"An ounce of prevention..."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Immediately after the defeat of President Jose Socrates in our neighbor to the west, the press announced that “the rightists in Portugal will increase austerity measures”... Privatizations, deeper cuts, more unemployment, bowing to the rating agencies... because with the Eurozone, and especially PIGS, the markets won’t rest until everything falls into the hands of the huge international financial consortia, including China and the petroleum-producing countries.

Much has been said about “creating employment”... but, how? No one knows. For the moment what everyone is announcing –in Portugal, and on the horizon in Spain- is further obedience to speculators, the survivors of the globalizers’ “shipwreck” that were rescued by the G-20 and are now incessantly hounding their innocent “rescuers”.

Greece has been obliged to privatize to unthinkable limits, including proposals to sell some of its islands in the Aegean! And to what avail? The markets continue to show a lack of confidence in the European Union and mercilessly attack its socialist governments.

While the corporations in some countries, which have delocalized a large part of their production, reap considerable benefits, governments are continually being forced to make additional cuts. Some countries can make their own money, while we in the Eurozone are making a fool of ourselves. Brussels is giving PIGS even more homework. President Obama and Chancellor Merkel believe it is essential to take measures to stabilize European economy. But without discussing disarmament, the autonomy of European security, or the re-founding of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to ensure that they faithfully fulfill the missions for which they were created in 1944.

And the environment? And the fight against hunger and poverty? And the urgent reorganization of the United Nations, united and strong, to once and for all replace the groups of plutocrats whose incapacity has already been sufficiently demonstrated?

Of this nothing has been said. Absolutely nothing.

What the boss says, goes. And today the markets and the shameless rating agencies are the boss...

Of PIGS, only Spain is left standing. But if we don’t shape up soon, the market will win here too. The unfounded alarm sounded in Castilla La Mancha (by those where the situation is catastrophic in regions where they govern) and the irresponsible declarations concerning Spain’s solvency, immediately orchestrated by Moody's, The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, clearly show what will happen in Spain if social justice is also finally replaced here by the market.

We must react. Now, before it’s too late for an ounce of prevention, and we are forced to provide a pound of cure...

"The Pending Evolution"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I am extracting below some of the comments I made in my prologue to Jose Monleon’s book to be published shortly under the abovementioned title, which is extremely timely.

- Whether they choose to recognize this or not, in the last few months we have experienced true “leaps” forward in history that may catapult us toward “new principles”: post-neoliberalism (that will restore us to an economy once again guided by social justice and based on global sustainable development, with strict international financial regulation and the elimination of tax havens, while at the same time “relocalizing” much of our production and curbing military spending); post-religious fanaticism, with respect both to Islam and other faiths; and post-plutocratic hegemony, bestowing on the United Nations system the authority that it requires for its executive and preventive activities.

- For that reason I like to repeat that we are experiencing a formidable transition toward genuine democracy, thanks to distance participation and cyberspace. From the Puerta del Sol, words will finally prevail over force, extending to all of the “plazas” in all corners of the world, with millions and millions of world citizens and internet users not only outraged, but also committed, not only protesting but also making proposals. This virtual tidal wave is unstoppable.

- In this book Jose Monleon raises his voice and offers his knowledge and experience to achieving the imperative radical changes that must be peacefully but firmly made. He fulfills the “supreme duty” (Pedro Salinas) to continue steadfastly, in spite of it all.

The greatest enemy of evolution is inertia, which seeks to resolve today’s challenges with yesterday’s solutions. Evolution or “revolution”, with the continually undesirable risk of violence. I like to repeat that the difference between the two is the “R” of responsibility. And that unprecedented situations require unprecedented solutions.

Now, from the Plazas to Cyberspace. Now, Personal Commitment and Proposals

Now, very soon, there will be multiple periodic mobilizations to maintain the debate and reach accurate conclusions to be reflected in the demands of thousands and thousands of internet users: this will be the greatest force for achieving real and visible changes in the short term.

For example:

-Electoral reform, clearly indicating that candidates accused of criminal offenses cannot run for office. Millions of internet users would support this propusal.

-Independent communications media. The present situation is one of intolerable partisan obedience, which immerses citizens in profound disinformation. It should be clearly indicated that after a reasonable time period the citizens will no longer buy periodicals of this nature or newspapers featuring ads for prostitution, nor will they buy products advertised on “dependent” TV channels or radio stations.

-Total autonomy for the judiciary. Political parties should not have the power to appoint judges, and the appropriate measures should be taken to immediately ensure judges’ absolute impartiality and that their decisions are based solely on professional criteria.

-Elimination of tax havens. Within a sufficient timeframe, citizens would withdraw their funds from financial institutions that behave unethically and that are linked to tax havens.

Other specific proposals –concerning “rating” agencies; the market’s harassment of the Eurozone and its governments; re-founding an efficient United Nations for world governance to rapidly replace the groups of plutocrats (G8, G20); etc.- These could be announced after one or two of the previously mentioned proposals, or others that may be decided, have demonstrated the strength of virtual mobilization.

Now, to maintain the immense interest already shown, 15-M must be continued in cyberspace, to achieve the support of millions for its proposals.

The "Worldwide Democratic Spring "...starts at the Puerta del Sol

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"We did it

because we didn’t know it was impossible"

At last the Peoples are taking the reins of their common destiny into their own hands.

The "virtual tidal wave" continues to roll: Iran, China,... Tunis, Egypt, Libya, Yemen Syria,... Italy, the United Kingdom, Iceland...

From the zero kilometer mark at the Puerta del Sol a clear, firm voice has been heard the world over. That’s the way Maximo saw it in his excellent cartoon published on May 20 in ABC, which contrasts with other opinions concerning M-15 that appeared on the same day in the same newspaper:

"We’re not anti-system. The system is anti-us". This is what needed to be underscored from the beginning: It’s unacceptable to continue to be mere spectators, passive witnesses of what occurs around us. It’s time for action, to agree and disagree, to protest and make proposals. Above all, proposals, because there are many problems to be resolved.

The dreams of the peoples! It was about time that “the Peoples”, mentioned in the first paragraph of the United Nations Charter, could express themselves freely and serenely". If they don’t let us dream... we won’t let them sleep", said thousands of citizens gathered in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, and likewise, quickly, in other cities in Spain and the world.

"It may be that Europe commences in the Puerta del Sol". And this may even spread far beyond Europe, through the unlimited cyberspace, to the rest of the world. It’s time to sleep just enough, to rest only as needed. It’s “time to rise up”, in the words of José Ángel Valente.

If we take stock, the final figures showing the results of “globalization” are catastrophic: an economy of speculation and war (4,000 million dollars daily in military spending while over 60,000 people die of hunger). Social inequality, neglect and all types of discrimination have not been addressed in the broad forum of the United Nations, because since the 1980s they have been careful to alienate the UN, replacing it with groups of the world’s richest countries.

This systemic crisis requires bold responses. With Amin Maalouf I like to repeat that “an unprecedented situation requires unprecedented solutions".

Real Democracy, Now... The "realists" –who’ve never changed anything because they accept reality- insist on saying that what we have is "real" democracy... forgetting that for many people "real" means “true”, “authentic”, “genuine”, the one we should have, the one we will have from now on because, as was predictable, distance participation will enable us to permanently hear the voices of the people.

Evolution or revolution. That is the question. The best solution is an active, permanent evolution in which what should be changed is changed, and what should be preserved is preserved. That’s Mother Nature’s evolution.

I was impressed with the proposals made and the firm conviction to continue to seek ideas from all of those who choose to join this great movement. It’s fundamental to continue 15-M in a radial expansion extending to neighborhoods, cities, regions, countries... to the world as a whole, thanks to information and communications technologies. The “virtual tidal wave” will be the beginning and the road toward that other possible world that we all desire.

In "Los alrededores del tiempo" Rafael Guillen wrote, "Being a man is resisting. / Being a man is consciously committing / the sin of lesa immoderation".

Josep Maria Antentas and Esther Vivas wrote, "to be prompted to fight not only requires unrest and outrage, one must also believe in the usefulness of collective action". With specific proposals concerning the markets, energy, the communications media, re-localization of production, disarmament, alternative sources of financing (electronic transactions, for example)...

And many millions of internet users suggesting, supporting and building a new democracy. Many of today’s “impossibles” will be reality tomorrow in democracies that are really the expression of the constant voices of citizens and not only of the partisan obedience, reactive emotion, disillusion, or written and audiovisual media that only express their “master’s voice”.

The current political representatives were elected based on generalized disinformation, claiming that the ballot box can replace justice and that certain alternatives (never clearly stated) will resolve our serious economic problems and unemployment. But nothing concrete has been proposed to address the deregulation of financial transactions; nor the speculation prompted by rating agencies; nor the elimination of tax havens; nor the lack of solidarity of the underground economy; nor delocalized production; nor the war economy; nor the urgent need to fight poverty and hunger; nor world government by the wealthiest countries that, as the last strongholds of globalization, continue to fail, causing serious “collateral effects”; nor renewable energies and climate change; nor a total rethinking of the fight against drug trafficking; nor...

At this time 15-M didn’t affect the votes that were already decided, but it will greatly influence the general elections, because none of the representatives of the holy marketplace and speculation, and those who fail the tests of transparency and solidarity will not receive the support of the citizens.

Those hands will be the invincible weapons that will peacefully and with all resolve build the future that the human condition deserves.

It will be the new beginning.