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A story to add to PG's pics
The Athens ESF went very well
the 4th European Social Forum closed its doors yesterday
The demonstration was huge
The 4th European Social Forum (ESF) closed its doors yesterday with a call for another ‘Week of Action’ on 23rd – 30th September. Motions passed included the call for full mobilisations across Europe against the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, an end to the occupation of Palestine, an end to warmongering against Iran, the closure of all military bases in Europe and for nuclear disarmament.
“An incredible demontration….. even for Greece” was how the organisers put it.
The weather was a good ally of the Forum. Participants said goodbye to Athens, having swam in the warm waters near the site, after many hugs and embraces, an exchange of email and website addresses and many many smiles – right across the board. The three day event ended with plenty of dancing and singing too.
Activists, intellectuals, Trade Unionists, peace workers and a number of European Parliament deputies mixed in the colourful event. Politics may had been slightly diverse, slogans and flags multicoloured, languages a real tower of Babel….but the 35,000 plus participants joined their voices in a remarkably united fashion. "We’ve had enough" was the main slogan – "enough of war, enough of exploitation".
What was also noteworthy was the participation of activists from Eastern Europe and Turkey – 2,000 from each area!! Over 30,000 bits of translation hardware were used in the 3 days….more than 120 cultural events took place in the evenings. Hundreds of artists from all over took part.
Perspectives of the anti-globalisation movement and for the struggles that are to follow look very positive after the success of the 4th ESF. “This was the first time Trade Unions took part in the organisation of an ESF” noted Alex Kalyvis, Vice President of GSEE – the largest TU Confederation in Greece. Giannis Albanis of the Greek ESF noted that the numbers of the Greek participants were infinitely larger than the specific activist strength of the Left in Greece!
There was also a call for an international day of action on October 7th next, both in Europe but also in Africa, for the unconditional legalisation of the rights of all immigrants in Europe, the closure of all holding centres and an end to all deportations. Further ideas discussed was the introduction of a European – wide document allowing immigrants to search for and acquire employment and their eventual naturalisation into a European ‘nationality’.
The next International Social Forum (ISF) will take place in January 2007 in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. Participants also agreed to be present and demontrate against the G8 Conference to take place next July in St. Petersburg as well as against the European Council Meeting due to take place in June 2007 in Germany.
All participants agreed that the Athens ESF was a real step forward., particularly in bringing together activist movements from the East and linking them to those in the West. The time is now ripe for all of us, here in Ireland, to engage in this dialogue.
The people were happy