At the European Social Forum on 15–17 October, AWL members leafleted, sold papers, ran literature stalls, and sought out people interested in political discussion.
Where we could, we took the floor in sessions to put our point of view. That wasn’t always possible: many of the sessions, crowded and with large platforms, took only a small proportion of those wanting to speak from the floor.
We also helped with the No Sweat activities at the ESF, which included a stall at Alexandra Palace; a large seminar at the same venue; a comedy benefit with Mark Thomas and Simon Munnery for Iraqi trade unions; and a street protest at Puma, near Oxford Circus, on the Saturday afternoon.
Many young people who are not confident or sure enough to get involved with the across-the-board revolutionary politics of the AWL find an easier first entry into politics and working-class organising through No Sweat.
But having the AWL presence at the ESF was vital too: when issues came up like the shouting down of Iraqi trade union leader Subhi al Mashadani, it was the organised structure of the AWL and its ability to take decisions and act quickly that enabled us — the only people so to do — to have ready a leaflet presenting a view on the scandal next morning.