Frequently Asked Questions
What is the World Social Forum anyway?
Under the banner of ‘Another World is Possible,’ tens of thousands of community organizers, trade unionists, students/youth, NGO representatives, elected officials and social movements gather for a weeklong conference filled with dialogues, workshops, debates, marches, rallies, and cultural events. The WSF was created to provide an open platform to discuss alternatives to the economic plans created by multi-national corporations and the governments at the World Economic Forum. These plans often result in strategies that suppress workers and human rights, and undermine national and Indigenous sovereignty. The Forum has since become an annual event, hosting up to 100,000 people each year.
The United States Social Forum comes at a significant time in US history. The conservative political right dominates the three primary institutions of the federal government. The US military is bogged down in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan as public support for these invasions erodes. The disaster of hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal government to respond have illuminated extreme poverty in the US and the race and class divisions in this country. The USSF will provide a process to build a powerful movement in this country based on the organized voices and experiences of those from the grassroots most affected by US and global injustices.
The WSF International Coordinating Council approached Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) in June 2003 to develop a planning process for a US Social Forum. After several years of investigating how a USSF could be organized, GGJ launched the USSF Planning Committee.
There are 35 organizations currently on the National Planning Committee, and we decided that the NPC would have no more than 50 organizations. The remaining positions on the NPC are reserved for organizations serving people of color, women or youth. If your organization would like to apply for one of the remaining positions, you can request an application. Organizations are welcome to join Working Groups without being on National Planning Committee
The USSF Planning Committee accepted proposals from several cities to host the USSF, and Atlanta was chosen as the host city. The Atlanta proposal focused on the political significance of the US South as the area where the worst attacks against people and greatest struggles for justice have occurred.
To win nationally, we must win the US South. The Southern site of the USSF marks a new moment in the US movement for social and economic justice. Project South believes “as the South goes, so goes the nation”. These words, spoken by DuBois, ring true in every moment of American history. The roots of oppression, injustice, exploitation and social control run deep in Southern soil. The US South has also cultivated determined and consistent fights for indigenous self-determination, black freedom, working class emancipation, and human liberation. Hosting the US Social Forum in the US South builds political potency for a powerful movement to challenge white supremacy, imperial domination, worldwide genocide, ecocide, and all other manifestations of global capitalism.