Organizing Guide “WSF Free Palestine”

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Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign
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In Solidarity

What is a World Social Forum event? 

World Social Forum events are open, self-organized meeting spaces where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations come together to develop their thinking, debate ideas democratically, formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action. For the Charter of Principles of the WSF process, see: http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/main.php?id_menu=4&cd_language=2

This WSF Free Palestine will be focused on solidarity with Palestine and building connections between the Palestinian struggle and global justice movements around the world.

 

 

The process towards the WSF Free Palestine

 

Where is the call for the WSF Free Palestine?

You can find it for example at: http://www.stopthewall.org/world-social-forum-free-palestine-2012

 

Where is the WSF Free Palestine and when is it taking place?

The WSF Free Palestine takes place in Porto Alegre, Brazil and will be held from November 28 to December 1 2012.

 

How is the WSF Free Palestine different to every other international conference on Palestine? 

The WSF Free Palestine is not a conference – it is a process of global mobilizing, networking and strategizing and planning of joint action of which the 4 days event in Porto Alegre is a crucial moment of gathering and implementation.

This WSF Free Palestine in Porto Alegre is a historic event because of its extraordinarily scope. For the first time, the entirety of the global Palestine solidarity movement will gather in one place and each group, organization and movement has the opportunity and responsibility to contribute to the process with its own seminars and workshops. Together we can show the strength of this solidarity movement, we can show that Palestine is part of a wide struggle for justice and equality and we can develop joint strategies and actions to take the international solidarity movement to the next phase.

Together we can make this a global game changer!

 

What is the aim of this WSF Free Palestine?

The WSF Free Palestine process has at its core the global encounter in Porto Alegre based on broad-based popular and civil society mobilizations from around the world. It aims to:

1) Show the strength of solidarity with the calls of the Palestinian people and the diversity of initiatives and actions aimed at promoting justice and peace in the region.

2) Create effective actions to ensure Palestinian self-determination, the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and the fulfillment of human rights and international law, by:

a)      Ending Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

b)      Ensuring the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

c)      Implementing, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

3) Be a space for discussion, exchange of ideas, strategizing, and planning in order to improve the structure of solidarity.

 

How can we make this WSF Free Palestine a success?

The success of the WSF Free Palestine depends on all of us … the all the myriads of organizations, movements, unions and groups around the world that stand in solidarity with Palestine and struggle for global justice.

Its success depends on the efforts put into the process of the WSF Free Palestine. Whether we are able to mobilize a critical mass of supporters to join us in the process of the WSF Free Palestine to actively organize the WSF Free Palestine in their own countries, cities, work places, groups and affinity sectors.

 

Who is organizing the WSF Free Palestine?

We are all organizing the WSF Free Palestine together! Our collective mobilizing and strategizing efforts and the events we each organize make up the WSF Free Palestine.

The Palestinian and the Brazilian preparatory committees for the WSF Free Palestine are only responsible for stimulating and guiding the collective process of the WSF Free Palestine and preparing the space and framework for gathering in Port Alege. We are in the process of establishing an international committee to support this effort and will keep you updated on this process.

The Palestinian preparatory committee unites all Palestinian political forces, the main civil society networks, unions, coordination bodies and campaigns. It is formed of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian citizens of Israel and refugees.

The Brazilian preparatory committee is a large coalition of 36 movements, unions, organizations and solidarity organizations as well as the Palestinian communities in Brazil. It represents the major mass organizations of the progressive forces in Brazil.

 

What is the timeline for the organization of the the WSF Free Palestine?

The timeline towards the WSF Free Palestine evolves with the process. However, there are, like for every WSF event, key stages of preparations:

Phase 1: Mobilizing and awareness raising

Phase2 : Strategizing and submissions of self-organized activities (for more, see below) to the WSF Free Palestine event

Phase 3: Convergence - a phase of networking people and organizations that participate in the process and have submitted interconnected events

Phase 4: The event in Porto Alegre, November 28 to December 1 2012

Phase:5  Follow up on campaigns, workplans and declarations

 

Why is the WSF in Brazil not in Palestine or an Arab country? 

Within the International Council of the World Social Forum a long consultation has taken place and we are happy that Brazilian movements and organizations have offered their support to organize this historic event with us:

  • Brazil , and particularly Porto Alegre, is the cradle of the World Social Forum and provides a very symbolic venue for this WSF Free Palestine
  • By holding the WSF Free Palestine in the global south, and in a region where, despite the rhetoric of many governments in support of Palestinian rights, Israel is expanding its interests at great speed, we are underlining the fact that Palestinian solidarity has to be truly global in order to be effective.
  • We are happy to hold the WSF Free Palestine in a region that shares a common experience of colonialism and ethnic cleansing and that has successfully struggled against oppressive regimes.
  • On November 29 2012 it will be exactly 65 years that Brazil has presided over the UN General Assembly session that passed the “Partition Plan”. This year, Brazil can host a new, different global civil society gathering that strategizes how to overcome the legacy of oppression and dispossession that derived from this decision.

Finally, until Palestine is free from Israeli apartheid and occupation, we do not have the possibility to organize such an event in our homeland. In a condition where the rights of freedom of expression and assembly along with many other rights are violated every day there we cannot organize such a gathering. Furthermore, Israeli policies of fragmentation, siege and movement restrictions make it impossible for Palestinians from the West Bank, from Gaza, Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian refugees to meet in their homeland. Many of our supporters are barred by Israel from entering Palestine as well.

 

 

The WSF Free Palestine event

 

Will there be actions and conferences? 

The core of the program of the WSF Free Palestine will be the actions, conferences, workshops, cultural events that each participating group will organize during the event – the “self-organized events”. You are free to register any kind of event that respects the Charter of Principles of the WSF and Palestinian fundamental rights once the registration process is open and the preparatory committees will allocate you spaces and facilities where you can hold these events.

 

How do I find out the agenda for the WSF Free Palestine?

You create the agenda! The agenda of the WSF Free Palestine is the outcome of all the first three stages of the WSF Free Palestine process. It is the result of your mobilizing, strategizing, initial submissions of events and the convergence process.

It is up to you to contribute to this process and to build the agenda.

A few weeks before the WSF Free Palestine in Porto Alegre, the agenda will be publicly available on the site.

 

Who will be participating?

This depends on our collective mobilizing capacity and the people we invite and encourage to join!

However, we expect thousands of people from all across the world, from different social, political and religious backgrounds. Solidarity and social movements, civil society networks, human rights organizations, grassroots activists, high level personalities, and many more…

 

How much does it cost to participate?

There will be a minimal participation fee and a fee for registering events to help cover the costs of the Forum. The main cost will be your flight ticket and accommodation.

We will soon release a list of hotels with website links for you to consult. In past World Social Forums, hotels cost about $per night, and there probably will also be budget hostel or camping available.

 

How do I fundraise to cover the costs of participation?

There are many ways of fundraising for participation. Some ideas may be:

1.      Approach organizations that may be ready to fund a delegation to the WSF Free Palestine.

2.      Pass motions in unions and other organizations to obtain political and financial support for a delegation to the WSF Free Palestine.

3.      Organize awareness raising and fundraising events.

4.      Build up a fund within your organization to sponsor a few tickets to Porto Alegre.

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