[discuss] [governance] Internet Social Forum

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Fri Jan 23 23:21:48 UTC 2015

On Friday 23 January 2015 11:31 PM, "Kleinwächter, Wolfgang" wrote:
> Hi Parminder,
> how the ISF is linked to the IGF?

Hi Wolfgang

One is a civil society forum, the other a multistakeholder one. One 
develops people's and civil society's positions on the key issue of the 
global Internet, the other is a place where such positions can enter 
into dialogue with holders of political and economic power - the 
governments and the corporate actors.

Unless now the whole idea and concept of civil society - and along with 
those of people's movements, grassroots, activism, and so on - has been 
fully coopted in some people's mind with that of multistakeholderism 
(whatever one actually means by it, something that has remained 
notoriously unclear), the connection or link that you inquire about is 
extremely clear to me.

Internet is not the first thing for which there has been felt a need for 
'independently' forming a people's conception and set of hopes, 
expectations and demands - away from conclaves of power. There have been 
scores of others, and newer ones continue to arise. Accordingly if 
people's and civil society forums etc have been meaningful and needed in 
these areas, it is incumbent upon *those* who think they are *not 
needed* in the Internet space to explain why it is so, then the other 
way around.

To put is somewhat flippantly, ISF is also a reaction of people who are 
fed up with an ongoing IG charade where for instance Fadi Chehade can 
with a straight face call the WEF's Net Mundial Initiative as the 
'mother of all bottom -up processes' - even jokes require some 
plausibility limits!

To take the example of one of the latest international global forums on 
a key global governance issue, the Lima meeting on climate change, you 
will perhaps know that parallel to it a people's meeting was held. 
Internet and its governance also needs such meetings, that is the simple 
logic of the Internet Social Forum. If you think that in the Internet's 
case, such meetings and forums are not needed, I would of course be 
curious to hear your case.

I am happy to engage further with you on this issue, and answer your 

Lastly, let me invite you to join the ISF process. We work under the 
World Social Forum (WSF) process and principles - whereby its meetings 
are open to all civil society participants subject to very inimum 
conditions that are listed on their website.

Further, if the discussion is to now turn to the WSF, its meaning, 
relevance, etc, I am as happy to engage with you on that subject.

Regards, parminder

> Wolfgang
> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org im Auftrag von parminder
> Gesendet: Do 22.01.2015 17:01
> An: governance at lists.igcaucus.org
> Betreff: Re: [governance] Internet Social Forum
> Enclosed Spanish version... parminder
> On Thursday 22 January 2015 07:06 PM, Norbert Bollow wrote:
>> Global Civil Society launches the Internet Social Forum
>> - With a call to occupy the Internet
>> PRESS RELEASE. Geneva, Switzerland, 22st January, 2015.
>> A group of civil society organisations from around the world has
>> announced the Internet Social Forum, to bring together and articulate
>> bottom-up perspectives on the 'Internet we want'. Taking inspiration
>> from the World Social Forum, and its clarion call, 'Another World is
>> possible', the group seeks to draw urgent attention to the increasing
>> centralization of the Internet for extraction of monopoly rents and for
>> socio-political control, asserting that 'Another Internet is possible'!
>> The Internet Social Forum will inter alia offer an alternative to the
>> recently-launched World Economic Forum's 'Net Mundial Initiative' on
>> global Internet governance. While the World Economic Forum (WEF) and
>> the 'Net Mundial Initiative' convene global elites, the Internet Social
>> Forum will be a participatory and bottom-up space for all those who
>> believe that the global Internet must evolve in the public interest; a
>> direct parallel to the launch of the World Social Forum in 2001 as a
>> counter initiative to the WEF.
>> The Internet Social Forum will reach out to grassroots groups and
>> social movements across the world, catalysing a groundswell that
>> challenges the entrenched elite interests that currently control how
>> the Internet is managed. The Internet Social Forum's preparatory
>> process will kick off during the World Social Forum to take place in
>> Tunis, March 24th to 28th, 2015. The Internet Social Forum itself is
>> planned to be held either late 2015 or early 2016.
>> "While the world's biggest companies have every right to debate the
>> future of the Internet, we are concerned that their perspectives should
>> not drown out those of ordinary people who have no access to the
>> privileged terrain WEF occupies - in the end it is this wider public
>> interest that must be paramount in governing the Internet. We are
>> organising the Internet Social Forum to make sure their voices can't be
>> ignored in the corridors of power," said Norbert Bollow, Co-Convenor of
>> the Just Net Coalition, which is one of the groups involved in the
>> initiative.
>> The Internet Social Forum, and its preparatory process, is intended as
>> a space to vision and build the 'Internet we want'. It will be
>> underpinned by values of democracy, human rights and social justice. It
>> will stand for participatory policy making and promote community media.
>> It will seek an Internet that is truly decentralized in its
>> architecture and based on people's full rights to data, information,
>> knowledge and other 'commons' that the Internet has enabled the world
>> community to generate and share.
>> Somewhat similar to Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee's call for a 'Magna
>> Carta for the Internet', the Internet Social Forum proposes to develop
>> a People's Internet Manifesto, through a bottom-up process involving
>> all concerned social groups and movements, in different areas, from
>> techies and ICT-for-development actors to media reform groups,
>> democracy movements and social justice activists.
>> This year will also see the 10 year high-level review of the World
>> Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held in New York in
>> December. As a full-scale review of a major UN summit, this will be a
>> critical global political event. Since the WSIS, held in 2003 and 2005,
>> the Internet, and what it means socially, has undergone a paradigm
>> shift. The WSIS witnessed active engagement of civil society and
>> technical groups as well as of business. However, currently, there
>> seems to be an deliberate attempt to sideline this UN-led initiative on
>> governance issues of the information society and Internet in favour of
>> private, big-business-dominated initiatives like the WEF's Net Mundial
>> Initiative. The Internet Social Forum, while remaining primarily a
>> people's forum, will also seek to channel global civil society's
>> engagement towards the WSIS +10 review.
>> The following organisations form the initial group that is proposing
>> the Internet Social Forum, and many more are expected to join in the
>> immediate future. This is an open call to progressive groups from all
>> over the world to join this initiative, and participate in developing a
>> People's Internet Manifesto.
>> Just Net Coalition, Global
>> P2P Foundation, Global
>> Transnational Institute, Global
>> Forum on Communication for Integration of our America, Regional (Latin
>> America) Arab NGO Network for Development, Regional
>> Agencia Latinoamericana de Información, Regional
>> Alternative Informatics Association, Turkey
>> Knowledge Commons, India
>> Open-Root/EUROLINC, France
>> SLFC.in, India
>> CODE-IP Trust, Kenya
>> GodlyGlobal.org, Switzerland
>> Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and Training,
>> Canada IT for Change, India
>> Association for Proper Internet Governance, Switzerland
>> Computer Professionals Union, Philippines
>> Free Press, USA
>> Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, Philippines
>> Other News, Italy
>> Free Software Movement of India
>> Global_Geneva, Switzerland
>> Solidarius (Solidarity Economy Network), Italy
>> All India Peoples Science Network, India
>> Institute for Local Self-Reliance - Community Broadband Networks, USA
>> Please contact us at secretariat at InternetSocialForum.net for further
>> information or clarification.
>> Or the following regional contacts:
>> Africa:        Alex Gakaru <AlexG at InternetSocialForum.net>
>> Asia:          Rishab Bailey <RishabB at InternetSocialForum.net>
>> Europe:        Norbert Bollow <NorbertB at InternetSocialForum.net>
>> North America: Micheal Gurstein <MichealG at InternetSocialForum.net>
>> South America: Sally Burch <SallyB at InternetSocialForum.net>
>> This press release is also available online, e.g. at
>> http://justnetcoalition.org/ISF

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