Amid international protests, intellectuals and activists issue manifesto for global democracy

Secretariat, 14. October 2011

Intellectuals Naomi Klein, Vandana Shiva, Noam Chomsky, Eduardo Galeano and Michael Hardt as well as mass-protest organizers and activists have issued a manifesto that includes a strong call for global democracy and, in particular, democratic rule over the international financial system. The manifesto was published in the Guardian on 14 October 2011, on the eve of international demonstrations in over 950 cities and more than 80 countries that were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Arab revolutions

Logo of the 15 October 2011 protests around the world
Image: 15october.net

and protests for "real democracy" in Spain.

The manifesto that was endorsed by activists and groups from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, United States, Asia and Latin America, among them Democracia Real Ya International, says that institutions like the G8, G20, the International Monetary Fund or the UN Security Council must be made democratic or "be overturned".

According to the document, in an age of globalization, "global forces shape people's lives. Our jobs, health, housing, education and pensions are controlled by global banks, markets, tax havens, corporations and financial crises". It says that under such conditions, "citizens of the world must get control over the decisions that influence them at all levels - from global to local".

Activists Ana Sofia Suarez and Shimri Zameret commented in the Guardian that "of course this manifesto is not endorsed by all the people that participate in the worldwide protests." Nevertheless, the signatories hope that "the text is legitimate as a manifesto coming from the protests, supported by many involved, such as Democracia Real Ya International, the main assembly in Madrid, the main assembly in Boston, in Buenos Aires and Sao Paolo." They added that it was a deliberate decision not to define "what democratic global institutions are" and to "leave it as a principle."

Manifesto: United for Global Democracy

« On 15th October 2011, united in our diversity, united for global change, we demand global democracy: global governance by the people, for the people. Inspired by our sisters and brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Palestine-Israel, Spain and Greece, we too call for a regime change: a global regime change. In the words of Vandana Shiva, the Indian activist, today we demand replacing the G8 with the whole of humanity - the G 7,000,000,000.

Undemocratic international institutions are our global Mubarak, our global Assad, our global Gaddafi. These include: the IMF, the WTO, global markets, multinational banks, the G8, the G20, the European Central Bank and the UN Security Council. Like Mubarak and Assad, these institutions must not be allowed to run people’s lives without their consent. We are all born equal, rich or poor, woman or man. Every African and Asian is equal to every European and American. Our global institutions must reflect this, or be overturned.

Today, more than ever before, global forces shape people's lives. Our jobs, health, housing, education and pensions are controlled by global banks, markets, tax havens, corporations and financial crises. Our environment is destroyed by pollution in other continents. Our safety is determined by international wars and international trade in arms, drugs and natural resources. We are losing control over our lives. This must stop. This will stop. The citizens of the world must get control over the decisions that influence them at all levels - from global to local. That is global democracy. That is what we demand today.

Like the Mexican Zapatistas, we say "Ya basta! Aquí el pueblo manda y el gobierno obedece”. Enough! Here the people command and global institutions obey! Like the Spanish Tomalaplaza, we say "Democracia Real Ya": True global democracy now!" Today we call the citizens of the world: let us globalise Tahrir Square! Let us globalise Puerta del Sol! »

Top image: Naomi Klein speaking at an open forum of Occupy Wall Street, October 6, 2011. Source: David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0