Alternatives’ Declaration

Adopted by the General Assembly of Alternatives

Saturday 30 March 1996, by ALTERNATIVES

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

At the end of the 20th century mankind’s destiny looks increasingly complex, in a way that affects all of us equally, whatever part of the world we may live in. Social inequalities, within societies as well as between different nations and states, are far from being resolved - instead, they are intensifying.

The globalisation of capital; the unification of the world market following the fall of the Berlin Wall; the reinforcement of the role of international financial bodies as quasi-autonomous institutions; the creation of large trading blocs - these are all contributing to a fundamental division of the world. On the one hand, we find a few great economic powers capable of determining other nations’ policies and politics; on the other hand, the vast majority of peoples and nations have little control over their lives and the advancement of their social and economic well-being. In fact, the fruits of democracy are harvested by governments for the glory of the market, as much in the North as in the South.

At the same time, the universal embrace of neoliberal politics (used to justify the debt crisis and competetiveness) is dividing peoples, and even the social fabrics of the great economic powers themselves are splitting at the seams. Thus we find that the greatest and most conspicuous accumulation of wealth history has ever seen is accompanied by the creation of a mass of unemployed and under-employed people, many of whom have little hope of finding stable, subsistence-level employment. The vast majority of people who still have a job consider this a fragile "privilege" that they may lose at any time. Meanwhile, the State avoids taking an active role in defending its "forgotten" members.

Unfortunately, this state of affairs applies equally to Quebec and Canadian society today.

Those hit hardest by the disastrous effects of this division are women, youth, minorities, refugees and immigrants. Popular civil organisations (trade unions, human rights groups, women’s and youth organisations, and advocates of environmental protection, among others) have become indispensable, not only in building a better future for the majority of the world, but also in the defence of the most basic social rights.

In this global context, Alternatives has to reaffirm its character as a movement for international solidarity, but must also be an active force in the social movement here in Quebec and Canada. For Alternatives, supporting popular organisations in different regions of the world who are struggling to transform their social, economic, political and ecological environments is consistent with the struggle here. Even as we work alongside our overseas partners to advance democracy and sustainable development, we must constantly move towards building a larger network of partners here, with respect for individual specificities and pluralistic democracy.

And so we must work together to build bridges between one another, bridges that connect our various struggles across the planet and advance the search for alternatives to the present models of domination and exploitation. This, for us, is solidarity.

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