sheffielder | 17.12.2004 07:16 | European Social Forum
Written in English and Spanish, this document has multinational signatories and is one of the many "Letters to the Editor" (ranging from The Guardian to The Star) which never get published, on the grounds of being off topic, esoteric, too verbose or whatever excuse.
"participantes oficiales de las mesas..."
Please can this info about the call for a Women's Day at every ESF be circulated at the Paris meeting this weekend. We think it important that it is drawn to your attention at this time when the future of the ESF is being discussed. The resolution below (in English and Spanish) was taken to the final plenary of the ESF in London and received wide support including from organisers of the next Forum in Greece. The correspondence that follows raises some of the objections about the running of the ESF shared by many of those who attended.
Anna T and Sara Callaway, Global Women's Strike
Tuesday October 26, 2004
Women must be heard
A major problem for grassroots organisers, especially if we are women, is that neither Stop the War nor the unions are independent of political parties, and both sabotage any organising that doesn't serve their interests (Letters, October 25).
Women are central to achieving real economic and political change. Yet women were silenced at the recent European Social Forum, in which Stop the War and various unions had a controlling hand.
Fifty organisations from 12 countries asked the ESF to hold a women's day. We were turned down - so we called our own. The ESF then hurriedly convened a short women's assembly chaired by those who opposed the women's day. When we finally spoke at the closing plenary, many agreed that a women's day should be integral to the ESF. They also agreed that there is no place at the ESF for police being called on protesters, and for pro-war Iraqi men being given a platform, while anti-war Iraqi women, asylum seekers and Haitians opposed to the US-French coup are not.
Global Women's Strike
All African Women's Group
Charo Luque Galvez
Mujeres de Negro, Spain
Women's News, Hungary
Wroclaw University, Poland
Unione Donne Migranti Per La Pace, Italy
Women of Colour in the Global Women's Strike
Pre-Election Coalition of Women, Poland
Collectiu 8 de Marc, Alcoi, Spain
Director Research Institute for Health and Social Change, Manchester Metropolitan University
Liverpool Committee Against the Destitution of Asylum Seekers
Segreteria Provinciale Modena, Confederazione Generale Italiana Lavoratori, CGIL, Italy
ARGE Feminismus, Austria
Global Women's Strike, Ireland
Active Society Group, Wroclaw, Poland
Manchester Social Forum, in a personal capacity
Indymedia Oxford, in a personal capacity
Payday men's network
Global Women's Strike, Spain
Independent Venezuela Network, Chesterfield
Estella Schmid, Kurdistan Solidarity Committee, England
Ann-Kristin Kowarsch, Netherlands
Corinna Lotz, Movement for a Socialist Future, England
Fakra Salimi, MiRa Resource Centre, Norway
Christine Klecha, Frauenforum and Berlin Association of Familywomen & Familymen
Sophia L. Thessaloniki, Greece
Uta Depner, Germany
Kathie Martins, England
Alan Liddiard, England
Philip O’Brien, England
Philippa Willitts, England
Nicky Melling, England
Unpublished letters to the Guardian:
To the Editor
European Social Forum organisers claim that "women were active participants
and organisers of the event." (Letters, October 27) I travelled to London
before the main Forum started, thinking there would be a Women's Day. I
didn't mind who organised it as long as it enabled grassroots women to
exchange experiences and consolidate our networks. I was very disappointed
that the Forum refused to back it.
The meetings I attended were no substitute. Each time I and others queued
to speak from the floor, the event was shut down before we could. These
meetings were not participatory, they were staged.
Charo Luque Galvez
Mujeres de Negro, Spain
Which women "had a chance to be involved"? I attended an organising meeting
of the European Social Forum in Berlin.
Many more men than women spoke, and while the men spoke at length, the women
were told to hurry as soon as we opened our mouth. I was made to wait a
whole day before I could raise about women's participation, and then told it
was the wrong place to discuss it. Young people who tried to have a youth
space were also put off.
As a single mother with two children and a part-time job struggling to fit
in my women's movement activities, I found this disregard for my time
Christine Klecha, Frauenforum and Berlin Association of Familywomen &
00-49 30 818 3074
Resolution on a Women’s Day at the ESF:
We are critical of the fact that there was no women's day despite the efforts of the Global Women's Strike and other women's organisations in more than 10 countries who had been calling for it since December 2003
This is a backward step after the women's day in Paris where more than 3000 people participated.
Grassroots women have had little opportunity to speak due to the sabotage of the organisation of this forum. The time and place allocated for the women's assembly was insufficient and was overwhelmingly taken up by the official speakers.
Yet women are the backbone of society and the economy, and of the anti-war and human rights movement. Together with our children we are most of the casualities both in time of war as in so-called peace.
we refuse to be invisible and propose that future forums must hold a whole day for women with the full participation of grassroots women and without being monopolised by panels and speakers from any one organisation or political party.
DIA DE LA MUJER DEL FSE
Se critica a la no convocatoria del Día de la Mujer a pesar de que la Huelga Mundial de Mujeres con otras organizaciones de mujeres de más de 10 países lleva intentándolo desde diciembre 2003
La no convocatoria es un retroceso con respecto al Día de la Mujer obtenida en Paris donde la participaron mas que 3000 personas.
Las mujeres de base han tenido poca oportunidad de expresión debido al sabotaje de la organización de este foro. La asamblea de mujeres se ha realizado en un espacio y con tiempo insuficiente. El poco tiempo disponible ha sido ocupado por participantes oficiales de las mesas.
Sin embargo, las mujeres somos la columna vertebral de la sociedad y la economía, y de los movimientos anti guerra y por los derechos humanos. Con nuestro hij@s somos la mayoría de las victimas de situaciones de Guerra así como de la mal llamada paz.
negamos a ser invisibles y proponemos que en los próximos foros haya un día entero para la Asamblea de la Mujer, con la plena participación de las mujeres de base, sin monopolios en las mesas y las ponencias de ninguna organización, ni de ningún partido político.