I like to see things in a broad perspective. I like to play with history. Today’s action, in that respect, was very symbolic. It has been prepared in detail by comrade Roberto, and executed, once again, by the hard core of the Meseta march. I wrote the ‘screenplay’.
The idea was born when we walked out of Paris and into the woods. I was thinking about a concise manifest that we could launch in Brussels, something monumental.
The fact that we were marching to the center of Europe, and that we would be joined by people from other countries to give shape to a truly European movement, a European revolution, reminded me of the American Continental Congress.
We are going to Brussels, because we don’t feel represented by a political class that only defends economic interests. In the 1770s, people from all thirteen British colonies in North America gathered in Philadelphia, because they didn’t feel represented by a parliament that could tax them without their consent.
On July 4 1776 the Continental Congress adopted the U.S. Declaration of Independence. It was and still is an inspiring and revolutionary document, because it denied the king’s right to rule, as he pleases, by the grace of god. Instead it stated that government derives its authority not from royal heritage, but from the consent of the people, and that it has the obligation to defend the ‘unalienable’ rights of every citizen to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It added that the people have the right to rebel whenever government would become destructive of these ends.
This idea wasn’t new. Some people argue that Thomas Jefferson, the founding father who wrote the document, was inspired by the Dutch ‘Akte van Verlaetinghe’ which was adopted by the United Provinces in The Hague, July 26 1581. The Dutch text claimed that ‘A prince has to govern for the benefit of his subjects, (…) And [that] whenever he fails to do so, he can no longer be considered a prince (…) [in which case] his subjects have all the right and reason to destitute him.’
I imagined the coming together of indignados from all over Europe as a Continental Assembly, and in the weeks that followed I styled a ‘Declaration of Popular Sovereignty’.
My intention was to make a statement, and above all, to try to capture the spirit of our movement.
The idea has been circulating in spiral, from the Intelligence Commission to the Central Committee to the hard core of the Meseta march, picking up enthusiastic reactions on the way. It was never put up for consensus in an assembly. Today’s action was an initiative of part of the Meseta march only.
At around two thirty this afternoon, October 13, the text was first proclaimed in French translation by comrade Sebastian through the Free Speech Megaphone at Rosa Luxemburg Avenue near the South Station of Brussels. It was followed by translations in Spanish and English. The action was filmed and repeated, first at the steps of the Stock Exchange, and later under the Liberty Tree at Agora Square.
English text to follow.
Declaration of Popular Sovereignty
We, people of the World, gathered in Continental Assembly in Brussels, declare the following.
Many times throughout the course of history human society has been faced with the need for change, but never before was change so impellent as it is now.
Our global society is unsustainable. The voracious exploitation of natural resources and of human beings themselves has created profound differences in wealth, freedom and opportunity over the planet. It has fomented conflict and condemned the majority of humanity to poverty or even hunger. It has lead to the pollution of our rivers, our soil, our seas, our air, even space, and it is leading to a dangerous change in our climate. All of this, for the comfort of some and for the benefit of the very few.
We accuse the culture of greed.
We accuse the economics of waste.
We accuse the existence of borders.
We accuse the global financial system, and all the enterprises and institutions that facilitate and uphold it, of being responsible for the declining state of our planet and the majority of species by which it is inhabited. We accuse it of laying an unjust mortgage on the lives of our offspring. We accuse it of endagering the very survival of man kind.
We demand a sustainable world, and we have faith in the human capacity to bring it about. We demand to live in peace. We demand a world in which people govern themselves in a spirit of cooperation and brotherhood. We demand a world in which individuals and communities can be self sufficient in their basic needs of water, food and energy. We demand that every person can have the opportunity to make full use of his or her talents for personal benefit and in the interest of society.
We believe in human genius. We believe in technology for peaceful means and the common good. We believe in the free exchange of information. We believe in free access to the human cultural heritage. We believe that human values can not be expressed in economic terms.
We, the people, claim our right to life.
We, the people, claim our right to liberty.
We, the people, claim our right to the pursuit of happiness.
Government has become destructive of these ends, and therefore it is our right, our duty, to alter or abolish it.
We, the people, claim and declare our popular sovereignty.
We call on every person all over the world,
to resist peacefully through civil disobedience,
to occupy public spaces,
to gather in assembly,
to participate in government,
to liberate the creativity of the individual for the benefit of all, and to use our collective intelligence to lay the foundations of the world that we want for ourselves, and for our offspring.
We are the people.
We have the power to achieve.