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So What are You Going to this Autumn? ESF or ISF?
'But what is it? Should I go? And will they make me wear sandals?'
The Social Forum movement will be in the news this Autumn: The second Irish Social Forum is planned for Dublin and Ken Livingstone and the GLC are about to invest at least ST£400,000 and a lot of time and effort supporting the European Social Forum the week after in London. Predictably neither event has avoided a generous helping of controversy on the side
On 15th - 17th October this year the European Social Forum will take place in London and between the Alexandar Palace and spaces booked in Camden and Bloomsbury up to 50,000 attendees can be catered for. There are plans underway to organise an Irish Social Forum the weekend before that, with a social evening, a thematic conference and a closing plenary switching between city centre locations and UCD. This will be the second ISF while the event in London, involving the Lord Mayor , the trade unions and the people behind the Stop the War campaign will be the third European Social Forum..
UK Indymedia ESF Page
The ESF in London has been the scene of arguments, walk outs and accusations of operatic proportions. The official, £40,000 website is dwarfed by the range of material and commentary on the faults of the process, the weaknesses of the model and the all round excitement of the bloodsport that is competitive politics. By far the best example is the weekly worker website which documents every coffeebreak and its associated gossip. While the official forum site, paid for by the Trade Union and other large donors, is at the Alexandar Palace, Londons largest conference centre, there is a seperate Forum on Communication Rights in Camden which will contain the Indymedia centre. Autonomous spaces and groups will provide a vast and flowing fringe – how this interacts with the main event will be a key question about the forum in London this year. Paris, last year, was criticised for being too scattered – even with the political spectrum being wider the forum looks like being geographically tighter this year. What is certain is that the rows early on have meant a lot more space has been booked and events planned than may otherwise have been the case.