The poor mainstream coverage can be expected but I'm shocked to see just how poor the Indymedia coverage has been. It's just full of bitching, mud slinging and rants about the "storming of the palace" and the splits re the organisation of the ESF - what a joke. I was there, unlike it seems a lot of the people posting stuff about it. There were hundreds of events from the large Plenaries with 2000 delegates to workshops with 12 people passionately discussing issues/problems/the way forward. Covering a multitude of issues. Yes, there were a lot of Socialist/Communist groups etc with stalls n that but there were also loads of non political party and community groups. To dismiss the ESF as the SWP and Ken's baby is bollocks. Most of the delegates were independants who can make up their own minds, we're not likely to think 'Wow Communism is the only way!' cause the SWP or Globalise Resistance are wondering around chanting about workers never being defeated.
When the 'storming' happened the 'Anarchists' made a couple of obvious points which everybody applauded, Yes, the ESF should be free, Yes, we need to protest the G8 next year, Yes, the stuff about the IMC servers is wrong, but why storm a Plenary about coming up with solutions to the rise of the Right in Europe? OK the ESF isn't perfect and I would have liked to have seen more Social Libertarian representatives (if there can be such a thing) and I would have liked to have seen more stuff regarding issues such as the attacks on our civil liberties and direct action. But Beyond ESF filled the gaps there which was brilliant, so for me and probably most people there wasn't a problem, just a brilliant opportunity for the 'movement' in the UK/Europe to get together share ideas, concerns and move forward.
I was pleased that the organisers never switched off the mikes even though after a few minutes it just seemed to collapse into a mostly inaudible rants, "the SWP stole our idea about fighting Globalisation" I think I heard at one point, come on, grow up! To the majority of people in there, alot of whom where from other countries, were just bemused. We had the SWP at the back shouting stuff n the 'Anarchists' at the front shouting stuff n most people in between left. How constructive was that? I was explaning how the 'Anarchists' n the SWP hate each other to bemused people around me n we came to the conclusion that this type of 'Judeans People's Front/People's Front of Judea (Spliters!!)' bollocks does not do the cause any good and confirms the cynics/do nothing brigade's views that the 'left'/'anti-establishment' will never get it's shit together and actually succeed in 'making another world possible'. We'll only do it with unity, activism and some positivity.
The purpose of the ESF is supposedly to bring together the anti-capitalist/anti globalisation/global justice movement to debate, co-ordinate and in unity move forward against the global threat of corporate power, US imperialism etc, whilst still celebrating our diversity. As such there are bound to be some tensions but the threat is grave and should unite us.
The ESF and Beyond ESF must have offered something for everyone. Where is all the coverage of it from Indymedia? But with so many seminars, workshops etc on your regular activist is only going to be able to take a fraction of it in. I was looking forward to getting home and seeing what I missed. Looking at Indymedia the only thing worth reporting as in the mainstream press we so rightly scorn, were squabbles n arrests. It's very sad. (Don't get me wrong these things need to be reported particularly the arrests and any police brutality etc, but what about the actual event? both ESF and Beyond ESF)
For example, I learnt a great deal about the Environmental Crisis and Green issues I was previously unaware of (George Monbiot was quite disturbing) and I will be getting more active in that area. But what came out of other discussions etc? There was a dedicated Indymedia centre, did the people there just plan the 'storming of the palace'(There was an IMC flag being waived about) n paint a couple of banners n then report about themselves??? If so it's PATHETIC.
Despite the 'storming' incident and the piss poor media coverage the ESF as a whole was a massive success. Of course it wasn't perfect and the organisation of it does need to be more transparent but what it actually covered and the opportunity it provided for activists to exchange ideas and get involved was brilliant.
Non Partisan Attendee