Towards a Peoples’ Social Forum

Building Social Movements as
Instruments of Transformation

    Anger and discontent against the ruling Conservative government is on the rise all across Canada. Human rights groups, women’s organizations, cultural associations, environment groups, labour, indigenous peoples, students, in fact civil society organizations in general feel threatened and angered by the government’s policies and actions.
    Protests for social and environmental justice are erupting all over the country. Casseroles have been organized on the streets of many cities in support of the student movement in Quebec. The youth across Canada are joining hands with those from Quebec in challenging neo-liberal austerity policies.
    Indigenous communities are fighting to preserve their culture, and defend their lands from predatory mining and oil corporations. There are many campaigns, gatherings and protests planned for the months to come.
    Yet our movements continue to be fragmented and ghettoized. We must work together and create a space for all these voices of dissent and strategize together our progressive agenda to help build links and solidarity across movements and issues.

A grassroots approach to a
Canada-Québec-Indigenous Peoples Social Forum

      We are proposing a grassroots horizontal approach to organizing a People’s Social Forum across Canada as a means of stimulating debate, discussion and further our sense of community and collective action. The process of the social forum seeks to reach out to a plurality of social movements, groups and progressive institutions across Canada, Québec and Indigenous communities. The short term goal being to build on existing struggles by building a united and cohesive front against the Conservative agenda of austerity and privatization but long-term to help transform the current political, economic and social paradigm, by employing creative  resistance while proposing alternatives solutions.
      So far several organizations and individuals have come together to form Expansion Commissions in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Discussions are going on to form similar commissions in Vancouver, Calgary, St. John’s, etc. The Expansion Commissions will focus on involving as many other organizations and individuals in the process.
      There is a proposal that these Commissions call for a General Assembly later this fall or in early winter to launch the Peoples’ Social Forum.
      This general assembly will take the decisions on the name, final dates and places as well as the process leading to the forum, and its final format.
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