After returning to the streets en masse on May 1, the global Occupy movement will be active in towns and cities worldwide from Saturday May 12 to Tuesday May 15, as the next phase of what Occupy supporters, and those in other allied movements, are calling the “Global Spring.” Below is an introduction to the events, as published on the Occupy Wall Street website, which is followed by the “Global May Manifesto” that was conceived and written by numerous activists around the word over the last four months. For further information, see the People’s Assemblies Network, the May 12th 2012 site, Acciones 12M/15M and the 12M15M map.
As both the introduction and the manifesto are self-explanatory, I’ll refrain from further comments, except to note that it sounds like a first attempt to create a Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the times we find ourselves in — not the post-World War II community of idealists concerned to make sure that genocide and torture were outlawed (although that, sadly, still remains horribly relevant), but the 99 percent and the indignados faced with governments that serve only the interests of the very rich, whose criminal plunder is essentially unchecked. This is in spite of the fact that those directing this plunder bankrupted the world in 2008, and had to be bailed out by the rest of us, but it is, I believe, appropriate to consider, here and now, that bankers, corporations, the wealthiest individuals and their servants are now committed to using the rest of us — the 99 percent — as scapegoats and pawns in a new game, one of allegedly necessary “austerity” (although that is largely an ideological construct) in which all but the very rich will, within a decade or less, be driven into savage poverty.
I’ll also just add that I’ll be in London tomorrow, and will be posting information about the events planned for London in an article to follow. See you there, literally or metaphorically, and, as we used to say in the 1990s, it’s time to “Reclaim the Streets.”
As hundreds of thousands of people around the world prepare to take to the streets this weekend as part of a global call for change, the International ‘Global Spring’ Assembly — an international and inter-movement assembly formed of supporters of Occupy, Take the Square and Latin American, African, Asian and Middle Eastern social movements — has released its first statement describing concrete suggestions for a ‘global change’.
The statement — the Global May Manifesto — calls for systemic change in the global economy: the radical democratisation of international institutions like the IMF, BIS and UN; the replacement of the G8/20 with a democratic UN assembly; a system of global taxation on financial transactions; and for the abolition of tax havens. It does not represent the position of any local or city assembly; rather it is offered for their consideration.
Endorsed by consensus on 4 May 2012 by the International Assembly, this statement has been in development since January 2012. It was a process that has seen thousands of people from six continents and hundreds of cities participating in the discussion and planning for the international days of protests this month — particularly focusing on the 1, 12, 15 and 18 May. These International Assembly meetings have been convened in bi-weekly assemblies, over an online VoIP platform (called Mumble, which enables mass conference calls and give the assembly its formal name — the International General Assembly on Mumble).
The process for developing this global manifesto — which is a work in progress — started by collecting statements from the different local and city assemblies, then merging these into a common statement. Individuals were then invited to make new proposals through a public website and a number of mailing lists that are used for international inter-movement communication.
Alvaro Rodriguez, 31, of the Indignados movement in Spain, who participated in the process of writing the statement, said: “This is the beginning of a new global process of bringing the opinions of many people around the world together. It represents the beginnings of a form of global democracy in its infancy which is direct and participatory — of the people, by the people and for the people. While the statement does not represent the position of local and city assemblies, the next step is to present it to assemblies around the world for consideration, discussion and revisions, as part of a dialogue of the ‘Global Spring’ movements taking place across six continents.”
Next steps for international coordination
Individuals around the world are invited to participate in this process of further developing this global manifesto through their local and city assemblies, through the Facebook group and through the website.
The statement below does not speak, or claim to speak, on behalf of everyone in the global spring/Occupy/Take the Square movements. This is an attempt by some inside the movements to reconcile statements written and endorsed in the different assemblies around the world. The process of writing the statement was consensus based, open to all, and regularly announced on our international communications platforms, that are also open to all (e.g. the ‘squares’ mailing list, the weekly global roundtables and the ‘international’ facebook group). It was a long and difficult process, full of compromises. This statement is offered to peoples’ assemblies around the world for discussions, revisions and endorsements.
There will be a process of a global dialogue, and this statement is part of it, a work-in-progress. We do not make demands from governments, corporations or parliament members, which some of us see as illegitimate, unaccountable or corrupt. We speak to the people of the world, both inside and outside our movements. We want another world, and such a world is possible:
[1.] The economy must be put to the service of people’s welfare, and to support and serve the environment, not private profit. We want a system where labour is appreciated by its social utility, not its financial or commercial profit. Therefore, we demand:
[2.] To achieve these objectives, we believe that the economy should be run democratically at all levels, from local to global. People must get democratic control over financial institutions, transnational corporations and their lobbies. To this end, we demand:
[3.] We believe that political systems must be fully democratic. We therefore demand full democratization of international institutions, and the elimination of the veto power of a few governments. We want a political system which really represents the variety and diversity of our societies:
This is a worldwide Global Spring. We will be there in May 2012; we will fight until we win. We will not stop being people. We are not numbers. We are free women and men.
For a Global Spring!
For global democracy and social justice!
Take to the streets on May 2012!
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
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