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Some comments on ESF

skrat | 17.10.2004 21:21 | European Social Forum | London

ESF, that just took place in London could certainly be described in a greater length but this article is only going to point out some of the main issues we found fascinating

a. Vertical organization
Agreements about the speakers that were supposed to attend ESF were not respected. For example: the infamous mayor of London Ken Livingston (Labour Party) was invited to speak in the Forum without a consensus. We will not try to list all such cases but it was more than clear that the big NGOs and political parties took over the organization of the Forum. Other people trying to get involved into the decision-making process were not taken into account and the consensus-based decisions were regularly ignored.

b. Corporatization of the organization
Many tasks, which could have been made by volunteers and in this way involve more people into the process, were contracted with private companies, as the internet web page. In the ESF venue you could find all kind of multinational products as for example Coca Cola, even when just before the forum a benefit party to support the trade unions from colombian (killed by paramilitaries payed by Coca Cola) was organized and the trade union delegates from Coca Cola were delegates.

c. Mainstream political topics discussed
The official ESF didn’t seem to pay that much attention to the real alternatives and topics discussed at the forum more or less resembled issues discussed by the corporate media in a relatively similar way. Any opinions considerred radical were completely blocked from being in the final declaration of the ESF. There was also a case of an Iraqi trade union representative twho was suposed to talk at the discusion devoted to the ending of the occupation of Iraq. Since the trade union in question is a clear supporter of the US forces and the existing occupation, the speaker was met by a group of unsatisfied protesters that prevented him to spread his US propaganda.

d. Exclusion of people by the expensive cost
While the registration costs were not neglectable, cost of food and drinks in the ESF venues was more than regular and the tickets for ESF parties were certainly overpriced (£12). London is supposed to be one of the most expansive cities in the world but activist tourism seems to be bringing quite some money back to the great investor Ken Livingston.

e. Non participatory approach
The size of workshopos and debates was mostly too big for a proper interaction between the speakers and the public to take place. Even in case of a smaller discussion the idea of a lecture was strongly present, since contribution from the public was somewhat limited and on the other hand also obviously not in the interest of the Forum.



Display the following 2 comments

  1. ESF sold out — tomas
  2. Social? — RMV