U.S. Social Forum Convenes Next June

Submitted by George Friday on Tue, 02/12/2008 - 20:43.

From June 27 to July 1, 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia, the first-ever U.S. Social Forum will be convening. IPPN member organization Project South is playing a leading role in the organizing for this historic event. Below are frequently asked questions and answers about this forum and the World Social Forum movement that has given rise to it.

1) What is the World Social Forum?
The WSF is the largest and most dynamic gathering of progressive organizers, activists, and cultural workers in the world. Under the banner of "Another World is Possible," over 100,000 people have gathered annually since 2001 to forge new relationships through workshops, dialogues, panels, theater, music and art with the aim of building a bottom-up movement to create a just and sustainable world. The WSF provides an open space to envision alternatives to the economic and political plans developed by global corporations and governments at the World Economic Forum - plans that often suppress workers, women's and human rights, and undermine national and Indigenous sovereignty. As part of the social forum process, world regions and nations also organize social forums from time to time.

2) Why is the US Social Forum important?
In the 6-year history of the WSF, there has never been a national United States Social Forum - until now! From June 27-July 1, 2007, the first ever USSF will be convened in Atlanta, GA. This is an historic opportunity for progressive forces in the U.S. to gather as part of this exciting global justice process. We estimate up to 20,000 people will attend the gathering and anticipate that it will be a catalyst for building and strengthening progressive social movements in the U.S. at the beginning of the 21st century.

3) Why Now?
The USSF comes at a significant time in US history. The conservative political right dominates the three primary institutions of the US government. The military is bogged down in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan as public support for these invasions erodes. The disaster of hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal government to respond have exposed extreme poverty in the U.S., deep race and class divisions, and gender violence. Immigrant struggles are growing, while economic crises affect all working class communities. The USSF will provide a process to build a powerful movement in this country based on the organized voices and experiences of those from the grassroots most affected by US and global injustices.

4) Who decided on a US Social Forum?
The WSF International Coordinating Council approached Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) in June 2003 to develop a planning process for a US Social Forum. After several years of investigating how a USSF could be organized, GGJ launched the USSF National Planning Committee in 2005.

5) Who is on the USSF National Planning Committee?
35 organizations currently sit on the National Planning Committee, with seats for up to 15 more. These seats are reserved for organizations representing people of color, women or youth. If your organization wants to apply for the NPC, you can request an application. Organizations are welcome to join USSF Working Groups without being on the NPC. Visit www.ussocialforum.org for more information.

6) How was Atlanta chosen to host the USSF?
The USSF NPC accepted proposals from several cities to host the USSF, and Atlanta was chosen. The Atlanta proposal lifted up the political significance of the US South as the region where some of the worst attacks against oppressed peoples and greatest struggles for justice have occurred.

7) Why the South?
To win nationally, we must win the US South. The Southern site of the USSF marks a new moment in the US movement for social and economic justice. We believe "as the South goes, so goes the nation." These words, spoken by DuBois, ring true throughout US history. The roots of oppression, injustice, exploitation and social control run deep in Southern soil. The US South has also cultivated determined and consistent fights for indigenous self-determination, black freedom, working class and gender emancipation, and human liberation. Hosting the USSF in the US South builds political potency for a powerful movement to challenge white supremacy, imperial domination, gender oppression, worldwide genocide, ecocide, and other effects of global capitalism.
For more information contact National Lead Organizer Alice Lovelace, 404-622-0602, alovelace@mindspring.com or go to www.ussocialforum.org.