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(en) UK, Report: the Colchester [alternative] social forum

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 10 May 2004 09:06:33 +0200 (CEST)

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The forum was set up to provide a regional meeting place for the
myriad of small unaffiliiated pressure groups across East Anglia
to find like-minded people and promote their causes.
Based loosely on the [alternative] European Social Forums which have been
so successful in recent years, the intorductory meeting took place
on Saturday (8th May), with 30-40 people representing various
groups making an apperance.
The forum was yesterday, [8 May] and went off with a minimum of posturing
and argument.
Anarchists were the largest contingent

The Outcome:

* No decisions made in forum to be binding. No central group to
run the event, no authority figures. The forum will facilitate the
various pressure groups and projects rather than being some sort
of centralised ubergroup.

* A website will be set up to provide a central space for local
independant groups to say who they are/what they do etc, and will
hopefully feature a web diary of local and national events.

* An email discussion list is going to be set up to keep everyone
updated on what's happening - send an email to
ipswich_anarchists@yahoo.co.uk if you want to be put on it.
There will also be a web-board set up.

* The next forum will be in Ipswich (cos we're the most central
and accessible), to be organised by Ipswich Anarchs. We'll be
sorting that out hopefully over the next few weeks so more details
on that later.

The main thing to come out of it was a need for various people to
help out. The forum had 30-40 people this time, almost entirely
from near Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich. To up the numbers
and bring in more people it needs groups involved to act as:

- Contacts in as many local areas as possible
- Distributors for publicity about future events etc
- Web page designers to help out with the new site
- News and event gatherers to provide material for the events
section of the site (this would involve nothing more strenuous
than everyone keeping an eye out for events etc and posting them
up on the site or email lists)

It needs people in the main towns but importantly in as many
small market towns and villages as possible because those are the
places with the least coverage. Please don't just assume it'll be
sorted by someone else if you leave it, because we don't have vast
numbers of people and it probably wont.

Future plans:

*The forum will have an education and outreach programme,
designed to get young people more clued up about what's
happening in the world and long term to provide a viable
alternative to the current education system which the forum can
put forward. Tentatively, the idea of education 'tours' was put
forward - covering a variety of subjects - as a test for the ideas
generated in the forum.

*It'll co-ordinate in future with the anti-G8 movement, though
this wont be specifically part of the forum's remit (basically
because it's gonna be a forum and publicity network, rather than
a specific campaigning goup).

* The web-board will expand to include:
- more in-depth entertainment and event guides, including
national events.
- Features about important issues around the region
- (eventually if there's enough interest and people able to act as
local correspondents) an alternative news page
- A comprehensive database of useful groups and contacts

* A regular newsletter (possibly in much the same mold as
Schnews) for distribution round the regions.

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