The meeting was facilitated by Alex Gordon (RMT Regional Secretary,
South Wales & West of England) and Maureen O’Mara (President NATFHE). A
Proposed agenda had been circulated in advance, along with the minutes of the
Meeting of Saturday 24 January. Apologies were read out. The 55 people present
at the meeting introduced themselves.
1. Minutes of the meeting of 24 January 2004.
It was noted that the 24 January meeting had agreed that the UK Organising Committee should be
established to make all arrangements to host the ESF in London and that
all appropriate social movements, NGOs and organisations should be invited
to participate. It was agreed that the amendments suggested at the 24
January meeting to the UK ESF Organising Committee statement would be
considered at the next meeting of the Organising Committee. The mover of amendment 7,
clarified that the amendment was only the final para entitled “Add para
11” - please see the minutes of 24.1.04 meeting for the text of the
2. Meeting to discuss proposals to ESF European preparatory meeting
It was agreed that the UK Organising Committee (UK ESF OC) would hold a
meeting during the day on Sunday 29 February to agree final proposals for
hosting the ESF in the UK to be put to the European preparatory meeting.
The agenda circulated prior to the meeting was agreed.
4. Working groups:
All of those who had contributed to the process to
date was thanked. It was agreed that written reports should be
circulated of the work of the working groups established between 13 December and 24
January. It was agreed that the UK ESF Org Cttee would establish all of the
Working groups necessary to develop the process in Britain and ensure
continuity with the work done so far. It was suggested that the formal establishment of
the working groups should be slightly delayed to allow organisations to
affiliate to the committee and consider how they can most effectively contribute
to the process. In the meantime it was suggested organisations and groups of
organisations should take on the specific tasks necessary to develop
the UK proposal to host the ESF.
There was a discussion on venues. It was generally felt that a single venue was preferable, but this and the problem that many are already booked limited the number of options. It was indicated that a provisional booking had been made for Alexandra Palace to safeguard this option - but as time goes on less venues are available and those that are want firm
booking as soon as possible. It was agreed to continue looking at alternatives.
It was agreed to seek to organisation translation on
the basis of volunteers and to work with Babel International to this end.
John Street (Babel Network UK) will work with other interested organisations
To take this forward.
7. Accommodation, catering and transport:
There was a long discussion
on the problem of providing sufficient cheap and free accommodation in
London, with contributions from many representatives of diverse community
organisations. It was agreed to continue to discuss with a range of
community and other organisations re accommodation, to make an appeal for
individuals to provide accommodation in their homes and to approach the London Tourist
Board re commercial hotels, guest houses etc. Representatives of Day-Mer and a
Kurdish community organisation indicated that there would be strong
Support from local communities in providing catering. It was also suggested that
catering concessions might help contribute to funding. It was also
noted that discussions would be needed with Transport for London to assist on the
transport of delegates. The National Assembly Against Racism, Day-Mer,
Globalise Resistance and a number of other organisations agreed to look
Into developing solutions to these problems.
It was noted that the financial constraints on a UK hosting
of the ESF would make it very important that registration was efficient
and as far as possible carried out in advance. This in turn requires a well
functioning web-site able to cope securely with thousands of financial
transactions from registrations from all over Europe as well as the
development of the programme and organisation of the Forum. It was
agreed that the procurement process for a website would be started without delay
and that an email address would be set up immediately. It was suggested that the
ethical practices of the applicant companies are considered. Other issues
regarding distribution lists, netiquette, and content would be
discussed at a later stage.
9. Budget/Fundraising/Bank account:
A first draft indication of possible costs of hosting the ESF in London was circulated for discussion. A robust plan demonstrating that the necessary funds to meet these costs could be
secured would be essential before binding commitments, such as booking
of venues could be entered into. This would include commitments of
contributions from supporting organisations, any contributions from appropriate trusts
acceptable to the ESF, a robust estimate of income from registration,
concessions and other sources. It was made clear that a number of large,
medium and smaller organisations are now considering what contribution
they may be able to commit to hosting the ESF. It was stated that at this
stage neither UNISON nor the GLA had made decisions to commit funds. Hannah
Griffiths (FoE) offered Friends of the Earth’s expertise in working with
others to investigate appropriate Trust fundraising.
It was suggested that funding should also be sought at grassroots level
and it was agreed to circulate an appeal to this end.
It was agreed that setting the right level of registration would be an
important issue to be resolved.
It was suggested that a solidarity fund should be established to assist
The participation of movements from Eastern Europe and SE Europe.
It was agreed that Maureen O’Mara (NATFHE) would proceed with opening a
Bank account and that suitable signatories with standing would be sought.
There will be a discussion with Brig Ougbridge (Big Green Gathering) and
others to take forward the work they have undertaken so far on legal
structures. Legal advice on this will be necessary.
10. Expanding support
It was agreed that a large scale effort should now be made to
Systematically invite all appropriate organisations and social movements to support
Hosting the ESF in the UK and to participate in the UK Organising Committee. A
Number of approaches to this were suggested and Jeremy Dewar, Stuart Hodkinson
(Red Pepper), Naima Bouteldja (Just Peace) and Lucy Ellinson offered to
generate further support. The GLA will mail its stakeholder lists.
11. Liaison with European Preparatory Meeting
The next European Preparatory Meeting was scheduled for 6/7 March. It Was agreed that the venue would be discussed at a later meeting.
12. Office space
It was agreed that the UKOC should seek office space and it was
reported that discussions were taking place with a number of trade unions.
13. Next meetings
It was agreed that the UK ESF OC will meet on Thursdays: 5, 12, 19 and
26 February at City Hall from 5:30 pm-8:30 pm and that there will be a
meeting during the day on Sunday 29 February to facilitate attendance from
Correct record of minutes: Alex Gordon (RMT), 30th January, 2004