A Different Balkan is Possible

When I went to Porto Alegre, attending the second World Social Forum, I was in a rather good mood. Namely, I have received news about a creation of a Balkan based network committed to homogenization of the fight for alternative globalization. The name of the paper in my hands was “South Eastern Europe Social Forum”.


The idea was to establish the coordination of the Balkan initiatives, groups and individuals concerned with the critique of corporate globalization and neoliberal ideological programme. The best way to realize this coordination¯rather the best structure in which this coordination would be efficacious¯is the creation of a “meta-network” or forum structured along libertarian principles which wouldn’t restrict the individuality of groups and persons gathered around this idea. The term “social forum” wasn’t chosen casually: in Europe, the new social movement is organized through social forums, which are assembled on geographical principles. Despite the diversity of groups who participate in these forums, there often exist great ideological tensions caused by aspirations of certain ideological groups or sometimes the very structure of the forum, which commonly isn’t sufficiently democratic. These forums have presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries, and spokespersons. If realized as it was conceived in Kraljevo, small town in Serbia, this forum would be somewhat different: it would have no presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries and spokespersons. It would be an attempt to practice internal democracy through various mechanisms of cooperation. It would not insist on libertarian ideology, but rather on the libertarian principles of operating. It would try to devise systems that would prevent developments that occurred with similar attempts in Slovenia, Yugoslavia and Croatia. The advantage of the existence of the South East Europe Social Forum is very significant: this forum would take part in the international movement, it would avoid unnecessary sectarianism, and it would stop with the practice of individual tourist activism. The libertarian structure and pluralism in organization and activities would avoid the danger of bureaucracy. People engaged would have the opportunity to organize direct actions or they would formulate intelligent critique. It would organize activist-academic anticapitalist universities, schools, seminars, and conferences. The forum would, therefore, be a kind of ‘stock market of ideas’ and a way for various groups to network without loosing their identity, so that they can operate more easily and concretely in the Balkans and Europe.


The most important aspect of the idea of leaving the nuances of ideological and tactical differences behind, is definitely practical: what’s the best way to organize relations between initiatives that would operate within the forum; what’s the best way to solve the issue of democratic coordination of the forum; what’s the best way to secure finances for such an ambitious project. But it is the project worthy of mentioning and working on. It is about time for the groups from Balkans to finally take their place in the global movement.


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