Monday, October 16, 2006

 preliminary observations from the Border Social Forum

 preliminary observations from the Border Social Forum - a more detailed updates and reports will be coming.

The Border Social Forum, part of he World Social Forum process, was held in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua México, on the border with EL Paso, TX from Oct 13-15, 2006.

Some 1000 people, representing social justice organizations, immigrant rights, labor, indigenous communities, farmworkers, women, youth, African Americans, and many others, converged on Juarez. Ciudad Juarez is considered a laboratory for neoliberalism. The first maquiladoras of the global assembly lines, were first implemented in Juárez in the1960s. Juárez is also the site of mass repression against women maquiladora workers. In this setting, all the discussions and program sessions were focused on creating alternatives to the militarized border where thousands of women, men and children have died as the result of US border policies and Homeland Security.

Th Oct 12

The Border Social Forum began with a March Against NAFTA and Violence. Then on the afternoon particopants went on a “border reality tour” to visit industrial sites and colonias (working class neighborhoods). There were 14 themes or tracks of discussion and workshops and actions and proposals including, globalization & integration, US Mexico relations, women and the border, labor and workers, environment and justice, health, indigenous peoples, children and elders, youth, human rights, art & culture, education & communication, food sovereignty, migration.

Friday Oct 13

The numbers of the National Network participated mainly in the migration tracks or theme. Desisi Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), South Asian Network (SAN), St. Peter’s Housing Committee, Colonias Development Council, Center for Agricultural Worers and NNIRR Board members led an organizing workshop called “Building Walls, Destroying Rights.” That lookd at the panorama of anti-inmmigrant legislation, the immigrant fightback, and a proposal from the National Network for a National Campaign for equity, liberty & justice. The National Network also participated in a panel plenary discussion call the Migrant Struggles, in the United States that discussed the sdignificane of the mass mobilizations of the past year.

All the members of the NEtwork, like Coalicion de Derechos Humans, DRUM, and organized separate workshops on bordr violence and militarization in Mexico and Palestine. The National Network also participated in a workshop organized by CHIRLA discussing interior immigration law enforcement issues.

Diverse community organizations and movements at the BSF presented a gamut of disucssions, trainings, resources, video and audio to focusdiscussion on alternaticves to the dominant forms of economic development now presemnt;. they also looked at the impacts of neoliberalism from indigenous peoploes; lands to EJ to workers rights and all the challenges that they are faing (indig comm workin people and poc. each of the theme tracks like mgration presented a series of conclusions and proposals for action as a followup to the BSF.

The National Network presented its proposal for a national campaign in the US to organize a national dialogue on the type of broder communities want including humanitarian and solidarity ad bringing diverse communities to meet their counterparts at the US /// Mexico border to challenge the existing militarization and impunity at the border.

The outcomes from the migration track recognize that the mass mobilizations of 2006 were the result oforganized communities and especially the last 10 years of work. the border militarization is part of the low intensity war being waged against migrants and border communities. The migrant track put forth that toppling the border wall and ending militarization is a top priority.

The BSF participants by acclamation will organize a campaign to defend the rights of communities at the border to stop hate crimes and link it to stopping the war abroad as well.

There is also a proposal for organized actions including boycotts and work stoppages for May 1, 2007.

Finally, there are plans to hold a 2nd borderSF that is to held on mexico’s southern border.

See the SWOP blog for more information. http://www.swop.netswop blog.


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