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Reformist reforms, non-reformist reforms and global justice: Activist, Ngo and intellectual challenges in the World Social Forum

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Chapter Summary

The ?Social Movements Indaba' network, established in 2002, is the closest to a gathering of independent left organizations approximating the WSF, and meets annually. One issue discussed in detail at the Nairobi World Social Forum (WSF) in vigorous Sociologists without Borders panel is how to line up the resources of formal academics properly within a social change agenda, to complement rather than negate progressive civil society experiences. For internationalists concerned with strengthening ?civil society' ranging from grassroots movements to non governmental organisations (NGOs) we have an important warning from Tanzanian legal scholar and political economist Issa Shivji. Activists associated with Post-Washington strategies are sometimes accused of promoting ?reformist reforms' which legitimize existing power structures, accumulation dynamics, and political processes, and which might also have the effect of demobilizing their own constituents by virtue of gaining a modicum of change on issues such as debt relief or aid promises.

Keywords: Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO); reformist reforms; World Social Forum (WSF)



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