• Press clippings 2008

last modified December 7, 2008 by jnardi

*International Social Forum considers Detroit for 2010*

*By Eric T. Campbell*
*The Michigan Citizen*


DETROIT - The 2007 United States Social Forum (USSF) in Atlanta, Georgia drew
15,000 of the world's most committed social activists. Now, the USSF
planning committee has recommended Detroit as the location for its 2010

The USSF is a national affiliate of the World Social Forum, a broad social
movement comprised of non-governmental organizations, committees and
singular activists advocating the end of imperialist and neo-liberal
political policies.

Eight Brazilian organizations galvanized the first World Social Forum in
Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001.

The 2010 event, in addition to hosting thousands of activists from all over
the world, will feature hundreds of workshops, films and lectures.

Local USSF organizer, Will Copeland, told the Michigan Citizen that the
official announcement of Detroit as the 2010 location for the USSF is still
contingent upon a network of organizations to provide local support and

The Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO) is one Detroit-based group
that promises to play an integral part. MWRO was a member of the 2007
planning committee.

Like the other two finalist cities, El Paso and New Orleans, Detroit is a
potential location for the forum due to the social and economic ills here.

El Paso, Texas has been the focus of polarizing immigration issues;
post-Katrina New Orleans is still under siege by neo-liberal developers; and
Detroit has been arguably the most victimized by federal policies that have
left the nation's underprivileged staggering without relief.

Copeland says that national organizers were impressed with Detroiters'
ability to react to economic challenges with ingenuity and human resources.
One of his challenges in the months ahead will be to "make the event
available" and bridge the gap between a social movement that is well
organized and those that haven't yet identified with it.

Though many participants will be from other parts of the world, Copeland
denies that the USSF should be viewed as a "tourist event."

Copeland says local organizing drives will focus on block clubs, churches
and schools in order to engage the Detroit community in what is essentially
a world wide initiative.

"You may not call yourself an activist," says Copeland, "but there are many
people looking for solutions to serious problems."

Alice Lovelace was the lead organizer for the USSF during the 2007 event in
Atlanta. She's continuing in that role leading into 2010 and has made two
visits to Detroit thus far. According to Lovelace, included in the criteria
for local organizational efforts is the presence of a leadership that
reflects people of color?the final decision for the 2010 USSF location will
be made in January.

Lovelace says that Detroits's recent history of economic turmoil and
previous history of revolutionary and social relevance makes it a highly
desirable setting for the conference.

"It's going through everything from labor and housing issues, to water and
land rights," Lovelace told the Michigan Citizen.

USSF organizer Will Copeland is one of many people and grassroots
organizations who will convene at the Central United Methodist Church
downtown on Friday, Dec. 5, from 6 -9 pm. The potluck event will celebrate
an effort to spread the word to Detroiters and increase participation in the
buildup to the 2010 USSF. A well-prepared network of activist organizations
will be the final step to guaranteeing that a dialogue of great magnitude
transpires in the city of Detroit.

The Central United Methodist Church is located at 23 East Adams at Woodward
in downtown Detroit. More information can be found at www.ussf2007.org.
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