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< National Planning Committee | Oct 8-10 NPC Evaluation Meeting Notes Goal Review, Goals 4-5

Goals Conversation:

Asking folks to use agreements that we've been using through this process to be able to help us move through this

Five Goals

1. Create a space for social movement convergence and strategic discussion (Adrienne)

who's here
  • adrienne, ruckus, national co-coordinator of ussf, at info table, plenaries, facilitation of meetings, facilitated the ecojustice, facilitated meetings
  • heather, ien, staff with indigenous working group
  • sara, ijan, pmas and plenaries and outreach (had 200 ppl at our assembly prior to it, about 50% came thru), international
  • rosalinda, CSJ, mobilizing for food sovereignty space with food crisis working group (now transitioning into the alliance). wasn't able to consistently participate in the plenaries committee. had 180 ppl at our PMA.
  • cindy, GGJ, outreach working group, intl solidarity, and during the forum security. we had 1000+ hotel rooms from GGJ
  • sylvia, work relationships w/MWRO, national co-coordinator. started off in more internal stuff - c-team, OC, finance, meeting logistics, moved here to focus on logistics
In what ways did we achieve this goal?
  • rosalinda: the food sovereignty space was totally accomplished - we created a space for strategic discussion and convergence. prior to that, groups on the working group did a lot of mobilization. there was a caravan from the east to detroit. we had monthly phone calls. because of that, all of these organizations came together. if the goal was to have discussions that raise the work to the next level - we did that. especially international - via capesina was there, folks brought in from grassroots international, haiti folks were brought in. had discussions on what food sovereignty even means to us. decision was made to move from being a national group on the food crisis, to being a food sovereignty alliance. i want to lift that up because it connects us to intl movements. it's still going - we're having weekly phone calls, we're going to announce the alliance at the national gathering in ny. a 17-year-old is going to be engaging in this process at a level that - without the process of the forum wouldn't have been as deep or as quickly.
  • sara: there was a coming together of anti-colonial, third world struggles - about 8 different...anti-imperialist groups. palestine, the philippines, puerto rican, and 5 others. at this stage, that was a great coming together. in discussions about that emerged a different kind of forum, a different kind of convergence that could serve this need.
during the PMA process, the synthesis - there was a process of the demands from each pma and synthesizing that. there was also folks from different PMAs who came together bringing their pieces. the opportunity was there for folks to articulate common pieces. that opportunity is that kind of convergence, and is more of that kind of strategic discussion than happens in other places.
the plenaries had that potential and intention, not sure if the format produced that.
  • sylvia: not just the physical space - there continue to be folks who need an excuse to come together to say - there's a legitimacy to our work. to have conversations they aren't getting the opportunity to have. psychologically for activists, the wear and tear u go thru, its invigorating to come together and feel - it's not just me. the reportbacks in portland - it was good to hear all the positivity, the ways folks felt they had connected. folks felt yeah, it was good for us. they needed it, they want it again. it's situational - where you are in the work. so many folks burn out - we haven't figured out good ways to nourish ourselves in the work. but people are feeling like this is something that is good on the whole.
  • rosalinda: even with the food sovereignty tent, we couldn't have done what we did outside of the social forum. the energy happening there helped folks to think beyond what they normally would have allowed themselves to.
  • adrienne: spontaneous convergence during forum; use of open space; a lot of strategic discussion in smaller groups or in one-on-ones; clean air, good jobs and justice for all convergence was really exciting; deep local conversations in Detroit between labor and environment; Zero Waste Detroit Coalition and Teamsters were one of the strongest and most powerful convergences I saw and this convergence continues; PMAs were one of the most powerful ways that convergences were happening; how do we do strategic conversations in ways that reflect what we are trying to build
  • Rosalinda: PMA on immigration reform led by a lot of young folks from Arizona was an amazing PMA. Did a resolution come out? Is there a report back? How do we find out what the outcome was?
  • Sara: The momentum helps with smaller and larger convergences--its a point in a process of buidling organizing, convergence, movement, campaigns, etc. Having a place and a point helps all of us with this.
  • Cindy: Something transformative about people coming together; a vision of another world; has the feel of a reunion; its a point of reference for individuals and organizations. Consolidation of different sectors really happened and was an important outcome.
  • Heather: Tarsands and Ecojustice PMA people felt good about; happy with outcome of Indigenous Rights struggle; feels like more understanding on the NPC of the meaning and orientation of Indigenous struggle within USSF context; feels like a big advance on people getting it and we don't have to struggle for it; more visibility of indigenous struggle within program but less depth and political relevance.
  • Sylvia: spaces felt good and allowed for convergence
  • Adrienne: even healing space is part of making convergence possible; on a personal level it was the healing practice space that kept me going; schedule healing sessions for organizers throughout USSF
  • Heather: March was awesome; an example of convergence
  • Adrienne: Sunflowers were amazing;

In what ways did we fall short?
  • rosalinda: in the food sovereignty tent, it was hard to break away from the processes there to participate in the plenaries - we didn't feel the connection. possibly because we weren't involved, it was disconnected.
  • Heather: step backward in relevance and depth of indigenous struggle
  • Cindy: moving it up from one to two increased submissions; people came because they want to share their work; still many people there to do their thing; too big of a leap for where the movement is at to have only one submission in order to push convergence;
  • Adrienne: how do we get the framing of convergence out; how can we do both and and
  • Rosalinda: some people felt like they wished they hadn't submitted workshops so that they could participate more
  • Adrienne: PMA and workshops were in competition - ended up being competition between sector/organization specific and convergence
  • Rosalinda: 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
  • Cindy: struggle with program on submissions and desire for outreach to engage people and use submissions as a tool; closing off window makes it really hard; a lot people invented PMAs rather than the PMA being an authentic process to build toward convergence or resolutions; to what extent were the PMAs convergence
  • Adrienne: PMA leading up to the forums ended up being USSF info sessions; Detroit is a good model
  • Sylvia: People are still figuring it out; it's hard to do a PMA-takes a lot; its a struggle to figure out how to use the PMA and what to include and not include;
  • Sara: PMA synthesis wasn't necessarily convergence or strategic discussion; need to figure out how to bring it more into this next time around; has to build consolidation and unity; okay for Forum to consolidate
  • Sara: one of the challenges to convergence was the lack of political clarity that then created space for debate rather then convergence (not useful political struggle and strategic discussion-holding ground against liberalism or ultraleftism or even reactionary forces); need to figure out role of forum within unique US context and therefore meaning of convergence, strategy, synthesis, PMAs.
  • Heather: People still think we're doing it for them and not bringing what they need for themselves;
  • Cindy: there are not movements converging-its organizations; synthesis of PMAs is not of social movements; people need to struggle as movements; what does it look like here if its not social movements; int'l people use it as a form of accountability; EcoJustice asked about embassors to go to PMAs to converge across PMAs; we missed the convergence potential across sectors; in Paraguay there were only 300 workshops and it was MUCH less overwhelming and there was critical mass in each; discussions became very deep;
  • Rosalinda: need more space for political debate; there needs to be a lot more of this; isolation of Food Justice tent made it hard to interact or send embassadors; having outside spaces were really valuable
  • Sylvia: Reality to compromises on people getting the spaces they want; expectations were intense; is it too much to ask people to walk a mile;
  • Sara: we need to create/facilitate more strategic debate and discussion-PMAs, major sessions, etc.
  • Cindy: plenaries, opening and closing, PMA report back, tabling, march are places where people come together and this is within the parameters of the NPC; gone back and forth but feel important to bring it together; still haven't gotten used well: we did not get to movement moment (i.e. what do we think about Obama); they didn't advance convergence adn strategic discussion
  • Cindy: on NPC level; we didn't get here either; don't think that we came out stronger with one another; perhaps on more individual org level but not collectively; step back to not have done this in the process; people don't want to join the NPC or work together; feels like a regression
  • Heather: missed mark around cultural movement and media; arts and music got neglected, not a lot of people there; heard good stuff around tech and maybe media but not arts and culture; not integral enough
  • Sylvia: a lot of people didn't leave Cobo;
  • Adrienne: yes, if not integrated then too off; culture too off to the side
  • Rosalinda: NPC is important that we model the process of the Forum itself; nobody out in cultural space and food; really need to think about the state of the movement and we as SJ activists are willing to do and how are we willing to engage; NPIC has impacted on how much people are willing to do full-stop and people's expectations; we have to move our people along;
  • Adrienne: plenaries were strategic convergence but not discussion; role in with their own agendas rather than a strategic conversation about it; vying for roles; NPC membership growth and we are not strategic in how we bring on new members; lack of orienting people and we need to figure out a time period for new members and then an orientation process once it closes; logistical convergence that was back-breaking and not well distributed and ended up being very reactive; NPC never really coalesced a logistics body; then there was a domino effect on the local level--their focus had to be on logistics rather than strategic convergence and discussion
  • Sylvia: exploitation of people, inconsistencies in payments and demands on people
  • Sara: Lack of consideration for implications for who is brought onto the NPC

What are the political implications/recommendations/lessons?
  • Sara: 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
  • Adrienne: we had this discussion but defaulted to the familiar
  • Sylvia: need to think about how to create a kit that reflects diversity
  • Rosalinda: need to allow PMAs to reflect what each community needs at that moment
  • Heather: can we look at getting different case studies; EcoJustice, Detroit, etc.
  • Cindy: convergence across PMAs, limit of workshops on the front end; people could submit up to two but we'd have more rejections
  • Adrienne: Workshops and PMAs at different times
  • Rosalinda: How do we match the social forum to the state of the movement in the moment
  • Rosalinda: In site selection, part of what has to happen is developing knowledge of political status of everyone in the movement in that site; mapping that out prior to
  • Cindy: we did an infrastructure and movement analysis and good to use
  • Adrienne: converge and build movement in Detroit came later in the process; we lost people because it wasn't there in the beginning; we need to get this right earlier next time (the use of the Social Forum to build local infrastructure and convergence)
  • Sylvia: How do we get a registration spece together and create a calmer welcome space? Detroit anchor workshops same day as opening morning; create an opening space for people to come in and orient; better signage
  • Adrienne: Rec on this: we need something for people after they register, like mini-orientation groups with q&a; better way for opening march comes into opening session (flow)
  • Heather: information flow that is consistent and works
  • Cindy: We didn't do deep on politics and logistics and this is the bulk of our work; we had an identity crisis. End of the day, we need to theorize logistics. Everything has implications. This body needs to understand the politics and practice around logistics; division of labor on-site around logistics. NPC has to plan to participate week leading up to and week of social forum. Need clear expectations. People on NPC cannot do programming all four days.
  • Adrienne: expectation and clear direction and division of labor
  • Cindy: How do we deepen the analysis of what the plenaries are? Signage needed to be A LOT stronger. Lack of the division of labor created a lot of tension. Information tables in more places to be able to deal with people's need for support.
  • Sara:
- clarifying what the expectations are for who's on the NPC, orientation, logistical and political leadership AND program and outreach.
- building political unity in broad parameters - whats a political movement? talking about this stuff. IJAN was very controversial for other NPC members, and other orgs and forces were going to those members and questioning their participation in a body that includes IJAN. we need to talk about the implications of that...we represent a confrontation of a power structure that is a great opportunity for movement growth. how do we prepare for that.
- we have to take ourselves more seriously as a political leadership body.
- we have to take stances (have a process for doing so and negotiating that)
- (we didn't talk about our) we need to talk about our opposition, infiltration, the challenges
- starting with the fronts of struggle in terms of who's on the fronts of struggle, the npc should reflect that, the program should reflect that. those building blocks would streamline our energy.
- we need to figure out a process for the plenaries. every local we go to and need to learn from, but then the discussion is what's the relationship local national and international - it's not a given.
- 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
  • rosalinda:
- political discussion needs to be about really building the space. whether we like it or not that means strong parameters. if you're on the NPC there has to be clear expectations and accountability if folks don't come thru. if we want to change this country that's what its going to take. we can't be all things to all people. we go back to the nonprofit industrial complex in this country. there are leaders who position themselves for reasons other than political movement building - it's funding related, other stuff. that discussion needs to happen.
  • heather:
- i remember having the conversation on what the npc should look like, how it should change. i am still a firm believer that it should be dissolved and then designed to represent movement. the npc needs to really deeply evaluate itself as a body. we have a vision for what we want to look like, but our structure doesn't reflect that building. i've been around since before 2007. i have seen things change because we have better facilitation, better decisionmaking. but we still haven't moved.
  • sylvia:
- need to ask ourselves are we creating space for convergence at the local level or not.
  • cindy:
- i think we need to debate the broad tent piece.
- also a model at WSF level - there was no intl forum, there were 40 local, regional and thematic forums. recommend we look at that model to build and look at that process with some level of coordination. (at WSF we didn't talk about the connections)
- i 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.

Are there other goals implied or needed to move forward?
  • Sara: as important for Forum to consolidate as to converge-we need to know what we are converging with or as

2. Advance social movements' agenda for action and transformation (Alicia)

Sha, DC
Tammy, LCSC (will be reporting back)
Sarita, JwJ
Jamala, FRSO
Genaro, SWU
Alicia, POWER (facilitator)
Fred, DLOC

In what ways did we achieve this goal?
  • might be hard to say without the context of what happened in 2007 (Domestic Workers Alliance, Southern Strategies meeting, Right to the City Alliance, Excluded Workers Congress, Solidarity Economy Network.
  • 53 People's Movement Assemblies; had a follow up in Tennessee at the Haley Farm on criminalization of young people and the school to prison pipeline
  • Some things were laid into place; it would be interesting to see what transpired in terms of relationships, strategy, cross sectoral alliances and work. We need to mark what was built
  • Health Care Now national conference is happening in November 2010. Won't know until we attend and hear what people have been working on, but I'm sure that there will be some discussion of the USSF
  • For PPEHRC, several tiers. We had youth come and participate in the Youth Forum happening downstairs. We had folks helping to facilitate the PMA's on poverty and the World's Women's Court. We had all the folks who weren't able to come to the Forum who we met on the caravan and the march through the delta. The forum was a catalyst to meeting them. PPEHRC is also part of the folks here in Detroit too in the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization.
  • Question: how soon after 2007 did these things manifest themselves? Some things happened at the Forum itself; the inter alliance dialogue happened in 2008, which came from the USSF 2007; out of that came the Excluded Worker Congress. For us, it was the process planning for the forum and looking at possible convergence points.
  • Climate Justice Now North America came in May 2010, knowing that there was a Social Forum coming up. Folks are building towards Cancun.
  • For GGJ, between 2007 and 2010 saw an increase of engagement in GGJ post the USSF. People wanted to stay involved and engaged. How to bring different strands of movement together, and looking at areas where we don't have a lot of capacity and look at how can we build the capacity. We easily could have stayed within GGJ with our own agendas, but instead of that, we looked at where are we collectively, and where do we want to be. With the social forum process, i think that it's hard to come out with social movement agendas. A lot of that gets developed outside of the Forum itself, but the process creates the dialogue. That makes me wonder moving forward, is the way that we've structured the social forum going to help us meet the goal of creating an agenda for social movements
  • Social movements already exist and they have agendas. I didn't think it was about creating new agendas. Did we advance those agendas? We should be able to tell more organically. Were seeds planted that grew into other things. From that point of view, I think we can say the USSF contributed to advancing social movements and their agendas for action. I don't see any reason why we would say that that did not happen. To me, yes, we helped. Certainly we did that in Detroit.
  • The people's movement assembly; to understand that as a mechanism, that was huge. it was giving us a different type of mechanism to integrate and lift up each others work. what happened regionally for the south was a way to look at a new politics that transcends borders. the migratory pattern too looking beyond borders helped to advance some new conversations that i hadn't heard before.
  • For us it was unprecedented to have convergence between midwives, doctors, doulas, etc. be in the same room to look at how are we countering violence, how will we transform the medical industrial complex. We're bringing a new framework for healing.
  • Out of that, there is also a movement for birth justice. Birth justice: how to not criminalize new forms of birthing.
  • Memory and trauma is huge in the WSF discussions; in Paraguay, they just had a whole track on memory. Collective memory and resiliency being used as practices. Something shifting that we need to get with. Conversations that are starting to transform our movements.
  • Transformative justice completely new.
  • Caravan process grew from 2007 to 2010. More buses from new places. Converged from new places. California to Chicago; New Mexico to Toledo. We sometimes did two actions in every city that we went. The first step was getting a bus of people together, meeting up and moving together.
  • We also learned how to support local communities. Hit up Peabody--big in St. Louis and also Arizona around mining in indigenous communities. This was a type of unconditional solidarity.
  • Also want to lift up the PMA. The march here in Detroit was probably the largest we saw. Action does unite people. that march tells us that we are part of a unified struggle, even if it was towards Cobo Hall. Being together, yelling with people, holding hands is significant to how we build social movement or transform it.
  • There was an attempt to have a report out on the last day
  • People took a lot of time to take ownership of the process. We made conscious efforts to address things, but there was supposed to be this space.
  • there wasn't a way to theorize social change in a way that would have allowed us to have conversations around the participation of young people in the Forum, or ways to engage in where there is a rub in the movement.
  • promoted actions in a formal way, so that everybody knew that they were happening. Incinerator action took a lot of prep beforehand; Chase bank action has ended up with a lot of powerful ramifications.

In what ways did we fall short?
  • Context: we have been a part of the process for a while from PPEHRC. With the WSF, there were workshops done that brought together grassroots organizations together that normally wouldn't converge. This would have allowed groups to see how they relate to one another. We needed one or two workshops to help walk through cross sectoral alliances that don't already exist. Forgive me if this happened and I didn't see it.
  • I need to see more youth involved. I really didn't see how youth were connecting with the adults that were meeting upstairs.
  • The stories are amazing; we didn't figure out how at the Forum we could say in real time that these different people came together. How are we creating the narrative about convergence? There has to be a way that we do that differently?
  • Plenaries: It was really sad that the plenaries didn't have the participation that they should have had. It was one vehicle, but not the only one. What was it that went wrong? Was it the timing? What was it the form? The thing I heard from people in our evaluations was that we didn't walk out with any cohesive strategy about how we're going to make change, or action steps. People needed that to take the love and hope that they were feeling to make it concrete.
  • Report out on the last day felt like a long list and not so much key action steps that we would all take together, concrete summation.
  • Plenaries: too huge, overestimated the amount of space we would need to help keep the space. We needed to create the space better. We didn't build for it, encourage people to come; also didn't have morning plenaries either where people got the sum up of the previous day, etc.
  • Sound was another issue.
  • Social movement action and agenda was advanced at the expense of convergence. There weren't enough cross dialogue.
  • Interesting the assumptions that we are working under; with workshops, we didn't get enough, then we put out a call for people to do more than one. we thought cobo hall and hart plaza were the same thing; but it wasn't--it was badly integrated. we didn't do anything about that and as soon as realized it, it was too late. we had trouble getting people go to the vendors because of that problem.
  • We felt lucky that the UAW gave us so much space for free, but it wasn't a good thing after all. It all had to do with what would make a good social forum. also with culture: getting free performers, weren't able to pay folks. all of this played out into how this unfolded.
  • Not good to have ICE agents inside Cobo Hall. We need to talk about space, safety.
  • People felt overstructured, but they did what they needed to be doing when they needed to do it.
  • Some of those workshops didn't need to happen; some were not good caliber workshops. there wasn't a capacity to rate them or have any way to tell what was going to be good.
  • Overlapping PMAs: we need to address the duplication.
  • more education with participants about health and wellness; to ensure that people know about it and can have space to learn about it.
  • pauses and moments to regain clarity would have been helpful.
  • lack of political discussions at this level; more logistical. because we were here, it allowed out organizations to lose momentum in building toward the social forum. we fell behind organizationally on that front. if we would have been having those discussions here, the space would have been much richer. it felt like we were just creating the space and not having the political analysis that comes with that.
  • social forum cannot be all things to all people. people need to have something that they organize their workshops around. we are light years from this. i don't think we should be hesitant about putting out some vision about what the social forum should be doing and where we're trying to go. in 2010, i don't think we should be having workshops where there is just talking heads. i know that there is a certain amount of creativity and spontaneity, but we also have a responsibility to have and use our collective wisdom.
  • Trying to merge PMA's but it was too late...if we had sent in our PMAs earlier, we would have had more time to merge; too quick turnaround. Some of us felt like regionally, nationally, how do we merge these and make sure that there's synergy.
  • We didn't add the goals in our program; we needed to highlight those more.
  • some of the actions didn't pull as many people as we'd hoped that it would.
  • we needed to make sure that we were working with unity with the other social movements or forums that were happening throughout the world.

What are the political implications/recommendations/lessons?
  • There needs to be another way for summation to happen.
  • Use technology to help record and summarize what people think and want to happen.
  • Location for health and healing: in the UAW building there were 50 healers there, but they were hidden.
  • We busted our butts to make integrated teams, and unfortunately, that didn't happen. There were a lot of fights. We needed the NPC to put out protocol that made sense politically and organically with another world is possible.
  • Ceremony: the water ceremony was one of the most powerful ceremonies that took place; the way it was placed, it felt a little bit to the side, and this was disillusioning for a lot of us. It was inaccessible.
  • not as many workshops
  • Have more intentional discussions about space and safety.
  • WORKSHOPS: too many!! people fought to have more workshops when it seemed like there weren't enough. there were too many. we weren't able to do that. we tried to create space for collaboration--people fought that.
  • people didn't want to have so much of that structure; where was the space for people to take action together. i think we have to look at the impact of having workshops and PMAs at the same time. a lot of our folks were torn between both things. hard to have people leaving and coming and going. How do we think about the overprogramming; create more reflective time? could there have been a mixture of a cultural moment and a reflective moment.
  • there has to be more creative ways to work through and collaborate and express what we're feeling. places to express when you are freaking out, when you are at capacity.
  • we need a framework for workshops where people need to come with what are the next steps that they are suggesting to move forward.
  • could have been better about encouraging the use of open space.
  • more strategies and systems for conflict resolution for USSF staff
  • needed systematic ways to address stress and emotional physical exhaustion; didn't have ways to intervene on the domino effect.
  • did we need the youth space for all five days? was there an avenue for them to participate with the upstairs? we need better ways to integrate all of the different pieces of the forum.
  • Making sure that we dont just individualize the health and healing; we also need to do that collectively.
  • Need to look at our theory of social change; we needed to push back both ways.
  • 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.
  • this was happening in the basement (related to the above point) if you weren't working with them though, it just wasn't where people could see it.
  • how do we stop re-creating the wheel? a lot of these things came up this time and people fought against it, even folks who were participating in the planning from 2007. how do we deal with the tension between logistics and the forum? how do we deal with this question of conference vs. convergence?
  • support more regional PMA's and forums. More discussion about the thing that's happening on both levels; internationally and regionally.
  • we need to find more ways as the NPC to bridge the gap between being intentional about this process and thinking about the logistics of it. how much are we encouraging convergence (space and groups) to put forward proposals. pushing ourselves to open it up.
  • we cannot be afraid of having this theory of social change discussion, even if we don't agree. through the social forum, this should get lifted up on some level. how does my local work fit into this picture? more intentionality towards fulfilling some of these goals.
  • some of the dialogue needs to happen around organizing and local organizing. we need to address the issue of local organizing. peopel who created the space didn't get to participate in the space.
  • some people were very intentional about centralizing Detroit, some people were not. What are the actions and practices that we're dong and learning from?
  • More time to merge / synthesize PMAs
  • We organized an event in Los Angeles where we showed the movie on Finally Got The News and then had General Baker come out and talk with us.
  • Use technology to anchor future participants in the place and the richness of it. It would have helped to prepare people more.
  • We need to do another consulta on whether or not we got to these goals through this process.
  • We should also do a consulta 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?
  • We should also add to the consulta; 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?
  • are we ready to say that we're ready to practice collective action as opposed to just creating a space?
  • In the USSF, is there some collective sharing back. we could do this to discuss how social movements were advanced; there hasn't been anything concrete after the forum to talk about what's next. let's do a serious of phone calls that ask some particular questions about what was accomplished and what's next?

Are there other goals implied or needed to move forward?
  • we need to trust each other more
  • if we had victory tomorrow, what would that look like? we never ask that question a lot of times. unified strategy and collective actions. how do we become the mechanism for people to do that together.
  • things to think about: Maximum two forums.
  • The PMAs are a part of how we do it differently next time; how do we lift that up more as something that makes sense; therefore it isn't a push and pull between national and regional work. how then can we leverage resources to respond to shit happening on the ground.
  • We needed to have more clarity to make the NPC goals the USSF goals overall. we didn't even have them in the printed program. Give more guidance on goals so that the standard and the quality of the outcomes would be better. it would also lift up the whole social movement.
  • we need to think about what does it mean to translate these goals into the transformation of society. what does it mean to have us say we want to roll together to make some concrete change together.
  • we need a goal of organizations being pushed out of their comfort zones, being pushed out of their boxes and usual way of working. we need to state it if that's one way that we will meet some of the other goals; maybe it's a sub goal. we need some mechanism to help do that.
  • we'd want more formal spaces for people to take action together. in the future, you could really do a lot with that.
  • our goal is to also be able to do spontaneous action. we brought that energy to cobo hall. we need to be able to re-frame it to say that we are ready to take collective action together.

3. Build stronger relationships and collaboration between movements (George)

  • In what ways did we achieve this goal?
  • In what ways did we fall short?
  • What are the political implications/recommendations/lessons?
  • Are there other goals implied or needed to move forward?
USSF NPC Meeting October 2010, Detroit
Goal Discussion, Group #3: Relationships and collaboration between movements—
In what ways did we achieve this goal?
  • MONICA: Portland-- PPEHRC—PMA pre-USSFà relationships and goals set, not much action yet. But relationships have been begun. It’s hard to get continuity from PMA—to move it from a one-off event.

REPORT BACKS—also useful to bring people together and strengthen relationships. National—assembly to end poverty is meeting in Chicago to expand conversation to the larger pool of people vulnerable to poverty (December--1st weekend). New groups have come together there/ expanding beyond PPEHRC. Barriers—competing with time/energy of existing groups.

  • EMILY – SEN—outreach and education goals met. We see gap between protest groups and groups working to build alternatives. We’re working to bridge this gap. Saw some progress in raising awareness. Not much sense of new alliances, but certainly more people were made aware.
(Outside SEN perspective)—Sees lots of bilateral and multilateral relationship building happening in spaces of the USSF. Happenstance relationship building. As a Social Forum—we didn’t build up or support those connections in a strategic and innovative way. I.e., plenaries still kept people in issue silos.
  • MICHAEL: More at 2010 than 07—groups were linking up prior to USSF. For instance, anti-war groups looking to build ties to economic justice groups. Excluded worker groups. Climate justice. Alignment meetings helped get people to come together around shared agendas. Links across these issues were less apparent. One way some cross-cutting discussion happened was when climate justice activists sent rep. to inter-alliance dialogue PMA and other PMAs—to report on what they were doing and to solicit feedback on their points.
  • JEROME: PMA process was good example of movements /orgs. Within a front of struggle coming together. Requirement that 5 orgs work together was good at encouraging this. This was a good beginning; but the last day was an opportunity missed—too little time to bring together 50 PMAs. How can we do more of the sort of cross-cutting conversations across PMAs prior to the national PMA.
This is an example of where our movement is at. We can just create conditions for convergence/coalescence, and it will happen when groups are ready.
  • ADELE: Scale of event was overwhelming for most people to make connections. Can we do scale without overwhelming? Cut down workshops; encouraging more collaboration among groups to organize workshops. Devote part of day to ‘work projects’ actions or practice.
  • EDDIE: AFL-CIO—Encouraged labor activists to go outside their own area of activity. Labor activists also couldn’t commit to action (i.e., at national PMA). Most of the real relationship work had to start before the USSF. How does the NPC encourage more of that relationship-building?
  • FLO: Stand with Us workshop issue forced a focus on NPC internal process and also illustrated the need to build NPC relationships and political commitments.
  • MICHAEL: Need to do more than just build a space.
  • EDDIE: USSF as a space of the left—diversity allows more groups to come—no need for us to agree to common platform/ political agenda. Do we broaden or deepen?
  • JACKIE/ GEORGE: Spoke of local-level relationship building that emerges;
  • MICHAEL: Inter-alliance dialogue—emerged in response to the process; but open space alone won’t suffice.

In what ways did we fall short of this goal?
  • EMILY: We didn’t do enough political work. We need to discuss notions of social change. Political discussions happened just in plenary planning.
PMA—seemed to be useful for generating action.
  • EDDIE: People are coming through their sectors—What makes it happen is the organizations—

Intentionality to process. Different aims of groups coming in. Cross-sectoral dialogue. Can this be part of a plenary session?

What are the political implications /recommendations/ lessons?
  • NPC intentionality—greater sense for participants of who we are. Introduce new members.
  • Expand political conversations and build greater sense of political commitments and visions.
  • Activities to encourage people to come out of their silos?
  • We need to figure out what the social forum is….open space/action…WE need more intentionality to the process.
How intentional can we be without more structure to the process?
  • We need more intentionality in thinking about what connections should happen and work to nurture those. Regional meetings/ initiating cross-sectoral conversations. Political discussions need to happen if we have more structure—i.e., and then send representatives to help carry out organizational work.
  • Political discussions aim for clarity /mutual understanding; not agreement
  • JEN: Notes that world forum took several convergences to realize some of these things….
  • FLO: Process/structure and open space—US Context—can open space concept work here as it does in other countries?

-on point of political clarity vs. political unity—i.e., Zionist question tolerance of racist groups?

Are there other goals implied as needed to move forward?
  • ADELE: US differences –educational system doesn’t offer radical perspectives that are offered in other countries. Our language and educational institutions doesn’t prepare people for this.
  • ADELE: Lessons from the 60s—we’re repeating/ not learning from them.
  • MICHAEL: We could have gotten some feedback from report backs in cities. Ask people where they see the process going.
Alyssandra—World March for Women and staff person for earlier WSF noted that folks in Brazil feel a need to move to new form as well.


  • ”Assembly of social movements”—Bringing together multiple sectors on left—
  • People’s university – project
  • Education of people for movement work // vs. political underdevelopment/ ideology work/ helping people see national/cross-sectoral picture—analysis of issues
  • Political convo: Where we sit? Theory of change?
  • Can NPC help solicit ideas of what people want moving forward?
  • RESTRUCTURE FORUM – culture 2 days/ PMAs in middle/ and then workshops on what to do

  • MICHAEL: Start consultation process- invite local groups to meet /discuss/ and bring ideas forward to NPC by XX date. Not be idle; but let the process breathe.
  • MONICA: Regional support
  • JEROME: Notes that things can change fast; Political conversations need to happen face to face.

Thinking forward to elections of 2012—anticipating > polarization; repression…

People need space or guidance about what NPC/USSF recommends
  • MICHAEL—Road show—to listen more to questions about what the movement needs; Forum goes out to ask what is the vision; how to build movements regionally/nationally/ global
  • FLO: Road show could help foster networks among locals;

Minnesota PMA—helped groups build towards forum and also build locally—strengthen cross-sectoral relationships

  • GEORGE: Need conflict resolution training to help us fight well together/ and Strategy development. What are they going to do in that region.
  • ADELE: Conflict issue—need better training on how to confront and process conflict.
Relationship /strategy links
  • Expanded process link—encourage more use of technology to expand conversation


--Best relations were planned ahead --PMAs/ intentionality
--The USSF activities didn’t have required intentionality to foster relationship-building
--Didn’t take full advantage of the opportunities to foster relations – need more intentionality
--Continued relationships require more shared vision of social change/ strategic outcome—actions


--NPC and beyond—need more extensive political conversations
--Broader national work to expand education/ vision/ awareness of social movements
------Training in conflict resolution
--Other goals: Can’t do same thing—need to do another form of organizing /but keep things in motion.
--Regional organizing/ road show/ PMA / Expanded—Moving outward vs. central single meeting.
--Year-long consultation on way forward collectively