Report of the Organization Committee in Thessaloniki 13th July
We are summarizing some decisions that had been taken in Vienna and Rome, together with the decisions taken in Thessaloniki.
Web Site - Laurent and Roberto assure that everything is ready and that the small technical probelms will be solved very quickly.
The European Social Forum will be held in Florence from Wedned40rsday 6th evening to Sunday the 10th. On the 7th, 8th and 9th there will be conferences in the morning from 9 till 1, from 2,30 pm to 5.30 pm seminars and workshops, from 6 till 8 pm "windows" on certain areas of the world and a dialogue with trade unions, party, institutions.
The ESF will take place in the Fortezza da Basso, a Fortress 200 metres from the Central Rail Station, Firenze S. Maria Novella. The Frotress has a maximum theoretical capacity of 30.000 people.
There will be 6 rooms for 2000 people each for the morning conferences and up to 50-55 smaller rooms ranging from 100 to 300 seats. Other areas will be available, if needed, including Stazione Leopolda, which is close to the Fortezza and can host up to 5000 people.
Other spaces inside the Municipality of Florence or in the surrounding area can be found if they are needed fot the workshops.
We held meetings with various Local Authorities such as Comune di Firenze, Provincia di Firenze, Provincia di Prato, Provincia di Pistoia, Regione Toscana, Comuni di Lastra a Signa, Empoli, Campi, Scandicci, Sesto, Pontassieve.
We asked for 5000 free sleeping places and they assured them to us. We are also trying to reserve rooms for other 5000 people in Hotels.
Together with the local authotities we started technical tables on specific aspects.
The first is on the Fortress itself : Regione Toscana will cover the expenses for the rental of the place.
The second groups is on lodgings to find spaces like gymnasiums, schools or others to host people from the Forum and allow them to sleep there.
The local authorities have asked to be able to host events which are, as everything else, entirely organized by us (we should choose which of the seminars or workshops in the afternoon), because they simply don’t want to be hotels and B&B, they also want to bring to their community part of the event.
We are also working on free transport : there are 2 hypothesys, one that the public transport for the delegates to the Forum will be free, the other that delegates will have to pay 4 Euros for a special ticket which will give free access to buses for the 5 days. Transport is anyway not that easy, taking into account that the hospitality will be distributed on a radius of 30 Km. The negotiation on transport issue is anyway still ongoing.
The registration for the Forum will be done on the website www.fse-esf.org
There will be no compulsary registration costs for people coming from outside the EU and Switzerland.
The first delegate for each oganization will pay 50 Euros
Other members of the organization will pay 25 Euros, with no limits to the number of members one organization can register.
For individuals the registration cost will vary according to their income :
Montlhy income under 1000 Euros : 10 Euros
Between 1000-3000 Euros : 25 Euros
Over 3000 Euros 50 Euros
There will be a special account to allow everyone support the travel expenses for delegates coming from Eastern Europe.
Politically there are 3 types of registrations :
The organizations that accept the Charter of Principles of POA must sign it when registering. Thir members register as delegates. Single individuals (including member of parties that cannot register as organizations, as we decided in Vienna) can either agree with the Charter of Principles and take part as delegates themselves, or if they do not agree entirely but are interested in taking part to the ESF the can register as observers.
Seminars will have to be proposed either through the european mailing list or through the program group : anyone can propose seminars until the 10th of September.
Seminars are included in the ESF program officially, as ESF events : the political and organizational responsibility is on the head of the ESF Organizational Committee.
Before the end of July there will be the chance to present self-proposed and self-run workshops on the website. Since they are selfproposed the only way in which the organization Committee might intervene is if there are too many workshops and not enough rooms, otherwise there are no filters, with the assumption that the topics must comply with the Charter or Principles of Porto Alegre.
We will try to guarantee all workshops, but probably some will be outside the Fortezza or in the surrounding area. Florence is anyway a very small city and the distances are small.
On parties there was a very long discussion : the Vienna meeting closed the discussion as far as not allowing member of parties to register as such as delegates. There are different realities between our countries and in some parties are activily part of the mouvement from the beginning.
Taken into account that we couldn’t go back on the decsisions made in Vienna and Sao Paolo, we decided that political parties (while they cannot organize or speak at the conferences and seminars) can organize workshops as parties, provided they are not simply promoting themsleves. Through the program working group a check on each proposed workshop wil be done to see whether a party is trying to promote itself. If there are problems on specific workshops this will be reported to the Barcelona meeting where a decision will be taken.
The official languages for the ESF will be 8 : english, italian, french, spanish, german, greek, russian and arabic.
Due to technical problems, there is only the chance to have simultaneous translation on 7 channels. Since the translations should be paid by Local Authorities, and this would cover the 6 morning conferences and the evening plenaries, we decided to have 3 conferences each day translated into russian and 3 into arabic, depending on the interest each conference holds for the two delegations.
In order to allow transaltions to the seminars, we decided to build a european group of volunteer transaltors that will translate free of charge in the various languages, providing their travel expenses are covered. But instead of asking the organizing groups to cover the expenses for the single seminars, thus allowing translations only to the seminars organized by groups that can afford translation expenses, we decided to open a fund and to ask all EU+Swiss organizations that want to hold seminars to pay 100-150 Euros for the seminars. This is thought not as a barrier, but as a choice of solidarity towards all seminars. This cost is to be covered by each organization, not accordins to the numbers of seminar that organizsation is running, in order not to penalize active organizations.
We will also need transation in the 8 languages for the preparatory papers and also for the reports at the end of each conference, to be translated in the next 24 hours. Attac and all the other groups will make an appeal for this from now.
In order to understand how many people will come, we asked the single members of the delegations : From Austria a train, 650 people plus about 200 singles, about 2000 from Greece, at least 2000 from Germany, from GB 1000 + 300-500 from Scotland, 2000 from France, 1000 from Palestine, noone from Russia at his own expenses but as a whole 50-100 people, 1500 from Switzerland, Chech Republic and Poland 50 people (Austrians con add a wagon to their train for them), Macedonia 50,Turkey 45, Portugal 300-500.
This sums up to 11500 already, not including Spain, Northern Europe and Italy.
Visas and Financial support for the East :
We decided not to give single funding to individuals, but to support projects, like organizing a bus, a train or whatever. At the end of the on-line registration there will be a button to press in order to donate funds to sustain poor countries. Specific fundraising will be promoted through the mailing list which will go on a specific account on solidarity. We might manage to save a part of the money coming from the registration fees and to use it for this purpose. Obviously in order to know exactly what to finance we need to know the different projects in the various countries, to exchange information and to have a mobilization in each country. The projests must be presented before the end of August, because then we will need time to answer to the projects, to specify how much money there is. After that the groups will have to choose the people coming and we will need time to get the visas fot them. Each individual that wants to be supported must go through a national network of organizations. It is essential that all this procedure is absolutely transparent.
The greek delegation has done a great work on visas for the Thessaloniki meeting and will be able to help some from the East to get Visas first to Greece and then to Italy.
The projects must be sent to email@example.com
The italian delegation spoke with the Prefetto, the representative of the Italian Government in Florence and he said that there is no intention to stop peaple from coming to the ESF.
There will be a travel agency that will send letters of invitation and the italian delegation will start a specific group on visas.
A technical secretariat will be opened in Florence before the end of July, hosted by an association ; as soon as possibile e-mail and telephone will be given. There will also be someone to answer the phone and to give explanations.
Opening and closing events :
The italian event group proposed a session of street theatre, to be prepared several days in advance, on "migration", to be held in various squares in Florence with non professional actors. The organization group counterproposed a more political opening of the Forum, with various events taking place in thematic squares, like in Genoa, on the main issues dealt by the ESF both in Florence and the surrounding areas on the 6yh. The artistic events related to these issues should in some ways go on for all the days of the Forum. On the 6th the squares will be connected through minimarches in an ideal opening rally.
For the closing event a concert for 6000 people has been proposed.
There will be 2 cinemas that will show continuosly 1) short movies on the mouvement (Seattle, Prague, Nice, Davos, Genoa...), and 2) films about our issues.
There will be open air installations in Florence and the sorrounding areas. Laurent suggested to organize some sort of Festival, to hold a competition and to give out a prize to the best movies, in order to create a mediatic event.
If anyone has other proposals or wants to help, they should email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Thessaloniki meeting is in favour of a big demonstration : the framework will be the 3 main issues, depending on what is happening in november. This is what it proposes to the Italian delegation which should answer as soon as possible indicating a specific time and date, in order to allow national mobilization for the demo.
There is also a proposition to have a newspaper like in Porto Alegre during the days of the meeting where to dicuss what is going on in the Forum, reports from the events, program of the forthcoming events.
Another point is the Ethical Chapter : the Italian group has the mandate to make a specific proposal to the Barcelona meeting about various aspects connected to an ethical Forum : it strongly feels the need to ensure that all goods and services provided during the ESF should be regulated by contractual terms that clearly establish certain ethical prerequisites that we consider essential such as :
trade union rights and the right to equitable wage levels of all workers involved in the organization of the ESF ; all products used, foodstuffs and other, must be of verifiable origin, guaranteeing that they have been produced in full observance of workers’ rights and without causing undue damage to the environment, with preference given to products of social cooperatives, of biological producers and Fair Trade circuits ; as "clean" transportation as possible ; solid waste should be gathered separately ; minimize the use of disposable containers, bottles, plates or cutlery ; use of tap water, if necessary purified as drinking water, making all efforts to reduce consumption of both raw materials and energy.
As a logo, we confirmed the Genoa 2001 logo for the ESF.