January 2004


Snapshots from the Front Line

1 January 2004 Turning up to volunteer at the European Social Forum office on the eve of the Forum, three floors up in an inconspicuous building next to the Stock exchange in central Paris was a journey into the unknown.

It’s time to look east

1 January 2004 The contrast could hardly have been more stark. Tony Blair began his 'big conversation' at the end of November with a 40-minute lecture accompanied by a team of Guardian journalists, a smattering of rolling TV news cameras and what appeared to be an audience consisting of Labour councillors and party members. Two weeks earlier 60,000 young Europeans had been engaged in their own big conversation at the European Social Forum (ESF) in Paris.

A democratic forum is possible

1 January 2004 Oscar Reyes and Stuart Hodkinson were in Paris in November 2003 for the European Social Forum, where they found 60,000 delegates, plenty of controversy and a common feeling among the grassroots that the forum must undergo radical change

Keeping alive this historic opportunity for peace

1 January 2004 The protests against the Bush state visit proved the anti-war movement is still massively popular and that the tactics and identity of those involved are as diverse as ever. Here, Red Pepper prints a selection of the views of those who demonstrated in November 2003.

World Social Forum Charter of Principles

1 January 2004 The committee of Brazilian organizations that conceived of, and organized, the first World Social Forum, held in Porto Alegre from January 25th to 30th, 2001, after evaluating the results of that Forum and the expectations it raised, consider it necessary and legitimate to draw up a Charter of Principles to guide the continued pursuit of that initiative.

The End of ‘Rhineland Capitalism’: Germany at the Crossroads

1 January 2004 In the decades following the Second World War, Federal Germany established a social-welfare state which brought a measure of social security to the broad mass of the population unprecedented in German history. The German model also ranked highly in international terms.

Tony’s big con(versation)

1 January 2004 As Tony Blair's inflatable conversation bounces round the country, there are two sets of voices which definitely won't be heard: asylum seekers and people leafleting working-class estates, football matches, workplaces and colleges to answer the arguments of the British National Party (BNP). Those likely to succumb to the appeal on the BNP are probably not present, either.

Taking the asylum war to Blunkett

1 January 2004 While energetic in campaigning against the specific excesses of government asylum policy, the left has yet to offer any ideas for an alternative programme. Here, Red Pepper aims to initiate a debate on the issue.