New Internationalist

The São Paulo Forum

Issue 356

In 1990 the Workers Party (PT) in Brazil extended an invitation to the Latin American Left to meet in Sâo Paulo, the industrial capital of South America and the PT heartland.

The meeting attracted 48 parties from 13 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. The Sâo Paulo Forum, as it soon came to be known, became a focus for debate across Latin America, but declined to convert itself into a new ‘International’ by imposing unanimity on its members. Diversity was accepted. By the time of its last plenary meeting in December 2002 in Antigua, Guatemala, the Forum had grown to 142 parties from 45 countries.

The Forum includes the Left of every shade. Some groups have eight decades of history, others were created only recently: Marxist and non-Marxist; Christian (some identifying with Liberation Theology); nationalist and anarchist; defectors from the old political parties; liberals; social democrats.

Some follow the legal system of their country. Others are obliged to take clandestine diversions. Some have pursued the armed struggle. Others are parties of government, like the Communist Party of Cuba and the Workers Party of Brazil, or control important cities, as in Uruguay and El Salvador. But all are committed to struggle for the dispossessed.

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