Minutes of European Preparatory Assembly
19-21 June 2004, Berlin
Minutes taken by Louise Hutchins
FRIDAY 19 June
Working groups met to take forward discussion and formulate proposals to the meeting on Saturday.
SATURDAY 20 June
1. Opening plenary
Facilitators: Hugo Braun and Kate Hudson, CND
The following agenda for the weekend was discussed and agreed as proposed:
1 Plenary session – opening address, general political debate
2 Reports of the working groups
3 Plenary session – discussion of reports
4 Plenary sessions – decisions, appointments, venue of the next meeting
2. General discussion
There was an opening address by a national representative of IG Metall, followed by a long general political debate on the immediate situation.
3. Reports of the working groups
i) Practicalities working group
Key issues to decide at this European preparatory meeting are:
• Length of meetings
• How to organise meetings alongside Assembly of Social Movements meetings
Accommodation was being found – a limited amount of free, homestay and low cost accomodation as well as discounts on hotel accomodation.
The website progress was reported on – the final website will be up and running on 7 July.
The French organizers of the Paris ESF had developed a charter of standards for contractors etc, and this would be passed to the UK organizing committee to look at.
ii) Central and East European working group
• Each delegation is asked to accurately report the size of delegations they expect to attend in October. It was noted that the attendance from Central and East European countries will closely relate to size of solidarity funds available.
• Joint social forums between neighbouring countries should be encouraged and advertised on the ESF website.
• It was agreed in Istanbul that speakers from East European countries should be well represented on platforms and that they should address the problems faced by East European countries. Issues include democracy and social rights and East and West Europe working together.
iii) Enlargement groups report
Only 15 people attended the meeting. An appeal was made for more involvement especially from major organisations and NGOs.
The group requested the following tasks were undertaken urgently:
• work to encourage participation and attendance through existing networks and new contacts.
• estimations of delegation sizes from each country and level of self funding of delegates.
• work in each country to raise money for solidarity funds.
• Consideration of a solidarity rate of registration fee for economically disadvantaged groups and delegates from East European countries.
• Each country should identify and contact persons to liaise on visa issues. Advice on obtaining visas should be put on the website.
• Information about accommodation in London should be posted on website, including information for disabled delegates.
iv) Assembly of the social movements group report
George Bush and NATO are to visit Turkey at the end of June. Protests are being organised in Turkey for June 30th, the Iraq ‘handover’ date. Parallel protests are encouraged across Europe.
A tribunal is being organised in Germany to hold to account the Iraq war mongerers. European wide support is invited.
European day of action proposed for 8 May 2005, 60th anniversary of end of war in Europe and defeat of fascism.
The ESF 2004 will include a demonstration for peace and against war on the sunday afternoon. It was stressed that this was a key component of the ESF and that delegates should be strongly encouraged to stay for the it.
v) Programme Group report
A paper based on the work of the European programme sub group meeting in Paris and work the previous day’s programme group was introduced. The paper outlined the themes or axis and broad outlines of plenary titles.
The Programme Group agreed to propose the following:
• to accept a sixth theme by dividing the axis on neo-liberalism into two new axes and proposals on a range of plenaries (see content below)
• to have significantly fewer plenaries that the ESF 2003 to make room for more seminars
• to address transverssal issues by ensuring their representation in themes of plenary meetings and by ensuring representation on speaker platforms.
• To encourage people to make their seminar proposals early and to merge their proposals with others from the beginning of the process.
vi) Culture working group report
Only representatives of England and Germany attended the meeting. The group encourage participation and seek to widen the net of involvement to groups not already involved in the ESF.
There is an attempt to build a political cultural movement which beleives ’another culture is possible’. Contacts in other countries are sought.
Some proposals for cultural events at the 2004 ESF have alreadly been made. More are encouraged.
The culture group want to see culture and art integrated into preparatory meetings.
The group would like to propose a plenary on knowledge culture and media called ’our culture is not for sale’.
vii) Technology for interpretation report
Report given by representatives of NOMAD which is a part of Babels
The report noted that there are three components to the technical provision of interpretation: PA system and interpreters booths, voice capture and relay by computer, delivery to participants.
NOMAD have secured 150 donated computers. They propose new techonology should be considered for use at the ESF 2004: this is common access technology which will belong to the movement, and would allow contributions to be archived. Decisions would need to be made about the ownership and use of data digitally captured by the technology. Interpreted voice delivery methods range widely and include commercial and non commercial methods.
NOMAD proposed the following:
• NOMAD becomes an affiliated part of the ESF 2004.
• NOMAD technology is used at the ESF 2004 if it can be done reliably and more cheaply than commercial technology.
• That the PA system and booths are sourced from commercial companies.
• Investment would have to be made in developing the technology.
• 100 volunteers would be needed to be recruited and trained to operate the technology. They would need accommodation, food, travel at the ESF.
Facilitators: Alessandra Mecozzi and Erhardtn Crone
4. Discussion of reports
• separate space for local social forums
• separate youth space
• need to develop a working group on assembly of social movements for next European preparatory assembly.
• Autonomous space.
the G8 is meeting in Turkey on 28 and 29 June to decide the future of Iraq. A large demonstration is planned. European friends are invited to join the protest.
A declaration on the European Constitution was circulated and individuals invited to sign. It was clarified that it was not a declaration of the Preparatory Assembly.
There will be a protest and camp near Gleneagles in Scotland next June for the G8 summit to be held in the UK.
SUNDAY 21 JUNE
Facilitators: Christine Buchholz and Sophie Zafari
1. Decisions on programme issues
It was agreed to change the theme of ESF 2004 from ’another world is possible’ to ’for another Europe, in another world’. Each country can add to this to aid mobilisation.
The following programme content was agreed, and a paper circulated with this content::
• To accept the 6 axes proposed by the European Programme Working Group in Paris.
• To have significantly less plenaries than in Paris 2003, have more space for seminars and accept that many important issues will be discussed in seminars, and where possible integrated into plenaries.
• To address transversal issues where it is practical to do so according to the subject of the plenary.
• Women will be 50% of speakers, as agreed at the Istanbul European Preparatory Assembly.
• To reaffirm that there should be adequate representation of black and ethnic minority speakers in plenaries.
The following titles of themes or ‘axis’ and plenaries were agreed.
AXIS 1: WAR AND PEACE
i. What Future for Palestine?
ii. End the Occupation of Iraq
iii. Strategies for Peace and Global Disarmament – against nuclear weapons and military bases
(to include issue of arms trade)
iv. Overcoming wars in Europe
Kurds, Balkans, Chechnya
v. Challenging US imperialism
(including issues of NATO, Latin America)
AXIS 2: DEMOCRACY AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
i. For a Democratic and Social Europe
(democratic deficit in EU, critique of ’Constitutional Treaty’ and participatory democracy)
ii. For a Common Basis of Fundamental Rights
(civil, political, economic, social, environmental, cultural. Equality and difference. Including speakers on lesbian and gay rights, and a disabled speaker on the human rights of disabled people; to address issues of young people)
iii. For a Europe of Peoples’ rights and the question of citizenship
(stateless nations, self-determination, citizenship; to include speaker on Ireland)
iv. For a Europe of solidarity between the peoples
(to include enlargement of EU; cooperation among people East and West and North South)
v. Women struggling against oppression
– neo-liberalism, patriarchy and feminist strategies.
To ensure seminar spaces are guaranteed for discussions on:
• Stateless nations and self-determination;
• Discussions on human rights of disabled people;
• Lesbian and gay civil rights
AXIS 3: SOCIAL JUSTICE AND SOLIDARITY: AGAINST PRIVATISATION (DEREGULATION), FOR WORKERS, SOCIAL AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS
work, workers, analysis and proposals
workers organising in the global economy
ii. Defending and developing public services and the welfare state
iii. Labour and social rights: collective rights against casualisation, exploitation and de-regulation
(To include speakers on women rights, pensions, young workers)
iv. Working together to fight inequalities and build social and economic alternatives – role of a social and solidarity based economy
(To include speakers on women, labour, black and migrant workers inequalities)
v. The issue of knowledge: culture, education, intellectual property and media
AXIS 4: CORPORATE GLOBALISATION AND GLOBAL JUSTICE
i. The European economy and the world economy: the WTO and trade justice
(to include EU)
ii. Debt, Aid, poverty, reparations and the G8
(note: the proposers of the ’reparations’ issue proposed this term go first in the title, but there was no decision)
iii. Our world is not for sale
(including education, health and corporate takeover of common goods)
iv. Voices of resistance and alternatives from the global south
learning from Latin America, Africa, the mediterranean and Asia.
v. Financial speculation and tax justice, the IMF and World Bank
AXIS 5: AGAINST RACISM, DISCRIMINATION AND THE FAR RIGHT: FOR EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
i. Alliances we need to unite against racism
(include anti-semitism and Roma issues)
ii. Stop fascism and the far right in Europe
(to refer to the role of educational and culture)
iii. For asylum, refugee and migrant rights
iv. Muslims in Europe: perspectives and challenges
• To guarantee seminar spaces on the issue of lesbian and gay oppression
AXIS 6: ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS, AGAINST NEO-LIBERALISM AND FOR SUSTAINABLE SOCIETIES
i. Oil addiction – energy politics, corporate power and global climate change
(key words: energy, climate change, renewables, water)
ii. Politics on your plate – European agriculture, its global impact and future
(key words: GMOs, CAP, WTO, land rights, food sovereignty and security, rural issues)
iii. The end of the myth of development and growth: towards a sustainable society
(key words: Common resources, ecological economics, creating and distributing wealth differently, water)
iv. Environmental crisis and European responsibility
(key words: EU policies, environmental footprint, ecological debt, cities, transport, health.
• It was also agreed that sufficient space would be provided through the programme for space on seminars and workshops on women, reflecting the fact that women are 50% of the population.
ii. Method of choosing plenary speakers:
There will be about 120 speakers on plenary panels. Half of the speakers would be chosen by a national quota system (proposal below) before the end of July, half would be chosen by a small European Programme sub group made of representatives from each country. This would meet on 1st and 2nd September. The sub group will receive proposals from transnational bodies and networks and will propose at least 20 speakers from outside of Europe. Speakers from outside of Europe must be invited soom. People should make proposals and include 50 words on the areas of competence of the speakers. Proposals should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposed national quotas:
Eastern Europe and Balkans 10
nordic countries 3
Turkey 2 (1 Turkish, one Kurdish)
Malta and Cyprus to be decided
It was agreed that meeting slot in the mornings of the 2004 ESF will be three hours long and the three slots in the afternoons will be two hours long. Proposers of meetings may request two consecutive slots.
It was agreed that the longer plenaries could have five speakers, but the shorter ones 4.
iii. It was agreed that the Assembly of Social Movements will happen concurrently with ESF meetings on Sunday morning. Proposers of seminars and workshops may request that they are not allocated this slot.
iv. Self organised spaces in ESF proposed by a number of networks and
individuals: The following statement was read and agreed.
There will be a self organised space that will be built in a participatory
process. All the activities will have transparency and visibility and will be open
to all the participants at the ESF. The self organised activities will be mentioned in the official programme of ESF, if asked by the proponents.
Resources: due to the existing difficulties on this matter, the proponents
of the self-organised space and the coordinating committee in UK will meet
within 3 weeks to seek concrete proposals and solutions in the spirit of
v. Youth space: All the assembly expressed great concern on the issue of massive participation of young people in all the activities inside the ESF. There was no consensus on a separate youth space, and due to the different opinions expressed there will be further consultation by the different national delegations in their own countries with youth and students organisations.
It was noted and agreed that the new ESF website, going live on July 7th, will include a search facility for programme proposals. Other websites will offer this facility until the official website goes live.
It was agreed that the database of contacts generated by the Paris ESF should be authorized to be released to act as a resource on the website.
It was agreed to set up a European website group to oversee the development and use of technologies for the long term use of the movement. This will not make decisions regarding day to day use or content of ESF websites.
3. Host for next European Preparatory Assembly
Three proposals were made – Madrid, Brussels and Eastern Europe.
It was agreed that Brussels would be the next host but that the following assembly would be in Eastern Europe.
The date of the next Preparatory Assembly was agreed as 4-5 September.
It was agreed to use NOMAD technology at the next European Preparatory Assembly.