Report on Rome planning meeting for the ESF Enlarging the net and Organization working groups.
Chris Nirenam & Roberto Rosso
Enlarging the Net
1) The next full meeting of the ESF planning group will be in Thessaloniki, Greece, on July 13 and 14. There will be a meeting on Friday 12 starting in the afternoon for participating activists from Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East. Some technical points to note. Flights and accommodation should be booked as soon as possible since prices will go up. A website for the conference will be online in a few days. There will be a general strike in Greece on June 18 against attacks on pension rights. It was decided that the ESF should send a public message of support to the strike.
2) It was agreed to hold a presentation about the ESF in Florence in July This presentation is organized in order to counter a right wing media campaign against the ESF. It is planned to stress the seriousness of the issues being addressed by the ESF and to have some high profile figures leading it(writers, journalists, leading activists, trade union leaders).
3) Net Enlargement There have been a number of important developments that show widening support for the ESF. At a meeting with representatives from the ESF, the ETUC expressed interest in the ESF process, support for the ’methodology’ of the organisation, and agreed to send a representative to the Thessaloniki meeting. Part of the Italian trade union federations have taken a similar, supportive attitude. A meeting in France with left wing ’independant’ unions from France, Italy and Russia also showed support. The committee for regional proccesses of the World Social Forum meeting in Sao Paulo agreed to endorse the attitude to political parties agreed by the ESF at Vienna. ie - political parties will not be allowed to take part in the political coordination of the ESF, but they can be involved in the national mobilisations depending on the agreement of that mobilisation and subject to agreement with the charter of principles of Potrto Alegre. Members of politrical parties can participate at Florence and there will be some encounters between political parties and social movements built into the programme. Youth - Involvement of young people in the ESF process is vital. It depends on three things. National mobilisations must be publicising Florence in youth networks. They must also be trying to involve youth groups in the process leading up to Florence. The programme must have young people at its heart, speaking, chairing etc. It was agreed to have a specuial planning meeting for young people at the Barcelona meeting in October.
4) Communication The group felt it was important that the Italians produce resources to be used to mobilise elsewhere. Including especially targeted invitation letters ( to trade unions, womens’ goups, anti racist gropups etc.)and posters.
5) Next meetings. Following the meeting in Thessaloniki Brussels 8 September intermediate meeting 5/6 October Barcelona full meeting Late October Florence intermediate meeting
1) Website/ registration/payment Registration will be open on the website in a week or so. People will be able to pay three ways. By credit card, by cash in Florence, or through an organisation. When you register you will get a code which will be matched against the payment. Participants must keep their code. Cost will be on a sliding scale of monthly income : Less than E1000 : E10, E1000-E3000 : E30,more than E3000 :E50 There will be three types of registration. One as an individual participant, one as a delegate and lastly as an observer : Participants and delegates will have to agree to accept the Charter of Principles of Porto Alegre. Delegates will pay E30 and 50E the delegation chief.
2) mailing list/discussion sites The WebSite will provide people with a tool for a wide and open discussion about Workshop proposals. The aim is to encourage people not to duplicate titles, but to try and cooperate with others where there is subject overlap. The minimum requirements to publish the list of workshop (see above) By means of a discussion site we will get a framework of proposals, suggestions about proposal and comments agreeing with the workshop contents.
3) Sponsorship Participating groups and activists will be invited to sponsor various groups to attend Florence. There will be a series of projects to fund a Russian coach for example. It will be possible to donate to a sponsorship fund on the website.
4) Workshops. Space for workshops run by social movements will be opened on the website from July 20. There will be a list of workshops on the website, people will be encouraged not to duplicate titles, but to try and cooperate with others where there is subject overlap.
5) Resources. A technical centre is being set up. We need a start up fund to cover software, rent , and a special server. We are asking every participating group to make a start-up donation of E100. This should be brought to the meeting in Thessaloniki.
6) Translations A working group was asked to start investigating the practicality of using volunteers. We will need a minimum of 5 languages, German, English, Spanish, French, Italian. Preferably 7, including languages such as Greek and Turkish or others depending on decisions to be made in the next meeting. They should report back at Thessaloniki.