People are getting organised for the European Social Forum and as far as I could tell from monitoring stuff on the web it seemed like yesterday's meeting at RampART was the place to be. I headed down to London in the afternoon and went to Clays Lane Housing Co-op first to check out the Alternative Housing Conference 2004. The nearest station to Clays Lane is Stratford, a gleaming new white/glass/stainless construction with a large graphic which seemed to proclaim London as the site of the 2012 Olympic Games. Do they know something we don't? I understood that Paris was favourite but perhaps strings are being pulled to ensure that the UK gets it as a reward for being a good little ally and backing the US led corporate invasion of Iraq instead of the uppity French. If London does get the nod then the plan would be to turn Clay's Lane into an Olympic Village regardless of the wishes of the residents. I couldn't stay long, but I did speak to Professor Kayoss (who was there doing a show for the kids) about the possibility of him joining a special ESF Critical Mass.
So on to the main event at RampART. Due to the earlier consumption of some shroom juice, a friend I was with was having problems being underground so I had to work out how to get there by bus (not easy, since I had also tried the juice). First priority for me on arrival was to hook up with some CM people to to discuss plans for the ESF Mass. I missed some general discussion about the changing nature of the police presence at the regular rides but arrived in time to agree to the idea of having two rides on Friday 2004-10-15, one in the morning and one in the evening. The date is not set in stone as it is hoped that the rides will link up with other events which have themselves not been finalised. Once the date is fixed it will be announced on the cm-london mailing list.
After the CM meeting I resisted the temptation to go and chill out somewhere because there was serious business going on, and I was not here just to enjoy myself:-) So there had been loads of meetings going on in rooms on all three (or was it four floors) of the building and it was time for everyone to get together in the main room to hear some feedback. During the feedback people wrote important action points on a large sheet of paper, with relevant URLs, dates etc and I suggested that this information should be emailed to those of us who decided to give an email address at the door. I don't have time to go into detail and I only took a few notes, but I will mention a few things.
A Woman told how a group had just been out subvertising, pasting the text "Global Warming" on a huge hoarding which pictured a scene with six blazing suns. London Rising Tide are planning stuff including a pre-ESF benefit gig to raise funds for action. A guy talked about using the mainstream media by, for example "hijacking" talk radio shows - an idea I had never really considered before. I don't feel that I have what it takes to pull off something like that but I can see that it might be fun. Why not try it - all you need is a some spare time and a telephone and radio. There was talk of a mobile group that would develop a route to tour the ESF, visiting a number of venues in attempt to generate some "cross fertilisation" between disparate groups. Many people are focusing on carnival stuff and someone mentioned the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army. Also mentioned were IFIwatchnet and a film called "Faulty Powers - Don't Mention the Poor" (any one know of a link?) which will apparently be shown at The Other Cinema. There was a brief discussion about whether the "fragmentation" of ESF was positive or negative. There is no easy answer, but it was pointed out that it is much more difficult for the authorities to neutralise a movement which consists of many loosely knit groups acting autonomously. And speaking of autonomy, there had also been some discussion about the Call for Autonomous Spaces.
Once the meeting was over I had a wander round and found some more people I knew. Venus told me about her spot on Resonance FM called "The Sustainable Oil Show" on Mondays at 18:30 (must remember to tune in tomorrow). I recognised Paradox from a poetry night he did with my friend Aidan, and he told me about "GODS & GODDESSES galactic cabaret" he is hosting with Pepper on Yellow Galactic Sun 2004-09-25 (see WaveSpell for details). When I went back into the main room Rhythms of Resistance were in full swing with some inspired Samba to get people moving. There was a lot more music scheduled but unfortunately I had to leave before ten. From what I saw though, this event certainly seemed to have been a great success - congratulations to everyone who took part.
Special thanks to those who did all the hard work, including people from:
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010