People's Movement Assemblies
People's Movement Assemblies (PMAs) begin from the observations that we can build a better world. Working together, we can create a world that respects the human rights of all human, nurtures creativity and health, promotes unity, solidarity and peace, and uses resources in a way that protects the earth and affirms life.
- *Click here for a list of People's Movement Assemblies and contact information.
At this historical moment, there is a growing sense of overwhelming crisis. We recognize that the money and other resources that have been swallowed up by militarization must be redirected to solve human needs – to protect the basic human needs of food, shelter, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom from harm, and protection of Mother Earth, which nurtures and sustains all life.
We believe that we can create a new economic system. We can build an economic system that is not based in individual, corporate, or private ownership and does not exploit people, the planet, natural resources, or living beings but instead is based on principles of collectivity and sustains our communities. We must move aside old systems that have failed and create new ones that serve and are accountable to all people and all living beings.
PMAs are tools to help social movements govern themselves. They provide popular education tools to help groups:
- 1) Develop analyses of problems affecting their communities and the root causes of those problems,
- 2) Articulate visions of alternatives to the prevailing social and economic order
- 3) Develop strategies and commitments to help realize these visions
The U.S. Social Forum builds upon what we refer to as the "PMA process" which aims to integrate and develop syntheses of the political analyses, visions, and commitments that emerge from PMAs around the country (for more details see http://www.peoplesmovementassembly.org/). The USSF supports and facilitates local PMAs with the idea of helping convene a nation-wide conversation about what changes are needed in this country and how social movements might come together in more effective ways to realize alternative visions.
For more details see People's Movement Assembly Organizing Kit
- To get involved in the USSF PMA organizing work,
Peoples Movement Assembly Political & Popular Education Tool
Why a Peoples Movement Assembly? • To begin and deepen our political discussion • To help us understand better the long haul struggle we are involved in • To help us better plan our political work as integrally connected to day-to-day activity and struggles we are already part of • To answer the question: “How does this political analysis fit into the work we are doing on the ground?”
Consciousness, Vision & Strategy Activity
- Small groups (3-8 people depending on size of large group and time)
• Groups will do the following “card” activities and report backs. • After each activity groups will answer the “framing” questions for that section and report back. • Time needed – 3 hours (can adjust times if needed, do as 2-3 separate mini-workshops)
- 2 sets of cards per group and blanks, butcher block & tape (see below for cards)
• Cards represent key elements in society • Cards can be tailored to particular organizations’ needs • Blanks for groups to add anything they think is missing • Organize the cards in terms of priorities indicated below on butcher block paper and post for report backs.
Facilitation: The following Guidelines for working together are helpful to keep in mind when working with diverse groups. Preparing facilitation team for your PMA is helpful to ensuring effective and productive conversations.
- Part 1: Consciousness: Analysis of the way things are today at the root cause of our problems
- Discuss (in small groups if applicable)
- Identify basic elements of society and print on cards that are arranged by groups to show current priorities in your communities and workplaces (30 minutes)
- The 'way things are' --list on post-it notes. Place notes on one wall and have groups report back. Compare similarities and differences, etc. (5 min.)
- Answer questions on root causes of problems and report back (20 minutes discuss/ 5 minutes report back)
1. Who holds power? 2. How did they get that power? 3. What are the most profound impacts of their power on your communities and workplaces, in your campaigns and day-to-day work? 4. Why are the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, and the middle getting squeezed? 5. What role has white supremacy played in reinforcing the power and inequalities seen in our society [DATA]
Recommended- if the group has time, some sort of [ritual activity] to allow group to grieve, articulate and confront anger and hurt, purge...
- Part 2 – Vision: What we want. We’ve won – what does society look like now?
• Organize these elements of society (cards) in the priority we want them in when we have won. (30 minutes) • Post all the “what we want” sheets on one wall and have groups report back. Compare similarities and differences, etc. (5 minutes per group)
- Answer questions and report back. (20 minutes and 5 minute report backs)
1. Who is making decisions about questions that affect your communities and workplaces, in your campaigns and day-to-day work? 2. With these people making the decisions, how are things different? 3. What does economic and social equality look like (in your communities & workplaces, throughout the U.S., globally)?
- Part 3 – Strategy: How will we get from the way things are today to what we want?
- Answer questions and report back. (30 minutes and 5 minute report backs)
1. What is your action agenda to make your vision a reality? Short term, medium term, long term? 2. What strategies do you use to build toward your group’s vision? 3. What relation of forces is powerful enough to change who is in power and how our economy and society are organized? 4. What prevents us from forming these kinds of relations in our day-to-day work and in our movement? 5. How do we overcome these obstacles to build a transformative movement within our day-to-day work? How does our day-to-day work connect to a national movement for transformation?
How do race, nationality, gender, sexuality, age, and other differences impact all of these questions?
2010 Synthesis of results--The PMA process aims to both create spaces where local and regional gatherings can come together to analyze the political context and vision paths towards change and to integrate the conversations held in different PMAs across the country into a larger national discussion. In this sense PMAs are not one-off meetings but rather part of larger, ongoing conversation that leads towards and helps inform a national convening of the United States Social Forum.