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.
The bid to bring the ESF to London was made initially by the SWP with CND. Hostility and suspicion among activists of the fledgeling social forum movement in Britain. This was reflected at the December assembly, and rumbles on.
However, the biggest obstacle to a successful London ESF is financial. It was hoped that the Greater London Authority and London mayor Ken Livingstone would back the bid, but it transpires that they cannot put in much money, and might have political cold feet. They are unlikely to support the bid at all if a substantial amount of the money needed - £1 million at least - cannot be found by the start of March. So far, no other major sources of funding are guaranteed.
The next European preparatory meeting is on Saturday 6-Sunday 7 March. It will take the decision whether the London ESF can proceed or whether another location/date must be found. In the meantime, plans are continuing - as they must.
To discuss the practical preparation of proposals to host the ESF in London. Saturday 24 January, 1.30-5pm, Greater London Assembly, City Hall, the Queen's Walk, London SE1 (note: there is a security check on entering the building)
Join the email list for information and discussion about the ESF. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anti-war action, 20 March
The European preparatory assembly discussed dates for common European action in the spring around defence of welfare, against the proposed European constitution; some have yet to be confirmed, but one certainty is anti-war action on 20 March, anniversary of the start of the war against Iraq.