Social Forums as Space: A Response to Peter Marcuse


Debates about whether to consider Social Forums as a movement in itself or as a workspace for movements to network have been an integral part of the Forums’ formation  processes  ever  since  their  emergence  in  2000.  Referring  to  Social  Forums as the‘successor and culmination’ of previous social struggles raises problems of representation and suggests that all kinds of social struggles converge in this particular organizational form. Rather, struggles for social change today are being fought by social movements on a variety of scales and dimensions. Social Forums can offer a space where these various forms and scales of experiences are linked and politicized — but they can hardly act as actors themselves. Taking a next step, political experiences gathered at Social Forums can be transferred to these various kinds of struggles and inspire them. From this perspective organizational structures which enable exchange, debate, learning and the handling of differences are an important feature of Social Forums.