On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, organizers Sakura Saunders and Greg Macdougall talk about the Peoples’ Social Forum. It will be the first pan-Canadian/Quebec/Indigenous convergence of movements and communities-in-struggle to draw people from across the northern half of Turtle Island, and it is happening in Ottawa from August 21 to 24.
The finishing touches are still being put on the plans for the event, but it looks impressive. The planning process has spanned three years. There will be more than 500 workshops, amazing keynote events, and lots of artistic and cultural activities, as well as what are being called “movement assemblies” — opportunities for focused strategizing among people involved in the same struggles in different places. Attendance is expected to number well into the thousands. The vision for the event depends heavily on self-organization by participants, so what comes out of it will depend on what those of us who show up put into it, but hopes are running high that it won’t just be a chance to meet and talk, but a chance to start things.
Saunders has a long history of working on mining justice issues as well as with alternative media, and she has been heavily involved in the central layer of organizing for the forum. Macdougall’s organizing background is in indigenous solidarity, education, and alternative media, and his role in prepping for the forum has mostly been as a central organizer in one of the fifteen movement assemblies that will be happening there — in his case, it’s the Alternative Media Movement Assembly. (Talking Radical, too, has been involved in supporting that piece of the work, though in a much more limited way than Macdougall.) I speak with them about the organizing that has been building towards the social forum, about what they expect from the event, and about the importance of the movement assemblies in general and the Alternative Media Movement Assembly in particular.
Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit the recently revamped website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.
Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.