Viewpoint by Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth
A new public declaration of policy and aims, Manifesto 2020, has issued a clarion call for declaring poverty Illegal. Poverty Is the product of labour regulation within the context of unequal economic growth. It is the result of global pillage of life in the interests and survival of the powerful, declares the Agora of the inhabitants of the earth.
It also calls for a global campaign for the design, manufacture and use of a global, common, public, free vaccine against Covid-19. Humanity does not need a vaccine war.
Agora, in ancient Greek cities, was an open space that served as a meeting ground for various activities of the citizens. The name, first found in the works of Homer, connotes both the assembly of the people as well as the physical setting.
The Manifesto 2020 points out that there are three scourges devastating the life of the Earth’s Inhabitants.
Following is the full text:
– The Covid-19 pandemic (more than 230,000 deaths). The explosion and spread of the coronavirus are, according to almost all scientists, closely linked, among other things, to the environmental devastation of recent decades and the deterioration of hygiene and health conditions in most countries of the world;
– Climate and environmental disaster, due, among other things, to deforestation and soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, contamination and pollution of air and water (the ecological footprint tells us that by August 2019 we already “consumed” the renewable biotic capital of the planet’s land and water);
– Hunger and thirst (7.9 million children under the age of 5 died in 2018 from diseases due, among other things, to lack of access to drinking water. In a world that in 2019 claimed to be “rich”, estimating its global GDP at about 80 trillion dollars, almost one billion people suffer from hunger, 2.1 billion people do not know clean drinking water and 4.2 billion do not know what a toilet is).
The unacceptable world
The dramatic conditions in which 1 billion people (1 in 8 in the world) live in unhealthy, insecure and socially violent slums, as well as the 175 million unemployed adults (mostly young people) and the 850 million working poor (earning less than 2 dollars a day), indicate that inequality and the denial of human rights for billions of people are the products of our societies, our economies. They demonstrate the failure of the system in place, of its “economic growth”, of its “human development”, of its logic of war.
Neither war nor poverty are inevitable. According to SIPRI, in 2019 the governments of the world spent 1.910 billion dollars on armaments (38% of which were spent by the United States alone), i.e. more than 5 billion dollars a day. To attack, to kill, to become stronger, not to save lives, to save the environment, to protect land…
No one is born poor by fate or chance. Today, more than 90% of humanity has to make do with less than 10% of the world’s goods because the dominant economy, governed by the principles of capitalist society, has commodified, privatized, deregulated, liberalized, financialized all forms of material and immaterial life for the benefit of the strongest, the conquerors, the dominating warriors, while life and living in dignity, freedom and justice belong to all.
The world must change
We have to change the system now, by attacking the roots.
We cannot obey the imperative of economic growth, which is to force the inhabitants of the earth to quickly break out of their confinement and enter the second phase of “pandemic management”, “living with the virus“. We cannot assume the risk of health and death – even if with certain precautions – to get back to work and get the economic machine of production and consumption back to work, without changing any of the founding principles and key mechanisms of the failed system.
We do not think it is wise and fair to return to slave labour, which humiliates and excludes, in order to become once again an irresponsible, passive, mass buyer/consumer; to earn dehumanizing money that reduces everything, including human beings, to a “profitable” resource.
FIRST PROPOSAL FOR ACTION
To act against the inequality and exclusion that generates hunger and thirst.
For a new regulation of work and economy
Let us declare poverty illegal. poverty is the product of labour regulation within the context of unequal economic growth. it is the result of global pillage of life in the interests and survival of the powerful.
We refuse to be trapped in the “value chains” of our factories, farms, offices, schools, universities, hospitals, sports, etc.. We do not want to return to activities operating in the name of GDP (even if it is green, blue, circular, digital…) and ROI (Return on Investment).
We need new labour rules as a condition for “returning to work”. Among these, priority must be given to economic activities focused on safeguarding and promoting common public goods and services of fundamental interest for life, starting with a major world programme on water and common water services as a driving force for large-scale economic and social change in the areas of health, agri-food, housing, urban renewal, environmental economics, land, public transport, other natural and cultural common goods.
Work must be freed from activities that pollute, are dangerous and harmful to the health and safety of citizens and to the environment, such as certain chemical production, mining activities, arms production, etc. The irrational flow of products through international trade must be reduced. There is increasing pressure for the re-territorialisation of communitarian production and self-management. The simplicity and sobriety of consumption are gaining visibility.
The globalisation of recent decades must be abandoned. The world economy of the coming decades does not need an army of skills and professions dedicated to make speculative finance, tax evasion and tax havens work and prosper. Many of the functions of banks and insurance companies will have to disappear.
Work must be expanded into artistic and cultural creation (non-commercialized, demonized) and peace. Work must become a synonymous of equality of rights and dignity.
SECOND PROPOSAL FOR ACTION
To act in favour of science and technology in the service of all the inhabitants of the global community of life on Earth.
A global campaign for the design, manufacture and use of a global, common, public, free vaccine against COVID-19.
The manipulation of living organisms for private purposes and profit-making purposes is immoral and unacceptable. It is time to move towards a society (and an economy) capable of enhancing and promoting knowledge (science) and its application (technology) as a common good and service – res publica – under the primary responsibility of human communities.
The vaccine must be the result of cooperation and solidarity amongst scientists and peoples and not of warlike competition and rivalry for the sake of profit and power.
Humanity does not need a vaccine war. There is no good reason why the future vaccine(s) should be privately owned by pharmaceutical companies for at least 17 to 20 years. As is well known, global private companies clearly act in the interests of the owners of their capital by producing and marketing (through public subsidies and public regulations) medicines intended primarily to treat patients who can pay the price set by the companies themselves. Money continues to enslave health. It is not true that science and economy are at the service of people. There are other main recipients before the people.
For these reasons, the association Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth active in several countries of the world (from Argentina to Belgium, from Chile to France, from Brazil to Cameroon, from Quebec to Italy, Portugal, Germany, India…) proposes the launch of a transnational campaign whose objective is to adopt a global protocol on a common public patent for the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Science (and economy) for the health of the earth’s inhabitants”.
For a common, public and free Covid-19 vaccine.
For a trans-national citizens’ alliance
We propose that the campaign is conceived, planned and led by a global network of civil society associations, movements and institutions. The network will be set up during May so that the launch can start in June 2020. The multiplicity and diversity of initiatives in this area is fundamental and desirable.
The indirect objective of the campaign is to prevent the COVID-19 vaccine(s) from being another act of economic, social and political expropriation of life by powerful private powers with the support of national and international public authorities.
Science must cease to be an instrument used primarily in the service of war, power and inequality. Knowledge is a “res publica” .
This Manifesto is an invitation to all those who share the proposals to express their support and adherence to the campaign “A common, public and free global Covid-19 vaccine“.
The first signatories include:
Alain Adriaens (Belgium), Jean Paul Amadou Zigaou (Camerun), Marcos P. Arruda (Brazil), Guido Barbera (Italy), Fabián Bicciré (Argentina), Alberto Botto (Argentina), Marcelo Barros (Brazil)Jacques Brodeur (Québec), Bernard Cassen (France), Roberto Colombo (Italy), Alejandro Huala Canuman (Chile), Francesco Comina (Italy), Alain Dangoisse ((Belgium),Ina Darmstaedter (Germany), Armando Di Nardi ((Brazil), Amadou Emanuel (Camerun), Anibal Faccendini (Argentina), Jorge Fandermole (Argentina), Alfio Foti and Emanuele Villa (Itay), Pierre Galand (Belgium), and Philippe Giroul (Québec).
Other signatories are: Fatoumata Kane Ki-Zerbo (Sénégal – Burkina Faso). Felicien Illunga (DR Congo), Luis Infanti de la Mora (Chile), Miguel Lacabana (UK- Argentina)), Mady Ledant (Belgium ), Jorge Llonc (Argentina) ,Gustavo Marini (Argentina), Eliane Mandine (France), Monastero del Bene Comune (Luca Cecchi, Paola Libanti, Silvano Nicoletto) (Italy), Maria Palatine (Germany) Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio (Italy), Riccardo Petrella (Itay), Jean-Yves Proulx (Québec), Roberto Savio (Italiy), and Roberto Musacchio (Italy).
Still others are: Anne Rondelet (Belgium), Bernard Tirtiaux (Belgium), Pietro Pizzuti (Belgium), Domenico Rizzuti (Italy), María Eugenia Schmuck (Argentina), Université du Bien Commun (Cristina Bertelli, Claire Dehove, Corinne Ducrey, Jean-Pascal Derumier,Annie Flexer,Gilles Yovan) (France), Luiz Carlos Vena (Brazil), Philippe Veniel (France), José Vermandere (Belgium), and Alejandro Vila (Argentina), [IDN-InDepthNews – 03 May 2020]
Image: Collage of the Globe in Hands with ‘Agora’