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European Social Forum: Debating the challenges for its future

sam bodie | 21.12.2004 01:33 | European Social Forum | Analysis | Globalisation | Social Struggles | London | World

After three European Social Forums (ESF) we need to step back and ask: what
next? This newsletter is an attempt to provide a multitude of answers to
this question, reflecting upon the Forum’s purpose, practical achievements
and methods of organisation.

European Social Forum: Debating the challenges for its future

1. Introduction

Oscar Reyes, Hilary Wainwright, Mayo Fuster I Morrell and Marco Berlinguer

After three European Social Forums (ESF) we need to step back and ask: what
next? This newsletter is an attempt to provide a multitude of answers to
this question, reflecting upon the Forum’s purpose, practical achievements
and methods of organisation. We present a range of individual and collective
assessments, from many different standpoints. In this introduction we try to
identify some issues which recur in these assessments and which need to be
addressed, if not immediately resolved, in order for the process to develop

2 Individual Assessments of the 3rd ESF and beyond

Bouteldja Naima: Complot Islamiste au Forum Social Européen?

Callinicos Alex : Building on the success of the London ESF

Candeias Mario : Antinomies: Relations between Social Movements, Left
Political Parties and State

Cannavo Salvatore: The Success of the London Forum

De Angelis Massimo: Evaluating the London ESF

Fawkes Guy: Il limite del movimento, la forza del movimento: Intervista a Ken "il rosso" Livingstone

George Susan: Taking the movement forward

Gineste Pierre: Reflecting on the ESF

Juris Jeff : The London ESF and the Politics of Autonomous Space

Kagarlitsky Boris: Social Forum Does London

Kingsnorth Paul : Time to Get Serious

Levidow Les: ESF 2004: Facilitating or Precluding Another World? Contradictory process

Longhi Vittorio : Trade Unions and the ESF

Massiah Gustave: La Place Des «Sans Droits » dans les Forums Sociaux

Nunes Rodrigo : Territory and Deterritory: Inside and Outside the ESF 2004,
New Movement Subjectivities

Pizzo Ana : Londra val bene una mossa

Wainwright Hilary: The European Social Forum Comes to London

Yulis Panayotis: One step forward, how many back?

3 Collective Assessments of the 3rd ESF and beyond

Attac France: The European Social Forum: Appraisal and Future Perspectives

Attac Europe: Contribution to the discussion on the ESF process

Babels France: Bilan du FSE 2004 de Londres

Belgian Social Forum : Some practical suggestions on the ESF Process

Call of assembly of social movements

Call of precariat assembly

COBAS: Il Forum sociale europeo a Londra

French Committee of Initiative

FSU (France): Bilan et perspectives après le 3ème FSE

Germany: Explanation of the ESF process

Greek Social Forum: A statement on the 4th ESF

Gruppo di lavoro per l'assemblea di Parigi: Notes for the
extrarordinary meeting of ESF Paris

Local Social Forums Network, UK: A Different ESF Is

London Social Forum

Tavolo Migranti Italia, Act Up Paris, Amplitude-No One Is Illegal Germany

4 Learning from practice

Andreotti Vanessa and Dowling Emma : Social forums as
pedagogical space

Bodie Annie: Autonomous Spaces

Boeri Julie and Hodkinson Stuart : Babels and the politics of
language at the heart of social Forum

Diesner Dagmar: Kids Space
Migration report

Fuster I Morrell Mayo: InvestigAction and Social Forums

Gosselin Sophie: Nomad

Habermann Friedericke: Popular education

Hache Alex: ESF and communication

Jones Dave: ESF Media and Communications Strategies

Nunes Rodrigo : Culture at the social forums

Preiss Potira and Tiago Eduardo Genehr: Social forums and the

Reyes Oscar :
Paying for another world

5 Perspectives on the ESF and its future

ESF Questionnaire (please answer in English or French)

1. What are the most positive outcomes of the ESF process?

2. What are the main problems with the ESF process?

3. What changes would you implement to make the ESF process more effective?

4. What has the ESF helped your organisation or collective to achieve?

5. Which struggles, issues, problems, proposals or challenges would you like
to see prioritised at the next ESF?

6. Please include your name, and the name of your organisation or collective
(if any).

We would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to respond to the
following questions and return them to info2[at] Responses will
appear here soon.

6 Structures and decision-making at the ESF

Bohn Lars: ESF: Addressing the democratic deficit

Nicholas Haerbinger: Towards the WSF 2005

Maeckelbergh Marianne : Perhaps we should just flip a coin: macro and
microstructures of the European Social Forum Processes

Magnus E. Marsdal and others: European assembly: Could we have better

Hilary Wainwright: For a participatory ESF

Bibliography and weblinks


Useful Guide for Social Transformation in Europe

sam bodie
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Hide the following 3 comments

Build the Foundations

21.12.2004 05:50

Developing into an intuition of capitalist democracy is the overarching problem facing the ESF. This was the tendency of the London ESF, although it was challenged by some of the active participants. If this process continues the ESF will quickly become redundant as a challenge to capitalism - in fact it will supporting it

Local political and social structures are necessary from which national and international ones are derived, which need to be based on participatory democracy and not the representative pseudo-democracy favoured by capitalism, and some actively engaged in the ESF process.

It is not that each individual should be put on the top of the pyramid; it is that there should be no pyramid. In such ways, the pyramids of capital will become redundant tombs, as new structures replace them.

Link to many other reports on the ESF that have appeared on IndyMedia:

PS. A brief report from last weeks meeting in Paris about the future of the ESF would have been much more useful at this stage. Could one of the 'representatives' please post one.


Reflections & analysis: the WOMBLES, the ESF & beyond

21.12.2004 16:29

Thanks for posting all these article links above.

To contribute to the long list of reflections and listed, see also 'Reflections & analysis: the WOMBLES, the ESF & beyond'.

For the full text, see

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24.12.2004 10:35

Perhaps its biggest challenge is to stop being a middle class talking shop and conscience salving exercise.

poverty leech