This is a ZNet Free Update. The bulk of it is an essay reviewing the recent 
United States Social Forum by Michael Albert.Before that, however, we have some 
critically important news to convey. 

As you may know, we have been trying to do an upgrade of the whole Z 
Communications web system. There have been serious setbacks. The project was 
supposed to be done in February or March. It isn't done, however, mid July, and 
there is a ways to go. Software is difficult, but a wrong a decision was 
made,on top of the intrinsic difficulty, to use a new programming framework - 
which didn't work out. With some backtracking and forward moving, hopefully we 
are back in gear. The losses have been daunting. And we need to ask you to step 
up a bit, and help.

We have placed a tour of the new site's looks and much of its functionality 
online so you can see what we are up to.

It is at http://www.zmag.org/ztour.htm

Please take a look, and if you have comments or suggestions send them to me at 

But, more...

     (1) If you are a sustainer and are overdue in your accounts, please get 
back up to date.

     (2) If you are not a sustainer, please consider becoming one. I am asking 
you to trust me on this. 
           In a few months, when the new system is up, if you have the 
slightest inclination to help us out 
           as a sustainer now, you will be eager to do so with the new system 
in place. 
           I am asking you to sign up now, rather than later, so the donations 
can help us deal with the losses 
          we have suffered due to the upgrade delays. 

Being a sustainer now, you get as a premium access to forums to the commentary 
zine on line, and a nightly commentary mailing. Thousands of ZNet users have 
signed up for that level of premium over recent years, and in doing so have 
financed our operations.

With the new system, begining soon and in coming years, you will get the 
nightly commentary and access to a new and vastly improved forum system as 
before. Bui you will also get your own ZSpace page, like MySpace but on the 
left, and the option to partake of group pages, too, where you can put 
articles, photos, a bio, and even videos, etc. Plus you will be able to 
participate in what promises to be a very rich mutual aid system - and a very 
diverse and extensive books online system with user preferences, reviews, 
discussion groups, etc. Plus you will get your own blog, and there will be 
group blogs as well, as part of an overall system-wide blog. You will get 
commenting throughout the site, You will get Z Magazine online and in a pdf,  
You will get discounts on ZVideos (and there will be much more video in the 
system as well), and discounts on subs, and on other items. There is more, but 
without seeing the site, it is hard to convey. 

Let me put it this way. This makeover and upgrade is going to dramatically 
improve the experience of navigating and using our sites, dramatically increase 
the material available, but also and most innovatively add a huge and rich 
social participatory component, and in general move us from information 
provision alone, to community building plus information provision, discussion, 
debate, etc. 

It was our intention to hold off seeking new Sustainers until we had the new 
site in place, with the new much easier sign up methods, more diverse payment 
methods, and the new features in place. But that was supposed to be February, 
and we can't wait without help, any longer. So, we are asking you to visit the 
current sign up forms...and become a sustainer. It will help us deal with the 
losses imposed by the upgrade project and it will bring the site to completion 
that much sooner, and, again, we ask you to trust us that you will be happy and 
proud not only to be assisting us, but to be enjoying all the new features and 

To become a sustainer, now, use this link. If you have any trouble, by all 
means let us know. 


And again, for the tour the link is...  http://www.zmag.org/ztour.htm

And here is the promised account of the USSF 2007...


USSF - 2007 and After.
by Michael Albert
At the US Social Forum 2007, in the city that hosts CNN and Coke, in hotel 
venues where debutantes ironically were on parade, the progressive community 
stood tall and steadfast, proud and capable. The forum's over 900 sessions were 
truly diverse in those presenting and those attending. Indeed, I cannot 
remember - going all the way back to an also highly diverse Black Panther Party 
Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia in September 1970 - any other 
large leftist event in the U.S. as consistently multi-cultural as USSF 2007. 
More, I can remember very few that were as gender and sexuality balanced. And 
the USSF 2007 even had youth in abundance, a feature sorely lacking in recent 
activist conferences. 

I spent most of my time at the conference following two main themes: SDS and 
Solidarity Economics. SDS, standing for Students for a Democratic Society, was 
re-born a bit over a year ago and has been growing rapidly since. At the USSF 
perhaps 75 of its members were present and they did a few sessions as well as 
attending many others. What I saw of them gave me great hope, and it was 
informed hope, I think, not Pollyanna hope. To start, they had a couple of 
sessions on intergenerational organizing, one of which I attended. The panel 
had six participants, three from today's SDS and three from SDS and the 
Panthers from decades ago. The latter group were quite excellent, I thought, 
which was quite an achievement because as they themselves wisely and 
comprehensively noted, when you put together a bunch of activists from back 
then, with all their baggage - not to mention the residues of confused 
allegiances born then and in many cases barely transcended since - you often 
get something unseemly or even downright ugly. But not with these three 
participants; they were eloquent, moving, and self critically humble. But even 
so, the other three folks on the panel, the three SDS members from today, 
trumped the old timers. The youth could reasonably be expected to have more 
buzz and jazz, more energy and militancy. But that wasn't their only advantage. 
They seemed also to have more sense of themselves, and especially more sense of 
the tasks that now need doing. They seemed intent on unrelentingly mastering 
whatever approaches are required to succeed. I don't know where they have 
accumulated the wisdom and confidence they seem to embody, and I don't want to 
imply there aren't problems as well, but hope is birthing anew with these young 

SDS also participated in a panel put on by the War Resisters League on what it 
would take for the anti war movement to end the war in Iraq. This had an SDS 
member as the moderator, asking questions. The panelists - I think there were 
seven - would reply to the questions asked, and would then discuss them with 
each other, and then field a new question. The panelists represented a range of 
major antiwar organizations, vets against the war, UFPJ, Witness for Peace, 
etc. Among them they must have had over a hundred and fifty years of left 
organizing experience. Nonetheless, it was both sad but also inspiring to 
realize that the host's questions were beyond their ken. Each question, well 
conceived, succinctly put, and utterly on target regarding movement problems 
and possibilities, was focused on developing overarching strategy in accord 
with both needs and assets. Questions that should have been familiar fare for 
highly experienced panelists elicited long pauses, often with a little 
chuckling before anyone would hazard a reply. Replies, when they came, often 
had insightful content but also repeatedly side-stepped the questions. What was 
going on was a new generation intent on very seriously and ruthlessly 
evaluating what we have done so as to find problems that can be corrected to 
actually win change rather than simply fight the good fight and lose, met 
representatives of movement organizations that for too long have narrowly 
attended to day to day pressures without adopting an overarching viewpoint. 
Further, of the panelists, the one who had the least prior political 
background, an Iraq war vet, seemed to be most in tune with the motives of the 
moderator. The hope, again, seemed to reside with the young, as it hasn't for 
quite a few decades now. This is very good news.

My second substantial involvement was with a group sponsoring a set of sessions 
around what they call Solidarity Economics or SE. SE is a large umbrella 
project that exists around the world, most notably in Latin America and 
Southern Europe. Recently, roughly a dozen folks have begun spiritedly trying 
to bring SE to the United States. Solidarity Economics, as defined abroad and 
imported here, seeks to incorporate within its broad network pretty much any 
project or activity that plausibly sees itself as furthering at least one of 
the broad values characterizing the entire SE community. These values seem, 
from presentations and some essays to be solidarity, sustainability, equity, 
participation, diversity, and democracy (or perhaps even self management). The 
idea seems to be that if an effort is furthering any of these values; it can 
become a part of SE. Thus, if even a large capitalist firm, for example The 
Body Shop, is making strides in one respected dimension, it can come on board. 
An experiment like participatory budgeting, now operative not only in Brazil 
but in many cities around the world, or alternative currency experiments 
popular in some parts of the U.S. such as upstate New York, or a company that 
claims to engage only in fair trade or to be ecologically concerned, can join. 
And obviously so too can co-ops, much less what I would call classless (or 
pareconish) firms that seek internal equity and self management. Finally, 
within this broad range of projects that can reside under the Solidarity 
Economics umbrella, there is not only a degree of shared agenda but, 
importantly, each project is expected to urge others to do better on matters 
they are not yet addressing well.

This idea of a broad community of projects banding together and striving to 
improve economic life seems to me to be a good way of developing a sense of 
shared mission, exploration, and debate among folks trying to improve the 
economy - and one could imagine a similar approach on other fronts such as 
family, culture, and politics, or even in more narrow domains, say education, 
health, science, or art. But beyond the benefits, a concern I had, as I 
listened to this fledgling U.S. attempt at SE, was that the desire to retain 
those participants who have most assets, such as larger businesses, will cause 
a severe blunting of forward-oriented discussion regarding what a desirable 
economy ought to be and what steps ought to be undertaken now to move toward 
one. I feared that SE advocate/members would hold back on their criticisms of 
less progressive SE projects, causing still flawed and even horrible aspects of 
larger scale member projects to go uncommented for fear of alienating those 
members. I worried that as a byproduct this laxity would produce 
rationalizations and habits that would constrict even the best participants' 
aspirations and finally their thoughts. My own attempt to contribute to the SE 
discussions at USSF 2007 was to urge that participatory economic projects that 
reject private ownership of capital, corporate divisions of labor, remuneration 
for property, power, or output, hierarchical decision making, and markets, 
should be welcome in SE, including welcoming pareconists who respectfully point 
out that real solidarity requires fundamental changes, and that small positive 
steps are truly exemplary only insofar as they aid a continuing, diversifying, 
and enlarging process - rather than being end points in themselves.

My detailed involvements with SDS and SE aside, getting back to the forum at 
large, it was noteworthy that there were no stars at the USSF, or, to put it 
more accurately, that there were only stars. The forum demonstrated that the 
old civil rights wisdom that we are the leaders we have been waiting for is not 
only correct, but we are also the stars we have been waiting for. And in 
Atlanta the spectacle of 10,000 stars produced a lot of energy.

The component sessions of USSF 2007 were varied and insightful. Panels focused 
on every side of life including economy, polity, race and culture, gender and 
kinship, ecology, war and peace, and international relations, and then, within 
each broad area there were myriads of more focused sessions addressing 
everything from housing to taxes, income distribution to prisons, legislation 
to demonstrations, education to art, Iraq to Venezuela to Palestine, and much 

It is a monumental understatement to say that the organizers deserve great 
thanks for the scope and quality of their efforts. Attendees also deserve 
praise for travelling to Atlanta, heat and all, overcoming the feeling that 
"this gathering won't be worth it, this is the U.S., after all, and it can't 
happen here." In 2007, to have hope, faith, fire, and passion, is not the 
movement norm. Indeed, I am embarrassed to admit that I was almost in the camp 
that didn't go to Atlanta for USSF 2007, but hope prevailed, and I ultimately 
went - and hope was borne out.

Still, accolades for the organizers aside, in a commentary for activists what 
always matters most is not praising ourselves, however deserved the praise may 
be, but finding problems that we can correct to do better next time. And while 
I think the faults of USSF 2007 had little or nothing to do with the 
organizers' efforts, there were, nonetheless, at least a few faults for us all 
to work on fixing in the future. 

There were 900 sessions in three days and I can only report on the relatively 
few sessions I could attend, look in on, or at least hear about from others. My 
impressions, therefore, may be artifacts of a narrow experience, and if they 
are wrong on that account, or any other, my apologies. 

First, in nearly all the sessions I attended or heard about, those presenting 
were from diverse race, gender, and sometimes even class backgrounds, with wide 
age variance too. This was also the case for audiences, which for all but a 
particular subset of the sessions were often even a majority people of color. 
The subset of sessions that were differently composed, however, was troubling. 
Thus, a panel on getting beyond neoliberalism, though diverse in its speakers' 
backgrounds had a nearly entirely white audience. The same was true for panels 
I spoke at or attended on economic vision, on strategy for the anti-war 
movement, and on directions for alternative media. I heard as well that this 
was true for many panels that were explicitly and primarily on vision or even 
strategy including crossing bounds of specific focuses. In contrast, sessions I 
attended or heard reports about that addressed more pinpointed areas of concern 
and conflict, whether it was housing, water, income, or Katrina, were a 
majority and sometimes a large majority people of color. The only way to 
distinguish sessions from one another was by their titles. The schedule didn't 
tell who was presenting at each session, though it did indicate a sponsoring 
organization. In any case, as best I could discern, the issue wasn't the 
composition of panelists, which was almost universally culture- and 
gender-balanced. The issue was the topics the panels addressed. My impression, 
admittedly anecdotal, was that when the focus was overtly about longer term 
vision and strategy and exploring direction and methods for the left writ 
large, the audience became more white. In contrast, when the focus highlighted 
specific currently pressing economic and social problems, including their roots 
and implications and also how to address them right now, the people of color 
representation was higher. 

One possible explanation for this is that the people of color constituencies 
were correct in staying away from the broader sessions because attention to 
broader matters of goals and strategies for large movements have typically been 
hot air largely or even wholly unrelated to actual conditions and possibilities 
that people can act on, and therefore not worth one's time. But another 
possibility is that such explorations aren't, or shouldn't be, hot air. Due to 
being centrally important, they should be centrally insightful and relevant 
both to the long and to the short term. If so, we are left with the problem of 
improving vision and strategy discussions including expanding their range of 
sponsorship and participants. If, as I believe is the case, vision and strategy 
are essential, then we should respond to poor past efforts in those directions 
with more and better new efforts, not less. Additionally, potential 
participants who bring to the table diverse comprehension both of what we now 
endure and also of what better relations we desire, need to be involved at 
every level - whether we are talking about working people, women, gays, people 
of color, or young people. For activists repelled by irrelevance and academic 
posturing to avoid overarching vision and strategy reminds me a bit of 
activists repelled by authoritarianism leaving overarching vision and strategy 
to Leninists on grounds that vision and strategy writ large can be hot air, 
un-rooted, sectarian, authoritarian, and so on - thereby increasing rather than 
diminishing the likelihood that vision and strategy will have all those flaws.

Another pattern, also familiar from other social forums and also in part 
correct and sensible, but at the same time also in part self defeating, was the 
extent to which people coming to share experiences were overwhelmingly 
interested mostly or even only in their own priority concerns. Housing 
activists frequented, at least in my anecdotal polling and querying, housing 
panels. Women doing feminist work frequented feminist panels. Young SDSers 
frequented SDS panels. Coming from New Orleans tended to cause one to spend 
more time on Katrina sessions. With a background of years spent working on 
ending the war, one attended mostly or even only anti war panels. 

On the one hand, what could be more sensible then this kind of specialization? 
All social forums are massive gatherings of folks often separated by great 
distance, or even just by lack of connection within a shared city. Attendees go 
to the forum largely to get information, ideas, and connections that will aid 
the work they do. Attendees thus focus their energies on the sessions related 
to the work they do, feeling that these are the sessions where they can meet 
others with related ideas, learn of possible new ways to tackle problems they 
face, find help, etc. On the other hand, however, if a main problem for the 
left as a whole is a mammoth fragmentation and unrelenting insularity of 
contending components, then this pattern of being most interested in one's own 
focused area of involvement reproduces our distance from one another, rather 
than helping to overcome it.

Third and last in my little list of hurdles to overcome next time, there is the 
matter of what we want and how we expect to get it. Under the surface of 
USSF-2007's discussions, debates, and celebrations, I think it was clear that 
very nearly everyone attending would be ecstatic to become part of a  growing, 
militant movement that not only had very clearly green, anti racist, anti 
sexist, anti heterosexist, anti authoritarian, anti imperialist, and anti 
capitalist politics, but that also had very explicitly positive aims on each of 
those axes - a revolutionary movement seeking immediate gains also aimed toward 
transcendent transformation in the future. Yet despite this subterranean 
desire, this sentiment, at least in it most unequivocal form, was rarely 
voiced. It was as if everyone was afraid of the R-word: Revolution. How many 
revolutionaries have to get together, congenially, mutually supportively, 
before we will openly admit what we are? At any rate, I would have very much 
liked to have heard a talk, perhaps at the final plenary session, more or less 
like what I offer below, to intellectually and emotively "spin" the event in a 
way that was otherwise, I think, implicit, but not explicit.

So, imagine a speaker at the closing session of a social forum taking the 
microphone and with unrestrained passion addressing the audience more or less 
as follows. On reading it, consider if you agree that putting out in the most 
prominent and aggressive fashion this type of sentiment would be a big step 
forward. If so, let's make it happen, repeatedly, at forum after forum, though 
more eloquently, more passionately, and with more insight than the hypothetical 
words below convey.

A (Hypothetical) Closing Talk for a Social Forum

Welcome to this incredible final plenary gathering of so many fired up people 
committed to social change. What an incredible sea of consciousness and 
courage. What incredible inspiration we can take from our exciting time 
together. What incredible potential we can see here in our allies all around 
this great hall. 

We must be vigorous, self critical, and steadfast, together - but where are we 

We must work together, with assertive force - but how do we reach our 

We must together advance to our destination - but why?

At this great forum these past few days, I found as I am sure you all found 
too, that there exists an emerging set of shared views on where we are going, 
how we will get there, and why we will make the effort. Can we together 
solidify these emerging shared views into lasting unity? Can we solidify these 
emerging shared views into mutually supportive activism that we all commit to? 
The shared views that can unite us, at least as I have heard them shaping up in 
my travels through this forum, might sound something like this, once we all 
together say them aloud:

We are trying to create a new and vastly better world for ourselves and for our 
offspring to inhabit. 

We are seeking that new world by struggling in every venue that we can find and 
with every ounce of strength we can muster, directing all our efforts not only 
to winning improvements in people lives today but also to winning a better 
world tomorrow. 
We are doing it for the memory of those who have gone before, and for the well 
being of those who will come after. 

Okay, we can all agree, I suspect, that those are nice sentiments. They sound 
appealing to me and I bet to you too - but wouldn't you agree that they are 
also quite vague? To flexibly assure our unity, we need more substance, don't 
you think? 

Maybe when we further unearth our shared agreements, further substance will 
sound more less like this:

We are trying to win a new economy, a new realm of daily life and love, a new 
culture, a new polity, a new ecology, a new internationalism, all without 
hierarchies that condemn some people to subordination. We reject roles unsuited 
for humanity - the role of the owner, boss, manager; the role of the patriarch, 
misogynist, homophobe; the role of the racist, religious bigot, fundamentalist; 
the role of the denier, decrier, decider, dictator; the role of polluter of 
air, sea, and land; the role of bombardier, cultural commissar, empire 
expander. Gone with all of that. 

We are pursuing this better world that will leave behind these horribly 
oppressive aspects by seeking improvements in people's lives right now, from 
the washed out streets in New Orleans to the porn strewn back alleys in 
Chicago, from the black lunged mines in West Virginia to the dignity destroying 
commercialism of billboards and TV, from rural poverty to urban blight, from 
self-imposed diets seeking false beauty to society-imposed diets imposing 
criminal starvation, from the flesh houses of Los Angeles and its glam and 
glitter to the cardboard homes under bridges in Philadelphia, from the miles of 
AA meetings to the miles of local bars, from the capacity crushing horrors 
imposed on eighty percent of our school's students to the elite Ivy farms 
spewing out scholars who lack sense and humanity, from the modern slave houses 
called prisons to the court houses that function like auction houses, from 
elections that are bought and sold by rich corporate executives investing in 
their preferred paths of domination to acres and acres of misguided commodity 
production remorselessly destroying our weather and water, from the endless 
skyways of half empty hotels to the endless alley ways of homeless children, 
mothers, and fathers. 

We seek more income for the poor, more power for the weak, more status for the 
forlorn, more social ties for the lonely, more responsibility for all our 
crying souls. We seek equitable material well being, self managing influence, 
and mutual fulfillment of all kinds. We seek, as well, to ensure that our 
demands today not only partly redress the suffering caused by the world we now 
inhabit but also move us toward a better future in which worldly and spiritual 
benefits of society reach a high level and then persist due to the intrinsic 
logic of our new institutions rather than only when we win against harsh 

And why we are doing all this? We are doing it tirelessly, steadfastly, and 
vigorously, for the memory of revolutionaries and visionaries and humanists 
from history past, for people all around us now, and for history's and 
humanity's future. 

Well, okay, that version would be a little better. It certainly has some spunk, 
but I think perhaps we can also agree that beyond its passion, it is still 
mostly sentiment - very nice sentiment, for sure, but lacking institutional 

Maybe that's just the way it is with speeches, or maybe as we collectively 
address what we share as our vision, strategy, and motives, our words will gain 
some additional depth, some additional tissue and fabric, and then maybe our 
answers to what we are doing, how we are doing it, and why we are doing it, 
might go something like this:

We are trying to win a new economy in which there are no classes. No one in the 
better world we seek will own workplaces, resources, or other people's ability 
to do work. There will be no owners of Walmarts or Microsofts. There will be no 
private profits. There will be no wage slaves, working under the dictates of 
others. Further, no one will monopolize empowering conditions at work, as 
doctors, lawyers, engineers, and managers so typically do now, and on that 
account rule over those left only menial and obedient tasks. No one will earn 
inequitably whether from property, power, or output. No one will have more say 
over decisions than the fair share that we all are entitled to in accord with 
how much we are affected. There will be no top and no bottom of who decides 
what for whom. There will be no order giver and no order taker about 
production, allocation, or consumption. There will be no class responsible for 
decisions while another class is suppressed and responsible only to obey. We 
will all be elevated to use our fullest capacities and express our fullest 
desires, rather than most of us learning only to endure boredom and to obey 
orders showered down on us by the anointed masters of all that occurs. Our new 
economy will be classless, at last. Out with the old boss - and out with any 
new boss, too. We will enjoy a participatory economy, operating as one part of 
a participatory society.

But our project is not just about economics - we are not economistic. We 
realize that life is not working and consuming alone. For example, we are 
trying to win a new polity too, that will incorporate the will of all citizens 
in legislation, that will adjudicate disputes to produce justice, that will 
respond to violations to attain rehabilitation and liberation rather than 
vengeance and retribution. Our new polity will have citizens of diverse age, 
belief, experience, and knowledge, but will not have rulers and ruled. We are 
not merely seeking new Presidents and Senators because we understand that our 
political problem is government by a few - not simply the oddities of any 
particular few who happen to be prowling around the White House and Senate at 
any particular moment. We won't have political choices mediated by dollar bills 
but by the will of informed citizens, each with equal rights and comparable 
means. We will have in our new society's new polity, participatory democracy 
and self management. We won't have information conveyed by agents of corporate 
power. We will have education, communication, and popular participation that 
together prepare all citizens to be full participants in social life and 
decision making. We will build and responsibly contribute to assemblies that 
express our informed desires for legislation allowing us to self manage our 
political and social life. We will build media that conveys expert information 
so we can function wisely. We will adopt decision methods that apportion 
influence over outcomes to those affected in proportion as they are affected so 
that we collectively self manage our conditions and projects. We might well 
call all this participatory politics, one more part of our new participatory 

Beyond economy and polity, however, we are trying as well to win a new realm of 
sexuality, nurturance, socialization, and daily life. Do the roots of sexism 
reside in nuclear marriage as we know it? Do they stem from a gender division 
of labor that is women mothering and men fathering rather than both parenting? 
Is sexism born in a disparity in who does caretaking work and who doesn't? Are 
there other roots of sexism, other structures that continually toss misogyny up 
into our lives, reproducing its contours year in and year out, and thereby 
subverting our potentials for sharing and caring? Whatever the roots of 
patriarchy are, whatever produces and reproduces sexism, it will all be 
transcended in a new world. Sexism will be only a memory in the new world we 
will win and celebrate. Will we need communal living arrangements, new modes of 
parenting, new ways of apportioning the labors of life, all even beyond the 
obvious need for fair and free access for women to all positions in society? If 
we do, then that's the feminism we must and will achieve in our new 
participatory society. If something more or other is needed, then that too will 
be done. We will have participatory kinship, participatory living, in our new 
participatory society, nothing less is acceptable.

We are trying to win a new culture, as well, that celebrates cultural diversity 
while defending each community's every participant. Our preferred new society 
will include social structures and relations that welcome spirituality and 
religious sentiment even as our new approaches escape the strictures of 
fundamentalism of all kinds and respect atheism as well. In our new society, we 
will all still celebrate, communicate, identify, and forge ways of seeing and 
understanding ourselves and our communities - but we will do it with mutual 
respect, taking pleasure not only in our own solutions but in admiring, 
learning from, and enjoying the rich variety of other people's solutions too. 
We will choose our cultural communities freely, move among them as we choose, 
and refine and enrich our ties to them over the course of our lives. Racism, 
religious bigotry, ethnocentrism, and all kinds of self identification based on 
or presupposing the inferiority and subordination of others will have become a 
thing of the past, and our ways of constructing our communities and the 
institutions we adopt in our new cultural relations will have to respect, 
abide, and propel that outcome. New cultural institutions, that is, will guard 
the rights and norms of all communities, but particularly of the smaller in 
disputes with the larger. The name for all this might be multiculturalism or 
perhaps intercommunalism, another leg for our new participatory society to 
stand on. 

We seek a greener world too, but not just sustainability. We are not content 
with the idea that the best we can do is to avoid suicide, which is what 
sustainability literally mandates. Rather, in our participatory society not 
only will our culture and daily life respect our natural environment, but our 
legislation will freely and effectively protect it and our economy will 
properly discern its interconnections and their value. Likewise, even beyond 
our own shores, we seek a community of countries that goes beyond being at 
peace to attain a condition of mutual benefit. We will have war no more - of 
course - but we will not dispense with global ties. On the contrary, we will 
enrich and extend global ties so that countries freely share their lessons and 
virtues, protect one another from harm, and exchange not according to 
competitive norms that ensure that trade benefits accrue mostly to whoever is 
richer and more powerful, but instead exchange in a way that always reduces 
disparities in wealth and power. In the time-honored tradition of our 
predecessors, we can call this internationalism, but it is ultimately just 
participatory societies participating in cooperative solidarity with one 

But how do we win all this, that's the question, isn't it? We know we must. We 
know we will. But how? Of course, we only know some things about this massive 
question - the rest will be revealed only in the clash and jangle of struggles 
and constructions as we pursue the road forward. But, even now, there are some 
insights we can commit to, as we develop and share more. 

In our future there will be participatory self management via worker and 
consumer councils in the economy, via people's assemblies in the polity, and 
via new personal and collective arrangements in culture and in kinship as well. 
We can't grow that kind of future participation using movements that are 
harshly hierarchical. No more of that. We can't attain equitable remuneration, 
self management, classlessness, women and men in partnership, sexual 
liberation, political participation, wide dispersal of information, cultural 
intercommunalism, a wise relation to nature, and internationalism, if we use 
movement vehicles that incorporate the ills of the present. No more of that. We 
can't have racism, sexism, or classism in our movements. No more, no more.

We will win a better world by winning sequences of improvements in people's 
lives within existing society which also win our movements ever more 
consciousness, ever more commitment, and ever more infrastructure of struggle, 
until they are powerful and wise enough to win not solely modest elixirs for 
pain, but also the infrastructure of full freedom and liberation. 

We can't create a society of sharing souls by having fragmented, alienated 
movements. We can't generate responsibility and initiative with movements that 
denigrate and debilitate. We can't sustain participation with movements that 
are as oppressive as society at large - indeed we can't win with these flaw in 
our movements since winning entails a movement of perhaps a hundred million 
involved participant leaders. Without movements that give their participants 
better lives than they would have outside, more friends, more love, more 
dignity, more empowerment, more knowledge, more confidence, we can't win. So we 
must create such movements.

We can't use anti democratic means to produce democratic results. We can't use 
anti egalitarian norms to produce equitable distribution. We can't use 
authoritarian culture and conceptions to produce participation. We can't 
maintain soul wrecking values much less elitist and egocentric behaviors to 
produce intercommunalism. 

We need to have our eyes on the real prize which is to enlarge membership, 
enlarge consciousness, enlarge commitment, and enlarge infrastructure, all 
consistent with our long term aims and not solely our short run priorities and 

And finally, as we close out this social forum together, and as we further 
refine and enrich our shared views in coming months and years, for whom do we 
commit to this mammoth task, this revolutionary pursuit? 

We do it for workers on the line, bored, tired, impoverished, and robbed of 
their creative days. No more Maggie's Farm for us, insteadcsslessness.
We do it for women door-opened, pinched, decultured, feminized, impoverished, 
beaten, raped, advertised, psychologized, ball and chained. No more hustle and 
no more Hustler for us, instead Feminism.

We do it for Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians.nameless, robbed of 
dignity and means, legally lynched, harassed, low paid, running, jailed. No 
more plantations in the midst of plenty for us, instead Intercommunalism.

We do it for the drunks and addicts, the worn out and the never lively, for the 
old and ill who should be long lived and wise, for the forgotten, the 
dispossessed, the lonely.

For the young, schooled and unschooled, enduring boredom, sniffing glue, 
stealing sex and losing love, trying to escape or trying to find a way in, 
whether they exist under a massive thumb or are trying to grow a massive thumb 
with which to hold down others.

We do it for those on welfare or off it, looking into the mall or looking out 
from it, employed or unemployed, alone or crowded beyond sanity, hiding their 
sex or flaunting it, angry, sad, or mad.

We do it for all those who feel less than they could feel, for all those who 
have been made less than they could be in this rich land, the United States - 
and -

We do it for the Colombian, Paraguayan, Guatemalan, Haitian, South African, 
Congolese, Liberian, Sudanese, Iraqi, Iranian, Palestinian, Pakistani, Indian, 
Thai, Malaysian, and Chinese exploited, robbed, starved, cheated, tortured, 
ambushed, kidnapped, and death-squadded. 

We do it for all the world's citizens suffering the brutality and indignity of 
electric shocks and murdered relatives, suffering secret or public bombs, 
suffering Guantanamos and Abu Ghriabs, suffering poverty and even starvation, 
suffering the military boot and the cultural stamp.

We do it for the empire's citizens, proud but beleaguered, and also for the 
empire's enemies, our forebears:

We do it for the strikers, the saboteurs, the feminists and anarchists, the 
Marxists and nationalists, for those with no ideology but liberty, and for 
those who had too much ideology as well.

We do it for the memory of Che and the Cuban freedom fighters - we will be 
"guided by great feelings of love." 

We do it for the memory of Amilcar Cabral and the liberation of Africa - we 
will "tell no lies and claim no easy victories."

We do it for the memory of Rosa Luxembourg and the revolutionaries of Europe - 
we will move, and therein we will notice and break our chains.

We do it for the memory of Alexandra Kollantai and Russians in revolt - we will 
not only create direct means of popular rule, we will preserve, revere, and 
utilize them.

We do it for Emma Goldman and the anarchists in struggle - we will dance on our 
way to, on our arrival at, and in celebration of our new world.

We do it for Simone de Beauvoir and feminists everywhere - we will accept no 
biological, psychological, or economic fate deterring women in our future.

We do it for Ho and the Vietnamese, the Vietnamese who yesterday taught us all, 
and who will have their day too, around the corner, over the hill, when we win 
the world we all desire.

We do it for r Martin Luther King Jr. - his mountain is our mountain, his 
vision looking into uncharted mists will become our daily pleasure, surrounding 
us during each breath of our lives. We will win for Martin too.

We do it for Fannie Lou Hamer and the Civil Righters, for Dave Dellinger and 
the new leftists, for Fred Hampton and the Panthers, for Cesar Chavez and the 
farmworkers, for Lolita Lebrón and the Puerto Rican nationalists, for Leonard 
Peltier and the fighters in AIM, and for all the fine souls who resisted and 
died in the past and who nonetheless live on.

We do it for the young who dodged the draft. For the young who went to war and 
disrupted. For the young who went and died - or lived. For the Vietnam Veterans 
against war, and especially for the Iraq Veterans against war.

We do it for the French in the streets of May and the Italians in Autumn, for 
the Mexicans in the summer, and the Czechs and Chinese, for the Nicaraugans, 
the El Salvadorans, the Haitians, the Bolivians, and the Venezuelans. For the 
ANC and landless peasants movement. For the anti globalization veterans of 
Seattle and Prague. For the camepasinos in Brazil and the piqueteros in 
Argentina, for the Zapatistas in Mexico and for movements all over Asia, 
Africa, Europe and the Americas - for the millions who opposed the Iraq War 
before it began and the many millions more who oppose it now.

We do it for everyone who has fought, fights, or will fight for a better wage, 
a better home, more dignity, more respect, a better life, a better world than 
they were, are, or are going to be bequeathed.

And at the same time, necessarily:

We do it against the Rockefellers, the Waltons and Buffets, the Somozas and 
Pinochets, the CIAs and FBIs, and the Bushs, Clintons, and Kissengers all.

We do it against the doctors coerced by their positions to deal in dollars but 
not in dignity, against the landlords, the corporate lawyers, and the 
politicians with their eyes closed to injustice or wallowing in its waste.

We do it against the owners, administrators, bosses, rapists and racists, those 
on top and those who aspire only to be on top, against all the dealers of bad 
hands, against the stacked decks.

We do it against the social ties and unties that breed the pain and all who 
grow ugly by benefiting from its continuance, one step above those suffering 

We do it against the intellectuals who keep information as it if were their 
little toy, who enshrine their ignorance under false halos and who hide it 
behind big words, who justify barbarism or technically dissect it as their 
interests require, never shedding a tear, never raising a fist.

We do it against the media liars, the news pimps, the career thinkers with 
brains the size of cornflakes, the academics - left and right - who propagate 
propaganda to preserve this system or some other, and yes, we do it against the 
academics who call themselves socialists and always do nothing, the ones who 
succeed but don't stay angry, the ones who don't really care.

And finally, we will make this new world for our parents, our friends, our 
children, our children's children, and for ourselves too.

To succeed, we must all soon agree on at least the essential core aspects of 
what a better world can and will embody. 

To succeed, we must flexibly agree on what it will require to make it so, what 
skills must be learned, what tasks accomplished, what obstacles overcome, and 
to succeed, we must act, and act, and act, and refine our awareness as we learn 
from our actions. 

Let us not mince words. Let us not call ourselves less than we are. The name 
for all this is revolution. 

The name for those who believe in it, who aspire to it, who devote themselves 
to it, is revolutionary. 

Till when there will be fewer acquaintances and many more friends and lovers, 
we must be revolutionary, we must be revolutionary, we must be revolutionary - 
to win our new world. 

Remember this Forum, and bring it home!

Embrace Revolution, and bring it home too! 


Reply via email to