The first US Social Forum (USSF) took place in Atlanta in June 2007. Twelve thousand progressive social-justice advocates from all over the country came together to celebrate, organize, teach, debate and otherwise contribute to a growing sense that we need a more fair, just and democratic United States. This year the USSF will meet June 22-26 in downtown Detroit, where 20,000 are expected to attend. Cost is $10 to $120 depending on ability to pay.
The USSF created the forum because it saw a need for progressives and the left to effectively and affirmatively articulate the values and strategies of a growing and vibrant movement for social justice in the United States and around the world. Members and participants saw themselves as part of a new kind of progressive movement that reaches beyond national borders, and practices democracy at all levels.
From the USSF website:
To win nationally, we must win in places like Detroit. The Midwest site of the USSF marks a fierce resistance movement for social, racial, gender, and economic justice. Detroit has the highest unemployment of any major city in the country—23.2% (March 2009)—with nearly one in four Detroiters unable to find work. Michigan has had the highest number of unemployed people in all 50 states for nearly four years. Thousands of living wage jobs have been permanently lost in the automotive industry and related sectors. Some think that it will take at least until 2025 for Michigan to recover from the economic collapse and social dislocation.
What is happening in Detroit and in Michigan is happening all across the United States. Detroit is a harbinger for what we must do in our communities! As grassroots activists and organizers, we work to address the indignities against working families and low-income people, and protect our human right to the basic necessities of life. In Detroit, we can make change happen!
The US Social Forum provides this space—drawing participants from different regions, ethnicities, sectors and ages across the U.S. and its colonies. Community-based organizations, Indigenous nations, immigrants, independent workers organizations, unions, unemployed, youth, children, elders, queers, differently-abled, international allies, academics, and advocacy organizations will be able to come together in Detroit for dialogues, reflection and to define future strategies.
A partial list of workshops:
- How Communities are Building the Domestic Human Right to Housing Movement and Utilizing U.N. Interventions
- Ending all drug wars – stopping racist prison policy against the poor & working class people of color
- Organizing on a Shoestring: Getting the word out cheap
- Fighting for a Moratorium on Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs
- The Militarization of America: At What Cost?
- Feminist Economics: value of care
- BuildTheWheel.org: Sharing Political Education Workshops, Trainings and Resources
- For a Health System based on Equity and Solidarity: Building a Movement for the Human Right to Health in the U.S.
- Re-localization and the Role of the Rustbelt: Young Farmers, Urban Farmers & Sustainable Redevelopment
- “African American Social Cooperatives: Addressing Needs of Women, Youth, and Families for Economic Development and Health Services”
- From Oil to Clean Energy: The Transition from a war-based, carbon-based economy to one that meets human needs sustainably
- U.S. Techie Congress
- CEDESA, Women, and the Mexican Food Sovereignty Movement
- Another Peace Is Possible–Understanding How Militarism Harms Women and Working Together To Create A Women-Inclusive Peace
- Building support for a basic income guarantee
- True Cost Economics: the real potential and problems
- Hip Hop Culture in the Third Space: Building Mind Power Collective
- Single payer Health Care Solution to the Health Care Crisis
- Songwriting for Social Change
- Megaprojects and the Militarization of Mexico
- Homeless Resistance
- Domestic Fair Trade Association: A Movement Based Approach to Fair Trade
- Cultural Space & Community Self-Determination: An East Oakland Story of Radical Change
- Responding to an Amnesiac Culture with Grassroots Social History
- “AMARC and Community Radio around the World”
- Resist the Testing! Transform Public Education!
- Promoting Youth Leadership and Governance in Social Justice Organizations
- Who Says You Can’t Change the World: Just Economies and Societies on an Unjust Planet
- The Social Context of Schools: Building a more liberatory possibility
- Fighting to Defend Public Education in America: Kindergarten through University
- Scholar Activism in the Global Justice Movement
- Rapid solarization can drive sustainable economic growth while preventing catastrophic climate change.
- The Truth Is Not Enough: How to create social change that sticks
- Reimagining Society Project 1: Envision What We Want
- Reimagining Society Project 2: How Do We Get the Society We Want?
- ChainofChange.com: A Multimedia Youth Response to Violence
- Human Rights Campaigns to Build Power at the State Level: Healthcare and Workers’ Rights
- Global Cultural Activism through the Arts