John Hilary is the executive director of the British NGO War on Want. They have partnerships with different social movements and trade unions. His organization promotes Global Justice. He was at the World Social Forum (WSF) to get in touch with progressive forces and social movements.
Around which themes does War on Want work?
There are two themes. First of all is economic justice, fights against the capitalistic system, trade justice, unequal exchange and the role of multinationals. Secondly to fight colonialism and imperialism.
Why was the WSF so important for your organization?
Because we are active around colonialism and the struggle for Palestine, the Sahraoui and the Nato thread in the Middle East and North Africa. Also because of the new free trade agreement of the EU with the Agadir countries ( Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt) we consider it as a new tentative of imperialism of the EU. Here we were able to talk to a lot of comrades about these issues and make new partners and political links.
What was your impression of the WSF 2013 in Tunis?
The fact that the PA (Palestinian Authority) was represented was really bad, because social movements and organizations from Palestine were afraid to come. USAID had a stand and people were asking what they did here. There were actually two forums, one for the international community on the top of the hill around economic justice and environment below the hill there was the Arab mobilization. There were few interactions between the two places. You could see that at the talks around Palestine and Iraq there were mostly Arab people.
What brings the future?
That's a big question, were do we go next. It was an open space, but more people are thinking that we should create a global movement for political change. It's nice to talk in a sunny place, but we need to act. Also one of the Founding Fathers, Chico Whitaker, claimed for years it should be an open space, but now he declared before the WSF 2013 that it should become a global political movement.
We can say that capitalism is in crisis and we see the worst form of capitalism reviving with austerity measures. I think social movements have failed in this struggle to give other models a chance in the Western World. In the Western World political change is less possible because the state is to anchored in society and is too strong. In Bolivia this was possible because the state was weak.