The European Social Forum

Sunday, November 16th, 2003

Recently this site has picked up some new fans, showing a particular interest in things French and offering kind words of encouragement (on their “Links” page). This reminded me that it had been a while since I had turned to the French press to see what was going on there.

(Same with the Czech press, it looks like. Hey, if you feel I’m neglecting something I claim to cover, just let me know and I’ll get right on it. This does work – it’s worked in the past.)

That turned out to be good timing, because this week there was something going on in Paris that attracted wide attention from French newspapers but little outside the country, namely the Forum Social Européen (FSE), or “European Social Forum.” Then again, there’s the problem that, even after reading about it from the various on-line journals, I’m still rather at a loss about what to make of it, or even to give a twenty-words-or-less summary description. (You can take your own look if you want, at the Forum’s own English-language website.) “An anti-globalization summit of left-wing political and non-governmental organizations” is what you could call it, a successor to the “World Social Forum” of January, 2001, which convened in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and was meant to be the explicit counterpart to the “World Economic Forum” meetings in Davos, Switzerland, of the rich-and-famous which occur regularly during that time of year. (The first European Social Forum happened in November of last year, in Florence, Italy.) (more…)

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