Sunday, July 1, 2007

El pueblo vive! La Lucha sigue!

Well, it is now the last day of the USSF, and I cannot believe that the event that I had me wondering, stressed and filled with anticipation over the last year or so is at an end. I was in Venezuela for the World Social Forum in February 2006, and one of the resolution that came from there was to carry out a US Social Forum. I was so excited at the prospect of having the kind of revolutionary energy present in Chavez-led Venezuela in Bush-dominated United States, and wondering what that would even begin to look like.

For me the USSF experience began months ago when we started prepping with our members who where going to the USSF. We had a series of meetings to talk about goals, expectations, and about the history of Black people in the South. We fed off each other's excitement and were ready to experience the USSF in whatever form it arrived. We felt much more informed and prepared for the USSF, since SPHC is on the National Planning Committee.

When we arrived in Atlanta, we immediately began seeing people who were also going to the USSF. I has a feeling of deja vu from the world social forum where people were also arriving in droves into the Caracas airport. We immediately noticed one stark difference from San Francisco; the majority of the working class and the service sector in Atlanta is African American, whereas in San Francisco it is Asian or Latino immigrants. Our delegation, which is composed of Latino immigrant, was impacted to see that some of the very same conditions that they work under in SF are the same conditions working class African American communities are also working under. In SF, de-industralization has taken out the strong blue collar sector that thrived in the 40's, leaving vast unemployment in the African American community. At the same time, a large immigrant population has been funneled into the service industry, where the pay is low, the benefits are non existant, and the conditions are exploitive.

We settled into our hotel, tired, but also filled with anticipation for the days ahead. Part 2: the USSF begins next!

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