The European Social Forum (& what's been happening with it)

Mark Brown markibrown at
Fri Feb 13 01:26:01 GMT 2004

Just to let you guys know, but below (further down) is an e-mail I sent out 
on the democratise_the_esf (Euro Social Forum) e-mail list, which I signed 
as representative of The Land is Ours. In case you didn't know, the ESF was 
meant to be in the UK this November, but the Socialist Workers Party 
combined with the top-down meddling interference of the GLA have wrecked the 
decision-making process already. They may well have actually blown it for 
everyone now as the Euro Assembly meets next month and may reject the way 
the whole process has been handled over here ("Globalise Resistance" - 
basically the SWP - were the orginal bidding group to have the ESF over here 
at the end of the 2003 ESF in Paris).
Take a look at the the following website for what has been happening, at:
or for a succient summary of what happened up until Jan 24th, go to:

Other info on the ESF/WSF (World Social Forum):
What is the European Social Forum?
>From the old ESF website: "The European Social Forum is a space for people 
from all over Europe to come togther to discuss how to build another world, 
and to organise opposition to corporate globalisation and war."
World Social Forum Charter of principles:
The Promise of the European Social Forum, by Phil McLeish:
World Forum Movement:  Abandon or Contaminate by Linden Farrer

>From: "Mark Brown" <markibrown at>
>To: democratise_the_esf at
>Subject: [democratisESF] Proactive proposals to move things forward ... 
>here's mine
>Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 17:27:44 +0000
>This is my blueprint (for what it's worth) of how the process should have 
>been and could still be. However, it does appear a 2004 ESF is doomed, as 
>the proposal to have it in 2005 will likely be rejected by the Euro 

A system should have been formulated (and could still be) whereby anyone who 
"participates" in any local social forum has the right to participate in the 
"ESF Organising Commitee".

In terms of here-on in, I suggest that unless there is a forthright, 
unequivacal position proposed such as this, how else do we cut through the 
impasse in the current situation (i.e. an OC that insists on individuals 
representated through organisational affiliation and a social fora network 
who comprise the "real substance of the social movements that ESF, in 
accordance with WSF principles, must be all about" who can't participate 
under these terms and conditions). In other words, the proposal is that 
affiliation for organisations should be accepted with the exception of those 
individuals who participate in social fora (confirmation of that would have 
to be constituted in some way, such as subject to confirmation by other 
Social fora participants*). Individuals should not have to cough up any 
money in order to participate.
*a minimum number of people per social fora may have to be defined, for 
instance, to make that workable and acceptable to affiliated groups.

The problem remains, however, that this process is London centric, which is 
why the abandonment of the UK Assembly is a step too far as far as I am 
concerned. Personally, I believe the OC should be accountable to the UK 
Assembly as well as the Euro Assembly. In this way, with social fora 
participants having unlimited access to the OC, then the OC becomes just an 
extension of the UK Assembly process - the working group delegated by the UK 
Assembly to carry out all the practical tasks mandated by the Assembly, and 
which meets regularly in-between UK Assemblys. The locational meeting place 
of the OC should be where the UK Assembly decide which city the ESF is going 
to be held in, which has been assumed already to be in London.

So, my view is that everything should be subject to ratification by a UK 
Assembly. Only then would be organisationally best fulfilling the principles 
of WSF, I believe.

Lets hope Greece can learn where we appear to have gone wrong. Hopefully all 
of this experience will be a useful exercise for the organisation of a Greek 

Mark.S.Brown (Land is Ours/Colombia Solidarity Campaign/social centre 


* Mobilise lists (non official 
organising lists)
* Democratise_the esf list: (non official 
organising list)
* esf_culture homepage  (ESF 
working group)
* esf_media homepage (ESF working 
* Early stage open website
* Closed website

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