Most philosophers see the ship of state launched on the broad, irresistible tide
of democracy, with only delaying eddies here and there, others, looking closer, are
more disturbed. Are we, they ask, reverting to aristocracy and despotism—the
rule of might?
—W. E. B. DU BOIS, ‘‘The African Roots of War’’ (1915)
Immigrant groups from both Latin America and the United States met
at the Sixth World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, from January 24 to
February 2, 2006, to share experiences and strategize potential solutions to
social and political problems in the Americas. Forum participants such as
Oscar Chacón, leader of the U.S. Latino contingent and director of the
Chicago-based immigrant rights group Enlaces America, sought to place
what are commonly viewed as exclusively national problems, such as im-
migration, in a broader, hemispheric context. Indeed, Chacon has insisted
on linking U.S. immigration policies to U.S. foreign policy in Latin Amer-
According to Roberto Lovato, the ‘‘radical vision [of immigrant rights
groups] was perhaps best embodied by proposals for a hemispheric citi-
zenship along the lines of the European model.’’≤
Other practices of hemi-
spheric citizenship at the forum focused on more immediate solutions to
problems facing immigrants and workers in the Americas. Indeed, Via
Campesina, a Latin American organization of small farmers, used the
forum to gain support and to develop strategies that would address the
needs of the several countries it serves.≥
The Sixth World Social Forum
demonstrates how contemporary activists are engaging in practices of
hemispheric citizenship that resemble those of the earlier writer-activists
featured in this book, particularly those who participated in the alternative
Pan-American social movements that condemned U.S. intervention in
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