Archive for the ‘Humanist Movement’ Category

WwW International Bulletin June 2012

June 18, 2012

World without Wars and Violence

  • Criminalisation of Nonviolent Protest
  • Membership data 2012
  • Quebec: Student conflict and Bill 78
  • From the Vienna NPT PrepCom to the Czech campaign for nuclear abolition
  • Czech Republic: Nuclear Abolition Day; Participation in international contests
  • Mozambique: Education for Nonviolence
  • Ireland: Spreading Education for Nonviolence in Ireland
  • April 17, 2012 : Global day of action on military spending
  • Spain: Madrid Social Forum; Dance Festival for peace and nonviolence in Vigo; Classrooms in the Street
  • Italy: Peacetour by bicycles against the purchase of F35 fighter bombers in Milan; “There is no peace without Syria – The other side of the revolution”; Forum for Peace and Human Rights in Rome

Indignado/Occupy How to Start

May 19, 2012

The objective of this document is to help Humanists that want to integrate or contribute to the Occupy/indignados movement to have more context and to do it more efficiently. Ideologically, the movement is very close to the Humanist point of view. The point of concern is how to translate the ideas locally or onto specific issues. The main and very important values shared are direct democracy, nonviolence, a horizontal organizational structure, universality and the rejection of the “System.”

THE MOVEMENT IS NOT AN ORGANIZATION; this is the most important part to understand. Everyone could be part of it, it is a movement of people that organize themselves to educate and organize the 99% and pressure the System to change its direction. Political, social, cultural, labor and religious organizations are not directly part of the structure of the movement, but the movement works with them in many different forms and levels.

At an individual level, everyone can take an active part in the movement. To start it is recommend to assist the General Assembly of your neighborhood/town/university and/or participate in a working group on an issue that you like or have experience with. Both of the these entities work more or less the same way, based on consensus. This is not a vote system where the majority wins, the main goal is to reach consensus among all involved. The new generation (youth) works well with consensus, where the older ones have more difficulty letting go and are more likely to bring up ideological dilemmas that make it more complicated than it needs to be. We have experienced many times these situations but here is one simple example: A working group was preparing a statement concerning Iran. At the beginning everyone was giving their opinions and making arguments, helping in the development of a statement against the US’s motivation for attacking Iran. At some point, someone added that we can’t just attack the US government without also implicating the Iranian government. At this point the situation became complicated; some were against this strategy, finding it too confusing for the general public and opening the door to an other level of discussion that would slow down the process. In the end, consensus was never reached. The situation changed, the press focused more on Syria, the Iran issue became obsolete and the opportunity was lost.

You have different levels of coordination and decision-making processes depending on the location. To keep it simple for this first document we are focusing on the base/grassroot level with general assembly and working group. The working groups are autonomous, often meeting once a week and working on specific issues such as environment, housing, food, alternative economies, worker rights, immigration, peace, democracy, education, and arts. Some have the function of helping the development of the GA, such as outreach, facilitation, internet, economy, preparing food, and so on. The coordination and decisions are made during the GA, which could be once a week or every day depending the dynamic of the movement in each location.

During this meeting you have normally different moments:
Introduction to real democracy (a system of “sign language” that allows for direct participation)
Selection of the functions (facilitator, stack taker, time keeper, note taker)
Report Back: short report from the working groups
Proposal: This is the time for a working group to present a proposal that they have previously developed and want the GA to pass/approve. Many issues don’t need approval and can be decided directly by the working group. Example: The internet working group don’t need the approval of the GA to publish information online but if it want to change the name of the site or need money for his expansion they need to go thought the GA and make a proposal. The proposal could be approved, blocked or tabled (when it is not developed or clear enough to make a decision or needs to be modified to get a consensus).
Announcements: For general information, a special event (for example, once we announced our October 2nd event at the OWS GA)

After almost a year of existence the movement has expanded from its initial form and counts now with many mixed entities which overlap. You have people from different working groups that have created other Occupies such as Occupy Town Square, Occupy University, OWS Commons Coalitions (see list for NY) . This is where the organizations click in. It is possible to belong to many of these groups and be linked to the Occupy Movement. For example, the Humanist Party in NY is part of the OWS Commons Coalition. An other way to influence the movement as an organization is to organize or coordinate actions with other organizations/unions/political parties in support of the Occupy Movement. In NYC the HP has particpated publicly in many rallies organized by Unions in coordination and in support of the Occupy Movement.


Interesting Articles

Noam Chomsky: What next for Occupy?

Extract from Noam Chomsky on America’s Economic Suicide

You describe Occupy as the first organized response to a thirty-year class war….

NC: It’s a class war, and a war on young people too… that’s why tuition is rising so rapidly. There’s no real economic reason for that. It’s a technique of control and indoctrination. And this is really the first organized, significant reaction to it, which is important.

LF: Are comparisons to Arab Spring useful?

NC: One point of similarity is they’re both responses to the toll taken by the neo lib programs. They have a different effect in a poor country like Egypt than a rich country like the US. But structurally somewhat similar. In Egypt the neoliberal programs have meant statistical growth, like right before the Arab Spring, Egypt was a kind of poster child for the World Bank and the IMF [International Monetary Fund:] the marvelous economic management and great reform. The only problem was for most of the population it was a kind of like a blow in the solar plexus: wages going down, benefits being eliminated, subsidized food gone and meanwhile, high concentration of wealth and a huge amount of corruption.

We have a structural analogue here – in fact the same is true in South America – some of the most dramatic events of the last decade (and we saw it again in Cartagena a couple of weeks ago) Latin America is turning towards independence for the first time in five hundred years. That’s not small. And the Arab Spring was beginning to follow it. There’s a counterrevolution in the Middle East/North Africa (MENAC) countries beating it back, but there were advances. In South America [there were] substantial ones and that’s happening in the Arab Spring and it has a contagious effect – it stimulated the Occupy movement and there are interactions.

LF. In the media, there was a lot of confusion in the coverage of Occupy. Is there a contradiction between anarchism and organization? Can you clarify?

NC: Anarchism means all sort of things to different people but the traditional anarchists’ movements assumed that there’d be a highly organized society, just one organized from below with direct participation and so on. Actually, one piece of the media confusion has a basis because there really are two different strands in the occupy movement, both important, but different.

One is policy oriented: what policy goals [do we want.] Regulate the banks, get money out of elections; raise the minimum wage, environmental issues. They’re all very important and the Occupy movement made a difference. It shifted not only the discourse but to some extent, action on these issues.

The other part is just creating communities — something extremely important in a country like this, which is very atomized. People don’t talk to each other. You’re alone with your television set or internet. But you can’t have a functioning democracy without what sociologists call “secondary organizations,” places where people can get together, plan, talk and develop ideas. You don’t do it alone. The Occupy movement did create spontaneously communities that taught people something: you can be in a supportive community of mutual aid and cooperation and develop your own health system and library and have open space for democratic discussion and participation. Communities like that are really important. And maybe that’s what’s causing the media confusion…because it’s both.


October 15, 2011


This fall, take part in the world without violence and wars race challenge !

September 11, 2011

Where is our current society heading: as events escalate, as violence becomes more and more globalized each day? Is there a way out?

In the last few years, we have seen new conflicts and new forms of corruption emerge, we have seen ecological and financial disasters. Theses events are entertwined and cause rapid changes.

These changes generate instability in poor as well as in rich countries thoughout the world. When one war comes to an end (Iraq), another is started (Lybia). The poor treatment and poverty of the African population has turned into famine in East Africa. Oil spills and nuclear power break downs, natural disasters: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; the attacks on the young people in Norway; the attack on the activists in Syria; the mass riots in London; the increasing costs of food everywhere; the increases in military expenditure and armament; the endemic unemployment of millions of people in Europe, in the Arab countries and in the United States and the new threat of terrorist attack 10 years after the world trade Center attack are all signs that the crisis which took place years ago is increasing, is becoming globalized and is out of control.

Despite despair taking over the world news, nonviolent and non-partisan social movements are emerging. They gather millions of people from all parts of society. Their central claims: “human dignity, real democracy and the end of corruption”. The Arab spring (Tunisia, Egypt), the May 15th movement (Spain), the movement in Wisconsin (US), the movement for free education (Chile, Iran), and the Israelies movement against the raising prices of food are some examples. These movements are based on a nonviolent and non partisan social current. They do not have leaders or a singular plea, since they are mass movements in which each individual is demanding better conditions for the whole of society, not only for a minority in power.

To support the emergence of nonviolent social movements, and to celebrate the International Day of Peace on September 21st and the International Day of Nonviolence on October 2nd, the Canadian Runthisway organizers are launching a race for peace and nonviolence. The Runthisway project in launch in partnership with World without wars and without violence and sponsored by Pressenza and Montreal canadian 94,7 HITS FM. The Runthisway organizers are inviting schools,students and young people to participate. More than 15,000 students have already registered: they come from 40 elementary and high schools from differents countries. The Runthisway organizers invite schools throughout the world that took part in the World March for Peace and Non-Violence in 2009 to take the race challenge for nonviolence.

The kilometers ran by the young people and students will be compiled and given to the Global Coalition to protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). The coalition gathers several international organizations and works to highlight the impact of attacks on education. It encourages states to adhere to the existing international law protecting education and the strengthening of international norms and standards.

For Montreal Pressenza English, the proof-reading of this article was done by Brittaney Caron.

By Anne Farrell

Anne Farrell has received an award from YMCA-Canadá for her contribution to non-violence

A Peace March in Pakistan

April 29, 2011

A Peace March is being organized, by Humanists & others, in Pakistan, from Gujranwala to Lahore, on Saturday, May 7 at 5:00pm to May 8 at 6:00pm.

Peace March will start from Gujranwala on 7th May, at 10 AM from Gujranwala Bar and end on 8th May, at 6PM at Tomb of Allama Iqbal, Lahore.

People from different areas of life including lawyers, civil society, humanists, political activists, players (male & female) will participate in march on foot against all types of violence (Physical, emotional, political, social and economic).

The purpose of this event is to highlight the issue of Peace and Non Violence in our region against terrorist attacks, suicide attacks, foreign invasion, domestic issues force people to adopt violent actions. After ten KM travel, a brief stop will be arranged to reflect and go ahead. There is no restriction on the participation. Any body can participate in the event. It is self reliant event.

We invite all peace loving people to support this Peace-March in every way possible. If you cannot join physically, join in your prayers for Peace.

Those who cannot go participate physically, are invited to join the Facebook page and participate from the depths of their hearts, wishing Peace and Dignity to people.