forum bringing together social movements from around the world to discuss grassroots struggles for political change.

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Thelma Young

Communities from the Maghreb region at the WSF. Photo credit: Thelma Young

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

Maasai Communities from East Africa at the World Social Forum.  Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

The forum offers an arena beyond formal politics, a space where activists and civil society groups can explore alternative pathways to social, economic and climate justice. The bi-annual WSF, described by organisers as more a process than a conference, is the largest global gathering of activists and social movements.

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

Over 1,500 events were organised throughout the five days of the WSF. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

The WSF grew out of anti-globalisation protest movements in the late 1990s.  Since it first met in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2001, it has served as a space of reflection for groups and movements that oppose neo-liberalism and strive for social and economic justice.

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

Palestinian solidarity at the WSF.  Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

Powerful social and environmental movements which claim alternative policies seeking social and environmental justice have erupted around the world. This year people have come together from around the world to consolidate efforts to reverse the global rush to oligarchic rule and environmental catastrophe.

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Thelma Young

Impacted communities from polluting industries raising awareness and organising at the WSF.  Photo credit: Thelma Young

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Thelma Young

Challenging the narrative of maninstream media amongst the pressing issues discussed at the WSF.  Photo credit: Thelma Young

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Thelma Young

“Stop Pollution: We Want to Live” Photo credit: Thelma Young

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Thelma Young

Algeria in solidarity with Tunisian communities impacted by polluting industires. Photo credit: Thelma Young

 

Global efforts to defend the environment, end poverty and marginalisation, advance women’s rights, protect human rights, and promote fair and dignified employment are all being undermined as a consequence of the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few. The current clampdown on civil society taking place  in many parts of the world is precisely because it represents a challenge to the nexus of money and power.

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

Algerians in attendance at the WSF. One of the pressing issues discussed is the growing anti-fracking movement taking hold in their country. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

Activists at the WSF are clear that the different issues that have brought us into activism–whether social justice or climate justice, economic rights or civil rights–are all part of a common struggle for a world in which everyone matters and in which the power of ordinary people can challenge the people with power.

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

Awareness raising a key element in the fight against polluting industries.  Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

Youth engagement at the WSF.  Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

This is precisely why the WSF is so urgent and necessary.

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

Art as a powerful tool for dialogue, awareness and empowerment. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

 

World Social Forum 2015 taking place in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

Photo credit: Hoda Baraka

FacebookTwitter