Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Build the US Social Forum!
(from Zapagringo)

The US Social Forum (USSF) process may just be our best opportunity in decades to build a broad movement "from below and to the left" in this country. It might not be the Other Campaign, but this ain't Mexico. The actual forum, scheduled to take place next year from June 27th to July 1st in Atlanta, is not the ultimate organizing goal but rather one step in a networking process that has already begun and will continue after the first national forum is over.

According to the USSF website,

Next summer's Forum plans to address four key current issues--the Gulf Coast Crisis, Immigration, Environmental Justice, and War/Violence--throught the lens of white supremacy, local/global economic justice, culture, and movement building. There will also be space for self-organized workshops that fall outside of the four issues, but are still deeply connected to the overarching lens.

The Forum could be an excellent space for education and analysis around the Zapatistas' Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, for networking and strategizing amongst Mexicans and Chicanos in the US who are a part of the Other Campaign, and for those of us who are building the intergalactic network. The participation of poor and working-class people is a central concern of the USSF organizers and it should be for us, who seek to build a left movement "from below," as well.

Project South is the "anchor organization" working to build the US Social Forum as part of the local host committee, the USSF organizing committee, and the national planning committee. Both the USSF organizing and national planning committees are made up from members of the working groups and regional committees. Both individuals and groups can participate in the working and regional committees although only organizations are eligible for seats on the USSF organizing and national planning committees.

Now is a great time to get involved! Join a regional committee, mobilize people to attend the forum, propose a workshop or employ your artistic talent, raise money and resources for the USSF and specifically to support poor and working-class attendees, publicize the forum, make sure that youth are an integral part of the USSF, or just sign up to volunteer!

If you want to get involved but still have some questions about where to get started, Alice Lovelace, the USSF national lead staff organizer, is a good person to ask...

For people in my region, there will be a regional meeting for the USSF Northeast from September 22-24 during the Connecting the Local & the Global Conference at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For more information about organizing for the USSF here in the Northeast, contact Suren Moodliar.

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