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Hubbin' it: The Euraction Hub in Florence

2 hubbies | 11.11.2002 13:47

The Euraction Hub showed a slightly different side of the social Europe which manifested itself during the European Social Forum in Florence, 6/11 - 10/11.

Outside of the official ESF seminars, where high-profile speakers were talking about the (often sad) state of the world, dozens of people were actively creating alternatives. While, for example, the problems of global information and communication structures were analysed and discussed during ESF seminars, and new communication structures were called for, these structures were being
actively created at the Euraction Hub nearby. A laboratory of communication experiments and horizontal social organisation, the hub served as a space for interactive workshops on non-hierarchical structures and for a variety of media projects. The latter included "hub tv" - a live terrestrial tv station broadcasting 20 hours a day for the Florence area - , video installations by the Rome-based video collective Candida, an independent media centre, live radio streams, etc. The german group "everyone is an expert" built up a satellite internet connection on which they were streaming live video reports.

What was particularly fascinating about all this was that all these projects were created within a time frame of 2 days. Until Tuesday afternoon, the Hub space which had been negotiated on with the ESF organisers had not been confirmed - so all technical infrastructure, furnishing etc. was not started until the night before the official start of the ESF. From that point on, the place was buzzing of energy and creativity, which lasted until the final moments on Sunday morning.

The Hub provided a convergence point for the ongoing planning of campaigns already started by the European emancipatory networks. The G8 meeting in Evian, France, was discussed alongside with international solidarity campaigns with Palestine and Argentina. People in those countries
participated in the workshops via internet radio and chat. There was a thematic area called Reclaim your Media, which hosted discussions on communication strategies, introduced alternative media projects, particularly video projects
from around Europe, and discussed the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society.

After dinner, every night peeople gathered to talk about ways of developing direct democracy. Overall, the organiaìsation was very fluid, even bordering on the chaotic, with people joining in informal debates and spontaneous teach-ins.

Evening events included a mass yomango dinner with food "liberated" from surrounding supermarkets, in which hundreds of people from the official ESF space participated, with thousands joining a massive party afterwards.

The Hub regarded itself as an autonomous space outside the Fortezza da Basso (where most esf events took place), presenting the non-hierarchical approach of networks such as peoples global action and indymedia, thereby criticising the top-down approach by many organisations present at the esf. yet, on the other hand, it sought to interact with official esf events and be located inside the broader framework of the European Social Forum. As such, it was an important part of the ESF.

Hub was a success in the way that it unleashed incredible creativity and showed some very real alternatives to the social problems discussed within the official ESF. Hub served as a starting point for interventions into its environment, such as a Social Forum, although this side of Hub will have to be further developed and improved. Hub will most probably return to similar events!

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  1. Non-intervention — OSI