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CARVING OUT NEW PATHS 

 

It’s the system that’s failing!

Change is in organized human action!

6th International Symposium of the World Centre for Humanist Studies 

Lima - Peru, 24-25-26 October 2018 

Traduction: Tony Robinson

Introduction 

 

We come to this 6th World Symposium at a time when we are suffering the consequences of a global systemic crisis that is driving the human species to the risk of extinction. We speak of a "systemic crisis" to refer to the failure of that set of values, regulations, policies, and actions that operate as a substrate of beliefs and attitudes (psychosocial background) in favour of the interests of a tiny but powerful global elite that imposes the rules of the game and organises the power that subjugates states, institutions and individuals. A system that has capital and accumulation as its central value and that is still sustained without being questioned by a significant part of the world's population.

This global social destructuring is manifested in the unjust distribution of wealth that condemns millions of people to marginalization, hunger and an uncertain future. A recent Oxfam report warns that in 2017, 82% of the world's wealth generated that year went to the richest 1% of the world's population. This destructuring is also manifested in growing violence, accompanied by military interventions by the major powers and its inverse, terrorism; in the meagre action against climate change and in an unsustainable consumerist lifestyle that puts our common home at risk and whose greatest consequences are suffered by the poorest; and, above all, in the failure of neoliberalism – an economic model that has shown its true face and contradictions, by generating two international financial crises that have hit the world economy –, enormous unemployment and the proliferation of corruption.

In Latin America, this reality is expressed in institutions that have lost all credibility and are beginning to collapse, undermined by corruption, amidst the weakening of democracy and the loss of rights of the populations; and particularly in public-private partnerships that have shown their worst side, given the major corruption scandals. Although several countries have made significant efforts in the last decade to promote an improvement in the quality of life of their populations and to reduce extreme poverty, through so-called social programs, the myth of consumption-based growth has spread, with strong restrictions on social rights (health, education, social security) and the growth of unemployment in several countries.

At the same time, we feel and acknowledge with hope the germ of a new sensibility that is emerging from the profound needs of diverse human groups, intentions that are carving out new paths and orienting themselves towards the construction of a new planetary society in which human life emerges as a central value in the face of the power of capital. Thus, we can see the commendable resistance of important sectors of social movements from different parts of the world in defense of their rights, such as the women's and youth movements; in the tremendous demonstrations against transnational corporations and governments of powerful countries that are resisting the fight against climate change; as well as in countries that are successfully testing other forms of institutionality. Likewise, we can see how creative initiatives in which the ‘we’ is put first and money is displaced as the central value of society are expanding.

Within this framework, the VI Symposium seeks to deepen the understanding of the roots of this systemic crisis, and at the same time to promote the exchange of experiences and reflection on new paths that will lead us to another way of life and society, with the changes we need to make and how to make them as effective as possible.

It depends on us! We are 99% of the population! Today more than ever we need to propose and develop strategies that will lead us to the great change we want to promote in Latin American and global society!

The World Centre for Humanist Studies proposes this Symposium as a privileged forum for exchange, since only communication and joint action will make it possible to build the future desired by the human spirit: the birth of a Universal Human Nation whose outraged cry is already in the streets and squares of every country in the world.

Theme of the Symposium 

We open this space to propose, exchange and converge in our diversity with different groups of citizens, social movements, public entities, universities, social, scientific and technological research centers that have been cultivating and practicing the care of nature and the economic, social and spiritual transformation of humanity on a personal, political and community level.

At the end of October 2018, we will meet in the city of Lima for two days around the following axes and issues:

 

Axis 1: New cultural paradigms

In a critical period that reduces human beings to mere consumers and asphyxiates their deep aspirations, there is an urgent need to reflect and imagine new ways to develop a historical and personal direction that will allow us to leave the crossroads behind: "to dare to change beliefs, perspectives, paradigms and behaviours". Neoliberalism was imposed in the 1980s and 1990s not only as an economic model, but also as a mentality and a certain attitude towards the world, as a practice of social coexistence, as a way of life where social ties are broken, solidarity is replaced by competition and individualism and the value of human life is weakened and subordinated.

We have experienced a great base of coincidences between many social actors and movements, women, young people, educators, and professionals, who are very willing to exchange among peers and to undertake things together. 

Issues:

  • Cultural transformations, ethics, values and beliefs.

  • Human rights and gender relations of parity, nonviolence and personal and social reconciliation.

  • Humanizing Education for Peace and Nonviolence

  • Science and technology at the service of life.

  • New sensibilities in the arts and culture.

  • Spirituality as a function of life.

Axis 2:New political-social paradigms

In a context of worsening global inequality, power groups, encouraged by authoritarian airs of conservative and neo-colonial restoration, are determined to prevent the changes that human beings are demanding.The old nation-state is stuck in a submissive impotence in the face of the parastate of international financial capital.

Faced with this apparent inertia, we note with great hope the growth of initiatives and proposals in the most diverse places of the planet and the continent regarding the need for a new world organization in which all peoples and nations can converge and contribute in favour of human development, the richness of cultural diversity, the protection of life, the unfolding of real democracy -from local spaces-, and the care of our common home. Many organisational and social experiences that are showing different paths need to be recognised, exchanged and empowered.

Issues:

  • Construction of Real Democracy at all levels of society.

  • The construction of Unity from the grass roots.

  • Social rights for all: Health and social security, basic income.

  • The fight for nuclear and conventional disarmament.

  • Migrations: exclusion and death or solidarity between peoples.

  • The participation of indigenous peoples in the construction of the utopia of the Universal Human Nation.

  • New institutional architecture regarding the construction of the Universal Human Nation.

Axis 3: New economics, nature and society:

The human species has made great strides in the development of science and technology and has produced great economic value, unfortunately accumulated in a few hands. These facts are not paralleled by the care of our common home and even less by the distribution of the surplus produced. The paradigms of economic growth without limits, and that technology will solve the serious environmental problems that our generation is leaving unresolved are at rock bottom (global warming, pollution and environmental degradation, etc.).

 

As humanity we have been going through one of the worst crises of Capitalism: two international financial crises in less than four years; the first in 2008-2009, with the United States at the centre, and the second in 2012 in Europe. Unemployment around the world has risen sharply and economic inequality is rife while the population is caught in a whirlwind of consumerism. A new type of economy, a new system of plural ownership and conditions that ensure that the population has a decent and stable income that allows them to enjoy culture, exchange with various countries of the world, the development of science and technology towards well-being and caring for nature are the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Today, all over the world, voices are being heard demanding and acting to make the declared intergenerational environmental responsibility a reality; to overcome the climate crisis; to internalize the environmental costs with zero waste tectology; a healthy diet based on organic agriculture; etc. These changes also intrinsically entail the need to rethink at its core the type of economy that underpins this system in crisis.

 

We need a new type of economy with indicators: that decouple growth from the extraction of natural resources, of equity and social justice, of wealth distribution; and that incorporate the social value of work into production. In other words, a form of social, economic and environmental organization that places human beings as the central value of society and an economy organized by its basic laws in a socially and environmentally sustainable way. 

Issues:

  • The escape from neoliberalism: a new economic system that places human life as a central value in front of capital and an environmentally sustainable substrate.

  • Social and solidarity economy (social banking, new production models, viability of basic income, among others).

  • The fight against climate change and the ecological crisis.

  • Economics and zero-waste science and technology.

  • The contribution of indigenous cultures to the overcoming of the global ecological crisis.