Another U.S. is Starting to Happen
by Judy Rebick
July 9, 2007
After spending five weeks in Bolivia this summer, I was convinced that the new paths out of this destructive, hateful morass we call neo-liberalism would come from those most marginalized by its greed and violence. Little did I imagine that one of the strongest signs of this direction would come from the belly of the beast itself.
Ten thousand people, overwhelmingly poor and working class, the majority people of colour, at least half women, and a massive number of youth gathered in Atlanta, Ga. at the end of June for the U.S. Social Forum (USSF) signaling what could be the birth of the most powerful social movement the U.S. has ever seen.
“Never in my wildest imagination, did I think I would ever see something like this in the United States,” Carlos Torres, a Chilean refugee now living in Canada, told me halfway through the forum. The sentiment was repeated again and again by Latin American visitors who were there as emissaries from the World Social Forum (WSF). It was radical, it was militant, it was feminist, it was anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist, it was queer, it was loud and lively and it was brimming with love, kindness and a deep sense of solidarity.
The slogan of the USSF was “Another world is possible, another U.S. is necessary.” It was interpreted both as another U.S. and another “us,” meaning the left has to reinvent itself.
And it was a major step forward for the World Social Forum movement. The idea of a U.S. social forum came from a couple of people who went to the 2001 WSF in Brazil and then brought a few more with them in 2002. They formed a group called Grassroots Global Justice and began the process of organizing a U.S. social forum, firmly in the WSF spirit.