On Saturday, people will be taking to the streets in almost a thousand cities, 82 countries and six continents. In London, people plan to occupy the Stock Exchange. We are united for global change and united for global democracy: global governance of the people, by the people.
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.