People’s Movement Assembly Organizing Kit
THIS IS AN INVITATION
for community members, organizations, movement sectors & regions
TO GATHER COMMUNITIES, CONNECT LOCAL STRUGGLES TO BROADER MOVEMENTS & COORDINATE COLLECTIVE ACTIONS!
On June 22-26, 2010, more than 20,000 activists will come together in Detroit at the United States Social Forum (USSF) to strategize about what is happening in our communities, what we want our world to look like, and how we will make it happen. Get ready for the 2010 USSF in Detroit by holding a People’s Movement Assembly (PMA)! PMA’s are community meetings that are happening across the country from August 2009 until June 2010 to prepare for the 2010 USSF.
WHAT IS A PEOPLE'S MOVEMENT ASSEMBLY?
A gathering of people to discuss and analyze our conditions, to come up with demands, commitments, and visions for how things could be different. The PMA is a facilitated space to decide and coordinate, actions that will bring us closer to those visions.
Neighborhoods, Families, Community members, Organizations and their bases, Movement sectors, & Geographic regions.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
People gather based on location (this can be local or regional), or around an issue or theme. Together, we discuss and analyze the issues in our communities. We find creative solutions to our daily struggles. We make commitments to take action. These commitments we put down in word, video, or theatre; we call them Resolutions for Action. The PMA is for the people and by the people: everyone participates, and all voices are included. A PMA can be 3 hours or a few days.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
To find creative solutions to the problems in our communities. To connect with other communities across the country so that we can be a stronger force for change and more readily realize our dreams for a better world! To prepare our communities to participate in the US Social Forum in Detroit!
WHAT’S THE HISTORY BEHIND PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT ASSEMBLIES?
The World Social Forum (WSF) originated in 2001 to provide an open space for all political forces involved in global social movements to gather. It was meant to be pluralistic and diverse. The idea and hope was that only together could we discuss alternative directions for our world and society. The Social Forum grew from 20,000 participants in the first forums to 200,000 in later forums. It has proved itself to be a powerful movement building tool. But what was missing was a plan for action. If we're going to leave the Social Forum with stronger dreams, visions and directions for our world, then shouldn't we also leave with stronger plans for action? This question led us to the Assembly process . . .
A number of community leaders came together and decided it was not enough to interpret the world, but it was also necessary to transform the world through collective action. From these discussions a 'social movements' assembly was added to the Social Forum. The Social Movements Assembly became an essential part of the WSF. The Global Action to Stop the Iraq War on February 15, 2003 mobilized millions and was the result of a direct call to action from the Assembly process at the 2003 WSF held in Brazil.
The US Social Forum (USSF) in 2007, inspired by the assemblies held at the WSF, organized the Peoples' Movement Assembly (PMA). Through the PMA process, we developed resolutions that called for large-scale action in this country. Over 50 groups presented Resolutions on the last day of the USSF. The PMA created spaces during the Social Forum that strengthened and broadened social justice movements across geographies, issues, and communities. But People's Movement Assemblies don't only happen at Social Forums. In fact, the assemblies that occur in Detroit will be all the stronger if communities, regions and movement sectors come to the US Social Forum prepared to share our dreams and collaborate on our plans for action. By holding a PMA you'll be mobilizing your community for Detroit, while connecting your local struggles with those of other communities. When we leave the 2010 USSF we'll be all the more connected, both to our local communities, and to the rest of the country, and thus stronger and more prepared to mobilize for local and large-scale actions. Read on to find out how to hold a PMA . .
HOW DO WE PUT ON A PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT ASSEMBLY?
There are many ways to gather people, facilitate conversations, and come to clear resolutions. The PMA is open to multiple ways of engaging the organizations and movements that decide to participate. The Assembly process is stronger, however, when a diversity of genders, ethnicities, cultures, generations, and physical capacities participate. The PMA is a movement building and organizing tool and is thus an interactive process that places at the center people who have been marginalized in our communities and across the globe. Creativity, innovation, and strong facilitation are essential to a successful PMA. We encourage people to use video, theater, poetry and any other creative method of communication.
To prepare for the Assembly:
1.Use your communication networks and relationships to bring together community members, organizations, leaders, youth, elders and activists who are impacted and working on the question or issue at the center of the PMA you are facilitating.
2.Gather the communities’ best facilitators to conduct the meeting and design the agenda.
3.If you have any questions feel free to contact the people listed on the contact sheet.
At the Assembly:
1.Open the Assembly by setting the context both culturally and politically. What is the question(s) that this Assembly will address? What are the root causes of the problem at hand?
2.Give an inclusive welcome and if possible organize the room, at least initially, in a circle. Establish guidelines and be aware of power dynamics around race, class, gender, age, sexual orientation, differing abilities, etc. Offer historical examples of convergence and assemblies that have been integral to successful social movements.
3.Use small group & large group discussion processes to ensure that all voices are heard. Name the primary issues, craft the visions, and keep emphasis on collective action to achieve those visions.
4.Present the Resolutions for Action and make commitments to next steps to bring about change.
5.Connect to the US Social Forum in Detroit: All sets of resolutions from every PMA will go to the USSF to help build a national agenda for change. (See template for creating a Resolution for Action below.) Invite the participants to join the Road to Detroit!
After the Assembly:
1.Upload your resolutions written and/or video form to the People’s Movement Assembly website and add any pictures or videos that you would like to send from your PMA. If you don't have access to a computer send your written resolutions to the contact address below.
2.Organize a delegation to come to the USSF in Detroit and present your resolution.
3.Begin to take action on your resolutions locally, regionally, and/or nationally.
HOW DO WE CREATE RESOLUTIONS FOR ACTION?
A resolution is a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a group. For the US Social Forum our resolutions are in the form of action and commitments. Use the following guide for crafting your resolutions and the resolutions can be in written and/or video form. If you have a video camera or phone and can video your resolutions we would love to put them on our PMA site so that people all over can see what you and we are standing for and what is moving across the country.
The Basic Template: This template is a suggestion, resolutions can and should be adapted to your community’s process.
Because these conditions exist:
And because these opportunities are possible:
We commit to this action:
And call on others in the US to join us.
Example of a Resolution for Action:
Because job opportunities are not available the military and prisons are the two places where low income people are directed;
And because there are opportunities possible with stimulus money available under the Obama Administration;
We commit to working for a public works program that would: -Employ large numbers of people under 25 at above minimum wage, enabling them to get training and work experience and health care, as well as to survive economically;
-Rebuild the social and physical infrastructure of the country by creating public spaces, building community centers and support programs, establishing community gardens, staffing social justice organizations, creating childcare programs, developing environmental programs, creating public art, etc.;
-Provide a year’s tuition to a state college or university or trade school for each year worked;
-Return stimulus dollars to communities while building people and ways to support their lives
-Replace the options of military service or imprisonment or dead-end employment with involvement in the larger community and a work life that supports people over time
And we call on others in the U.S. to join us in advancing these visions.
USSF NPC Reps:
Steph Guilloud – 404.622.0602 / Stephanie@projectsouth.org
Ruben Solis – 210.378.5699 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Derek Rankins - email@example.com
For more information about the 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit go to http://www.ussf2010.org/