Sunday, July 25, 2004

Day 1: The BSF

Today, Saturday, was the biggest day of activites at the Boston Social Forum, which began on Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday. I said to myself that I was going to get up at some awful hour and make it to a workshop at 8:30am. That  turned out not to be true.

The 'rents and I pulled in some time around noon. The BSF was amazing. Everyone and their mothers were there. I said hello to several Wesfolks. The tabling was so extensive that it spread into three seperate buildings, not only in the lobbies but well into various halls, and this in addition to at least two large tabling areas outdoors. No Sweat had their new union-made sneakers available, and news that they are about to move beyond just the color black. The Red groups were out in force, newspapers and all. And outside there was live music, puppet shows, and of course a large banner from the Beehive Collective.

There were way too many workshops to choose from. Many seemed to be spilling out the door. I went to one by Ross Gelbspan, global warming dude and author of the new Boiling Point, on how we're in pretty bad shape and everything that even mainstream environmental groups are aiming for would still have us all extremely screwed in just a few decades. Great. 
Then I went to one on youth organizing in New England. It was mosty just people sharing what they are doing (well, I had to leave 15 minutes before the end, but I can't imagine too much networking happening in that much time -- you know how these things are), but it was interesting and worthwhile none the less. Lots of people working on lots of cool stuff.


Meanwhile, in the morning, the Black Tea Society had a press conference at the 'free speech zone', about how messed up it is. It had rained a bunch, flooding parts of the FSZ. All the cameras were apparently there to catch it. Code Pink and other out-of-town hot shots joined in at the press conference, and by the evening the issue of the FSZ was the top story on

Here's one of the three entrances to the FSZ:

That's right -- according to news reports, taller people will have to duck to use this one. I'm sure it's a perfectly safe way of exiting in an emergency.

Here we have one of the Code Pink people at the press event:

In an interesting twist, the organizers of a Palestine rally on Monday evening have, last I heard, embraced the FSZ: the decrepit conditions will be used to make a connection to how Palestinians are being treated, and on top of that there's the fence. Clever.


At 10:36 AM, Blogger ertzeid said...

ooh, tricksy palestine demonstraters...
did you see the article about the Bl(A)ck Tea Society in the Globe? I thought it was pretty good coverage... no "A man who calls himself treeleaf..." type stuff

At 11:38 PM, Blogger Beth said...


At 1:43 AM, Blogger bsom said...

Yeah, and my friend Emma was quoted at the end of the article. Unfortunately the Globe gave light coverage to the Social Forum, although other media seemed to ignore it altogether. And the Globe's monday article about the ANSWER demo used 1200-1500 as the police estimate of the crowd, whereas both the NYT and AP use 3000 as the police estimate. Hmm. If they had said 3000, it wouldn't have fit their whole story about how it was way below expectations.


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