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ESF Mobilisation news nr 1-2008
[2008-08-22]

Issued by the Nordic Organising Committee Contact Group for Europe and the World

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Content

Special theme:

Ossetian war and European peace at ESF

CEE Mobilisation news:

All CEE countries comes to ESF

Second allocation from the Solidarity fund

General:

Biggest ESF cultural program ever: 400 activities

Call for information on Western European mobilisation

Call for information on political initiatives to be launched at ESF

Call for information on how different movement mobilise

Greening ESF

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Special theme:


Ossetian war and European peace at ESF

The Georgian attack on the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali and the strong response from Russia entering South Ossetia and bombing targets and sending troops into Georgia have caused severe human suffering and political reactions. It also poses the question whether the ESF process helps different organisations to take effective political action. ESF is multiple spaces for discussion and action. Noone can speak in the name of ESF but the spaces that are there can be used for those interested to take action in their own name.

The Ossetian war showed that there are at least three ways that ESF provides spaces for such action. The ESF preparatory process were people meet in person and have tools for ongoing communication, the seminars and assemblies bringing up this conflict explicitly at ESF and the way ESF in general is a civil European effort to promote peace both by opposing militarism and addressing the causes of war.

Central to making the Caucasus conflicts important at ESF are movements in both Northern Causasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Here Peace Committe, Helsinki Citizen Assembly, international solidarity and environmental groups have taken initiative to come to ESF already before the Ossetian war. It is too early to know how the war effects their possibilites to come but the interest is there. The Caucasus region have also been represented at a European Preparatory Assembly.

At the EPA meetings people from different places and movements can start trusting each other and take action when it is needed with the help of such tools as the European mailing list fse-esf.org and the activist news agency on openesf.net. You can read the contributions on the fse-esf list during August at http://lists.fse-esf.org/pipermail/fse-esf/2008-August/thread.html and at this website - www.fse-esf.org, you can also subscribe to this European ESF emaillist. You can read material from European Social Forum Activists News Agency at: http://openesf.net/projects/esf-activists-news-network/summary. On the emaillist and the newsblog people and organisations in both CEE and Western countries have contributed to the Ossetian war issue.

There will also be a number seminars at ESF were the Caucaus issue will be explicitly addressed, confirmed by the organisers the last days. Among them are:

- Undefined situation in Northern Caucasus and solidarity against proliferation of the conflict.

- No to NATO, no to US bases and nuclear weapons in Europe. Europe for peace and solidarity.

- Right to self determination: A new Europe based in peoples rights.

- East-West alliances and relationships.

All these seminars and others that might take up the Caucasian conflicts may use other acttivites at ESF to bring their case further, whether it is within the peace tehemes or more general issues. All prposals foraction can be brought to a final Social Movement Assembly were among other things campaigning on NATO and its 60 year anniversary next year will be discussed.

More information about the seminars you find on www.esf2008.org/program, easiest is to use the search field at top right on this website.

But it can also be argued that the whole ESF is a response to the Caucausus crisis addressing both peace and social and ecological causes to war.


The European Peace Action

The anti-war and peace movement is well coordinated before, during and hopefully after ESF. Both antiimperialists and pacifists have many activities organised together. A key actor that have been initiating a wide range of cooperation among many differnt movement is "The Next European Peace Action Forum". This is one of a whole series of workshops, seminars and activities as well as actions organised outside ESF. One can find more information on the ESF 2008 web site. Mikael Böök, active in the ESF and WSF process has also written about the new European Peace Action and how ESF can become a revival of the strong peace movement in the 1980s and the European Nuclear Disarmament who gathered thousand of activists every year at European meetings. Bööks texts you find at: http://blog.spinellisfootsteps.info

The initiative to the current European Peace Action, which is an emerging coalition of organisations and networks, was taken by the Swedish network of activists, which calls itself Ofog. Here is the explanation of the name, from the website of Ofog:

"Ofog translates into ”mischief”. But ofog is also a play with words. “Foga” is a Swedish verb meaning to conform, to obey. But in Swedish, if you put an O before a word, you turn it into its opposite.
“Foga” also means, roughly, fixating things together in a decided and unchangeable form, so in this meaning of the word, when we put the O before, this is an allusion to our function as a flexible, dynamic network.

The over-reaching theme for the European peace forum in Malmö will be how to strengthen our resistance against militarisation. The forum will be focussed on direct action."

You will find the program and lots of action nes and practical information at the European peace action website. The program at: http://europeanpeaceaction.org/programme-european-peace-action-forum

Thursday 18 September
Globalisation of Militarism (0930 - 1230)
Resistance to Military Infrastructure
Campaigns Against War Profiteering

Nuclear Weapons (1400 - 1700)
US Nuclear Weapons in Europe and Resistance
New Nuclear Weapons: Nuclear Upgrades in France and the UK
Camping Against Nuclear Weapons and Tracking Nuclear Convoys

Actions Against Militarism, Action Preparation Workshop in advance of the action day on Friday. (1700 -1800)
The Growing Influence of NATO and the Militarisation of the EU (1800 - 2100)
Partnership for Peace and New NATO Countries
The Lisbon Treaty: Military Aspects, Consequence for the Peace Movement and Effect on Neutrality
NATO and the EU: Common Command Structures and Excuses for Interventions

Friday 19 September
Actions Against Militarism (All Day)
The EPA forum is an opportunity not just to meet each other, discuss the issues, network and co-ordinate but also a chance to take action together.
Actions
We will also organise an action in Malmö, open to all. Those who wish to take action together but haven't come with an affinity group and a specific plan are welcome to join us in this.
Nonviolence (1400 - 1700)
There will be three workshops in this strand:
Movement Action Plan
Nonviolence tools for campaign development
Planning a nonviolent action

Saturday 20 September
The Militarisation of Space

Sunday 21 September
Co-ordinating our Resistance
Information Sharing ― How EPA will Share Info Within the Network
The Next European Peace Action Forum
Practical skills for direct action


Thus the possibility is there for making ESF a gathering were the Ossetian war, Caucasian conflicts, the East-West relations and European peace can be discussed and action emerge.

When ESF activist news asked if there was any response on the US-Polish anti-missile defence treaty signed in Warsaw on yesterday seen in Moscow as a threat to Russia the answer came promptly on the fse-esf.org list. - Yes, we have had two demonstrations in Warsaw today and protests also in other towns. Organiser: Stop the War Initiative

One picket was organised with one day's notice in front of the Prime Ministers office when they were signing the deal, and another one later outside the US embassy when more people could participate after work. There were anti war acitivists, left wingers, greens  and non-alligned  individuals.

Our slogans: No to US bases, No to the missile shield, We've had Moscow - we don't want Washington.

Anti war regards
Ela
Stop the War Initiative

So the ESF continues to be a multiple space for discussion and action.


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CEE Mobilisation news:

All CEE countries comes to ESF

The NOC European Contact group have now recieved information showing that all CEE countries will participate at European Social Forum in Malmö. The biggest delegations will come from Turkey, Hungary and Russia, all with 120-150 people to our knowledge at this stage. All three are very broad delegations. At the moment the approximate number of participants are (changes may occur and some especially from Baltic states, Croatia and Slovenia are uncertain.).

Albania environmentalists 4
Armenia HCA and Armenian Venezuelan friendship society 2
Azerbaijan HCA 2-4
Belarus Belarus Social Forum
Bosnia and Herzegovina 25
Bulgaria 4,
Croatia 15,
Czech Republic ESF coalition bus together with Slovakia 40
Georgia Peace Committe, HCA and environmentalist 3
Estonia agriculture 1,
Kosovo 4,
Latvia Environmentalists 10,
Lithuania 1,
Republic of Macedonia 10,
Moldova NGO minibus 10,
Montenegro HCA and maybe others 1-2,
Poland Feminists, Attac and many others ca 50,
Romania Romanian Social Forum, Attac and NGO 45,
Serbia 10,
Slovakia together with Czech bus, see above
Slovenia 10,
Ukraine Social Forum Ukraine and Ukrainian Social Forum 90.

A 72 seater bus will start from Sarajevo with 54 passengers from visa countries in all former Yugoslavia. We hope that the additional seats can be used by people in Slovenia and Croatia and if necessary Austria. For more information joel.borgstrom@esf2008.org


Second allocation from the Solidarity fund

A decision at the Swedish consulate in Istanbul made it clear that the visa costs for Turkish delegates to ESF will be reduced from 60 euro each to have visas for free and embassies in Russia and Ukriane have followed suit, Eahc embassy take their own decision and resources have to be kept in reserve bu this can be done outside the Solidarity fund budget. This allows for a seond allocation of money from the solidarity fund which has been presented at the CEE ESF mailing list and in dialogue with our CEE cooperation partners of in total more than 11 000 euro. The proposal which already have been started to be allocated accordingly is the following, changes may occur according to the wishes of our cooperation partners:

Travels from far away many times exceeding the 100 euro limit in the first allocation. The first allocation has been announced on the fse-esf.org mailing list:

Turkey
Russia East of Moscow, Nothern Caucasus, Siberia.

Proposal Turkey 2 500 euro
Russia 2 500 euro

Sum for far away travels 5 000 euro

Travel by collective transport or other means:

Visa countries
Ukraine 6 more places, 100 euro each for travel, accomodation and food payed in Malmö, 55 euro) in total 155 euro each x 6 = 930 euro
Former Yugoslavia 10 more places, in total 1 550 euro

Hungary/Romania/Bulgaria

Hungary 15 more places, 100 euro each for travel, 20 for accomodation, in total 120 each x 20 = 1 800 euro (can be used for more persons paying parts of the costs themeselves):
Romania 2 more places 100 euro each for travel, 20 for accomodation, in total 120 each x 2 = 240 euro

Poland

7 more places, ca 40 euro for travel, 10 for accomodation (50%), in total 350 euro.

Sum: for extra places within earlier per person calculation for visa countries, low and middle income groups: 4 250 euro

In total for far away and additional places according to earlier estimations: 10 000 euro

Reserve for speial needs 1 500 euro (especially keeping Caucasus in mind).

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General:

Biggest ESF cultural program ever: 400 activities

The cultural program in Malmö will be the largest ever at ESF, hundreds of concerts, exhibitions, fashion shows, you name it. It has been organised by ten working groups on music, theatre, dance, litterature/poetry, art, photography, childrens´s culture, youth culture and choirs. Almost all is for free for those having an ESF pass, some very few activities cost entrance fee. The cultural program address political, social and ecological issues on resistance and searching for alternatives from all over Europe and the world. The attempt is to reflect the different ESF themes and the focus on Central and Eastern Europe. More or less all actors participating in the cultural program commit themselves voluntarily in an effort which has been possible through a massive mobilisation among cultural activists in Malmö in cooperation with more than 300 organisations all over the world. The ESF cultural program includes more than 130 music artists and bands, the biggest film festival in Malmö ever (with 62 pictures) and a very wide range of other organised and spontaneous border crossing activities.

More complete information will come soon. Parts of the program can be studied at these websites:

www.panora.nu/main/bilder/ecf_eng_low.pdf, 64 page booklet with much of the exhibition, film and talk and cinema saloon program.

www.myspace.com/esf2008, much of the music program

www.esf2008.org/kultur-bekraftade-akter, some overall information.


Call for information on Western European mobilisation

We need information on the Western European mobilisation to inspire each other and to know better why and how many will come to ESF. Please send reports on mobilisation, if buses for collective transport are set up, mobilisation web sites, address to colations organising joint efforts etc.


Call for information on political initiatives to be launched at ESF

There are mny political intiatives for action that will be launched or promoted further at ESF on issues as water, climate, anti-ziganism, popular education, anti-NATO, etc. Please inform us if you know of any such initiative with links to a call or other information if such exists so we can inform about them jointly.


Call for information on how different movements mobilise

Mobilisation within movements is alos taking place and can be inspiring to others. We do would like to get information about such mobilisations as well and spread to others. Here is one example from Friends of the Earth which also have been disseminated among other movements:

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH GREENING the ESF
Malmö, Sweden, 17-21.09.2008

With at least 24 activities FOE groups goes to action at the European
Social Forum taking place in Malmö 17-21st of September. ESF is a
gathering of multiple spaces in the same place for popular movements
from all of Europe for discussion and action that has taken place
since 2002 in Florence.

Friends of the Earth will take part on all levels mobilising all from
local FoE groups initiating seminars on stopping motorways and
defending public urban spaces to Friends of the Earth International
campaigners. FoE groups have been active at ESF before with many
seminars (see: www.foeeurope.org/trade/events/ESF/Index.htm),
but this time the scope is wider. There are the many climate
seminars, how to address the crisis of exploding food prices,
agrofuels, and challenging corporate power. But this time FoE also
takes the lead in seminars on how popular movements can cooperate to
be of importance to peoples daily life and the future of the global
justice movement and how to act against repression of social movements.

And there will also be a lot of action. Via Campesina and Friends of
the Earth Youth organises a joint Youth camp- http://
www.foeeurope.org/youngfoee/Youth%20camp%20ESF.html. Activists in
Malmö occupied the street and delivered ginger cakes to passers by on
the international Climate Day 8th of december last year on what in
Sweden is called Klimatkrock, a tradition to block car traffic for a
while and create culture instead - http://green-blog.org/2007/12/10/
climate-walks. During ESF there will be a new Klimatkrock on Friday
19.9. Next day there is the big ESF demo in need of all FoE
creativity to spread our message for environmental justice, a
demonstration that will end with a big party with Kajsa Lindqvist as
speaker, chair of Friends of the Earth Sweden recently arrested for
attempting to sabotage air traffic at the Malmö air port in a protest
against climate change.

The wide range of actions has been possible due to a broad scope of
cooperation partners with Via Campesina as the most crucial one.
Friends of the Earth and Via Campesina Sweden formed an alliance and
started together with Latin American solidarity groups, FIAN and
Finnish cooperation partners on 17th of April a campaign in support
of the landless movement in Southern Brazil struggling against the
Swedish-Finnish forestry corporation Stora Enso using land for
monoculture plantations. This paved the way for alliances organising
common activities during ESF and will hopefully also help in bring
envrionmental and rural issues into the core of next years campaiging
that will be discussed at the Social Movement Assembly at ESF. In
2009 World Social Forum will take place in Belem in Amazonia with
environment as one of its key issues and the action year will end
with the Climate Summit in Copenhagen.

There will also be 300 cultural activities and 250 seminars and
workshops at ESF - www.esf2008.org. Friends of the Earth have
been working on all levels, from being active with the cultural
program to supporting a strong Central and Eastern European
participation. A special newspaper will also be distributed to the
participants to promote our vision made by FoE Sweden and Finland.
What has been especially positive is that indigenous people will be
central, by facilitating the inauguration, as speakers in the broad
seminars intitied by FoE of interest for all popular movements and in
a special seminar on Indigenous Peoples and Planetarian Environmental
Justice.

So come to ESF in Malmö. We hope it will promote the greening of ESF
and strengthen our cooperation with peasants, indigenous people and
all other popular movements.

Ellie Cijvat and Tord Björk,

Miljöförbundet Jordens Vänner/Friends of the Earth Sweden

List of seminars, workshops and activities:

Social Movements - Europe and Global:
Popular movement cooperation dialogue, The global justice movement yesterday, today, tomorrow, The World Social Forum at Belem and the future of WSF, Indigenous Peoples and Planetarian Environmental Justice, The criminalisation and repression of Social Movements,

Food and Agriculture:
Facing the food crisis, Implementing food sovereignty, Exploding Food Prices: Root causes, beneficiaries of this situation and building new alliances for access to healthy food for all, Agrofuels will not answer climate change or climate justice: strategy and action planning,

Climate Change and Energy:
Climate Justice, Organizing the climate change movement and building alliances, Climate actions Poznan 2008 and Copenhagen 2009, EU climate and energy policies, Trade Unions, Climate Change and Government Action, Trade and Climate Change: "Free trade" impasse, Fair Trade alternatives, Radical Social Change against global warming, Equality, renewable energy and nuclear power,

Economic Justice:
The role of Europe and European TNCs/capital in destroying labour,
Social and environmental rights globally, Linking campaigns on TNC lobby, Democracy and "Global Europe" to reclaim the EU economy, Degrowth and social rebirth - The logical steps to global survival, Resistance to dams, motorways and other unsustainable infrastructure - social and environmental struggle, Paper and sugarcane monocultures - north & south experiences, Struggles to defend urban public spaces and open cities in Europe -
Against speculation,

Other activities:

Cultural programme "The World According to Monsanto": film screening and
discussion

Side activity: Youth Camp by Via Campesina and Young Friends of the
Earth Europe, "Farming a cool planet. Living Alternatives."


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Tord Björk

Coordinator,
Contact group for Europe and the World, Nordic Organizing Committee ESF 2008

Finlandsgatan 2
291 31 Kristianstad
Sverige/Suede/Sweden
Tel: +46 (0)44 12 32 94 (evenings, sometimes am Thursdays)
Mobile: +46 (0)738 44 68 50 (occasionally)
E-mail: tord.bjork@mjv.se (best way for contacts)

Nordic Organizing Committee: esf2008@gmail.com, www.esf2008.org


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