United States Social Forum: It’s Building Time

Marc Becker

Petri Minkkinen

Source: NIGD @ http://www.nigd.org/nan/nan-doc-store/01-02-2007/ussf-it2019s-building-time (external link)

“I would encourage as many people to attend the USSF as possible. My sense is that the USSF will help determine the future of the social forum process. Ironically, in the US we face many of the same problems that we face in Nairobi (lack of finances, fractured social movements, low political consciousness, etc.). If we can organize social forums both in marginal areas like Africa as well as in the "Belly of the Beast," it will demonstrate that this is a strong method of organizing civil society, and that we can organize social forums anywhere.”

Many in attendance of the 7th World Social Forum in Nairobi Kenya were also working on the first United States Social Forum--Connecting? the local to the global! The USSF will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, June 27-July 1, 2007.

How can my organization support the USSF?

Organizations that want to support the USSF but cannot throw down with cash, can go to the website and sign on as a USSF Movement Mobilizer--tell us how many people your organization commits to get registered for the USSF. Organizations that already have a staff person working on an USSF working group or regional committee should go to the website and sign on as a USSF Movement Builder.

Your organization can get your ideas for a USSF program on the schedule by registering for the USSF on-line then access the Call for Proposals, also on the website. You can submit as many proposals as your organization can support. The Program Working group along with help from other working groups will review the proposals and group them according to the themes and purpose.

June 28- programs that seek to educate us and raise consciousness June 29- programs that call us for us to create a vision for the near future June 30- programs that help us shape strategies for change

The Call for Program Proposals is now on the website! Click the link on the left side of the opening page. You can complete your proposal(s) online or download the proposal form in Word and complete to submit by mail. Don’t forget to register before you submit you proposal. What happens at the U.S. social depends on what you want to happen—share some education about what you do, share your vision for a better world, share strategies ad campaigns that will move us to a better way of organizing for change. http://www.ussf2007.org (external link)

I just talked to a couple of the main USSF organizers, and they say that the call for panels for the meeting at the end of June in Atlanta is now on their website (ussocialforum.org). Do we want to think about collaborating on a panel? Since we are not an US-based group, they said that they would like us to work with other groups rather than doing something on our own (and I agree with that). Any ideas about what we might do?

I would like to propose the following topics for NIGD panels or a possible collaboral panels.

1) Political community in North America In this context it would be possible to discuss what kinds of institutional or organizational forms the emerging North American political community could and should include. It could also be possible to discuss in more general terms what kinds of politics are possible in North American context.

We would need to partner for these panels. Who would we partner with for this one? '' 2) Towards North American Social Forum'' This panel would continue the discussion that has been going on and it could and should include discussion in what ways it is possible to foment cooperation between different civil society organizations, building bridges between older and newer organizations and movement in a way that takes into account the social and political transformations taking place at the moment especially in Mexico and the US.

I'm not sure if we are the ones to do this, or if there is that much of a need for it? Or it should be done by (or in collaboration with) a group like Grassroots Global Justice who did a "building movements in the belly of the beast" panel at Nairobi. '' 3) Beyond New Imperialist War Politics'' Here it would be possible to analyse the reasons Bush junior’s administrations new imperialist war politics, including the war on terror and non-white others, which is included in the First Real World War promoted by the new imperialists, and discuss how the Democratic Congress and the US peace movement can end the escalation of war politics still planned by the new imperialists. Naturally this would also contain discussion of the global mobilisation against these policies as well as what kind could and should be the situation in which these aggressive policies have been surpassed.

Like I said, we could do something like this with Historians Against the War, and maybe others as well.