“Border Social Forum” in TJ: A multi-city convergence of activists, organizers, artists June 25th
Activists from the United States and Mexico will convene in Tijuana on June 25, 2015 as part of the 2015 U.S. Social Forum — a multi-city convergence of activists, organizers, artists and writers from many diverse social justice and resistance movements. The Forum this year takes place in San Jose CA, Philadelphia PA, Jackson MS, Houston TX, and now Tijuana, Mexico.
The Mexico event will combine an outdoors opening plenary “session of unity and solidarity” involving an expected 150 activists from both countries with day-long work sessions (called “mesas” in Latin America) on migration, workers conditions, mega-projects (including fracking), water and land. There will also be participation by several singers and spoken word artists from Mexico and the U.S.
The event follows the tradition started with the 2006 “Border Social Forum” that involved activists from both countries. This event is the first time a Mexico-based convergence is part of the U.S. Social Forum: a challenge to the artificial borders and a celebration of the unity and collaboration between our movements that is necessary for our future.
As with all Forum events, this event is being connected to the other Forum activities through Internet conference connectivity.
Those interested in attending the Tijuana event should register athttps://www.ussocialforum.net/register/pma.
A caravan will be leaving from San Diego to Tijuana the morning of June 25th. Registrants will receive information about that caravan and the location of events in Tijuana if they wish to travel directly to Tijuana on their own.
For the first time in US Social Forum history, activists in Mexico will collaborate with activists in the US during the simultaneous polycentric US Social Forum. This process is being anchored by May First/People Link
What is May First/People Link
MF/PL is an organization that redefines the concept of “Internet Hosting Service” in a collective, progressive and collaborative way.
May First/People Link is like a coop: as members, we pay dues, buy equipment and then we all use that equipment as we need to for websites, email, email lists, and just about everything else we do on the Internet.
At MF/PL members are encourage to use all the resources necessary to be successful – whether that’s additional email addresses, web sites or other services: there are no pre-defined limits to what you can use. All you do is pay your dues. Dues are on a sliding scale, starting with $200 for an organization and $100 for an individual (90% of our members pay this level of dues). A small number of organizations pay more based on the cost of their additional resource usage.
MF/PL is comprised of both individuals and organizations and is directed by a Leadership Committeecomprised of 15 MF/PL members who named a director to oversee operations day to day. The MF/PL “staff” is a group of members, most of whom donate their time to the organization.
At this point, MF/PL is one of the few organizations of its type in the world and one of the world’s oldest and largest politically progressive Internet providers.
How did it develop?
May First/People Link formed in May 2005 when May First joined forces with People Link.
People Link started in 1995 as a project of the Institute for Mass Communication. Back when pictures on the web was a new thing, People Link was hosting web sites, setting up email accounts, and providing email discussion lists for activists all over the country.
May First Technology Collective began in 1999 (then it was called Media Jumpstart). A worker run collective from the beginning, MFTC provided technology support to New York City nonprofits, ranging from designing web sites to fixing networks.
In May 2005, faced with funding cuts and increased overhead, MFTC decided it was not able to effectively meet it’s mission. However, several of its staff and board members expressed a desire to continue with its social mission of providing technology support to the social justice movement but to now concentrate specifically on the Internet.
With the outgoing Board’s blessing May First formed a new board to pursue this goal by combining the skills, experience and the already developed technology, equipment and infra-structure of both organizations to build a new, larger and more ambitious one. In June 2005, May First/People Link was launched.
In 2006, we held our first meeting of active members of the organization. Fifteen individuals came to together to write our Statement of Unity and to organize ourselves as a membership organization.
In 2008, May First/People Link formed our first Leadership Committee picked from our most active members and empowered the Leadership Committee to set the political direction of the organization. In 2011, we organized our first annual membership meeting in which the Leadership Committee was democratically elected by the membership, and each year since then we have elected a new Leadership Committee.
In 2011, we received a request from LaNeta, a similar organization in Mexico, that was no longer able to continue hosting over 100 activist organizations in Mexico. With the cooperation of the LaNeta leadership, all organizations were invited to join May First/People Link and we setup an office in Mexico City. Since then, our leadership and organizing efforts have combined the resources of both the Brooklyn and Mexico City offices.
May First/People Link is made up of hundreds of people who contribute in any number of ways. The organization has six staff people who contribute labor to the organizatoin on a weekly basis. You can read their bios below.
Jamie is the co-director and co-founder of May First/People Link. He is also the Technology Systems Director for the Progressive Technology Project. In 1999, he co-founded Media Jumpstart, a worker-run technology collective that supported nonprofit organizations in New York City, that merged with People Link to become May First/People Link in 2005. He has directed the technology work of the organization from the beginning, and has played an instrumental role in May First/People Link’s major organizing drives (most notably – the technology committees for the 2007 and 2010 US Social Forums). Prior to working at May First, Jamie worked at Libraries for the Future network administrator, national Youth ACCESS coordinator, and Information and Technology Policy Specialist. Jamie was formerly on the Board of Directors of Paper Tiger TV where he was an active producer and activist between 1994 and 2004. Previously, Jamie worked as a video instructor for Sidewalks of New York, teaching basic production skills to homeless youth.
Alfredo has been involved in movements for social change for 40 years.
As a college student, he was among the leadership of the Puerto Rican Student movement in the United States and was involved in the struggles for Open Admissions and other reforms in the New York City University system.
After graduating from college, Alfredo led the Carlos Feliciano Defense Committee (which worked to free that reknowned Puerto Rican political prisoner) and in 1972 joined the Puerto Rican Socialist Party and became the editor of the U.S. Edition of its newspaper Claridad. He remained in the top leadership of the PSP until 1980.
It was during his PSP days, that Alfredo worked on organizing a coalition, of which he became Executive Director, to organize a mass rally for Puerto Rican independence in Madison Square Garden. That rally, on Oct. 24, 1974, filled the Garden and remains among the largest demonstrations of its type in U.S. history.
He helped organize the U.S. Delegation to the first International conference supporting Puerto Rican Independence, held in Cuba in 1975 and in 1976, he was principal organizer of a large, national anti-imperialist rally taking place on the country’s bi-centennial: July 4, 1976.
Since then, he has worked on many campaigns around a wide range of issues — including anti-privatization of hospitals, labor rights for “workfare” workers and anti-repression and anti-racism campaigns.
Alfredo has written five published books including Dona Licha’s Island (one of the more popular books about Puerto Rico), produced and directed over a dozen documentary films, and produced two radio series and a television documentary series: City Look.
He’s written articles for a wide variety of publications, has spoken and lectured to audiences in virtually every state of this country and has been a faculty member at nine colleges in New York City.
In 1994, Alfredo founded People Link and has directed the organization until it merged into the May First/People Link organization, of which he’s co-chair.
Enrique es durante el periodo octubre 2012 – octubre 2013, co-director de Primero de Mayo/Enlace Popular.
Como estudiante en el Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Enrique defendió el derecho a la educación pública, laica y gratuita, promovió que los programas de estudio respondieran a los problemas sociales y económicos del campo y de la ciudad, también expresó en diferentes foros y publicaciones la necesidad de contar con espacios de participación democrática en los centros de estudio y de contar con autonomía respecto del Estado para que el Instituto pudiese aspirar a lograr sus objetivos académicos.
Su participación le ha llevado a actuar de manera solidaria y ha formando parte de las iniciativas del movimiento indígena, lidereado por el EZLN, en la lucha por el respeto a los derechos indígenas: por el respeto a su territorio, autonomía, identidad cultural, formas de gobierno, así como por el derecho a contar con sus propios medios de comunicación. Sin embargo, ahora cree tener mayor claridad sobre las contradicciones y limitantes de la estrategia política definida por el zapatismo.
Estudió e incorporó a su praxis la experiencia reciente del sindicalismo independiente y democrático que en México tiene grandes luchas que ofrecer -junto con tod@s l@s trabajadores/as- en contra del aparato corporativo que la burguesía ha establecido para su control.
Recientemente ha estado cercano a diversas luchas de resistencia contra el capitalismo neoliberal y participa en la comunidad en donde vive, promoviendo el trabajo voluntario y la partipación democrática para resolver los problemas locales, lo que en distintas regiones de México se denomina “tequio” y que en su comunidad es la “faina”.
Hace tiempo que el concepto de Resistencia le parece insuficiente y valora el desarrollo de capacidades organizativas y una identidad común para construir desde una perspectiva general e incluyente alternativas de futuro. Sabe que uno de los retos compartidos por todas las de izquierdas es contar con los medios de transformación social necesarios y considera entre ellos a las herramientas de comunicación e información como fundamentales.