Every day, in every village and neighbourhood, at every workplace and school, in every forest and every field and even in every army barrack people build dignity for all, justice for all and prosperity for all living beings.
We must stick to this simple fact, depite the wars, the genocidal imperial capitalism and the ecological crisis. The most important force for change are the daily struggles that engages billions of individuals in their common lives. People everywhere are keeping alive old and creating new cultural values that place solidarity, truth and joy ahead of competition and greed. It is true that the present world order is such that our egoistic drives and our aggressive impulses are often easier to make true than our desire for friendship and search for conviviality. The dream of consumer paradise has invaded and shaped the imagination of almost all people of the planet. But that is not the whole truth. We are also struggling to find ways out of this state of degradation. We are saddened and angry at ourselves and others, but we are also hopeful and creative.
Everywhere mothers hold on to their babies, men passing by give their hand to strangers in need, there is love that overcomes all fears, millionaires secretly give way to their burning desire to serve the poor, the oppressed stand up together and fight, people celebrate their victories and share their grief in moments of defeat.
There is a culture of resistence, struggle, joy, solidarity, and change that makes a green, socialist, feminist century a reality, even if partly only, this very day.
Cultural struggle needs as its arms and legs common action and organisation, politics by people and technologies and economies for democracy and self-reliance.
The politics we need will be a nonhierarchial, multipolar politics of truth-force, satyagraha organised as comprehensive democracy at all levels from family and neighbourhood to the regions and the globe and in all dimensions of life, including democracy of gender, ecology, politics, economics, culture and knowledge. — We see it emerging in the increasingly non-competive relations between on the one hand new local and global movements, such as the movement of peasents, landless rural workers, feminists, environmentalists, zapatistas and indigenous people, and old political organisations such as the Confederation of Free Trade Unions and national socialist, communist, green, social-liberal and agrarian based parties.
This movement of movement has a common problem and many different answers. The answers do not form a coherent whole, but an intense process of joint learning has started for which the World Social Forum may be the single most important experiment so far.
This new historical force is young and it is still unnamed. We should have no illusions about its strength. But it may be growing as can be seen on every global women’s day, 8th of March, and on every global peasent’s day, 17th of April, and on every worker’s and student’s day, 1st of May and on every day of September 11th, the day we commemorate the birth of satyagraha as a new political tehcnology for our times that happened in Johannesburg in South Africa on 11th September 1905.
Welcome green, socialist feminist century – we are eager to hear your real name.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, Finland
This article by Thomas Wallgren first appeared in a paper published by Friends of the Earth Sweden in association with Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam Network. The paper was mass distributed at the Malmö European Social Forum in 2008 and at the World Social Forum at Belem, Brazil in 2009.
The essay has also been published in the book Sustainable Futures: Replacing Growth Imperative and Hierarchies with Sustainable Ways. Ed. by Marko Ulvila & Jarna Pasanen. Helsinki. Ministry for Foreign Affairs (2009)