The Synergy Centre joined forces with other local progressive organisations and individuals to host a series of ‘Brighton Social Forum’ events which applied the long-standing World Social Forum and European Social Forum models at a local level.
The World Social Forum (WSF)
Developed as an alternative to the World Economic Forum that takes place every January in Davos Switzerland, the World Social Forum was established in 2001 to be “an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and interlinking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society… committed to building a planetary society directed towards fruitful relationships among Mankind and between it and the Earth.” It defines itself as “an opened space – plural, diverse, non-governmental and non-partisan – that stimulates the decentralized debate, reflection, proposals building, experiences exchange and alliances among movements and organizations engaged in concrete actions towards a more solidarity, democratic and fair world.”
Importantly, the meetings of the WSF do not deliberate on behalf of the WSF as a body. No one, therefore, will be authorized, on behalf of any of the editions of the Forum, to express positions claiming to be those of all its participants. The participants in the Forum shall not be called on to take decisions as a body on declarations or proposals for action that would commit all (or the majority of them) that the Forum acting or taking positions as a body. It thus does not constitute a locus of power to be disputed by the participants in its meetings, nor does it intend to constitute the only option for interrelation and action by the organizations and movements that participate in it.
The Brighton Social Forum (BSF)
Brighton has a very high concentration of progressively minded organisations and individuals. Increasing levels of alienation with what is seen by many to be an obsolete and unrepresentative electoral system, producing representatives and national governments that seem increasingly out of touch with the lives and needs of the citizens, have led some to conclude that politics is far too important to be left solely to the politicians. As central government seeks to eviscerate local government and the vital services for poor and vulnerable people it provides, it falls upon progressive civil society to rise to the challenge of finding solutions to pressing social, economic and environmental problems.
Launching on the weekend of the 25-27th September, The Brighton Social Forum provided a space in which a wide variety of non-governmental organisations, both national and local, could gather, network, discuss and debate and thereby build the capacity of the sector to provide leadership in developing new ideas, ideologies and policies to enable the people of Brighton and Hove to live more sustainable, ethical, healthy and happy lives.
‘No Human is Illegal‘ – Friday 25th September
‘Flatpack Democracy‘ – Saturday 26th September
‘Reclaim the Beats‘ – Anti-Fracking Movement discussion and fundraiser, Friday 23rd October
Brighton Climate Action Network Conference, Saturday 21st November