General note to improve the preparation of the ESF event
With regard to the participation of political parties the general opinion is that they should neither have a separate space in the ESF nor be among the organisers even if this attitude seems to some “hypocritical”. This does not exclude the participation of party members for special sessions of political dialogue, which could be particularly attractive also for the public opinion. It is not possible for the European Social Forum event to have a unique focus although there should be an emphasis on some important issues like:
1. the European policies: linking together all the experiences of social struggles (trade unions and movements) in response to the neo-liberal policies of the European Union in order to build real alternatives. As far as the relationship with the movements is concerned we should consider the ESF as a space where as many struggles as possible should link to each other. Particular emphasis should be given to the networking and enlargement of the movements from both EU and non-EU parts of Eastern Europe in order to overcome the still dominant Western European culture in all the ESF process.
2. the position and responsibilities of Europe i in the world, in order to change the neo-colonial policies towards the countries of the South, for example in Africa. This has been a central point in the discussions during the World Social Forum in Nairobi. That’s why opinion leaders and representatives of civil society from the South and from all over the world should be invited and be involved in the next ESF in great number. We should establish a particularly close link between the ESF and the WSF considering the Social Forum as a process which includes the activities of networks and social movements on every scale (world, continental, national and local).
3. We should focus on searching alternatives to competition, the base of neo-liberal economy, by promoting solidarity as a value as well within Europe as towards the outside.
4. Put a particular emphasis on environmental questions.
Methodology proposals for the ESF merging process: to decide seminars, assemblies, workshops at the ESF
1. Merging process
At least 6 month before ESF, the participants of the open EPA (which is going to take place in Scandinavia in September) have to receive proposals of themes to be included in the program of the next ESF from networks, organisations , groups and individuals
The participants of the next EPA will analyse them and select the general themes for the next ESF through a political discussion, before starting the merging process
Those themes must “speak” to the people and be directly linked with their practical concerns, with struggles and movements
During the merging process, networks will be responsible for the areas they cover facilitating also proposals from groups not involved in the networks. For other themes a specific open program group will be in charge of facilitating the merging.
2. Self organized spaces
At the ESF it will be important to create several self organised spaces dedicated to specific themes. These spaces will have the aim of increasing transversality amongst organisations referring to them but should also promote activities between each other in order to build links between different themes.
3. Interlinked seminars
We have to build an experiment of seminars where transversality is the main focus
4. Women participation
There has already been a discussion in the women network about women day, the assembly, …. Therefore our focus is only on the visibility of women. Women inclusion has to be seen more during the ESF and the whole process. One proposal is to maintain the quota’s rule. Women have to be in the panels (at least 50%) of all the meetings including facilitating assemblies, EPA and network meetings. For the seminar the program group is going to give priority to proposal where the people commit themselves to balance women and men…(this commitment has to be part of the registration process form).
5. Diversities balance
In all seminars it will be important a special commitment by the organizer to include different point of views in the panel to increase the debate by genders, age, geographical and cultural backgrounds, different abilities and so on
A new working Group to facilitate funding matters was suggested to make proposals with help from people that have participated in previous organizing committees in previous ESFs. There is a proposal for a collection of money made from organizations that participate in the ESF process (with different rates for different regional, finance strength etc organizations) to help the participation of people in need. This can be managed by the working group under the responsibility of the EPA assembly.
7. Security and demonstrations
No one knows better than people from the host country the situation about security during demonstrations. We have to organize our own self defence better and we have to work together in this direction. We propose before any European Demonstration to have a special meeting to inform each other and prepare it sharing responsibilities.
This document has been prepared by the following people:
3rd May 2007
European Assembly (ESF)