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ESF 2004 – a breakthrough for the movement

Louise Hutchins


In the biggest event of its kind in Britain, 20,000 people from nearly 70 countries took part in the three-day European Social Forum in London this October. Participants flocked to Alexandra Palace in North London and Bloomsbury in central London to hear over 2500 speakers at over 500 meetings and to discuss with passion and enthusiasm how to make Another World Possible. The six key themes of the forum were: war and peace; democracy and fundamental rights; social justice and solidarity – against privatisation and deregulation, for workers, social and women’s rights; corporate globalisation and global justice; against racism, discrimination and the far right – for equality and diversity; environmental crisis, against neo-liberalism and for sustainable society.

 

An integral part of the forum was a huge diverse cultural programme with more than 100 films, music, drama, poetry and exhibitions.

 

The forum ended with a huge international demonstration through central London and a rally at Trafalgar Square calling for an end to war, racism and privatisation and for a Europe of peace and social justice.

 

The forum was witnessed by 600 members of the international media who took the message and highlights of the ESF to a global audience.

 

The Assembly of Social Movements which met during the ESF called for national mobilisations in all European countries on 19 March against war, racism, and against a neo-liberal Europe, against privatisation, against the Bolkestein project and against the attacks on working time; for a Europe of rights and solidarity between the peoples. The date marks the second anniversary of the start of the war against Iraq and the meeting of the European Council.

 

The networks and alliances established during the three days will be strengthened in the coming weeks and months and years. The next World Social Forum will be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil in January 2005.  The next European Social Forum will be hosted by Greece in March 2006.

 

 

 

October 2004

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