GGJA: 10th Anniversary founding
Friday 23, January 2015
San Antonio, Tejas
key question: why is new knowledge?
In 2005, SWU held a members’ assembly/constitutional convention on May 1-5, the anniversary of SWU of its founding in 1988, with the participation of 600 members, and the multi delegations representing grassroots organizations from throughout the country and from Mexico.
And to start let say we were blocking international bridges on the US Mexico borders between 2001-2005, with SW network (SNEEJ), and let me tell you that is no small task. We mobilized under the Border Justice Campaign moving thousands of people on the ground long before occupy.
Already at this time GGJA participated with representation at the International Council of the World Social Forum held in Miami, Florida in 2004. In Washington DC a ‘consulta‘ was organized with some forty plus social movement organizations to answer the question whether we had the political will and the commitment to organize a first ever US Social Forum in the near future possibly 2006. (remember the Mega migrant marches and the general strike May 1, 2006) Some US organizational representatives had been to the World Social Forum in Brazil in 2003. Others became part of the COMPA in a hemispheric assembly against FTAA in La Habana, Cuba. We joined the Alianza Social Continental in Cuba.
GGJ was not an alliance until this time but was already active more or less as a group of leadership and organizers who had been following, analyzing and debating the whole question of globalization. Since 1984 with the General Agreement on Trade & tariffs (GATT) and instrument of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund a la structural adjustment agreements forced down poor countries throats. This was the foundation for the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) had organized a cross border meeting on NAFTA; and the Southwest Network for Environmental & Economic Justice (SNEEJ) organizing all border states on the US and Mexico borders, through its Border Justice Campaign organized the Fuerza Unida as the early victims of NAFTA and globalization. SNEEJ also organized a gathering in Jemez, New Mexico with about 20 grassroots Indigenous and People of Color organizations, and about twenty White environmental and globalization groups. We developed the Jemez principles that all the Indigenous and POC groups signed onto, but only two of the white led groups would sign it.
All this led to the Battle of Seattle and the SHUT DOWN of the WTO conference of ministers. SNEEJ and the group that later organized GGJ and then the alliance in 2005, were in the Battle of Seattle. We understood the human face to globalization because the other forces held the view that it was too complex for us poor folks to understand it. In Seattle there were various bases of power. The AFLCIO had a hotel and had brought in hundreds, and the International Forum of Globalization had another hotel and conference going, and the Friends of the Earth and other Ecological groups had another hotel and people, and then the Black Block of ‘anarchists’ on the street. Then their was us, Indigenous Environmental Network, SW Network for EEJ, the Workers Center from Seattle and Tyree Scott, abd the Filipino you and we march without a permit, the only ones not given one. There at the end of the Battle of Seattle we organized an assembly and people argreed to make links directly with the Global South movements, and to land global justice as a front of struggle in the US, in the Global North.
9-11 attacks became a set back for the social movements and global justice, it was a suppression of civil and individual liberties and people and the social movements entered a period of paralyzes. No one was sure what was happening or to come given the new wars, endless war. The social movement did not recover that lost ground or some of it, until 2003 in the WTO battle at Cancun where the Korean farmer self sacrificed himself to demonstrate how globalization was killing the farm workers and small farmers, and the Root Cause March in Miami against the NAFTA and FTAA. It was here during the march that the global justice movement consolidated into an organized effort. One critical factor in 2003 Miami was the Root Cause March was outside the power bases of the forces similar to Seattle; the AFLCIO, IFG, F of the E, and other ecologists found themselves inside the ‘safe zone’ set up by a militarized police force, and therefore GGJ refused to participate inside the fenced in ‘are of protest’, and organized the 30 miles march coming into Miami.
The founding of GGJA was of importance because of a shift towards the global south social movements and struggles particularly Indigenous, and Liberatory movements such as MST in Brazil, Via Campesina, Marcha Mundial de Mujeres, COMPA, Alianza Social Continental, ALCA, ALBA de Movimientos sociales, it has not been just a one organization effort. GGJA was founded as an Alliance to keep it more on the fronts of struggle and decentralized, rather than centralized in a board of director type design. The GGJA was coordinated by an council of the Alliance, and supported by the staff and director for implementation. The idea was not to creat a supra organizational alliance that would compete with the very organizational members that make it up and that ultimately are the organizations to practice the struggle on the field. A rift happened in that process in 2008 in the Flagstaff assembly and meeting of GGJA. It folded the council (decentralized) into a board of directors practice and decision making design, there causing a drop on the coordination and communications, and a certain stagnation of action and development at the center. The compass got lost. Seems it was recovered in 2010 in Miami. And here we are now in 2015 at the 10th anniversary of GGJA ‘s founding here in San Antonio, Texas.
This work of global justice, and the political moment of 2005, laid part of the ground and favorable conditions for the Mega marches of 2006. The Katrina disaster and forced dislocation of millions of Black people and poor, in 2005, we felt it was a time to take an offensive. SWU organized the Peoples solidarity and Justice caravan with over 40 organizational movement representatives to show unconditional support to the affected communities. It was at this moment after 1999 and the Battle of Seattle, Cancun and Miami in 2003, that we adopted the ‘peoples assembly assembly’ process coming from our experience in Brazil at the WSF 3, where we participated in the social movement assembly. The PMA is the pace for convergence and action decisions since the social forum space was neutral and more about debates, sharing and articulation of the many fronts of struggle and liberation. We practiced the PMA in Raleigh-Durham at the Project South SE Social Forum held in June of 2006, and we went deeper and more international in Cd Juarez at the SWU Border Social Forum in October 2006. In 2007 in Atlanta at the first ever US Social Forum, again PS at the center of that local organizing, we held a 1000 person PMA on a sunday morning. After overcoming some problems at the PMA all the social groups there resolved and moved forward together, a great demonstration of the power of working together than working separate.
We are stronger together than we are separate. By 2010, at the Detroit USSF II, we organized PMA’s (100) before the social forum, and held 55 PMA’s inside the USSF II program, and held about another 100 PMA’s after the USSF II. It became the BEFORE-DURING-AFTER methodology of planning, implementing and analysis (synthesis). As we speak the process is on for USSF III in Philadelphia, Jackson and San Jose in June 2015.
The main outcomes of the Social Forum process 2004-2010 was the convergence and therefore consolidation of the disparate issue based movements into a US social movements. One current was the NGO’s type non profits, the non profits who became mainstream, and still the grassroots social movements. Grassroots is synonymous to systemic social change our present use and application. One strong movement that came out of the social forum process and PMA’s is the Southern Movement Assembly (SMA).
The first SMA in Lowndes county, at the original freedom tent city site, the second SMA in Jacksonville, Florida the only city that did not allow MLK to speak there. The third SMA in Dolthon, Alabama and the fourth and last SMA in Atlanta in 2014. Mobilizing 14 southern states, thousands of grassroots folks in the struggle, the Southern Movement Assembly is looking and working out What we are For? How to decolonize the systems of oppression, and how to dismantle the old systems and how to build the new. How and where do we hold community grassroots POWER without giving it away to the political parties or the ‘acceptable’ organizations that do not speak for us, they are not for systemic change. The Governing Council represents directly the social movement member organizations regionally and the movement council that meets at the SM Assembly are the two vessels where the power is held for the SMA.
SMA Fronts of struggle-Seven frontline struggles have been organized.
- EJ CJ
- State Violence
- Labor & Migration/migrant workers
- Youth education NSBR
- Healing & health
- Civic peoples power
- Culture resistance
The Southern Peoples’ Initiative (SPI) is the converging movements working together rather than separate, to advance the People Power and action from January 19, 2015 to January 19, 2017.
This is a two year critical period and political moment for the grassroots social movements and the SMA. What is the situational analysis of the 2015-17 pivotal moment? What are the prevailing conditions today?
Where will we be in January 2017?
Ask ourselves, what trends are on the rise and what trends are on the downward spiral?
Is state violence up or down?
Is school closings up or down?
Youth militancy up or down
Peoples mobilizing and protesting up or down
Cost of living?
Globalization of capital/state power
The University Sin Fronteras founded in 2011 in its work to decolonize education, knowledge, but moreover to creation of new knowledge has added several conceptual categories that are decolonizing benchmarks of new knowledge, including…the following.
Pedagogy of Liberation
Philosophy of liberation
I am happy to be here today on the 10th anniversary and more importantly, is the convergence taking place at this moment here in ths space and place. The founding of GGJA and now the full circle to Regenerating global justice struggles for the next ten years.
Ruben solis garcia University Sin Fronteras www.unsif.org
Key Q: because it was created here on 1.23.2015 (21 st century new knowledge)