Is the ASF anti-Chavez?
A: The current government of Venezuela is not the only or the
most important issue, the agenda will be formed as many times as necessary,
by those who believe they have something to argue in favor or against.
The participants in the ASF will take a position on any national or international
situation, but the ASF as such rejects the dichotomy – promoted
by the powers that be – that splits the nation between “chavistas”
and “opposition” and will defend its independence from any
institution, whether public or private, as well as from political parties.
As can be seen in our call, the ASF responds to some general principles
such as the rejection of capitalism, economic globalization, bureaucratic
cronyism, militarism, bureaucratic and authoritarian socialism, machismo,
imperialism, ecological destruction, exclusion and discrimination. In
tune with these values, the ASF is a pluralistic space for dialogue, discussion
and debate for all those who want social change and are active in social
Given that the ASF is a network of forums and links, who can speak for
A: There will be no political declarations under the signature
of the ASF. Participating individuals and groups can, when they deem it
convenient, show their own opinions or their relationship to the ASF,
but nobody can make collective declarations. Operational decisions will
be taken by means of decentralized coordination.
Will the ASF propose candidates for elections?
A: The ASF harbors no electoral intentions and will not allow
candidates of any sign to capitalize on it. The ASF will not support or
advertise any candidate of any country for whatever office. The individuals
taking part can vote or abstain according to their ideology.
Can political parties take part in the ASF?
A: Everything is open to discussion in the ASF and there
isn’t any previously decided issue: the forms of organization, electoral
suffrage or instances of municipal, local or national power are subjects
for debate. However, being that political parties already have their own
communication platforms and proselytizing spaces, the ASF will avoid becoming
an electoral party and will not accept the incorporation as such of parties
and organizations enrolled and active in the National Electoral Council.
Any militant from such organizations may become individually involved
and may participate in social, cultural, intellectual or sports collectives.
Is the ASF against the World Social Forum?
A: There is generalized refusal in the ASF. Some promoters
have questions regarding the form and spirit of the development of the
WSF, but our dynamic doesn’t attempt to compete or be a rival with
the WSF. We think that the current situation in Latin America –
with several rhetorically left governments in power- is different than
when the WSF appeared as a counter weight to the Davos Economic Forum.
This situation opens up new agendas for discussion, for example the performance
of the Latin American Left in power, more or less influenced by social
policies promoted by the same WSF, the performance of the NGO’s
or this space – in theory the “movement of movements”
– reproducing the hierarchies and dynamics of global power. On the
other hand, we doubt the ability of a country where there isn’t
any autonomous and struggling social fabric to stage an event of this
nature without becoming an act of proclamation or an appendix to the political
propaganda of the Venezuelan State, as we have already seen in the National
Social Forums and the various international conclaves that have taken
place in Caracas. Given these considerations, we take the dates for the
WSF as a motivating factor for the development of a space in which the
country’s social movements may engage in dialogue, debate their
agendas and exchange experiences without the blackmails and polarizations
that stopped and fragmented the people’s organizations and mobilizations
initiated in 1989 for a profound change in society. The promotion of an
ASF is a reply to the diverse exclusions, the belittling of thought and
the imposition of electoral rationality upon popular people’s initiatives.
Therefore, the ASF is born not to become the rival of the WSF, but to
initiate a dynamic for debate from and for the local social movements
that we think does not exist today.
Can I participate in the ASF while also participating in the WSF?
A: The ASF empowers the autonomy of the individuals that take
part in its development, therefore anybody is free, if they so wish, to
get involved in the events or discussions of the WSF as with any other
political initiative and, in parallel, to take part in the ASF. The ASF
wishes to ensure that the agenda for discussion, brought about by means
of a decentralized network, will occur independently of whether this debate
also happens in other instances.