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Outcome of Sheffield Social Forum meeting (December 4th/5th)

Sheffielder | 13.12.2004 21:43 | European Social Forum | Sheffield

People participating in the UK Local Social Forum Network met in
Sheffield on the 4/5th December and found consensus on this document to be brought to the Assembly which is going to be held in Paris the 18/19 Dec 2004.

Hosted by SSF
Hosted by SSF

People participating in the UK Local Social Forum Network met in
Sheffield on the 4/5th December and found consensus on this document to be brought to the Assembly which is going to be held in Paris the 18/19 Dec 2004.

A Different ESF is Possible

1.. The British process to build for the ESF has been, from the proposal to have it in London onwards, organized without an open,
democratic, inclusive process. Actually no link has been created with
the UK Local Social Forums and the very same groups which played a prominent role in the process by organising mobilising committees for the ESF did so also in the places where a LSF was working already.
This attitude has generated more problems and divisions in the
movement in Britain and, even if some people have been inspired by
the ESF experience to go on to join a Local Social Forum, we are
registering a lot of repercussions from what happened, with people
pulling out from the LSF in several different places.

2.. The process is as important as the ESF in itself and we cannot have a different world if we don't force ourselves to practise
a different way of working together, based not on self-appointed
representation but on a wider inclusive process in which all the
differences can express themselves and reclaim the right to
participate. In the British process most of the power was based on
the monetary resources organisations could bring in, which is far
away from the world we are claiming to want (i.e. one where money
does not come first!).

3.. The Assembly of movements: although the final document was
built more openly than before the calls for actions have to come from
the work of the networks and the assembly is the space for all to
express the work which has be done. The way the London Assembly was organized didn't give the local social forum network the chance to comunicate their work. We also want to point out that Stop the War Coalition in Britain has called a rally for the 19th of March, the same day when the 'central demonstration in Brussels on 19 March against war, racism, and against a neo-liberal Europe, against privatisation, against the Bolkestein project and against the attacks on working time, for a Europe of rights and solidarity between the peoples' will take place. We support the action in Brussels and we will work for that.

4.. We support the call 'to mobilise massively on the occasion of
the G8 summit in Scotland in July 2005' and we suggest a contrasummit organized by the ESF Network in order to present the alternative we are working for.

5. We reject the criminalisation of part of the movement and we denounce the absence of solidarity towards people who were held by the police in an underground station and arrested during the demo. No demo can carry on like that when some of us are in trouble only because they wanted to communicate what happened. A lot of people were really upset about the demo in itself because it didn't express the ESF and the diversity of the movement. No speakers were agreed for the demo so there was no respect for the decisions taken.

6. It's crucial to learn from the mistakes of this ESF.

7. The way the ESF works is crucial. Less plenaries, which
were just stages for the well known politicians, could be an answer.
Start from big thematic or affinity assemblies and then split into
working groups in order to establish networks aiming to work on
successful actions to fight neoliberalism and build alternatives.
Various documents have been written already and ignored, but there is the chance and the time to call for an open 'How to build the next
ESF' debate.

8. The location and the space in the ESF has to respond to the needs of the people. In Alexandra Palace the LSF network seminar
couldn't work in the way which had been decided because the space
couldn't be used in a different way but was only suitable for an old-
fashioned platform-based meeting.

9. The system of translation is important in supporting a different kind of meeting. Babels can find the way to implement a different approach using different methods. This is crucial for having translation in the workshops. We cannot accept an English-
speaking monoglot ESF any more than we can support an English-
dominated ESF: the days of Empire are over!

(For a full detailed reading of this draft text development, check Manchester Social Forum and Sheffield Social Forum sites.)



Display the following 8 comments

  1. Useful - but just a couple of points. — Anticapitalist
  2. just out of interest — red letter
  3. ESF-Gleneagles — Krop
  4. Replying to comments — Sparta
  5. Yes, but ... — Anticapitalist
  6. food not bombs — mozaz
  7. Some Info that you may have already. — Anticapitalist
  8. Local Social Forums — Chris