Report from Porto Alegre (Report 4)

Report 4

Hi All,

So, there is not much to add since the last update, but will provide a few links/summaries here.

Firstly, as for March/May and days of action. I did bring this up here, but it has been very far from any agenda. The World Social Forum is building towards Rio+20 which will be taking place in the second half of June. They have also made a call out for a global day of action on June 5th (see declaration of social movements copied in below). This is all something we may want to discuss when back, including what presence, if any, we may want to have in the Rio+20/World Social Forum process over coming months. Apart from this, they are also preparing for a World Social Forum next year in Tunisia, as well as a separate gathering in Tunisia this summer, which may be of more interest to us as occupiers – again can talk in more detail about this when back.

Perhaps the most important thing to stress now is that I have a large list of contacts from various movements which will no doubt be very useful to us. I have already been contacted by someone from the MST who has been invited by Julian Assenge to come to London for an interview, and he would like to know how to help Occupy London.

The other main update is the feedback from the meeting with the director for human rights. I will re-post it here and in the main list:

Around 10 activists were present at the meeting, which lasted around 90 minutes. In the end it was with Fabio Balestro Florian who is the director of the secretary for human rights. Anyway, he said that he a ‘broad vision’ for human rights, that recognises the key importance of social movements at an international level . We all went round and spoke about our concerns. I made the following point: I saw two key aspects of human rights issues for social movements. Firstly the daily oppression and violence that movements suffer, largely in the hands of states, and especially including the Brazilian state. I made the concrete example of Occupy Porto Alegre. Secondly, the need to give social movements space in which they can systematically break the law and push the human rights agenda into new grounds. I talked about the importance to protect the rights of those that take direct action, and how this is essential for protecting the human rights of generations to come. I gave a concrete example of an activist who travelled from Turkey to London as a UN witness with the eviction of dale farm. The UN witness decided to help resist and defend with the travellers, and in return the UN revoked his position and sent him home. I suggested that the Brazilian secretary could publically denounce these types of actions and openly support defenders of human rights.

Bottom line – I am highly sceptical of anyone in government and this was no exception. I am under no illusions as to what his interests may be, and am not convinced that it was a highly useful exercise to be continued. I should add that he wants to set up an email list with the activists present in order to maintain discussion on the matter. Maybe we can have a GA one day about how we might want to deal with such situations.

Also – some links (sorry in Portuguese) from the occupy meet up


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