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UK European Social Forum Feature Archive

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Report on Cambridge Forum 'The Rise and Rise of Corporate Power'

23-10-2004 23:25

This is a report on the Cambridge Forum from 19 October 2004 on the Rise and Rise of Corporate Power. The discussion was held in the CB1 Cafe on Mill Road on Tuesday, 19 October 2004 from 8 pm to 10:30 pm. About thirty people listened to the three speakers. Before the forum started, two people from the audience recounted their experience at the European Social Forum which just took place in London the weekend prior.

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Cambridge Activists at the ESF

22-10-2004 09:44

with those luvly flags...
The European Social Forum concluded in London on Sunday with a large demonstration. During the previous four days Cambridge activists participated extensively in the activities of the ESF. They were particularly noticeable in organising the Indymedia Centre which was set up in Camden; this centre was used to cover the events of the ESF and autonomous spaces as well as hosting the European Forum on Communication Rights. Throughout the ESF Cambridge IndyMedia folk were out on the streets taking photos, shooting video and participating in events. In particular they used the opportunity given by Sunday's March to defend IndyMedia against the recent attacks of the FBI.

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European Social Forum Closes with Demonstration and Actions

20-10-2004 08:59

70,000 demonstraye against war in london
The European Social Forum (ESF) ended on Sunday after hundreds of discussions and meetings, both inside the ESF and in the Autonomous Spaces. The Assembly of the Social Movements issued a Call for various days of action (though at first failed to include the Indymedia Solidarity Statement).

The forum ended with a large demonstration(70-100,000) and a number of autonomous actions (Clowns actions and Pro-capitalist block). The demonstration had a clear anti-war character and attracted many people who did not attend the ESF.

Reports: [1 | 2 | 3], Pictures: [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | new 9 | new 10 | new 11 | new 12] and video [1].

A group of activists from the anti-capitalist block were detained at King's Cross train station in an attempt to prevent them from joining the march [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Global Project][Video Modem | ADSL]. They were eventually allowed to leave and when they finally arrived at Trafalgar Square some tried to get to the stage in what some describe as storming the stage. The police, possibly in cooperation with the organisers, made several arrests including an Indymedia volunteer and member of the ESF organizing body [pics]. The COBAS union condemned the local ESF organisers for this action. Solidarity actions were called and a number of Clowns invaded Charing Cross police station (Video). Those arrested, including a Greek activist, were due in court on Monday [Video].

Meanwhile for four days the IMC center catered for activists and public alike in providing a fully equiped media center and 600 capacity hall for the EFCR, Schnews Conference, parties and other events (IMC call). Indymedia also took to the streets to protest the seizure of the imc servers [pics 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5]. The Wombles also organised 5 Days & Nights of Anti-Authoritarian ideas and action called Beyond ESF, from which a Declaration of Europe’s Precariat came out.

The ESF organisation, and the events during the demonstration, have been the subject of a lot of controversy [In depth: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Previous: 1 | 2 | 3].

A letter condemning [2 | 3] the takeover of the ESF stage in protest against the lack of democracy of the ESF organsing process was published in the Guardian [Pics of action 1 | 2 | Video]. It accuses protesters of interrupting and anti-racist event. A coalition of anti-racism organisations replied condeming the use of the race card to stifle dissent (also IMC Lancaster statement).21st Oct Update: Read latest Guardian Letters | (2), see also Alex Callinicos blames "black Bloc". 23rd Oct: A film of the event has appeared. 27 Oct: Italian Delegation, Some Reflections on the 2004 ESF. Some also resented the lack of coverage of actual ESF events [1 | 2] on Indymedia and the mainstream media [1 | 2]

Don't hate the media - just publish on Indymedia - Upload your reports from the ESF and Autonomous Spaces events to indymedia, or to the events memory reporting database. See: All UK ESF reports | Updated Indymedia ESF Newsblast

[More: ESF daily coverage: Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Other languages: German | Dutch | Dutch and French | Català | Castellano 2 3| Hungarian | Portugese | Russian]

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European Social Forum Reports

17-10-2004 12:36

Latest Contributions:
Arrests Update
IMC Solidarity Missing From ESF Assembly of Social Movements Declaration!
Guardian Letter: Ken Livingstone's Special Advisor Accuses White Anarchists of Racial Violence!
Anti-Racist Groups Accuse Lee Jasper of Playing 'Race Card' re ESF

The repression at King’s Cross station.
The main ESF demo
Indymedia Banners on ESF demo
The storming of the ESF
The repression after the invasion
[picture report] Samba against war in london
O17 London: A protestor's eye view (report and pics)
Photos from the anti-war march at the end of the ESF

The European Social Forum has ended on Sunday, with a large demonstration and a number of autonomous actions (Clowns actions and Pro-capitalist block). The demonstration had a clear anti-war character and attracted a large number of people who did not attend the ESF. Reports and photos [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6].

A group of activists from the anti-capitalist block were detained at King's cross station in an attempt to prevent them from joining the march [1 | 2 | 3 | Global Project]. They were eventually allowed to leave and when they finally arrived at Trafalgar Square some tried to get to the stage in what some describe as storming the stage. The police possibly in cooperation with the organisers made several arrests including an Indymedia volunteer and member of the ESF organizing body.

Solidarity actions were called, and a number of Clowns invaded Charing Cross police station (Video). Those arrested including a Greek activist are due in court on Monday. The ESF organisation, and the events during the demonstration, have been the subject of a lot of controvesy [In depth: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Previous: 1 | 2 | 3]. Some also resented the lack of coverage of actual ESF events [1] on Indymedia and the mainstream media [1 | 2 | Don't hate the media - just publish on indymedia].

[More: Timeline | All UK ESF reports | ESF daily coverage: Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Other languages: German | Dutch | Dutch and French | Català | Castellano 2 3| Hungarian | Portugese | Russian]

Previous Days Reports: Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

All ESF Features on the ESF topic page

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Storming of the Palace

17-10-2004 12:25

speakers on the stage

Saturday evening, around 250 to 300 grassroots activists made their own free entry to the official ESF and denounced the ESF organising process from the stage of the main plenary.

The intervention occurred during one of the main pleaneries, where Ken Livingstone was expected to speak. A decision to pull Livingstone out of presenting his speech on a panel had been taken only shorty before.

The activists took the stage and hung banners – 'Kens party, War Party' – 'ESF Another World is For Sale', to bring attention to the exclusive nature of the london esf, and to report the police intimidation of activists at autonomous centres this weekend.

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ESF Saturday

16-10-2004 12:03

raising banners

Previous Days Reports: Thursday | Friday
All ESF Features on the ESF topic page

Livingston Speech Stopped

Saturday evening, around 250 to 300 grassroots activists made their own free entry to the official ESF and denounced the ESF organising process from the stage of the main plenary. [ Full Feature ]

Other Actions

The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, a samba band and clowns worshipped consumerism [ 2 ] outside Selfridge's. Ladies and gentlemen were out in London “counteracting the vulgarities of everyday life". The Backwards Intelligence Team were out highlighting the FIT police surveillance. And for Anti-McDonald's Day activists unfurled 'McSlurry' banners. [ 2 ]

In the morning there was police surveillance of where people were staying [ 1 | 2 ]

Schnews at Indymedia Space

Afternoon SchNEWS held a conference "How Direct Action Can Save the World".
Active, popular opposition to oppressive rulers has been the force of change throughout history. A popular event showed, how to get involved, organize, plot and discuss resistance to the onward march of capitalism.

Beyond ESF

Sessions included: Ethical trading and Caterpillar, working in autonomous communities of Chiapas and The VOICE Refugee Forum London. Everyone coming and going from the event in Tottenham was subject to police surviellance [ Report ].

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ESF Friday

15-10-2004 13:47

Cyclists moving off.

Previous Days Reports: Thursday
All ESF Features on the ESF topic page

Circle Line Party

Evening: A party on the circle line was announced, 200 people at "Beyond ESF", including Yomango, people from the nordic anti-capitalist network and a samba-band, decided to participate. A group got caught up at Victoria where arrests were threatened. Since confirmed two arrested, they have both been released after 20 hours of detention, no charges, both had dna and fingerprints taken.

Reports on wire: [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ] Pictures [ 1 ]

Critical Mass

Afternoon London Critical Mass and Rising Tide gathers with the theme London Underwater visting the G8 Climate Criminals including Exxon Mobil and BP. Joined by Samba Band the protesters succeded in moving around the streets of the capital slowing and stopping traffic [ first pics ] Reports and pics [ 1 | 2 | 3 ]

Evening a smaller critical mass went out in the rain without police escort in the evening. It ended up at the Indymedia centre. [ Report ]

Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination

Afternoon Insurrectionary laboratorists did five actions today: visiting 10 Starbucks Cafes in the City of London; an un-reality cc-tv action; in a big supermarket chain in Whitechapel yomango was "doing a yomango" together with planka; some subvertising; finally at the millenium bridge tourists were asked to prove their tourist status. [ Full report on Newswire | CCTV action report and pictures ]

Fairford coaches court hearing

Harrassment and arrest at Fairford coaches court hearing - [Report | Pictures]

Canary Wharf Banned Protest

Although the owners of Canary Wharf had an injunction to try and prevent the demonstration for a decent deal for its cleaners neither the issue no the protest went way. "Canary Wharf is home to some of the most successful and powerful banks in the world. But it is content to let its contract cleaners be paid poverty wages, no sick pay, 15 days holiday and no pension". [ Report and Pictures ]

EFCR/Indymedia Space/Beyond ESF/Alexander Palace

Morning started with “From Genoa to Guantanamo” with speakers including a recent ex-detainee from Guantanamo Bay. [ Newswire | Audio ]

This afternoon will include presentations about Infowar, the indymedia server seizure and the media circus.

In the Camden Centre in the evening No Vox organised a night of politics, music and dancing.

At Beyond ESF sessions included Grassroots movements against the Clash of Civilisations; solidarity with South and Latin American: [Caracoles, Zapatismo and the Piqueteros at Beyond ESF]; in a small room about 40 people crammed in to share experiences of social centres across Europe: [Swapping lives at Beyond ESF]; and then it was the G8 in Scotland...

In Alexandra Palace topics for sessions included ending the occupation of Iraq. One meeting to be addressed by general secretary of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions being disrupted. [Report] and "In the name of democracy...".

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ESF Thursday

14-10-2004 14:46

the Bobby tried to stop the samba band playing by confiscating the drumsticks

Live ESF coverage 24 hours a day from rampART - listen

No borders protest

Afternoon along with protests in Calais and Dover 200-300 people walked through passport controls at the Eurostar terminal at Waterloo. [ Reports 1 | 2 | Pictures 1 | 2 | Text of Leaflet ]

EFCR/Indymedia Space

By lunch time when all the computers had finally arrived, the space at the Camden Centre, has started to fill up.

Morning there were sessions on Communication Rights, focusing on experiences from across Europe, including grassroots broadcasting.

The afternoon included a presentation about the campaign against ID cards and freedom of movement & communication.


Morning There have been reports of problems registering at Conway Hall, with the police being called by the management [report | video]

There was also a Women's day organised by Global Women's Strike. Read more here and here.

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Preparations for the ESF in London

04-10-2004 20:41

An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people are expected to come to London this month to attend the third European Social Forum taking place between Friday 15th and Sunday 17th (although many other ESF related events start earlier). Around 1,000 people have been registering per day and paying £20 or £30 to attend (nb the first 20,000 will recieve a free three day travelcard). The ESF will be a massive event that will see hundred of seminars, workshops, and cultural events taking place at Alexandra Palace and in the Bloosmbury area of London. However, with less than two weeks to go before the ESF begins, there is a potentially politically embarrassing severe accomodation crisis, with thousands wanting to come from europe unsure if they can afford London prices and requesting free accomodation. Recently several coordinations of the Babels volunteer interpreters threatened to quit over what they claim is a looming accommodation and reimbursement crisis [see response].

APPEAL: If you can help with providing free communal accomodation or homestay during the ESF, please contact either the official accomodation people or autospaces(at)

Stop Press: The Guardian says that the Millennium Dome for ESF Accomodation

Over the last year the ESF organising process has repeatedly been accused of being untransparent and non-participatory. Accusations have centred around the actions of the Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Action and the political and financial control of Mayor Ken Livingstone's Greater London Authority (GLA). Much has been written about this, for a sample see: UK NGO Letter | | Radical Philosphy Critique | ESF technology, media centres, and politics | Enrager | Weekly Worker (extensive reports)

Partly in response to this there are now several Autonomous Spaces and initiatives with well over two hundred workshops and seminars and other events scheduled from Wednesday 13th - Sunday 17th (read more).

Indymedia is organising a four-day Indymedia centre to facilitate reporting and DIY media production. Themes will include Surveillance and the Security State, Biometric ID Cards, Migrants and Noborders, Gender, Intellectual Property, Copyright, Creative Commons, Corporate media and Alternative media etc. Thursday 14th sees the European Forum on Communication Rights, Friday 15th sees a full day programme including a workshop and launch presentation on the "Eyes on International Financial Institutions (IFIs)" film portal website []. Saturday also sees the 10th Birthday Conference of SchNEWS.

Other alt-media initiatives includes an ESF Breakfast Radio Show on Resonance FM and 24/7 streaming ESF coverage from rampART radio. Further sources of information will include info-points located at the Camden Centre, the rampART and LARC.


Full article

ESF 2004 Quicklinks

24-05-2004 03:47

Indymedia Call For Participation
Autonomous Spaces around the ESF:
Open Website:
Closed Main ESF Website:

Radio Projects: RampART Live Web Stream | Indymedia ESF Breakfast Show on Resonance FM

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The European Social Forum is coming to town!

12-03-2004 23:00

ESF Florence 2002
On the weekend of March 6/7 the European Assembly of the European Social Forum (ESF) came to London to decide whether the UK proposal to hold the ESF in London this year would be accepted. Late on Saturday afternoon, after difficult and at times heated debate it was agreed that it would be.

The accepted bid is for a forum on October 15-17, centred at Alexandra Palace, with fees around £30/40 for unwaged/waged (£10 cheaper if pre-paid), accommodating 20-40,000 people without using "spillover areas" (more). This contrasts with Paris where the average fee was around 10 euros and 52,000 people attended - but the Paris organisers were given millions of euros from the government.

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Another World Might Be Possible

27-02-2004 00:05

The "European Social Forum London bid" has been rolling ahead over the last two months: venues have been provisionally booked, bank accounts opened, the group's legal status investigated, website providers looked into, and decisions as to program group process been advanced and discussed.

Yet not without criticism. So far the process has been accused of including progressively smaller and harder to attend committees being formulated, who then attempted to declare defunct the existing programme workgroup and start a new one (minutes - 5th and 8th Feb); "rights of exclusion" being enacted (minutes - 12th & 13th Feb) - after people were excluded from a meeting - that are directed specifically towards journalists; suggestions by the Greater London Authority (GLA) that the entire event may have to be postponed for a year (report), ironic considering that grassroots groups originally suggested exactly that last year; and a Brazilian-based WSF organiser pointing out that the driving of the UK ESF process by the Labour-affiliated GLA is against World Social Forum principles (see Item 8).

The UK ESF Organising Committee will meet on Sunday 29 February at the GLA, 12-4 pm. [Tube: London Bridge]. The purpose of the meeting will be to agree to the proposal that is to be presented to the European preparatory meeting. The European Assembly will take place on March 6, 10am-5pm and March 7 10am-1pm at the GLA, Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA [Tube: London Bridge].

Reports: Bulldozer to the ESF | WSF2ESF: report back from India | - un'official'/independent site | Balanced and Objective ESF 2004 Report | ESF Wiki | Machievelli and the ESF ... and more appearing on the ESF topic newswire all the time.

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The European Social Forum - Coming to the UK in 2004?

25-01-2004 00:00

esf 2004?

In January 120,000 people from around the globe converged on Mumbai, India for the World Social Forum (WSF). They came to discuss and organise against neo-liberalism, war and for a world of justice, peace and equality [WSF Lands on Mumbai].

Last year 60,000 altermondailists met in Paris for the European Social Forum (ESF). Addressing similar problems, one result was the European Day of Migrant Struggles on Saturday January 31st. [ESF - Paris Dossier]. The previous year in Florence gave rise to the day of protest against the war on Iraq on February 15th, 2003.

The movement started with the first meeting of the WSF in Porto Allegre, Brasil [Official History] it was organisationally dominated by the Brazilian Workers Party (PT). Since many social fora have been created around the world, often with a traditional party at their core. At best, these give activists a space to exchange experiences and ideas, a chance for networks to get together face to face. For some the "rock concert for political hacks" :-) For the newcomer an ESF presents a bewildering array of causes and struggles and contradictions.

The ESF Assembly decided the 2004 European Social Forum would be in Britain. The ever more fraught process is underway...

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ESF - Paris Dossier

11-11-2003 22:08

Sans Papiers during ESF Paris - "always on the street"
After Florence [1 2 3], the second European Social Forum is held in Paris. Apart from NGOs, trade unions and parties, there is some grassroots activity, including media-activism. See alterphoto picture show.
According to first-hand reporter "Glasnost", the principles of the first World Social Forum in Porto Alegre (2001) regarding openness and non-hierarchic decision-making are hardly a reality. Demos and occupations however took place nevertheless.

Overviews: IMC Belgium | IMC Netherlands | IMC Paris | IMC Germany

Nov 10: ESF 2004 (Oct or Nov) to be in London, on condition that an open European Assembly Meeting takes place in London on 13-14 December (Glasnost 1).
Nov 11: Debate on European day of action - probably March 20th (Iraq Invasion)(Glasnost 2).
Nov 12: "(...) the local Arab population feel that the ESF has very little to do with them; there is no information, they don't think it will change anything" (Glasnost 3). "Many people of Indymedia did not receive press accreditation at the ESF, because the ESF is authoritarian, bureaucratic, not transparent, closed and arrogant" (vlo).
Nov 13: Session on independent radios in Italy
Nov 14: Occupation for Social Centre (ekes)
Nov 15: Social Forum demonstration through Paris. Reports and Photos 1 | 2 | 3
Nov 16: Opensource Session and Negri/Callinicos debate.
Nov 17 Police filmed returning ESF visitors at London Waterloo Station [Report].

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