Reporting-back: NEC at the US Social Forum & Allied Media Conference

07/16/2015 - 4:25pm
NEC board member Ed Whitfield leading a session on reparations in front of a packed room at the Allied Media Conference

Last month, we travelled out to Detroit to attend the Allied Media Conference, an annual convergence that gathers some of the country’s brightest culture-workers, trouble makers, and digital media aficionados altogether in the Motor City.

Since this winter, NEC staff worked to develop a 14-session track at the AMC called “Alternative Economies: Building the Other World That’s Possible.” Confronting the myth that there are no practical alternatives to our current economy, the track’s many facets highlighted the hope on the horizon: that not only are there many alternatives, but that communities on the frontlines of exploitation have been putting these visionary ideas into practice for decades.

Drawing session leaders from within and outside of the Coalition, the track covered everything from decentralized movement networks to reparations to technology by and for the trans community. The Detroit FoodLab explored what it’d mean to create a resilient, sustainable, local economy in which Michiganders love to live and work, and two collaborators with Octavia’s Brood and Beautiful Trouble guided workshop participants through the People’s Encyclopedia, a web-based tool to build our collective vision for what tomorrow means today.

Group of about 100 folks at raising their hands in consensus at the US Social Forum solidarity economy PMA in 2015

At the end of June, we also co-sponsored a People’s Movement Assembly, part of the United States Social Forum’s site in Philadelphia. With another site in Santa Fe, the “poly-nodal” USSF is a follow-up to the first Social Forum in Detroit four years ago, and inspired by the World Social Forum--a global meeting-place for various struggles for liberation.

Entitled “Advancing the Solidarity Economy,” the PMA brought together NEC members with new economy leaders, thinkers, dreamers and practitioners from around Philadelphia and the country to learn about work already happening in the new economy sphere--and discuss what else we can build together. We’d like to extend a huge thank-you to NEC members Solidarity NYC, 350.org, the Responsible Endowments Coalition and the Divestment Student Network for participating--and especially to the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance for grounding the process and making it a huge success.

Check out their re-cap of the day here! And stay tuned throughout the summer for more updates from us as things heat up.

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