I wish to disseminate two texts that I have signed in support of the Occupy Movement. United for #Global Democracy deserves careful study and reflection
15 October 2011
United for #Global Democracy
The following manifesto was produced over four months through consultation among groups, activists and people’s assemblies in countries such as Britain, Egypt, Tunisia, Germany, Spain, the US, Palestine, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, India and Australia. We got comments, suggestions, support, and wrote and rewrote it again and again. The text has been supported by Canadian-based Naomi Klein, Indian-based Vandana Shiva, the US-based Michael Hardt and Noam Chomsky, as well as Uruguayan Eduardo Galeano.
United for #GlobalDemocracy On 15 October 2011, united in our diversity, united for global change, we demand global democracy: global governance by the people, for the people. Inspired by our sisters and brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, New York, Palestine-Israel, Spain and Greece, we too call for a regime change: a global regime change. In the words of Vandana Shiva, the Indian activist, today we demand replacing the G8 with the whole of humanity – the G7,000,000,000. Undemocratic international institutions are our global Mubarak, our global Assad, our global Gaddafi. These include: the IMF, the WTO, global markets, multinational banks, the G8/G20, the European Central Bank and the UN security council. Like Mubarak and Assad, these institutions must not be allowed to run people’s lives without their consent. We are all born equal, rich or poor, woman or man. Every African and Asian is equal to every European and American. Our global institutions must reflect this, or be overturned. Today, more than ever before, global forces shape people’s lives. Our jobs, health, housing, education and pensions are controlled by global banks, markets, tax-havens, corporations and financial crises. Our environment is being destroyed by pollution in other continents. Our safety is determined by international wars and international trade in arms, drugs and natural resources. We are losing control over our lives. This must stop. This will stop. The citizens of the world must get control over the decisions that influence them in all levels – from global to local. That is global democracy. That is what we demand today. Today, like the Mexican Zapatistas, we say “¡Ya basta! Aquí el pueblo manda y el gobierno obedece“: Enough! Here the people command and global institutions obey! Like the Spanish Tomalaplaza we say “Democracia Real Ya”: True global democracy now!” Today we call the citizens of the world: let us globalise Tahrir Square! Let us globalise Puerta del Sol!
This manifesto is not endorsed by all the people that participate in the worldwide protests on Saturday, of course. With social movements, you can never have everyone writing the text together or endorsing it. But to the extent that we could – we tried to create a process of writing that was truly participatory as possible, worldwide. We feel the text is legitimate as a manifesto coming from the protests, supported by many involved, such as Democracia Real Ya International, the main assembly in Madrid, the main assembly in Boston, in Buenos Aires and Sao Paolo. We hope it is the beginning of a movement.
We decided to call international institutions such as the IMF, the UN Security Council, global markets and international banks our “global Mubarak, our global Assad”. These words were debated vigorously. We decided to keep them. Hard words for hard times. We didn’t define what democratic global institutions are because not everyone completely agrees on a definition.
We prefer to leave it as a principle, and know that there are many suggestions on how to give people control over the global decisions that shape our lives. When French activists demanded national democracy for the first time, no one believed it was possible. Today no one believes global people’s control is possible. Future generations will judge things differently. Today we start building a movement for global democracy.
November 12, 2011
OPEN LETTER TO OCCUPY WALL STREET
We are writers, historians, psychologists, doctors, sociologists, lawyers, theologians, journalists, poets and activists who have gathered at the Wellfleet Conferences convened each year by Robert Jay Lifton to consider fundamental issues facing human society. The 46th Wellfleet Conference has just concluded.
We represent a variety of callings, faiths, generations, political persuasions, nationalities and disciplines, but we share a continued commitment to a humane society. At a time when democratic ideals are violated with impunity, we have been hoping to see a revival of initiative and of civic conscience. We applaud your demonstrations in New York City and throughout the country and abroad. We are deeply impressed with what you have already accomplished to begin a popular movement on behalf of essential democratic values of fairness, justice, human dignity and hope. We all belong to the 99%!
We join in your quest for social and economic justice. We stand in protest with you and urge others to raise their voices as friends, supporters, and brothers and sisters of Occupy Wall Street.
Peter Balakian Colgate University
Shareen Brysac Writer
Colin Campbell Journalist
Todd Gitlin Columbia University
Robert Jay Lifton Harvard Medical School
Edwin Matthews Baker & McKenzie LLP
Patricia Barnes Matthews Filmmaker
Helen McNeil Writer
Karl Meyer Writer
Deborah Scroggins Writer
Danny Schechter Journalist and Filmmaker
Larry Shainberg Writer
Cathy Caruth Cornell University
Aaron Roland, M.D. University of California, San Francisco
Nicholas Humphrey London School of Economics
Ayla Humphrey University of Cambridge
Charles B. Strozier John Jay College, City University of NY
James W. Jones Rutgers University Kathleen G. Bishop Rutgers University
Lawrence J. Friedman Harvard University
Walter Gilbert Harvard University
Celia Gilbert Poet and Artist
Christopher Busa Provincetown Arts Magazine
Donald Fanger Writer
Norman Birnbaum Georgetown University Law Center
Catherine Shainberg School of Images
Harvey Cox Harvard University
Peter Brooks Princeton University
Wendy Doniger University of Chicago
Marshall J. Smith Bookstore Owner
Robert R. Holt Psychologist
David Lotto Psychoanalyst
Norah Walsh Psychotherapist
Ruth Rosen Historian and Journalist
Peter Kuznick American University
Inge S Hoffmann Harvard Medical School
Harris Yulin Actor/Director
David Rush, MD Tufts University
J. Michael Lennon Wilkes University
Carolyn Mugar FarmAid
Daniel Itzkovitz Stonehill College
Cindy Ness Psychologist
Michael Flynn City University of NY
James T. Kloppenberg Harvard University
Richard Falk University of California, Santa Barbara
Irene Gendzier Boston University
Martin J. Sherwin George Mason University
Greg Mitchell The Nation
Saul Mendlovitz Rutgers Law School
James M. Skelly University of Ulster
Rebecca Okrent Poet
Mary Catherine Bateson Cultural anthropologist
James Gilligan New York University
Daniel Ellsberg Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Stanley Hoffman Harvard University
Judith Lewis Herman Harvard Medical School
Stanley Hoffman Harvard University
Jonathan Schell The Nation
1 Affiliations are noted for identification only and not to represent the views of persons or institutions other than the signatories.