Odds and ends – the ESF and protesting against the war
This weekend in London, an assembly of activists was held called the European Social Forum with around 20,000 people attending. There were seminars, 'plenaries,' workshops, etc., on practically any subject pertaining to activism one could name. Whilst the organisation left something to be desired, it was great to see so many people from various factions of the European left and allied ideologies united in one location. Anyone remotely familiar with the wide political spectrum to the left of the Labour Party (and this does not include the Liberal Democrats, who are pretty nothingy really) will know that unity is a very scarce and precious commodity among activists, and, to be sure, there were factional squabbles; however, the very fact that the myriad groups represented even agreed on enough to share and event and a platform is encouraging.
The culmination of the Forum was a mass-protest in central London against the occupation of Iraq. This, too, was generally successful (With anything from 20,000 to 100,000 participants depending on whom you believe) but also somewhat blighted by bad organisation (why we marched over Waterloo Bridge, around Waterloo station, and then back over Westminster Bridge, I will never know). The arguments against the war with Iraq have been so well-aired that I won't reherse them again; I will, however, say that there is a week of action planned for the week beginning 1st November (week 6), including vigils around the country to name the dead in the Iraq war – details can be found on the Stop the War Coalition website. Further to this, there will be a weekend of action on March 19th and 20th next year to mark the second anniversary of the start of the war and to show solidarity with anti-capitalist protestors in Brussels.
Briefly, on domestic matters, there is a Union General Meeting tomorrow at 7pm in R0.21 (Ramphal). The motions concern University disciplinary policy on Cannabis in halls of residence, and Union independence from the University.