DRAFT Mission Statement (July 10, 2006)/ Re-issued October 8, 2012

International Network of Scholar Activists (INoSA)-- A Global Community of Scholars and Teachers linked to the World Social Forum Process+

PLEASE add your suggestions or comments on this proposal below, and if you'd like to stay informed, send an email to jsmith1037@gmail.com.

The primary purpose of the organization is to facilitate and encourage the participation of teachers and scholars in the World Social Forum process. Unlike most associations of teachers/scholars, this network is both international and multi-disciplinary. It is also explicitly organized to engage in work to advance and support social movements (i.e., not simply to advance research and writing or to promote scholar-activism within academic professions). The network will:
  • Serve as a liaison between network members and the WSF process and related regional, thematic, national and local processes by providing information on the WSF and facilitating communications within and across networks;
  • Facilitate networking among national, regional, and discipline-based associations whose work complements that of INoSA;
  • Encourage and advance scholarly attention to the WSF process;
  • Encourage and facilitate teacher-scholar participation in the WSF and in regional, national, and local social forums;
  • Promote coordination among teacher-scholars active in the WSF process;
  • Facilitate efforts to build on discussions and proposals made at social forums;
  • Aid in the socialization of young teacher-scholars into our profession.
  • Promote communication and collaboration among members across disciplines and national boundaries;
  • Facilitate coordinated action among network members;

+This name was adopted after much discussion in 2005. We note, however, that there remain some national differences that complicate efforts to find a suitable name to reflect the group’s work. In any case, the work of the organization is more important than its name.

Objectives and Rationale

Over the past several years, scholars and teachers participating in the World Social Forum process have recognized that
  • the work of teachers and researchers is vital to global efforts for social change;
  • substantial numbers of scholars and teachers from a variety of disciplines routinely participate in the WSF process;
  • as teachers and scholars, we face particular challenges and opportunities relating to the World Social Forum process;
  • teachers and scholars need a supportive network to challenge neoliberal ideology and practice in our daily work experience;
  • there is a general need for more coordinated international action to help advance the aims of the World Social Forum.

In addition, we know from experience with the World Social Forum and from analyses of coalitions that it is organized constituencies that are best able to advance their goals and be effective members of social movement coalitions. Only scholars can organize to liberate our profession from the constraints of neoliberalism. And only scholars can help activists connect efficiently and effectively with people in our profession to advance movement aims. This network aims to enhance the understanding of scholar-activists of our special role in defending the knowledge commons and public education while facilitating our work with other movement allies.

In this context, a group of scholars and teachers gathered in Porto Alegre, Brazil at the Fifth World Social Forum to begin the process of developing a network of teachers and scholars who are actively supporting the aims of the World Social Forum. At that meeting, the participants outlined three major areas of work that are most relevant to teachers and scholars. These include: 1) resisting neoliberalism on our campuses, 2) defending the knowledge commons, and 3) supporting social movements and radical democracy. We noted how the first two areas are struggles where scholar-activists must be on the front lines to protect and advance equitable access to education and knowledge.
Participants in the 2005 WSF identified specific actions that participants agreed to take in their home communities in order to carry forward the work of the World Social Forum.
The following chart summarizes the results of the 2005 meeting:

Selected Proposals for Action from the 2005 World Social Forum
Resisting neoliberalism on campus
  • Support labor struggles on campus for academic and non-academic workers;
  • Monitor university relations to private sector and establish code of ethics;
  • Promote fair labor policies on campus and by university subcontractors and licensees;
  • Promote ethical university investment standards;
  • Protect access to public spaces on campus by non-commercial interests
Defending and expanding access to knowledge and education
  • Support and promote the “copy-left” movement against the enclosure of the global knowledge commons;
  • Support efforts to expand access to academic journals in poor communities and countries;
  • Support campaigns to encourage public funding of universities and to limit increases in student tuition and fees;
  • Monitor and support efforts to protect public access to the internet;
Supporting social movements and radical democracy
  • Sponsor public educational events--on and off campus;
  • Promote education for global citizenship;
  • Support recognized “global days of action” for peace and justice by supporting student participation in action or organizing teach-ins;
  • Foster enduring and mutually-respectful ties to community organizations;
  • Frame research questions and write analyses that speak to needs of under-represented groups;

Please Add your reactions or suggestions on this proposed structure for INoSA
Or you may e-mail suggestions to jsmith1037@gmail.com.