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An Expanded Format for the US Social Forum 2010

The social forum process, as described in its charter of principles, is a decentralized and self-organizing process, which fosters nationwide and worldwide inter-communications between social justice, movement-based organizations in order to cultivate progressive and participatory social, political, and economic dynamics everywhere in the world.

An expanded format within the social forum process aims to support outreach efforts to engage and uplift all communities within the United States. It is also relevant to make Detroit an expanded event that is widely open to world organizations in the context of the global crises.

 1. "Dex" is an Open Virtual Space from the Open Space of the WSF in 2000/1
 2. Collaborative tool developed in Atlanta at the USSF 2007
 3. Belem Expanded at the WSF in 2009
 4. Need grows with increasing emphasis on connections due to reduction in resources for travel, etc.

 * Connect Detroit to the World
 * Connect the World to Detroit
 * Build the Means of Connection for all Expanded Forums.

 * Audio/Video conferencing, chat, collaborative software, media sharing on the web, etc.
 * Organized workshops will have an ongoing online space for collaboration over discussion lists, wikis, messaging, etc.
 * Local, community-based events
 * Website map and calendar and aggregates events
 * Workshops at the USSF featured in printed program


An expanded format at the USSF, Detroit Expanded, aims to build upon the work done in January 2009 at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brasil, called Belem Expanded or BELEX. It's obvious aim - the shared aim of the social forum expansion process or SFEX - is to engage a larger participatory audience for the USSF activities and movements without physical presence in Detroit during a moment of connection, or convergence, in addition to first requiring pre-forum organizing.

  • Fostering expansion and deepening of the social forum process to improve the SFEX model began in Belem, Brasil 2009
    • Include in the process groups that have displayed participated in USSF and WSF processes (such as 70 US registered and documented actions during the Global Day of Action 2008) that intend to organize decentralized activities locally and to connect this decentralized action with representatives or other interested groups that attend USSF in Detroit.
    • Include in the process groups from around the world participating in WSF process who cannot travel to Detroit but that intend to have decentralized activities of this USSF event locally with a moment of connection with participants present in Detroit.
    • Develop a process for collaboration between NPC working groups in order to organize decentralized events for participants in Detroit through Outreach, Registration, and Program working groups.
    • Develop and implement more free and open source tools such as video conferencing, video streaming, radio broadcasting, video sharing, SMS, voice conferencing and others through the Information Communications and Technology working group.
  • Developing inter-communication between USSF/WSF participants and organizers
    • Detroit locals: In an effort to increase local excitement, participation, and awareness: USSF 2010 is a unique occasion for making direct contact with realities and organizing experiences away from their home town. For immigrant communities, there is opportunity for support of remote participants and non-Detroit participants who traveled in order to provide intermediation in connecting familiar cultural, as well as cross-cultural realities.
    • USSF participants: The outreach effort is similar in experience to Detroit locals, yet perhaps less unique since the non-local participant has already traveled to the event. Yet this becomes particularly important for the representative USSF participant and the represented organization in the report-back process.
    • USSF and WSF participants outside of Detroit: Direct contact between groups provides and alternative experience to commercial media. Groups, individuals, and organizations will start contacting one another in regard to their connected activity in Detroit many months before the USSF 2010 event in an effort to get to a more elaborate level of intercommunication, thus deepening networks.
    • USSF and WSF organizers (NPC, IC, LOC): In an effort to grow the SFEX model, support from IC/NPC is needed. It is relevant and easy to organize network-wide video conferencing during social forum events. Beyond convenience and sustainability, the preparation to converge in a virtual space fosters deep and lasting few-to-few connections.


How will the following NPC working groups and LOC organizers be impacted and involved in DEX?

  • Outreach: organizing process of local instances of social forum actions
  • Technology: using free and open source software, streaming video, interactive video conferencing, video and media archiving
  • Resources: funding for video projection equipment, video editing on-site, and server space for streaming and storing video
  • Program: moments of connection during the social forum with video conferencing will be considered events and programmed
  • Registration: encouraging people to register and participate in expanded events, to reserve equipment and organize their local spaces
  • DLOC: leaving this equipment behind for a media collective(s) to continue to broadcast streaming video events and media education

Social Forum Expanded in Detroit

WHO | Organizations sending small number of delegates to the WSF connected with their base group "back home" during the forum, also completely disconnected groups and individuals unable to arrive in WSF local space due to economic hardship, war, or visa requirements

WHAT | Moments of connection via Skype calls, unconnected solidarity forums with publicity on a common website and in the printed program, streaming audio & video, recorded media shared 1-day later

WHERE | Local social forums in France, Argentina, Italy; Individual events in New York, rural Brazil; People in Gaza, Iraq, Guatemala

WHEN | Simultaneous events scheduled during the self-organized activities, open workshop programming, lead-up organizing began months in advance to secure local venues and publicity

WHY | Travel restrictions and costs, politics of displacement, global-local participation, outreach tool

Two examples of a Detroit Expanded event

Workshop held in organization's home city simultaneous, allowing for video conferencing discussion and collaboration. Requires mobilization of participants in home city. Related organizations in foreign countries are invited to participate in a multi-city discussion about a global topic via online chat during which time a collaborative document can be produced. This requires massive outreach invitations to interested organizations.

To help with organizing your event, please visit to register and create a group. You may invite other collaborators to your group where you can create information pages about your event, collaborate on outreach materials, and finalize your plans for connection.


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06/24/10 12:00 PMCobo Hall: PMCMigration
06/24/10 01:00 PMWestin Book Cadillac Hotel: WB4Workers Rights are Human Rights - Strategies for Gaining Power
06/24/10 01:00 PMWSU Student Center: 29The World Cup, Sports and Social Justice: The Beautiful Game and the Beautiful Struggle, Together
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06/25/10 01:00 PMWSU Student Center: 277Grassroots Media and Movements for Justice
06/25/10 01:00 PMCobo Hall: D3-24Off Grid and Unplugged: Sustainable Lifestyle Choices & Renewable Resistance
06/25/10 03:30 PMWoodward Academy: 1449Into the Unknown: Being Present and Open to New Futures
06/25/10 03:30 PMWSU Student Center: 277Grassroots Media Networks v Immigrant Criminalization: Shifting the Debate

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