ESF Update

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The European Social Forum is the biggest opportunity for all the anti-globalization people to get together in Europe. Now an annual event the 3rd ESF will take place in London from the evening of Thursday14 to Sunday 17 October. I spoke to Danny Cooley who is on the London Organizing Committee and has recently returned from Istanbul where the last pan-European planning meeting was held. Danny is part of Babels, the affiliated body for providing language help at the ESF. It has three main focuses; interpreting – live speech which if you remember last year could be in up to 5 languages; translating – a document service that has seen a Lexicons Project develop so that we know what we are talking about (mostly for the benefit of the interpreters rather than participants), for exa mple the word in French militant translates to English as activist, but in English a militant is much more extreme and lastly Nomad which is a voice digitizing project using open source software and low spec PCs.

There is no agreed agenda as yet, although there are several themes, called Axis that will be present. These are; War, Democracy & Citizenship, Neoliberalism & Resistance / Alternatives, Racism / Far Right & Mult iculturalism and Environment & a Sustainable Society. There may be others added and some cross cutting themes with the following possibles, Europe & Global Poverty, Europe & its Rôle in the World, Education, Youth and Communications/media. Aspects of all of these will certainly be present.

16-18 June in Berlin will be the next pan-European planning meeting. This meeting is quite important as a working program should be synthesized. It is planned to take the possible speakers and try and put 2 or 3 with similar aims together. So if you have plans or ideas please contact Simo (via editor) who will try and help you work with what we want to do already. We agreed at the FYEG EC meeting in Helsinki that FYEG will try and participate again this year.

There will be a meeting in Brussels for the Babels national co-ordinators (date still to be agreed). There will be a European Programme Working Group meeting in Paris (29-30 May) to develop proposals to be taken to Berlin in June. There are numerous other meeting taking place in London in the various working groups. They are pretty much open to anyone who wants to come, though you would be best checking with Danny or someone in your country closely involved if you want to go.

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