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REPORT BACK - European Social Forum meeting London 2004

hamish campbell | 14.12.2003 19:55 | Free Spaces | Repression | Social Struggles | London | Oxford

The ESF is boring – stuck in its way – but the are real people involved and it will be a huge gathering of alternatives… here are some views from the meeting.

The big meeting
The big meeting

(Hamish) On a positive note the SWP/GR is losing control you can see as each speaks, the is a stony silences and the same small groups clap them… they gather in clumps to conspire… there agitation rises as more and more people speak out agenst them.

(Brig) Another positive note: the prevailing ‘tyrrany of structurelessness’ – the age old technique of those who maintain control by the lack of any structure to make them accountable – is on its way out. The practicalities working group quickly reached consensus that a defined structure and legal status are essential to the project, and proposals will be coming forward to the UK Assembly in January.

(John) Saturday mornining’s plenary session was totally chaotic with interminable discussions about where the next European Social Forum should be held. There seems to be a culture clash between ‘new movements’ and the traditional left.
Both sides need to learn from each other and accommodate to the other’s way of working and some people need to keep their egos in check.

(Richard) It’s been hugely positive overall. In terms of process there’s a conflict between two different models of democracy – representative and consensual, as symbolised by the Oxford initiative to put all the chairs in a circle. “Mysteriously” all the chairs had been put back respectfully facing the “platform” the following morning. Traditional meeting chairpeople did not know how to facilitate in a consensual way. People waffle rather than making proposals, etc etc. The cultural working group was really really productive and exciting. Talking to comrades from France and elsewhere was very useful so we don’t make the same mistakes, but just make our own.

hamish campbell
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Display the following 4 comments

  1. good work — James
  2. A need for Theory — Pat
  3. More ESF thoughts — hamish Campbell
  4. Further Thoughts on ESF — Pat