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Minutes of North-East Irish Social Forum
12th August 2003, One World Centre
Below are the minutes of the NEISF meeting held on August 12th 2003.
Aine Fox – BAWN, Emily Kawano – IPE, Dan Buckley – GR, Nathalie Caleyron – MCRC, Alistair Mullan – Tools for Solidarity, Giros, Frances Dowds – NI Anti-Poverty Network, Sean L’Estrange, Gerry Ruddy – IRSP, John Barry – Green Party in Northern Ireland (note taker), Hlaleleni Karanda – Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign, Memory Mbondiah – Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign, Peter Emerson – Green Party in Northern Ireland, Tony Weekes, Yvonne McKenna, Gerard McCann – One World Centre, Eoin O’Brion – Sinn Fein.
Minutes of Previous Meeting
EK noted that for people to get Irish Social Forum updates and emails they need to sign up, and said she would forward these to the Belfast Social Forum email list.
EoB pointed out that there was now regular weekly ISF bulletins
October ISF event – discussion of the October event – 5 plenary sessions planned: war and neoliberalism; planet not profit; public services; equality not discrimination; another world is possible, with a carnival event on Sunday. Also need to organise bus/es from Belfast to Dublin for this
HK – introduced herself and let the group know the launch of the Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign in Stormont on 29th August.
PE – let the group know of an upcoming visit by George Monbiot on 9th October where he’ll be speaking at two events.
• 2nd One World Centre annual lecture, 12 - 2 pm, Room G07, Peter Frogatt Building, Queen's University
• Elmwood Hall, "Unionism, Nationalism or Globalisation?" QUB, 7.30-9.30, organised by the New Ireland Group.
There was a suggestion that it might be a good idea to organise a meeting between GM and the International Development Committee (ex-MLAs)
GMcC – noted that Ireland takes over the Presidency of the EU in January and suggested that it would be a good time to organise events around this. Suggested an event organised at the One World Centre and pointed people in the direction of the Dochas ? website for more information.
Issues suggested included, trade, development
GR – mentioned the proposed new EU Constitution as something around which to organise events.
EoB suggested making next year’s Euro elections a referendum on the EU Constitution.
Coca-cola – Aine
Talked about the global boycott of CC on 22nd July in protest at their involvement in the murder and suppression of trades unionists in the Columbia, and Indian pollution scandal (AF to email details). In her presentation Aine also highlighted the amount of products owned by CC from Sprite, River Rock to Schweppes, BMP, and pointed out that there was some (though unclear) connection between CC and Nestle.
There followed a discussion about possible campaign ideas from stickers (GR) or an public event/protest (JB), subverting CC adverts (AF), or organising stalls and information on the streets (DB), the anti-CC campaign in Dublin has a coke outfit which DB said he’d try and find out if we could us it.
Water charges – Frances – due to a domestic emergency Frances was unable to do her presentation but dropped off some literature on the subject.
Discussion about possible future presentations
EoB – suggested one on the ‘Social Forum’
DB – mentioned meeting on 23rd August about the European Social Forum by the Irish Anti-War Movement
GR – said there was a problem with the ESF in terms of giving people speaking rights on the basis of nationality.
There followed a debate about the difficulties around the organisation of the ESF and the claims and counter claims that some groups (the SWP were mentioned) attempting to ‘take over’ the ESF.
GR – asked, in reference to the upcoming ESF meeting in November what the status of the Belfast/NE Social Forum was.
EK – replied that there was 3 speaking slots for the ISF one of whom was Richard Boyd Barrett
EoB –said he’d give a presentation at the next meeting about the ESF/ISF issue
JB – offered to do a presentation on banning junk food advertising.
Working group reports
DB- no meeting had taken place
Followed a discussion about the importance of getting someone from Northern Ireland as one of the plenary speakers at the ISF meeting in October
JB – suggested the group nominate Frances to speak on the water charges/privatisation issue, or someone from the anti-raytheon campaign in Derry (Robbie McVeigh’s name was suggested).
EK – mentioned the importance of suggesting and organising workshops for the Oct meeting in Dublin. Some suggestions she had were ‘ Another world is possible’, focusing on local, co-operative, social economic initiatives, or getting a representative from the Mondragon cooperative in Spain.
EoB –suggested Ann ? from Derry from the Social Economy Agency.
GMcC – Suggested htat the group should think of getting stalls at upcoming Freshers week at the Universities.
AF – mentioned that the QUB branch of Friends of Palestine might help.
No meeting had taken place.
Dessie has a long list of community and other voluntary organisations and as soon as the group has material to send out, he’ll do it.
EK – pointed out that she had sent 2 documents to the outreach group, ‘What is Neoliberalism?’ and ‘Charter of Principles’ and asked for feedback.
Dessie to do a leaflet on Iraq.
JB offered to do one on ‘sustainable economics’
EoB – made the suggestion that presentations to the group should become the basis for leaflets to be produced afterwards.
AF – still no bank account but will open a Co-Operative one asap.
Communication and Media
EoB – all information about the group is being emailed to everyone and suggested that individuals look at Indymedia for latest developments. Problem with ISF website – minutes of our groups meetings not there, but should be sorted out soon.
Someone suggested we set up a Yahoo or similar email account for the group.
Belfast ISF event
EoB – circulated and introduced a draft plan for a Belfast/NE Social Forum event on 21st Sept in the Crescent Arts Centre
Need a small working group to organise this, including sorting out accommodation for people coming from outside Belfast.
GR- suggested a plenary session on Asylum Seekers
Suggestions for speakers on this topic included Barbara Muldoon (DB) and someone from the Refugee Action Group (EoB)
JB – suggested Hlaleleni Karanda from the Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign, who has recently been refused asylum
GR –said it would be good to get reports back from other regional social for a around the island.
JB – asked that the event have a workshop on what the NE/Belfast Social Forum hopes to achieve, what are our aims/objectives and strategies.
GR- replied that in short term we need to get ourselves organised and known
EoB –Agreed with JB that there was a need to work out what it is we hope to do.
EK suggested that we combine the Sept event with some action – suggestions include anti- CC, McDonalds around the theme of ‘slow food’, or ‘food not bombs’
The ‘food not bombs’ idea was accepted by the group.
JJB- formally thanked EoB for the work he’d done on drafting and getting a place for the sept event.
EK – suggested an ‘anti-war’ workshop
PE- suggested one on ‘Gandhianism’
Any Other business
26th August, One world Centre, 7-9pm.