For Grant Makers

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USSF 2015 Bare Bones Budget Narrative (1)

2015 USSF NPC Member Financial Support Agreement and Pledge Form (1)

USSF Orientation- Structures, Procedures, Policies(2) (1)

The US Social Forum is a movement building process. It is not a
 conference but it is a space to come up with the peoples’ solutions to the 
economic and ecological crisis. The USSF, and the People’s Movement Assemblies that take place in this process, are some of the next most important steps in our
 struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, multi-sectoral, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement that transforms this country and
 changes history. We believe the USSF and Marguerite Casey Foundation, which exists to help low-income families strengthen their voice and mobilize their communities to achieve a more just and equitable society for all, can and should be committed partners to utilize our resources together to create the new world that is possible and the new United States that is necessary.
The US Social Forum is a part of, and accountable to, the World Social Forum processes. The World Social Forum (WSF) has become an important pillar of global 
movement convergence and the development of alternatives to the dominant
 paradigm. Tthe WSF has gathered the world’s workers, 
peasants, youth, women, and oppressed peoples to construct a counter-vision to
 the economic and political elites of the World Economic Forum held annually in
 Davos, Switzerland. After gathering 100,000 people in Porto Alegre, Brazil in
 2005, the International Council (IC) decided that in 2006 there would be
 regional social forums to culminate in a WSF in 2007. The IC delegated
 US groups to help shepherd the US Social Forum 
process, stating that it was strategic to hold a gathering of peoples and movements within the “belly of the beast” that were against the ravages of
 globalization and neoliberal policies in the US and worldwide.  These grassroots leaders initiated a process to 
create the first USSF National Planning Committee (NPC) and Atlanta was
 selected as the USSF host city. In early 2009, the NPC selected Detroit as the
 second host city for 2010.


The first USSF in Atlanta in June 2007 brought 12,000 people together in the belief that “Another World Was Possible!”! Movement forces from all over the country took advantage of the opportunity to celebrate, organize, teach, debate and otherwise contribute to a growing sense that “Another United States Is Necessary!”! In 2010, the second USSF drew nearly 20,000 participants to Detroit, where capitalism’s collapse has brought some of the country’s highest rates of unemployment, large-scale abandonment of whole urban communities, and a flourishing of popular movements for racial, gender, and economic justice. These experiences clarified the need for us to come together to resist the downward spiral that accompanies capitalism’s economic cycles. They also gave us hopeful lessons of how to build another world.

The purpose of the USSF is to effectively and affirmatively articulate the values and strategies of a growing and vibrant movement for justice in the
United States. Those who build towards and participate in the USSF are no longer interested in simply stating what social justice movements
“stand-against,” rather we see ourselves as part of new movements that reach
beyond national borders, that practice democracy at all levels, and understand that capitalism abroad and here in the United States is not the solution. The USSF is a tool for helping us expand beyond our conventional campaigns and issue silos to build a common struggle for economic, social, and ecological justice.

A Marguerite Casey Foundation grant at this time will support the following vital activities & strategy.  Please also see the attached 3-year budget and narrative for how a grant will support these vital movements.


2ndUnitedStatesSocialForum2010 Detroit-CoMotionCollectivea

USSF Three Year Plan 2014 – 2016



  • 2014: People’s Movement Assembly (PMA) Process Anchors USSF3 and Site Selection for Polycentric USSF3;
  • 2015: Polycentric USSF3;
  • 2016: National People’s Movement Assembly and Movement Strategic Education and Action Plan



Goals and Priorities


The US Social Forum is guided by the following goals and priorities:

  1. Create a space for social movement analysis, popular and political education, convergence, cohesion, and strategic discussion.
  2. Advance Peoples Movement Assemblies’ agendas for ongoing action directed toward social transformation.
  3. Build stronger relationships, collaboration, and social movements across fronts of struggle for political understanding, strategic direction and a powerful political force.
  4. Deepen our collaboration with global social movements and our practice of international solidarity and joint struggles.
  5. Strengthen local capacity to improve social conditions and social struggle
  6. Model and practice our values and our vision of another world (e.g. celebration, caring, support of identity, cooperation, collectivity, justice, equality, democracy, and sustainability).


WTB Panoramic

Building a new type of Social Forum Centered in Peoples’ Movement Assemblies (PMAs)* and Polycentric** Movement Building Hubs


In the current context, USSF3 is a movement building tool.  The process facilitates our movement going from defensive to offensive, to reorganize society to meet human needs and protect the earth, and to connect with global movement forces.  It facilitates systemic analysis, visioning the world we need, developing political program and action agendas, and building political cohesion, alignment and independence for collective power from below to win it and hold it.   USSF3 will be a social forum of a new type.   As a polycentric movement building process, it is rooted in PMAs across a three year time frame and movement schools.***  The locations and fronts of struggle where PMAs take place may become “movement hubs”****that are also hubs within the polycentric social forum process.  Thus the polycentric aspect includes multiple hubs across time, as well as across locations simultaneously.


December 2013: USSF3 First Polycentric Site Selection

2014: PMA Process Anchors USSF3 and Site Selection for Polycentric USSF3

2015: Polycentric USSF3

2016: National People’s Movement Assembly and Movement Strategic Education and Action Plan


December 2013: USSF3 First Polycentric Site Selection

  1. NPC selects Philadelphia as first site for USSF3 as part of a polycentric social forum of a new type. Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign and Asian Americans United are anchors.
  2. Discussions begin with the Philadelphia Team and Site Team, including appropriate resource and budget development in relation to the polycentric model


2014: PMA Process Anchors USSF3 and Site Selection for Polycentric USSF3


Site Selection for Polycentric USSF3 completed

  1. In February the NPC selects Jackson, MS as a site for USSF3 as part of a polycentric social forum of a new type. Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the Office of the Mayor are anchors.
  2. Discussions will begin with the Jackson Team and Site Team, including appropriate resource and budget development in relation to the polycentric model
  3. Site selection for a third site in the Western US ongoing and anticipated complete by May 2014. Potential third site for USSF3 polycentric social forum identified through Outreach and PMA process (including preliminary conversation with Oakland, CA, the Pacific/ Northwest, and sites of Indigenous activism)


PMAs as outreach strategy and educational tool for USSF3

  1. A year of PMAs-locally, regionally, thematically-that bring their analysis, vision, and strategy with day-to-day and medium term programmatic demands, actions, in relation to the national process.
  2. PMAs in process
  • Southern Movement Assembly, Project South lead organization
  • Pacific/North West Social Forum & PMA, Community to Community lead organization
  • Appalachia PMA, DAWG (Direct Action Welfare Group) lead organization
  • Move to Amend PMAs – Bay Area, CA, Tucson, AZ, Salt Lake City/Denver, CO – Move to Amend lead organization
  • SOA Watch PMA, Washington, DC, SOA Watch lead organization
  • World Courts of Women – Midwest region and Southern region, and follow-up from Western region and Northeast region. How might they be integrated into the PMA process in 2014-2015?
  • Other PMAs to be confirmed
  1. This process includes continuous political and popular education within the PMA and broad social forum process (including NPC educational sessions)
  2. PMA anchors are identified to hold these processes regionally.  Unity built through conference calls, a face to face meeting, and coordination through the PMA Task Force
  3. Brief report and outcomes from PMAs shared with PMA Task Force for USSF3 PMA website and PMA synthesis process moving toward 2015 and 2016
  4. First movement school*** in late  spring/early summer 2014
  5. Identify throughout the year movement hubs for USSF3 polycentric social forum coming out of PMA process


2015: Polycentric USSF3

  1. Synthesis of 2015 (and earlier) PMAs in preparation for USSF3 – leading toward deeper organizational relationships, political alignment and movement cohesion and governance. (See December 2013 USSF3 Newsletter article on SMA with Project South)
  2. Movement schools in relation to PMAs and USSF3 process, including one movement school in spring before USSF3 and another in Fall/Winter following USSF3
  3. USSF3 polycentric sites live streaming and selected interactive dialogue
  4. Evaluation and assessment of where our movement process is in relation to the developing objective conditions (and subjective readiness) to prepare for the National Peoples Movement Assembly in 2016.


2016: National People’s Movement Assembly and Movement Strategic Education and Action Plan

  1. Based on outcomes of USSF3 and PMA process, preparation for further political alignment and movement cohesion and governance through PMA and political and popular education process.
  2. Movement school early in 2016
  3. National People’s Movement Assembly to chart national movement program and course of action, as well as national  movement schools



  • USSF3 first Polycentric Site Selection – December 2013
  • USSF3 Site Selection complete for Polycentric USSF3 – May 2014
  • USSF3 Budget determined for overall process (Master Budget), Site Budgets and Operating Budget –   January / April 2014
  • Preparatory Peoples Movement Assemblies for USSF3:  Throughout 2014
  • Consolidating NPC and USSF working groups throughout 2014:  Program, Arts & Culture, Outreach &/ PMA, Gender Justice, Language, Comms-Tech, Indigenous, Youth, Disability, Poverty
  • Production of popular and political education materials and toolkits for organizing and facilitation support, including conference calls – Winter / Spring 2014
  • First Movement School – Late Spring/ Summer 2014
    • to convene movement leaders on critical fronts of struggle locally and/or regionally
    • to go deep into our understanding of the current political moment, and to create a space for strategic and tactical movement analysis for the long haul
    • to struggle for political clarity, direction, unity and cohesion within the USSF process and larger movement
    • to discuss the revolutionary process and its relation to our day to day work
    • to launch Summer 2014 training for movement governance, organizing and facilitation
  • USSF3 documentation process in place, beginning the synthesis process for USSF3, Summer 2014
  • Grassroots fundraising in full swing, Summer 2014 through 2016
  • Full preparation for polycentric sites leading up to USSF3, Fall 2014–early Summer 2015
  • Movement schools in relation to PMAs and USSF3 process, including one movement school in Spring before USSF3 and another in Fall/Winter following USSF3, 2015
  • USSF3 polycentric sites live streaming and selected interactive dialogue, Summer 2015
  • After work:  evaluation, continuing political alignment, cohesion leading into the National People’s Movement Assembly in 2016
  • Movement school early in 2016
  • National People’s Movement Assembly in 2016


US Social Forum People’s Movement Assembly (PMA)  Plan of Action

Movement Building–, Going from Defensive to Offensive



  1. Discuss and model the People’s Movement Assembly (PMA) process within the overarching USSF3 process.
  2. Use the PMA process to analyze, vision, and strategize movement building in the current moment. Encourage organizations /networks to apply to the NPC and/or sign on as “allies, if appropriate.
  3. Build commitment to join USSF3 working groups, and to anchor and organize PMAs locally, regionally and /or thematically on the road to USSF3


Collective program, action steps and movement coordination and governance

The PMA process is the leading edge of the USSF3 process – and is continuous before, during, and after. PMAs are foundational strategically to developing our political consciousness, revolutionary consciousness, to developing political content, and to our efforts to align the multiplicity of our programmatic demands, while charting an increasingly unified and independent political path forward.  The methodology of the PMA includes these common elements: 1) political analysis of the current moment and the systemic root causes of our myriad problems, 2) visioning the world we are creating and specifying short-term, medium-term, and long-term programmatic demands to resolve these problems, and 3) putting forward related short, medium, and long-term collective actions, campaigns, and strategic movement agendas to transform society and protect the earth.

  1. Take action steps and concrete commitments for building the PMA & USSF3 as movement tools.
  2. Consider movement coordination and governance, institutionalizing movement political education, including movement schools, anchoring and organizing the PMA process for USSF3.
  3. Consider a process to rewrite the existing US Constitution so it no longer makes property rights more sacred than human rights, and instead guarantees human rights & facilitates genuine political & economic democracy.


Short Overview of the People’s Movement Assembly Process

Source: Adapted from PMA Working Group Organizing Kit, USSF Detroit, 2010


WHAT IS A PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT ASSEMBLY?A gathering of people to: 1. Collectively develop a political analysis of the current moment and the systemic root causes of our problems, 2. Come up with visions of the world we are creating and programmatic demands to resolve our problems (consider short, medium, and long-term demands if appropriate) and 3. Put forward and coordinate related collective actions, campaigns, and strategic movement agendas (consider short, medium, and long-term actions and agendas if appropriate). PMAs are foundational to accomplishing the US Social Forum strategic goal of moving toward political alignment and movement cohesion to transform society and protect the earth.

Neighborhoods, Families, Community members, Organizations and their bases, Movement sectors & / or Geographic regions.
People gather based on location (this can be local or regional), or an issue, theme, or front of struggle. Together, we discuss and analyze the current moment and its impact on issues in our communities. We develop visions and find creative solutions to our daily struggles. We make commitments to take action and to coordinate these actions. These commitments we put down in word, video, or theatre; we call them Resolutions. The PMA is for the people and by the people: everyone participates, and all voices are included.  A PMA can be 2- 3 hours or a few days.

To find creative solutions to the problems in our communities. To connect with other communities across the country – and the world – so that we can be a stronger force for change and more readily realize our visions for a better world!



The World Social Forum (WSF) originated in 2001 to provide an open space for all political forces involved in global social movements to gather. It was meant to be pluralistic and diverse. The idea and hope was that only together could we discuss alternative directions for our world and society. The Social Forum grew from 20,000 participants in the first forums to 200,000 in later forums. It has proved itself to be a powerful movement building tool. But what was missing was a plan for action. If we’re going to leave the Social Forum with stronger dreams, visions and directions for our world, then shouldn’t we also leave with stronger plans for action? This question led us to the Assembly process…


A number of community leaders came together and decided it was not enough to interpret the world, but it was also necessary to transform the world through collective action. From these discussions a ‘social movements’ assembly was added to the Social Forum. The Social Movements Assembly became an essential part of the WSF. The Global Action to Stop the Iraq War on February 15, 2003 mobilized millions and was the result of a direct call to action from the Assembly process at the 2002 WSF held in Brazil.
The US Social Forum (USSF) in 2007, inspired by the assemblies held at the WSF, organized the Peoples’ Movement Assembly (PMA).  Through the PMA process, we developed resolutions that called for large-scale action in this country. Over 50 groups presented Resolutions on the last day of the USSF. The PMA created spaces during the Social Forum that strengthened and broadened social justice movements across geographies, issues, and communities. But People’s Movement Assemblies don’t only happen at Social Forums. In fact, the assemblies that occurred in Detroit were all about creating stronger communities, regions and movement sectors to come to the US Social Forum prepared to share our dreams and collaborate on our plans for action.  Over 50 assemblies were held in Detroit during the USSF in 2010.


There is no one way to gather people, facilitate conversation, and come to clear resolutions. The PMA is open to many ways of engaging the organizations and movements that decide to participate. The Assembly process is stronger, however, when a diversity of genders, ethnicities, cultures, generations, and physical capacities participate. The PMA is a movement building and organizing tool, and is thus an interactive process that places at the center people who have been marginalized in our communities and across the globe. Creativity, innovation, and strong facilitation are essential to a successful PMA. We encourage people to use video, theater, poetry and any other creative method of communication.


Glossary of Terms
Polycentric social forum USSF Polycentric sites of convergence:

  • Poly means many
  • Centric means centered, towards a center
  • Sites and hubs mean gathered around a central political focus (think of a spoke) – this is a political center, not a center of power or domination
  • Centerwomen—a Black feminist term which means being at the center of support.  If we draw upon this idea in thinking about USSF3 we can imagine the USSF3 as being the anchor of the several polycentric sites and hubs of convergence (fronts of struggle if that makes sense). Thus a polycentric site (USSF3 site) provides overall convergence, stability, political cohesion to the ongoing movement and PMA process and multiple hubs.
Movement hubs Locations or fronts of struggle in which at least two organizations agree to anchor PMAs. That is, to do the before, during, and after work of planning, carrying out, and reporting back to the PMA Task Force and USSF social movement process the ongoing work, especially the analysis, vision, and programmatic demands and actions. Movement hubs become an ongoing part of long term movement infrastructure and movement schools.
Movement schools Political education processes that are part of the movement building work of the social forum process and will be held by the Outreach/PMA WG and the Road to USSF3 WG. They will convene movement leaders on critical fronts of struggle locally and/or regionally: go deep into our understanding of the current political moment, and create a space for strategic and tactical movement analysis for the long haul; discuss the revolutionary process and its relation to our day to day work; and hold trainings for movement governance, organizing and facilitation.


Thank you for your consideration of support. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing further moving this vital work strongly forward together.
Sincerely, The National Planning Committee of the US Social Forum




Shamako Noble,, 408-624-2999


Another world is possible! Another U.S. is necessary! &


USSF San Jose FLyer

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