First Anniversary of the U.S. Social Forum

A milestone in movement building
More from the USSF: Listen to interviews and read our impressions from the forum in Atlanta.

Just over a year ago on June 27 to July 1, 2007, on a hot Atlanta summer week, we were making history at the first-ever US Social Forum (USSF)! You were there and helped to make that groundbreaking event happen. What a success it was! We brought together more than 12,000 people from 64 countries and diverse sectors from all over the U.S. and various Indigenous Nations to declare that “Another World is Possible” and that “Another US is Necessary!”

At the USSF we were able to shed light on many of the issues that are most important to our communitie s and to our brothers and sisters internationally—from the Wall of Death on the U.S./Mexico border to the broken levees of New Orleans; from the rubble of demolished public housing to the multitude of new prisons; from hospitals that shut out the poor and uninsured to decaying school systems; from ravaged indigenous lands to toxic sites in working class and communities of color. We also participated in a multitude of self-organized workshops, activities, events, meetings and actions.

Many networks, alliances, collectives and relations were born at the USSF. Many movements intersected with each other like never before, which has made us much stronger and wiser. Since then, we have seen an increase in collaboration, more folks talking about the importance of movement building, and articulating in a louder voice the need for alternatives.

In this election year, we are witnessing an unprecedented movement around regime ch ange, but the war continues to ravage the people, land and spirit of Iraq and Afghanistan, as we approach the 3rd Anniversary of Katrina, there is still no justice for internally displaced peoples of New Orleans, and we have seen an increase in repression and raids on undocumented peoples. So no matter what happens at the polls, it is critical that we keep building our relations, our power to keep resisting and fighting for and building that other world.

Since the USSF in 2007, as your communities and organizations have continued doing the hard work of building our movements, the national planning committee of the USSF is continuing to think more about strengthening the spaces available for the “movement of movements” through different ways, such as supporting or participating in the following:

Americas Social Forum, Guatemala City

From 7-12 October 2008, the third Americas Social Forum will take place in Guatemala City, Guatemala. With themes that range from “Defending quality of life in the face of predatory capitalism” to “Diversities and equalities and the challenges for achieving them,” the third Americas Social Forum will provide space for meeting, dialogue and debate, as well to strategize and plan for innovative actions and campaigns to further their work. At this historic point in time for peoples and countries throughout the Western Hemisphere, the Americas Social Forum will further build solidarity among the people of this hemisphere. Deadline for self-organized activities is August 15, 2008 and to register for the Americas Social Forum is September 22, 2008.

Documenting the USSF

A DVD will be available for purchase on the USSF website this fall 2008. Stay tuned… you might even see your organization or group on the video! It will be bi-lingual and can be used for consciousness raising on Social Forum processes as well as aiding in organizing towards USSF 2010. A USSF book is also being written. The documentation team of the USSF has been collecting different voices, experiences and analysis of the USSF. The book will include information on the vision of the USSF from the beginning; it will highlight some of the different movements that mobilized for and attended the USSF; it will layout some of the internal and external processes that built toward the entire event. Stay tuned to the USSF website for more information on the book in the next year. The USSF website is also periodically updated with upcoming social forum events and archival information. We will also be announcing ways for peoples and organizations to get involved in the planning and building for USSF 2010, once working groups and outreach is initiated.

Vision for USSF 2010: The Journey has begun

As we continue learning the lessons from the first United States Social Forum and look toward building to the USSF in 2010, the National Planning Committee of the USSF has reaffirmed the vision that we seek in order to make another U.S. a reality, we have created an initial living document that will grow and change as we make the journey in the next couple of years. Vision for USSF 2010:

An excerpt reads: “The U.S . Social Forum (USSF) offers an open space and a process for creating movement convergence and coordination across our many struggles, sectors, regions, and rich diversity. The USSF lifts up the voices and demands of working people and youth at the grassroots in building for fundamental transformation in the 21st century. Through the US Social Forum our emerging movement develops and models structures and processes for inclusion, participation, self-organization, collaboration, and collective reflection. The Social Forum process seeks to create movement infrastructure, capacity, and resources. The USSF process can be a space to communicate and educate, organize and mobilize within the broader society, and with our partners in the Global South. We envision another United States and another world, and are deepening our shared political practice and strategy to make it a reality.”

picture of Alice Lovelace
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