United States Social Forum

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The United States Social Forum is a gathering of social justice activists in the United States which grew out of the World Social Forum process,[1] bringing together activists, organizers, people of color, working people, poor people, and indigenous people from across the United States. The goal of the gathering is to build unity around common goals of social justice, to build ties between organizations present at the event, and to help build a broader social justice movement. Planning for the first event was spearheaded by the organization Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide with dozens of other organizations from around the United States involved in the process. The US Social Forum defines itself as "a movement building process. It is not a conference but it is a space to come up with the peoples’ solutions to the economic and ecological crisis. The USSF is the next most important step in our struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, multi-sectoral, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement that transforms this country and changes history."[2]

National Planning Committee[edit]

After the 2005 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, the US Social Forum National Planning Committee was created by the WSF's International Council designating the alliance "Grassroots Global Justice" as the core group. The National Planning Committee includes over 45 groups, who oversee the fiscal and political responsibilities of the US Social Forum.[3]

The National Planning Committee for the US Social Forum includes a number of big labor rights and social justice organizations, including the AFL-CIO, Amnesty International USA, AFSCME, Center for Third World Organizing, Indigenous Environmental Network, Jubilee USA, Sociologists Without Borders, and a host of other organizations.[3]

Activities of the US Social Forum[edit]

  • Self-Organized Workshops
  • People's Movement Assemblies
  • Plenaries
  • Work Projects & Work Brigades
  • Detroit Expanded (DEX)
  • USSF Village & Canopies
  • Arts & Culture - Performances, Exhibitions, Film Festival
  • Children's Social forum & Youth Camp
  • International Participation
  • Direct Action
  • Open Spaces
  • Tours
  • Grassroots Fundraising

2007 US Social Forum[edit]

The first US Social Forum took place in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on June 27 - July 1, 2007. Planning for the forum began in 2005.[4] In June 2006, the Southeast Social Forum took place in Durham, North Carolina. One of the main priorities of the Southeast Social Forum was to plan for and build momentum for the US Social Forum.

On June 27, the opening march began at the Georgia State Capitol and ended at the Atlanta Civic Center. Organizers estimated the crowd to be at 15,000 but had hoped that at least 10,000 people would attend.

The goal of the first US Social Forum was to assist in building a movement that will end harmful US practices against all people[5] by helping coordinate local activists into a nation-wide movement.[6]

The National Domestic Workers Alliance was formed as a result of the event,[6] a group working toward a Domestic Worker's Bill of Rights in various states.

Activist librarians from the Progressive Librarians Guild and Radical Reference collected materials that were sent to the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan.[7]

2010 US Social Forum[edit]

The 2010 US Social Forum took place in Detroit, Michigan from the June 22–26[1] in the Northwest Goldberg area.[6] More than 20,000 people attended.[8] Detroit was chosen in part because of its activism in community building resulting from the lack of support from the Federal government of the United States. Organizers hoped that half of the 15,000 participants they had predicted would be from the Midwest.[9]

Organizers planned on supporting and beautifying the neighborhood. Thousands of bicycles used during the forum were to be donated to the residents afterward. Some attendees bought vacant homes that were donated to a local organization after the Forum. The Detroit Liberation Library was created from hundreds of books collected from USSF participants from all over the country and later offered throughout the city.[10]

Supporters of the Forum were encouraged to create Peoples Movement Assemblies in their own communities.[6]

Activists at the gathering participated in more than 1,000 self-organized workshops.[11] One of the most well attended events was a conversation between Grace Lee Boggs and Immanuel Wallerstein.[8] Thousands of Social Forum participants marched to occupy Chase Bank Detroit headquarters, resulting in a national Chase Bank official speaking with church leaders in Detroit about foreclosures.[12]

Progressive religious groups played a larger role in the 2010 US Social Forum than at the 2007 event.[13]

People's Movement Assemblies[edit]

People's Movement Assemblies (PMA's) are informally organized groups of activists to coordinate and come up with solutions to various social problems.[14] At the 2010 US Social Forum,[15] over 200 organizations participated in 52 PMA's with 4 people to a group. In all, 45 resolutions for action were confirmed at the US Social Forum adding to another 24 created before the forum.,[16] including among many others an endorsement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in support of the Palestinian struggle.[17]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Campbell, Eric (April 27, 2009). "Detroit draws 2010 U.S. Social Forum". The Michigan Citizen. 
  2. ^ http://www.ussf2010.org/about
  3. ^ a b http://www.ussf2010.org/npc
  4. ^ Suggs, Ernie (24 June 2007). "U.S. Social Forum is first of its kind for many activists 'We are putting forth a vision'". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta). pp. D16.  (subscription required). Free access at Reclaim the Media
  5. ^ "On New Ground: Liberating Gender & Sexuality". National Radio Project: Making Contact. Season 10. Episode 38. 2007-08-19. Direct link to audio file
  6. ^ a b c d "The Road to Detroit: US Social Forum 2010". National Radio Project: Making Contact. Season 13. Episode 20. 2010-05-18. Direct link to audio file
  7. ^ Harger, Elaine and Kathleen de la Peña McCook. "PLG – “iPresenté!” Report from the United States Social Forum." Progressive Librarian (Winter 2007/2008): 79-102.
  8. ^ a b Howell, Shea (4 July 2010). "Change Gonna Come". The Michigan Citizen (Detroit, Michigan). Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Social Forum to Be Held in Detroit Under Banner of “Another World is Possible, Another US is Necessary”". Democracy Now!. 2 April 2010. http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/2/us_social_forum_to_be_held.
  10. ^ http://amakisi.wix.com/dgcac#!detroitliberationlibrary/czmx
  11. ^ Marc Becker (June 29, 2010). "U.S. Social Forum a Mechanism for Change". Upside Down World. 
  12. ^ Bukowski, Diane (4 July 2010). "Banks Get Paid While Detroiters Lose: USSF March on Chase Bank Leads the Way, Says Attorney". The Michigan Citizen (Detroit, Michigan). Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  13. ^ Niraj Warikoo (June 24, 2010). "Religious groups take larger role in US Social Forum". The Detroit Free Press (Freep.com). 
  14. ^ http://www.ussocialforum.net/pma/
  15. ^ http://www.ussocialforum.net/node/343
  16. ^ http://ggjalliance.org/system/files/PMA%20ActionPlanSummary-FINAL.pdf
  17. ^ http://www.ussocialforum.net/wsfpalestine-solidarity

"PLG – ¡Presenté! Report from the United States Social Forum." Progressive Librarian 30. Winter 2007/2008, pp. 79–102.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]