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September 16, 2008

Making Another Europe Possible

Under the slogan “Another World Is Possible!” more than 20,000 activists from social movements, trade unions and civil society organizations are expected to participate in the fifth European Social Forum (ESF) in Malmö, Sweden from September 17-21. This space has become an important meeting point for social activists across Europe to share their struggles, analyze recent developments, and develop joint actions against neoliberal policies promoted by their governments.


The fifth ESF takes place at an important moment in time: the European Integration process pursued by EU governments has become very unpopular. During the four days, social activists from throughout Europe will discuss alternatives and form alliances aimed at moving toward a social, democratic, ecological and peaceful Europe. The role of Europe in the world will be a key axis of debate, but representatives from social movements and trade unions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the U.S. will also attend the Forum. Several new European-wide networks are expected to emerge from the ESF.

For the first time, food and agriculture themes will have a big presence at the Forum. A broad range of European networks--consisting of farm, environmental and consumer groups--are co-organizing a series of seminars and assemblies to discuss the current food crisis and alternatives. The overall objective is to build a European movement for food sovereignty. Given the responsibility of the U.S. and the EU in today’s failed global model of agriculture and trade, and the importance of building alternatives within these two trading powers, IATP is engaging more actively within Europe.

Collaborating with a diverse range of European-wide networks (Seattle to Brussels Network, Labor and Globalization Network, European Coordination Via Campesina and European Food Sovereignty Network, among others) IATP has helped to organize a series of seminars and discussions on food sovereignty and the EU’s external trade policy. IATP has taken the lead to organize a seminar on the explosion of food prices, as well as one on the impacts of free trade agreements on labor in Europe and the Global South. I will be blogging from the ESF throughout the week.

Alexandra Strickner


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