The Boston Social Forum

On July 23-25 Democrats will be making final preparations for their National Convention in Boston under heavy security. Meanwhile, a coalition of Boston-area progressive community organizations, non-profits and unions will host the Boston Social Forum (BSF) at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. The BSF will create an open and democratic space where community organizations, progressive activists, and the general public can gather to share analysis and ideas, network, build alliances and strategize.

The Campaign on Contingent Work, a labor community non-profit based in Boston’s Chinatown, initiated the BSF process in November 2002. The initial core of BSF organizers spent months recruiting local community-based organizations and unions for their planning committee. Over 60 organizations now make up the coalition (see the BSF website for a list).

The BSF will address local, regional, national and global issues through workshops, cultural events, plenary sessions and convocations. A schedule of events will be available in mid-July. Expected speakers include Angela Davis, Manning Marable and South African poet Dennis Brutus. The BSF hopes to capture the imagination of the public, demonstrating the wide variety of feasible alternatives to neoliberalism, war and corporate globalization. The BSF will reflect the growing strength and cohesiveness of grassroots movements for democracy and global justice.

The BSF is part of the World Social Forum (WSF) process. The first WSF was held in Brazil in 2001. The WSF is an open meeting space that aims to “facilitate decentralized coordination among organizations engaged in concrete action towards building another world.” Almost 75,000 people representing 1,653 organizations from 117 countries participated in the fourth WSF, held in Mumbai, India, January 16-21, 2004.

WSF participants have begun thinking about the next step beyond social forums. Regional forums such as the BSF will help shape any transition from dialogue to collective decision-making and action on a global scale. Maybe Syracuse could be the next city to organize a social forum!

To learn more, visit <> and <>.

Jessica Maxwell

Getting There
Syracuse Peace Council activists will attend the BSF as part of the Human Need Not Corporate Greed phase of SPC’s Bush Must Go! Campaign. If you need or can offer transportation, or would like to connect with the SPC contingent in Boston, please contact Jessica at: (315) 472-5478 or <jessica@peace>.