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(en) Britain, Enrager web page on the European Social Forum 2004 - Update

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 27 Jul 2004 08:46:53 +0200 (CEST)


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The third annual European Social Forum (ESF) will take place from 15-17
October in London. The European Social Forum was launched from the
World Social Forum (2001) meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Its first two
massive gatherings were in Florence (2002) and Paris (2003).
It is anticipated that thousands of people will come to London for
meetings, discussions, workshops, and protests and actions.
Currently it looks like the main themes of the ESF will focus on
war, environmental crisis, poverty, racism & asylum, Labour &
Privitisation / Neoliberalism and Europe. But hundreds of other
events will take place at the same time. The main venue will be
Alexandra Palace in north London, and the Bloomsbury area
south of Kings Cross. There will be two main days, with a large
official demonstration on the third day.

The ESF should be, according to the official website "a unique
opportunity where social movements, trade unions, NGOs,
refugees, peace and anti-imperialist groups, anti-racist
movements, environmental movements, networks of the
excluded and community campaigns from Europe and the world
can come together to discuss how to achieve global social justice
for all and debate ways of making 'another world possible".

However, the truth has been a slightly different matter, with the
ESF's democratic constitution being sidelined by big
organisations, notably Ken Livingston's Greater London
Authority. To get into the Forum you will now have to cough up
at least £30.

Whats wrong with the ESF?
The problem with the ESF is that its organising process is overly
controlled by old left political parties. While it is supposed to
belong to all of the grass roots groups and campaigns that make
up the 'movement of movements' - here in the UK, the
organising process is under the control of the SWP (Socialist
Workers Party), Socialist Action and the GLA (Greater London
Authority - Mayor Ken Livingstone's mob).

Sadly this has made the entire organising process unaccountable,
untransparent, non-participatory, exclusionary and downright
unrepresentitive. While some people (calling themselves the
'horizontals') have tried to work within the process to make it
more transparent, they are increasingly frustrated. At the same
time many other European organisers are becoming seriously
concerned over the state of the UK process.

Make no mistake, there will still be thousands of people at the
ESF in October, but many of them will be oblivious to the sham
of an organising process. However when the core values of the
event are missing from the way it is organised, something has to
be done. Bellow are links to articles written about the absence of
democracy in the ESF organising commitee, in reverse
chronological order:
? ESF rejects democracy for TU cash
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/03/288126.html
? UK ESF - concrete outcomes and suggestions...
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/03/286699.html
? ESF-UK efforts -- breakthrough!
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/03/286697.html
? Sign-on statement to democratise the ESF!
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/02/286049.html
Find Out More |

? http://www.fse-esf.org - the official website for the ESF.
? http://www.esf2004.net - the unofficial website for people
looking to organise horizontally within the ESF.
? http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/actions/2004/esf/ - the
Indymedia UK feature site on the ESF.
Discuss |

? http://www.enrager.net/forums/viewforum.php?f=57 -
discuss organising for the ESF on the Organise! forum.


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