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Minutes from the EPA Wiedeń [en]

Index of the minutes

taken by Mariangela Casalucci

Contribution and corrections by Alessandra Mecozzi, Eyup Ozer, Alp Altinors

EPA (Vienna 19th – 21st June 2009)

* Decision taken in the EPA and information pag 2

* List of proposals for changes in the ESF structure pag 3

* Discussion about themes and axes pag 4

* Minutes from the discussion on the June 20101 ESF in Istanbul pag 5, 6

* Network meetings pag 7

* General discussion on the global crisis pag 8

* Messages approved by the people meeting in the EPA pag 9

* Minutes from Enlargement pag 10

* Minutes From Education network pag 11

Decision taken in the EPA (Vienna 19th -21st June 09)

* From Monday 28th September till to Thursday the 1st of October in Diyarbakir, Turkey is going to take place the Mesopotamian Social Forum. The main aim is to raise a voice in this region bringing people together. There are lots of spaces for seminars and workshops.

* Next EPA (the 4th ) will be from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th of September in Diyarbakir, Turkey just before the Mesopotamian Forum. In the next EPA a precise proposal about logistic for the June 2010 ESF in Istanbul, Turkey (venue and budget) will be presented by the ESF Organize Committee of Turkey

* The 5th EPA will be in Germany. Organization are ready and the basic agreement is that is going to take place in early February 2010

* There will be an Open one day Assembly on Education on the Friday before the 5th EPA in the same place of the EPA. The Education network is going to plan this Assembly from a logistic point of view together with the people organizing the EPA.

* Babel issue: translation is a crucial matter for our process so we are going to start a fund raising campaign to support Babels. First objective is to collect the 8.000 Euro to pay out for the debt. The details for Babel account will be sent to the list by them

About the structural reform of the ESF – process (methodology, establishment of an European working group, etc)

* The EPA has decided to start an Open European “program and structure” working group with a mailing list in order to implement the EPA’s decisions, to facilitate collecting proposals, to prepare concrete proposals for the next EPA. There were ideas and proposals coming from the debate and this working group is going to prepare a structured proposal for the next EPA about structure and program. The group is going to meet on Thursday the 24th of September in Istanbul if there is the visit to the venues. If not they will meet in Diyarbakir. The ESF Organize Committee of Turkey has to confirm the venue.

* There will be also an European Open group Preparing the EPA with a mailing list to prepare with the ESF Organize Committee of Turkey the next EPA

* People from Alis, as suggested by the ESF Organize Committee of Turkey as well, are going to test the translation system in Istanbul before next EPA because if is possible to use it will be cheaper than any other system

Information (what’s next in Europe?)

* WTO in Geneva in December 09. Initiatives on economic alternative actions will be organized

* Anti G8 initiative in Italy in July: As everybody Know Berlusconi has decided to held the G8 in Aquila. Of course there is a lot of criticism because of the consequences of this choice and about the way he is using such a terrible event in order to support his image. In Italy there will be a big demo on the 4th July against the Dal Molin base in Vicenza. At 3.32 of the 6th of july (anniversary 3 months since the earthquake) candle light march in L'Aquila. The 7th July there will be actions in Rome when the G8 people arrive in Rome. The Forum "Social reconstruction; reconstruction, work, democracy" will take place in L'Aquila on the 7th of July. . Spread activities in different cities on the 8th. Possible march in L'Aquila on the 10th. There will be a G SOTTO forum in Sardinia (3th, 4th 5th July) Information will be sent soon to the list.

Here there is a list of proposals which are on the table for discussion. They came from the discussion we had during the EPA in Vienna. There isn’t any priority in listing the proposals and no decision about this has already been taken. The aim is to offer to the people involved in the working group on the program and structure ideas to work on. Everybody on the list can intervene on this matters and send proposals to the list. They will be collected for the next meeting.

* There isn’t a lot of dynamism in the ESF process, there is a lack between movements and the ESF process. Meetings between different EPA can help to involve more people in the process
* The ESF has to become useful for people involved in the process, in struggles and in movements
* Taking in account what has been produced by the WSF
* The ESF has to analyse all the crisis: axes have to be built around the global crisis we are facing (ideological, financial, education, democratic, ......) and the aim will be to contribute through the work in the ESF to provide immediate concrete answers and proposals for a process to build alternatives for all these crisis
* The axes, the themes cannot be only about crisis but also about a general discussion on the alternative to the system
* Less workshops and seminars orientated to give proposals and ideas to thematic assemblies. During thematic assemblies on Saturday morning there won’t be seminars or workshops
* Space for European movements networking
* It is important to give a specific space for transversality... overtaking the isolation of the networks and the single themes
* Assembly of the assemblies, assembly of social movements, final assembly
* Demo on Saturday afternoon
* There is a proposal for an anti crisis program to be discussed in advance and not only in the ESF, seminars for debates, seminar for actions

Discussion about ESF themes and axes

Starting from a general consensus on the fact that the axes are going to change according with the idea of finding the alternatives to crisis, the proposal from ESF Organize Committee of Turkey was discussed and several comment were made. They are listed after the proposal and they are going to be materials for the list and for the European working group to work on.

Proposal from Turkish committee for

1. Global economic crisis and resistance – against paying for “their” crisis, for labour rights and right to organize, debating alternatives
2. Social Europe, social cities – welfare, public services, resistance against forced evictions, for housing rights
3. A democratic and rights based Europe – against racist and “securitarian” policies, anti- terror laws, torture, disappearances in custody and jail, isolation, prisons, the rise of the far right. For migrant, refugee and human rights
4. Oppressed people – Kurdish, Armenian, Palestinian, Tamil, Basque.... questions. National and minority rights, the right of refugees to return
5. Discrimination and equality – against male domination and homophobia, for gender and equality
6. A sustainable world – agriculture, water, food sovereignty, energy, environmental and climate change
7. War and peace – against war, militarism, occupation and Zionism
8. Youth: right to education, work and future
9. Culture arts, informatics and mass media – democratising knowledge, creating alternatives. Against neoliberal “Capital of Culture” projects
10. Social movements, the state and future of global justice movement

Proposals on themes and axes coming from the discussion in Vienna

1. Starting also from the world social forum experience it would be important to work in a different way to show new way of building alternatives
2. In this list it’s not readable the transversality and links between different themes and the complexity of the actual situation
3. Through the axes we have to be able to define what a different Europe is
4. Include positive ideas, showing alternatives and strategies
5. Change the first axes deleting economic because it’s not only an economic crisis
6. Delete “Zionism” from point 7 because new nazi groups use this slogan
7. Education cannot be only linked with youth, needs a specific axe
8. Not a list of oppressed people ( axe 4) Proposal about a space "for the rights of peoples without nation"
9. There is the need of focus also on new authoritarism,, criminalization of politics, women, poverty and exclusion, religion, fundamentalism and politics, casualization in work, unemployment,

ESF in Turkey in June 2010 Discussion in the Plenary on Saturday 20th June

Presentation from the ESF Organize Committee of Turkey

1. venues in Istanbul
2. Translation (200.000 Euro all together)
3. Money and solidarity fund
4. Enlargement (6th of June meeting)
5. Themes and axes

The main proposal is that the Istanbul Social Forum can be a spring point to link with East countries, Middle east countries and African countries

Debate and points of discussion

* People in the EPA is aware of the political situation in Turkey (repression and oppression) and took also for this the decision of having the ESF in Istanbul
* There are worries that venues are away from each other and the budget it seems to be very high and a bit insecure
* The venues are different from it was said in the previous EPA, we don’t have the contract with the University anymore. It’s important that all the venues are close to each other. Also the team involved in the preparation is different.
* Financial aspect: it looks like that there is a lot to spend especially for translation. What about funding from local governments? What about testing Alis again?
* It’s important to guarantee the “open spaces” for exchanges between different movements and organizations to have exhibitions, meeting places
* It would be important to know if there are problems between the groups organizing inside the committee. There was a conflict but it is not clear the matter. It is important that all people in the committee are not from trade union. It would be important to know the position of Trade Unions in Turkey

* Declaration of Global Peace and Justice Coalition which has withdraw from the ESF Organize Committee of Turkey

The previous situation was showing that the one in Istanbul could be a very good ESF but the situation has changed. Now there is a big division between movements and organizations in Turkey and we don’t think that in this situation the ESF could be a success. There are questions about logistic as well. There is an absence of Trade Unions. So what we have seen in the last meetings is that the ESF could be a marginal event and that’s why our organization is now out of the committee.

After this declaration the debate about the role and the function of the committee started again and it was stated one more time that the lines of the ESF are decided in the EPA and the local committee have the big responsibility of implementing the decisions making the ESF possible . The EPA is responsible but transparency in the process are fundamental as well as the involvement of all the

Also there were worries about how to guarantee to Kurdish people living in Europe the possibility to go to Istanbul for the Forum.

* Answers from people participating in the ESF Organize Committee of Turkey

o In the committee now there are 70 organizations (movements, TUs, women organizations....). It’s an open process and people can join and rejoin the process. Nobody has been excluded. The moderation committee hasn’t got power to get decision and only implement the decisions taken. The process has to be transparent

o The Kurdish committee hasn’t withdrawn from the process and is part of it

o Alis is going to go to Istanbul to have a new test because, if is possible, it would be important to use Alis system

o All the venues mentioned are all in the same street. The fairest one is 10 minutes far away.

o There isn’t a contract signed yet but the space has been promised by the University authorities

o For the budget as well we have guarantees about funding

o For stand and exhibitions there will be spaces a part from the meeting organized and included in the program

o The committee is ready to discuss and decide together in the EPA what we are going to do in the next ESF

o In Turkey there isn’t a complete democratic situation so it will be very important the presence of SF there. The problems of the country in relation with Kurdish situation has to be known by the other countries involved in this process.

Friday 19th June h. 10- 13

Network meetings

This is only a brief synthesis of the networks report . The minutes will be sent to the list directly by the people of different networks


The network is proposing a day for an Open Assembly on Education for the 5th EPA which is going to take place in early February. The aim is to connect different movements (students, teachers, parents) for the right of Education in Europe. For the ESF in Istanbul the proposal is to have an axe for the right of free education


Please refer to the document sent to the list by the network (pag 10)

Labour and globalization:

A conference has been decided. It has been organized by some TUs and some organizations. It will be held in Bruxelles but it isn’t completely open. There will be invitations for that.

Charter for an other Europe:

In the network economic issues have been discussed. The global crisis has consequences in Europe and there is a very big impact in East-Europe. This has to be clear in the charter. The other point is the issue of democracy. It will be important that people in Europe have a say in what’s happening. This will be also the contribution of the network in Istanbul

Mobilization in Copenhagen: Klimaforum (from 7th to 20th December 2009)

It was a meeting of information and contributions by the people involved in the process. In Copenhagen there will be a lot of different meetings and actions (demos, forum, lobbying ...). Proposals for people in the EPA: support the initiative approving a statement in the plenary session.

There will be a meeting to organize the Klimaforum in October

There is a website to get information

There is also a mailing list for people, organizations and groups who want to participate in the process of building for this forum.

WTO event and mobilization:

The WSF has decided some initiative around the WTO. It would be important to participate as people involved in the ESF process.

Malmö ESF and economic debts and Babel payments:

Paying the debts is not only an economic but also a political task.

There is still no economic report but it looks like there are around 170.000 Euro of debts.

A special association to collect money was put on and priorities have been decided

First of all a debt of 30.000 Euro for people involved in cultural activities who are waiting to be paid. Babel debt is 16.000 Euro. At least 8.000 Euro will be found by the Association


Babel interpreters are frustrated after what has been happening but there is still some enthusiasm about the ESF in Istanbul. A lot of volunteers have been waiting for months for this money and they surely have the right to get it as soon as possible.

General discussion Friday 19th 2009 Vienna 4.30 pm

The global crisis of capitalism and alternatives:

mobilization of the social movements and the role of the social forums

This isn't a report of single interventions but a synthesis of the main points and proposals. The aim is collecting without any priority all the inputs coming from the meeting from different people participating in the EPA in order to share them with people who could not come and participate. The discussion on this theme is obviously going to carry on. The time for the discussion wasn’t enough so there is a proposal for having at least half of the first day of next EPA devoted to this.

* There was a general consensus on the fact that it is important to discuss about the crisis and the links with movements and social forum and that we have to focus on how we can make EPA and ESF an useful space in order to exchange and work on concrete proposals. Not all the movements are involved in ESF and it would be important to enlarge the actors of this process

On the crisis, on the general situation it was said that:

* The crisis is very big, unemployment and so on. This is the crisis of the capitalist system. It's not possible to change the capitalist system. There is not one crisis, there are a lot. There is the democracy crisis, the ideological one, the economic one, a political one and so on. We have to think about all these crisis at the same time. Also capitalism is using the crisis
* This crisis is big but the political result of the crisis is not a left movements to struggle against capitalism but the workers going to right. In Italy with Lega, against migrants. Right wings parties are growing in East and West Europe taking on left slogan as “nationalizing and control from the state”. Why?
* The 60% of young people who started for the first time to vote voted for right wings parties in Austria. Is it only an Austrian problem as in Austria we vote starting from 16 years old?
* Capitalist crisis moves fundamentalism, nationalism, authoritarian answers and sometimes left wing slogans are used to justify a complete different policy.
* Why do movements start very strongly but also disappear very quickly?

On the issue of alternatives to the crisis

* We need common answers on an European level in order to fight together. and. There is the need to fight against the crisis on an international level. It's not enough to have a picture of the situation, the important thing is to understand what kind of crisis we are in and build a common approach to the problems. There is a big problem of democracy. We need to find solution together. Is there a need of linking movements together in Europe and how could it be possible to happen?

* It will be interesting to follow and exchange projects and experiences of alternative in Europe. There is the need to start talking about different proposals about changes, new challenges for us. ESF could be an useful space where constantly build common actions and find or exchange experience of alternatives (alternative currencies, ethical projects, food and alimentation, ethical solidarity actions, migrants rights). In the SF space we need to define the alternatives to this crisis. It is important to find the answers but also to mobilize. In the EPA we need concrete matters to discuss. The SF isn't outside or on top of different movements but has to try to offer a space to exchange different views about struggle and build common actions

* It's crucial to rise the knowledge of people about ecology and link social and environmental issues

People meeting in the EPA of Vienna (19th – 21st June 09)

have approved the following messages

Text adopted by the participants of the EPA in Vienna (20th-21st of June 09):

Besides the financial and economic crises, the climate crisis, including the energy crisis, is the other dimension of the global crisis we face. We participants of the EPA in Vienna, recognize the importance and the challenge of social movements, trade unions and NGOs to build the links between the ecological and the social crises as they are intrinsically linked with each other. We commit ourselves and call upon all social movements and social organisations in Europe to engage in building joint agendas of mobilization towards the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen and beyond. At the core of these efforts shall be the building of an integrated answer and alternative addressing the social and ecological question at the same time, supporting the ecological conversion of our economies. We propose a collective meeting in the early autumn to build convergences towards Copenhagen.

Text from the network meeting on Copenhagen at the EPA:

We call upon interested organisations to contribute to building a constructive program promoting public transport, conversion of car and other fossil-based industries, ecological reconstruction of housing, agricultural reform and supporting public solutions. A program that needs to be financed by a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the majority and promote public and political solutions rather than market based solutions.

In the assembly two more documents were proposed and it was decided to put them together but I received only this one and not the complete version. I hope that somebody can explain what happened to the list and send the document.

* FR Message de soutien aux syndicalistes turcs arrêtés

Les organisations syndicales, associations et réseaux présents à l’AEP de Vienne le 21 juin 2009, expriment leur indignation devant l’arrestation par les forces de l’ordre de 30 syndicalistes de KESK et d’EGITIM-SEN, et exigent leur libération immédiate au nom du respect des droits syndicaux, d’expression et d’association.

* EN Message supporting Turkish unionists arrested

The trade unions, networks and organizations, gathered in Vienna for ESF-EPA on June 21st 2009, want to protest against arrest of 30 unionists from KESK-confederation and Egitim-Sen, and demand their immediate liberation, on behalf of Trade unions’ rights and the right of expression and of association.

Minutes from the meeting of the working group Enlargement

1. Crises in Central and Eastern Europe

Working groups should be set up in individual CEE countries with the task to write down (before the next EPA):

* Portrait of the crises structures
* Comparative analysis of our anti-crises programme, including culture
* Concrete proposals based on the analysis

The EPA participants from Hungary, Poland, Czechia and Russia made such a commitment. It is an open initiative and anybody can join.

2. Enlargement of the ESF 2010

* There are about 70 organisations working together in the Istanbul organizing committee (IOC), including the main trade unions (TU) and professional federations. Only one of them has left the process. IOC established the Solidarity Fond and a database of solidarity accommodation.
* There is a problem among Eastern European movements: they understand neither Western European languages nor the procedure and standards how to apply for seminars for the ESF.
* The main problem of the societies and movements is an overall lack of political culture, thus a weak demand for social movements.

3. Political discussion and conclusions

* The participants thank the Austrian organizers for their warranty given before this EPA to cover the travel and subsistence costs of the CEE participants from additional funds raised well in advance.

* The participants reiterated the conclusions and demands from the ESF in Malmö.

* For ESF 2010, we have to set up a Support Group now the tasks of which would be to contact and involve groups and initiatives, to gather and redistribute information including a new forum on the ESF webpage and to start fundraising for the Solidarity fund to support the participation of CEE initiatives and movements. It is necessary to allocate funds to pay for the travel of 2 pax of each CEE country for the All-European Assembly at the ESF 2010..

* The deadline for the merged programme of the ESF has to be set at the end of January 2010 so that people can plan their vacations/holidays and register for participation by March 2010. It is necessary to invite people from CEE to every programme meeting and to treat proposals (seminars, etc.) and participants from CEE countries with a priority.

* At least one EPA has to take place in CEE every year. Just a little preparatory group for each EPA (EPA host org., last ESF host org., next ESF host org,) should be established.

* Participants and movements from CEE countries are asked to write down proposals for their Western European counterparts (not asking money) how to help the enlargement.

Education network meeting

We focused our discussion about the role of European Education Network in the movements growing in Europe against the processes of co modification in education .

We decided to organize, for the 5th EPA in Berlin in early February , one day. Friday, dedicated to education called:

“Open meeting of education movements in Europe: connecting european actions and struggles .”

Our aim is to have an open meeting of education movements in Europe ,a meeting intended to be a step forward in connecting European struggles and actions in matter of education.

We are going to start collecting information about the situation in each European country and we are preparing a base document a scheme, in order to be able to compare the neoliberal reforms for each school level and, generally, to compare the education policies in each European country and the opposition to them.

In the next months before the assembly we are going to contact all the organizations and unions since now involved in the network and, besides, we are going to contact the organizations involved in the struggles in the various countries, organizations that are not participating to ESF ,students and parents organizations for instance ,in order to involve them in the process of the “Open meeting of education movements”, and, obviously, in the education network and in ESF itself.

We don't know if we are going to be successful but we are sure that the only way to strengthen ESF is to involve those new forces that during these years participated in the movements against neoliberal reforms from pre-primary to University in Europe.

The attacks to free and public education and the protests against it are involving many European countries and wide movements are opposing the neoliberal policies in education.

That's why we suggest to dedicate a specific axis to education in next European Social Forum in Istanbul.


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