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COBAS Union condemns UK ESF organising committee (swp/sa/gla)

repost | 19.10.2004 21:54 | European Social Forum | Indymedia | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | London

COBAS condemns uk esf committee domination of the ESF closing demonstration and treatment of young people from 'autonomous spaces'.

Tuesday 19th October 2004 :
From Italian union COBAS regarding the ESF rally

The closing rally for the European Social Forum in London has been deeply marred by the intolerable behaviour of the British Organising Committee, and in particular by the forces that dominate it: the Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Action (the group behind London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone), and some trade unions. Several hundred young people coming from the "autonomous spaces"� (included in the programme of the Forum and who the day before had fiercely criticised, although without violence, the management of the Forum) were coming to the demonstration when the Police attacked them making four arrests (two Italians and two Greeks).

Despite the insistent requests from the Italian delegation at the head of the march to demand their liberation, the British Committee did not say a word.

At the end of the march, when trying to give news of these events from the stage, we discovered that access to this was restricted to the British Committee. Instead of the agreed concert, we had around twenty speeches monopolised by the English to the exclusion of all other European delegations.

At this point the young people previously surrounded by Police were trying to access the stage, upsetting the stewards of the rally, who called the police provoking further arrests, bringing the number to a total of nine. Among these was Javier Ruiz, one of the persons responsible for Indymedia in England.

From COBAS we denounce the grave responsibility of the British Committee and the organisations involved,who have managed the rally as if it was their own, and have used the Police to "solve" the conflicts in the movement. This casts a dark shadow over a Forum that has seen many thousand people passionately debating, and that started important mobilisations against the wars in Iraq and Palestine, against the liberal social policies and in defence of migrants. In it’s conclusive assembly the Forum argued for a deep modification of its own structures inadequate for a growth of the organisation to confront liberalism and war.

We will talk about this, and about how to make sure that events like those that happened in London are never repeated, in the next European Assembly in Paris on the 18th and 19th of December.

Piero Bernocchi
Confederazione Cobas

Rome, 18th October 2004

original Italian text:



Hide the following 2 comments

We must all fight together against this attempted takeover of our movement

19.10.2004 23:34

The events on the ESF march and the undemocratic organisation of the ESF in general are very disturbing, as are attempts by SWP members and similar groups to margnialise and exclude more autonomous activits on this list. We must not allow our movemement to be destroyed by these vampires. Another world is possible, I have felt it many times with the emergence of this new, in various protests, discussions, events, networking, gatherings, actions. We cannot let this go and give up. Next time, no mayors and no takeovers by any parties. We all need to have our say, and no one has a monopoly on this movement. Another world is possible. It is necessary, and if you look hard enough, it is here already. We got to keep this alive.

sense at last

COBAS behaved really sound - thanks

20.10.2004 08:21

COBAS behaved really sound during the whole ESf process as far as i could tell, thanks a lot!
They seem to be quite a trustworthy bunch of people, and guess most of us are very gratefull and happy to what COBAS has done, thanks.