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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Alliances and Divisions within the“Movement of Movements”:Survey Findings from the 2005 World Social Forum


Little systematic research has been done on the social composition of the hundreds of thousands of people that attend the World Social Forum, or how their background characteristics and political affiliations might shape their political views. This paper addresses these questions through an analysis of original survey data of 640 participants of the 2005 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. We found that most WSF participants were young, from Brazil and neighboring countries, expressed radical views, and actively participated in social movements. Most also belonged to relatively privileged social groups; most were highly educated (a proxy measure for class), and “white” was the most common racial identity. Results from our logistic regression analysis indicate that there were statistically significant differences among respondents’ political goals and preferred strategies for social change based on their world system position, race, and membership in different types of organizations; there were not statistically significant differences in respondents’ political views based on their gender, age, or years of education however.

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