Saturday, May 29, 2010

Globalizing the Resistance: U.S. Social Forum 2010, June 22-26 in Detroit

Ms. Elliot is coauthor of the best-seller, The Manchurian President.
The book is conclusive, but the story advances upon us.

by Brenda J. Elliot, in RBO / Real Barack Obama

The U.S. Social Forum meets June 22-26, 2010, in Detroit, Michigan, where “Tens of thousands of progressive activists are expected to attend.”
    Detroit was chosen as the site for the 2010 USSF because it is considered ground zero of the current capitalist economic crisis with record levels of foreclosures, evictions, utility shutoffs, unemployment and police terror. Detroit also has a long history of progressive and revolutionary struggle, which the organizations participating in the USSF are intent on building on to bring a better world into birth.

Globalizing the Resistance

What should be of great concern is the USSF goal to globalize resistance:

    A global movement is rising. The USSF is our opportunity to prepare and meet it! The World Social Forum (WSF) has become an important symbol of global movement convergence and the development of alternatives to the dominant paradigm. Over the past nine years, the WSF has gathered the world’s workers, peasants, youth, women, and oppressed peoples to construct a counter-vision to the economic and political elites of the World Economic Forum held annually [since 2001] in Davos, Switzerland.

The 2010 World Social Forum (Forum Social Mundial) held January 25-29 at Porto Alegre, Brazil, called for social revolution (emphasis added):

    We need another society, another economy, a new relation between humanity and the Earth and a more radical democracy.

    All over 2010, everywhere in the world, we will meet to strengthen our alternative responses to the global crises, to involve new actors, to mobilize new social energies, to challenge the existing power.

However, Chico Whitaker, one of the World Social Forum founders, told IPS reporter Mario Osava (emphasis added):

    [It] is a mechanism, “an instrument to unite people. The Forum will not change the world; it is up to society to do that, through a multifaceted global justice movement,” added Whitaker, who rejects the label “movement of movements” for the WSF because it sounds too directive, like a political party. [...]

    Thinking in the United States has changed since the advent [in June 2000] of the WSF, and this will be reflected in the second national Forum, to be held in July in Detroit, a symbol of the country’s way of life. And the WSF has also accelerated development of a “solidarity economy,” Whitaker said.

    Changing the world is the WSF’s goal, without dictating “perfectly finished models, or a single strategy” as a fait accompli, while demanding changes “at all levels, including personal change,” he said.

Socialist Speak

Note the use throughout of “Socialist Speak”. For example, progressive = socialist. It is the U.S. Social Forum, a gathering of members of numerous international socialist groups, including a number of “unions, coalitions, federations and workers’ centers.”

The USSF 2010 website employs “movement.” The Forum is to serve as a “movement-building” event.

    It is not a conference but it is a space to come up with the peoples’ solutions to the economic and ecological crisis. The USSF is [an] important step in our struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, multi-sectoral, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement that transforms this country and changes history.

The Forum will “come up with the peoples’ solutions”: peoples denotes socialism. (For a clear explanation, comparing socialism to capitalism, see James Ostrowski’s June 2003 Why Socialism Is the People’s Choice.)

Large Presence: Unions and Youth

by Brenda J. Elliot, RBO (link to original post)

Unions will play a prominent role at the Forum. There will be about “70 labor-themed workshops” and labor will have a “large presence at the opening march on June 22.”

Another group to have a “large presence” at the Forum will be the youth-oriented, “revolutionary, socialist-oriented Fight Imperialism, Stand Together or FIST.” (See RBO’s January 2010 article, Cultural Marxism: FIST (Fight Imperialism Stand Together).)

    FIST will be co-hosting a workshop along with the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal on building a new youth organization in defense of Mumia. An entire decade of youth has grown up without mass consciousness about the implications of Mumia’s case, and we are organizing to counteract that and expose the roots of racism, the role of the police, police brutality and repression of groups fighting for national liberation,” Dante Strobino, a FIST leader from North Carolina, told Workers World.

(FYI: The Free Mumia Movement [is] a Project of Van Jones’ Ella Baker Center.)

FIST was involved in the March 4 National Day of Action to Defend Public Education. (See RBO’s article, Hard Left: March 4 Day of Action and Strike in Defense of Public Education, for details.)

Dante Strobino, a FIST leader from North Carolina, told Workers World, the online organ of the socialist Workers World Party: “We see the USSF as a crucial moment to meet young people in motion and introduce them to socialism and to raise fundamental questions that challenge the entire foundation of our current capitalist system that has wrecked so many people’s lives.”

Planning 2007 for 2010

Tara Lohan wrote June 1, 2007, at AlterNet:

    In 2003 the World Social Forum International Coordinating Committee asked Grassroots Global Justice to begin to formulate a plan for a U.S. forum. Today, there are 35 organizations currently on the National Planning Committee, which will grow to include 50 organizations.

Planning for the event was reported in a July 4, 2007 blog post by marc. While at the Midwest Social Forum on the first U.S. Social Forum held the last week in June in Atlanta and attended by about 10,000, marc wrote:

    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. [...]

    Lead organizers of the USSF (Project South and Grassroots Global Justice) consciously and deliberately organized the forum out of communities of color. It took time and effort and at points was a painful experience, but the result was one of the most participatory, horizontal, and grassroots forums in history. Skeptics wondered whether a forum could be successfully held in the heart of the empire, but rooting the forum in local community struggles provides a challenge and model for other forums to follow.

Note: The 2003 Another World is Possible: Popular alternatives to Globalization at the World Social Forum by William F. Fisher and Thomas Ponniah is available online as a Google book, as is the 2005 World Social Forum. Strategies of Resistance by José Corrêa Leite and Carolina Gil.

National Planning Committee 2007 for 2010

The 2007 U.S. Social Forum’s website for the National Planning Committee lists a number of organizations.

  • 50 Years is Enough NetworkU.S. Network for Global Economic Justice (USNGEJ): “coalition of over 200 U.S. grassroots, women’s, solidarity, faith-based, policy, social- and economic-justice, youth, labor and development organizations dedicated to the profound transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”
  • American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
  • Center for Social Justice (CSJ).
  • Center for Third World Organizing (CWTO).
  • Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), AFL-CIO, describes itself as “both a social movement and a labor union.”
  • Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJA).
  • The Independent Progressive Politics Network .
  • Jobs with Justice (JwJ).
  • Labor / Community Strategy Center (LCSC).
  • National Network for Immigration and Refugee Rights (NNIRR).
  • Miami Workers Center (MWC).
  • NYC AIDS Housing Network (NYCAHN).
  • People Organized to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER).
  • People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER).
  • Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC).
  • The Praxis Project.
  • Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty & Genocide.
  • The Ruckus Society.
  • St. Peter’s Housing Committee.
  • SEIU.
  • Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective.
  • Socialists Without Borders.
  • SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP).
  • Southwest Workers Union (SWU).
  • United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS).

    National Planning Committee 2010

    Fastforward to January 2009, when, on behalf of the USSF National Planning Committee, Alice Lovelace, USSF, Cindy Wiesner, GGJA, and Josué Guillén, The Praxis Project, announced that Detroit, Michigan will host the 2010 U.S. Social Forum.

    The Detroit Greens, a local of the Green Party of Michigan, announced five organizations to serve as local anchors for the process: El Centro Obrero de Detroit, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and South Eastern Michigan Jobs With Justice.

    STORM-Van Jones Connections

    The following individuals are either associated with USSF organizations or with groups discussed in RBO’s April 2009 STORM Stories series — and to avowed STORM communist leader, POTUS Obama’s former “Green Jobs Czar”, Van Jones.

    Danielle Mahones, executive director at USSF member Center for Third World Organizing, is a board member of SOUL (School of Unity and Liberation).

    Maria Poblet is affiliated with USSF member St. Peter’s Housing Committee.

    Frances Fox Piven, widow of Richard Cloward with whom she co-authored the Cloward-Piven Strategy, is affiliated with USSF member Socialists Without Borders.

    There are a number of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance member organizations, as well as members of GGJA’s Coordinating Committee, that include names and/or groups which may be found in RBO’s previous “STORM Storie” articles:

  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network (Mei-ying Williams)
  • CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities (Ai-jen Poo)
  • Domestic Workers United (Ai-jen Poo, Marisa Franco)
  • Jobs for Justice (NY – Cindy Wiesner, Ilana Berger, Paul Booth (here)
  • Just Cause (Oakland – Adam Gold)
  • Labor/Community Strategy Center (Jaron Browne)
  • Miami Workers Center (Cindy Wiesner)
  • POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights) (Steve Williams, Jaron Browne, Cindy Wiesner, Marisa Franco, Ilana Berger)

  • And I like the quotes. Marxists use words funny, don't they? - I.O.

    1 comment:

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