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The Road to Detroit: We Have Arrived

Morrigan Phillips
Date Published: 
June 1, 2010

The second United States Social Forum (USSF) is underway. Here we are. Our road to Detroit finds us now gathered among thousands of others working to right the wrongs perpetrated by so many systems of oppression. Poised to take action, collaborate, share stories of struggle and triumph—we are all now in Detroit on the road to another US and another world.

Over the past three issues, Left Turn has covered just a few of the many stories of the people and communities who are on the road to Detroit. There were stories of how the USSF came to be and its role in shaping US social movements. This is a story that begins more then a decade ago in Porto Alegre, Brazil at the first World Social Forum. Here, where a global social forum movement was built, the seeds for the USSF were planted. In 2007 in Atlanta, GA those seeds gave life to the first ever USSF, ushering the US into a global movement of social forums that have occurred on every continent.

Since Atlanta, the USSF National Planning Committee, the Detroit Local Organizing Committee, and many other dedicated committee members and staff people have tirelessly worked to build for the USSF in Detroit. Simultaneously communities throughout the US have been organizing locally to do just the same.

In this issue of Left Turn are some concluding stories to the road to Detroit. Organizers from around the US share their reflections on how their communities own roads to Detroit and the USSF. They share hopes for their time here, what they want to bring home with them, and why the USSF is so important to the communities they come from. Others share how they have gone about building alliances and support for people traveling to the USSF. They speak to the strength that is built by the mere act of preparing and organizing within their communities for the USSF. And all speak to the profound sense of hope and pride they feel in being able to take part in the USSF.

This issue also includes a discussion between Cindy Wiesner and Louis Head of Grassroots Global Justice on the globalization of the USSF. The USSF is but one forum in a movement of social forums that encompasses the globe. Yet at the same time the USSF takes place in a country whose brutal power is felt the world over. The USSF sits in a unique position—simultaneously playing catch-up to a global movement that has long strived to be interconnected and engaged in acts of international solidarity, while also working to thwart the powerful US economic and military policies that exact a great toll both domestically and internationally. How then do US social movements fight for change locally, nationally, while also being a part of global movements for grassroots change?

All of this and more is discussed in this, the final section on the road to Detroit.