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 ’conferences’.
* 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’t 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 ’Democracy 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’s 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 ’war’ 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 wish to include a conference on the Balkans, with the support of initiatives from the Eastern countries ;
* democracy and the right to self-determination ;
* the relationship between the European Union and the United States ;
* when we talk of Europe we do not limit ourselves to the EU ; however we must deal with the EU in particular and from different angles since it is causing us serious problems in the daily life of our societies and it can be considered a ’particular’ form of globalisation ;
* the Italian proposition, to grant a specific weight to the Charter of Fundamental Rights refers to the EU ; we must add to this the Convention and its propositions for a European constitution ; (linked to this is the role of NGOs in the Convention) ;
* the theme of ’work’ is missing : flexibility, increasing job insecurity, social and salarial incomes at the European level, etc. ;
* health, and more generally the social security systems ;
* the unions are put on the same level as political parties and institutions, i.e. considered purely as ’dialogue’ partners, but they are a social movement, the strongest and best organised even, if they get moving ; so we must open up a debating space, on the union struggles but also on the crisis in the union movement, in the framework of the seminars and workshops ; we must operate in such a way that the unions which are members of the CES take part in the ESF on the basis of the PA Charter ;
* the women asked that provision should be made, in the ’dialogue’ space, for a dialogue between the social movements and feminists ; more generally, gender should be an angle considered in all the conferences and a large number of the seminars ; apart from that we need to develop a conception of how the question of patriarchy and feminism can find a real place in the ESF, which would mean effective links could be made with the women’s movement ;
* in addition, the women as well as the comrades from Eastern Europe raised the question of funding which would allow them to participate fully in the preparation and running of the ESF ; the Women’s worldwide progress organisation as well as the groups from the East made clear their determination to participate in the preparations ;
* another aspect which was strongly emphasised was the wish that the ESF should be directed towards action - the only way, according to some, to get large numbers of the young to join. Proposition made to add in the ’Alternatives’ space an ’Action’ section.
* added to that is the preoccupation that the ESF must not just criticise but also put forward its alternative suggestions ;
* and finally we need a space for the movement to look carefully at itself.
3. Certain points were raised concerning methods :
We need to structure as much as possible the different themes, formulate each one as a criticism and as an alternative, create a maximum of cross-references, and a maximum of synergies among the groups and the movements. The ’interpretation keys’ suggested by the Italians could be useful. Lots more work needs to be done on structural conception.
One question was left open : who picks the speakers ?
Lastly we discussed how we can continue the drafting work at the European level ; it was suggested that we meet on 10th June in Rome to set out the programme as far as possible. This meeting should permit us to fix to the maximum a coherent framework for the programme, the details being filled in later.
The national structures which are preparing for Florence are requested to submit their propositions before 7th June to the Italian coordination team, who will have responsibility for summarising them for 10th June. The national delegations will decide who to send to Rome.
Various workshops were suggested to ensure better preparation at the European level : on the Charter ; on the far Right ; on the East ; on the EU ; on work ; on the patriarchy ; on education ; on war ; on racism and the ’minorities’ ; Europe’s place in the world. These workshops should be put in place in Rome or, at the latest, in Thessalonica.