[fse-esf] EPA- Vienna
fs.russo at tiscali.it
Tue Dec 27 08:54:22 CET 2005
we were very worried when reading the proposals of the Greek committee about the event of great visibility. Let's be clear about this: we understand and agree with our Greek friends when they underline the necessity to have some big events in order to attract big audiences and to catch the coverage of the media in Greece and in Europe. Moreover, we think that events with great visibility can also be on political issues, so they should be discussed by very big names only.
These events should not be a proxy for the plenaries. Instead, the proposals of the Committee are more similar to plenaries than to big events. We remind you all that we decided to cancel those plenaries from the beginning of the Athens' process in order to promote more flexible and participated forms of discussions - such as seminars, workshops, assemblies and so on. We tried to emulate the new formula experimented in Porto Alegre, in which we saw the effort made to create the links between the discussions, the elaboration of alternatives and the engagements in the struggle of the different networks and movements.
Avoiding the plenaries was also intended as a way of ending the bargaining between the national Social forums, obliged in this way to play the role of diplomats of the States: a very poor show, but very demanding in terms of waste of time. We all hoped that Athens would represent a turning point in the process of the European social forum. Last but not least, we all affirmed the necessity to put an end to the transformation of the participants in the EPAs into the ruling class, the central committee, of the European movements.
Transparency and democracy: that is the common ground on which we should have built the IV ESF in Athens.
Therefore we disagree completely with the proposals of the Greek Committee, not only because of the number of the plenaries, but above all because of the plenaries themselves. It is not by chance that people have written to ask for new plenaries to be added, as it used to happen in the past, affirming that some issues are too important to be left out, and therefore criticizing those who forget this or that question. This is only the beginning, because the worst will happen when we will have to sort out the speakers. This was the old way, and we say very strongly that we disagree and do not accept these methods.
If we accepted these proposals, we would cancel all the discussions we had in the previous EPAs, and contradict the decisions we have taken all together. We should go back to these decisions and give a principal role to the working groups and to the networks, which are and should be the subjects of the European social forum. In fact, our Austrian friends were organizing the timetable following this 'spirit': to give all the 'power' to the working groups and to the networks, which are taking part in the ESF process and which will decide the different activities of the ESF. The assemblies, also, should be decided with respect to the necessities of the networks and not with respect to the political élites.
We know the differences between seminars, workshops and assemblies and we are very conscious of the fact that some meetings demand the cooperation of the social movements which are part of the ESF process, therefore we have to reach a consensus on the most significant meetings and assemblies, so as to give the most 'space' and 'time'.
Please read the official reports of the previous EPAs over again, and you will verify that these were the decisions taken that cannot be cancelled now.
We agreed to organize some big events - a meeting with a great writer (m/f), a singer, an actor or actress, an important political figure and so on - but not the plenaries in order to discuss some issue, because all that was to be taken care of by the different networks, associations and so on, within the EPAs in order to decide all together the program of the Athens' ESF .
We reaffirm our deep disagreement with the proposals of all plenaries, and we reaffirm the proposal to decide only some big events.
With respect to the date: we apologize for the inconvenience that the Italian political elections have provoked. We know very well that the date of the ESF was decided all together and we accepted it, because the 'natural' end of the legislature would have been the end of May, and we understand that changing the date now could be a serious problem. At the same time, the question is very simple: Italy will hold its political elections on April 9th. Not only the members of the political parties, but all the Italian movements will be engaged in this big event, even the people who support abstention will want to stay in Italy. For us, the defeat of Berlusconi is an essential step for our struggle.Do you really think that this battle does not matter to the European movements? We do not think so, and it is mandatory (and absolutely possible) to find the right date for everyone for the Athens' ESF.
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