Socialist Worker

Broad trade union backing for ESF

Issue No. 1914

THE CWU postal and telecom workers’ union is encouraging members to come along to the European Social Forum to be held in London from 14 to 17 October.

“It promises to be the biggest meeting of people committed to global justice, workers’ rights and environmental sustainability in the UK for decades,” says general secretary Billy Hayes.

The Trades Union Congress also intends to be prominent at the event, as TUC leader Brendan Barber explains: “30,000 mostly young Europeans will be coming. They are idealists who believe that ‘another world is possible’.

“So we want to put trade union issues at the heart of the weekend.

“The TUC wants union members to take part in the debates and spread the message about our values.

“The ESF will bring together thousands of people from across Europe for debates and discussion, and for music, films and exhibitions.

“It will start with a mass rally on the Thursday evening and end with a demonstration in Trafalgar Square on the Sunday.

“Many of the topics for debate were suggested and planned by trade unions.

“There will be a trade union welcoming event on the first day, and a trade union ‘base’ at the TUC National Education Centre in Crouch End. We will be doing more than just debate. We plan to use the opportunity to go out and recruit trade union members across London, for example. It’s a great opportunity.”

WHY I’m going TO THE ESF

‘Pull together different campaigns’

‘I think that the European Social Forum (ESF) is a fantastic opportunity. The other ESFs in Florence and in Paris have had a massive impact on the movement in Italy and France.

The ESF can pull together lots of different campaigns.

I became political through the war and through seeing the attacks on students in Britain and across Europe.

In the build-up to the war on Iraq I decided I couldn’t just sit around—I had to get involved.

The Scottish TUC have said they will, in principle, support a train going from Scotland to take people to the ESF.

I’m hoping to bring anti-war activists and people from other networks I’m involved in, like the Campaign to Save the Back Park.

They are trying to sell off all of the green spaces in Glasgow.

I also know activists in an anti-motorway campaign, women’s groups and student groups who will come to the ESF.’
Donna Borokinni , youth worker from Glasgow

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Article information

Sat 14 Aug 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1914
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