A new web site, We Stand for Peace and Justice, offers a statement for signing included below. The site provides links for public discussion and means to comment.
The statement has about fifty initial signers including Noam Chomsky, Boaventura Santos, Mairead Maguire, Walden Bello, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Medea Benjamin, and more.
Over the past few days, invitations seeking initial signers argued the benefits of attracting a massive list of signers which activists could use to link up separate efforts, foster cross constituency and inter movement mutual aid, and foster a positive tone even while seeking to stop reactionary trends.
The statement follows, below, but first, you might wonder if people had reservations to signing when invitations first went out. And yes, there was some.
A few invitees replied saying it’s a great statement, but why should I bother signing it? What is the point of signing a statement like this? One added, time going to this ought to go to face to face organizing instead. Perhaps you feel similarly.
The response to these perfectly reasonable concerns, which indeed convinced some of the few raising them to sign, though not all, was we should sign out of solidarity, sign to reveal support for a multi issue mutual aid orientation, sign in hopes sufficient numbers will sign and engage others in discussions and face to face explorations so this will help local and regional efforts, sign to cross borders, sign to cross constituencies, and sign to provide a tool and spirit that might aid activism in neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and families. This reply convinced all but a very few of those who hesitated on these grounds. I should say, as well, that this reply also offered the reasoning that got me aboard.
A more frequent reaction, however, from perhaps a third of the invitees, was silence. The silent ones didn’t reply to the request at all. They didn’t even acknowledge receiving it. Maybe they didn’t receive it. Or they misplaced it. Or, more likely, they reflexively dismissed it because that is what they do regarding incessant appeals for signatures. Truth be told, I admit that I am usually in that camp. Maybe you usually are too.
In any case, maybe this group who didn’t say no, but who also didn’t say yes, will sign on soon. I hope so. But for many of them, and for the initial signers, and for many others who will soon sign, what may prove even more important then the first step to sign, is the potential second step to speak with friends, family, neighbors, schoolmates, and workmates, urging that they sign too. And the third step to use social media to promote the statement. And for some, the fourth step to write articles, or do interviews, or enter discussions on line, chats, commenting, and so on, to make the We Stand for Peace and Justice site visible and credible.
Below is the statement. Will you visit the host site and add your name? Will you circulate the link to folks you know? If you happen to write articles or engage in online or social media exchanges, will you add to your efforts references to the statement? If you work in media, especially at an alternative media project, will you urge your mates not only to sign the statement, but to use their media platform to report and thereby assist and enrich the effort?
If we all do these things, however much our circumstances and other commitments permit, what will result? This work certainly won’t engender an instant national or international transformation. But it may aid many other efforts and endeavors, and perhaps it will even foster some new projects while abetting various efforts already occurring. To me, that seems worth considerable effort.
Put differently, if we sign and we urge others to sign, if we discuss and we urge others to discuss, if we refine and improve and we urge others to refine and improve, will the sign ups climb to 10,000, 100,000, 500,000?
If the signings do grow dramatically, will the multi issue orientation of the statement and its obvious aim to induce linkages, foster mutual aid, engender cross constituency connections, inspire local discussion and formation, and move from opposing fascistic perversions arising around the world to asserting liberation activism and organizing, prove beneficial?
Sign and we will hopefully see. Here is the statement. Please visit the site for more.
“We see an organized anti worker, anti minority, anti immigrant, anti woman, anti LGBTQ, anti ecological, pro imperial, incarceration minded, surveillance employing, authoritarian reaction proliferating around the world. It calls itself right wing populist but is arguably more accurately termed neofascist. It preys on fear as well as often warranted anger. It manipulates and misleads with false promises and outright lies. It is trying to create an international alliance. Courageous responses are emerging and will proliferate around issue after issue, and in country after country. These responses will challenge the unworthy emotions, the vicious lies, and the vile policies. They will reject right wing rollback and repression. But to ward off an international, multi issue, reactionary assault shouldn’t we be internationalist and multi issue? Shouldn’t we reject reaction but also seek positive, forward looking, inspiring progress? To those ends:
“We stand for the growing activism on behalf of progressive change around the world, and their positive campaigns for a better world, and we stand against the rising reactionary usurpers of power around the world and their lies, manipulations, and policies.
“We stand for peace, human rights, and international law against against the conditions, mentalities, institutions, weapons and dissemination of weapons that breed and nurture war and injustice.
“We stand for healthcare, education, housing, and jobs against war and military spending.
“We stand for internationalism, indigenous, and native rights, and a democratic foreign policy against empire, dictatorship, and political and religious fundamentalism.
“We stand for justice against economic, political, and cultural institutions that promote huge economic and power inequalities, corporate domination, privatization, wage slavery, racism, gender and sexual hierarchy, and the devolution of human kindness and wisdom under assault by celebrated authority and enforced passivity.
“We stand for democracy and autonomy against authoritarianism and subjugation. We stand for prisoner rights against prison profiteering. We stand for participation against surveillance. We stand for freedom and equity against repression and control.
“We stand for national sovereignty against occupation and apartheid. We oppose overtly brutal regimes everywhere. We oppose less overtly brutal but still horribly constricting electoral subversion, government and corporate surveillance, and mass media manipulation.
“We stand for equity against exploitation by corporations of their workers and consumers and by empires of subordinated countries. We stand for solidarity of and with the poor and the excluded everywhere.
“We stand for diversity against homogeneity and for dignity against racism. We stand for multi-cultural, internationalist, community rights, against cultural, economic, and social repression of immigrants and other subordinated communities in our own countries and around the world.
“We stand for gender equality against misogyny and machismo. We stand for sexual freedom against sexual repression, homogenization, homophobia, and transphobia.
“We stand for ecological wisdom against the destruction of forests, soil, water, environmental resources, and the biodiversity on which all life depends. We stand for ecological sanity against ecological suicide.
“We stand for a world whose political, economic, and social institutions foster solidarity, promote equity, maximize participation, celebrate diversity, and encourage full democracy.
“We will not be a least common denominator single issue or single focus coalition. We will be a massive movement of movements with a huge range of concerns, ideas, and aims, united by what we stand for and against.
“We will enjoy and be strengthened by shared respect and mutual aid while we together reject sectarian hostilities and posturing.
“We stand for and pledge to work for peace and justice.”