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Brazil and the Coup – Boaventura proposes an “International Ethical Court of the World Social Forum”

Photo: Guga-Melgar

Dear Friends

This should be the moment for all of us that have been with the WSF from the beginning and specially for those of us that are members of the IC to do some soul searching and ask some strong questions:
1-Why do we remain silent? Why no motion can be approved in the IC against the parliamentary coup currently unfolding in Brazil or against any serious breach of democratic rule occurring in any other country? Of course, because according to the dominant understanding of our Charter of Principles we are not allowed, as IC or as WSF, to take a stand on any issue.
2-What is the price we pay for this political abstention if not omission? No price because we have already self-declared ourselves as politically irrelevant?
3-Turbulent times approach as global financial neoliberal capitalism takes hold of country after country. We designed the WSF for a different time, a time of offensive rather than defensive struggles. Are we going to rely on inertia as the only reason to go on without deeply rethinking the WSF?
4-Brazil is not special in spite of having been the country that invented us all as WSF. But what is going on in Brazil is it not the most cruel metaphor of our historical failure? Will the WSF-Montreal be a living ruin? What should be done in order not to be?


The IC moves to create the International Ethical Court of the WSF (IEC-WSF); its first meeting is convened to take place in Brasília in the near future.
Objective. Politically and juridically to analyze and assess President Dilma’s impeachment in the light of two issues of crucial importance for the social movements and democratic forces in the world: which factors prevent representative democracy from defend itself against anti-democratic forces that bring about states of exception looking like democratic normalcy and coups-d’état without any apparent institutional break (neo-coups)? Which measures or changes are needed so that in the future democracy may prevail against its enemies?
Time. This meeting of the IEC-WSF is to take place in the coming six months (while the impeachment trial goes on) and as soon as possible. If it takes place before the WSF-Montreal, its decisions will be amply discussed during the Forum.
Judges. The court judges will be chosen according to the following method (this is a mere proposal, like everything else):
-half of the judges will be selected among the members of the IC (the same number of men and women representing the various regions of the world)
-these judges will choose, by cooptation, the other half of men and women among personalities internationally recognized for their struggles on behalf of social justice and real democracy.
Proceedings. The meeting lasts for three days. During the first two days, witnesses from Brazil and other countries will be heard. In the last day a decision will be taken and made public. All discussions, including those regarding the decision, will be public.
warm regards
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Popular University of the Social movements