[Pga_europe_process] Social Forum

friday friday at nadir.org
Fri Jul 2 13:52:53 CEST 2004


Hi,

I also think this topic is very important and worth further discussion. It would
be an idea to plan a discussion round in Belgrade, there will probably be a
meeting on autonomous spaces (during the London ESF) as well in Belgrade.

Just a short note (I am also in a hurry, just taking a subway to the centre of
town ;-)):
I think there are considerable concerns in focussing on the Social Forum process
too much, not just legitimacy for a centralised event. It draws a huge amount of
energy which is lacking elsewhere (planning global action days, preparation for
the Belgrade conference, etc.). So we should have one leg inside and one leg
outside the Social Forum events, and the leg outside should have two feet, i.e.
there should be a stronger emphasis on the autonomous spaces and less battling
with SWP and other authoritarian organisations!

Greetings,
friday


Quoting diañu burlon <dianhuburlon at gmx.net>:

> HI,
> I am very interesting in this discussion.
> I really can not write now a answer, because of lack of time to really 
> check these emails and think a bit on them, since I am taking a train to 
> Dhaka in a few hours. But we are discussing here the question of the global
> 
> process and maybe me and some other people will attend the European 
> conference. Could it be possible to meet you and other people who follows 
> this issue and discuss about it? I am very interesting in understand 
> further this process.
> 
> saludillos
> trasgu
> 
> 
> 
> At 09:00 01/07/2004 -0700, rgnunes at riseup.net wrote:
> >dear dianu
> >
> >i'm from brazil -- and lived for seven years in porto alegre -- which
> >means that i've had some involvement in the wsf from the start. i'm now
> >living in london, where, like javier and a few others, have tried to open
> >up space for grassroots and non-hierarchical organizations in the esf.
> >
> >i agree -- and i think so do you -- with tapio in what he says about the
> >wsf being a useful tool for meeting people, networking and discussing
> >common projects with other groups.
> >
> >one of the problems in the reading of the sf process that many groups who
> >have not become involved in it have is precisely that, looking from the
> >outside, the whole thing looks as like one monolithic block. then we can
> >worry that the 'wsf does this' or the 'wsf thinks that', or even that the
> >wsf is part of a larger conspiracy to co-opt and supress real, grassroots
> >struggle.
> >
> >it has been said that the origin of conspiracy theories is that you refuse
> >god and then ask what is in its place; that is, there is always a hint of
> >an idea that someone, somewhere is 'ruling the universe'. i think the
> >picture with the wsf is at once more simple, and more omplicated than
> >that.
> >
> >more simple in the sense that, if one analyses its origins, i think it's
> >clear that there is no (or at least not a single one!) conspiracy there.
> >the groups that started it -- like the cut, the mst and the cpt in brazil,
> >which are rooted in the grasroots movements that gave origin to the pt i
> >brazil in the 80s, plus others with a ngo background (abong, cives), and
> >attac -- show us a variety of approaches and understandings of the
> >movement, and the fact that these should come together to start something
> >like the wsf tells us a lot about the political reality of brazil, where
> >the pt had (probably not anymore!) a bridging effect, bringing different
> >forms of struggle -- from the more radical and grassroots to the more
> >palatable, media-frinedly ones -- together. this is why even for a more
> >radical organization such as the mst there seemed to be no issue in
> >getting money from things such as the ford foundation.
> >
> >this is reflected nowadays in a variety of views in the international
> >council -- from those who want to go on getting money from the ford
> >foundation and envisge the goal of the struggle as some sort of
> >world-social-democracy (like attac) to those who want a more radicalized,
> >less big-event-minded forum (like via campesina and the social movements
> >network). this means that everything is more complicatd, because things
> >are not as clear cut as we'd like them to be: some radical groups may feel
> >that they're better off working with moderates, who can help them get
> >funding and strike a relationship with governments and other 'official'
> >bodies.
> >
> >yes, there are many 'dark forces' at play in the sf process -- i wouldn't
> >say a usa conspiracy, but i'd mention the fourth international (forever
> >entartaining thoughts of co-opting movements and becoming an important
> >international force) and reactionary trade unions.
> >
> >but the problem with seeing it as a monolithic 'organization' is that it
> >misses many important points. first, that there is no central hand
> >controlling the whole thing; the esf in the uk now is totally different,
> >in terms of the groups involved and, unfortunately, also those dominating
> >it, from the wsf and even the previous esf. second, that no matter how
> >much is up to the international council and the local organizing
> >committees (deciding plenary speakers, for example), there's only so much
> >they can do to 'control' the thing: last year in paris, for example,
> >despite the effort of the european trade unions to push forward their
> >watered-down reformist agenda, the movement that was the 'talk of the
> >town' were the 'intermittents du spectacle', who weren't involved in
> >organizing the big event, but managed to make themselves visble and to
> >radicalize it; the same applies to the dalits in india, early this year.
> >
> >this is because, third, the social forums are very porous, open things;
> >you don't even have to pay a registration or attend a meeting to be inside
> >them -- all you need to do is to be there at the time, and do your own
> >thing (be it networking, organizing activities, direct actions) to be
> >'part' of it.
> >
> >the reason why i've become a non-hierarchical activist (not that i ever
> >was hierarchical -- perish the tought! --, i mean when i became
> >politicized) was precisely because i came to understand power not as a
> >scarce commodity that some own and others don't, but as a circulating
> >medium in social interactions. i don't think we can understand the state
> >in terms of 'they have the power and we don't', and the same goes to
> >social forums. we are as active as 'they' are, and if they are the ones
> >who attend the meetings, we are the ones who can take to the streets, or
> >do our own networking activities, and enlarge our networks.
> >
> >a final point about social forums is that, precisely for being more
> >'respectable', they have become more powerful in the post-9/11
> >environment, where the criminalization of the movement became stronger
> >than ever. this is another reason why i think they should be occupied and
> >radicalized, so that its 'respectability' does not become mere moderation
> >and empty reformism. on the level of spectacle, we can't deny that social
> >forums have worked; we can, and i think we should, use them to the
> >advantage of radical, grassrots struggles.
> >
> >sorry for the long email. this is a very rich discussion, and one it'd be
> >great to go on having in this list and in belgrade.
> >
> >till then
> >
> >r.
> >
> > > Dear Tapio,
> > >
> > > I agree with you regarding the participation of very interesting
> people,
> > > groups and movement in the Social Forum, and other forums like the
> > > Mesoamerican Forum, etc. I have attending the Mesoamerican Meeting and
> > > others like that myself (and i really dislike strongly them) and I want
> to
> > > continue doing it if I need to. In fact if I don´t go this summer to
> the
> > > Mesoamerican (parallel to the "Against dams and privatization of water,
> > > etc" and the "week on biodiversity" in El Salvador, is exclusivily
> because
> > > of lack of funds for the travel. But in fact we are promoting a LA
> meeting
> > > of PGA to take place (out of the oficial meeting of course), for
> various
> > > reasons, I am  not going to enter now. And in fact the serious good
> > > grassroot contact we have in Costa Rica we made in such MM. But
> > > legitimazing the forum with the presence of the social movement or our
> > > colectives in coordination preparatory meetings and being in fact part
> of
> > > the body is another thing. But even bit by bit, as far as the other
> > > political process as PGA, starts to get strong in a region,
> participation
> > > in this spaces should be minimize to avoid legitimation and specially
> > > creating a false image of the alternative spaces, strongly attacked by
> the
> > > SF and other social networks depending on SF and NGOs.
> > >
> > > Some of the organizations part of the PGA process in Asia, attending in
> > > January both meeting, some even the three meetings: WSF, People´s
> > > Encounter
> > > II and Mumbai Resistance. But not as organizers. And the analisies, as
> I
> > > told, were quite clear and powerful regarding the WSF and the reasons
> of
> > > its existance. I heared things like "WSF is an invention of USA, and
> > > funding by big TNCs through their big NGOs as Ford Fundation,  to
> control
> > > the protest and the movements". Well, in my opinion things are not so
> > > simple, of course. But if you compare this situation with Latin
> America,
> > > is
> > > quite different. In Latin America, where NGOs are really more powerful
> and
> > > have most space for manipulating and using the movements, the WSF is
> eaten
> > > all spaces. The former convenor of PGA from farmers, are now organizing
> > > the
> > > Americas Social Forum. At the same time, PGA is getting invisible
> there.
> > > Of
> > > course, it is not so simple the evaluation of the reason of such
> > > invisibility, but one thing is clear: organizations don´t want to be
> > > isolated, they want to meet with other interesting organizations, bla,
> > > bla...
> > > There is also special cases like Colombia. If I have to go to the
> European
> > > Parlament to collect the shitty signatures of shitty european
> > > parlamentaries to prevent a masacre, I will do it, without any
> hesitation.
> > >
> > > But I know which is my place,which are very puntual and necesary
> contacts,
> > > which are very coyuntural necesary alliance (without loosing my nord
> and
> > > the clarity in "the target and the way to get the target" even during
> > > "those coyuntural alliances"),  and which is long term work, allianze
> and
> > > project.
> > >
> > > So for me,  attending the Social Forum could be necesary in a puntual
> > > moment, regarding contacts and collecting information. But even
> regarding
> > > contacts, I would say, that onces you have a trustful entrance in a
> > > country
> > > or region, it is more useful and efficient to travel through the
> regions,
> > > visiting the movements and understand local situation. Because also
> many
> > > times, the "interesting" people of the Social Forum can tell many
> stories
> > > and at the end being only one visit card or a very shity organization.
> > > Helping organizing Social Forum at this time of the strugle, I think is
> > > useless, energy eating and in somehow legitimazing the space.
> > > But I don´t know the situation now in Europe, not also how discussion
> has
> > > been developed laterly. As I said, I didn´t have time in the moment to
> get
> > > into the discussion. This is why I would like to speak with Javier, to
> see
> > > how things are and what are his expectations, since knowing Javier, and
> > > really having a lot of trust in his political analysis, I think that
> maybe
> > > there is more there that I have though about.
> > >
> > > Saludillos,
> > > trasgu
> > >
> > >
> > > At 22:55 24/06/2004 +0300, Tapio Laakso wrote:
> > >>About participating to Social Forums.
> > >>
> > >>I think the point in participating Socila Forums could be the simple
> > >> thing
> > >>that there are lots of interesting people, groups and movements around.
> > >>For example considering ESF, the presence of immigrants, sans-papiers
> > >>movements is important. That makes ESF a formu where it is possible to
> > >>create contacts and networks with these people.
> > >>
> > >>On the other hand we did not participate Finnish Social Forum this year
> > >> as
> > >>only ones present are old leftist that are present everywhere anyway.
> > >>Another year we participated because we were able to arrange
> interesting
> > >>speaker there whose travel costs someone else paid.
> > >>
> > >>Of course Social Forums won't change anything but if it is posible to
> > >> meet
> > >>good people and share some radical thoughts then why not? We really
> > >> should
> > >>not make another "purity issue" out of this =)
> > >>
> > >>Tapio
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>On Wed, 23 Jun 2004, diañu burlon wrote:
> > >> > I promised Vanja to come back  Europe in a couple of weeks. ( I am
> > >> stucked
> > >> > in Delhi). Are you going to be around? I really would like to
> disscuss
> > >> with
> > >> > you regarding the social forum. What on the hell are you doing
> there?
> > >> I
> > >> > really don´t understand why lost energy and time in it. More. I
> don´t
> > >> > understand why to be there to legitimaze it. I read a couple of
> emails
> > >> on
> > >> > the issue months ago, but I didn´t want to enter into the
> discussion.
> > >> But I
> > >> > was very surprise that someone wrote that we will be isolated as
> > >> movements
> > >> > if we don´t participate. If that is the case,  I really want to be
> > >> > isolated. It is clear that the biggest strengh of PGA Asia is the
> good
> > >> > analisis they have of those spaces and the radical position of the
> > >> > movements, and don´t let themselves to be eaten by such spaces, as
> it
> > >> is
> > >> > happening in LA.  I don´t think it is a question of spending hours
> > >> > critizazing the WSF, who funds it and so on, but...whatever, I would
> > >> really
> > >> > like to hear your opinion  regarding this issue.
> > >> >
> > >> >
> > >> >
> > >> > kisses,
> > >> > trasgu
> > >> >
> > >> >
> > >> >
> > >> >
> > >> >
> > >> > At 15:27 22/06/2004 +0100, javier wrote:
> > >> > >Dear WE Zapatistas
> > >> > >
> > >> > >I can only assume you were writing about me. I am sorry about the
> > >> delay
> > >> > >in my reply, I was in the ESF preparation meeting in Berlin, very
> > >> hard
> > >> > >work.
> > >> > >
> > >> > >Lets clarify a few things. I didn´t write the lines below. I quote
> > >> > >replied to another message.
> > >> > >
> > >> > >It is true that we had a discussion on the word ghetto in Belgrade,
> > >> > >where people explained the different arguments for and against its
> > >> use
> > >> > >in this context. That's why in my letter to Nina I actually wrote
> > >> > >"breaking self-imposed ghettos" a formulation I find appropriate,
> and
> > >> > >you can call me whatever.
> > >> > >
> > >> > >I am getting used to people using identity politics as a way to end
> > >> > >discussions. It happens all the time in the UK social forum, where
> > >> the
> > >> > >diverse SWP front groups morally blackmail us on these lines: "If
> you
> > >> > >are against my politics you are against all the million
> > >> > >refugees/women/migrants, etc..." corollary: you are a
> racist/sexist,
> > >> > >etc. We were even accused of being against Nelson Mandela for
> > >> demanding
> > >> > >a proper democratic process for choosing guest star speakers!!
> > >> > >
> > >> > >What I find quite sad is to see the same thing happening in the PGA
> > >> > >process.
> > >> > >
> > >> > >This takes me to the next point: my forthcoming holiday in
> Belgrade.
> > >> I
> > >> > >was hoping the ESF would put me a proper bureaucrat dacha by the
> > >> Black
> > >> > >Sea, but things are not as good as in the old days... so I will
> have
> > >> to
> > >> > >settle by sharing a dusty field with lots of lousy dreadlocked
> > >> > >anarchohippies. I just hope there are no cameras! Rather dead than
> > >> seen
> > >> > >having gone so low in life.
> > >> > >
> > >> > >I admit this is my motivation, but not what I told my Essex
> Zapatista
> > >> > >friends, they could only be guessing. What I told them was that I
> was
> > >> > >spending a lot of energy working behind the lines in enemy field,
> ie
> > >> the
> > >> > >ESF process, to carve out space for the type of non-authoritarian
> > >> > >politics we share around PGA of decentralisation, autonomy,
> > >> diversity,
> > >> > >etc. And that I really didn't have the energy to engage with their
> > >> > >arguments, or more precisely with their style of arguing.
> > >> > >
> > >> > >What could have been understood as a holiday is that I said that
> for
> > >> me
> > >> > >the ESF was the place to fight with all the SWP, etc, and the PGA
> the
> > >> > >place were we could have a different dynamic, less emotionally
> > >> draining.
> > >> > >You can read this as the difference between politics and holiday,
> or
> > >> as
> > >> > >someone who hopes one day politics will be modelled on something
> > >> other
> > >> > >than war and conflict, and we could be that beginning.
> > >> > >
> > >> > >ciao, javier
> > >> > >
> > >> > >
> > >> > >On Thu, 2004-06-17 at 07:16, paki.tv at cyber-rights.net wrote:
> > >> > > > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> > >> > > > Hash: SHA1
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > On Tue, 15 Jun 2004 06:37:59 -0700 javier <javier at spc.org>
> wrote:
> > >> > > > >Global movement : Are we a mouvement ? what next ? Going out of
> > >> the
> > >> > > > >ghetto ? : skrati[AT]yahoo.com / javier[AT]spc.org
> > >> > > > >>
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > We have had a discussion about the use of the word Ghetto and
> its
> > >> use
> > >> > > > in this way has been shown to be racist.
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > What does that mean?
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > It means that when discussions are put out with this heading, is
> > >> thta
> > >> > > > most Black people will be less inclined to attend the conference
> > >> because
> > >> > > > they know the organisers are taking the piss.
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > As this is an issue which has already been raised, I can only
> > >> assume
> > >> > > > that the use of it here is deliberate, a sort of "hardboy"
> > >> machismo
> > >> about
> > >> > > > not caring for sissy quibbles.
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > After the postponement of PGA meeting the author spoke to us
> > >> dissmissively
> > >> > > > suggesting that the issues we were raising were trvial.
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > This is how institutional racism works in the PGA.
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > The final insult was to be told that they considered their work
> in
> > >> the
> > >> > > > European Social Forum as their real political work, and PGA as a
> > >> holiday
> > >> > > > . . . this from a person who the PGA paid to go to a preparatory
> > >> meeting
> > >> > > > in Belgrade.
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > How can these issues be left to the conference when it is
> > >> precisely
> > >> now,
> > >> > > >  just as Nico himself pointed out, the white middle class guys
> are
> > >> going
> > >> > > > around dominating.
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > Seems like these alternatives to capitalism are simply the same
> > >> old
> > >> "shit"
> > >> > > > (to use one of Nico's favourite terms) in new bottles.
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > That's all for now, folks!
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > > West Essex Zapatista
> > >> > > >
> > >> > > >




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