The Forum, inaugurated in the Gigantino Gymnasium, will analyse the advance of the right in Latin America, despite the emergence and consolidation of various popular left-wing governments; defence through mobilisations of social causes; the devastating Haiti earthquake and the challenges of the Social Forum in the years to come.

During the opening day, the Coordinator of the Landless Workers’ Movement, João Pedro Stédile, pointed out that *“there continues to be total hegemony of capital and we need to defeat it.”*

The businessman Oded Grajew, inspiration for the WSF, called for mobilisation so that the proposals of the Forum transform into public policies while resolutely supporting the need for a change of individual consciousness as well as the articulation of organisations that work to make another kind of world possible.

The opening of the Forum, as in previous opportunities, was celebrated with the traditional march through the principle streets of Porto Alegre, with the participation of some ten thousand people headed by representatives of different religious beliefs of African origin who, dressed in white, led the procession.

Throughout the week in which the World Social Forum will take place, more than 600 different activities are planned related to the preservation of the environment, opposition to genetically modified products, the defence of Brazilian oil, the struggle for a Palestinian State, religious freedom and sexual freedom among others.