Skip to content or view screen version

despite police, no sweat esf seminar a success

Mike R in Florence | 08.11.2002 20:35 | European Social Forum

The seminar organised by No Sweat and the Clean Clothes Campaign at the European Social Forum took place from 2:00 to 5:00 this afternoon and was a great success. This despite the British state's determined attempt to stop it by telling the Italian border police that one of the main speakers, No Sweat National Secretary Mick Duncan, was an "undesirable" and should not be allowed to enter the country! (See elsewhere on Indymedia and the No Sweat website). The ESF organisers tell us they have no report of anyone else being excluded from Italy.

No Sweat's Mark Sandell and Vicki Morris spoke in Mick's place, alongside
trade unionists and anti-sweatshop campaigners from Britain, Germany and the
Netherlands. A lively multi-national debate followed, so much so that one
of the people doing the simultaneous translations had to ask everyone to
speak more slowly! People's keenness to get involved was evident, and
nearly a hundred people from all over Europe signed up to No Sweat.

This keenness has been almost tangible for the past couple of days. People
here are desperate to carry on the fight for workers, women and all the
exploited against global capital, and to globalise our own movement, even if
they are not quite sure how to do it. This, of course, is where a major
cross-border initiative of the European and international far left is
needed. The necessity for the labour movement to become as global as its
enemy, capital, is clearer now than ever before, and the response to No
Sweat's building of links between workers in Britain and those in developing
countries was very enthusiastic.

On the bus back to our accommodation yesterday evening, someone shouted, in
English, "The workers united will never be defeated!" To my amazement the
chant was taken up in Spanish, in Italian...we ended up singing the
Internationale in English and French. Despite having been awake for 42
hours I have rarely felt more awake than when I went to bed that night. Los
obreros unidos...Les travailleurs unis...Die Arbeiter vereinigt...The
workers united. Not just in Europe, but in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mexico
and throughout the world.

What a dream! Marx and Engels and their few
comrades dreamt it 150 years ago, and still we do not know if we will live
to see it. But we, the socialists and the workers' movement of the world,
are the only ones who can make it happen. For our own sakes we must make it
happen. Let us make it happen!

Mike R in Florence
- e-mail:
- Homepage:


Display the following comment

  1. Slight correction — Mike Rowley