For photos from this event, go to our Flickr page.
“As the South goes, so goes the nation,” W.E.B. DuBois famously wrote. And indeed, today’s southern United States is a site of rapid economic globalization and redevelopment, with a booming finance sector (Charlotte, NC, is considered “Wall Street South”), large-scale automobile production, and growing military, medical, and real estate complexes.
This “southern boom” has not, however, resulted in economic redistribution. Rather, it has led to stagnant wages, hostility to trade unions, and deepening racism. As the South has also become the base of support for the Republication Party, which is now dictating national policy, the question of social justice in Dixie is no longer just a regional concern, but of deep importance for the entire nation.
Against this backdrop, how do activists develop a new vision of a South based on participatory democracy, economic equity, and racial justice?
“The Struggle for Economic Democracy: A USSF People’s Movement Assembly,” co-hosted by RLS–NYC, will be a gathering of social actors involved in the creation of a southern cooperative economy, together with local citizens of Jackson, Mississippi, to discuss how the regional movement for racial and economic justice can be strengthened. This assembly will also serve as a prelude to the polycentric United States Social Forum taking place June 24-27, 2015.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 23
6-9pm: Opening Forum: Transforming Mississippi
Derrick Johnson, MS One Voice
Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Melbah Smith, Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi
Saki Hall, Cooperation Jackson
Ben Burkett, Mississippi Association of Cooperatives
SATURDAY, JANUARY 24
9-11am: Morning Plenary: Transforming the South, Transforming the United States
Elandria Williams, Highlander Research and Education Center
Ed Whitfield, Fund for Democratic Communities
Cornelius Blanding, Federation of Southern Cooperatives
Jerome Scott, USSF National Planning Committee
Brandon King, Cooperation Jackson
12:30-2pm: Discussion Circles
2:30-4 pm: Discussion Circles
4:30-5:30pm: Closing Plenary – Transforming the World
Kali Akuno, Cooperation Jackson
Shamako Noble, USSF National Organizer
Albert Scharenberg, Co-director, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office
Michael Peck, U.S. representative of Mondragon
Tobita Chow, Jake Werner