Socialist Worker

ESF coming to London: a show of solidarity

ALEXANDRE DA SILVA is a youth rep for the German TUC in the states of Hessen and Thuringia. He explains how activists in Frankfurt are mobilising for the European Social Forum (ESF) in London this October:

Issue No. 1915

THE government’s Agenda 2010 policy in Germany threatens the biggest attack on the welfare state since the Second World War.

That alone is reason to discuss alternatives, perspectives and resistance on a European level.

As young trade unionists, we want to be part of these developments, not just observe them.

The prospects for young people are becoming ever darker because of this crisis.

More and more young people are going without apprenticeships or training posts.

The government has put a proposal for “pay as you go” training on ice because big business has promised to train more people.

But big business has been saying that for the last 20 years.

The reality is that the Hartz IV cuts plan will pile the pressure on workers, and young workers especially.

If you are under 25 you will have to take any job the state offers you – no matter how badly paid it is.

Young people already face massive insecurity. Now there is even more fear.

Employers are pushing for cheaper labour as the European Union expands eastward.

The answer to this has to be solidarity. We want to discuss alternatives together with young people across Europe – and above all from eastern Europe.

We are organising cheap coaches so that as many people as possible can get to London for the ESF. People can travel with us from Frankfurt, for example, for as little as £15.

We are working alongside many other organisations for this mobilisation.

At the end of September we will hold a mobilising meeting with speakers from Britain, Germany and Poland.

Musicians and minorities

ACTIVISTS IN Waltham Forest, east London, are building for the ESF. Two people who attended a mobilising meeting talked to Socialist Worker:

‘I WAS one of the two million people who took to the streets on 15 Februrary 2003. It gave everyone a real sense of power.

New Labour are just new conservatives to me.

I’m really angry about their immigration policies and their Islamophobia.

It’s really important that people stand up for what they believe.

I’ve never been to a European Social Forum before, but I’m really excited about it.

It’s great that it’s in London this year.’
DARREN SEWELL musician and DJ

‘THE Community Empowerment Network is an inclusive organisation which welcomes ethnic minorities and refugees.

Its aim is to get all those who don’t get a fair crack of the whip to work together to fight for their needs.

I was part of the campaign against the M11. I’m angry that our community hall was knocked down. It was a lovely place where people could meet, and they bulldozed it. Now we have even more cars on the road.

I’m a longstanding community activist. Now it’s time to work with people in different places fighting the same battles as us.

I believe that the ESF is a way forward for the whole world to unite.’
SHEILA BASS, Community Empowerment Network

Programme and Details

LEADING FIGURES from the global movement against capitalism and war will be coming to London for the ESF.

They include leading campaigner against Third World debt Susan George, former Algerian president and leader of the anti-colonial resistance Ahmed Ben Bella, radical Egyptian economist Samir Amin, Walden Bello from Focus on the Global South and socialist film director Ken Loach.

Trade unions, NGOs, individual activists and networks have made over 800 proposals for seminars and workshops at the ESF.

Over the next few weeks many of these will be merged together to form joint seminars, drawing together different networks.

A full list of proposals is available from the ESF website at

if you follow the “Programme” link from the main page.

The ESF takes place at Alexandra Palace, north London, from Thursday 14 October to Sunday 17 October.

Some workshops will also be held in Bloomsbury, central London.

You need to register to attend the ESF. You can register online—go to and follow the “Register” link.

You can register for £30, with unwaged discounts.

There will be free or cheap accommodation provided.

If you live in London and can provide accommodation, please phone the ESF office on 020 7833 8440.

If you want to get involved in the preparations for the ESF, either as an individual or as part of a wider network, you can contact the ESF office or check on the website for a list of forthcoming meetings.

Just go to and follow the “Notice of meetings” link.

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Article information

Sat 21 Aug 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1915
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