The Reykjavik 9 and a new era in the struggle against repression

Links to English material web sites at the bottom.

Is there a possibility that we can see a new era in the struggle against repression? While repression according to many reports are growing in Europe and the world with widening social gaps there are also some changes in the way repression is organized and counteracted. Rightly addressed the situation gives new possibilities for solidarity and uniting movements that hitherto were kept separate thus building a base for democratizing society.

The 18th of January a trial starts in Reykjavik against 9 activists accused of crimes against a law protecting the parliament. The crimes can give maximum life sentences which on Iceland in practice is 16 years in prison. At minimum this crime will give 1 year in prison. In reaction to the trial 705 persons have claimed guilty to the same act. As Iceland is a small country with 320 000 inhabitants this means that if the same mass protest would occur in Germany 200 000 people would have signed a statement that they also deserve to be put to trial threatened by at least one year or a life sentence.

The scale of this mass protest should not be underestimated, nor the political situation in which it takes place. It can tell us something about the nature of the present parliamentarian system, the relation to economy and the way to organize movements and solidarity today. The action inside the parliament took place at the beginning of popular protests on Iceland against the economic crisis. Every week there were the so called casserole actions were at most 8 000 people participated. The police used tear gas against the protesters for the first time since 1949 when the Icelandic politicians allowed the US to establish a military base on Iceland and then the country joined NATO. On 8th of December 2008 some 30 people went to the parliament in an attempt to make an action on the balcony. The parliamentary guards and one policemen on duty stopped them but two were able to get up to the balcony making a statement in a hurry that they did not trust the parliament saying quickly: *Get the fuck out! This house no longer serves its purpose!’

In a very well documented broschure about the case and the political and economic situation on Iceland made by a Icelandic solidarity committee with the Reykjavik 9 the content of the shouting is commented laconically: ”Even those who might have disagreed at the time, have since been forced to concede that this analysis was quite correct. Forty days later, in January 2009, mass protests succeeded in ousting the right-wing Social Democratic-Conservative government and forcing a new election. That was the first time in Icelandic history that public protests actually achieving something as dramatic”.

During the action the police arrested some of the people in the hallway and outside the building with some minor scuffles and nothing more dramatic happened. The defendants have been accused of causing harm to one guard in the back but the security cameras shows that it was another guard who was clumsily shoving demonstrators around who caused the problem so the charge was dropped. No violent attempt can be shown – on the video cameras not even one raised fist can be seen. The action was a peaceful protest.

The attempt at criminalizing a peaceful protest comes timely as many parts of Europe and the world are hit by an economic crisis while those countries that seem to escape from problems have postponed the real contradictions by in practice putting all tax payers money into a guarantee for bankers to keep on speculating. It is in the interest of every undemocratic government that want to suppress questioning of their way of handling the economic crisis to criminalize and divide any opposition instead of allowing protests to politicize questions.

The economic crisis was most dramatic on Iceland and so were the way of protesting. It built on a modern combination of mass participation and smaller activists circles formulating more forward looking demands while the different strands of the movement both had the capacity of arguing and organizing emotional activities combining what is necessary to win a struggle at two times. First by ousting the parliament and then by protesting against a bad deal made by the new left wing government enabling somewhat better conditions for Iceland.

On the other hand if the repression becomes to dramatically in conflict with juridical norms and common sense the legitimacy not only of the Icelandic political system but also of all similar European states will be in danger. This we have already seen in the case of the climate summit protests were the political parties and media competed with each other to to stamp all protests and especially those at the UN conference building as violent causing the mass arrest of two thousand innocent people and a trial against preventively arrested spokes persons of Climate Justice Alliance. The trials turned out into tragicomical farse until the last trial resulting in 4 months prison for spokespersons arrested at the spot for the action. But the struggle is not necessarily over and the result all in all so far is a loss of legitimacy for the state. The climate summit case can be used to step up struggle against repression if different strands of the movement find ways to use the loss of legitimacy caused by the court decision that the mass arrests were illegal and the preventive arrests were aquitted.

In the Icelandic case the spiral downwards for the political system is much worse and the case is developing into the end of all basis for the legitimacy of the present political system and its capacity to maintain trust in the country and among people. In short the combination of the most dramatic economic crisis with a small society lacking possibility to professionalize and formalize a conflict means that the very basis of common sense necessary for every society and its relations with others is rapidly brought to the forefront by the way different actors relate to the trial. The trial is thus turning into a story possible to understand for everyone and thus it becomes a night mare for all the professionals trying the administrate society from privileged positions in the courts, parliament, mass media or business or other organizational head quarters. A modern Icelandic Saga is developing in front of our eyes and so far they are doing nothing more than make the story better for every turn of events, in such a speed that hopefully a tragic outcome for the accused can be avoided.

Maximum in total 144 years against maximum 2 years

There are of course the more obvious contradictions between how those who caused and made profit out of the crisis and those that protested to stop it are treated in the courts. The tragedy caused to many that had to pay for the profits made by the few have so far not resulted in one single trial. A special commission have been set up by the parliament and finally it has been decided to press charges to only one public official Geir Haarde, Iceland’s prime minister before and during the collapse, for incompetence and negligence in public
Office. If found guilty, the maximum sentence Haarde faces is two years jail. Bankers might be charged later.

A country that has caused severe damage not only to its own citizens but also to many foreigners by allowing its parliament to elect public officials that allowed the bank system to run wild has to watch out. It is not clever if it threatens those that started stopping the corrupt economic system which the politicians allowed or even worse promoted with in total 144 years in prison at maximum and minimum 16 years while one the side of those responsible for allowing the damage in total maximum 2 years in prison is asked for. Such a country is a shame to itself and the world.

So the politicians have built a trap to themselves, if they continue as they have done so far insisting on the the need to see that what the activists did as a severe threat they will come in conflict with how Iceland is seen as a nation not taking its responsibility for the economic damage they have caused severely while instead blaming the victim, those wanting to stop the damage. If they give in they will get the opposite problems showing that they cannot be trusted as they have been pushing the wrong arguments to long. In a domestic situation this might be possible to handle but in the present economic crisis what happens on Iceland has international implications both on the economic field as well as the field of political culture and repression. As Iceland is not scrutinized regularly abroad the politicians can get away for a long time as if their acts are of noo great concerns but when they become more obvious to the rest of the world which will happen during the trial then the situation will rapidly change. This makes the situation out of control and who will be able to tell the best story then have the chance to get support.

Defendant not allowed to participate in the hearing

Then we have the judicial system. This issue places Iceland outside any civilized country. The judge cannot even see to that defendants are allowed to participate in the hearing against themselves as the police without the judge interfering stopped them from participating one time and continue to make problems for them to enter the hearing. The defense lawyer Aðalsteinsson has pointed at this stating the severe consequences for the trial. The judge can not be considered impartial – by handing all authority in the case to the police, by not attempting to keep the police in line, by not reacting to incidents where the police stopped defendants from entering the courtroom and by not taking any measure to keeping it from happening again the judge has shown that he considers the defendants dangerous and violent criminals who do not deserve a fair hearing in an open court of law. Aðalsteinsson has made repeated formal complaints which the judge has refused to hear – he has also appealed these to the supreme court, which has similarly dismissed them.

Media full of lies about non-existing violence

The media have also been mass producing stories about violence and then refusing to tell the truth when they were exposed as lies. The police and guards claimed that the demonstrators were violent and the media was full of such stories causing a climate around the trial which asks for strong verdicts. The problem was that the claims were false from the very beginning. The violence that the guard accused the demonstrators for was caused by themselves which could be seen on the video tapes from the parliament and the demonstrators were not intenting any violence. These facts were silenced in the media as the Icelandic massmedia have lost its interest in spreading news and instead chose to spread false rumours. Journalist on Iceland are as much a joke as the professionals in the juridical system.

A political system dismantling itself

A key to the modern state is the hierarchic order of those organisations that are supposed to be responsible for its functioning like political parties or the government or the secretariat of the speaker of the parliament. The head of an organization is responsible for what the organization does, that is self evident and if not so, then the whole idea of the present political system dismantles itself. There are of course other responsible models for organizing but also in another more horizontal system there is a clear responsibility shared and if not so there is no horizontal organisation either. Above all whether we have a formal hierarchic democratic order or an informal horizontal democratic order, in both cases there has to be respect for democracy as the overarching value meaning that in principle all men are equal and thus those acting in any democratic order are doing this to serve, not to be above the people. On Iceland that by some measures can be seen as having among the longest lasting democratic traditions on earth with the parliament Alþingi that have been existing for a thousand year putting the basis of the democratic order in jeopardy is a serious matter. This can be caused from the outside, but also from the inside.

The highest democratic post in Iceland, the speaker of the parliament Ásta Ragnheiður have caused a rupture in the core of the heart of formal democracy in Iceland. She claims on the one hand that she and the parliament have nothing to do with the trial. This in response to the petition made by 705 people claiming that there is something wrong when they have done the same thing inside or outside the parliament as those accused but on other dates and then only nine are selected as scapegoats. Ragnheiður gives the general answer that should be given by a speaker of parliament in any country with division of power between the judicial system and the political. There are only some problems. The judicial system did not make anything out of the action were the nine participated. It was first when the general secretary of the parliament told them to do so and even pointed at what paragraph to chose including the one with extreme penalties of minimum 1 year in prison that the prosecutor started to open the case.

But this is not the only way Ragnheiður causes problem to herself and the parliament. She is also among those that have accused the defendants for many things. In response to a parliamentary inquiry, she stated that the Reykjavík Nine, and the other protesters who entered the house of parliament that day had “forced their way into the house of parliament,” that they “overpowered” staff and guards and generally behaved in a “violent” and “threatening” manner. According to her, it was “obvious” that the group had “no compunction about using force to get into contact with members of parliament.” She stated further that this was caught on the surveillance camera giving her statement a more sense of objectiveness.

The problem here are twofold. On the one hand she states mainly things she has not seen, or at least at the occasion when she made the statement could not be controlled by others as the surveillances tapes not yet were public. Once they became public it was clear that the kind of claims made by her and many others were false. Both our judicial system and the bible claims you should not bear false witness against your neighbour. By using her powerful position as speaker of the parliament interpreting the surveillance tapes in such a distorting manner due to inability to judge them properly or listening to others false version she has dishonored her post as Speaker of the parliament and given a view from the side of the organisations that supposedly have been under such heavy attack according to the general secretary that at least one year in prison should be the punishment, which with the false statement about what happened made by the speaker becomes more underpinned on loose ground.

Ragnheiður also stressed that the protesters had entered Alþingi through “the back door.” This especially interesting as it puts in question whether the speaker of parliament respects the people she represents and if she bear false witness also on this point. From the perspective of the MPs the notion back door is understandable, as they can use what they call the front door. The problem here is that the only way citizens can enter the parliamentary building is through what the MPs call the back door but for the people electing the parliament is the only front door. By using the word back door about the only door that those the MPs are supposed to serve can enter also in public addressing the people shows disrespect. Furthermore the concept back door have the general connotation that one goes there to sneak in rather than going proudly through the public entrance. The way the Speaker of the parliament uses the term back door shows disrespect for the public and the serving role of the parliament as well as intented or unwillingly questioning in a false way the openness in the way the demonstrators entered the building.

Thus have the speaker of the parliament put herself and her institution in a downward spiral going against its own principles, the bible and the trust in democracy serving the people. As there are so many contradictions her the way out is problematic without a clear commitment to the basic principles of maintaining a society, tell the truth.

To make it simple she could say: ”It is of importance that the parliament is separate from the judicial system and this is why I am correct when I do not accept an appeal about the courts made to me or the parliament. But as  the main responsible for the parliament I should have known that it is we ourselves that have broken against this principle and I shall immediately see to that we apologize for this to restore the trust in our democratic system. As this already has caused a possibility for damage to the judicial system by making people unequal to the law and those committing the same crime or worse at other occasions get free while those making the action on December 8 are targeted as the only ones to be put on trial I can only state that I recognize this as an unwanted problem possibly due to our interference against our democratic principles.

In general I also want to add that this is of utmost importance to Iceland as a small country. There are the risk in such a country that politicians or others might influence the judicial system in an informal way which is a threat to the integrity of the judicial system and thus to democracy. This makes it so more important to avoid the kind of formal request made by functionaries of the parliament to the prosecutor which now happened. We cannot allow this in the future as it makes the trust uncertain in our capacity to keep not only the judicial and political system separate but also other systems as the economical.

Concerning my statement in the parliament I claim that I felt threatened during the action. But the facts about acts made by the demonstrators as violent with reference to the surveillance tape were wrong. It was bad that I in this way was spreading false witnesses about other people and I have no excuse for this. As politicians we were and are still under big stress but so were also others in Iceland and those effected abroad. I felt threatened at the time of the action which might have carried me away when I heard about what the surveillance tape showed. It is of importance to differ between what you feel and how you act. This is precisely what we demand from people in a democracy when they protest. It is the content which should be important and if necessary sharp, not the way you act. When I allowed my feelings to giv a false view on how the demonstrators acted I lacked the disciple which I demand from those protesting against the parliament. To regain the needed respect for each other in a democracy I see it as important to explain to each other why we a<ct as we do and I am willing to sit down and discuss this matters with all concerned to rebuilt trust. I will also propose a change of the use of the word back door to public entrance.”

1976

Other politicians are also deeply involved making the down ward spiral a strong possibility. It is only a minority in the social democratic and redgreen party that have opposed the kind of version of what happened that the Speaker of the parliament presented. What politicians and media alike is claiming is that nothing of this magnitude ever happened before in Iceland except for the last and then the only time when the law was used in 1949 four years after Iceland was liberated after Danish rule against those protesting at the parliament against membership in NATO.

But the same kind of action as that made by the Reykjavik 9 and their fellow demonstrators took place in 1976 inside the parliament through the same entrance as this time. People then were storming the bench for visitors and making a human shield around one person who read a statement protesting against a change in students loan to the assembled and thus disrupted MPs. They refused the orders of both guards and policemen resulting in some minor scuffles. The student reading the speech became a leading social democratic politician and is today foreign minister. In January 1993 the same thing happened again, this time against membership of EU.

By claiming that nothing similar ever happened in Iceland and this makes the extreme possible punishment necessary and a hard verdict understandable of no concern for those not understanding this uniqueness in the Icelandic tradition many politicians runs into a problem. The actions 1976 and 1993 are documented and for an outside observer fully possible to compare. As the surveillance cameras has been looked at and the stories told about violence by many have been proven to be false the situation is now drastically changed. The level of violence during the action is not existing or so low that there is no way to present to outsiders that the actions 1976 and 1993 not are similar. It is only compared to the false rumours about the action 2008 that there are some difference.

The problem here also becomes twofold. On the one hand many politicians will get the same problem as the speaker of the parliament as their story about earlier actions are not correct. They can as the speaker is advised by me to do openly state that they were mistaken or the modern saga gets one more chapter to present to the world about lying and telling the truth o Iceland. But there is also the problem of the destruction of trust on each other if the only way to stand up for truth today is that what happened by chance got caught on a video camera. A society needs to be built on trusting each other. The kind of very strong statement about the lack of any similarity with what happened now with what happened earlier or the use of violence by the Reykjavik 9 when it was not the case becomes a way were the whole basis for our society is cracking. Already in the first case it is a problem when the guards and the police have lost so much control of their ability to observe what happens that they claim that the demonstrators is causing the violence when it actually is one in their own ranks who in spite of being a professional is using so much excessive force that he hurts his colleague. When many starts to believe this story and then the video shows that it is not correct this puts in question not only the version from the police and guards this time but also when the camera is not there. If they cannot make a correct observation when the camera is on, what are their inability when it is not there. But in the case of the politicians claiming that what happened earlier is totally different the case is worth. They have not been in the middle of the confrontation which sometimes can be an excuse for the police and guards making it harder to make an unbiased description. When they build their view on totally difference between earlier actions and now on the false witnesses and not the new version after the videos became public they can maybe survive this when the media do not present the new facts to the Icelandic public but they cannot tell the rest of the world their view as observers from the outside tend to look at facts.

Nordic law 1243: Truth! 2011: Power?

Iceland has the same base as other Nordic countries were the law is considered by people in common as important to follow and at the same time is supposed to be understandable and built on a higher value. This higher value was formulated already in 1243 in the Code of Jutland, a province in Denmark. This law is still used in juridical argumentation and known by people in common in Denmark. Iceland is building on the very same tradition. The law has two essential parts. The first being ”By law shall the land be built.”. Here comes the strong arguments for extreme punishment against anyone breaking the peace in the parliament which was also a reason for the very strong reaction among many Danish organizations against protesting against the UN conference by any non-violent action at the conference center during the climate summit COP15. The second is equally important – ” There is no law to follow as good as truth”.

The speaker of the parliament and many other politicians have completely lost this second tier underpinning both the judicial system and the whole society. By neglecting 750 years of traditions that have kept the Nordic societies together they are on the brink of destroying the core of society which is the trust built when telling truth to each other.

The upward spiral

There is also an upward spiral, a hopeful one were we all can participate. The good spiral of telling the truth and acting together in solidarity. The key here is presence, being by the side of the accused at the hearings and then organizing and action telling the truth that also you and other made the same act. Documenting all aspects and make it know to the world. I have seldom seen such a well documented and well organized solidarity campaign as the one organized in Iceland. The repression of the solidarity have caused the upward spiral to get even stronger. When the police did not allow interested to come into the room of the hearing this caused only more protests. When media first told about the use of violence and then not about the video showing this was not true, this became one more argument for continuing the fight. Organizing that mix of activities necessary for an upward movement, concerts outside the parliament, art exhibitions, own media, contacts with other movements and supporting the families that have been put under pressure by the accusations of heavy crimes.

Here everyone outside Iceland also can contribute. Iceland is a small country dependent on the rest of the world. But it is important in the development of the economic crisis and the only country in Europe were the people have been able to change government after strong protests. When the politicians, media and courts try to create extreme punishment for some activists it is not only an attempt at criminalizing a whole Icelandic movement. It is also an attack en every one questioning the present economic model were the Icelandic movement have showed us all that there are possibilities to win some victories in this fight.

They need our support because their struggle is ours. You can find ways to do something on the link below to Icelandic websites with information in English. Actions at Icelandic embassies or spreading information about the trial are welcome as well as any other support. Below you also find extract of the solidarity statement made by the Icelandic environmental movement Saving Iceland, one of the strongest supporters of the Reykjavik 9.

Tord Björk, active in friends of the Earth, Sweden

Follow the protests on the Reykjavik 9 website:. http://www.rvk9.org

See also Saving Iceland. http://www.savingiceland.org/tag/rvk9

Read the well documented »Support the Reykjavík Nine Brochure« (PDF). http://www.savingiceland.org/2010/10/support-the-reykjavik-nine-brochure/

Read the article »Attacks On Alþingi Are Of No Concern To Alþingi« at The Reykjavik Grapevine. http://www.grapevine.is/Features/ReadArticle/Articles-Attacks-On-Althingi-Are-Of-No-Concern-To-Althingi

http://www.savingiceland.org/2010/06/a-spade-is-a-spade-repression-is-repression/

sections of a statement by Saving Iceland:

A Spade is a Spade, Repression is Repression

From the Court, spring 2010 Environmental network Saving Iceland declares full solidarity with the Reykjavik Nine defendants (RVK9), who face between one and sixteen years in prison for exercising their democratic right to peacefully protest against a disgraced parliament, on 8 December 2008.

These nine people have been picked out of the thousands whose protests brought down the previous government, whose corruption and ineptitude was responsible for the historical crisis Icelandic society is still being torn up by. This same government has now been confirmed by the Special Investigation Committee report (SIC – an apt acronym) as instrumental in the abuse that lead to the complete crash of the Icelandic economy; and as a major force in the severe corruption, democracy deficit and ethical crisis which have since emerged as the underlying reasons for the total failure of Icelandic democracy.

Criminalizing political opponents, even those who use non-violent civil disobedience, is an old diversion tactic used by states worldwide. This act of political repression is in glaring contradiction to the sanctimonious declarations of ‘shouldering responsibility’ and ‘taking heed of lessons’ paid by the parties responsible for the crisis. …

The case against the RVK9 is a blatant diversion tactic executed by an utterly irresponsible power community in complete denial of the disgraceful scenario that Icelandic democracy has found itself in. We are witnessing a discredited establishment attempting to scapegoat people for protesting against a parliament that has been universally condemned as corrupt, inept and disqualified. Saving Iceland questions whether the Icelandic State will reclaim any respect for its institutions, particularly by destroying the lives of these nine individuals and their families?

The severe irregularities in Icelandic society are no news to the Saving Iceland network. When Icelandic society was in the grip of the greed frenzy that lead to the collapse, we were among the very few who stepped forward to expose and challenge these developments. As a result we experienced both vilification by the Icelandic corporate media and political persecution by the Icelandic courts and police.

The present ‘left wing’ government is not only continuing the culture of political repression, but is actually significantly increasing it. Now the state intends to take revenge with hefty prison sentences. This is in retaliation for what really only amounts to a benign act of non-violent civil disobedience. The underlying justification of this repression is that of a deterrent against further civil disobedience.

Saving Iceland would like to call the urgent attention of international human rights and civil liberties NGOs to the attack on the legislated rights of protesters in Iceland. These rights are both constitutionally and internationally legislated.

….

Khimki victory: Maxim Solopov released!

Tord Björk | Action,Environmental movements,International action,Repression,Russia | Monday, October 18th, 2010

Maxim Solopov

Moscow and antifascist accused of actions in connection with the Khimki forest conflict is great news. Now we have one more possibility for historic victories against repression this year after the sentences stating that two spokespersons for Climate Justice Action in Copenhagen were not guilty. In both conflicts problems still remain. We have still not seen the end of the trials in Denmark and some 200 people were detained or interogated by the police in the repression wave after the Khimki conflict escalated. Gaskarov is still detained.

In both cases is neither the high way through the Khimki forest conflict or the much harder issue climate justice solved. But there is the possibility that some kind of repression in connection with summits as well as local environmental conflicts have reached a stage were the authorities cannot go to far. In the Russian case due to an extraordinary commitment from very different domestic actors to unite in solidarity against the repression, in the case of Denmark and the climate summit there was rather a lack of solidarity among domestic actors but the juridical system could not accept the extremist views put forward by the police which actually had backing from much of the political parties. The Danish state imploded when trying to combine the extremist authoritarian measures by the police and traditional Western juridical arguments.

In both cases international solidarity was helpful. Here both social forums and the climate justice movement have done very well. We may think we are small sometimes, and facing the present social and ecological crisis this feeling can be seen as justified. But we should keep in mind that also if we see ourselves with these eyes there are times when solidarity can arise. It is important ahead of COP-16 in Cancun and the future of local social and environmental conflicts what have happened in the struggle against repression this year. To me it is especially inspiring how Russian movements have been able to cooperate. They have been an example for the rest of the world. May we be able to follow their example and unite in solidarity across different ideologies whenever it is necessary to stop repression.

Thankyou everyone that contributed to the victories.

Tord Björk

Maxim Solopov released – English press-release (fast translation)

Khimki town court ruled to release Maxim Solopov from the arrest
Press release of the campaign for the release of Khimki hostages
October 18, 2010

Khimki town court has ruled to change the pre-trial restriction for Maxim
Solopov from arrest to a written pledge not to leave town. The court
lasted from 11 am to 4 pm today, October 18, with a three-hour break for
preparation of the court ruling. Judge Svetlana Galanova has ruled to
release Maxim Solopov from the arrest immediately in the court room.
Maxim was released in echange for the guarantees provided by Lev
Ponomaryov, executive director of movement «For Human Rights», human
rights activists  Sergey Kovalyov and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, State Duma
deputies Ilya Ponomaryov and Oleg Shein, as well as Maxim’s university
professors Galina Yershova, Dmitry Belyaev and Yekaterina Di Santo.
Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov and profesor Yekaterina Di Santo were
present at the court hearings.

Yekaterina DiSanto testified in court for Maxim and told during the court
hearing that it is necessary to release Maxim in order for him to continue
his studies and pursue his career as a researcher. She told the court that
Maxim is «a very talented person, a good student and I’m glad that besides
that he is also an antifascist».

The prosecutors have presented to the court the same reasons for Maxim’s
arrest as before, which were not valid for ruling in favor of the renewal
of the arrest. The only new arguments provided by the investigator
Yermilov were the testimonies of some witness, which supposedly
incriminated Solopov, the photos which showed a person in black mask, who
was supposedly Solopov, and the document provided by the Federal Security
Service (FSB),that read that Maxim was detained on numerous occasions
during «illegal» manifestations. When asked how can you recognize Solopov
on these photos, Yermilov couldn’t provide any proof for his statements.
Maxim spoke in court and demanded that his own testimonies are considered
by the judges, including his statement that he was «taken as a hostage by
the unprofessionalism of the law enforcement agencies».

The testimonies provided by the investigators were proven wrong by the
defense — Maxim’s lawyer Yury Yeronin and human rights activist Lev
Ponomaryov. The latter indicated that during this court procedure not the
guilt of the suspect was to be established, but only the form of pre-trial
restriction was to be chosen. He also said that the procurator’s office
was currently checking the legality of the fact that Maxim was
interrogated in the absence of the lawyer and that he was subjected to
pressure by the investigators.

The court has considered the arguments of the defense and ruled to release
Maxim Solopov from the arrest.

«Everything that happened recently was considered. Both the wide social
support, the guarantees provided to the court, the speeches in court were
taken into account. This valuable result was possible due to all the
things that we did», said Lev Ponomaryov following the court ruling.
As part of the days of action, initiated by the Campaign for the release
of Khimki hostages, solidarity actions were held in 35 cities in 12
countries. Khimki town court and other administrative bodies in Russia
received hundreds of letters of protest from around the world, which
demanded to release the Khimki hostages and to stop the campaign of
falsification of evidence against them. This was partly due to the fact
that Alexey and Maxim are well known social activists, but also due to the
fact that the investigators used illegal methods when trying to get
evidence, including mass arrests of young people and torture. The
protocols of Maxim’s and Alexey’s detention were also falsified.
On October 15 Moscow regional court has annulled the previous decision of
Khimki town court for the prolongation of the arrest of another arrested
in the Khimki case, Alexey Gaskarov. His arrest is to be reconsidered by
the Khimki court some time before October 27.

http://khimkibattle.org

Call for solidarity actions with the accused spokespersons for the Climate Justice movement

From Climate collective web site

Read the Danish version here

On the 29th of September there will be a solidarity demonstration in Copenhagen starting at 17:00 at Gammeltorv, in support of Stine Gry Jonassen and Tannie Nyboe, two spokespersons for the Climate Justice Action network (CJA) who will go on trial the 6th of October. They are accused of ‘organizing’ the Reclaim Power – Push for Climate Justice demonstration on the 16th of December in Copenhagen. We call out for everyone to act in solidarity on the 29th of September through demonstrations and statements of support and solidarity, including demonstrations and manifestations outside Danish embassies, demanding that the charges be dropped against Stine and Tannie. You can contribute with a picture on online solidarity at: www.climatecollective.org/push

During the climate summit in Copenhagen, more than 2000 people were arrested preventively and held in custody while they were trying to have their voices heard. These people along with thousands of other people from around the world were trying to set a different and more just political agenda in the climate debate. Climate Justice Action, a global network of social movements and groups, was mobilizing and calling for a protest and people’s assembly to challenge the farcical political negotiations at the COP15. They demanded just solutions to the climate crisis, solutions that do not only favor the rich western world. On the 16th of December the CJA network organized the Reclaim Power – Push for Climate Justice action, to give a voice to those people marginalized by the negotiations and most affected by climate change.

This emerging climate justice movement was met with severe repression and an abuse of power from the Danish government. This was reflected in the form of massive detainment of protesters and targeting of alleged organizers of legal demonstrations. During 2009 the Danish government and the Danish police carried out an intense scare campaign in the media to demonize protesters and activists. Police were given extra legal powers and economic resources for the COP 15. This led to thousands of preventive arrests, month-long surveillance of telephones, raids of private homes and accommodations and grotesque and unnecessary detentions. Stine Gry and Tannie acted as spokespersons for CJA in the media during the whole COP period, arguing for the right to protest and against the massive police repression. They are now both being held personally responsible for the Reclaim Power – Push for Climate Justice action, and are facing charges including planning violence against police, gross vandalism, serious disturbance of public peace and order, and trespassing. Some of these charges are drawn from the Danish terror package and the penalties are strengthened by the new Danish anti-protester laws introduced just prior to the COP 15.

The main evidence against Stine Gry and Tannie is that they allegedly shouted “push” from the sound truck during the demonstration on the 16th, along with thousands of other protestors. The truth is, we all shouted “push!” on the 16th, and we all pushed together for climate justice on that day.

Through this trial the Danish state is trying to make two individuals responsible for a whole movement’s collective decision-making and collective protests. This is clearly an attempt to scare people from protesting and organizing politically, killing off all critical voices. It is a violation of the freedom of speech and our right to assembly. The right to protest and everyone’s right to be heard is an essential element in a democracy, even if you are speaking against the existing capitalist system. We therefore call on everyone to show solidarity with the accused on the 29th of September and make criticism of this ongoing repression visible.

To highlight the absurdity in the charges, we encourage people to take actions using the slogan “we also shouted push!”. Post your photos www.climatecollective.org/push and send your videos of solidarity actions to the climate collective (cop15repression@climatecollective.org), and let us know any information of actions that happen.

In Solidarity – The Climate Collective

The trial dates of Stine Gry Jonassen and Tannie Nyboe are the 6th, 27th and 28th of October, but additional court days might be necessary.

Khimki battle solidarity campaign continues

Tord Björk | Action,Environmental movements,International action,Repression,Russia | Monday, September 27th, 2010

Today the court in Khimki decided to prolong the police custody for Alexei Gaskarov for another two months accused of organizing an action against the Khimki town hall for protection of the Khimki forest. Tomorrow the court will decide about the fate of Maxim Solopov facing the same charges. Thus the campaign for Freedom for Gaskarov continues. The protests in Russia and internationally have been wide spread in 32 cities in 12 countries. Here you find a video message by th publisher of this blog which was sent on request to Moscow, the video is made by Marwin Wettlestam Palm and Victor Sjöfors:

The campaign has received wide spread support a group of 50 well-known Russian public figures and human rights activists. They addressed an open letter to the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. They call on him to secure the release of the Khimki hostages, Alexei Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov, and to investigate the numerous violations of Russian laws and human rights committed by local authorities and law enforcement agencies against antifascists, social activists, and journalists during their investigation:

http://khimkibattle.org/?p=914&lang=en

Read more about the international campaign at: http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/international-solidarity-with-the-khimki-hostages-the-campaign-continues and more about the lack of evidence and the odd idea that the accused have to prove he is not guilty: http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/khimki-the-town-where-youre-guilty-until-proven-innocent/

Khimki Battle videos

Some videos first giving a general back ground to the conflict and then videos from different occasions during the course of events in the Khimki Battle. The original text describing the video at the Youtube web site is in italics. When the original text is in Russian it is translated rudimentary with the help of google translate. Some of the videos especially about the general back ground is in english, most videos on the day by day course of events in Russian.

General back ground:

December 10, 2009

A good starter is this main stream TV program made by the Russian media channel RT (www.rt.com). It describes well the Khimki forest with nice pictures and then the director of Greenpeace Russia in the studio explains for the journalist why it is in need of protection and what is wrong with Russian protection of forests, in English. “Khimki Wood or highway, Money or Nature!”

July 29, 2010

“Protest’s to Save Forest” – A good general picture of the conflict is given by this Al Jazeera news made by a reporter that goes out into the forest and covers the course of events in English broadly July 29.

Russian environmentalists armed with fireworks and molotov cocktails have a stormed a town hall building near Moscow, the capital. They trying to stop the destruction of the Khimki forest, one of the last natural woodlands on the edge of the city. The area is in the path of a proposed highway, an eight billion dollar project connecting Moscow to Saint Petersburg. And environmentalists have accused “hired thugs” of trying to evict them from the forest. Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker reports.

August 1, 2010
General about the conflict early August, AFPTV, Agence France press TV (in Russian), the describing text in English: Russian demonstrators have hurled smoke bombs and smashed windows in a rare violent protest against the building of a road through a forest outside Moscow. Dozens of local residents, environmentalists and anarchists have been gathering in recent days to save the Khimki forest, highlighting a growing trend for Russians to demonstrate about civic issues. A natural sound version of an AFPTV report:

You have to go to the youtube web site to see this as embedding is not allowed by AFPTV.

Course of events in the Khimki battle:

November 24 2009

Music video : Khimki district was the most green area of Moscow region before the arrival of the current administration. Portraying the Khimki mayor and the protests.

Video message to the president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. The leader of the Movement for the Defence of Khimki forest Eugene Chirikov demanding the resignation of the government Vladimir Putin. On Web sites, and http://ecmo.ru http://ecmoru.livejournal.com activists also issued a detailed appeal to the President, which called the Putin government the main obstacle to development and modernization of Russia. Also November 24, 2009.

December 14, 2009

Appeal to participants at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen

This early video from December 14 starts with some photos from the Khimki forest in the winter and than a longer interview in Russian with Environmental movement spokes person Chirikova in Russian. It shows the sincerity behind the protest and the will to reach out with arguments in spite of lack of technical know how in making videos.

http://ecmo.ru, http://ecmoru.livejournal.com: OPEN LETTER TO participants of the Copenhagen Climate Summit FROM Save Khimki Forest Movement (Russia). “We kindly ask participants of the Copenhagen Climate Summit to take an appeal to EBRD, EIB and the Vinci Company asking them to stop financial support for the Moscow St. Petersburg motorway project in its present state (i.e., through the Khimki Forest Park)”.

February 26, 2010

Reporter Irina Yassin, rian.ru in its author’s program “The ABC of change” is trying to solve the riddle: Why fee route Moscow-St Petersburg is designed so that logging in Khimki, it must make a strange detour in the direction of the Khimki woods? Who benefits from destroying the forest and why? Details and collecting signatures for the forest: www.ecmo.ru, http://ecmoru.livejournal.com.

May 6

Confronting exploiters in the forest, Moscow Region, Khimki forest. The preparation for the construction of road Moscow-Petersburg. Shooting Dmitry Zykov for www.grani-tv.ru

May 29

Shevchuk asks questions Putin on freedom of speech,
and the March of Dissent. ! From the video cut out a small piece Full video of the meeting: http://premier.gov.ru/visits/ru/10771 …

July 7

Environmental action in the forest, Chirikova confronts men in suit and old woman continius the graffiti struggle, In Russian – Moscow region, Khimki.The rally and march against the felling of oak Left Bank for the construction of luxury housing. Shooting Dmitry Zykov for www.grani-tv.ru

July 15

SvobodaRadio | July 15, 2010
Environmentalists report that started clearing forests Khimki from Sheremetyevo. Leader Ekooborony Evgeny Chirikov, said in an interview with Radio Liberty that the trees were destroyed illegally and that the work was temporarily stopped due to the efforts of the assembled on-site logging community members.

July 19

Ecodefence in the forest trying to stop the cutting of trees

July 22

Environmentalists protecting the forest brought the petition to the Government. It is “adequate” replied .dopinfo – http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/ru/n … This is the video with by far most viewers, the rest of the videofiles have from 100 to 5000. This one in mid September more than 2.338.000. It is bad quality and not from the most conflictual action but clearly showing how the police are acting against the activists.

From the event reporter, and his eyes from the words of activists, advocates. Deforestation in the far section between Khimki and frontal to July 22 by the defenders stopped, a statement to the police to ask to examine the law and to require permits – has been sent. Technique with this site builders gradually exit. (Question: Where? Not to whether the opposite site of the same forest?)

Support solution to defense ecmo.ru site and on site Demokrator (issue 1403)! Gathering signatures for collective treatment August 1, 2010 the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology. Draft treatment here: democrator.ru/problem/1403. As can be seen from the movie, are not only required the signature: provides results and more effective aid. However, the “longhorn” does not stand idle and also asked the police to protect them from the defenders of nature! See news from July 23 to say “Khimki forest. News text from this video: democrator.ru/news/280641.

July 23

Khimki woods July 23, 2010. The attack on environmentalists. Amateur video

Shooting made the morning of 23 July during the defeat of the tent camp ecologists who attempted to stop the illegal, from their point of view, the cutting of forests Khimki. SvobodaRadio

In Khimki forest is a clash of people in masks and anti-felling of trees. According to the defenders of the forest, the camp included about a hundred masked men with weapons in their hands. They detained several activists and severely beating a woman.

July 26

Moscow Region, Khimki forest, 26 July 2010. Defenders try to stop logging in the forest. Shooting Dmitry Zykov for www.grani-tv.ru

Greenpeace

July 28

RuNewsweek: The direct action against the Khimki town hall

July 29

Can a civilized way to resolve conflicts of local residents with the developer in Russia, when it comes to building roads of federal importance? His position in the “third sector” have expressed opposition parties in Khimki forest standing on opposite sides: the representative of the builder – Deputy Head of Federal Roads of Russia Yevgeny Nosov and party movement in the protection of forests Khimki Gennady Rodin. Also in the transfer involved the independent experts: Head of Institute of Transport and Roads Mikhail Blinkin and a specialist in environmental assessment, a lawyer Legal Centre “Rodnik” Catherine Khmeleva. Full version of this program, “third sector” in the air with Radio Liberty on July 31 at 18 o’clock in the program. SvobodaRadio

August 2

Liberal party Yabloko video from occupation in the forest stopped by the police..
August 2, 2010 Starbeevskoe field, Khimki
Riot police disperse a peaceful gathering of defenders Khimki forests. Video detentions Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin, an activist of the Left Front Constantine Kosyakin and others vanishing

August 4

http://grani-tv.ru/
Police steals leader of the social activists of the Khimki city, brave fighter against corruption Eugenia Chirikovа after her press conference in Moscow/ 4 aug 2010

August 22

kp.ru news starting with Gaskarov and Solopov solidarity banner and then the whole concert-meeting:

www.nevex.tv
Artem Troitsky, Yuri Shevchuk, the group “Bart, Evgeny Chirikov … Although no amplifiers, can hear everything. And seen.

Authorities allowed a rally-concert in support of Khimki forest, but was not allowed to sound. vedomosti

Meeting concert in support of Khimki forest

Saxophone & megaphone

Videomade with expensive equipment critizing the concert: pravdavideo | August 22, 2010
The much-touted “Solidarity” rally in defense of Khimki timber failed. Not helped, and Yuri Shevchuk, and who could not “warm up” the audience, Ecology. In which, despite the promotional efforts, on Sunday gathered only 800 people.

Longer unedited piece from Pushkin Square 22.9 with Chirikova and Shevchuk, The New Times:

August 26

President Medvedev has ordered the construction of a motorway through Khimki forest to be suspended. This comes after Russia’s ruling party publicly backed the campaign to save the forest. primetimeru

August 27

Public hearings to start on fate of Khimki forest

September 9

The revelatory film about Moscow mayor Luzhkov, shown on Friday evening by NTV, included the theme of the Khimki forest (Part 1: 5.40-7.40)

Interview with Yevgeniya Chirikova about the talk in the president’s reception office and her involvement in politics.

Support Russian activists September 17-20

Tord Björk | Action,Environmental movements,International action,police,Repression | Monday, September 13th, 2010

Spread the message!: Support Russian activists September 17-20

Alexei Gaskarov, imprisoned spokes person for Antifascists in Moscow

We call upon the whole European and World Social Forum movement and all concerned about the environment and stopping repression to support our friends in Russia. Take action on 17-20 September in solidarity with arrested, maltreated and oppressed activists. Follow the call made from Russia enclosed below and go and make protests at the Russian embassies or other places representing Russia. Among activists under threat are people that have been participating in the social forum movement and the European Social Forum in Istanbul 2010.

In a similar or even broader historical unification of movements as in the social forum process Russian civil society and political actors have worked together in defence of the Khimki forest and to stop political repression against protesters. Environmentalists, human rights activists, journalists fighting corruption, Anarchists and other antifascists, alter globalization movement, Liberal, Communist and Left wing parties have courageously been struggling in solidarity with each other in spite of different ideological positions and views on tactics.

This has resulted in a historical victory when president Medvedev decided to halt the construction of a high way through the forest. But at the same time the witch hunt against antifascist activists is continued. Solidarity with the activists is the only way to both stop repression and to save the Khimki forest more permanently. Please join the action called for by our Russian friends!

European Social Forum network Prague Spring II against Right Wing Extremism:
Matyas Benyik, Attac Hungary
Tord Björk, Friends of the Earth Sweden
Igor Gotlieb, Alternatives, Russia
Leo Gabriel, Suedwind (South Wind), Austria
Mirek Prokes, Czech Social Forum
Victor Shapinov, Institute New Democracy, Ukraine
Vera Zalca, Hungarian Social Forum Network

You find information and the call for action September 17-20 in many languages at www.khimkibattle.org.

A callout to the global justice and environmental movements to support the international day of action at: http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1919

Friends of the Earth Sweden August 27: The Khimki forest is saved – Now save the activists!
http://www.mjv.se/2010/statement-the-khimki-forest-is-saved-%E2%80%93-now-save-the-activists

Continiously updated information at two facebook groups/sites:
Freedom for Russian antifascists Alexei Gaskarov & Maxim Solopov!:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zasita-Himkinskogo-lesa-Defence-of-the-Khimki-Forest/152500571430115#!/group.php?gid=123233894390151&ref=ts
Defence of the Khimki Forest:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zasita-Himkinskogo-lesa-Defence-of-the-Khimki-Forest/152500571430115

A longer article with links on the subject: ”Why we need solidarity with Russian environmentalists and antifascists” at http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1748

The Prague Spring II Network was established at a conference in Prague in March 2010. You find more information here:
The Alternative to the Right-Wing Extremism in the Time of Social and Ecological Crisis
http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1543
And more contributions to the conference Prague and the activities of the network at ESF in Istanbul here:
http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?s=prague

Maxim Solopov, imprisoned spokes person for Antifascists in Moscow

Climate camp in Sweden

The main tent at the camp with banners against Shell plans to drill in South of Sweden.

Some 150 participants gathered the Climate Camp at Eda 50 km North of Stockholm on August 2 – 8. It was organized by Friends of the Earth Sweden and educational organizations with very broad partcipation from all strands of the climate movement as well as people’s movements representing workers, peasants, the samic people and others. People were participating from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Paraguay, Russia and Sweden. Here were many from the direct action networks as Klimax, an anarchist kitchen, Shut it down and the Nordic climate camp in the South of Sweden were some 60 people gathered in July. Here was also the climate network from the Swedish conservationist society, the transition town movement, field biologists, the anti nuclear movement, anti uranium mining activists, the new organization climate action and a number of local action groups as well as members of Friends of the Earth.

During the camp a solidarity statement was issued to support the antifascists arrested in Moscow due to the Khimki forest conflict, see:Why we need solidarity with Russian environmentalists and antifascists. http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1748

It is ten years ago since Friends of the Earth Sweden was able to organize a similar camp at Lindsberg with some 110 partcipants from all Nordic countries uniting the merging global justice movement. Since then summer camps have had not more than 35 participants and some years not been held at all.

The central camp building

As such the gathering was a traditional summer camp Swedish style out in the forest at a lake with good possibilities for swimming, walking and doing whatever you like close to nature except going to the toilet. There was a huge number of outdoor cabins fro this purpose instead. There was also possibilities to camp in tents or indoor in rather primitive houses. One of the provocative ideas coming out of the discussions at the camp was to organize next gathering in a suburb were the working class is living next time.

There was a lot of singing inspired by a workshop on the songs of the environmental movement. Most of the songs are from the 1970s and a renewal is necessary. This was done at the spot with a song against the airport which is planned to start for civilian traffic close to Uppsala. The next day an action took place in Uppsala against the plans with the help of a huge aircraft built in the camp.

A group discussion during the camp

The most heated debate at the camp was about strategy and how to translate the concept system change. Before the debate the young radicals working in the kitchen commented that the old reformists would not turn up. But this did not really become the case. In a typical Swedish manner the will was to be as concrete as possible and thus avoiding conflicts. So the main issue soon seemed to be only a question whether to be legal or not legal. Here it was easy to reach consensus. Even conservationists nowadays, at least those at the camp, can in principle say yes to civil disobedience depending on the situation. Furthermore there was a great majority or even consensus that it could include material damage as well as consensus that it could not include harming people. So the legal issue was no conflicting issue although in practice the Swedish environmental movement once strong in mass civil disobedience today is far less active.

Panel with all parliamentary parties at the camp

The other system critical issue was the question whether to work inside or outside the parliamentary system. This framing of the issue is popular among the left but something I cannot accept. A popular movement is independent and primarily not working as a negation of what tohers do but in its own merit possibly beyond both state and market. The discussion about parliamentary or not parliamentary strategies normally ends in coma by acknowledging both ways. Notably did the representative from the Norwegian climate network state that Norway was an exception as this state was completely democratic in its foundation and thus system critical non-parliamentary strategies was not necessary in this countries. This way of presenting Norwegian history was questioned by some Swedes and also the extreme belief in parliamentarism. This parliamentary approach was combined with a technocratic look at the climate issues which made the Norwegian position at the camp very isolated.

Kitchen crew with T-shirt stating Kein sex mit nazis, No sex with nazis.

The most interesting challenge in the discussion came from the Anarchist kitchen crew that stated that Friends of the Earth Sweden was not system critical as it is not opposing capitalism. As a notion that system critical must go beyond the division between economy and politics in our society and address the foundations of economy this was interesting. The fact that FoE Sweden only states that it is against neoliberalism while being reluctant to state that it is against capitalism could be seen as a proof that ti cannot justify stating that it is a system critical organization.

The answer partly stated in the discussion is that it depends on Whether system critical primarily is defined ideologically or what an organization is doing in practice. Furthermore it is a question whether capitalism is the only major criteria behind the present system or if there can be other factors too behind a development model that is causing both environmental and social crisis. In practice FoE sweden is more radical than most anticapitalist organization by addressing wider class alliances against what cab be described as both capitalist but also state centric development models.

Carmen Blanco Valer, quecha Indian, former metal worker and chair of Latin America Groups in Sweden, now at Färnebo Peoples High School discussing a climate justice network in Sweden and having next years camp in a suburb.

This was shown during the camp were peasants, Samic people and environmentalists came together to start mobilization for food sovereignty and a new model for agriculture and forestry. The main trend at the camp was in the spirit of Climate Justice Now with the help of Simone Lovera from Paraguay and System Change not climate change with the help of Matilde Kaalund from Klimaforum in Denmark. Klimaforum have not turned into a network for sustainable transition which inspired to make some similar initiative in Sweden.

There was also a debate with all the parliamentary parties as well as the Feminist Initiative. The Center party once close ally with the environmental movement was the most criticized in the panel.

The camp ended with energy strategy discussions and organizing coming actions against uranium mining.

White and grey haired antiuranium mine actvists from North of Sweden speaking with activists from Åland, a filmmaker and Gunnar Olesen from INfoRSE.

Google translated program you see below, (from the climate camp website
http://klimatlager.wordpress.com):

Monday, August 2

During the day in Eda:

The campaign Meatfree Monday quiz about food, environmental and human
rights. Before dinner the answers are looked through – the winners get
great prizes!

Bicycle Workshop – learn how tinkering with the bike, Part 1!

9:00 to 11:00 bike parade to the camp from Uppsala Central Station

Reports outside the entrance to the old station building. Do you not have
your own bike? Contact us and we will get one!

11.00-12 Opening including Staffan Lindberg!

Bolivian ambassador in the climate negotiation panel

Niclas Hällström presenting the failed negotiations and the hopeful Cochabamba climate meeting in Bolivia. Niclas have followed the negotiations oin behalf of the Swedish Conservation Society.

13:30 to 14:30 from Copenhagen via Cochabamba on the road to Mexico?

Climate negotiations in Copenhagen in which many world leaders were
unsuccessful. But Bolivia called for a climate for both governments and the
social movements and activists came several constructive proposals for
climate justice forward. How will the formal process to move forward? Will
the false solutions remain?

Participants:
Simone Lovera, Paraguay, Global Forest Coalition and active in the Climate Justice
Now network
Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth Sweden
Niclas Hällström, What Next
Bolivian ambassador

Azril Bacal translating for the Bolivian ambassador. The ambassdor seemed at ease at the camp except when coming out from the outdoor toilet

15-18.00 System Change not Climate Change!

That was the slogan that emerged most clearly in Copenhagen, for example,
at demonstrations and on Klimaforum. But what do the movements mean when
they say system change? Criticism of neoliberalism, energy conversion,
leaving the fossil fuels in the ground? Opening panel discussion on how we
can move forward after Copenhagen and Cochabamba, locally and globally.
After group discussions on various themes and assembly.

Follow-up Klimaforum in Copenhagen
International Action Day October 12
Referendum from Cochabamba in October / November
Greenhouse Development Rights – a model for climate justice?

Local activism against fossil project with Heaven or sHell
The oil company Shell have done test drilling for natural gas in southern
Sweden, with the idea of extracting fossil gas commercially. Local people
rage, and warns of the effects on water, landscape, human health. Come and
learn more about how to organize themselves and how much resistance can be
enough.

Participants:
Azril Bacal, Uppsala Social Forum
Carmen Blanco Valera, Latin American teams
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition and active in the Climate Justice
NOW
Mathilde Kaalund, Klimaforum
Johanne Linster, Network Heaven or sHell
Anna Frost, the Swedish Church’s youth
Per Capercaillie, active in the Network Shut It Down

The panel from the left, Carmen Blanco Valer, Azril Bacal, Ellie Cijvat, Simone Lovera, Anna Frost, Matilde Kaalund, Johanne Linster, and Per Capercaillie.

18:00 Awards Ceremony Meatfree Monday-quiz

19:30 to 20:30 Workshop Meatfree Monday

Our great demand for meat is one of the biggest causes of many of our most
serious environmental problems and the greatest threat to world food
supply. During this workshop we talk about these issues, but focuses mainly
on how to get involved in meat production will decrease.

Participants:
Per-Anders Jande
Jonas Paulsson

19:30 to 20:30 Climate justice how? – Graffiti fence / wall Journal

Workshop to begin to make a graffiti fence for climate camp.
Kajsa Grebäck, Studiefrämjandet

20:30 Short films about climate

Two short films with discussion. Filmmakers from the course at Färnebo
Folkhögskola Branch in Gothenburg.
Participants:
Henry Jackson, the course “Climate change and – with the film as a tool”

Tuesday, August 3

9:00 to 10:30 People’s Movement for Change

How does today’s social movements, they are left at all? Through time,
popular movements are always pushing forward social change. But do they
have a future? What is today’s and tomorrow’s biggest challenges?
Representatives of various movements emerge with different perspectives on
things.

Participants:
Torgny Östling, Via Campesina Sweden
Carmen Blanco Valera, Latin American Groups
Leif Mettävainio, GS – The union for the forestry, wood and graphic
industry
Malin Hammar, Democratic Alternative
Jenny Gustavsson, active in the Nordic Climate Action Camp
Moderator Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth

9:30 to 10:30 Action Planning

Planning for Wednesday’s celebration in Uppsala.
Cast: climax

10:30 to 12:00 What about energy?

The potential for energy efficiency is enormous. Many municipalities have
long had great plans to reduce energy waste, but how do you achieve these?
Would energy conversion could be faster and, if so, why does it not?
Introduction of energy efficiency then examples from Knivsta Municipality
has been identified as a good example.

Participants:
Hans Nilsson, international energy advisor, Four Fact
Christina Nystrom, operations controller and investigators Knivsta
Municipality

Urban and rural farming interested audience

11-13.00 Guerilla gardening

Workshop with network growth from Stockholm, on how we can cultivate our
cities.

13:30 to 14:30 Nature Tours in the climate issue with Closenatureguuides

Gustav Jilker from the Samic nation

14-18.00 Can small farmers cool the planet?

Is it true that a small-scale farming can take advantage of renewable
energy, bring back the business and take advantage of ecosystem services in
a sustainable way? How do we present the global measurement system so that
small farmers benefit rather than be discouraged? A global sustainable
agriculture should be linked to issues of food sovereignty and rural
habitats. Is urban farming an option? How can we, as social movements
operate in a fair and democratic transition to a climate-agriculture?

Group discussions on:

To take advantage of renewable energy, bring back the business and
take advantage of ecosystem services in a sustainable manner.
food sovereignty in the North and South – How do we proceed?
Town Growing and peri-urban farming – what are the benefits? City
Farmer tell of their experiences and projects.
Participants:
Torgny Ostling, Via Campesina Sweden
Åke Karlsson, Small farmers
Lennart Kjörling, MST support group
Gunnar Rundgren, international consultant organic farming etc..
Kristina Belfrage, researchers at CLU, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
at SLU
Ylva Andersson and Marina Queiroz, Matparken Gottsunda
Growth
Christer Pettersson, Winter Bay Garden
Moderator Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth

Farming panel from the left, Torgny Östling, Gustaf Jillker, Christer Pettersson, Gunnar Rundgren, Marina Queiroz, Kristina Belfrage, Åke Karlsson, and Lennart Kjörling. In front Ellie Cijvat.

20-21.30 Environmental Movement’s songs!

What has been sung and sung in the environmental movement from 60/70-tal to
the present day?
When you sing? How did the songs come to? We tell and sing together.
Louise Pettersson leads. Please bring your songs and tell or tell Louise
(louise.pettersson (at) aktivism.info) in advance. Do you have instruments:
bring it gets funnier!

You find at lots of envrionmental songs gathered by Louise at http://meramusikimittliv.wordpress.com/ Miljörörelsens sånger, ablog with embedded videos and more.

Wednesday, August 4

9:00 to 10:30 Workshop Banner Drop

Theoretically and practically climbing on a building and hanging banners.

9-12 Prosperity without Growth

How do we solve the economy and welfare crises? What options exist for the
current growth-based market economy? Talk about welfare policies for
growth, but experience and ideas on how the question can be written into
the broader political scene.

Participants:
Annika Lillemets, MP Parliamentary Candidate
Kajsa Pornainen, President Social democratic-students
Håkan Sundberg, Common Welfare and Attac

10:30 to 12:00 Guided Nature of growth with Närnaturguiderna

15:00 Markets Meeting in Uppsala

Music, speeches and street theater to the planned low-cost place (planned
for the week).

15:00 to 16:30 Nature Tours for those who stay on Eda

20:00 Fest!

On the scene:
Climatic climax reggae!
Clara Lindsjö!
Lissi Dancefloor Disaster!

Later: Instrumental improvisation with Andrew & co in the alcohol-free bar.

Ideological evening corner

Thursday, August 5

During the day at Eda:

Bicycle Workshop – learn how tinkering with the bike, Part 2!

9-11.00 Vision of the Climate Justice Town

How can a climate fair city look like and how we work to realize it?
Introductions of alternative urban plans, the car as the norm in the city
and the social aspects of the city and public transport. After two or three
groups of deepening and discussion.

Participants:
Per Hulthén, Nature Conservation
Karin Sandqvist, researchers
Mr Zampa, Planka.nu

11:00 to 12:30 A strategy to stop the Bypass high way Stockholm
Introduction of the situation around the road project Bypass Stockholm and
the referendum as a possible strategy and how young people can be more
involved. Then work in groups, each with a strategic plan. Ends with common
dsikussion.

Participants:
Lars Igeland, Friends of the Earth
John Ottosson, Climate Action
Catherine Bergstrom, Field Biologists

10-12.00 Forum Games.

How can we break the internal and external oppression? Forum Games
discussion as a Brazilian and has spread worldwide. In the game getaltas
current problems and solutions. You may use the body, heart and brain.
Kajsa Bilius is director and drama teacher from Vang has also committed to
justice and the surrounding environment.
14-16.00 Conversion Sweden.

Why do we ask for and how can we work locally to do it? Presentation of the
International Transition movement and exchange of experiences between local
conversion groups in Sweden.

Participants:
January Forsmark, Sweden, Sala Conversion
Anders Persson, Sweden and shift Söderhamn
Bjorn Lind Bergson, Conversion Group in Sigtuna

16-18.00 How to work with social media?

Workshop with Planka.nu.

19:30 to 21:00 Just in time for fun

Gunlög Rosen has a humorous and thought-provoking idea of cultural
encounters and cultural clashes, Swedish and conventions, common sense and
our human behavior.

20:30 to 21:30 Non-alcoholic bar and music

Anders Persson and Stefan Stenmark play and sing.

Late evening corner

Friday, August 6

9-10.30 The food and the environment – with a focus on food

450 million of the billion people who are short of food in the world are
farm workers. It is not enough to buy local, organic or fair to change the
balance of power. There is union work across national borders in the global
business. There is less market, more democracy and more focus on the daily
basis to ensure that we have food on the table.

Participants:
Gunnar Brulin and Malin Klingzell-Brulin, Journal of Food Workers’ Union
Case and the Mediterranean, up to date with the book Food for Thought

10:30 to 12:00 Climate, gender and power.

It is the poorest who suffer most from a warmer climate. A majority of them
are girls and women. Environmental movement needs a gender perspective? How
can the fight against climate change combined with the struggle for greater
equality?

Participants:
Lisa Gålmark; writer and debater
Gerd Johnsson-Latham, Deputy Director
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition
Kajsa Lindqvist, Friends of the Earth

Simone Lovera criticizing neoliberalism at the camp

13:30 to 15:00 The world’s forests is more than sinks!

The rain forest is important for the climate and deforestation is a
significant factor in global emissions. But the rain forest become a
commodity on the stock market climate? How does it affect the origin and
forest people? Borealskogen is not as controversial as a carbon sink, but
it contains large amounts of carbon. What is happening to the climate
change track?

Participants:
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition
Amanda Tas, Protect Forests

14-15.00 Nuclear fuel chain

Is nuclear power is carbon neutral? How does nuclear power in Sweden and
other countries’ environmental security? And what happens to the waste is?

Participants:
Miles Goldstick, Environmental Movement’s Nuclear Waste Secretariat (MILK)

3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Can we cope with climate without nuclear power?

Interview with Tomas Kåberger director general of the Energy Agency.

19-20.00 Nuclear power a threat to world peace!

Kerstin Grebäck, International President of the International Women’s League
for Peace and Freedom.

20:00 to 21:30 Inside or outside the system – how do we work?

Should we violate society’s laws fossils? Or cooperate with Vattenfall’s
CEO? There are all shades between conflict and dialogue, nothing is black
and white. A conversation about ethics, method and strategy in the fight
for climate justice.

Participants:
Jennie Gustafsson, active in the Nordic Climate Action Camp
Per Capercaillie, active in the Shut It Down
Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth
et al.

20:10 to 20:50 Hiroshima Day – a musical exposé on nuclear power, etc.

With My Leffler and Vimmelii

21:00 Open Stage

Welcome to behave with poetry, songs, theatrical or otherwise.

Jan Wiklund, long time Friends of the Earth/Alternative City Stockholm activist presenting his book Carriers of Democracy on the history of global people’s movements the last 2 500 years at open space.

Saturday, August 7

9-9.45 What does climate justice? – For the world, Sweden and locally

Introduction to morning programs on the conversion points for climate
justice.

Participants:
Tomas Björnsson, Nature Conservation

10-12.00 A great and Democratic Transition to Renewable Energy in Europe –
how does it look?

Presentation Of The Friends of the Earth Europe and the Stockholm
Environment Institute study “The 40% Study – Mobilising Europe to Achieve
Climate Justice”, the INFORSE Scenario for Energy Transition in Europe and
a scenario on energy transition in Sweden. (In English with translation
into Swedish)

Participants:
Silva Herrman, Global 2000 (Austria FOE)
Goran Bryntse, SERO Swedish Federation of Renewable Energy Association
Gunnar Boye Olesen, OVE and INFORSE Europe

10-12.00 Sustainable solutions in Europe

What is being done and how people have been ways to succeed? What are the
success factors? Ispirerande examples of innovative solutions, bicycle,
car-free cities, passive areas, lerhusbyar. If eco-villages, regions and
islands that produce their own energy by including wind, solar and
fjärrvärmekopperativ parks. If the exciting new climate movement and new
economic models.

Participants:
Henrik Andersson, freelance journalist

13:00 to 14:00 Vattenfall on climate and energy

About Vattenfall’s investments in new nuclear, coal, carbon storage and
renewable energy. Hearing with Jesse Fahlestock from Vattenfall.

14-15.30 Politicians Debate – 4 weeks before the election!

16-18.00 Open forum – how do we proceed?

What happened during the camp? How can we move forward with the issues
discussed? How can we collaborate between organizations and groups? How we
take care of the initiatives and ideas that come up?

Open Space is a meeting format that makes it easier for participants to set
their own agenda. Meeting Manager is Kate Grebäck from Rainey.

20:00 Fest!

On the scene:
Markus Berjlund!
Rotor club!
Alcohol free bar!

Niclas Hällström sad after coming from UN climate negotiations in Bonn, glad to be back in the camp again.

Sunday, August 8
9-10.30 Climate Justice – by popular movements or experts?

The climate debate at scientists and other experts, a major role. Climate
models will be explained and percentages calculated. Ordinary people are
struggling to keep up with, while a broad business climate needed for the
conversion to take off. But there is a conflict between experts and public
participation?

Participants:
Kajsa Grebäck, Nature Conservation’s Climate Network
Monica Sundström, Friends of the Earth
Jonathan Korsør, Democratic Alternative, etc.

(This point on  the agenda was cancelled in  favour of energy discussions. The issue had partly been covered by the discussion on strategy for climate justice.)

Russian Eco defence activists chatting with Göran Bryntse, chairman of Peoples Campaign against Nuclear power and Nuclear weapons

9:00 to 10:30 Nordic Exchange on Energy

Presentations from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden on the situation of
the Transition to Renewable Energy – Opportunities, Obstacle & the Role of
Civil Society Organization. Discussion on Possibilities for joint action.
(In English with translation into Swedish)

10.30-12 Uranium mining in Sweden

Is it to break the current uranium in Sweden and other Nordic countries?
Exploration of multiple directions and opposition groups have been created.
Filmmaker Clara Sager Maliani showing clips from his current film project
on uranium resistance in Sweden. Then call and experience exchange with
uranmotståndesgrupper from different parts of Sweden.

Participants:
Elsa Berglund, Friends of the Earth
Clear Sager Maliani, film producer
Diana Fernlund, Oviken Jämtland
Others

Closing cermony

12:30 to 13:00 Closing!

The end

Why we need solidarity with Russian environmentalists and antifascists

Men on their way to beat up people protecting the Khimki forest, some with right wing extremism symbols on their clothes.

More than hundreds activists have gathered at Eda climate camp North of Stockholm 2-8 of August  organized by Friends of the Earth Sweden and educational organizations.  Here we were reached by the news from Moscow. Right wing extremists have been used to attack environmental activists protecting the Khimki forest and protesting against a high way project. The police who came late to the site reacted by arresting the environmental actvists. Two environmental and anti-fascist protesters are now also facing severe charges for continued protests. Thus we issued a solidarity statement see, below. There are many ways to make international protests both against the repression and against the European investment Bank and EBRD who are possible funders of the toll high way project. See links below.

Transportation and urban planning is at the core of the climate issue. Emissions from ever increasing road transport is frequently addressed as the main problem for solving climate change in industrialized countries and targets set for diminishing the climate effects of transportation is  as frequently among the biggest failures in climate politics. The present development model built on increasing social injustice domestically and internationally needs ever increasing transportation and urban planning segregating people to maintain its dominance and continue exploiting nature and human beings. Thus it is no coincidence that some of the severe environmental conflicts concerns road traffic and urban planning.

Furthermore we see a growing convergence of different movements in a time of stronger repression. This calls for solidarity between different movements and internationally. The growing repression we face have resulted in a volatile situation for protesters and big fluctuations in the ability to mobilize. Popular movements needs not only mass support in their own countries but also that simultaneous struggles goes on in other countries as well as at times international solidarity. This has been especially hard in Central and Eastern Europe where people in common have lost much of their faith in collective protests. Movements work under extreme conditions with lack of visible popular support confronted by severe repression and violence from civilian supporters of a strong national state or corporations. Thus one activist was killed in an environmental camp against a uranium processing plant in Siberia by right wing extremists attacking the small camp beating most of the people in the camp in 2007. The authorities responded by accusing the camp organizers for provoking the attack.

The situation in Moscow is similar. Very few dare to take up a fight and when they do so they get easily beaten or murdered. At the European Social Forum 2010 Rule of Law Institute from Russia organized a seminar on right wing extremism in Russia showing how more than a hundred persons get killed each year due to the right wing violence. When the former leader of the Rule of Law institute, the social democratic lawyer Stanislaw Markelov who often defended antifascist anarchists came out from a press conference on the crimes made by Russian military in Chechnya he was together with Anastasia Baburova gunned down on the footsteps of the building in the middle of Moscow.

One year later a mass manifestation in their memory of the two murdered activists was organized on January 19. It was the biggest demonstration in Moscow for four years with one thousand people attending from many different strands in the movements in Russia with the police harassing the demonstrators and anarchist antifascist as a strong component. In many political struggles in Russia as the environmental or violence against migrants or people from the periphery of the Russian federation antifascists are the main organizers of solidarity and the strand of the movement that do not give up neither in front of right wing extremism or repression. This is of utmost importance in times of lack of visible mass support. The unifying event on January 19 made it possible to gain strength and renew efforts to confront strong economic interest as in the case of the Khimki Forest. Earlier the exploiters closely linked to the local Khimki government had succeeded in stifling the movement by violent attacks on one of its voices, the journalist Mikhail Beketov. The attempted murder in 2008 did not succeed and there are no official results of the investigation but many Khimki residents believe that the local authorities were involved in the attack.

A strong force behind the exploitation is the Transport Ministry and the “non-commercial organisation”, Avtodor which combines the functions of a government agency and a business. The project is planned as the first large-scale public-private partnership with the involvement of western investors – the EBRD and European Investment Bank. The intermediary link will be the North-West Investment Company, backed by the French firms Vinci and Eurovia, who have extensive experience of attracting European investments. But the environmental laws were in the way.

Protesters tried to stop the illegal cutting of the forest for the road project but were confronted by a combination of forces. One was the police who helped the illegal exploiters in spite of a court ruling in favor of the protesters.  Another was the general lack of trust in protesting collectively in Russia which makes the number of protesters small in spite of a very broad support ranging from liberal party leaders, the alternative globalization movement going to European Social Forums, a famous  rock stars to Anarchist and traditional environmentalists and local citizens previously not engaged in conflicts. Finally when the protests continued right wing extremist were called in to beat up the protesters followed by the police arresting the protectors of the environment.

In response to the repression of the movement some 90 or 300 activists anonymously attacked the municipal headquarter smearing it with stones and graffiti. None was arrested at the occasion but afterwards Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov got arrested. As both are publically known spokespersons for the Anti-fascists they are easy to find for the police who needed result in their reaction to the direct action against the symbols of power in Khimki. There is serious questioning against the claims made by the police as there are no proofs of their presence and that it is hard to see a reason the very few persons known by the public and the police should have participated in the action. In the general “anti-extremism” change of laws the action against the municipal building is claimed to be very serious and can result in 7 years of imprisonment. 

The following violent arrest of the leader Yevgenia Chirikov of the Khimki protest movement on August 4 shows clearly that the authorities are lying and playing a political theatre orchestrated by other interests than protecting law and order. She has been contacted by the police at several occasions and appeared at voluntarily police stations as a witness in the case of the murder of lawyer Stanislaw Markelov and the assault against the journalist Mikhail Beketov. Now she was arrested in speculative and brutal manner by the special police force OMON used against riots and terrorists directly after a press conference against the arrests of Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov .  A spokesman for the Moscow Region Directorate of Internal Affairs (i.e., the police for the region around Moscow, not the city itself) later claimed that Chirikova was detained because she had failed to respond to a summons in connection with the investigation of the attack (allegedly by anarchists and antifascists) on the Khimki administration building. But Chirikova was never given a summons and thus not given the possibility to voluntarily come to the police station as the system chose to organize a political theatre instead based on false claims of the refusal of Chirikova to appear voluntarily. She commented afterwards that her arrest resembled a “demonstrative action” directed against environmentalists.

Was it at stake is not only the Khimk forest and profit interest high up in the local and national government linked to abuse of the police to protect those interests. It is also the question of the legitimacy of the present development model in Russia which is much based on the same kind of close linkage between private exploitation interests and the government keeping people in common passive with the help of mass media and a combination of police and right wing extremist violence. As this authoritarian system lacks a belief in its capacity to get spontaneous support for their exploitation they see any kind of protest also when it only concerns a local matter as a threat to the whole system.  This makes it utterly dangerous for those that are organizing protests.

What is at stake is the future of the whole international/translocal climate justice and other system critical movements. We are not stronger than our weakest links. Furthermore the growing repression we see in Russia is also taking place everywhere. With authorities that are given ever increasing juridical means to stop any kind of protest as being caused by “extremism” leaving all traditional juridical ideas of individual responsibility and evidence behind. The Khimki protests against exploitation is a case were especially the accusations against  Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov are crucial to challenge by combining environmentalist and social justice concerns in a joint struggle against repression.

What is remarkable is that  those promoting the toll high way through the Khimk forest refuses any compromise with the wide spread environmental opinion against the exploitation in spite of that they are in a politically fairly vulnerable position. 2/3 of the investments is planned to come from Western funding through EBRD and the European Investment Bank, both known to keep an eye on the environmental impact at least when the negative effects are too obvious and concentrated. They also do not like to be connected to projects that becomes too controversial including violent repression. In spite of this political vulnerability those in power have chosen to continue escalating the pressure against the protesters in an attempt to split the opposition hoping for creating an image of violent aggressive activists working against society and peaceful but harmless opinion makers. Thus the exploiters are challenging the whole European environmental opinion trying to establish a de facto acceptance of European Bank support of any environmentally destructive project regardless how easy a better alternative could be chosen which should save the forest but not the highest level of profit. If the exploiters win and are able to get the financial European support they need it would be a historical defeat for the European environmental opinion.   

The Russian opposition has chosen to show its strength by sticking together. The protest leader Chirikova who by all means can be described as a main stream environmentalist with modest and well informed arguments was among the speakers at the press conference to defend the arrested anti fascists Solopov and Gaskarov. It is hard to believe that the spectacular arrest by special riot and anti-terrorist police force of her directly after this press conference is anything else than an attempt to put a violence stamp on the whole environmental protest and create fear. But those in power failed to split the Russian movement. The 19 of January committee which is the result of the unification of forces during the comemoration of the murder of Markelov and Baburova calls for solidarity. It is now up to international movements to show that the provocation against the European environmental opinion in completely disregarding the local opinion against building of the toll high way through the Khimk forest and still believing in financial support from Europe is met by a strong no. It is even more up to the whole global environmental justice and all popular movements to show that the attempts at using right wing extremism combined with repression against a movement is not accepted in Moscow or anywhere else.

The growing repression we have seen at the Climate summit in Copenhagen, against the landless movement MST in Brazil, against migrants and protesters of all kinds not only in impoverished countries but also the rich and industrialized must be confronted by common efforts. The authorities start to leave all earlier notions of freedom of expression and individual evidence for committing a crime behind.  The heavy possible and necessary involvement of EU funding in the project through EBRD and the European Investment Bank makes it also possible to mobilize substantial protests against the project. We have to join hands across borders and movements to build solidarity.

Tord Björk

 

Protest against the arrests of Maxim Solopov and Alexei Gaskarov

We are protesting against the arrests of environmental activists in connection with protests against highway construction around Moscow at Khimki forest. We look with concern on how both the right wing extremist violence and state repression is used against the protests. Everyone’s health and the right to a living nature for future generations are at stake in environmental conflicts. The authorities ignoring the right-wing violence and repression against the protests are unacceptable.

 

Participants at the Climate camp in Eda organized by Friends of the Earth Sweden and educational organizations.

Links

The Battle for Khimki Forest, Yevgenia Chirikova, 17 March 2010

http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/yevgenia-chirikova/battle-for-khimki-forest

Another Beautiful Day in the Russian Capital: Khimki Forest Defender Yevgenia Chirikova Kidnapped by Police after Press Conference

http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/another-beautiful-day-in-the-russian-capital-khimki-forest-defender-yevgenia-chirikova-kidnapped-by-police-after-press-conference/

The Kidnapping of Yevgenia Chirikova (4 August 2010, Moscow)

http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/the-kidnapping-of-yevgenia-chirikova-4-august-2010-moscow/

Yevgenia Chirikova on Her Kidnapping by Police

http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/yevgenia-chirikova-on-her-kidnapping-by-police/

Khimki: Police Repression as an Aid to Deforestation, On the arrests of Max, and Alexei.

http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/khimki-police-repression-as-an-aid-to-deforestation/

Khimki: Territory of Lawlessness with more links to Khimki articles

http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/khimki-territory-of-lawlessness/

Antifascist Russian news in English regularly updated about the Khimki protests:

http://www.avtonom.org/en/khimki

 Links to articles in different languages:

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?mot6748

Take Action!

Send protest letters or go to the Russian embassy or consulate to demand the realease of Gaskarov and Solopov. For arguments see the facebook group below-

Join the protests on facebook:

Freedom for Russian antifascists Alexei Gaskarov & Maxim Solopov! 483 members August 5.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=123233894390151

Khimki: Save The Forest! A newly started facebook group. 17 members August 5.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=133292676712838&v=walli

Put pressure on the European banks:

Sign the online letter below and ask the European Investment Bank and the European bank for Reconstruction and Development to condemn publicly illegal acts of deforestation and violence against peaceful demonstrations.

http://bankwatch.org/involved/index2.shtml?x=2237867

Put pressure on the Western European corporations:

Greenpeace Russia: Help Defend the Khimki Forest!

http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/greenpeace-russia-help-defend-the-khimki-forest/

Send protest letters to European banks and President Medvedev:

 

Protect Moscow’s Khimki Forest—the land, the trees and local environmentalists desperately need help

http://www.earthaction.org/2010/07/protect-moscows-khimki-forestthe-land-the-trees-and-local-environmentalists-desperately-need-help.html

 

ESF-6: System change, not climate change! A just transition towards a good life for all

From the climate justice network
“System change, not climate change!
A just transition towards a good life for all”
6th ESF Istanbul, 3rd  July 2010

Presenting the climate justice network statement to ASM

The newspapers may speak of financial and economic crises, but when we look around ourselves, we don’t see derivates and financial markets – what we see is the destruction of communities, of our social and natural environments, of our relations to each other. What we see is capitalism destroying us. Against this destruction, and the austerity that follows in its wake, people are resisting, people are fighting back, people are beginning to create the new worlds we know to be necessary: from Ghana to Greece, from Copenhagen to Cochabamba, from Bangkok to Brussels. We from climate and social justice movements gathered at the European Social Forum in Istanbul, are a part of and inspired by these global processes of resistance and creation, but also realise that we need to fight where we stand: to create another world, we also need to create another Europe and tear down the walls of the fortress that surround it.
Against those who try to create divisions between social and ecological justice, we assert that they do not contradict each other. They are and have to be complementary. Our vision is of a good life for all, not a nightmare of authoritarian eco-austerity.
Against those who oppose people’s desire to have good and well-paid jobs and to move beyond the madness of infinite growth on a finite planet, we are calling for a just transition in the way we work, in the structures of production and consumption. While there are many things we need more of, there is much we need less of. For example, we need to stop the destructive energy production practices involving coal, oil, nuclear and hydropower, or to end the madness of building individual cars for everybody. At the same time, we need to expand community-controlled renewable energies, food sovereignty as well as public services that contribute to our goal of a good life for all, like free public transport, health, housing and education. This would create millions of socially and ecologically useful jobs.
This is what we mean by just transition, by climate justice: it does not mean having the ‘right’ position on what is being negotiated at UN-climate summits. It’s not about parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere. Although it is important to change our individual behaviours, climate justice is about fundamentally changing our model of production and consumption of food, goods, energy, of our entire lives. It is about finally making amends for the ecological debt we owe the rest of the world.
We in Europe are only now starting on the road towards climate justice, creating and resisting in many different ways, such as direct action, the building of local alternatives, civil disobedience or public campaigning to name a few. There are many opportunities already such as:

–    26/8: solidarity actions coinciding with the trial in Copenhagen of Tash Verco and Noah Weiss

–    Summer 2010 : Climate and No Border camps are happening all over Europe

–    29/9: European trade union day of action

–    between the 10th and the 17th of October, different networks are calling for action on climate justice: the 12th will be a day of direct action for climate justice; the 16th a day of action against Monsanto

–    From the 29th of November to the 10th of December, the 16th UN-climate summit will be held in Cancun, Mexico: we will be creating a ‘thousand Cancuns’ to protest their false solutions and point the way towards real climate and social justice

French rural activist exchanging experience at one of the seminars on just transition

ESF 2010 – Old surface, young undercurrents

Singing in the ESF demonstration

The European Social Forum in Istanbul 2010 was fun. As the practical capacity has weakened as shown during the ESF in Malmo 2008 and even more so in Istanbul 2010 there is no host organizer or European Preparatory Assemblies able to provide political direction or a market place of interest to NGOs. The old leadership building its strength on a costly model for participating in the preparatory process have lost its appeal and there is no alternatives in sight. In this situation of uncertainty there is space for experience exchange on agricultural farming in the Mediterranean, initiatives against the repression of climate justice organizers or establishing systematic knowledge of the consequences of the crisis in Central and Eastern European in a way that can influence the total outcome of ESF in spite of being in the periphery. There has always been space at ESF for a myriad of activities, the difference now is that there is a loss of one hegemonic mainly Western European radical mainstream left wing predicable outcome.

ESF 2010 began with a seminar on the future of ESF. There were 3 speakers introducing the subject and 15 making interventions, in total 18. Out of these speakers 2 came from Central and Easterna Europe including Turkey, one from Russia and one from Mesopotamian Social Forum, 16 from the West. One was young, the rest were old, mainly 50 years and above. 4 women were speaking. 6 of the contributors to the debate came from France, 2 from Italy and Belgium and 1 each from Austria, Germany, Greece, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the two Eastern countries already mentioned. Many were left wing trade unionists including the two introductory speakers from the West saying things which everyone could agree to as there is a crisis in Europe not only for the society but also for the social movements. The speaker from Mesopotamian Social Forum included the ecological crisis but was fairly alone. Among the audience there was none from rural or peasants movements and maybe 4 out of 80 environmentalists. Among the more odd left wing syndicalist analysis of ESF was the point made that small NGOs at ESF with lobbying as their main poliical tool was a problem. Such organizations have become very rare in the process at least since ESF in Malmo. More important was the notion that there is a need for more general debate on the linkage between different issues, a proposal made by Via Campesina ahead of ESF 2008 and then rejected by a French trade unionist but now when it is put forward by trade unionists might be excepted. The class, gender and ethnic conscious methodology of the two recent successful US Social Forums was rigthly promoted by several speakers as inspiring and one of few challenges for the ESF future put forward which was concrete although limited to form.

Instead of a lively political reference to a common platform as the World Social Forum declaration or addressing the problems in the region were the global financial crisis is hitting harder then anywhere else in the world which is in Central and Eastern Europe the reference is instead ”the left” and Western European problems which should be addressed at ”the European level”. What this omnipresent term left is or how this European level looks like is not very well defined. Except by the only young voice in the debate coming from Germany and the trotskyist 5th International. This international organization is extremely small and specialized in producing youth activist speeches proclaiming the same solution to every problem, mass mobilization at the European level on whatever opportunistic left wing issue that seems of current interest for the moment, a mass mobilization that should be carried out by others, mainly trade unions. Others at this debate on the future have not much more to offer for the role of ESF than being this left wing support to convince big trade unions to act although using another language.

Young undercurrents beneath the old surface

Struggling collectively for better and cheap or free public transport was one of the answers on the problems of cars dominating the cities and causing environmental problems. And what a struggle. Students from Istanbul showed us at a seminar and asked us all to join. It was a street theatre they performed to make people aware of the problems for students with longer and longer travels by buses they cannot afford.

It all started with an explanation of the situation for students in Turkey and the daily struggle to get to the university. In a corner the music started and suddenly were we all encompassed by the atmosphere of lively streets, moving bodies and the daily controversaries to get on board on the bus. Four green banners demarked the inside and outside of the bus, a driver stopped the students from entering whenever there was something missing, and there was often something missing. But the collective helped and argued and somehow it seamed as if the male bus driver always lost the battle against the mostly female students. Chanting, singing and arguing the student collective and their driver moved on and we all were moved, by the energy of the political statement, the music and the laughs and the joy.

In the next room the Russian Institute of Law had a seminar on right wing extremism. The daily struggle was as present here, in an even more physical form. First they came and beat us with the fists and we had to learn how to fight with fists to. Then they came after us with knives and we had to learn to use knives to. Now they come with pistols, first using rubber bullets and them live ammunition. The leader of the Institute of Law was shot down and killed together with a young journalist right on the doorsteps in the middle of Moscow one and a half year ago. Both participated at ESF in Malmö and were involved in exposing Russian crimes in Chechenya.

The immediate threat of violence is not only present when the young antifascists speaks, Anarchists rather than Communists or Social democrats. It is also very present in an exhibition made by a young artist on antifascism. Here violence is also very present, and the need to fight back. The rebellion in the Sobibor extincition camp in 1943 is a starting point in this presentation of anti-fascism. Some 300 death camp prisoners rebelled under the leadership of the Communist Aleksander Pechersky. One of very few rebellions in the death camps and the most successful. Most of the escapees were hunted down by the Germans and their Ukrainian helpers but more than 50 made it conquering freedom. In total between 150,000 and 250,000 jews losts their lives in Sobibor, 50 survived the war. In the exhibition is also the 150,000 volunteer partisans mobilized to defend Moscow from the enclosing German troops presented as an example. Ulriche Meinhof is also presented as an example of how the children of the Nazis generation rebelled in Germany. But the main focus is on today’s antifascism. The Russian antifascists that get killed, people willing to fight back. The statistics is also there, being an antifascist in Russia is risky. The exhibition ends with a statement on sorrow and pain. The picture that the organizers liked the most was a a human being with the back against the viewer and the muscles without skin upon one of the shoulders with the message under: ”And if somebody says to me: we are the wall. I’ll say I am the shoulder.

The official image in Western Europe of Russia is that it is fixed to the history of World War II as the result of manipulation by the authoritarian government. The maker of the antifascist exhibition cannot be accused of hoping for the Russian or any government to come and help people. It is up to ourselves also in the worst conditions. And in spite of this perspective far from giving up in front of authorities the theme is partly the same as that promoted by official Russia, the efforts made to stop fascism during World War II. But with another focus that both governments and their allies in media industry have in both Russia and the West. That of activists willing to fight voluntarily, often young activists and often if not totally left out in the history making especially in the West. Millions are spent on how horrible the Nazi death camps and war was, but what do we know about the most successful violent revolt in the death camps? The antifascist story does also not end there. It continious until today when the struggle is also a question of life and death.

Statistics on number of people killed and injured by fascists in Russia the last years.

One of the criticism against the Istanbul ESF states:  ”For us the greatest criticism of this forum was its failure to provide non-hierarchical, participative, polycentric spaces in the meetings themselves. With notable exceptions, every seminar or workshop (there seemed little difference between the formats) was conducted in the same way: the ‘experts’ sat at the front, the floor listened to them reciting what they already knew. This series of laborious, monotonous monologues would come to an end, after two and a half hours, to allow for ‘questions’ – and a further 30 minutes of non-sequiturs. Even when direct questions were asked, the sessions were so poorly facilitated that those asked the questions were rarely given the opportunity to answer. All this made engaging and productive dialogue a practical impossibility”. (From Red Pepper, link se below).

This was not a problem for the seminar on right wing extremism. The atmosphere was young, sincere and open minded. An exchange of experience took place and different means of communications including both speaches, videos and the exhibition filling the walls and giving a different character of the space then that of an academic setting. All were young, the organizers, the speakers and almost all the audience. And the speakers did not comment on antifascism, they were antifascism. There also lacked afraidness for being intellectual. The exhibition started with a quote from John Heartfield: ”One has to make an antifascist exhibition, not an exhibition about antifascism. You see the difference?”

Climate justice transition and food sovereignty seminar making the room more suitable for horizontal experience exchange

Many of the environmental workshops and seminars were also vital with many young participants, a lot of experience exchange and young leadership of the political merging process towards a common statement on just transition to solve the climate crisis. The seminar on sustainable transition lost most of the speakers due to misunderstandings and that it was taken out of the Turksih version of the programme. The hieraric way the room and furniture was arranged did not encourage much vital discussions either. But these disadvantages was turned into its opposite. Among the participants there was a lot of experience from both small farmers, trade unions, and environmental activism to turn the seminar into inspiring each other while finding ways to address ways to strengthen direct producers in agriculture and industry  as well as building new ways of direct relationships between producers and consumers promoting both sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty and more power to direct producers and consumers.

The climate justice drafting group in a successful attempt to occupy a piece of grass

The strength of ESF showed itself when an open drafting committee met to discuss the formulation of a climate justice statement from the seminars to be presented at the final Assembly of Social Movements. At such occassions one have to count on very different backgrounds of the drafters, very limited time with few of any more chances to meet, practical problems of finding a place to meet, write a draft, copy and distribute it. The climate justice movement have been bogged down after the successful mass actvities in Copenhagen during the climate summit in a lack of making a difference between defensive and more forward looking strategies. The movement have to a large extent avoided combining a system critical direct action resistance with a broad appeal for sustainable transition addressing questions of interest for people in their daily life. In this way the movement have been caught in either demanding every action and alternative programme to be equally radical and denouncing every bit of defensive actions within the present system as least say the UN negotiations or issues of interest to main stream trade unions as green jobs or environmental NGO pragmatism losing the system critical goal out of sight. Instead of struggle ideology has a tendency to become the most important, to some anarchists the question of work has been seen as adjusting to the system and instead of a constructive program that can give jobs to many access to resources has been seen as the only demand that the movement should put forward. Other see clear ideology as the most important step at the moment, be it degrowth or ecosocialism.

All these dead end streets were avoided quickly. Degrowth was seen by all from very different backgrounds as an important topic to discuss but not to use to frame the whole statement. Instead the issue of work and social revolutionary perspectives were put forward as most important. The issue of the need for broad social alliances was also something that was not necessary to discuss. Within the ESF frame work what can take time in other situations is immediately avoided here as cooperation between social movement is at at the core of ESFand thus a starting point for discussion, not a point to get bogged down by. All reports from different seminars also pointed in the same direction, there is a need for both strong resistance and alternatives. Thus contrary to many other arenas ESF was very useful for finding common system crtitical common ground without getting trapped in one or another mainly ideological main point. The resistance against the main proposed outcome of the ESF Assembly of Social Movements, a call out for participating in the mobilization on the 29th of September against poverty was also clear and yet not secatarian. The slogan made by the European Trade Union Confederation for this event is to demand jobs and growth, soemthing that is contrary to the social-ecological concerns of the climate justice movement. The point was made hilw at the same time the main focus is on establishing own actions in October for System change – not climate change and hopefully influence also other social movements to become more ecologically conscious while promoting a just transition for both rural and urban areas which cannot only solve the climate cirisis but also be a tooo  for social justice and thus provide a much needed alternative vision for the future of Europe.

Parts of the Swedish ESF delegation

There were of course a lot more young undercurrents. To my surprise the Swedish delegation was dominated by many young people interested in environmental, urban agriculture movemnts, trade union issues and the financial crisis. One aspect was that some of the present young researchers were involved in finding out more about agriculture and the situation for the rural population. This young and often female intellectual energy going into issues of less interest to young actvists in earlier times is an interesting phenomena. More predictable was that the visible and vocal youth presence came from small left wing radical groups which is not so much an undercurrent but part of the old ESF pattern. But it is of special interest when it reflects new mass mobilizations as that among students in many countries.

How important are the young undercurrents?

Other observers seems not to notice the young new undercurrents that here is described. One can ask how important they actually are. Before more extensive reporting from ESF in Istanbul is accessible, specially from young activists themselves it is of course har to make a good assessment. But some notions can be made.

Turkish left wing group not afraid of new global environmental and other issues. To a large degree were young activists in Turkey involved in both social and ecological struggles on water, climate, agriculture and public transport.

Firstly it seems as at least among the Western participants the young currents can be divided into those that are fully noticed by observers from small left wing groups and those that are not or rather indirectly seen as a threat to making something mobilizing out of ESF. (See links below) Thus the vocal 5th International trotskyists highlights the strong anticapitalist and antiimperialist messages from the antiwar and education networks during ESF while for the rest sees ”bland NGO” politics in other issues. The young new undercurrents that are involved in system critical agricultural, climate, public transport or antifascism conflicts are disregarded or maybe seen as part of the bland NGO politics to be criticized. A member of the German trade union youth is taken as an example of how bad influence there is from less radical groups not believing in the possibility of ”the idea of developing from the social forum movement, a movement to change the social system.”

So those that take notice of young participation seems unaware of the new system critical undercurrents at ESF. To some degree they have always been there and may not have more weight then earlier. Two factors may show that there is a difference and the young undercurrents goes beyond occasional presence in some seminars and other activities at ESF. One is that the strength of agricultural, rural, water, climate and other envrionmental or social ecological issues to much a degree is built on youth participation and have maintained it steps forward after ESF in Malmö. This interestingly in spite of that central actors in Malmö as Friends of the Earth and Via Campesina promoting these issues was much less present at ESF in Istanbul. The other factors is the central role played by open minded Central and Eastern European youth. There were also quite large youth participation from some Western European countries. The difference is two folded. Altough the CEE participants are involved in many different issues as the social and ecological crisis, antifascism or feminism and come from different at times opposing ideological trends they tend to see themselves more as part of a joint alternative movement and furthermore come more collectively organized often brought by some of the social forum cooperation. While some Western youth seems mainly focused on one aspects as the need for a new methodology at ESF or avoiding or letting small left wing groups dominate CEE youth have a more general view integrating both methodological and political concerns while at the same time being more central in the delegations from their countries. They seem also to have less problems with the old ESF leadership from their countries and in some cases like Ucraine be totally dominated by young activists from different strands.

Your observer resting for a while at a seminar photographed with his own camera by some anonymous activist interested in complete documentation of ESF. The T-shirt states in Finnish We snowmen against global warming.

Conflicts

Under the circumstances of and old left wing and trade unionist leadership in decline and yet still able to make ESF happen according to the ideas of an open space to anyone willing and resourceful enough to make it while new young undercurrents yet has not formed a strong self understanding and presence the conflicts that occured during ESF in Istanbul are to a large degree obscure and short lived though at times disruptive. The visible predictable conflict is between different parts of the left mainly sharing the same urban and trade union bias in loocking at how to move forward while strongly disliking each other. Different trotskyist groups of the smallest kind tries to convince a smaller and smaller number of ESF participants to mass mobilize on an European scale against the social crisis, left wing trade unionists do the same but with less anticapitalist and antiimperailist slogans. The weakness is there for everyone to see. The main outcome at the final Assembly of Social Movement is not to call for a coherent systemcritical mobilization on the issues discussed at ESF with success, but to call for participation in a mobilization called for by ETUC without having an own agenda.

In the seminar on how to struggle against right wing extremism a conflict occured that highlights the problems of ESF and the European social movement. Here mainly Central and Eastern Europeans came together but also Western Europeans to discuss and make contributions from different parts of Europe and different perspectives. In the exchange of ideas a young women from Ukrainian Social Forum came to notify the audience about a climate change meeting that will take place in Kiev. It was clear that the audience had very different back ground from strong antifascists struggling daily to defend their lives to more broad campaigning for tolerance against racism or antifascism seen in the light of the social and ecological crisis and possible to put i a wider context. A German journalist and expert representing a trade union made an excellent overview of the European situation. The diverse discussion though annoyed him so much that he angrily had to state why he left before the seminar closed. The discussion in his view had not at all been about what he had come for addressing the struggle against right wing extremism at the European level. The petty national and diverse contributions did not impress upon him. He did represent a trade union with many million members and he had expected a lot higher quality we understood. At the surface he was fully correct. The discussion had been diverse. The problem is simple. In most countries in Europe the number of actvists and resources are so small that an issue as right wing extremism has to be put into context. Whether this is how right wing politics is part of nationalism with neoliberal practice selling out the national naturqal resources to Western capital causing social and ecological problems like in Southern Caucasus, or that right wing politics is the main force behind climate scepticism and denial of environmental concerns. Many in the audience are well aware of that what they say may not be highly relevant immediately to the topic. But they are also aware of the limitations of the movements and countries they come from and fully willing to learn and see if it is possible to connect experience from different countries, get inspire and do something in spite of not being a trade union with millions of membersor being payed for coming with well researched material on the situation at the European level of right wing extremism.

Turkish activist agricultural action in the ESF demo

Another conflict which I heard about from different sources with very different interpretations seems also interesting and have bearing on the way ESF is heading. Young Turkish activists claimed that rural issues were blocked from becoming important in the Assembly of ecological crisis. The group that especially blocked this Turkish intervention was Anarchists from Germany. The other version was that Turkish activists were unable to understand how their specific national concerns had to put into a wider European level to be of interest in a common statement. In one version the conflict is about disinterest for rural issues, in another version the difference is between more narrow minded national understanding and a more higher European level of thinking.

Thus what we have is an old left calling for action at the European level, seemingly opposing each other whether they are main stream trade unionists, left party of some kind or sometimes even anarchists, all from Western Europe. The mindset seems often to be that of either organization with plenty of resources to have experts on European level negotiations and issues or specialized in European rhetoric and little action. On the other hand we have a more lively participation especially from Central and Eastern Europe. Thus a young women from Armenia can get inspired by the concrete experience of repression during the Climate Summit in Copenhagen last year refering to here many arrests by the police herself back home. National and local experience can be part of a vivid international exchange of ideas.

Dancing during the ESF demo

Conclusions

Politically what we see is a conflict between periphery and center of Europe. Issues, countries and movement regraded as of less importance for the power positions of the European left are systematically and mainly without intent marginalized. With a hard defensive struggle ahead left wingers and trade unionists cling to each other more and more desperately hoping for that well informed, well organized mass mobilization at the European level meaning under Western European leadership with very little interest of rural or environmental issues.

This position in all its forms, from trade unions the left wing parties of all sorts are now disintegrating. New movements like the climate justice movement is no alternative. While the environmental movement with it s long time social justice concerns ir of vital importance for carrying forward a just transition alternative equally important for solving both the ecological and social crisis there are strong deficits. To a large degree the climate justice and environmental movement is a movement without theory with problems of becoming relevant for people in common in their daliy life.

Climate Justice speaker at the final assembly from the UK climat camp movement discuss with Swedish actvist after ESF

The situation is thus more open than ever, and maybe more hopeful for ESF than one could think. The World Social Forums have similar problems but is more vital. It is no coincidence that when Europe failed to support the CEE participatiion substantially it was WSF that in the last minute put forward some resources to enable a larger presence in Istanbul from the region most severely hit by the global financial crisis. The US Social forum is an excellent example on how the forums can be used for social movement experience exchange and mobilization. The advances with the Mesopatiam Social Forum and other forums in the Maghreb region is also signs that the social forum might have a future also in Europe. Because what is the alternative? Where else is all social movement challenged to participate in a common exchange of experience and assemblies to mobilize. The decline of ESF might therefore be a good sign. To at least social forum organizers in CEE coutries Istanbul showed some strenght. For the first time an All-European Assembly could be arranged at ESF with a balanced participation both from the West and the East. Mirek Prokes from Czech Social Forum was pleased with that 21 countries were present and finally 150 participants came from CEE countries in the last minute in spite of that there were only 60 announced some weeks before. The strong young leadership in the CEE delegations is also a positive sign for the future as well as the ideas to continue follow-up by organizing regional events in the All European process and the Prague Spring II network against right wing extremism. Many at ESF from different strands seams also to agree on the need for avoiding the same old formula hoping for an evermore larger ESF but rather becoming more diverse and strengthening both intellectual and mobilizing activities in a joint ESF process. Such a transition period might lead to disintegration but also result into something new more capable of overcoming the mehodological and political problems of the ESF to face the social and ecological crisis and being a mobilizing strength for popualr movements.

Tord Björk

Friends of the Earth Sweden, coordinator of the EU committee

Some links to articles on ESF:

Sad Spectacle in Istanbul
08 July 2010
By Boris Kagarlitsky

The Sixth European Social Forum ended in Istanbul on Sunday. For those who had attended previous forums in Florence, Paris, London and Athens, it was a sad spectacle indeed. There were few participants and the speeches of the delegates resembled a superficial retelling of the discussions that took place at similar meetings in previous years.

There was genuine enthusiasm after the first Social Forum eight years ago.

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/sad-spectacle-in-istanbul/409968.html

Report from the ESF in Istanbul

The sixth European Social Forum was dominated by bland NGO politics and obfuscatory Maoism, about 3,000 people participated in the sixth European Social Forum (ESF) in Istanbul. There were 200 seminars about the economic crisis, climate change, students’ protests and many other topics.

http://www.permanentrevolution.net/entry/3099

Parteien & Demokratie  Montag, 05. Juli 2010
Organisierungsschwäche und relative Orientierungslosigkeit
Das sechste Europäische Sozialforum in Istanbul. Ein Resumee von Urlich Brand.

Im Mittelpunkt des sechsten Europäischen Sozialforums in den ersten Julitagen in Istanbul – nach Florenz 2002, Paris, London, Athen und Malmoe 2008 – stand natürlich die aktuelle Krise. Schwerpunkte waren die Wirtschafts- und Finanzkrise, dieses Mal besonders prominent die Klimakrise und, bedingt durch den Austragungsort, Energie- und Wasserkonflikte.

http://www.rosalux.de/themen/parteien-demokratie/nachrichten/nachricht/datum/2010/07/05/organisierungsschwaeche-und-relative-orientierungslosigkeit/thema/sprachen/parteien-demokratie/priorisierung-regional.html

ESF 2010: Das Europäische Sozialforum am politischen Abgrund        PDF         Drucken         E-Mail
von Martin Suchanek, www.arbeitermacht.de        06.07.2010 – bisherige Aufrufe: 651

„Das Sozialforum ist noch nicht tot, es vermodert nur am eigenen Laib”, so fasste ein Teilnehmer ironisch-verärgert, das Europäische Sozialforum (ESF) 2010 zusammen. ….. Auch wenn es momentan der einzige „Raum” auf europäische Ebene ist, wo Tausende zusammentreffen und hunderte VertreterInnen verschiedener Organisationen die Koordinierung des Widerstandes vorantreiben können, so zeigte sich in Istanbul auch, dass eine große Mehrheit der informellen Führung des ESF, der dominierenden Kräfte aus linken Gewerkschaften, von attac, auf Vereinigungen, die der europäischen Linkspartei nahe stehen usw. das einfach nicht wollen.

http://www.linkezeitung.de/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8996&Itemid=1

Why Low Turnout at ESF March?

Bianet has asked international and Turkish activists why so few people joined the march of the European Social Forum on Saturday.
Istanbul – BİA News Center
05 July 2010, Monday

On Saturday, 3 July, around 3,000 people joined the march of the European Social Forum (ESF) in Istanbul.

http://bianet.org/english/world/123174-why-low-turnout-at-esf-march

European Social failure?

The sixth European Social Forum took place in Istanbul at the beginning of July. Sophie Haydock and James Robertson found it left something to be desired

What location could be better for this year’s European Social Forum (ESF) than historic Istanbul – where, in tourist-brochure lingo, ‘East meets West in spectacular style’. What a fantastic opportunity to explore Turkey’s domestic issues: the Kurds, relations with Greece and the Turkish military presence in Cyprus – and perhaps, most crucially, how the people of Europe should respond to the financial crisis and get the P.I.G.S out of the IMF/EU pen?

The opening ceremony on the Wednesday 30 June certainly showed that some of this initial optimism was not unfounded, featuring a large Kurdish delegation performing a traditional dance. Under normal conditions, that action would have resulted in the swift and heavy-handed arrest of those involved. What’s more, the 2010 European Social Forum took place just five weeks after Israeli soldiers shot dead nine Turkish activists on board the flotilla bound for Gaza. Surely Istanbul would be the place to unite those wishiing to work together to end the siege of Gaza and challenge Israel’s impunity?

http://www.redpepper.org.uk/European-Social-failure

ESF Istanbul 2010
Another Social Forum was possible

www.socialistworld.net, 07/07/2010
website of the committee for a workers’ international, CWI

Support for European-wide protest on 29 September

CWI reporters

With Europe in crisis, and Turkish undergoing deep changes, the European Social forum was merely business as usual, with a declining number of participants. The summary of the forum merely made reference to the European-wide day of action on 29 September, rather than discussing and developing a strategy for the movement.

http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/4389

VI. Európai Szociális Fórum – Isztambul 2010. július 1.-4.
A harc folytatódik
Minden szervezési probléma ellenére az isztambuli fórumot sikerült megrendezni, amelyet pozitívumként kell értékelni, mert kb. 3-4 hónappal ezelőtt úgy látszott, hogy a fórum elmarad. A rendkívül szűkös anyagi háttér és humán erőforrás ellenére a VI. ESZF lehetővé tette az európai baloldal képviselőinek, civil csoportjainak az ismételt személyes találkozókat, a véleménycserét. Találkozhattunk a török szociális mozgalmak különböző áramlatainak aktivistáival, megismerhettük a Törökországot alapvetően foglalkoztató kérdéseket: a kurdok szabadságtörekvéseit, a gázai flotilla szomorú ügyét, a török szakszervezetek követeléseit.
Beszámoló az isztambuli ESZF-ről

http://attac.zpok.hu/cikk.php3?id_article=1191

Some more pictures from  ESF in Istanbul

http://www.flickr.com/search/?s=int&w=all&q=Istanbul+ESF&m=text

http://www.flickr.com/photos/onesolutionrevolution/sets/72157624451945052/

Next Page »