Global Policy Forum

European Social Forum


The "Social Forum" model spread rapidly after the success of the first World Social Forum in 2001. The European Social Forum is one of the largest and most widely-known regional forums. In addition to promoting issues of global justice, participants in the European conference have beeen firmly against the Iraq war. The European Social Forum follows the Charter of Principles set forth by participants of the first World Social Forum.


Athens 2006 | London 2004 | Paris 2003 | Florence 2002


Athens, May 2006


European Social Forum: A Cocktail of Anger Erupts (May 6, 2006)

The author writes that the fourth European Social Forum (ESF) "seems to have been put together in a cocktail of anger." The Forum has been marred by violent protests conducted by small groups of anti-globalization protestors and demonstrators who oppose the Greek government's anti-immigration polices. The "militancy" that arose marks a change for the typically calm ESF. (Inter Press Service)

The Left Goes to Athens (May 4, 2006)

Previous European Social Forums (ESF) had experienced large drops in attendance and complaints from participants that decision were made undemocratically. The fourth ESF in Athens should "represent the answer to this crisis," with a theme of "enlargement" signaling a more inclusive representation of different social groups and movements. Organizers held preparatory assemblies to counter some participants "authoritarian tendencies" and encourage openness, but instead the preparation period brought out many disagreements and countries competing for attention. (Moscow Times).


London, October 2004


European Social Forum: Another World, But How? (October 18, 2004)

Activists at the European Social Forum (ESF) concluded that "another world is possible" through the newer and more active "alter globalization" movement. Though this year's ESF resulted mainly in a list of organized protests, supporters said the alter globalization movement should also incorporate "international cooperation, human development and social justice" as a means of reaching a better world in the future. (Inter Press Service)

This Is the Way to Win (October 15, 2004)

The Guardian commends the five-year progression of social forums for opening up discussion space, providing analysis and proposals and giving initiative to movements such as the anti-war movement. However, the article notes that participants of social forums should stop repeating their platforms and instead take this same initiative in battles they "can actually win."

Activists Plan for a Better World at Social Forum (October 14, 2004)

On the eve of the third annual European Social Forum, activists gathered in London to discuss important issues that remain unaddressed by politicians. Organizers project the estimated 50,000 participants will focus mainly on the war in Iraq and the divisive effects of globalization. (Reuters)


Paris, November 2003


Looking For Fun at the Forum (November 20, 2003)

This rabble article praises and criticizes aspects of the second European Social Forum. The article talks positively about the international network of interpreters that allowed the linguistic diversity but raises concerns to the Forum's overall effectiveness.

Rattling the Bars (November 18, 2003)

Many discussions at the European Social Forum in Paris showed that its participants are no longer content to simply document their concerns. Instead of asking "what is wrong?" the question now is "how to solve it?" (Guardian)

Anti-Globalisation Activists Seek Vision for New Europe (November 12, 2003)

The second European Social Forum, which focuses on the building of a "different Europe," has three major objectives: to offer a space for debate and confrontation, to come up with concrete alternative proposals and to mobilize movements to ensure that the proposals get put into effect. (Guardian)


Florence, December 2002


The European Social Forum In Florence: Lessons of Success (December 17, 2002)

When one million people marched in a city of only 400,000, those "who were chanting against war, against neo liberalism and against racism felt like the majority." The ESF was a model Forum that recognized connections between different issues, encouraged debate, and welcomed all sectors of the social justice movement. (ZNet)

Seattle, Genoa ... and now Florence (December 12, 2002)

ATTAC celebrates not only the incredible turnout of people at the European Social Forum (ESF), but also its significance for the global justice movement. The ESF proved the movement's capacity to meet peacefully, bridged the anti-globalization movement with the antiwar movement, and brought together a broad range of political groups.

The ESF in Florence: A Preliminary Report (November 27, 2002)

ATTAC analyzes the reasons behind the tremendous success of the European Social Forum, which peacefully brought together "mass mobilizations and debates, actions and the building of alternatives." The Forum's strength stemmed from its connection with growing social movements in Italy, a preparatory process that included many European countries, and its heterogeneous participant base.

Florence: A Triumph for the Movement (November 14, 2002)

The European Social Forum "did not just succeed- it was a political triumph," according to the Socialist Worker. The Forum held hundreds of seminars and workshops on a range of issues from globalization and its alternatives to food production.

Activists Vow Europe-Wide Protests Against Iraq War (November 10, 2002)

Although the European Social Forum was billed primarily as an anti-globalization event, "virulent opposition to any US attack on Iraq proved the dominant theme." Peace activists pledge to hold simultaneous antiwar protests in all major European capitals on February 15, 2003. (Reuters)

Half-A-Million March in Anti-War Rally in Italy (November 9, 2002)

Over half a million protesters from as far as Russia and Portugal united peacefully in Florence to express their dissent with President Bush and the war against Iraq. (Reuters)

Anti-globalisation's Appetite for Destruction Wanes (November 8, 2002)

The gathering of the European Social Forum in Florence, Italy symbolizes the regionalization of its Brazilian predecessor, the World Social Forum. Focusing on peace, democracy, freedom and social justice, the anti-globalization movement is shifting towards a less confrontational and more organizational, intellectual movement. (Guardian)

UN Iraq Move Fuels Anger at Italy Anti-War Demo (November 9, 2002)

The European Social Forum concluded with the first Europe-wide antiwar protest. This protest was especially relevant in light of the unanimous Security Council approval of a US led resolution that will send weapons inspectors back into Iraq. (Reuters)

Swiss Turn Out in Force in Florence (November 6, 2002)

The European Social Forum, "the anti-globalization answer to the World Economic Forum," is expected to draw 200,000 people to Florence. Delegates representing NGOs, unions and political parties will discuss issues such as privatization, human rights and the future of the EU. The forum will conclude with a large protest against war in Iraq. (SwissInfo)

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