Engaging and Relating to the next US Social Forum (USSF)
The U.S. Social Forum is both an event and a process.
As an event, it is one of the largest gathering of social change leaders in one place. In 2007, about 15,000 people came to Atlanta. In 2010 about 20,000 gathered in Detroit. During the same week time as the Detroit gathering, the Tea Party had their first major rally in DC that attracted 5-10,000. Guess which event received all the corporate media attention and reports of a burgeoning social movement? I had the privilege to attend both gatherings, which are composed on literally 100s of workshops, cultural celebrations, marches, rallies and actions in the host community.
As a process, the USSF is lead by people of color, women, indigenous people, GLBT people, immigrants and other who are traditionally marginalized in our society. Decisions are made in what are called “People’s Movement Assemblies” (PMAs) – a heavily participatory method allowing for genuine sharing of information, ideas and respect for views in seeking consensus as much as possible.
The next USSF is scheduled for 2015. It looks like it will be in Philadelphia. It theme will be “From Convergence to Coherence.”
The workshop at the Democracy Convention on this subject focused on what took place at both previous gatherings and how we can help build for the USSF in our own communities by organizing local and regional PMAs where we live.
Information about the USSF is at ussocialforum.net
Information on PMAs (including a organizing manuel) is at