Sen, Jai, Anita Anand, Arturo Escobar & Peter Waterman eds. Challenging Empires: World Social Forum. 2004. Viveka Foundation, New Delhi, India.

The Viveka Foundation, a centre for alternative perspectives launched this exhaustive study of the World Social Forum

Challenging Empires: A Book Review by Theresa Wolfwood

Challenging Empires on sale at the WSF in Mumbai

process at the WSF in Mumbai, 2004. There are essays and statements from individuals and groups around the world who have been involved in the process and various years of the WSF.

In the foreword, Hilary Wainwright, editor of UK’s RED PEPPER journal, says that features of the new social movements include their diversity and breadth and their belief that change is created by people working together, not just by politicians and political parties.
The many aspects of the WSF movement are analyzed by both activists on the inside of this movement and observers from academia and activism. The growth of the concept into many regional forums has not diminished the appeal or importance of the annual anchoring event – held three times in Porto Alegre and once in Mumbai; it scheduled to return to Brazil in 2005 and to Africa in 2006.

In spite of its flaws and weaknesses the WSF has proved to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for thousands, a massive networking occasion and a possibility for connecting and strengthening many grassroots movements. It is all discussed in this volume that included contributions of two Canadian authors – BBCF’s Theresa Wolfwood’s report on the 2002 WSF and an interview of Thomas Pooniah who discusses some of the problems of the WSF as well as its continuing strengths as a part of a process of globalizing a new radical democracy.

(The book may be mail ordered from india@vivekafoundation.org A Canadian distributor is being sought.)

Filed under Anita Anand, Arturo Escobar, Book Reviews, Jai Sen, Peter Waterman