Things are pretty exciting here in what may be the capital of hemispheric resistance to US imperialism. Indeed, even the walls of the most mainstream labor workshop are covered with the Bush Asesino posters (showing Bush with moustache much like Hitlers). There are thousands of people here to attend the forum, but most are also here to see the Bolivarian Revolution of Hugo Chavez and the poor of Venezuela. There are thousands or workshops on every conceivable topic, as well as thousands of vendors hawking Chavista t-shirts, hats, and even dolls.
The revolution here is visible in other ways, though. In every barrio, there is a small, octagonal shaped building where people can go for free health care. At all of the big events, there are dozens of local officials there to help out (I am not used to liking police!). When people see my orange WSF badge, they often say Bienvenidos--Welcome to Venezuela.
I am part of the PCASC delegation of 20 or so people from Portland, and there are many others here from the Pacific Northwest. But the U.S. is, again, incredibly under-represented. The Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, Global Exchange, and Grassroots Global Justice are the only organizations with any serious presence. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the debate in the U.S. is so much farther to the right than what I am seeing here. Everyone is denouncing Bush as a terrorist, advocating for socialist revolution, and organizing stuff that would seem crazy back home. Meanwhile, my email brings me depressing information about what looks to me like a renewed effort to tone down the rhetoric at Portlands upcoming peace march (titled End the War, Begin the Peace--ugh!). We have a long way to go in the belly of the beast.
I am certain there is lots of good info on the web about whats going on here, but I did not see any here. Here is a link to a report on another indymedia:
Stay tuned for the return of the crew from Portland and opportunities to see photos and hear some of the amazing stories!