Tuesday, August 26, 2014

National News

Action on Vision

People's Social Forum draws thousands to Ottawa

Released by M. Lambert, Alternatives/Handout photos



t the close of the Peoples' Social Forum (PSF), held in Ottawa August 21-24, the many social movements present called for convergence and action.


We participated in the Peoples' Social Forum because it is urgent to stop the attacks on democracy, and to free our societies of neoliberal capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy, colonialism, racism, heterosexism, and of the domination of large companies on Peoples. The Peoples' Social Forum process has allowed us to intensify a convergence of an unheard diversity between our movements.


The unified and unprecedented social movement that we build is more necessary than ever to work together to counter the current federal Government and the dominant elites' savage attacks to our collective and individual rights, our jobs, our pensions, our public services, our environment, to immigrants, the poor, people of color and, ultimately, to our future and that of future generations.


"We do not want a State that supports the Canadian mining companies here and abroad. A State that tramples the rights of the Palestinian people by supporting the Israeli regime's Apartheid, in spite of the numerous international resolutions. We do not want a State that oppresses the First Peoples. We do not want a State increasing militarization and criminalizing dissent.


During this social forum, we have shared the sprouts of a new vision of society, based on social and environmental justice, self-determination of Indigenous Peoples, human rights, democracy, equality between individuals and between Peoples, the inclusion of all generations, solidarity, and a new economic paradigm serving people, not the opposite.


"We want a society that fights against the disparities between the rich and the poor, men and women, whites and people of color. We want to defend and widen our public services and social programs to respect social, economic and cultural rights.


"We know the importance of promoting, loudly and clearly, a different model of society. It is not only a question of opposing the Conservatives, our movement must go beyond this electoral deadline because it is also a question of regaining control over our collective future.



However, in the short run, we must propel the social movements' current convergence toward an active, non-partisan role and lead a combative campaign against the Conservatives. As long as the Conservatives impose their idea of society, we will not be able to protect our rights and the environment, and we will not be able to carry out an open debate on what would be a society fair, viable and respectful of its Peoples'.


We commit ourselves to maintaining dynamic and durable ties throughout the structures that the Peoples' Social Forum bequeaths us (caucuses, regional commissions, networks created for workshops and convergence assemblies). The fire within us as we leave this meeting must live on!


The systems of oppression and domination are closely intertwined and that is why it is necessary to fight them all. Each of the attacks against one of our movements is thus an attack against us and weakens the movement in general. We are responsible for fighting the oppression within our movements, and for showing solidarity to people at the margins of our struggles. We are also responsible for working together to express our solidarity to all of the other Peoples of the Earth. We must recognize in our movements the reality of the Canadian colonialism that differentiates, within the movement, the First Peoples.


This forum has given us hope in our capacity to surpass our limits and to, together, overcome. We are politically united and shall be active in every corner of the territory where we are present. We call for demonstrations throughout the country, actions and concerted reactions from various movements to conservative attacks. We must counteract in a creative and massive way. They must understand that we will not leave them to their own devices without reacting. They must feel the weight of our convergence!


We must show that another vision for our society is not only possible, but necessary. The PSF's conclusions are a collective responsibility. This urgent call for social movements to converge is embodied in action. The solutions belong to us, organizations and individuals. The change we wish to see is our responsibility. The scale of this change depends on our involvement!


Our call is wide and is addressed to all the population and the other movements. It is a call to work together to beat the Conservatives. A call to work together to defeat conservatism and neo-liberalism. A call to rebuild a healthy democracy and to think of another system not based on oppression and exploitation, but on an economy valuing life and the well-being of people and the Earth."


About the PSF

The Peoples' Social Forum held on the University of Ottawa campus, August 21-24, 2014, gathered 5,000 participants who attended over 500 workshops and about two dozen convergence assemblies.


Build together, win together! The future is ours!


For more information, visit www.alternatives.ca 




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