Reflections on the III Americas Social Forum, Guatemala

By Michael Leon Guerrero and Cindy Wiesner Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

The 3rd Americas Social Forum (ASF3) convened October 7-12, 2008 in Guatemala City was an important and exciting benchmark for the global social forum process. It was grounded by its grassroots nature with strong participation of peasants, women, and indigenous peoples, and by the dialogues and debates of alternatives to neoliberal capitalism based on actual experience. We would like to share what we see as some of the key characteristics of ASF3 that marked the event as an important advance for the overall World Social Forum (WSF) process.

The central role of indigenous peoples and women – thousands of the indigenous people were represented from throughout Guatemala and the region. Many of them integrated into the National Coordination of Indigenous Peoples and Campesinos (CONIC), Waqib Kej, the Committee of the Peasant Union (CUC) and broader alliances such as the Confederation of Latin American Peasant Organizations (CLOC) and Via Campesina. The Central Plenary: "Failures of Capitalism: Our Struggle for Land Reform and the Integration of Peoples to the ALBA" was represented by all indigenous panelists, Daniel Pascual from CNOC, Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Moira Millán, Frente Mapuche y Campesino de Argentina and Mirallay Painemal, Mapuche de Chile, CLOC, Via Campesina. Indigenous communities throughout Guatemala are under attack by multinational corporations and the government for mineral resources, water and transportation infrastructure. This was a common theme throughout the Americas reflected in the workshops and debates. Read more