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Submitted by marc on April 3, 2008 - 10:15am.
by Marc Becker
Midwest Social Forum Holds Organizing Teach-in
by Marc Becker
April 3, 2008
Over 150 activists from throughout the Midwest gathered the last weekend of March 2008 for Organizing Communities Across Boundaries: An Organizing Teach-in. The weekend sought to build collaborative relationships and develop organizing skills to bridge the divides that segment social justice movements.
A struggle that social movements face is to break from hierarchies and out of “silos” that divide people from each other. Activists need to move from protest actions, which often react against oppression, to developing and presenting visions of where we want to go. Social movements are also moving away from the control of foundations that often limit activism through funding restrictions.
Planning Committee member Patrick Barrett noted that not only are skills important, but we also need to build relationships. Big gatherings are good for gaining a sense of being part of something bigger, but small gathering is designed to help us build relationships.
Submitted by marc on March 29, 2008 - 5:42pm.
Taylour Johnson and Ashok Kumar from the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution lead a workshop on how to organize students on campus. How do we build institutional power structures on campus so that we do not have to keep recreating models from one generation to the next? How do we make our organizations about movement building rather than just being a social club?
Taylour and Ashok begin the discussion by talking about examples from UMass and Quebec of students successfully organizing and gaining their demands. Ashok made a distinction between reformist reforms such as a living wage campaign that gains a specific demand but does not build a movement, and non-reformist reforms that go toward building a movement so that the organizing efforts do not collapse after gaining a specific demand. This leads to the importance of building institutions that will last forever.
Submitted by marc on March 29, 2008 - 4:57pm.
At the immigrant rights caucus, we identified the key issues that we see facing immigrants:
Submitted by marc on March 29, 2008 - 4:09pm.
Over 100 activists gathered yesterday for the Organizing Communities Across Boundaries: An Organizing Teach-in sponsored by the Midwest Social Forum. The purpose of the weekend meeting is to build collaborative relationships and develop organizing skills to bridge the divides that segment the social justice movement.
Submitted by marc on July 4, 2007 - 11:28am.
Ten thousand activists gathered in Atlanta the last week of June for the first ever United States Social Forum. The USSF adopted the World Social Forum’s slogan “Another World is Possible,” and added to it the line “Another US is Necessary.” The week’s events demonstrated the dedication of social movements in the United States to building a new and better world.
The USSF built on the two main issues that drives the WSF: opposition to corporate globalization and repressive neo-liberal policies that leave deep marks on marginalized communities. As with all forums, the USSF took on characteristics of its local host community. In the case of Atlanta, this was particularly notable for being rooted in a history of struggles against racism and other forums of oppression.
Submitted by marc on July 3, 2007 - 2:50pm.
Otros Estados Unidos: la mirada desde América Latina / Other United States: The view from Latin America (June 29, 2007) Also listen to audio of the session.
The Hemispheric Council of the Americas Social Forum organized a panel presenting perspectives from Latin America on the United States.
Alejandro Villamar (Mexico) began the session with a discussion of US independence leader Thomas Paine as part of a radical tradition that exists in the United States. When Great Britain asked the United States to lower its tariffs, Ulysses Grant said it would do so after 200 years when the economy was already developed. Villamar argued for the need to unify around common concerns, to look not only at hates but also to remember that loves are part of a shared history.
Maisa Mendonça (Brazil) examined current strategies to extend trade pacts (TLCs), for example the Plan Puebla-Panama-Putumayo that would extend south into Colombia. This is part of making Plan Colombia an economic strategy that is not only for Colombia but for all of the Americas. US focus on the Triple Border region points to the importance of strategic resources and geo-political positionings. This is also apparent in the issue of ethanol that the United States is using as a way to reshape its image as embracing environmental concerns. Mendoza pointed out that even if all agricultural land was planted for ethanol production it still could not meet growing energy demands. Growing cane for ethanol in Brazil has turned into a new form of slavery.
Liliana Cotto (Puerto Rico) noted how we are unified by a history of racism and imperialism. Puerto Rico faces a challenge of gaining independence now or forever remaining a colony. Vieques creates a strong positive example of a broad-based struggle. To be free, Cotto observed, is to begin to be so.
Submitted by marc on July 3, 2007 - 1:54pm.
Moderator: Marc Becker
Moderator: Marc Becker
Speakers: Janet Conway, Suren Moodliar, Marina Karides, Thomas Ponniah
“The Future of the Forum” is one in a series of panels that the Network Institute for Global Democratization (NIGD, http://www.nigd.org) has sponsored at social forums on the direction that the social forum process is taking. At the US Social Forum in Atlanta, Sociologists Without Borders (SSF, http://www.sociologistswithoutborders.org) and the International Network of Scholar Activists (INOSA, http://www.inosa.org) co-sponsored the session. In order to inform the conversations, we asked the presenters to first read two reflections on the 2007 WSF in Nairobi, Walden Bello’s “The Forum at the Crossroads” (http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4196) and Chico Whitaker’s response “Crossroads do not always close roads (Reflection in continuity to Walden Bello) (http://www.wsflibrary.org/index.php/Crossroads_do_not_always_close_roads).
Submitted by marc on July 2, 2007 - 5:01pm.
1. Forging a Grand Coalition: Opportunities for (and Challenges of) a Black-Brown Alliance (June 28, 2007) Also see my notes on the session.
2. Building Solidarity with Venezuela (June 28, 2007)
Submitted by marc on July 2, 2007 - 4:46pm.
Tom Goldtooth moderated the Friday nite plenary session Indigenous Voices: From the Heart of Mother Earth. He stressed the importance of environmental issues. Patty Grant-Long from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians began the discussion with an analysis of the Cherokee's loss of land.
Carrie Dann from the Western Shoshone then described their long struggle for land rights. She noted that no documents exist that record their land being taken away, and therefore it still rightfully belongs to them.
Submitted by marc on July 2, 2007 - 4:05pm.
Biko Baker of the Campaign against Violence leads participants in the session How to Solve Community Problems by Changing Policies: A Youth-led Teach-In on June 29. A poor quality audio recording is also available.