Starting Points for an Ecological World Order
Three starting points are offered below. They obviously do not exhaust the possibilities, but all are international in scope and represent the best beginnings for the discussion that we know of at this point in time. One is the Belem Ecosocialist Declaration (2007), another is the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (2010), and the third is the Draft Universal Declaration of the Common Good of Humanity (2013).
1. The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration
(prepared by a committee elected at the Paris Ecosocialist Conference of 2007—Ian Angus, Joel Kovel, Michael Löwy—with the help of Danielle Follett.)
“The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change, and the disease is the capitalist development model.” — Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, September 2007
Humanity today faces a stark choice: ecosocialism or barbarism.
We need no more proof of the barbarity of capitalism, the parasitical system that exploits humanity and nature alike. Its sole motor is the imperative toward profit and thus the need for constant growth. It wastefully creates unnecessary products, squandering the environment’s limited resources and returning to it only toxins and pollutants. Under capitalism, the only measure of success is how much more is sold every day, every week, every year – involving the creation of vast quantities of products that are directly harmful to both humans and nature, commodities that cannot be produced without spreading disease, destroying the forests that produce the oxygen we breathe, demolishing ecosystems, and treating our water, air and soil like sewers for the disposal of industrial waste.
Capitalism’s need for growth exists on every level, from the individual enterprise to the system as a whole. The insatiable hunger of corporations is facilitated by imperialist expansion in search of ever greater access to natural resources, cheap labor and new markets. Capitalism has always been ecologically destructive, but in our lifetimes these assaults on the earth have accelerated. Quantitative change is giving way to qualitative transformation, bringing the world to a tipping point, to the edge of disaster. A growing body of scientific research has identified many ways in which small temperature increases could trigger irreversible, runaway effects – such as rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet or the release of methane buried in permafrost and beneath the ocean – that would make catastrophic climate change inevitable.
Left unchecked, global warming will have devastating effects on human, animal and plant life. Crop yields will drop drastically, leading to famine on a broad scale. Hundreds of millions of people will be displaced by droughts in some areas and by rising ocean levels in others. Chaotic, unpredictable weather will become the norm. Air, water and soil will be poisoned. Epidemics of malaria, cholera and even deadlier diseases will hit the poorest and most vulnerable members of every society.
The impact of the ecological crisis is felt most severely by those whose lives have already been ravaged by imperialism in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and indigenous peoples everywhere are especially vulnerable. Environmental destruction and climate change constitute an act of aggression by the rich against the poor.
Ecological devastation, resulting from the insatiable need to increase profits, is not an accidental feature of capitalism: it is built into the system’s DNA and cannot be reformed away. Profit-oriented production only considers a short-term horizon in its investment decisions, and cannot take into account the long-term health and stability of the environment. Infinite economic expansion is incompatible with finite and fragile ecosystems, but the capitalist economic system cannot tolerate limits on growth; its constant need to expand will subvert any limits that might be imposed in the name of “sustainable development.” Thus the inherently unstable capitalist system cannot regulate its own activity, much less overcome the crises caused by its chaotic and parasitical growth, because to do so would require setting limits upon accumulation – an unacceptable option for a system predicated upon the rule: Grow or Die!
If capitalism remains the dominant social order, the best we can expect is unbearable climate conditions, an intensification of social crises and the spread of the most barbaric forms of class rule, as the imperialist powers fight among themselves and with the global south for continued control of the world’s diminishing resources.
At worst, human life may not survive.
Capitalist Strategies for Change
There is no lack of proposed strategies for contending with ecological ruin, including the crisis of global warming looming as a result of the reckless increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The great majority of these strategies share one common feature: they are devised by and on behalf of the dominant global system, capitalism.
It is no surprise that the dominant global system which is responsible for the ecological crisis also sets the terms of the debate about this crisis, for capital commands the means of production of knowledge, as much as that of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Accordingly, its politicians, bureaucrats, economists and professors send forth an endless stream of proposals, all variations on the theme that the world’s ecological damage can be repaired without disruption of market mechanisms and of the system of accumulation that commands the world economy.
But a person cannot serve two masters – the integrity of the earth and the profitability of capitalism. One must be abandoned, and history leaves little question about the allegiances of the vast majority of policy-makers. There is every reason, therefore, to radically doubt the capacity of established measures to check the slide to ecological catastrophe.
And indeed, beyond a cosmetic veneer, the reforms over the past thirty-five years have been a monstrous failure. Isolated improvements do of course occur, but they are inevitably overwhelmed and swept away by the ruthless expansion of the system and the chaotic character of its production.
One example demonstrates the failure: in the first four years of the 21st Century, global carbon emissions were nearly three times as great per annum as those of the decade of the 1990s, despite the appearance of the Kyoto Protocols in 1997.
Kyoto employs two devices: the “Cap and Trade” system of trading pollution credits to achieve certain reductions in emissions, and projects in the global south – the so-called “Clean Development Mechanisms” – to offset emissions in the highly industrialized nations. These instruments all rely upon market mechanisms, which means, first of all, that atmospheric carbon dioxide becomes a commodity under the control of the same interests that created global warming. Polluters are not compelled to reduce their carbon emissions, but allowed to use their power over money to control the carbon market for their own ends, which include the devastating exploration for yet more carbon-based fuels. Nor is there a limit to the amount of emission credits which can be issued by compliant governments.
Since verification and evaluation of results are impossible, the Kyoto regime is not only incapable of controlling emissions, it also provides ample opportunities for evasion and fraud of all kinds. As even the Wall Street Journal put it in March, 2007, emissions trading “would make money for some very large corporations, but don’t believe for a minute that this charade would do much about global warming.”
The Bali climate meetings in 2007 opened the way for even greater abuses in the period ahead. Bali avoided any mention of the goals for drastic carbon reduction put forth by the best climate science (90% by 2050); it abandoned the peoples of the global south to the mercy of capital by giving jurisdiction over the process to the World Bank; and made offsetting of carbon pollution even easier.
In order to affirm and sustain our human future, a revolutionary transformation is needed, where all particular struggles take part in a greater struggle against capital itself. This larger struggle cannot remain merely negative and anti-capitalist. It must announce and build a different kind of society, and this is ecosocialism.
The Ecosocialist Alternative
The ecosocialist movement aims to stop and to reverse the disastrous process of global warming in particular and of capitalist ecocide in general, and to construct a radical and practical alternative to the capitalist system. Ecosocialism is grounded in a transformed economy founded on the non-monetary values of social justice and ecological balance. It criticizes both capitalist “market ecology” and productivist socialism, which ignored the earth’s equilibrium and limits. It redefines the path and goal of socialism within an ecological and democratic framework.
Ecosocialism involves a revolutionary social transformation, which will imply the limitation of growth and the transformation of needs by a profound shift away from quantitative and toward qualitative economic criteria, an emphasis on use-value instead of exchange-value.
These aims require both democratic decision-making in the economic sphere, enabling society to collectively define its goals of investment and production, and the collectivization of the means of production. Only collective decision-making and ownership of production can offer the longer-term perspective that is necessary for the balance and sustainability of our social and natural systems.
The rejection of productivism and the shift away from quantitative and toward qualitative economic criteria involve rethinking the nature and goals of production and economic activity in general. Essential creative, non-productive and reproductive human activities, such as householding, child-rearing, care, child and adult education, and the arts, will be key values in an ecosocialist economy.
Clean air and water and fertile soil, as well as universal access to chemical-free food and renewable, non-polluting energy sources, are basic human and natural rights defended by ecosocialism. Far from being “despotic,” collective policy-making on the local, regional, national and international levels amounts to society’s exercise of communal freedom and responsibility. This freedom of decision constitutes a liberation from the alienating economic “laws” of the growth-oriented capitalist system.
To avoid global warming and other dangers threatening human and ecological survival, entire sectors of industry and agriculture must be suppressed, reduced, or restructured and others must be developed, while providing full employment for all. Such a radical transformation is impossible without collective control of the means of production and democratic planning of production and exchange. Democratic decisions on investment and technological development must replace control by capitalist enterprises, investors and banks, in order to serve the long-term horizon of society’s and nature’s common good.
The most oppressed elements of human society, the poor and indigenous peoples, must take full part in the ecosocialist revolution, in order to revitalize ecologically sustainable traditions and give voice to those whom the capitalist system cannot hear. Because the peoples of the global south and the poor in general are the first victims of capitalist destruction, their struggles and demands will help define the contours of the ecologically and economically sustainable society in creation. Similarly, gender equality is integral to ecosocialism, and women’s movements have been among the most active and vocal opponents of capitalist oppression. Other potential agents of ecosocialist revolutionary change exist in all societies.
Such a process cannot begin without a revolutionary transformation of social and political structures based on the active support, by the majority of the population, of an ecosocialist program. The struggle of labour – workers, farmers, the landless and the unemployed – for social justice is inseparable from the struggle for environmental justice. Capitalism, socially and ecologically exploitative and polluting, is the enemy of nature and of labour alike.
Ecosocialism proposes radical transformations in:
- the energy system, by replacing carbon-based fuels and biofuels with clean sources of power under community control: wind, geothermal, wave, and above all, solar power.
- the transportation system, by drastically reducing the use of private trucks and cars, replacing them with free and efficient public transportation;
- present patterns of production, consumption, and building, which are based on waste, inbuilt obsolescence, competition and pollution, by producing only sustainable and recyclable goods and developing green architecture;
- food production and distribution, by defending local food sovereignty as far as this is possible, eliminating polluting industrial agribusinesses, creating sustainable agro-ecosystems and working actively to renew soil fertility.
To theorize and to work toward realizing the goal of green socialism does not mean that we should not also fight for concrete and urgent reforms right now. Without any illusions about “clean capitalism,” we must work to impose on the powers that be – governments, corporations, international institutions – some elementary but essential immediate changes:
- drastic and enforceable reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases,
- development of clean energy sources,
- provision of an extensive free public transportation system,
- progressive replacement of trucks by trains,
- creation of pollution clean-up programs,
- elimination of nuclear energy, and war spending.
These and similar demands are at the heart of the agenda of the Global Justice movement and the World Social Forums, which have promoted, since Seattle in 1999, the convergence of social and environmental movements in a common struggle against the capitalist system.
Environmental devastation will not be stopped in conference rooms and treaty negotiations: only mass action can make a difference. Urban and rural workers, peoples of the global south and indigenous peoples everywhere are at the forefront of this struggle against environmental and social injustice, fighting exploitative and polluting multinationals, poisonous and disenfranchising agribusinesses, invasive genetically modified seeds, biofuels that only aggravate the current food crisis. We must further these social-environmental movements and build solidarity between anticapitalist ecological mobilizations in the North and the South.
This Ecosocialist Declaration is a call to action. The entrenched ruling classes are powerful, yet the capitalist system reveals itself every day more financially and ideologically bankrupt, unable to overcome the economic, ecological, social, food and other crises it engenders. And the forces of radical opposition are alive and vital. On all levels, local, regional and international, we are fighting to create an alternative system based in social and ecological justice.
This Declaration was adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in Bolivia. The Bolivian government has submitted it to the United Nations for consideration.
Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth
We, the peoples and nations of Earth:
considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny;
gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well;
recognizing that the capitalist system and all forms of depredation, exploitation, abuse and contamination have caused great destruction, degradation and disruption of Mother Earth, putting life as we know it today at risk through phenomena such as climate change;
convinced that in an interdependent living community it is not possible to recognize the rights of only human beings without causing an imbalance within Mother Earth;
affirming that to guarantee human rights it is necessary to recognize and defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings in her and that there are existing cultures, practices and laws that do so;
conscious of the urgency of taking decisive, collective action to transform structures and systems that cause climate change and other threats to Mother Earth;
proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nation to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world.
Article 1. Mother Earth
(1) Mother Earth is a living being.
(2) Mother Earth is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.
(3) Each being is defined by its relationships as an integral part of Mother Earth.
(4) The inherent rights of Mother Earth are inalienable in that they arise from the same source as existence.
(5) Mother Earth and all beings are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as may be made between organic and inorganic beings, species, origin, use to human beings, or any other status.
(6) Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights which are specific to their species or kind and appropriate for their role and function within the communities within which they exist.
(7) The rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings and any conflict between their rights must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth.
Article 2. Inherent Rights of Mother Earth
(1) Mother Earth and all beings of which she is composed have the following inherent rights:
(a) the right to life and to exist;
(b) the right to be respected;
(c) the right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions;
(d) the right to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating and interrelated being;
(e) the right to water as a source of life;
(f) the right to clean air;
(g) the right to integral health;
(h) the right to be free from contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste;
(i) the right to not have its genetic structure modified or disrupted in a manner that threatens it integrity or vital and healthy functioning;
(j) the right to full and prompt restoration the violation of the rights recognized in this Declaration caused by human activities;
(2) Each being has the right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth for her harmonious functioning.
(3) Every being has the right to wellbeing and to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings.
Article 3. Obligations of human beings to Mother Earth
(1) Every human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth.
(2) Human beings, all States, and all public and private institutions must:
(a) act in accordance with the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;
(b) recognize and promote the full implementation and enforcement of the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;
(c) promote and participate in learning, analysis, interpretation and communication about how to live in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with this Declaration;
(d) ensure that the pursuit of human wellbeing contributes to the wellbeing of Mother Earth, now and in the future;
(e) establish and apply effective norms and laws for the defence, protection and conservation of the rights of Mother Earth;
(f) respect, protect, conserve and where necessary, restore the integrity, of the vital ecological cycles, processes and balances of Mother Earth;
(g) guarantee that the damages caused by human violations of the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration are rectified and that those responsible are held accountable for restoring the integrity and health of Mother Earth;
(h) empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings;
(i) establish precautionary and restrictive measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction, the destruction of ecosystems or the disruption of ecological cycles;
(j) guarantee peace and eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;
(k) promote and support practices of respect for Mother Earth and all beings, in accordance with their own cultures, traditions and customs;
(l) promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration.
Article 4. Definitions
(1) The term “being” includes ecosystems, natural communities, species and all other natural entities which exist as part of Mother Earth.
(2) Nothing in this Declaration restricts the recognition of other inherent rights of all beings or specified beings.
3. Draft Universal Declaration on the Common Good of Humanity
This nascent project whose elaboration is fruit of an international collaboration of jurists and social leaders, was presented by the World Forum for Alternatives to the social movements and organizations attending the “peoples’ summit” in Rio de Janeiro in June, 2012, to solicit their observations and proposals before a formal presentation of this document at the occasion of the 2013 World Social Forum in Tunisia. All contributions by groups and individuals are welcome; please send them to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We live in a critical time for the survival of natural and human life. The attacks against the planet are multiplying, affecting all living species, ecosystems, biodiversity, even the climate. Peoples’ and communities’ lives are destroyed by land dispossession. The monopolistic concentration of capital, the hegemony of the financial sector, deforestation, monoculture agriculture, the massive use of toxic agents, wars, cultural imperialism, austerity policies and the destruction of social advances, are Humanity’s daily bread.
We live in times of a multidimensional crisis; it is financial, economic, food, energetic, climactic. It is a systemic crisis, a crisis of values and civilization, with logics of death. This historic moment does not allow for partial answers, but demands a search for alternatives.
We live in times marked by a demand for coherency. The Resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the United Nations’ International Covenants on Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States (1974), the World Charter for Nature (1982), the Declaration on the Right to Development (1986), the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992), the Earth Charter (2000), the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), among others, demand the articulation of a holistic perspective and an integrated ecological, economic, political and cultural system for decision-making, in the service of life.
We live in times in which human beings are realizing they constitute the conscious part of a Nature that can live without them and that they are progressively destroying the earth. This destruction results from the irrationality of their predatory actions guided by a logic which seeks profit and capitalist accumulation and is fed by an anthropocentric vision of linear infinite progress on a planet with inexhaustible resources. In order to survive, we must shift from anthropocentrism to biocentrism.
We live in times when social and political movements’ actions are multiplying as they fight from below for ecological justice and peoples’ collective rights. The perception that the life of Humanity is a common and shared project, conditional on the life of the planet is growing and is expressed in various documents such as: the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples (Algiers, 1976), the Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women (Beijing, 1995) and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (Cochabamba, 2010) is requiring an intense shared effort which respects differences.
To reestablish the rights of nature and to construct interpersonal solidarity globally, tasks inseparably linked, a new initiative parallel to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is today necessary. Its aim is to redefine, from a holistic perspective, the essential elements of humanity’s collective life on the planet, in order to propose a new paradigm around which social and political movements can converge.
The Declaration attempts (1) to shift from exploiting nature as a natural resource to respecting the earth as the source of all life; (2) to privilege use value over exchange value in economic activity; (3) to introduce the principle of spreading democracy in all human relations, including gender relations, and in all social institutions and (4) to promote interculturality to allow all cultures, knowledge, philosophies and religions to clarify the perception of reality, to participate in the construction of the ethic necessary for its permanent construction , and contribute to the anticipations that permit to say, “Another world is possible.” It is the paradigm of the “Common Good of Humanity” or the principle of the “Good Life” (Buen Vivir) that offers the possibility, capacity and responsibility to produce and reproduce the planet’s existence and the physical, cultural and spiritual life of all human beings in the world. Hence, the proposal of a Universal Declaration.
THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF THE COMMON GOOD OF HUMANITY
– (1) To respect Nature as the source of physical, cultural and spiritual life
Article 1 (To establish the symbiosis between the earth and the human gender, the conscious part of nature)
Nature is the origin of the multiple forms of life, including humanity, having the earth as its home. The core and crust, air, sunlight, atmosphere, water, soil; the rivers, oceans, forests, flora, fauna, biodiversity; the seeds and living species’ genomes are all elements which constitute her reality. Nature should be respected in her beauty and her fundamental integrity, her equilibriums and the richness of her ecosystems which produce and reproduce biodiversity, and in her capacity for regeneration. It is the responsibility of the human race to consciously respect ecological justice and the rights of nature, on which depend its existence and the Common Good of Humanity.
All practices that destroy the regenerative capacities of “Mother Earth” such as the savage exploitation of natural resources, the destructive use of chemical products, the massive emission of greenhouse gases, the depletion of soils and aquatic reserves by monoculture agriculture, the irrational use of energy, and the production of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are inconsistent with humans’ responsibility to nature, the Common Good of Humanity and the Good Life (Buen Vivir) and for these reasons susceptible to sanctions.
Article 2 (To build the harmony between all elements of nature)
The peoples of the earth have the duty to live in harmony with all other elements of nature. They should not initiate any development intervention which could gravely or irreversibly endanger the life of nature which is also the basis for the reproduction of the physical, cultural and spiritual life of humanity.. The principles of information provision and prior consultation of communities or peoples concerned by mineral extraction projects, public works, and all other actions using natural riches should be the rule.
All actions, institutions and environmental systems that implement development models contrary to the integrity and reproduction of the ecological system are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and are therefore will be submitted to sanctions.
Article 3 (To care for the earth, the foundation of all physical, cultural and spiritual life)
Nature is a unique and finite reality, the source of life for all species that inhabit her and all living entities not yet born. The earth can be administered by human beings with the necessary guarantees for the continuity of the administration, but it cannot be appropriated, commodified, or made a source of speculation. It cannot suffer irreversible systematic aggression for the purpose of any mode of production. Natural resources (mineral, oil, ocean, forest resources) are collective heritage and assets that cannot be appropriated by individuals, corporations or financial groups. The elements of the earth (soil, air, water, sea, rivers, jungles, forests, flora, fauna, spaces, genomes, etc.) should be administered, extracted and treated with the upmost respect for the reproduction of ecosystems, biodiversity, species’ lives, the wellfare of both current and future generations.
The contamination of water, soil, the seas; the patenting of nature; the privatization of the earth; the commodification of natural riches and natural elements necessary for the reproduction of life among living species, particularly water, oxygen and seeds, are all inconsistent with a constructive respect for nature, the Common Good of Humanity, and are therefore prohibited and susceptible to sanctions.
Article 4 (To assure the regenerating capacity of the earth)
It is urgent that the regenerative capacity of the earth be restored. All peoples and individuals are obligated to contribute to this end. Environmental impact inventories and audits must be implemented, assessments and reparations for damages administered. All peoples and individuals and especially industries, corporations and governments, have the responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle the materials used in the production, circulation and consumption of goods.
Practices of planned obsolescence, the waste of energy and other primary materials, irresponsible disposal of hazardous waste, and the omission or avoidance of ecological restoration are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity, and therefore susceptible to sanctions.
– (2) Economic production at the service of life and her continuity
Article 5 (To organize social forms of production and, without private accumulation)
It is necessary for the Common Good of Humanity and the Good Life (Buen Vivir) that people, institutions and economic systems prioritize social forms of ownership of the principal means of production and economic circulation: community, family, communal, cooperative, citizen, and public, thus avoiding processes of individual or cooperative accumulation that provoke unjust social inequality. Workers’ and consumers’ control of the production and circulation of goods and services will be organized according to adequate social forms, from cooperative to processes of citizen participation and nationalization.
The appropriation of the means of production and circulation by individuals or corporations for the purposes of private capitalist accumulation is contrary to the Common Good of Humanity and the Good Life (Buen Vivir) and is therefore prohibited.
Article 6 (To give priority of use value over exchange value)
The economic system of production and circulation is destined to satisfy the needs and capacities of all peoples and all individuals on the planet. Accessing use values is a fundamental right necessary for the production and reproduction of life. The exchange value, product of commercialization, should be subjected to use value rather than serving private capital accumulation and creating financial bubbles resulting from speculation and being a source of large social inequalities.
All individual or corporate actions that commodify use values as mere exchange values, that instrumentalize them with advertising for irrational consumption by consumers, and that encourage speculation for the private accumulation of capital, are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity. Also inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity are: tax havens; banking secrecy; speculation on food commodities, natural resources and energy sources. Public and private “odious debts” and poverty as the result of socially unjust relations, are declared illegal.
Article 7 (To promote dignified and non-exploitative labor)
Processes of production and circulation should ensure workers a dignified, participatory job that is adaptive to family and cultural life, that fosters their skills and ensures them an adequate material existence.
All modern forms of slavery, servitude and labor exploitation, especially of children, for the purposes of individual profit or private accumulation of surplus value as well as limitations on labor organizing are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and Good Life (Buen Vivir) and are therefore prohibited.
Article 8 (To reconstruct territories)
Facing “globalization” which has favored a unipolar economy, the concentration of decision-making powers, the hegemony of financial capital and the irrational circulation of goods and services, it is indispensible to reconstruct territories as a base for food, energetic sovereignty and for the main exchanges, to regionalize economies and base them on principles of complementarity and solidarity; and for the peripheral regions, to “disconnect” from the hegemonic economic center, inorder to assure commercial, financial and productive autonomy..
The constitution of monopolies and oligopolies, whatever their area of productive or financial activity, are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and are therefore prohibited.
Article 9 (To guarantee access to common goods and universal social protection)
There are certain common goods that are indispensible for the collective life of individuals and peoples and that constitute inalienable rights. These are: food, housing, health, education, and material and immaterial communication. Various forms of citizen control or social property exist for the effective organization of access to these goods. “Universal protection” is a right of all peoples and individuals, a responsibility of public authorities that should be assured by an adequate fiscal policy.
The privatization of public services in order to contribute to capital accumulation is inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and is therefore prohibited. The following are susceptible for sanctions: speculating on food, housing, health, education, communication as is corruption while exercising these rights.
– (3) Collective democratic organization based on participation
Article 10 (To generalize democracy and the construction of the subject)
All peoples and human beings are subjects of their histories and have the right to a collective social and political organization that guarantees this. This organization must ensure harmony with nature and access to the material needs of life trough production and circulation systems built on social justice principles. To achieve these goals, collective organization should allow everyone’s participation in the production and reproduction of the life of the planet and human beings, i.e., of the Common Good of Humanity. The organizing principle of this goal is to spread democracy into all social relationships: family, gender, work, political authority, between peoples and nations and in all social, political, economic, cultural and religious institutions. Along with political forms of participatory democracy, participation should be organized in all sectors of common life, economic, social, cultural.
All non-democratic forms of organizing society’s political, economic, social and cultural life are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and the Good Life (Buen Vivir) and are therefore prohibited. Genocides are condemned as irreparable acts of discrimination. Susceptible to sanctions are all discriminations based on gender, race, nation, culture, sexual orientation, physical or mental capacity, religion or ideological affiliation. Along with political forms of participatory democracy, participation should be encouraged in all sectors of common life.
Article 11 (To build equality between men and women)
Particular importance will be given to relations between men and women, unequal since time immemorial in the various types of societies that have existed during human history. All institutions and all social and cultural systems should recognize, respect and promote the right to a life in plentitude for women in equality with men.
Social and economic practices, institutions and cultural or religious systems that defend discrimination or actively discriminate against women are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity. All forms of masculine domination, particularly differences in wage income and the non-recognition of family domestic work linked to the reproduction of life, are susceptible to sanctions.
Article 12 (To prohibit war)
Democratic international relations do not allow the use of war to resolve conflicts. In this day and age, peace is not guaranteed by an arms race. The availability of nuclear, biological, chemical weapons directly jeopardizes the life of Humanity. Arms have become a business. Their production causes an enormous waste of energy, natural resources and human talents; their use means, aside from the loss of lifes, serious environmental destruction.
The manufacture, possession and use of weapons of mass destruction, the accumulation of conventional weapons to guarantee regional hegemony and control of natural resources, hegemonic regional pacts, military solutions to solve internal political problems are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and are therefore prohibited.
Article 13 (To build the State on the basis of Common Good)
The role of the State, as collective administrator, is to guarantee the Common Good, i.e. the public interest, as compared to individual or private interests. Democratic participation is therefore needed to define the Common Good (constitutions) and how it will be applied. All peoples and communities of the earth, in the plurality of each of their members, organizations and social movements, have the right to political systems of direct or delegated participation with a revocable mandate. Regional governments and international organizations, particularly the United Nations, must be constructed on democratic principles. The same is true for all institutions that represent specific interests or business sectors, such as industrial companies, estates, financial or commercial organisms, political parties, religious institutions or trade unions, NGOs, sports or cultural groups, humanitarian organizations.
All dictatorial or authoritarian forms of exercising political or economic power, where no representative minorities, formal or informal, monopolize decisions without participation, initiative or popular control, are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and are therefore prohibited. Also prohibited are public subsidies for organizations, social movements, political parties or religious institutions that do not respect democratic principles or that practice gender or racial discrimination.
Article 16 (To build Interculturality)
The Common Good of Humanity requires the participation of all cultures, knowledge, arts, philosophies, religions, and folklore in interpreting reality and in the development of the ethics necessary to its construction, the production of its symbolic, linguistic and aesthetic expressions, as well as the formulation of utopias. The cultural richness of humanity, which throughout history has become patrimony, cannot be destroyed. Interculturality assumes the mixed contribution of all cultures, with their diversity, to the various dimensions of the Common Good of Humanity: respect for nature as the source of life, the priority of use value over exchange value within processes of justice, widespread democratization and diversity and cultural exchange.
Cultural ethnocide, the practices, institutions and economic, political and cultural systems that hide, discriminate against or commodify cultural achievements of peoples and those that impose a mono-cultural homogenization, identifying human development with Western culture, are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and therefore prohibited. Also prohibited are the practices, institutions, and political-cultural systems that demand the return of an illusory past, often endorsing violence or discrimination against other peoples.
Article 14 (To respect the rights of indigenous peoples)
Native peoples have the right to be recognized in their differences. For this they need the material and institutional foundations necessary for the reproduction of their customs, languages, worldviews and communal institutions: a protected territory of reference, a bilingual education, the ability to have their own judicial system, public representation, etc. They make important contributions to the contemporary world: the protection of Mother Earth, resistance to the extractive-export mode of production and accumulation, and a holistic vision of the natural and social reality.
Actions, institutions and economic, political and cultural systems that destroy, segregate, discriminate against or hinder the physical, cultural and spiritual life of native peoples are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and are therefore prohibited.
Article 15 (The recognize the right to resistance)
All peoples and social groups have the right to develop critical thought, to practice peaceful resistance and if necessary, insurrection against destructive actions taken against nature, human life, collective or individual liberties.
Thought censorship, the criminalization of resistance and the violent repression of liberation movements, are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and are prohibited.
– (4) The intercultural as a dynamic of thought and social ethics
Article 17 (To assure the right to information and the circulation of knowledge)
All peoples of the earth have the right to information, to exchange knowledge, expertise and information useful for constructing the Common Good of Humanity.
Monopolies of the media by groups with financial or industrial power, commodification of the public by advertising agencies, exclusive and non-participatory control by States over the content of information, and patents of scientific knowledge that impede the circulation of knowledges useful for the well-being of peoples are inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and are therefore prohibited.
– (5) Obligations and sanctions for noncompliance with the declaration
Article 18 (Applying the paradigm of the Common Good of Humanity)
All peoples of the earth have the right that any noncompliance with or violation of the rights set forth in this Declaration, that in its entirety aims to construct permanently the Common Good of Humanity, or the non-execution of the mechanisms set forth herein, shall be known, prosecuted, punished and redressed according to the scale and impact of the damage caused, in agreement with, when they do exist, with the dispositions of domestic or international law. Short or middle range transition measures (reforms and regulations) are allowing to change the relations with nature, to establish the priority of use value, to generalize democracy and to create multiculturality. However they should not become only adaptations of the existing mode of accumulation to new ecological and social demands.
All impunity and all full stop laws, amnesty or any other dealing that denies victims justice, that is, to nature and her conscious part humankind, is inconsistent with the Common Good of Humanity and the Good Life (Buen Vivir) and are consequently null and void.