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The Bamako Appeal of Samir Amin: A Post-Modern Janus?

Peter Waterman

CSGR Working Paper No. 212/06

October 2006



The Bamako Appeal is an attempt to move the World Social Forum process from being some kind of agora for discussion of alternatives to neo-liberal globalisation, to the provision of an anti-capitalist leadership for the global justice and solidarity movement. Sponsored by prominent left activist intellectuals of the 'Thirdworldis' tradition, it has nonetheless adopted much of the language of the new movement. Because of its authors' apparent vanguardism, the BA has proven controversial within and around the leadership of the WSF. Such charters, declarations and manifestos are, however, common within the wider movement, occur within the WSF itself and should be welcomed. But the process by which the BA has appeared and been launched reproduces old movement practices that the new movement has been surpassing. The BA's chapter on labour suggests the possibility and necessity for a meaningfully global and open dialogue on the BA more generally. Whilst the BA is commonly seen as a deviation from or opposition to the WSF process, both of these instances reveal the simultaneous backward-looking and forward-looking nature of emancipatory movements.

Keywords: World Social Forum, neo-liberalism, anti-capitalism, third-worldism, vanguardism, manifestos, emanciptation.