REPORT ON THE MEETING OF THE PROGRAM GROUP IN ROME ON THE 10TH OF JUNE, 2002
by Leo Gabriel, 14th of June, 2002 (European Marches - Austria)
Based on the decisions of Vienna’s preparatory meeting from 10th till 12th of May 2002, the structure of the program of the ESF in Florence has been defined in a special session held in Rome on the 10th of June. The meeting was with the participation of representatives from Italy (13), France (9), Germany (1), Spain (1), U.K. (2), Hungary (1), Greece (1), Russia (1) and Austria (1).
Unfortunately the preparation for this meeting from the Italian Preparatory Comitée was rather poor, due to the fact that the Italian group, which was sessioning in the Jewish quarter of Rome, got physically attacked by Pro-Sharon activists the day before the meeting and had to suspend its work-session.
Nevertheless the meeting of the program group, which lasted from 10.30 till 6.pm. in the afternoon, was able to define the working titles of fifteen conferences structured in three different axes with the working titles : LIBERALISM, WAR/PEACE and RIGHTS/DEMOCRACY/CITIZENSHIP. Although the original proposal of the Italian Working Group to a tribute each of these three axes to a specific day of the ESF has not been accepted, the final discussion for this and any other matter was left to the Thessaloniky Meeting, which has been ratified to take place the 13th and 14th of July 2002.
After a short discussion about the convenience of breaking up the relatively large Program Working Group of 30 persons into sub-groups dealing with these three axes, it was decided to continue the discussion by point (conference by conference) and to decide only afterwards on the people who might want to take up responsibilities in working for the preparation of the conferences until the Thessaloniky Meeting.
I. LIBERALISM :
In the framework of this axe, it was discussed whether and how the subject of European agriculture should be taken up, whether to deal with the subject of Common Goods (air, water, earth, etc.) together with the Public Goods (education, public health, public infra-structures, etc.) or not. Whilst the topics related to the European Union in the first conference provoked a discussion how the North - South - Relationships could be integrated in the critical analysis with regard to the EU-Relationship towards the IMF/WTO, the third and the fifth conference on Central and Eastern Europe and on unemployment and precarity did not cause any major discussion. Finally the following (provisional) working titles for the five conferences on LIBERALISM have been accepted.
1. The European Union in the architecture of global powers : actor’s strategy towards the North (FMI/WTO) and the South. (foreign debt, development policies, etc.) 2. a.) Common Goods : air, water, earth and private exploitation of natural ressources. b.) Which agricultures for Europe ? Markets in the North and in the South, food souvereignity, OGM,... 3. Central and Eastern Europe and Globalization : Alternatives to Neoliberal Capitalism. 4. Privatisation, merchanisation, deregulation of public services and welfare state, liberalisation of public services, family policy and the welfare-state. The new social rights for a new social model. 5. Unemployment, precarity, flexibility, womens’ work and workers’ struggle.
II. WAR/PEACE :
This subject has been very extensively discussed. On the one hand it was the question of how to integrate the alternatives of the rapidly growing peace-movement and on the other hand the question about a separate Palestine Conference caused some quite emotional debates between the representatives of the U.K., France and others. A list of approximately ten subjects has been elaborated, which finally were reduced to five :
1. Europe in the new war order : NATO, US and the EU’s foreign policy. The need of strategic alliances against militarism. 2. Civil Europe against the enduring war : a.) The nature of war : Who is the enemy ? b.) Clash of civilisations versus dialogue of civilisations. c.) The means of waging war : Mass media strategies, military budgets, production for war, etc.. 3. Building enduring peace and resistances to war : Non-violent alliance strategies, humanitarian aid, social and economic aspects of conflicts. 4. Europe and the concrete conflicts : Palestine, Cashmere, Colombia, etc. 5. Internal repression and governmental security policies.
III. RIGHTS/DEMOCRACY/CITIZENSHIP :
The discussion on this axe of themes was dominated by the common intention to highlight the alternative proposals of social movements and NGO’s which are works in progress in many parts of Europe. On the other hand there was the wish of different participants of the program group to organise specific conferences on the extreme right, media, women and migrants. The result was a sort of synthesis between both, alternatives and subject matters.
1. Europe and its deficiencies in democracy. Participatory Democracy and European Integration on the local, regional and national level. 2. Rights for all : From the Chart of Nice to a Chart of Universal Citizenship. 3. The Extreme Right and the politics of inequality and exclusion : Nationalism, Chauvinism and Discrimination. 4. Men and Women : A necessary conflict for a common future. 5. Media and Information Access : Right of Information, free software, etc.. 6. Migrants against the European Fortress.
After fixing the provisional titles for the conferences, the program group present in Rome agreed to issue a Call for people, who will take up the responsibility to elaborate a concept and precise title for each of the conferences. In this way the delegates present signed up for three different sub-groups (corresponding to the three axes), with the exception of the Italians, who promised to sign up after a discussion among themselves. Each of the three sub-groups would not only prepare the proposals for the conferences until the Thessaloniky Meeting, but also elaborate a concept on the seminars and workshops, which are going to take place in Florence in the afternoons between November 7th to 10th, 2002. The Italian working group has promised to systematize and distribute the numerous proposals for seminars and workshops, which have been elaborated until now.
For the moment, the following delegates have signed up to integrate the following subgroups :
1.) LIBERALISM :
Sophie Zafari FSU fr Pierre Khalfa ATTAC fr Alain Saumon CADTM France fr Endre Simó Pax Romana - Conseil Harmonisation - Interets sociaux (TET) - ATTAC Hungary Hu Haris Golemis Nicos Paulxntzes Society Transform ! Gr Dave Timms UK
2.) WAR/PEACE :
Leo Gabriel Marches européennes contre le chomage at Alexandr Buzgalin Alternatives ru Jonathan Neale Globalise Resistance uk
Angela Klein Euromarches de Elizabeth Gauthier Espace Marx + Transform ! Fr Ion Etxebarria Sindicato LAB (Euskal Herria - Pais Vasco) es Pierre Barge Ligue des droits de l’Homme fr Asad Rehman National Stop the War Coalition uk