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European Social Forum in Florence7th to 10th November 2002 Preparatory meeting in Vienna10th, 11th and 12th May 2002 Foreword. 2 Overall conclusions of the deliberations 3 Present in Vienna 3 Florence Forum: when and where 3 Registration 3 Working languages 3 ESF Programme 3 Expanding the network 3 Relationship with political parties 4 Upcoming meetings and organisation in the run-up to the ESF in Florence 4 Coordination of the Continental forums with the World Social Forum 4 Appendix I: Report on proceedings 5 Friday 10th May 5 Saturday 11th May 5 Sunday 12th May 5 APPENDIX II - Presentation about the ESF by Raffaella Bolini, Italian Social Forum 7 APPENDIX III - PROPOSAL ON THE EUROPEAN WORKING GROUP METHODOLOGY AND ORGANIZATION 9 APPENDIX IV - Report on the PROGRAMME commission 11 APPENDIX V - Report of the organisation working group 13 Communication 13 Registration 13 Translations 13 Logistics 13 Finance 13 Travel 14 Website 14 APPENDIX VI - Distribution of tasks for expanding the network 15 APPENDIX VII - Report of the meeting of Eastern European campaigners 16 APPENDIX VIII - List of those registered for the Vienna meeting 17
This report was written by several persons: Raffaella Bolini et Luciano Mulhbauer (Italia), Christophe Aguiton, Isabelle Bourboulon et Laurent Jesover (France), Angela Klein (Germany), Monika Grubbauer et Leo Gabriel (Austria), Josu Egireun (Pais Vasco) et Mayo Fuster (Barcelona). All our apologies for any errors. You?l find in the appendix, the participatory list with their email addresses. We ask you to not publish this email list on your website and, of course, to not subscribe them without their prior agreement to any of your list. Some appendix are added to this report centred around made decisions: brief on debates and presentation, report for working groups, list and emails of the participatory persons. CAREFUL The next general meeting will be held in Thessalonica (Greece) on July 13th and 14th.
- Overall conclusions of the deliberations
This is a summary which focuses on the decisions taken, together with number of appendices: a rapid summary of the debates and presentations, summaries of the working groups, list of those present and their e-mail addresses.
Present in Vienna The complete list of the 242 registered participants is attached as an appendix. NB: some may have registered in advance and then been absent while others may have been present without having registered, but the list is generally accurate. Here is the number of registered participants per country: Austria 47, Italy 36, France 31, Greece 20, Germany 18, Great Britain 16 (including 1 for Scotland), Czech Republic 5, Spain 5, the Basque Country 4, Switzerland 4, Portugal 4, Lithuania 4, Croatia 4, Belgium 4, Holland 2, Norway 2, Macedonia 2, Montenegro 2, Slovenia 2, Serbia 1, Yugoslavia 1, Cyprus 1, Russia 1, Rumania 1, Luxembourg 1, Latvia 1. Plus 4 representatives of European networks. Florence Forum: when and where The European Social Forum will take place from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th November in Florence. The chosen venue, which determined the dates, is the city ?itadel? situated a few hundred metres from the railway station, in the middle of town. This venue will allow us to hold everything in the same place, its capacity being enormous: 4 main halls with 2,000-2,500 seats, 36 halls seating 200-500 and 50 small halls seating 50. Accommodation will be in hotels, at participants?expense (5,000 places have been reserved), or very moderated priced collective accommodation (5,000 places) in community centres, schools and other places provided by the city council, or rooms in private homes. Registration Unlike Porto Alegre, where only the representatives of unions, associations or NGOs can be delegates to the World Social Forum, in Florence individuals too can register, to ensure large-scale participation by new campaigners. The dates decided on are: 1st June 2002: registration opens on Internet website. 15th September: deadline for workshop suggestions. 15th October 2002: registration closes. Those who miss this deadline must organise their own accommodation. Registration costs 50 Euros for organisations, 25 Euros for individuals and between 5 and 10 Euros for the young, the unemployed and those on low incomes. Working languages In order to encourage a massive presence of campaigners from all backgrounds, there must be no linguistic barriers. So it has been decided that everything will be translated into Italian, Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, Greek and Russian. So many languages, in the numerous workshops, will require the presence of a large number of activist translators. The various national delegations should start organising this straight away. ESF Programme The Italian suggestion (which was sent as a preparatory document for Vienna and which can be found attached as an appendix) has been adopted as the starting point, along with other additions (again, see appendices). In Brussels it was agreed to add the war and military hegemony issue to the one of corporate globalisation; in Vienna, following the Italian delegation proposal, it was agreed to add also racism and xenophobia issue. A series of working groups are planned: on the Charter of Rights; on the far Right; on Eastern Europe; on the EU; on work; on the patriarchy; on education; on war; on racism and the ?inorities? on the place of Europe in the world. These workshops and others should be put in place at the Rome meeting, or, at the latest, at the Thessalonica meeting. Expanding the network A number of practical decisions were taken to increase the numbers present. A letter will be sent (by the Italians) to the World Social Forum in Sao Paulo asking for the list of all Europeans present at the two forums in Porto Alegre in order to send out invitations for Florence. A standard letter will be written (again by the Italians) so that all organisations can invite their correspondents or anyone else they consider would be interested in the ESF in Florence. A list of networks and organisations considered important to contact was drawn up, and can be found attached as an appendix. Relationship with political parties The Brussels meeting considered the question, but without fixing any precise options. Three points were made in Vienna, and one was left unresolved. 1/ The participation of political parties is controlled by the registration procedures: as individuals can register, they can be members of social organisations, political parties, or nothing at all. This solves one difficulty encountered in Porto Alegre where representatives of political parties were only there as observers. 2/ It is up to each nation to decide on the make-up of the national delegations: for certain countries only social organisations will be officially included, for others political parties will be accepted. In the second case, this possibility must be introduced by the unions and associations, as only they can decide on openings made for political parties. 3/ Whatever the case, the "visible moments" in Florence (opening and closing sessions, conferences, etc.) will be reserved for the social movements, those representatives of national delegations who are also members of political parties being allowed to speak only in the name of their national delegations and not in the name of their political parties.
- 4/ The question left unresolved concerns the moments of debate and confrontation between campaigners for social movements and political parties. This question is to be sent to the Thessalonica meeting.
Upcoming meetings and organisation in the run-up to the ESF in Florence The decision was taken to organise 2 other large meetings, like those of Brussels and Vienna, between which an ?rganisational team?will prepare the meetings and get ahead with practical matters. The first meeting will take place on 13th and 14th July in Thessalonica, in Greece, to strengthen the ties already made with the campaigners from the Balkans and Eastern Europe and to establish contacts in Turkey. A meeting of Greek campaigners, tying in with a delegation from the ESF, will take place on 20th May to make sure that a unified preparation for the Thessalonica meeting is possible, which is a condition for its taking place. The second meeting will take place in September in a location not yet fixed, though Barcelona has been suggested (this city could host the meeting of 13th and 14th July if it turned out not to be possible in Greece). In order to lay the groundwork, it was decided to perpetuate the working groups (organisation, expanding the network and programme) and for them to meet 3 times between now and the ESF: 10th June in Rome, in August (time and place not yet fixed) and in October (idem). These meetings, which are open to all who are interested and must be attended by at least one representative per major country, will take place over the morning, with a coordination meeting of the working groups taking place in the afternoon to harmonise decisions to be taken. The Italian delegation proposed this method, which was agreed on, being known that the political decisions are made by the general assembly. Coordination of the Continental forums with the World Social Forum The international committee of Barcelona has fixed 3rd and 4th June for a coordination meeting of the different continental forums to look at possible synergies and to see how links could be formed between these forums and the WSF in Porto Alegre in 2003. To represent the ESF, representatives were appointed from the Italian social forum and from the Belgian or Austrian campaigners, these being the host countries of the first coordination meetings. It looked like one person from Austria could make the journey.
Appendix I: Report on proceedings
Friday 10th May meeting of campaigners and members of the social movements of Eastern Europe (see appendix VII). meeting on the youth issue. Saturday 11th May 11:00 Presentation of the meeting and order of the day by Leo Gabriel / Austria. Reminder of the decisions already made and the broad principles of the proceedings of the ESF (respect of the Charter of the WSF, decisions made in Porto Alegre and in Brussels, etc.) by Raffaela Bollini / Italy, see appendix II Methodology and presentation of the working groups proposed by the Italian delegation by Luciano Muhlbauer / Italy, see appendix III Information on the venue (Florence) and the dates by Bruno Paladini / Italy, see Overall conclusions of the deliberations. Summary of the meeting of the Eastern Europe movements by Daniela Stepanovic / Serbia 12:00 General debate arising from the presentations. Discussion about the information given on the upcoming meeting in Thessalonica (disagreements among the different Greek delegations). Comments made about the low representation of Northern European countries. Disappointment expressed about the absence of coordination with the networks which had organised the Prague demonstration and who are meeting at the same time in Strasbourg. They are younger more ?utonomous?networks, which also exist in Vienna but which have not been included in the preparations for this meeting. Comments made on the necessity to open up more to the networks of immigrant workers and to the movements fighting the rise of the far Right. Other voices were raised to request that themes such as education, health, etc. be included. 13:00 Welcome message from Wilhelm Haberzettl, president of the Austrian rail workers union and President of the European federation of transport workers (professional wing of the CES ?the workers union). The meeting is in fact taking place in premises provided free of charge by the Austrian union. 15:00 Meeting of the 3 working groups (organisation, expansion of the network, programme of the ESF) lasting all afternoon. 20:00 Entertainment, organised by the Austrian team. Sunday 12th May 09:00 Final meeting of the working group of the Eastern Europe representatives. 10:00 Presentations of reports by the working groups organisation (Isabelle Bourboulon / France and Kurto Wendt / Austria) programme (Angela Klein / Germany) expansion of the network (Christophe Aguiton / France) Information on European initiatives mobilisation for the European summit in Seville on 20th-22nd June, presentation by Diosdado Toledano (Barcelona) and Josu Egireun (Emen Eta Mundua, the Basque Country). mobilisation for the FAO summit in Rome, on 13th-14th June, presentation by Gianni Fabbris of the Italian delegation. 11:00 General debate on a number of matters, notably: the problem of the participation of political parties at the ESF; many voices were raised insisting on the necessity to include them in the process? the need to ?eminise?the process and to genuinely integrate the problem of gender into the debates? practical problems raised by the participation of campaigners from Eastern Europe (visas, funding, etc.); the need to include themes such as war and the fight against the far Right? the problem of coordination on a European level for the preparation for the ESF; how can we coordinate more effectively, but without letting institutionalisation take hold, notably concerning the coordinators of the working groups, who could overstep their role? on the organisation of the ESF programme : how are the conferences, workshops, seminars, etc. going to be organised? necessity of providing provision for ?ersonal stories?as in Porto Alegre? on the need to have, within the framework of the ESF, debating areas on methods of action and mobilisation, as well as a very open consultation procedure to allow the integration of those sectors, in particular the youth sectors, which are not yet sufficiently involved in the preparations for the ESF? concerning the venues for the next preparatory meetings, the 4 preoccupations expressed being to integrate the youth sectors (so Barcelona suggested as a venue), the issue of stateless peoples (the Basque Country or Catalonia), opening up to the countries of northern Europe (Copenhagen or a northern German city suggested) and to the Eastern European countries and the Balkans (Thessalonica suggested). 13:00 Short break to allow a working group of the different Greek delegations to examine the possibility of meeting in Thessalonica in mid-July. 13:30 Meeting reconvenes. After adoption of the conclusions of the working groups (see Overall conclusions of the deliberations), the decision was made to hold the next meeting in Thessalonica, if the meeting of the different Greek networks, which will take place in that city on 21st May confirms their ability to work in a really unified manner? if this proves not to be the case, Barcelona was proposed ?the local campaigners will be meeting on the 22nd and will be able to discuss this possibility, or the possibility of meeting in that city in September, for the final plenary preparatory meeting for the ESF in Florence. There followed various other contributions: Eric Toussaint (CADTM, Belgium) reported on the WSF international committee which met in Barcelona in April? Samir Amin, also present at the WSF meeting, reported on initiatives taken in Africa and in countries of the Southern hemisphere? Information, given by xxx of Austria, on the planned mobilisation in Salzburg, the xx September for the European session of the World Economic Forum (Davos), Information, given by Mayo Fuster of the ?ovimiento de Resistancia Global? Catalonia, on the European Social Consultation (www.consultaeuropea.org) , a 4-level process? consultation within the movements to fix the bases of the public consultation? internal consultation leading to a meeting in February 2003? a space for social debate to define the contents of the consultation, the consultation proper, the idea put forward being to have it at the same time as the European elections of 2004? and finally the mobilisation following the consultation itself and the application of its results.
- Information on the mobilisation concerning a NATO meeting in Prague, XXX ?
Information on the mobilisation for the anniversary of the death of Carlos Guiliani in Genoa
- APPENDIX II - Presentation about the ESF by Raffaella Bolini, Italian Social Forum
I? sorry for all the people who already know the information I? going to provide, but we decided to work in an inclusive way and that means the new arrived people have the right to be included in the discussion. This is the reason I will summarize the work this Working Group has already done. First of all, what is this meeting? This is the European Working Group which has the responsibility to organize the European Social Forum. The ESF will be, as well as other continental and regional Forums, part of the international process towards the Third World Social Forum which will be held in Porto Alegre, early 2003. The decision to have continental forums comes from a decision of the International Council of the WSF ?who lead the Porto Alegre process ?as well as from the social movement, to strengthen their regional and continental relationships between those who are opposing neoliberalism and war. This Working Group has been initiated by the European Social Movement Assembly held in Porto Alegre. In the same assembly, after a long debate and by consensus, Italy has been decided on as the hosting country for the first ESF to be held in the last months of this year. In Porto Alegre, we set a first appointment in Brussels on the 9th and 10th of March, and in Brussels we decided to meet again here in Vienna. At the Brussels meeting we were more than 100 people, representing many social movements, networks and organizations, mainly from Western Europe. For this reason, we decided to devote special attention to involvement of Eastern Europeans in this meeting in Vienna. The report of yesterday? meeting, attended by 40 people representing 12 Eastern European countries has already been presented. The enlargement of this network remains our main priority: our Europe is larger then the European Union countries. Here in Vienna, we will decide the date and town for the next meeting, and everybody will have to do his or her best to involve others. There is a proposal, already discussed in Brussels, for the next meeting to be held in Thessalonica in July. We will take a decision on this proposal tomorrow. This is how we will build up, step by step, the European Social Forum. The European Social Forum will not be a congress, nor a General Assembly of the movement. As in Porto Alegre, the ESF will not have a final document, even if specific documents, appeals, calls for mobilisation and campaigns will be of course circulated and will be welcomed. The ESF will be an open and public space for debate, aimed to strengthen European alliances against neoliberalism and war, to help the growing up of mobilisation and action. We mustn? hide the differences and even the conflicts which exist between us, inside the common framework we share. We mustn? fight against each other but discuss, and try to find more advanced points of consensus. Even the differences can be an asset, if we use them as a way to improve pluralism and unity at the same time. I simply remember, at this point, that we decided not to have separate Forums like in Porto Alegre (the general one, the Local Authorities one, the Parliamentarian one) but to have only one Forum, where the social movements can find spaces for debating with institutions on specific subjects. Of course, we will be permanently in touch with the International Council, which has overall responsibility for the WSF. At the last International Council meeting it was decided to have a special meeting devoted to the continental forum in Sao Paulo, on the 3rd and 4th of June. The European Working Group has to be there. A suggestion could be to form a delegation with Italians and other Europeans, in order to have a clear representation of the concrete work we are doing.
Who can join the European Working Group? We have to be very clear on this point: the process has been initiated by the social movements, but from the very beginning the European Working Group is open to everybody who has already signed or is ready to sign the Charter of Principles of the WSF. None of the signatories can be excluded, on one hand. On the other hand, those who don? agree with this Charter can come to Florence as observers ?like in Porto Alegre ?but cannot be part of the preparatory process. We are part of the WSF process and we have to respect this very natural and general rule, which has again been confirmed at the last International Council Meeting in Barcelona at the end of April. Of course, we have to make all our efforts in order to let new social movements in Europe, which until now were not part of the Porto Alegre process, enter the European process, by signing the Charter and joining us. And of course, the European movements have their own history, identity and an already existing process of networking that we want to emphasize and to take into account: we were not born in Porto Alegre, we have very long experience of mobilisations and struggles: this is the reason why we decided together to put two fundamental elements at the base of the European Social Forum: the struggle against neoliberalism and the struggle against war. Looking at the European situation, there is a proposal coming from the Net Enlargement Working Group in Italy, to add another fundamental element to the two other ones: the struggle against racism and intolerance. We don? want to leave any space, in the European Social Forum, to forces of the extreme rights. It? better to be clear about this. This is a proposal and it should be discussed. Coming back to the question ?ho can join the preparatory process and the European Working Group?a last point remained open after the Brussels meeting: whether political parties can participate as such. It? a sensitive point: in Europe, some political parties in some countries are part of the movement. On the other side, as you know the International Council of the WSF from the very beginning decided to exclude political parties as signatories to the Charter of Principles. They can participate in the WSF as observers, they can sign the Charter as individuals, or as members of organisation or networks but not as political parties. This decision was confirmed at the last Barcelona International Council meeting, and they ask the Continental Social Forum to respect the same criteria. What do we have to do, in order to find a solution? We have to go on with this discussion here in order to find, if possible, a balance between the decision of the International Council and the European reality. I?l stop at this point. Luciano will speak about how the European Working Group is organized, and will propose a way ?on behalf of we Italians ?to improve our organisations and coordination. Bruno will give you information about the situation we have in Florence, concerning logistics and organisational matters. Let? act quickly, all together, while there is still time, tomorrow might be too late.
APPENDIX III - PROPOSAL ON THE EUROPEAN WORKING GROUP METHODOLOGY AND ORGANIZATION
At the Brussels meeting, on the 9th and 10th of March, we defined an open and participative preparatory process for the ESF. We didn? define an ?nternational Committee? but we chose to form a European Working Group, where any interested social movement or network can take part simply by participating in it. A working group which today holds its second general meeting. Two or three other general meetings will be necessary. For the next one there is a proposal of Thessalonica, in Greece. We also formed three specific working groups on specific tasks; also those ones had to work in an open and inclusive way: Programme and structure of the ESF Organisation Building and enlarging the net. We finally decided that national working groups had to be created in every country. After two months we will evaluate what has been achieved and the problems encountered in order to refine our methodology and our organisation. We now know the city where the ESF will be held, as Bruno Paladini will explain after me, and we have to be even more active. I want to make a proposal, based on the Italian experience and the discussion of the Italian working group, which met on the 22nd of March and on the 21st of April, but also considering the discussion of the International Council of the WSF which met in Barcelona at the end of April. This should allow the specialised working groups to become more active and to finalize the process in the 6 months we have left: We propose to form a specific working group that works on the task of the Charter of Social Rights and Citizenship, which is part of the political framework we defined in Brussels. The question is not to build up a group which is going to write a Charter, but a group that organizes the debate, the process of debate, and which collects and communicates the proposals that already exist. This group could be formed by the Programme group and become autonomous in the future We think we need another group, which could become autonomous, on Communications, because this is not simply an organisational problem. So the Organisation group could discuss the solution. The Organisation working group will also be in charge of concrete matters such as logistics, travelling and visas, registration, administration and fund rising. These are very concrete matters and we have to be fully operational for the next continental meeting. The Programme group has, at this meeting, to finalize the structure of the ESF programme. As we decided in Brussels, we start the discussion with an Italian proposal, which the Italian working group sent you some days ago. The Enlarging the Network group needs to speed up. We have to contact urgently the European ?ignatories?of the Charter of Principles of Porto Alegre. And we have to invite the International Council of the WSF to inform all the ?ignatories?about the ESF preparatory process. We have to add more social subjects (workers, youth, women, students, migrants etc.), with particular attention to the subjects of social exclusion (the homeless, the unemployed, those without papers or permits etc.). This group should also prepare, for the next continental meeting, a specific space of discussion with the movements and networks of the other side of the Mediterranean and with the people without land, such as the Palestinian and the Kurdish people. Just as here in Vienna we made a step to open our process to Eastern Europe. At this stage, we have to resolve the following operational and political problem: The specialised working groups will become increasingly complex every day. And they will require coordination which cannot be carried out in an informal manner. We have to be open and transparent which raises the question of allocating responsibility. There is also the question of overall coordination between the specialised groups because the preparatory process is complex but needs to stay united. In Italy we started by designating a certain number of coordinators who made up a network mandated to call on all who wished to participate. We think that each specialised group should have 3 to 5 coordinators, but the question of the precise number is still open and will be settled later. Obviously there would be no sense in defining a methodology in Italy and another one at the European level! Decisions are taken at the European level and we need to be very careful about that: the ESF is not an Italian matter, but a European matter; it belongs to all of us who are Europeans. We need to integrate national and continental issues and our proposal is to use the same methodology throughout Europe. There will be Italian coordinators and coordinators from the other European countries, making up a group of 30 to 60 people who would form a European network; but the precise number is not a problem, it is just a guide to the overall scale of things. The network of coordinators would guarantee coordination, either through meetings or through electronic communications, between general meetings, which are the places where the political decisions are taken and the guide-lines are decided on. That would be an open solution to the operational and political problems. We need to be transparent! Everybody should know that the ESF process is part of the WSF process, as Raffaella Bolini reminded us. The International Council of the WSF discussed the structures of the continental forum preparatory processes and proposes that Continental Organizing Committees should be given this task, each of these should form ?xecutive Secretariats? The decisions taken in Brussels, based on the reality and the plurality of the European movements and networks, have led us to choose a more open structure, combining experience, operational skills and a lot of involvement. So we think that a structure based on general meetings of the European Working Group and a network of coordinators would be a good solution for the European preparatory process, in harmony with the global WSF process. We propose this methodology and organizational structure for the group discussions and for the plenary at the Vienna meeting. Finally, we cannot over emphasise the need for everyone, every movement and network, to guarantee his presence in all the working groups, because we need to push for the overall achievement of this whole process. We took the first successful step in Brussels. Here in Vienna we have to take the second step. It will be more difficult, because we have to define in detail our methodology and our organisation. But we have to do it here and now.
by Luciano Muhlbauer Italian ESF working group
- APPENDIX IV - Report on the PROGRAMME commission
1.There was general agreement that the Italian proposition for a programme for the ESF was a good one, but that bits of it needed reorganising, particularly the part concerning the ?onferences?
- Various contributions indicated the need to give a large space to the topic of the rise of the far Right in Europe, including racism and migration; we needn? be more precise in the vocabulary we use: if we want to talk of fascism, racism and capitalism we have to name them in these terms;
* the heading ?emocracy and Citizenship?for the third conference was brought into question; * the comrades of Eastern Europe made a request for a special conference (over one morning) which would deal with the situation in this region; they also wish to figure among the speakers in the other conferences, so that they can state their situation on each theme; * a suggestion was made that conferences concerning one particular theme should not all be held on one single day ?which would mean tackling a different theme each day ?but should be held in parallel each day in order to permit a maximum of cross-referencing among the themes; * lack of personal stories for the evening; * more generally, the programme needs to be conceived in such a way that those initiatives or organisations which are going to be included later on in the preparatory process for the ESF can integrate their suggestions.
2. Most of the contributions pointed out what was missing: * it? not only the WTO which needs to be discussed, but also the IMF and the World Bank; this would make it easier to examine the consequences of their interventions in Eastern Europe; * a review of education must be a major topic; * the topic of ?ar?needs to be given concrete expression, with reference to current wars: Palestine, Iraq... * more globally, the repercussions of the 11th September: discrimination against the Muslim community, against Islam; war and security; repercussions for the young, for social systems; * the Italians w