April 10 Thessaloniki ESF mobilization meeting

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Official report by Greek Social Forum and statement below.

The Balkan meeting organised by the Greek Social Forum in Thessaloniki on April 10, 2010, in preparation for the Social Forum in Istanbul , had a full day session, where many issues were discussed.

First, there was a presentation of organisational preparation by the representative of the Turkish organising committee, Eyüp Özer, in which he stressed the differences of the present social forum to the previous ones. He referred to the expected presence of countries from Asia and Northern Africa , as a qualitative element, he said that three thematic Assemblies are to be held the previous from the last day of the Forum, and a single Assembly at the last day.

The halls of the seminars and activities are booked, and they will soon send information for accommodation and for solidarity accommodation. 70 organisations from Turkey are participating in the organisational committee.

Matyas Benyik from Hungary brought the information from the successful preparatory meeting that took place in Prague on 27-28 March, with more than 70 participants, and stressed the big discussion on the rise of extreme right in Europe and the creation of a network on this subject that will have seminar in Istanbul and will continue with another European convention in Autumn.

In the presentations from Albania , the question of Environment and democracy
were stressed, but also the question of creation of a real left in Albania and the efforts to this direction.

From FYROM the delegates stressed the question of nationalism, of the
economic crisis and of the need for collaboration in the Balkans. Natasha
Dokovska from the World March of Women presented the plan for the Women’s
caravan that will proceed and follow the Istanbul ESF, with a great preparation.

Several speakers from Greece stressed aspects of the economic crisis and the
need for common action against the measures taken by the government, and the
expectance of networking and strengthening our international mobilisation in
the Istanbul Forum.

They also stressed the question of militarism and military expenditure, and the need to resist military spending and occupations in the Balkans that are presented as “peace missions”.

The women’s’ day to be held in Istanbul on the 30th of June, organised by the
World March of Women (European network), was presented by Sonia Mitralia,
who spoke of the serious preparation for it and the creation of a Balkan
network that already had three conventions, one in Thessaloniki in November,
one in Skopje in January and one in Tirana in March. A special women’s meeting was held in the afternoon for the elaboration of the networking and organisational issues for the women’s day.

The proposal for ecological way out of the crisis was put forward by Makis Stavrou, president of the Greek network of Friends of Nature, who stressed that we speak of another world, we don’t want to come back to the situation that led to the crisis, and we need to elaborate a total plan that will include the ecological dimension.

Finally, Banks trades unionist Dimitris Tsoukalas made an analysis of the power of banks in the economy and their decisive impact in the crisis. The meeting was held in the Labour Centre of Thessaloniki and its vice secretary, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, stressed the importance of international networking to confront the crisis and the need for popular mobilisations against the anti-labour measures of the Greek Government and the EU.

Attached statement against racism and nationalism, that was produced by the meeting.

From the Greek Social Forum

www.socialforum.gr

Statement

The participants of the Balkan meeting held in Thessaloniki, on the 10th of April 2010, organised by the Greek Social Forum in preparation for the 6th European Social Forum in Istanbul, want to stress our commitment  to international solidarity, friendship of the peoples and collaboration of the movements for social justice.
We condemn more particularly the hate slogans shouted by army personnel parading during the Greek National day of 25th of March, and we want to reassure everyone that the peoples of Balkans in their big majority deplore such events in everyone of our countries.
We call the governments of the Balkan countries and other political subjects, to seriously consider promoting the spirit of friendship among the Balkan countries, instead of hiding behind the euphemism of “patriotism”.

Participants in the meeting were Social Forum activists from Greece, Turkey, Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Hungary.

Thessaloniki, 10-4-2010

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