PEOPLE WILL be heading for the French capital in November to take part in the second European Social Forum (ESF). The first ESF was in the Italian city of Florence last November, when 60,000 people took part in three days of rallies, debates and forums. The Florence forum culminated in a million-strong demonstration against war. And it was out of meetings at Florence that activists from across Europe called for massive anti-war protests on 15 February this year.
The Paris forum will be a similar mix of rallies, debates and demonstrations to Florence. People will be travelling from as far as Seville in southern Spain, Greece, Turkey, Sweden and Poland. The Global Mobilisation Network expects to get 2,000 people from Barcelona, northern Spain, to Paris.
The Initiative for a Social Forum expect 3,000 people to go from Germany-twice the number who went to Florence from Germany. There they will be part of huge meetings on themes such as opposition to war, privatisation and environmental destruction. There will also be hundreds of smaller meetings.
Adding to the feeling will be the massive presence of activists who were at the heart of the huge strikes which rocked France earlier this year. The Paris ESF will culminate in a mass demonstration on Saturday 15 November. Anyone who can should try to get to the European Social Forum. A special charter train is running from Britain, leaving London on Wednesday 12 November and returning on Sunday 15 November.
If you can't get there for the whole forum you can, of course, go for part of it and for the demonstration. There are plenty of ways to get to Paris for one or more days at a reasonable cost.
Don't delay. Book your place. Get your union branch, anti-war group, campaign or organisation to send as many delegates as possible, and organise to raise money. And don't forget to bring your banner for the giant demonstration against war and corporate globalisation in Paris on Saturday 15 November.
For full details of the ESF programme, registration, accommodation and transport-including the special train from Britain-go to www.mobilise.org.uk or phone 020 7053 2072.