05 April 2006

Finland Social Forum


Over 1000 people came to the Third Finnish Social Forum in Helsinki on April 1-2, 2006. Once again it proved to be a most remarkable occasion to network with other activists, or, as Sarkar termed it, “to unite the moralists,” meaning those who are struggling for a better world.

Before the event Didi Annapurna wrote two one-page articles in Finnish that were posted on the Social Forum web page (www.sosiaalifoorumi.fi) after a long struggle with the organizers, insisting that small groups also have a right to be heard. One is about social change and Prout in Venezuela, and the other is called “Why Another World is Inevitable” that explains the spiritual dimension. She also spoke twice during the press conference before the event.

We organized five workshops during the event that were advertised in 50,000 copies of the Social Forum newspaper distributed around the country. I gave three: “From Evolution to Revolution,” “From Erosion of Democracy to Quadro-dimensional Economy,” and ; “Cardinal Human Values in the Economy” with Didi Annapurna. In addition, Dr. Sauli Siekkinen spoke on “Strength from Volunteering” and Didi Ananda Krpa, Dada Gatimayananda and Bhuwan Pathak from Vasudaiva Kutumbakam from Uttarakhand in the Central Himalayas talked about “Restoring Ecological Balance.” More than 70 people attended these workshops.

I was asked to sit on the panel of the workshop “A Debate on the World Social Forum” to explain the way in which Proutist Universal’s application to join the International Council of the WSF was rejected and how the promise two years ago to set up a process to hear our appeal has still not been prepared. In an amazing Cosmic “coincidence”, Oded Grajew, the Brazilian entrepreneur who originally conceived the idea of the World Social Forum and is on the WSF Secretariat, arrived a few minutes before I spoke. Afterwards he insisted, as did other members of the International Council who were present, that a proper and transparent decision-making process should be followed in this case.

This year I was also allowed to speak to the general audience in the closing ceremony. I told how during my last visit to Finland, I spoke at the University of Helsinki School of Economics where one of the professors insisted that in their belief, capitalism was good and the best way for developing countries to progress. I answered that of course capitalism works for some people, but not for everyone. On a wall in Mumbai was written, “Every morning I wake up on the wrong side of capitalism!” What the world needs today is an economic system that benefits everyone, so that we can share and utilize the resources of the world in a just and ecological way.

We sold 20 books and gave an interview to a magazine about social service work. Our success was a result of our continued efforts and struggles on the organizing committee, and the unity and the help of many Proutists, especially Omprakash and Mitra. The Finnish translation of “After Capitalism: Prout’s Vision for a New World” is now being reviewed and will be printed within a few months.