Florence 10+10: joining forces for another Europe
Published on Tue, 2012-06-26 15:16
The next edition of the European Social Forum (ESF) will be held in Florence, from November 8-11, ten years after the first one, that convened under the slogan "against war, racism and neo-liberalism" in the same Italian city. In November, this alliance of humanitarian and environmental movements, trade unions, non governmental organizations and other institutions committed with human rights and the world peace will dialogue in a very different situation.
“Ten years on, there is neither nostalgia nor a desire to celebrate what we had then,” wrote the promoting committee on the invitation to the meeting.
The statement launched this month by the the Italian network for WSF and the promoting committee of Florence 10+10 reads as follows:
Ten years ago, Florence hosted the first ever European Social Forum. It constituted an extraordinary moment in the construction of a continent-wide demos, which presented analyses, proposals and solutions which – had they been translated into policies – would have avoided Europe and the world crashing into the terrible economic, environmental, social and democratic crisis in which it is now mired.
Ten years on, there is neither nostalgia nor a desire to celebrate what we had then; even less do we intend today to repeat paths which belong to that time and that stage of development: the social movements have changed, new actors have emerged, there have been defeats but also victories, such as that of the water and commons movement in the Italian referendum one year ago.
At the same time, Europe is today pervaded by a need to build, albeit in new forms, a European public space. The need to look to the next 10 years with common objectives, agendas and strategies. The crisis – in its multiple aspects – and the austerity policies can be beaten, but we are aware that to achieve this we have to get away from fragmentation and the closure of each in their own narrow national dimensions: only if we are united can we win.
“Florence 10+10” aims to be an inclusive and popular space, at our disposal for building alliances and concrete common initiatives: to build convergences for action on a European scale. There is not much time left to save Europe from the lethal suffocation of neo-liberalism, technocracy and post-democracy in order to build together the Europe of the people, of rights and of democracy.
In the same spirit, over the course of recent months there have been numerous significant initiatives aimed at reconnecting, organized by various networks all over the continent. We are witnessing an encouraging blossoming of initiatives in Eastern Europe and in the Mediterranean area, which give form and substance to that extended Europe for which the social movements have always fought. Florence 10+10 is one step further on this collective route that is, by all means, building itself.
The meetings and international initiatives for convergence which are scheduled for the coming months can also be a part of the planning for the appointment in Florence. As far as we are concerned, we are willing to take part in a travelling and “in itinere” construction of Florence 10+10. At the same time, we invite you to participate in the European seminar that is planned, in the framework of the World Social Forum process, forSeptember 14-16 in Milan and which will be dedicated to work on the organization and expected outcomes of the event in Florence. Many other appointments can be part of the preparatory process in each country, and organised by different networks, including the WSF 2013 preparatory event in Monastir, Tunisia in July and hopefully one in Greece which would have a strong political and symbolic value.
We invite you to bring to Florence the inter-connection initiatives that your networks are planning, with the specific objective of jointly building convergences for a common European-wide strategy. The website of Florence 10+10 will start to collect these initiatives and their proposals, as the first building bricks of the programme. It's crucial to get in contact as soon as possible with all interested organisations and networks.
We look forward to your coming to Florence from November 8-11, 2012. We wish Florence 10+10 to be instrumental in the reconnection of struggles, of resistance and alternatives and the re-building from below of a popular and democratic European public space.
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