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Open Letter to the European Anti-Social Forum

Lancaster IMC | 19.10.2004 18:41 | European Social Forum

Open Letter to the European Anti-Social Forum and in particular to the attention of the apparently severely misguided statements made in a letter by Lee Jasper, Secretary, National Assembly Against Racism; Ashok Viswanatha, Deputy coordinator, Operation Black Vote; Pav Akhtar, NUS black students officer in The Guardian Tuesday October 19 (Footnote: 1)

Mr. Jasper and friends have joined the bandwagon of claiming mainstream media presence through a condemnation of horizontally organising grass-roots groups. The media space created through such divide and conquer strategies is by no means new – we have in the past seen an otherwise great globalisation analyst like Susan George go off the rails and make such ludicrous appeasing statements to the powers that be (in connection with the police brutality in Genova during the G8, 2001, the responsibility of which she attributed to grass-roots groups, as well as similarly off-the-wall comments in connection with the Strasbourg No Border Camp, 2002; obviously beyond the comprehension of anyone clued up to the actual unfolding of events in either occasions). Mr. Jasper and friends: "How do you arrive at this position (quoting from letter in The Guardian)?????: "...the storming of the stage of the anti-racist and anti- fascist session on Saturday had nothing to do with how the event was organised. It was the attempt of a tiny minority who oppose the ESF and have had no involvement in it to undemocratically impose their views on the majority and suppress other views by using physical violence..."??????

It is one thing to condemn an action with a clear and important message for political reasons, but when done in utter ignorance it is an act that require reflection. If Mr. Jasper and friends, who organise hierarchically and who condone such organising honestly want to denounce grass-roots organising, then so be it – but to do so under a banner reading “Another World is Possible” is in no way any different, in terms of honesty, then when George Bush II speaks of freedom and democracy. It is utterly non-sensical. There is nothing new or other-worldliness to a big event in a Victorian palace where notabilities speak on podiums overlooking the masses who are subjected, thereby, to realise the emancipating lessons, where it cost more than most socially marginalised people can afford to enter – if those circumstances are indicative of novelty then please help me out, because I see in this scenario no novelties. What I saw was accommodation in the dome where people were offered a cold concrete floor and the free marketeers, like vultures, were hanging out selling crap overpriced blankets to the people – I saw corporate food outlets in front of the palace selling all the usual products that are causing environmental destruction, produced by bonded labour and so on and so on. It never ends. By contrast I saw free food and good mood at the autonomous space called Beyond ESF at Middlesex University, Tottenham campus, kindly provided by the Anarchist Teapot. Can you spot the difference?

What is novel, however, is that after 3 years of social fora (the first one of which took place in Porto Alegre and already was heavily criticised before it happened, the recent North Western Social Forum in the U.S., which collapsed due to similar processes of monopolising the decision making structures and framing of the event by the authoritarian, self-righteous organisations that call themselves socialist or 'the left' or progressive NGOs (Footnote 2)) the novelty is that finally people took direct action against the scam. It was of course merely a symbolic action bringing to the attention of those present that the ESF is an Anti-Social Forum organised along the lines of the very system of oppression and repression known as representative liberal democracy (and funded, thus effectively controlled by the state itself in the guise of the Greater London Authority and Mr. War Party Livingstone). These lines, these forms of 'organisation' are but poor excuses and hardly much of a reform either: it is merely a generational changeover or a passing of authoritarian power from one group to another. Everybody knows, as Leonard Cohen sang, that the fight was fixed.

To Mr, Jasper and all the other groups involved with the ESF: wake up and understand that you are like dinosaurs and that it is incredibly opportunistic to claim, in the peoples' name, that another world is possible when all that you are doing is to replicate the very structures of suppression that self-organised peoples' groups, collectives and networks have been struggling against since time immemorial. And if you want to flash yourself in corporate media, then at least do your homework. Ignorance is no bliss in this case. Shame on you!


Lancaster IMC


Display the following 2 comments

  1. Shocking — HH
  2. Face Reality — Ilyan