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Elements of infrastructure:

INFRASTRUCTURE (Steph) How the space of the Forum is organized to support people’s needs and support movement convergence space

logistics, physical access, language access, transportation, health and healing, housing, water, childcare, legal organizational structures, etc.

Synthesis of notes from yesterday relevant to this conversation:

overall the space logistics


- Trust - Conflict resolution - intentionality - comprehensive volunteerism - power shift out of any national/local dynamic - need to have someone who is clearly holding the big picture, the coordination of the parts

the space:

- need a registration/welcome space that is calm and clear (mini-orientation groups with q&a; better way for opening march comes into opening session) (flow) - Signage needed to be A LOT stronger. - Information tables in more places to be able to deal with people's need for support. - need to understand folks capacity to use the whole space we create (is it too much to walk a mile?) - highlight and centralize healing space, healing and safety. includes healing for staff and organizers in the forum process - emphasis on sound - need to address safety in political context of ICE


- need to acknowledge that logistical convergence that was back-breaking and not well distributed and ended up being very reactive; - need to reframe logistics - people still think we're doing it for them and not bringing what they need for themselves


Note from Ife: Notes from the discussion: (i am posting this but there are things that came out in the discussion that are not necessarily reflected in the list under the headings above. i simply haven't had time to go through the discussions again. for the full discussion notes, see below).

Lessons learned:

   * Lack of transfer of fiscal sponsor realities
   * Info/support to decision makers
   * Contracts/big decisions on $ kicks to body (agreed upon, legal)
   * Clearer commitment and expectations of WG roled and work (organizers/managers; stretched between program and management)
   * How to translate political frame to one logistical footprint (medical, water, safety, recycling)
   * Define logistics and plan with multiple team leaders, info. Sharing, coordination, delegation
   * Clear plans and criteria for social forum events
   * No bottled water/when do we call it as not working?
   * Foresight - producing guide/outline by category. Add work by each site
   * People in positions - need to be vetted
   * Documentation - systematic expectations/status
   * Specific positions are on organizing body - youth let childcare, experienced, etc. 
   * Legal team - reviews contracts
   * Documentation related to volunteers 
   * More open/create more entry points
   * Build timeline/past logistics
   * Financial management / separate from logistics
   * Relationships between national/local discussed at every point
   * Information
   * Do we create the systems - housing, transportation, food
   * Depends on who we want to comes
   * Large delegations did their own registration
   * Create more of a place for collective ownership of infrastructure
   * Call out for food stamps to bring to share, with a coordinated plan
   * Children's social forum - revitalized - culture, guiding principles, protocol, how to bring children
   * Shared documentation and planning; process laid out with decisions and parameters clear
   * Establish more comprehensive protocol and/or access, healing, leadership on infrastructure
   * Health and healing maybe should be working group
   * What is distinction between staff, working group, leadership? Democracy, decisions, money, spontaneous decisions and conflicts.
   * Contradictions between logistics and political principles - bathrooms, security, transportation


   *  Securing venue, space, relates to date of social forum
   * Contracts - venues, hotel; processes/divisions
   * Depends on site organizers, offsite organizations, trust, collaboration, expeirence, working together
   * Assumption - less qualified folks in Detroit / race - national people dismissive
   * How do you anticipate need and numbers
   * Timeline
   * Not enough conversations ahead of time - injury, violence, legal difficulties, damages, risk assessment
   * Food would be avialable and/or cheap
   * Working group/NPC would fulfill work during the forum
   * We have had 2 social forums, what is the role of the NPC in infrastructure? How is the local site dealing with this? What are the roles that are possible? More support form outside to innovate and move. Create space for conversation and collective ownership
   * How are we coordinating between low income groups and needs and what they can contribute with local groups and higher income groups? 
   * Encouraged people to bring children, which was good.  
   * What is the politic of the USSF around healing and wellness?  To support the development of groups and protocol 
   * That more had been finalized at the sites - registration, vendors, internet, stages, locations
   * Access - what kind of space are we creating? Communication between logistics and outreach - to recruit more skilled people
   * Marches - how do we integrate children? When and where do they enter? 
   * Medical and health safety - what is a practical political frame. 
   * Organizers could not attend or participate in the healing session because they were overwhelmed. 
   * What role do folks outside Detroit play to support space needs?
   * What is the responsibility for intervention on culture and entitlement 
   * How do we ensure participation of marginalized people? 
   * What is the USSF responsible for? 
   * Physical activity in public space to deal with overwhelmingness  and over stimulation
   * What is the exit strategy? In what condition ought the host city be left in? how do we give back to the host site/people/organizations?


   *  Integrate a political frame and principles with infrastructural decisions and practices. 
   * Relatedly, we need to establish a hierarchy of need and align to capabilities and resources (establish who should call it and adjust) - water, language, resources, transportation, childcare, security
   * The process by which people are selected or self-selected into leadership to ensure that people who say they will do the work or play the role, but who can actually carry it out.  Perhaps create a vetting process for leadership.
   * Recognize the responsibility of fiscal sponsors to sign contracts.  Local coordinator can authorize contracts to a certain extent, however after a certain amount, this decision gets turned over to another decision-making body
   * The position ought to be made to hold the expectation that participants be involved in the USSF (volunteer) and that organizations that have made a commitment to carry out their roles (all hands on deck).
   * Just because you volunteer, doesn't mean you can do the job. 
   * we recognize responsibility of the fiscal sponsor; she/he is responsible for all the contracts. We authorize the coordinators to sign contracts to a certain amount then after that it kicks up to another group. Set up a legal team to review contracts. 
   *  There needs to be clarity on decision-makers - in the movement, in terms of political alignment, among leadership
   * There needs to be advanced thinking and planning on conflict resolution and security as they relate to all members - able bodied, children, families, etc.
   * We need a position on safety, wellness, harm reduction
   * There needs to be a position on access and how much can be worked out. how much of it is the responsibility of the NPC?
   * We need to be realistic about basic needs - what is the capacity to meet needs and wants
   * There needs to be protocol on defining the big picture, while at the same time developing a realistic plan of action
   * We need to show different and innovative position on transformation, wellness, health, and safety. So that what is happening in health, for example is not just service provision, but supports the advancement of the movement building process
   * There is a responsibility of the forum to ensure the participation of priority groups, such as low income people. But this is a political decision. 

Group 1 Discussion

   * How the space of the Forum is organized to support people’s needs and support movement convergence 
   * space, logistics, physical access, language access, transportation, health and healing, housing, water, childcare, legal organizational structures, etc.  To support basic needs. How to support movement convergence space - signs, flow of information and culture is important
   * Questions/Assumptions
   * Maureen - at the '07 USSF, what was the concept used to secure space for the venues? Want to link the discussion to what happened in 2010. Some people went to Cobo Hall for a while but couldn't  get a meeting. Then she signed the contracts on behalf of .  Securing the date has to be done in advance
   * Michael - securing contracts. We also need to look at what happened to the hotel situation. How do contracts get decided?
   * Alfredo - the infrastructure situation depends on the political relationship b/w people who organized in the venue and people involved in organizing nationwide, but who have greater experience in organizing. How do you solve the problems of lack of trust - a comfort level of working together? How do you establish the terms for working together? Collaboration and working together? 
   * Charity - how do you anticipate need? Trying to build housing, space, etc. Holding infra. How do you build out a timeline that builds out infrastructure?
   * Steph - Program decisions were= made that impacted logisitical decisions? When we transferred fiscal sponsorship, it was between Project South and Praxis.  Lack of transfer of what needed to happen to keep fiscal sponsorship in tact. Fiscal and legal responsibility of that sponsor. It's not so much about how much money is being exchanged, but who is held liable.  Who makes decisions around contracts is a separate question.
   * Michael - signing contracts, what is the responsibility of contracts. In '07, there was a lot of responsibility to take responsibility of housing. There is another level - we set a cap that if a contract involves a certain amount of money, it kicks into another body for input or decision-making. 
   * Salima - no individual should be putting themselves out there to take the responsibility for contracts. 
   * Charity - who is the entity responsible? Steph - it needs to be agreed up on and clear. 
   * Maureen - we need to have discussion about a legal body that is in place. What happens if someone gets picked up by the police or homeland security. I started signing contracts for hotels in a year in advance. We need a legal body to review documents being used. Or a trouble shooting team - what could have happened if something was broken at Cobo Hall or if a fight broke out...a risk management or risk assessment team establish early on to anticipate these potential risks. 
   * Corina - people assumed that food would be accessible to all. When the youth found an affordable option, people thought it would be for them. If this is an assumption and a need, we should make sure that the need is met. Also, another assumption I had was being a part of a workign group, fulfilling the NPC commitment would get met; it didn't.  We didn't see the youth who had been working on the youth activities leading up to the social forum at the social forum. In other words, youth committed to the working group wound up being pulled into organization activities. 
   * Louis - the same thing happened on the international working group. I didn't assign people, though. Is there any discussion on getting liability insurance?  Maureen - yes we got it. Steph - what came up was Leftist Lounge, and other venues - were they to be included in the insurance. Louis - is it worth considering insuring against contractual obligation things. 
   * Terry - what happened with youth happened with organizations that had multiple workshops. Even though I was on several teams, I wound up taking care of my own people. You really loose capacity of labor because what you end up doing was not what you agreed to do. 
   * Charity - assumption was that we were operating our political frames - what we had intended to do we would have been able to do.  Lesson: If you don't share your political frames...integrate our logical footprint in an organizing model. We can collect people to fill the spots, but what politically are we holding. We had a commitment to water, but we ran out. What is the cost of it. 
   * Maureen - frustration, everyone locally that participated were unable to attend any social forum. I don't know how to fix it...we were overwhelmed. 
   * Salima - lesson learned is to really define what logistics means. And someone has to be over that, manage that, and put a plan to that.  Everyone seemed to be acting as if they were holding every logistical problem. 
   * Corina - if the people working on the USSF ...what role does national play in the plannign process? Some of the national organizations, perhaps some of their roles can be background. If we are choosing a specific place, there is a reason why they should be a part of the place. Lesson - the leftist lounge wasn't youth friendly. So everyone needs to be considered in the process...
   * Steph - Logistic group multi-team leaders that are communicating constantly. And keeping to the principles. Making recommendations to the larger organizing body.  Want to move toward a position on these issues. How to set up language access, address the needs of we have positions on that
   * Michael - the whole situation about the water. At what point do you say "its not working" and we either have to figure out something or abandon it. Aligning. Strive to achieve political principles. At what point does it get to be unattainable. 
   * Charity - how do we build self-  and collective resilience and take some pressure of the coordinating group. What is the balance between what we hold and what the participants hold. 
   * Terry  - foresight. Having a guide. An outline that has down the categories and then a space to include uniqueness. A checklist that have input from those who did it. Generalized, but with space for development. We should be careful about who we pick. We need to vet in some cases, people in some positions. Perhaps people don't have the ability to work under such conditions. 
   * Ife - systematic documentary process
   * Maureen - there was such inner turmoil based on some folks being dismissive of people of color. Several months were wasted by people who came ot the committee, were insulted and left. But there was nothing in place to say come back.   Locally in the logistics committee. It even took a while for the NPC to come in and appoint people to pick I tup. Just because a person volunteers to take a job doesn't mean they can do it. 
   * Terry - when I came in, we didn't know who was in charge of what. 
   * Corina - if we want it in the program, it should be reflected in the leadership.  If we are saying we want a youth working group, there needs to be someone on the NPC that reflects that group. Lessons learned: there needs to be 
   * Michael - we recognize responsibility of the fiscal sponsor; she/he is responsible for all the contracts. We authorize the coordinators to sign contracts to a certain amount then after that it kicks up to another group. Set up a legal team to review contracts. 
   * Charity - it was overwhelming the stuff that Maureen and Tapeka held. Delegation.
   * Corina - documentation throughout the process, especially from now to the next.  About 80% of volunteers didn't show up.  This is a big lesson learned. People wont always do what they say. But when they do not know what is needed, they don't feel the urgency to do what they say. People in the organizing body to have time to plan past logistics. The youth PMA never happened. Also, there should be an expectation that national people coming to local areas to pick up additional work. 
   * Salima - do we really think that the position of the financial, accountant, should play so much in the role of the logistics. I would look at that. I am collecting money from these places. Should I also be worried about hotel and other things? 
   * Maureen - even though we identified these issues, the 1st and 2nd social forums were great. Part of the reason you and victor ended up doing this - everyone was overwhelmed every moment. The volunteers were here but didn't show up. 
   * Terry - there wasn't enough sifting in the program to consolidate like to like. 
   * Ife - need to establish priorities - and the political bases for their selection - there needs to be a commitment to have a person in that role. And at least 1 supported position in each area. 
   * Alfredo - the definition of responsibility between local and national priorities need to be discussed and decided early on and revisited throughout the process.  I am not sure that 1 social forum in 1 location is the way we should go. Also, the ussf should never sponsor an activity in which young people cannot enter. That should be a principle. How can we build a world without the young people 
   * Charity - we document as we go. We need to record infrastructure operations.  If we had information and contacts up front, we know who is point person on various areas, etc. If you have to wait for DLOC meetings to find out, you will lose time. 
   * Steph - how do people who participate take responsibility for these - how do people think about housing, that we aren't arranging any of this and it becomes self-run.  The opportunity to innovate on flexibility. We were responding to numbers - how do we prepare for it to contract and expand without taking it on. How does public space get activated? If we took public space more seriously. 
   * Terry - if we program only for numbers and have tremendous generosity of large caravans and they are not going into hotels, there should be tiered housing. 
   * Steph - in Atlanta, we didn't deal with housing. Detroit dealt with it. But it was more costly. Do we take care of this? Do we take care of shuttles form the airport? Do we take care of housing?
   * Salima - it depends on where we are. In D.C., there is good access. In Detroit, there is none. 
   * Maureen - being intentional about the groups of people we want to arrive. Still don’t know how many Native Americans that came. We wanted to have a significant amount of people to come. If we want to be intentional about poor people to come or native americans to come, we have to consider how much we want to do? Ask ourselves who do we want to come? What do you need for a particular group to attend. 
   * Terry - we agree that there is a lesson about learning the sites. 
   * Steph - there is a site assessment and political assessment. If the groups we have now to raise the money, then is it the ussf role to raise it?
   * Michael - I see this with transportation, but not with housing. Housing will be needed in every place. So we should separate out the two. And we should make a decision about this. 
   * Charity - this is the same with childcare. What is the level of engagement and by what groups? What is the hierarchy of the need? 
   * Steph - there is still going to be a need. But how are we enabling it? If it is organized by the people, then it stays with the people. A working group was trying to solve everyone's problems - that are reflective of capitalism
   * Terry - we need to recognize that there are security issues with whatever group is involved. 

Group Two Discussion

   * We have had 2 social forums, what is the role of the NPC? I have been told that DLOC is handling this. But in some ways, we never defined the role of NPC organizations outside the local - to support the local. There is a huge disconnect. I would like to help, but wasn't sure how to help.  How do we get beyond quick logistical updates to greater engagement, input, strategizing? 
   * How are we coordinating low income groups - through the NPC, what low income groups can bring to the table to help them coordinate with the local group with logistics? 
   * We could have been tapped more for larger delegations. 
   * Steph - how do we create ways to bring in others, not just the logistics group here. 
   * Tara - the USSF is one of the few spaces that encouraged people to bring their children. But as a parent, I would like to talk about the issue further. Parents who have children that read/write.  Childcare need to be intentional - children who don't read and write, children who can read and write...some parents wanted their children to participate in something. Some parents want childcare. Some parents, however want their children engaged in other things.  
   * Steph - How do we connect our political frames? This information didn't get translated.  Think about how children are in these spaces. 
   * Sha - I assumed that a lot more was finalized than what actually was. Registration, vendors, internet, stage for the plenary, where the childcare and CSS were, Hart Plaza. Lesson - how can the NPC help to be aware of where support is needed. If I knew things were needed in registration earlier I would've jumped sooner. 
   * Cara - guiding principles about childcare.  There wasn't principle about what it means to be families in this space. Political alignment in infrastructure - what is the politic about wellness and safety in the social forum.  The healers were oriented to guiding principles - a political framework. Having some protocol on safety and healing, safety, wellness, etc. what it is supposed to look like within this context. Accessibility - guiding principles around physical accessibility that goes beyond physical access.  Cobo hall, while it was accessible to wheelchairs, it still was way too big. 
   * Tara - communication between logistical people and the organizing committee. Or outreach committee. If we would've reached out to a lot of deaf groups, would they have brought with them translators? Is there an evaluation of the coordination? 
   * Cara - decision making. When it came to safety, security and healing justice. It wasn't clear what decisions we could make. It wasn't clear the relationship between health and healing. If we were clear of what a working group does. What working groups do we need? Who does what? Who makes what decisions? 
   * Sylvia - How much democracy do we really have in the process.  There is a lot of visionary things we can do, but what is it actually that we have to do. Lets get this done/secured and then do other things, if possible. 
   * Jackie - how do we communicate when there is a conflict between logistics and a position that we hold. A lot of people interpreted it as being devalued when some of it was a logistical issues. Also security, medical, transportation 
   * Serena - in the moment, who has the ability to make what decisions. We never clarified how we are resolving conflict that is coming up because we haven't provided clarity. Also, I want to lift up public safety/security. In 2007 we had a group ready to go, but I am not sure if we made headway on this in 2010. so it requires more advanced thinking. We always keep the safety/security issues to the very end.  It has to be talked about way earlier. (position)
   * Cara - Position. Conflict resolution between participants. Also, with medical. We need a position on what we mean by wellness, how we will uphold wellbeing and safety. There was a team of healers on call for staff, but for a large time, no staff come. 
   * Tara - how quickly can the logistics team know how many people are on medication, need accessibility, etc.?
   * Steph - we cant legally ask about medication, etc. 
   * Serena - what does it mean that we have thousands of people registering onsite? And how do we mee the needs onsite. What is the expectation of registrants when so many are onsite. 
   * Steph - how do we intervene of a culture of entitlement - that is us centered. That people can come in and expect that all their needs be met. What parts do we make up for? And what do we intervene in? 
   * Sylvia - it gets back to the issue of capacity. How much people are envisioning and what people can actually do. I think that we hit a number of walls. It isn't just political framing, but some is tied to capacity.   Being realistic about what the basic needs we need to provide just to have meeting spaces that are safe. And what are other things that will enhance the experience. The realities of the bulk of the logistics work and in the location of the ussf.  
   * Steph - we were reacting - if someone made a demand we tried to solve it. We tried too far in one direction without enough political protocol about the entire picture. 
   * Jamie - the tough part is that no matter how much you try to do, people have to make decisions on the ground.  
   * Serena - wouldn't have been good for people to go into a tai chi class. There is something about physical classes to engage in to balance the overwhelming feelings and over stimulation. So as we are thinking about public space, how do we continue to do you expose people to ways to decompress. 
   * Cara - Lesson - we did orientation for medical staff on the local conditions of the community.  Position - what is the position on, in terms of wellness, we want to create a position on well-being. So it is as much about strategy as it is about providing a service. Having integrated teams of a medical person and a healer. 
   * Tara - our marches during the USSF, we have to remind them that children can't walk as long as adults. At what point can children walk in? we have to figure out a way to logistically figure out safety, security and have children involved in the political activities. it was an after moment thought.  The children's march was way too long. Remind them that we have to consider the young people. 
   * Serena - it is a position that everyone have adequate water. What is the responsibility of the NPC and what isn't about children. 
   * Sylvia - it is personal too. At what point would it make sense for people to enter places (e.g. who are you to tell me).  Get the information out early so people can manage what they can. The bottled water - it wasn't a problem to take this position, although there were some challenges - what we want versus what we can do.  
   * Communication with people so that they can make their own decisions. 
   * Sha - there are some things that, once they get figured out, what the NPC role is. And then in messaging, figuring out what people can do. 
   * Serena - the gender neutral bathrooms. This is a position we took, then we have to figure out how to make it happen. 
   * Tara - if we want low income families to participate, there is some financial responsibility of the forum to take on.  I want to make sure it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.  
   * Steph - There is a political commitment to support participation of low income people, but what is the commitment that the USSF should take on? What responsibility for public space? We have some responsibilities because we are fostering convergence. But this is a politcial statement.
   * Serena - this is a huge piece - what is the responsibility fo the NPC versus what isn't. 
   * Steph - It is entitlement combined with the urgency of the moment. Thse are 2 competing frames; how do we balance it out? also, exit points? Protocols around exiting communities. What we are taking and what we are responsible for? 
   * Cara - work brigades are a part of infrastructure. How can they be more stratgegically used to build more infrastructure. 
   * Sylvia - finding the balance between needs getting met and wants getting met. 
   * Cara - what are we asking people to do? There should be some commitment. 
   * Serena - we have to have a coordination plan. We told people to go and it was hit or miss if they could engage. 
   * Tara - There were plenty of people who were bilingual who could've participated with better coordination. 
   * Steph - Work reports coming out of these different areas are really important. 
   * Sylvia - early morning registration it became too much. Create a space that doesn't have a bunch of stuff that is unnecessary. 
   * Tara - a set of principles on handling people - particularly those who do so much work.  People don't think about how physically, emotionally draining. There has to be a process of lifting people up.  We need to have this in logistics always. How do we praise, award to thank the people who made this happen. This is a question on the table.  How do we define youth and then address the needs of the different groups and engaging them in the social forum process. 

Political Programming

POLITICAL PROGRAMMING (Alicia) Oya, Detroit Grassroots Cultural Arts Center Jerome, LRNA Walda, LRNA Alicia, POWER Emily, Solidarity Economy Network Heather, staff Flo, IJAN Victor, Jamala, FRSO Tam, BRU Cara, Kindred Julio Charity David, observer Rosalinda, Washington State community to community Alfredo Lopez, May 1st People Link Derek, New Orleans, People's Institute for Survival and Beyond Louis, SWOP Sara, IJAN Terry, Women's INternational League Methodologies to meet political goals within convergence space incl: actions, assemblies, workshops, public space, open space, activities, cultural integration, plenaries, work projects, tracks

workshops PMAs plenaries culture actions open space youth space tents overall forum agenda

Synthesis of notes from yesterday relevant to this conversation:


(need to acknowledge that program set deadlines and limits, and outreach organized them to lift those limits and extend those deadlines.)

- need to be willing to reject workshops if we accept more. this takes time. need LESS WORKSHOPS - need to understand how many workshops are productive - need to recognize workshop submission is an outreach tool - need clearer workshop outcomes - do/can we have standards on workshops?


- need to look at case studies for which PMAs were successful and why? - need to think about how to create an organizing kit that reflects diversity (allows PMAs to reflect what each community needs at that moment) - need to understand building PMA process in u.s. with our different orientation to movements (we have organizations, not movements) - need a more intentional convergence of PMA work, less individualized. - need to make sure folks aren't creating PMAs as another way to take space - need a better way to share results of PMAs - no more overlapping - need to force convergence - lets get more regional in PMAs (and forums)


- need deepen the analysis of what the plenaries are? - need space to learn from local AND connect local national and international - plenary is a space to learn - the convergence and strategic discussion stuff needs to be a tighter machine that can facilitate this in a more powerful and effective way, thru that internal experience we build the expertise to do this at a movement level - need to stop folks moving thru plenary process with their own organizational/movement agenda instead of an eye towards the whole - need to drive participation into plenaries if we are going to build them


need to highlight cultural movement and media; arts and music

open space:

  • need to be highly intentional about open space. this could relieve the workshop burden, allow more convergence and true self-organization

youth space:

- need better ways to integrate all of the different pieces of the forum, bring youth up out the basement to intersect with the rest of the work.


 * need to Look at the model from  Brazil on the use of tents:  there, physical space was used for  programming that was ongoing; it didn't stop just based on the time  slot.  organic programming continued on and folks could just expect  that.

Overall Forum: - recommend we look at WSF model to build and look at that process with some level of coordination. (at WSF we didn't talk about the connections) in 2010 there was no intl forum, there were 40 local, regional and thematic forums. - recommend that a next forum needs to be a mix of PMAs, working bodies - the cochabamba model, some ground-up platform development to specify what it means to support these things. - need to consider that it is as important for Forum to consolidate as to converge-we need to know what we are converging with or as - How do we match the social forum to the state of the movement in the moment - would we ever organize a Forum without workshops but all organized around convergence and strategic discussion; maybe two days workshops/education/skills building and then convergence and strategic discussion on two days

  • RESTRUCTURE FORUM – culture 2 days/ PMAs in middle/ and then workshops on what to do

- need more space for political debate. are people thinking of Forum as conference rather than convergence; can the national planning committee let go of this, is the movement ready for that

  • need to name that social forum cannot be all things to all people.
  • need to highlight goals much more.
 * We need to do another  consulta: on a) whether or not we got to these goals through this process. on the question of what do  people see as strategies moving forward.  this would help us answer the  question of should we have another social forum and what form should  convergence take?  b) what did this group get out of  it?  How have our organizations been impacted by the USSF process?  We  need to know what people were inspired to do coming out of the Forum.   How has the commitment changed in this room as a part of this USSF?
  • let's do a serious of phone calls that ask some particular questions about what was accomplished and what's next?
  • need Activities to encourage people to come out of their silos

- need regional forums. regional forums! ******** regional forums and a regional consulta to grow the process; Road Show to gather input guidance and buy-in *** - this needs to be an alternative educational space! - need political plan to include after the forum!


need Workshops and PMAs at different times: PMA and workshops were in competition - ended up being competition between sector/organization specific and convergence. need to not have Detroit anchor workshops same day as opening morning need to create an opening space for people to come in and orient need pauses and moments to regain clarity


Lessons Learned:

   * quality over quantity in terms of workshops
   * we need to locate this methodology within a context.  Programming assumes some kind of process.
   * historically, programming has been used in two ways: 1) primary space for self organization and coming into the space as you are and where you are politically.  been fairly open and flexible process with little if any rejection.  if the us or the process we're engaged in wants to change that, we need to talk about the political implications  2) it is also used as an outreach tool.  there are important contradictory pressures being applied on the workshop question (workshop, submission, number)
   * yesterday we talked and said that the social forum going forward should look different.  if we were creative about that, it could take some of those contradictory pressures off.  without knowing that your organization is going to be able to do a workshop, it is often difficult to get people to come to the forum.  
   * this is true if we continue to think of it as a process that we've adopted.  if we were to create a space, what we anchor and tell ourselves about our values will shape how people relate to the process.  it's a political orientation and reorganization which is highly intentional and intensive.
   * quality of the workshps is nebulous; it's almost impossible to tell what the quality will be. given the form that people submit, how can you tell what it will actually be.
   * the needed integration of programming and logistics.  programming depends totally on logistics.  emphasizing total integration because we had information, but not enough.
   * we needed more alignment on program, logisitcs, wellness and safety methodologies.  created different spaces without having alignment.  we learned that there was disillusionment around perceived alignment with health and safety and healing.
   * PMA's made a contribution towards convergence.  We learned that it offered ways for the forum to become transformed.
   * We learned that the PMA was an innovation towards action and transformation; we learned that we could have done a better job around convergence and integration.
   * we learned that the actions were brought from an intentional process in Atlanta; there was tension with national groups wanting to come in and make demands on actions in the local area.  We learned that we need to have an integration of the boundaries politically and security and safety being established by the local area and that being upheld by the NPC
   * We learned lessons around how to deal with the idea of property destruction, and different political tactics.
   * We learned that we don't know how to integrate culture into program.
   * We learned that we have placed lower values around culture as opposed to program.
   * We learned that if we're committed to an open space, then we have to let go of control of what that looks like.  that there is a limit to how much we can require people if we are going to have an open space.
   * We learned that as long as follow this process, that we need to be aware of and prepared for the inclusion of questionable political content.
   * We learned that we need to be deliberate about the logistical questions around plenaries.
   * Those of us who could provide political leadership on political programming were also holding down the logistics on that
   * The lack of political clarity and conversation added to the lack of clarity around plenaries
   * Political cohesion and clarity regionally helped to build momentum and cohesion that goes beyond the USSF
   * There were political networks formed as a result of the USSF
   * We need to start earlier to decide whether or not we will do plenaries
   * We need to have discipline about how many speakers and which speakers, and have some solidity around who; we learned that this is a function of time, discipline, and political conversation (not every movement, region, voice can be represented)
   * We learned that the decisions around who was represented is a political   decision (we wanted to make sure some groups were not over represented or under represented)
   * We learned that we needed to be more intentional about getting people to the plenaries 
   * We learned that we didn't do enough to cohere around the assessment of the moment, and strategies moving forward.  We learned that we did things in 2007 to create more of a synthesis and a sense of strategies and unified narratives
   * what we need to solidify A/V much earlier; large part of logistics that wasn't able to be locked down.
   * we learned we need to have foresight and that we need someone on the ground to help move this; it's more than logistical.
   * social forum leadership needs to make a major evaluation; we're not the leadership of the movement but we are the organizers of the social forum.  the upcoming social forum will be 30K if it follows the history.
   * we learned that we went from organizers to managers



   * did we orient enough around the political goals of the forum itself?  could we have done more to meet those goals?
   * how do we create space to learn from/grapple with the different political tendencies that exist to create clarity?
   * what 
   * assumption: funders did more dinners during the plenaries this time around, that organizations felt compelled to attend
   * were there competing events that contributed to low participation in the plenaries?
   * we assume that some people didn't know that the plenaries were happening
   * is there a relationship between the disconnectedness between workshops, PMAs, cultural programming, and plenaries?  Did that exist in 2007?
   * we assumed that we would attract cultural workers for free.
   * what is political?  what is culture?  what are political discussions?  what are the objective political conditions?  we're missing that information.
   * do we all come together with the same set of expectations around political programming?
   * are we new in the movement or are we seasoned?  how does that related to political programming?  we're assuming about the audience in the shaping and developing of the programming.
   * what are the political efficiencies of an open space and what does that mean?
   * we are assuming that the USSF means the same thing to everybody.
   * is the social forum a learning development opportunity or is it a convergence?
   * what did educational workshops accomplish?  did it get us to our goal of convergence and action?
   * can you programmatically capture the experience of all those people in 5 days amongst 30K people?
   * what is the goal of the political programming?
   * is there a way to do the workshop submission process better?  can we be more definitive about what we think fits in this venue?
   * should some workshops not be allowed in?  should there be firm criteria?
   * can the united states survive alone in the world, or do we require a deepening collaboration with the other parts of the world in order to survive?  
   * here is a practical logistical poltiical issue that comes with contradicting that reality.  how many people can you get into a US city that we can accommodate and how?  how much resources should be involved in doing that?  is that benefit so great that it outweighs the benefit of having movement control, people who already worked together, and the political quality that comes from that?
   * what are the reasons to vett workshops and not vett them?  how would we develop that capacity.
   * what is self programming and what is programming organized by staff? how is the open space utilized and how is it controlled?  what is the level of staff engagement in creating that programming? 


   * There need to be more political discussions ahead of time: we need to have political clarity about who is represented (who should be represented?) and political unity ideally (what should be the degree of political unity?).  
   * We need to have discussion around what open space in the US context means.  Open space should lead to concrete political goals in the USSF.
   * The planning committee needs to plan full time.
   * We need to have more detail and thought into who is responsible for what based on their skills and capacity.
   * political needs to be split up into pieces; it includes class, culture, sex, gender, race, generation, and what does victory look like--for me, it's that i'm for peace after we win.
   * for me, i'm an economist.  we need to understand the economic system as the root of all the isms and systems of oppression.  understand the objective conditions within the economic context.
   * we have differences:  what's the role of the state?  basebuilding and constructing on the ground alternatives? electoral organizing?  different approaches to how we see social change happening.
   * we need to talk about our theory of social change and the vehicles that we're using to get there.
   * we think we need to build power for workers at the worksite and challenge employers at the worksite because thats where they make their money.  labor are the most broad in the country 
   * political programming needs to be deeply grounded in the current political context of where the USSF is being held.  if we are in this political place physically, we also have to be in the political place spiritually and conscientiously.  this is how we should decide on prioritizing and enveloping the political programming.
   * we cannot meet all the needs of all of the different areas that want to be recognized.
   * we did not meet the objective of representing the political experiences of that range of people.  we cannot knock down the number of workshops, because our movement itself is overwhelming.  we have to question whether or not we have a multi venue social forum as opposed to one.
   * the social forum is a teaching and recharging place.  
   * we should never limit the scope of the social forum process in the us.  it needs to be as big and as wide; it's transformational.  when we limit that, we replicate the master's plan.
   * we have to professionalize the process
   * we need to link the question of venue with the broader national and international context; even if it goes to different locations, there are things that we learn and share in common
   * the political programming needs to be within the parameters of the political objectives that we're setting out for the USSF; within open space, the selection of workshops has to be based on their contribution to their alignment with our political goals.  i think we'll need to start rejecting a lot more workshops (i think we are unified that the political goals for the forum shoudl be stopping the progression and impact of neoliberalism--building the power and survival of people who are most impacted by racism and poverty and capitalism and exploitation, etc. towards a world that is based on notions of true sustainability, sharing of resources, commons)  we need to build what that is in a non rhetorical way.  we need to get real about who are the forces of neoliberalism and who is opposed to our agenda.  it gets tricky on the edges of liberalism and it gets tricky with our opponents and their plans.
   * the USSF should be based on the political objectives of the world social forum, which is the creation of that space of reflection, debate and development of new innovative political movement forward.  i agree for one social forum for the nation of the united states because we don't have a unified social justice movement.  if we start splintering, we will create additional silos.  we need to figure out how to do this as a whole. we need to be careful of limiting this and controlling political open space.  it needs to be an open space for polticial debate.  it must be strategically developed based on the concrete political conditions of this country.  political objectives agreed upon needs to be a long term process; we should do regional forums with the goal of building towards a nationwide forum.  then we'll be able to be clear about the objectives. political leadership in the NPC is the only space where we can bring these types of discussions.
   * NPC needs to be able to create the space that we're doing today to cotninue to develop the social forum.
   *  we need to write out what we think.  we need to provide a container.  i am for one venue because logistically to hold so many sites is crazy.  put all the workshops, work brigades, programming within one frame.
   * we need to have people take a position because the programming is overwhelming.  if we can make the programming tighter, we can make the logistical work tighter.
   * we need to have open space to be present in/with humanity
   * any place where we cannot have youth should not be part of the programming.
   * we have to understand the forum in the context in which it is--the United States.  Civil society does not have influence in the state.  Government is in the hands of capital.  i think we are misleading people that they have power over the system.
   * we need to create the conditions for leadership development.  create the conditions for people to take from that what is useful.  in one week, we cannot profess to create leaders, we create the conditions for leadership development.
   * i would like to see a goal for the political programming.
   * i think we should not accept workshops that do not answer specific questions; if we have 14 tracks and we do not see where they fit, and they do not say so, that is an omission.
   * i want it to be clear what is educational and what is strategy?
   * i don't feel confident about making judgements about what works and what doesnt; i want the USSF to follow the WSF position of humility.
   * we have to take on the question in the United States and take on the question of the united states.
   * if we have to collaborate, this is not a structure that will help lend to that.  the multi location proposal comes from the need to collaborate across continents.
   * in terms of the sheer number of workshops, there are logistical implications.  the politics will change from moment to moment.  we need to figure out ways to increase our capacity to do it, and we will have to make hard decisions.
   * we need to have the capacity to have the political discussions on the front end and the capacity to carry it out. how we do that is the question.
   * the political programming at the WSF visualizes the new world that we want to create--i think that should be the same in the USSF.  we should model the same thing.  the political programming needs to visualize our model and manifest what we consider the new world that we want to create; it can't be just workshops that are active live and interparticipatory.  open forums that are participatory.
   * the workshops have to be grounded on poltiical positions of the organizations that mirror our political priorities and objectives on that social forum.  the workshops have become marketing mechanisms for organizations in the non-profit industrial complex.  
   * the parameters are based on poltiical direction and from there an assessment of the moment, goals, etc.  based on that which fronts of struggle are our priority?  this encourages strategic discussion and convergence so much more.
   * the plenaries:  what we are trying to do is consolidate certain sectors and encourage deepening of strategic effectiveness of our movements and convergence of our movements (create social movements in the us); we want to discourage the siloing of our movements and one of the way to do that is to separate workshop space from convergence space.  plenaries are used to advance thinking on key broader movement uestions rather than presentations on issues or topics or specific parts of our social movements.
   * the open space should remain open; it doesn't need a number cap or quota.  i question the plenaries all the way along.  they are used as marketing.
   * there needs to be something that demonstrates convergence.  we would have to make hard choices to say that if a group cannot demonstrate that the workshop is open and will be open and that anytime an intercession can take place, you cannot do your workshop.
   * we need to take the highest level on democracy; not capitalist democracy.  we need to limit the workshops to see if they're methods are capitalist.
   * we are too caught in the fact that culture is performing arts only.  culture is more things; we need a deeper discussion about what this is and how it's part of our movements.  colors, signage, food, language.  we also need to be looking at what we do in terms of raising our capacity to engage with culture.  even how workshops are strctured should be seen as cultural.
   * workshops and presentations must include a cultural and youth dynamic