Staff note: The statement below was written using a collaborative process beginning at the Moving Beyond Capitalism Conference this summer in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It addresses two crises: neoliberal trade and climate change.
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A Declaration of Principles and Action for a New World
From the Moving Beyond Capitalism Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico held in August, 2014
Shared Values and Principles
Millions are rising globally to challenge corporate domination of government, people, and the commons, and building a ‘movement of movements’. Hundreds gathered in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the ‘Moving Beyond Capitalism’ Conference in August, 2014, and we share the millions’ principles for building a new world. This new world is founded upon the basic human rights principles of universality, accountability, transparency, and equity. It is rooted in interconnection, interdependence, and love. It is based on a popular sovereignty which involves direct, democratic participation in shared, from-the-ground-up, cooperative decision-making for collective action that serves the common good, with higher levels supporting the lower.
We will combat the toxic forces on which domination and tyranny variously rely, such as the patriarchy, hegemony, colonialism, and racism that exist within external oppressors, and even within our own movements at times. The resulting participatory-expansion promotes human development through direct engagement and social decision-making, and it fosters cooperation, a care economy, dialogue and a sense of agency, instrumental knowledge and wisdom, values clarification, and social consciousness. In this new paradigm, the enriched individual is part of a larger social whole, not an isolated atom, and thereby significantly enriches the whole, from the grassroots up, and in the millions.
As part of co-establishing a new world, we believe it is essential to join hands with the millions rising with regard to two issues: namely, Trade (stopping the TransPacific Partnership, specifically) and Climate Change.
Trade affects everything. So-called ‘Free Trade’ is simply trade rigged for the benefit of transnational corporations. ‘Free Trade’ agreements (such as the TPP, TTIP and TISA) lead to monopolies, loss of sovereignty, commodifying government services and other essentials. They undermine democracy and drive a downward spiral of exploitation and destruction of the planet and all living beings. They expand the wealth divide and adversely affect the environment, agriculture, labor rights and wages, food safety and water, internet freedom, healthcare, banking and financial regulation, and community control of economy and environment.
They allow corporations to sue signatory countries for “expected” profits in trade tribunals that neither abide by the laws of the nation where the trade occurs, nor are reviewed by traditional courts. Judges on such tribunals are primarily corporate lawyers on leave from corporate jobs. It is clear we need new approaches to trade.Building on the victory of the successfully stopped World Trade Organization (WTO), our intention is to focus upon the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), which is being secretly negotiated by over 600 corporate advisors working with the American government with neither public nor government oversight. It will affect the people and economies of the United States, Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, Peru and Japan. The economic power of TPP countries is more than 40% greater than the 27-nation European Union, and will result in further attacks on democracy, sovereignty and the rights of people and nature.
We believe it is crucial to simultaneously dismantle all systems of oppression and to replace ‘free trade’, skewed in favor of corporations, with fair trade, which benefits people, communities, and our environment. That is, trade that powerfully supports all democratic, worker-based initiatives and ownership, and fair trade organizations and companies. In light, then, of the upcoming introduction in November 2014 of ‘Smart Track’ for the TPP in the US Senate to push it through into law, we seek to join campaigns to stop the TPP and to thereby establish trade that puts people and planet before profits, is negotiated transparently with participation of people and elected officials, minimizes corporate dominance economies, and that recognizes human rights, public goods and environment.
Climate Change is an acute challenge to the future of the planet and all species, and the biggest issue regarding climate change is our continuing to ignore it. Pacific Island nations are already being swallowed by rising sea levels, and globally hundreds of thousands of lives are at great risk from climate change. Methane gas (perhaps 20 times worse for warming than carbon pollution) is escaping from a melting Arctic, further moving us to critical tipping-points. The Earth and humanity are being affected by freak floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, polar ice caps melting, coral reefs disappearing, alteration in sea/fresh water composition, migration patterns changing, volcanic eruptions, mudslides, drought, salinity and other ecological threats and crises. Climate change is an issue with ever-shortening time limits that demands coordinated, unprecedented action now to fight inertia, denial and lethargy.
Hundreds of thousands will take to the streets on September 21’s People’s Climate March, ahead of New York’s world leader gathering as called by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon just two days later, and that will focus on Paris’s UN Climate Conference in November 2015.
With others, we have opportunities to bring attention to what is at stake and to highlight strategies founded on sustainable energy economies to protect the planet and the welfare of people. We have opportunities to remake economies based on sustainability, equity and fairness, and to establish economies that use renewable resources, such as solar, ocean wave, and wind. We have opportunities to entirely divest from (carbon and nuclear) polluters and to invest in the creation of democratized energy systems of green infrastructure, from the local to the global, prioritizing the decentralized community control that localizes economies and empowers communities, and that simultaneously works towards the goal of democratizing the state with nationalization of large-scale green energy and industrial enterprises.
Joining Local and Global Movements
Aware of the challenges we are facing, the participants of the ‘Moving Beyond Capitalism’ Conference wish to work in solidarity with local and global efforts to not only expose toxic, rigged trade agreements and climate change denial, but also to galvanize momentum and focus on solutions. Critical examination of the current situation is only the beginning. In light of fast-moving domestic, international trends, we are committed to supporting just trade and sustainable energy economies. Embracing the power of the fundamental principle of ‘Unity in Diversity’, and knowing a multitude of local and international, focussed initiatives already exist, it is our desire to assist in utilizing all available means and alliances, and we are open to how we might collectively partner with numerous others in the continued building of a new world in a ‘movement of movements’.
The New World Being Co-Created
A new world is emerging and positive actions are already in motion. Talents and initiatives are building in momentum to bridge worldviews and powerfully re-imagine and found the new world from the ground up. Born out of acute necessity, and aware of the critical interdependence of policy, human behaviour, economic and environmental health, examples abound regarding the inspired, visionary, positive initiatives exponentially manifesting worldwide, further linking and cross-pollinating different cultures, countries, and continents.
We are seeing the rise of consumer, worker and manufacturing cooperatives, more progressive electoral politics, and people’s community councils that embrace local, grassroots governance, community mediators, consensus-building and participatory democracy. We are seeing both rural and urban communities working to create sustainable, locally-owned energy, and local food production and distribution networks.
We are seeing the rise of the international solidarity economy network, alternate currencies, public banks, community partnership banking models, barter systems and state banks. The global climate movement and increasing desire for, and use of, solar, wind and other clean energy sources for heart-centered, sustainable communities and initiatives are also on the rise. Enormous initiatives and organization have resulted in unprecedented victories opposing extreme energy extraction, demonstrating the transformation of global beliefs and practices to secure a sustainable and just planetary culture and wellbeing.
There remains a long way to go, and crises abound, to recover what has been lost and to ensure the conscious capacity to live in freedom and abundance as a global community, interdependent with Nature, and enhancing life on earth for everyone. It is critical to continue to take a stand, to engage imagination, and to focus on what we want to build in conscious co-creation and participation. It is critical that we maintain a vibrant hope at this crucial moment in our evolutionary trajectory and not give into despondency in order to secure a collective future that has moved from the more primitive, reactionary, destructive and fear-based and into empowered cooperation, sustainability and resilience for all, for generations to come.