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Midwest Social Forum
MIDWEST SOCIAL FORUM 2006
JULY 6-9, 2006
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union
Preparations for Midwest Social Forum (formerly aka RadFest) 2006 are well under way.
See below for updates on how you can get involved in this annual gathering of grassroots organizations, community activists, and others committed to social justice movement building.
1. Call for Participation and Proposals
2. Regional Info Meetings
3. Call for Artists
4. Help Publicize/Volunteer
6. Individual Registration begins March 15
1. CALL FOR PARTICIPATION & PROPOSALS
The Midwest Social Forum Organizing Committee invites you to organize activities and submit proposals for Midwest Social Forum 2006. There is no hard deadline. However, to be assured of acceptance and advanced publicity, registration and proposal forms should be submitted by NO LATER THAN APRIL 15.
Fill out an online form at http://www.mwsocialforum.org/get_involved/
2. MWSF REGIONAL INFO SESSIONS
A series of info meetings about the forum will be held across the
Midwest starting March 2.
MILWAUKEE - Thursday, March 2, 6:30 pm, Washington Park Library, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd. (Corner of Sherman Blvd. & Lisbon, across the street from Washington Park, 414-286-3066).
TWIN CITIES - Thursday, March 23, 7:00 pm, Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave., Room 55406 (612-276-0788 , ext.22)
MADISON - Saturday, March 25, 2:00 pm, Neighborhood House, 29 S. Mills St.
CHICAGO - Saturday, March 25, time and location TBA
For maps and more info, check http://www.mwsocialforum.org/get_involved/infosessions.htm for more details as they become available.
To organize your own information in another city or area, get in touch with us at email@example.com or 608.262.0854.
3. CALL FOR ARTISTS
The Midwest Social Forum is also a space for showcasing the artistic movements that are the creative force of our diverse communities. The Forum's location--the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Student Union building--offers ample opportunity for all kinds of artistic display: it contains a full size cinema theater, a major ballroom-type venue and other show spaces. There will be a concert each night, a continuous showing of films, and ongoing gallery spaces. There will also be opportunities for graffiti, theatre, poetry, open mic and soapboxing, and other spontaneities.
All artists in Hip-Hop, Rock, Spoken Word, Folk, Dance, Cinema/Film, etc are encouraged to send in demos and press kits (cd/video) to:
YO! The Movement
420 N 5th Street Ste 1040
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Questions, comments, and concerns will be fielded by Kevin Walsh at 608-262-1420 or firstname.lastname@example.org
4. HELP PUBLICIZE/VOLUNTEER
Want to help publicize? We can send you posters, postcards, digital files, and other materials to help you get the word out about the Forum.
If you live in Milwaukee, we also need particular help organizing housing, meals, childcare, transportation and other logistics.
Call 608.262.1420 or email email@example.com if you want to get involved.
The continued growth and success of the Midwest Social Forum depends on the financial contributions of many individuals and organizations committed to social justice movement building. Your contribution will not only make it possible to cover the costs of organizing the Forum, but will also provide scholarships to low-income participants. Please make a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more, and help to make a better, more just world possible.
You can contribute by using our secure web-connection or by sending a check or money order made out to: Havens Center, 8117 Social Science, 1180
Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706.
To donate, or for details about sponsorship opportunities, see http://www.mwsocialforum.org/donate/
6. INDIVIDUAL REGISTRATION
Individual registration, including for housing, meals, tabling, transportation, and the Forum itself, begins on March 15. Check back at the website for information about costs and logistics: http://www.mwsocialforum.org/registration/
Links and Resources
Participatory Budgeting has captured the imagination of policy makers, political activists and academics. The list of organizations, resource sites, and advocates of participatory budgeting is extremely varied, and runs all the way from “socialists for participatory budgeting” in Buenos Aires to the Bertelsmann foundation, in Germany, which advocates transparency and free markets. The academic literature is also extremely varied. Below is an abridged list of resources. For additional information on each area click the "more resources" link below it.
“Participatory Budgeting,” The World Bank Guide to Participatory Budgeting, including definitions, How-To’s, and descriptions of Bank-funded projects
“Participatory Budgeting” presentation at the World Bank by Zander Navarro (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre) (Power Point)
“72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory budgeting.” Urban governance toolkit series. July 2004 UN –Habitat: GLOBAL CAMPAIGN ON URBAN GOVERNANCE.
Bringing budgets alive: participatory budgeting in practice. Community Pride Initiative/Oxfam UK
A Guide to Participatory Budgeting. Brian Wampler's Guide at IBP
Website of the city of Porto Alegre.
Orçamento Participativo: The remarkable experience of direct democracy in a Brazilian town.
UN Habitat II, Best Practices Database. Description of PB in Porto Alegre, by United Nations in several languages. 2002.
Participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre: Toward a redistributive democracy Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Politics & Society; Stoneham; Dec 1998.
Slicing Up the Pie: Community involvement in PB in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Bridget O’Rourke, Community Pride Initiative.
Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil. By William Goldsmith. Planners Network Online, no. 140. Available online:
Interviews about PB with 3 PT mayors in Porto Alegre, from 1989 to 2002 (Olívio Dutra, Tarso Genro, Raul Pont). Abers, Rebbeca. 2001.
Avritzer, Leonardo. Civil Society, Public Space and Local Power: a study of the Participatory Budget in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre. 2000.
Recife, Brazil: Gender and the Participatory Budget. Win News 29-3. Summer 2003.
Lerner, Josh and Estair Van Wagner. Participatory Budgeting in Canada: Democratic Innovations in Strategic Spaces. The Transnational Institute, 2006.
Budgets As If People Mattered: Democratising Macroeconomic Policies UNDP/SEPED
Participation, Citizenship and Local Governance John Gaventa and Camilo Valderrama Institute of Development Studies, June 21-24, 1999 Background note prepared for workshop on ‘Strengthening participation in local governance’
Assessment of Participatory Budgeting in Brazil. Center for Urban Development Studies Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.
Participatory Budgets - A Tool for Participatory Democracy. Francoise Lieberherr, February 2003, Urban News No 7.
What If Citizens Got To Decide the City Budget? Brazil’s Workers Party Tries "Participatory Budgeting" by Micah Maidenberg, Labor Notes, October 2002
Practicing Radical Democracy: Lessons from Brazil. Rebecca Abers, Paper presented at the Workshop: Insurgent Planning Practices – Perugia, Italy, June 21-27, 1998
Fung, Archon and Erik Olin Wright (1998). Experiments in Deliberative Democracy: Introduction. Available online:
Avritzer, Leonardo. Modes of Democratic Deliberation: theoretical remarks on participatory budgeting in Brazil.
Schugurensky, Daniel. Participatory Budget: A tool for democratizing democracy.Toronto Metro Hall, April 29, 2004.
Abers, Rebecca (1998). Inventando a democracia: Distribuição de recursos públicos através da participação popular em Porto Alegre, RGS.
Baierle, Sergio (1998). Experiência do Orçamento Participativo: Um oásis no deserto neoliberal?
Baierle, Sergio (1999). Democracia radical e cidadania: A economia moral dos sujeitos.
Cassen, Bernard (1998). Democracia participativa em Porto Alegre: Uma experiência exemplar no Brasil.
CIDADE (1998). Os personagens principais do Orçamento Participativo: O que éser delegado e conselheiro do Orçamento Participativo.
Motta, João & Betânia Alfonsin (2001). Gestão Democrática em Porto Alegre:dificuldades e oportunidades para vançar uma experiência exitosa.
Pires Rocha Roberto, 2002. O Orçamento Participativo em Belo Horizonte e seus efeitos distributivos sobre a exclusão territorial, disponibile sul sito
Pozzobon, Regina Maria (2000). Uma experiência de gestão pública: Orçamento Participativo de Porto Alegre.
Souza, Marcelo Lopes de (2000). Os orçamentos participativos e suaespacialidade. Uma agenda de pesquisa.
Baratta, Tereza. Relatório del Encuentro de Trabajo Presupuesto Participativo en la Gestión Municipal. IBAM. Pobreza urbana y desarrollo, año 8, n.17, abril 1998, p. 99-101
Genro, Tarso. El mundo globalizado y el Estado necessario. Pobreza urbana y desarrollo. Año 8, n.17, abril 1998, p. 11-16
Godoy, Lilia. El presupuesto participativo como una herramienta fundamental de participación ciudadana. Responsabilidad, Buenos Ayres, n.23, p.5-6, otob./1999
Pires, Valdemir. Limites y potencialidades del presupuesto participativo. Revista International del Presupuesto Público, año XXVII, n.42, marzo-abril 2000, p. 81-122.
Bangel, Jutta (2001). Interview von Jutta Bangel mit Luciano Brunet, Mitglied des Ausschusses des Orçamento Participativo.
Becker, Joachim (2001). Der progressive erweiterte Staat: Zivilgesellschaft, Lokalstaat und partizipatives Budget in Porto Alegre.
Cassen, Bernhard (1998). Le monde diplomatique: Einmischung erwünscht in Porto Alegre, als Beilage der TAZ vom 06.08.1998.
Kaufmann, Bruno (1999). Die ZEIT: Die Welt der direkten Demokratie- Ein überblick. 51/99.
Kesselring, Thomas (2001). Porto Alegre - «Davos» in Brasilien - Die sozialen Rezeptedes Bürgermeisters Tarso Genro.
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation for the Democratization of Budget Policies: Interviews about PB in Porto Alegre/Brasil.
Schachtner, Christina im Gespräch mit Prof. Dr. Danilo Streck. Der Staatshaushalt alsGegenstand von Bürgerbeteiligung.
Zimmermann, Clóvis R. (2001). Innovation in der brasilianischen Verwaltung - Das Modell der Stadt Porto Alegre.
Projeto Democracia Participativa (Portuguese)
The International Budget Project (IBP) (International organization focusing on public budgeting issues)
Participatory Budgeting Project Site at University of British Columbia
Bertelsmann Foundation, Germany (Information about several projects)
UNESCO Program Community Participation and Governance
UN-Habitat (The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the United Nations agency for human settlements)
URBAL (European Union project linking European partners with Latin America on issues of local governance)
Bibliography on PB Università degli Studi di Siena
Bibliography on PB from Praxis Philosiphie
Daniel Shugurensky’s Virtual Library on PB
Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Participation Group
Logolink (Participation and Local Governance)
Buergerhaushalt (info on PB in German)
PSOE, Getafe (Socialist Party site in Spain)
CIDADE (NGO in Porto Alegre)
Budget Participatif (French network promoting budget participation)
ParticipatoryBudgeting.uk (promoting PB in the UK)
Socialists for PB in Buenos Aires (Spanish)
Lawrence Community Works (Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA)
Neighborhood Capital Budget Group (Chicago, USA)
Urban Ecology Center (Montreal, Canada)
Examples of PB
There are hundreds of municipalities and institutions implementing PB, and it is impossible to keep track of them all. The following is the best available running tally of programs that are or can be described as participatory budgeting. Please email us if you know of others.
Rio das Ostras, RJ:
Santa Maria, RS:
São Luis, MA
- Hacia una Democracia Deliberativa [PDF]
- Experiencias de Presupuesto Participativo en Ecuador (website)
- Experiencia de Presupuesto Participativo del Gobierno Municipal de Archidona (PowerPoint)
- Proceso de Presupuestación Participativa (PowerPoint)
- Ciclos y momentos del PP (PowerPoint)
- Plan de equidad y vida y PP (PowerPoint)
- Qué equipos municipales integran la elaboración del PP (PowerPoint)
- Estudio de caso: PP de Cuenca (PDF)
- Proceso de PP (PowerPoint)
Francisco de Orellana
- Presupuesto Participativo 2004-2005 (PowerPoint)
- Control y seguimiento de la implementación de los PP (PowerPoint)
- Evaluación de los PP y participación ciudadana (PowerPoint)
- La Presupuestación Participativa de Francisco de Orellana (Word)
- El camino recorrido del proceso de participación ciudadana en el Cantón Ibarra (PowerPoint)
- Experiencia de Gestión Participativa para el Desarrollo Local (PowerPoint)
- Proceso de Presupuesto Participativo (PowerPoint)
- Presupuesto Participativo del Cantón Quijos (PowerPoint)
- El Presupuesto Participativo, gestión democrática de Quijos (PowerPoint)
- Sistematización de Presupuesto Participativo en el Cantón Quijos (PowerPoint)
- Presupuesto Participativo del Cantón Sigchos (PowerPoint)
- Planes solidarios y Presupuesto Participativo (PowerPoint)
- Presupuesto Participativo (Caracas Metro Government) [PPT]
- Reglamiento General del Presupuesto Participativo del Distrito Metropolitano de Caracas
(Caracas Metro Government) [DOC]
- Presupuesto Participativo 2007 (Caracas Municipality) [PPT]
- Presupuesto Participativo en Caracas: La Experiencia del GOL [PDF]
Guacara (Estado Carabobo)
- Presupuesto Participativo [PPT]
Iribarren (Estado Lara)
Libertador (Estado Carabobo)
- Presupuesto Participativo [PPT]
- Presupuesto Participativo [PPT]
History of PB
Citizen participation in budget making is not a new idea. For over 300 years, citizens in New England and elsewhere have decided on budget spending through town meetings. Many cities have involved residents in budgeting through community boards, councils, and public consultations.
In 1989, the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre developed a different model of budget participation, which has become known internationally as "participatory budgeting". Driven by social movements and Workers Party politicians, the municipality invited residents to not only give input on budget spending, but to directly decide how funds were to be allocated. Since then, participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre has developed into an annual process of deliberation and decision-making, in which as many as 50,000 city residents per year decide how to spend as much as 20% of the municipal budget. In a series of neighborhood, regional, and citywide assemblies, residents and elected budget delegates identify spending priorities and vote on which priorities to implement.
After its emergence in Porto Alegre, participatory budgeting soon spread to hundreds of cities in Brazil, and then elsewhere in Latin America. In the past decade, many cities and towns in Europe, Africa, and Asia have also launched participatory budgets. In North America, several Canadian local governments have developed PB processes, and new initiatives are underway in the United States.
Countries such as the United Kingdom and Dominican Republic have recently mandated that all local governments implement PB. States, counties, public housing authorities, schools, and community organizations have also experimented with PB for their budgets. In recognition of these experiences, the United Nations has promoted PB as a best practice of democratic governance.
What is PB?
Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. There are over 1,200 participatory budgets around the world, according to the Worldwatch Institute. Most of the well-known examples of participatory budgeting involve city administrations that have turned over decisions around municipal budgets, such as overall priorities and choice of new investments, to citizen assemblies. Other examples involve school budgets, housing project budgets, and the budgets of cooperatives and non-profit organizations.
These diverse experiences generally follow a basic process: diagnosis, discussion, decision-making, implementation, and monitoring. First, residents identify local priority needs, generate ideas to respond to these needs, and elect budget representatives for each community. These representatives then discuss the local priorities and develop concrete projects that address them, together with experts. Next, residents vote for which of these projects to fund. Finally, the government implements the chosen projects, and residents monitor implementation. For example, if residents identify recreation spaces as a priority, their budget representatives might develop a proposal for a new basketball court. The residents would then vote on this and other proposals, and if they approve the basketball court, the city pays to build it.
Various studies have suggested that participatory budgeting can lead to more equitable public spending, higher quality of life, increased satisfaction of basic needs, greater government transparency and accountability, increased levels of public participation (especially by marginalized residents), and democratic and citizenship learning.
The Participatory Budgeting Project provides support and technical assistance to local governments and organizations that are interested in starting participatory budgeting processes in the U.S. and Canada. Josh Lerner and Gianpaolo Baiocchi founded the organization in 2006, first as an online resource center. The PBP has received institutional support from The Watson Institute in Providence and the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the site, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Participatory Budgeting in Chicago's 49th Ward
In February 2009, Alderman Joe Moore, of Chicago’s 49th Ward, decided to launch an experiment in democracy. Moore agreed to allow residents of his ward to decide how to spend his $1.4 million discretionary budget, through a democratic and inclusive process. The 49th Ward’s PB marks the first time in the US that ordinary residents are invited to directly allocate city budget funds.
The Participatory Budgeting Project has accompanied Alderman Moore through all stages of the initiative. To begin, we brought together over 30 local organizations and institutions (including schools, religious institutions, grassroots community organizations, NGOs, and neighborhood associations) to form a PB Steering Committee. In April and May we designed and facilitated a series of participatory workshops and meetings, in which the Steering Committee decided the basic structure and rules of the PB process. This exercise in participatory rule-making grounded the PB process in the particular characteristics and preferences of the 49th Ward, while also bringing together community leaders around a common project.
Throughout the process, we have advised both the Alderman’s office and the Steering Committee on meeting facilitation, staffing arrangements, educational materials, publicity materials, and a variety of other issues.
For more information see the 49th Ward PB website.
Participatory PB Evaluation in Toronto
In April 2009, Josh Lerner began a participatory evaluation of the PB process at Toronto Community Housing (TCH). Together with a team of 12 tenants, he is evaluating the building meetings, allocation days, and other parts of the PB, in order to suggest potential improvements.
The evaluation began with a series of capacity-building and planning workshops with tenant researchers, in which they helped design the research methodology and developed qualitative and quantitative research skills. Lerner then accompanied the tenants in observing meetings, interviewing fellow tenants, analyzing research findings, and presenting findings to staff.
The complete research findings, drawing on both the participatory research and other interviews and observations, will be reviewed during two Evaluation & Planning Workshops, in which tenants and staff will map out potential improvements to the PB process. A revised version of the participatory evaluation will continue for the 2010 PB.
For more information on PB at Toronto Community Housing see Toronto Community Housing’s PB Site.
We offer a variety of services to local governments, public agencies, and community organizations that are interested in developing or improving participatory budgeting processes.
- Speakers & Workshops
- Technical Assistance
Speakers & Workshops
- Introduction to PB talks
- Demo workshops
- Customized talks and workshops for schools, housing authorities, and community organizations
Support and accompaniment for:
- Building broad community partnerships
- Participatory rule-making and process design
- Development of technical tools, such as budget matrices and voting systems
- Planning and facilitation of community workshops, assemblies, and meetings
- Preparation of budget literacy and educational materials
- Staff training and capacity-building
- Production of publicity materials
- Participatory evaluation
- Development of evaluation frameworks, including monitoring indicators and survey, interview, and observation tools
- Preparation and dissemination of evaluation reports
- Facilitation of evaluation and planning workshops
- Feasibility and scoping studies
- Research on best practices from other cities
- Participatory action research
Who We Are
Gianpaolo Baiocchi is Associate Professor of Sociology and International Studies, and Director of Development Studies at Brown University. He has been involved with PB since 1997, when he began his dissertation research on the topic in Porto Alegre. He has written widely on participatory democracy and participatory budgeting, in publications ranging from the American Sociological Review to the oston Review and Labor Notes. His comparative research on multiple cities with PB is the topic of his book Making Spaces for Civil Society (with P. Heller and M.K. Silva, 2008). His book on Porto Alegre's PB (Militants and Citizens, 2005) has been taken up widely in planning and activist circles, and has led to a number of meetings with groups and individuals attempting PB campaigns in North America, from city officials in Los Angeles to community activists in Willimantic, CT.
Josh Lerner is a PhD candidate in Politics at the New School for Social Research. In addition to teaching at Fordham University and The New School, he has worked as a popular educator with the Center for the Urban Environment and as a community development specialist on UNDP projects in Slovakia. He became involved in PB in 2003, when he wrote a PB guide for the City of Toronto as his Masters thesis. Since then, he has researched PB in several countries in Latin America and Europe, and advised diverse organizations and institutions on PB, ranging from the Right to the City Alliance to Toronto Community Housing to the Municipality of Rosario (Argentina). He has published in venues such as The Good Society, Shelterforce, The Movement Vision Lab, and the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management.
Michael Menser is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College. His research explores participatory democracy efforts at the local and global levels and the relationships among social movements, governments, and economic organizations. Menser has been an activist and organizer in New York since 1995 and has worked with a range of labor, neighborhood and direct action groups including the faculty union at CUNY (PSC-AFT), Movement for Justice in El Barrio and the Right to the City Coalition. He was an organizer of the NYC Social Forums in 2001, 2003, 2005, the US Social Forum (2007) and the CUNY Social Forum (2008) and was part of the group that founded the US Solidarity Economy Network, which connects groups promoting participatory economic initiatives at the local and regional level. Most recently he has been working with the Brooklyn Food Coalition to promote ecological sustainability and the solidarity economy in NYC.
Daniel Schugurensky was born and raised in Argentina, and now works as an Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)/University of Toronto, where he is the Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Adult Education and Community Development and teaches a course on citizenship learning and participatory democracy. With a group of OISE students, he has organized two international conferences on Citizenship Learning and Participatory Democracy, held in Toronto in 2003 and 2008. He has conducted research on PB in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Canada, and is particularly interested in the educational dimension of participatory budgeting. Among his recent publications are “The Tango of Citizenship Learning and Participatory Democracy”, “This is our school of citizenship: Informal learning in local democracy”, “Who Learns What in Participatory Democracy? Participatory Budgeting in Rosario, Argentina” (with Josh Lerner), and “Participatory Budgeting in North America: The Case of Guelph, Canada” (with Elizabeth Pinnington and Josh Lerner).
Radicals in Power: The Workers' Party and Experiments in Urban Democracy in Brazil
Radicals in Power: The Workers' Party and Experiments in Urban Democracy in Brazil
International Conference in New York
On March 30-31, 2012, we co-hosted the first International Conference on Participatory Budgeting in the US and Canada. Visit the conference website for details!
Research & Evaluation|