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[ 08. May 2006 ]

Declaration of the Assembly of the Movements of the 4th European Social Forum

ESF Athens, May 2006

People from all over Europe met altogether in Athens from Thursday May 4th till Sunday 7th 2006, in order to exchange ideas and experience, concerning their political action.


Discussions referring to the working issues, the immigrants, the anti-war movement, the ecology and the bio-technology, the anti-globalisation struggle, the city and the local administration, the free media etc, are being held within the five organisations settled in Athens:
:: 4th European Social Forum
:: Autonomous Space - Open public ephemeral zone
:: Libertarian Anarchist Antiauthoritarian Forum
:: Autonomous Playground
:: International Anticapitalistic Antiimperialistic Meeting

The decision for the Declaration of the Assembly of the Movements was taken on 7th May 2006 in Athens during the 4th ESF, were different individuals from all over Europe and Africa met under the slogan: :: "Against the regression of the rights, let us act together!"

A personal account from the ESF in Athens

Groups working on migration decided on their assembly on Saturday to call for an international day of action and mobilization on the 7th of October 2006. Most of our demands are included in the declaration of the ESF: for a European unconditional legalization and equal rights to all migrants, for the closure of all detention centers in Europe, for the stop to externalization and deportations, against the precariousness and for the uncoupling of the link between resident permit and the labor contract, for a residence citizenship. A report about the assembly on migrations will follow latest in the beginning of next week, and groups and networks in all countries should start discussing about actions on that day!

Among the 277 seminars on the ESF, there were 10 about migration related topics, which were prepared by our networks. A summary of their results will be put on the lists latest in two weeks time.

On Friday morning, we did a surprise-action in and in front of a police station, where migrants are arrested. It was quite successful, because a delegation of about 30 people, among them members of the European and Greek Parliament, entered the police station and met migrants there. After talking some time with them, they were driven out by riot police and arrested in a bus in front of the station, but because our demonstration and a lot of media people were waiting outside, they had to be released after about one hour.

On Saturday afternoon, we took part in the huge demonstration of the ESF. Among the 70.000-100.000 participants, there was a block of migrants, which we joint to show the importance of migration related demands. It is a pity that most reports in the media are about some incidents which happened beside and after the demonstration (attacks of a "black block" on some banks and hotels, which the police answered with tear gas, even on children of migrants in the middle of the peacfull demonstration) and not about the demands of the really impressing demonstration. I think in Germany we did not have such a demonstration for years!

After all this, I am tired, but inspired by many discussions and actions and hope the ESF was a step forward for our transnational networking process on migrations!

Declaration of the Assembly of the Movements of the 4th European Social Forum

We, women and men from social movements across Europe, came to Athens after years of common experiences, fighting against war, neoliberalism, all forms of imperialism, colonialism, racism, discrimination and exploitation, against all the risks of an ecological catastrophy.

This year has been significant in that a number of social struggles and campaigns have been successful in stopping neoliberal projects suck as the proposed European Constitution Treaty, the EU Ports Directive, and the CPE in France.

Movements of opposition to neoliberalism are growing and are clashing against the power of trans-national corporations, the G8 and organizations such as the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, as well the neo-liberal policies of the states and the European Union.

Important political changes have materialized in Latin Alemica that have shaken the neo-liberal offensive, and in some of them popular mobilizations managed to reverse the privatization process.

The current situation is full of opportunities but also dramatics dangers. Opposition and resistance to the war and occupation of Iraq have exposed the British and US strategy as a failure. The world is facing the nightmare of a new war in Iran. The arbitrary decision of the EU to cut funds to the National Palestinian Authority is unacceptable and exacerbates the whole situation. The oppression of Kurdish people has still not come to an end.

Conservative forces in the north and the south are encouraging a “clash of civilization” aimed at dividing oppressed people, which is in turn producing unacceptable violence, barbarism and additional attacks on the rights and dignity of migrants and minorities.

Although the EU is one of the richest areas of the world, tens of millions of people are living in poverty, either because of mass unemployment or the casualization of labour. The policies of the EU based on the unending extension of competition within and outside Europe constitute an attack on employment, workers and welfare rights, public services, education, the health system and so on. The EU is planning the reduction of workers’ wages and employment benefits as well as the generalization of casualisation.

We reject this neo-liberal Europe and any efforts to re-launch the rejected Constitutional Treaty; we are fighting for another Europe, a feminist, ecological, open Europe, a Europe of peace, social justice, sustainable life, food sovereignty and solidarity, respecting minorities’ right and the self-determination of peoples.

We condemn the witch-hunts and criminalization of alterglobal and other progressive movements in Eastern and Western Europe.

We emerge from the ESF in Athens having made a step towards a better coordination between Eastern and Western movements, with a common determination to fight for peace, jobs, and secure existence. We will promote our agenda of European campaigns and mobilization on the main issues of our common platform developed in the ESF networks.

We need to coordinate our work, to define an effective strategy for the next period, and to strengthen and enlarge our movements.

We call on all the European movements to open a large debate in order to decide all together new common steps during the next months within the framework of the ESF process.

Some very important events are already on the agenda:

  • We will mobilize for a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afganistan, against the threat of a new war in Iran, against the occupation of Palestine, for nuclear disarmament, to eliminate military bases in Europe and we call for a week of action from 23 to 30 September 2006.

  • We appeal for a international day of action and mobilization the 7th of October 2006 in Europe and Africa, for a European unconditional legalization and equal rights to all migrants; for the closure of all detention centers in Europe, for the stop to externalization, for the stop to deportations; against the precariousness and for the uncoupling of the link between resident permit and the labor contract, for a residence citizenship.

  • We will mobilize against the casualization and the dismanting of public services and for the social rights coordinating our struggles in the whole Europe in the next months.

In January 2007, the ESF will meet in Nairobi. The growth of the African social movements is crucial for the world. Building for the WSF will be an opportunity to fight against European exploitation and neo-colonialism.

In June 2007, there will be a meeting of the European Union Council and a meeting of the G8 at Rostock in Germany after the one in St Petersburg in July this year. We will seize the opportunity of these occasions for a general convergence of our struggles.