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DSF: Dublin’s New Monthly Antineoliberalist Forum

category dublin | irish social forum | news report author Tuesday March 28, 2006 23:42author by Barry Finnegan - personal capacityauthor email finnegan.barry at gmail dot comauthor phone 085-1423 454 Report this post to the editors

This coming Friday 31st March sees the commencement of a new monthly antineoliberalist forum: the Dublin Social Forum.

It is being organised by the people who did the work to put on the 1st and 2nd Irish Social Forums in 2003 and 2004 and it’s called the Dublin Social Forum (DSF). If you’re into saving the environment, establishing gender equality, getting the debt dropped, facing down racism, dismantling/smashing capitalism, rebuilding our communities, ending war ... then I think you should come. In other words for those who oppose the violent racist sexist war-waging community-destroying public-service-selling ecocide of a neoliberalist capitalist system and its processes of globalisation, there must be some way that we can meet each other publicly, and this forum is one way to meet.

[Scroll to the end for this months DSF title, venue, details, egroup, etc.]


I firmly believe that politically and environmentally there is too much at stake for us not to engage each other, I firmly believe that one way to do this is through active participation in an open political forum and that in this forum we can create an atmosphere where we can learn what opposing neoliberalism means to others like us but not necessarily the same as us, in this forum we can learn from each other so as to better understand the world around us, and to build trust and action to co-ordinate and strengthen our various struggles for the betterment of all.

Part of the demand for such a monthly antineoliberalist forum springs from the observation that sectors of the antineoliberalist movements, be they trade union, development, hard-left, environmentalist, libertarian, gender, human rights, community, etc, tend to meet just themselves at their own meetings, protests and conferences, and that one of the things we need collectively, is a challenging open space, a forum to learn from each other, to try to convince each other to support each others perspectives and campaigns, to build alliances for specific campaigns and issues, and to perhaps learn to work together better for the collective benefit of all our struggles ... or indeed to clarify the issues on which we disagree.
ESF Athens May 2006 Poster
ESF Athens May 2006 Poster


One major strength that the neoliberalists have, all the way from the Bilderbergers and the Trilateral Commission, to the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue and the European RoundTable of Industrialists, from the EU Article 133 Committee to the Irish Business & Employers Confederation, is that, while they do not agree on everything, they do they meet regularly - globally, regionally and locally, they share a collective vision, they reassess how the neoliberalist project is progressing and act accordingly to bolster each others strength and they consciously, collectively and actively brainstorm and act to implement their agenda.

It is not an accident, an act of god, or wishful thinking that has transformed the world from the early 1970s to today where regional and global trade agreements usurp the will of peoples the world over, where it illegal not to privatise energy, health and education systems, where it is illegal to ban corporate food control and GMO contamination, where the populations of “democracies” have been battered by the media circus in the ceaseless cultivation of the culture of hopelessness, communities in solidarity are eroded, where vague myths disconnect us from the structural reforms required to combat climate change and where it is socially acceptable for the likes of Brenda Power on RTE TV to support the use of torture in the concentration camps of America and the airports of Ireland. No, partly what has brought about those appalling vistas is meeting, learning, planning, organising, focus and co-ordination (that’s to say, notwithstanding physical violence, criminality, plutocracy, oligopolies, monopolies and insatiable greed!).

For the oft repeated phrase “Our Resistance Is As Global As Their Capital” to become a reality rather than a mere slogan, then first at a local level, we need to move out of our immediate comfort zones, to lift our heads collectively from the daily chore of our particular campaign focus, to not always talk to each other through electronica and intellectuals, through representatives and facilitators, and where necessary to loosen the chains of self-righteousness that makes us refuse to dialogue with so-and-so and to write off whole sectors of the movement of movements that is and are confronting neoliberalism. In other words if trade union, development, hard-left, environmentalist, libertarian, gender, human rights and community activists don’t have a way of “meeting, learning, planning, organising, focus and co-ordination” then we are all the collectively weaker for it; if we do, then the collectively stronger from it we will become.


To date, the Irish Social Forum has maintained itself as a pluralistic and open space where it is widely accepted that no one group, party, sector or ideology (other than acceptance of the WSF Charter of Principles as an organising platform for the gatherings) has dominance, and as such it is hoped that these proposed monthly Dublin Social Forums (DSF) will become regular challenging, critical, informative events from which learning, clarification and co-operation may come. [Filter, and, search on Indymedia for ‘Irish Social Forum’ from 2003 and 2004 in particular to get a sense of the background and to see ISF participants and organisers.]


It has been agreed to date through a series of meetings that the purpose of these monthly DSFs is threefold:
1. - to have a political forum for challenging critical dialogues with people from the various sectors and strands of the antineoliberalist (anticapitalist/global justice) movements in Dublin;
2. - to publicise, find out about, discuss and ask for help in ongoing local campaigns in the Dublin area;
3. - to have a monthly space where active activists and newcomers to the movements can find out about and hook in to, the developments and debates at the European and World Social Forums, and, other global networks of the movements.


There are a list of potential themes suggested for the monthly DSFs. It is proposed that those very interested in a particular theme, could meet to organise two or three people to introduce a topic, make a list of suggested readings and brainstorm on groups/people who may be interested in coming, or indeed, really should be there to participate. [Themes suggested so far: Freedom of speech, 1916, civil liberties, global north/south, gender, Good Friday Agreement, ‘clash of civilisations’, theory and ideology, revolutionary music, community relations, activism, environment, Europe, neoliberalism. A large range of subtopics was also suggested within these headings.]

A forum is not a panacea by any means, but I remain optimistic as to its ability to sow, cultivate and harvest understanding, clarification and hopefully collective trust, support and co-ordinated action among the movement of movements opposing neoliberalism on this island, for a better world.

- Barry Finnegan (personal capacity)



“A Tale of Two Forums - From Rossport Campaigners to Hugo Chavez and 80,000 Others Fighting Global Capitalism, the World Social Forum [2006] in Venezuela Made for a Colourful and Inspiring Antidote to the WEF in Switzerland”:

“The European Social Fora - From Space To Space To Space: A Report and Pics from a Weekend in London [2004] - covers the Camden Centre, Beyond the ESF and the Official ESF [2004]”:

“Beyond ESF: 5 Days & Nights of Anti-Authoritarian Ideas and Action - A Short Analysis of the Socio-Political Role of the WSF-ESF [2004]”

“European Social Forum - Debating The Challenges For Its Future [A whole website of reflective and reflexive articles on the ESF from a diversity of angles [2005]”:

“Descriptions of & Weblinks to, European and Global Networks that Participate In Social Forums and/or Organise Alternative Simultaneous Gatherings” [2005/6]:

“ISF: Another World Is Nearly Here!” [2004]:

“Assembly of Social Movements, WSF 2006, Caracas, Venezuela, 29th January 2006”:
These declarations of intent, agreed global days of action, calls for support for and opposition to, include the following:
- Iraq (18th March),
- WTO (Geneva, May),
- G8 (St. Petersburg, Russia, July 2006),
- World Bank and IMF (call for decentralised global direct action 19th-20th September, Singapore),
- sovereignty of food production (call for world uprising against corporate food policies, 17th April the International Day of Farmers’ struggle [BF: maybe a day for action against GMO potatoes in Tara ;-)!],
- rights of the people of Palestine (National and International Action against the wall of apartheid, 9th-16th November),
- right to sexual diversity (call for mobilization for full acceptance of sexual diversity, 28th June),
- Campaign against climate change (call for action on a global level, 11th Nov.),
- Day of solidarity with Haiti (29th March),
- Counter-summit of the EU/Latin America/Caribbean conference (Vienna, 10th - 13th May 2006)
- and among other … NAFTA, indigenous peoples, World Women’s March, Against the privatization of water, Energy is not a commodity, Campaign against North American Military Bases, Campaign “Stop Killer Coca-Cola”.


Next (first!) monthly Dublin Social Forum (DSF) topic:
“Is the ESF the Road Ahead, or the Road To Nowhere?”.

“Short Guide To The ESF” [10 mins: history, background, main themes for May 2006 ESF in Greece http://athens.fse-esf.org/front-page?set_language=en/ After the Forum there will be an opportunity to meet and co-ordinate for those planning or thinking about going to the ESF in Athens from May 4th to May 7th. Also, it is envisaged that at the end of each monthly DSF there will be an opportunity for Dublin-based campaigns to air their issues, ask for assistance, announce actions, etc.

Exploring Effect Means of Activism, Including The ESF:
The month’s DSF topic will be introduced via 5 to 10 minute presentations on the ESF coming from three different perspectives from: Ciaran Moore (Indymedia Activist); Donal Mac Fhearraigh (Socialist Workers Party); and we had hoped to get someone from one of the libertarian groups to perhaps highlight the negative aspects of the ESF as they might see it, and to perhaps set out some of their positive alternatives. [At the minute I don’t know if I didn’t try hard enough or if they don’t what to bother! Do drop a mail if interested!]

At the end of each monthly DSF there will be an opportunity for Dublin-based campaigns to air their issues, ask for assistance, announce actions, etc.

7.00 to 9.00pm, Teachers Club, Friday 31st March 2006 [and the last Friday of the month following this].

To receive minutes:
email: finnegan.barry@gmail.com

To subscribe to the DSF discussion egroup mail:

To talk ring:
085-1423 454 // 01-830 9649

ISF Logo From 2004
ISF Logo From 2004

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