Social Forums

Preparing for the G8: wave of arrests in Russia

BY Vicki Morris

FRESH from his PR appearance on the BBC, President Vladimir Putin of Russia is preparing to host the leaders of the new free world at the G8 summit at St Petersburg (15-17 July). A counter-summit and the second Russian Social Forum have been organised, but, as was feared, they are meeting with sinister repression. A report from French journalist Carine Clément was sent to the email lists of the European Social Forum. Here is a translated extract:

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European Social Forum: Who put Ken and the SWP in charge?

By Vicki Morris

The third European Social Forum will probably be held in London, and probably in autumn this year. Preparations are underway. The timetable is very short for organising a successful ESF, but those who have put together the London "bid" - the SWP principally - have not let that bother them. Indeed, it is to their advantage, seeking to control the event, to railroad the process now, saying "we have to get on with organisation, no time for discussion". They are alienating many grassroots activists.

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World Social Forum, Mumbai: From moral to political?

A report by Dita Sari

In the middle of the heat and poverty of the Indian city of Mumbai, the fourth World Social Forum (WSF) was held on 16-21 January. An estimated 100,000 activists from some 130 different countries - the majority from India - gathered together to discuss the urgent social and political issues facing humanity in the 21st century.

The main themes centred around issues of neo-liberal globalisation, war, peace (or the lack of it), women, racism, health, education and the environment. These issues were discussed in thousands of workshops, talks and forums.

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ESF in London... as resources allow

By Tony Jeffries

There are plans to hold the 3rd European Social Forum (ESF) in London. But large obstacles still stand in the way.

About 200 people attended the European preparatory assembly for the London ESF, held on Saturday 13-Sunday 14 December, with a good attendance from all over Europe. About 100 people attended from Britain, but not the range of organisations that will need to be involved if the ESF is to be a success. Reports of the assembly are available here.

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I love Paris in the autumn

By Mick Duncan

In between marching, trying out the cheapest wine on sale and getting lost, No Sweat participated in two sessions at the European Social Forum (12-15 November).

The first was organised by the Clean Clothes Campaign on codes of conduct and corporate responsibility. The seminar was in three parts, with academics, campaigners and trade unionists on the panel. No Sweat tried to appeal to the newly enlightened audience to get active in taking on sweatshop exploitation and to support the Tarrant workers, still sacked and blacklisted in Mexico.

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European Social Forum: Tous ensemble!

By Vicki Morris

That 50,000 people registered for the European Social Forum in Paris is moving.

The vast majority were - are - motivated by the wish to see change for the better in this rotten world. Add to that 50,000, the thousands of volunteers (including the volunteer interpreters of the Babels network), and the 50,000 more who joined in the demonstration on Saturday 15th, and you have something very worthwhile, the building blocks of an alternative to European capitalism. The ESF represents a big leap forward.

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Another world is possible. Will the ESF take us there?

By Vicki Morris

Here we are, tens of thousands of us, in Paris. We had a more or less long journey to get here, and from some regions we had a dangerous journey. Some of us had trouble getting permission to enter Fortress Europe; life will be harder for some of us when we get back home because we came here.

We paid good money to get in-those who paid three euros will count the cost the most. To get the most from the event, we will study the agendas and run around Paris and probably we will miss sleep. We will hear people we agree with and some that will make us very angry and some we simply don't understand. Then we will go away, more or less tired.

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Irish Social Forum

By Sacha Ismail

In September, I attended the European Education Forum in Berlin as a representative of the UK Campaign for Free Education. There I met Paul Dillon, an Irish Labour Party activist and president of the student union in University College Dublin (UCD), who-inspired by our struggle-had been involved in setting up an Irish CFE. Paul invited me and other CFE members to visit Dublin between 17 and 19 October, when his student union would be hosting the first meeting of the Irish Social Forum.

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European Social Forum: A feminist Europe is possible

By Joan Trevor

The European Social Forum, Paris, November 12-15, is pledged to fight for women's rights and equality. This should be reflected in the composition of the event: equal numbers-at least-of women and men speakers; the woman angle addressed in all the discussions.

In addition, on Wednesday 12 November there will be a separate but associated event, the Assembly for Women's Rights for Another Europe.

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European Social Forum, Paris, 12-­15 November

The European Social Forum is just a month off, tens of thousands gathering to talk politics and decide on Europe-wide campaigns for the coming year. There will be something to suit every taste!

  • Monday 10 November: The AWL's own international meeting. For more information, see www.workersliberty.org/esf.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday 11 and 12 November: trade union meeting organised by ETUC and CGT activists.

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