Another Europe is possible

Final Declaration at 2016 World Parliamentary Forum in Montreal

22/08/2016

Final Declaration at 2016 World Parliamentary Forum in Montreal

The World Parliamentary Forum was recently held in Montreal, Canada on 10th August 2016, as part of the week-long World Social Forum.

The event brought together progressive representatives and civil society organisations from local, regional and national parliaments around the world. A delegation from GUE/NGL led by Helmut Scholz MEP attended the forum, and they took part in debates in how best to build a sustainable and inclusive world.

Below is the Final Declaration adopted at the conclusion of the World Parliamentary Forum:

 

 

We, World Parliamentary Forum participants gathered in Montreal on August 10,

2016 as part of the World Social Forum, elected representatives from all continents

representing the political formations adhering to the Porto Alegre Charter,

representatives from social movements, engaged citizens, adopt the following

declaration.

 

We denounce the Canadian state that closed its doors to numerous World Social

Forum participants committed to peace, democracy, social justice and the

environment, including several parliamentarians.

 

Sixteen years ago, in Porto Alegre in Brazil, the World Social Forum brought together

challenges to neoliberalism and capitalist globalization for the first time on a global

scale. Since then, local, regional and global social forums drive out the lies of

neoliberalism, transmit the voices of social struggles and build alternatives. We

salute the people involved in social movements, progressive political organizations

and local collectives fighting without respite for a peaceful, egalitarian and ecological

global society.

 

In the year 2000 was also held the first World March of Women, an initiative of the

Quebec women’s movement. The goals of this march are still relevant today: ending

poverty and violence against women. In our struggle for social justice, we favour

economic equality and political party, both within our organizations and in society.

Popular sovereignty will not be achieved without women gaining sovereignty over

their bodies and economic lives.

 

The lie of austerity and neoliberalism

 

Despite our struggles and convergence, governments enforce neoliberal policies by

promising access to free market benefits for their people. Neoliberal policies allow

global corporations and the richest 1% to enrich themselves at the expense of the

majority of the population, especially women, youth and racialized people. Social

disengagement primarily affects social and community services delivered by the

work of women, be it paid or unpaid.

 

On the heels of successive global economic crises, governments have used public

money to bail out the financial markets responsible for economic imbalances while

adopting social austerity measures that stifle populations and increase inequality.

Moreover, austerity hampers the ecological conversion of the economy while

preventing us from fulfilling people’s basic needs.

 

We reiterate that the public debt crisis is an instrument used by globalized finance

to dominate peoples. To fulfill international creditors’ demands, states are forced to

enact drastic cuts in social spending, privatize public societies and undertake

structural reforms benefiting ruling elites and transnational corporations.

 

We participants to the World Parliamentary Forum come from former colonies and

Northern countries swindled by financial institutions; we ask for the cancellation of

untenable sovereign debts. We support the political struggle for debt relief at the

institutional level in the south of Europe.

 

To properly finance public services, it’s time to tackle the tax evasion practiced of

the rich and large corporations. To do so, we are in favour of intergovernmental

institutions that could regulate and sanction fraudulent tax practices.

 

The challenges of social, environmental and climate justice

 

The 2015 Paris Conference formalized what ecologists had been saying all along: the

climate challenge our world is facing means we must take steps towards radical

change, right now. However, a change of this scope requires moving beyond our

current capitalist system.

 

Climate disruptions are already causing massive damage, including the ecological

impoverishment of many territories and repeated meteorological catastrophes, and

Native peoples and poorer countries. Developed countries are historically

responsible for climate change, yet ruling elites – turning inequality into profit –

control states and large economic conglomerates and have no interest in

transforming our technological and economic system.

 

We believe political parties should seek alliances with social movements throughout

the world to propose a viable alternative to the current system and take the road of

a fair energy transition and affordable energy efficiency strategies for all.

We also believe in reaching binding climate agreements to limit the rise in average

global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius with a target of 1.5 degrees

Celsius.

 

Big energy or mining projects should be evaluated according to energy transition

aims so we can phase out the carbon economy and honor our obligation to protect

the aquifer, agricultural and cultural heritage of local populations in respect of

Indigenous Peoples’ sovereignty.

 

We commend the struggle waged against the Energy East pipeline, a fight led by

Indigenous and local communities as well as ecological movements in the Canadian

state. This pipeline is part of a strategy of oil development against the objectives of

reducing greenhouse gas and protecting the environment. Similar projects may be

found throughout the world.

 

We parliamentarians, left-wing militants, labour activists, and civil society

representatives must unite forces to build global social and environmental justice.

 

We pledge to support community initiatives to engage in energy transition and

improve access to adequate nutrition for all while strengthening circular and

regional economies.

 

We stand for popular food sovereignty and promote an agricultural model based on

small farms respectful of biodiversity and the environment. We demand the

exclusion of from the World Trade Organization’s scope of application.

 

Free trade agreements: towards popular alternatives

 

One of the key pillars of neoliberal capitalism is the establishment of free trade

agreements between countries to facilitate the trade of goods and services through

abolishing tariffs, social and environmental rules and public support for national

industries. To ensure compliance with free trade agreements, states accept the

establishment of opaque supranational courts. They can settle disputes opposing

governments to investors and multinationals whose commercial rights have

allegedly been violated by national legislation. These multinational courts grant

them enormous sums and prevent states from legislating in favour of social rights

and the environment.

 

In fact, free trade agreements force states to renounce their capacity to legislate for

the people. Indeed, they prevent the full exercise of popular sovereignty. They bind

people to the interests of financial capital and deepen inequality.

 

We are opposed to these free trade agreements: CETA, between Canada and the

European Union, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and

Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and to free trade

agreements forced upon developing countries. We demand a full debate inclusive of

affected countries’ populations before national parliaments ratify these agreements.

Free trade agreements attempt to invert the hierarchy of rules and establish an

unacceptable supremacy of commercial rights over human rights and local peoples’

welfare. This must stop: it’s essential for us to reach our goals of equity, justice, and

the protection of the environment.

 

We, progressive and social movement activists, demand transparent commercial

negotiations. We are opposed to free trade agreements that harm people and the

environment; we will work to increase and consolidate alternatives to these

neoliberal policies.

 

We propose treaties supporting solidarity between peoples and the integration of

social welfare schemes. In terms of international standards, we demand human

rights take precedence and we ask the United Nations to adopt a binding treaty on

businesses and human rights and fully implement the principle of due diligence in

order to keep transnational businesses accountable.

 

Common struggles for world peace, the defence of democracy and human rights

 

The contradictions of capitalism and imperialism are ceaselessly driving humanity to

the edge of barbarity.

 

Latin American experiences to put an end to armed conflicts provide avenues of

solution. Columbia’s conflict resolution process owes much to a mediation process

mindful of humanitarian issues, as has been Cuba’s government.

Despite the establishment of a formal relationship between Cuba and the United

States, we denounce maintaining an economic blockade on Cuba. The normalization

of relations implies quickly and fully lifting this economic embargo enforced by the

United States and the restoration of Guantanamo’s territory to the Cuban people.

 

We also denounce destabilization efforts against progressive and legitimate

governments. The coup in Brazil underlines the despicable manner by which

oligarchs manipulate democratic institutions to act in their favour: lies and

propaganda.

 

As the popular government of the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela face the threats

of permanent imperialist attacks and an international media campaign to distort the

Venezuelan reality, we express our support and solidarity to the Bolivarian

revolution just as we support democratic institutions as the expression of popular

sovereignty. We declare our rejection of any kind of external interference into

Venezuela’s internal affairs and demand the respect of the principle of self-determination

of peoples as well as the respect of the sovereign right of the

Venezuelan people to dispose of their own destiny. We also denounce the campaign

of economic sabotage waged by business elites and imperialism which hurts the

Venezuelan people.

 

We condemn, in the same breath, the attempts of the El Salvador’s most resolute

right-wing sectors and oligarchy - as well as anti-democratic decrees adopted by the

Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice - to create a climate of

political, social and economic instability. We reject any internal and external action

to destabilize the current government and trigger a coup.

 

A peaceful future for the Middle East – particularly in Iraq and Syria - depends on a

fair, negotiated peace involving all components of society to pave the way towards a

truly democratic solution to armed conflicts and the threat of IS and its allies.

 

We salute the heroic struggle in Rojava (Western Kurdistan) and Kurds’ struggle for

their liberation, self-determination and identity. We recognize that the experience of

democratic autonomy in Rojava could be used as a model to solve many

ethnonational, religious and secular conflicts in the Middle East and beyond. We

denounce the repressive policies of the Turkish government against Kurds, whose

deputies, mayors, politicians and activists are systematically persecuted. The Turkish

state must immediately put an end to its warmongering policies, revive the peace

process it suspended and commit to a democratic settlement with the Kurdish

movement.

 

Conflict resolution in this region depends on a negotiated settlement to create a

viable Palestinian state, the end of Israeli military occupation of Arab territories and

the recognition of Palestinians’ fundamental rights, notably the right to return and

inclusive 1.5 million Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. However, we realize Israel

refuses any negotiated solution, which leads this conflict into an impasse. The

international community, both governments and civil societies, must pressure Israel

to negotiates in good faith.

 

Furthermore, we are concerned about the criminalization – in Canada and other

countries – of international, nonviolent campaigns in support of Palestine, namely

the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

 

We affirm that the recognition and guarantee of human rights apply to everyone, no

matter their origin, identity or sexual orientation, race or gender. We support the

fight against homophobia and transphobia and the creation of an international

convention on sexual diversity.

 

Waves of refugees and migrant people flocked to northern countries on the heels of

conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. The European Union, the United States and

Canada have so far been unable to adequately respond to this humanitarian crisis.

On the issue of migration, we denounce the border fortification of Europe, a clear

breach of our duty to protect people fleeing war. We denounce the construction of a

wall on the United States-Mexico border.

 

We denounce the current security drift ostracizing entire communities in response

to terrorist acts committed by a few individuals. Protecting populations must not

preclude fundamental rights and legal guarantees: anything less would play into the

hands of the fundamentalists.

 

We offer our support to Indigenous struggles, particularly in the Canadian state

where we meet, recognizing the continuous oppression suffered by First Nations

since the European conquest.

 

We believe the only way to end the oppression of Indigenous peoples is through

their full self-determination obtained by negotiations under the auspices of the

nation to nation principle.

 

We, the progressive and internationalist forces gathered in the World Parliamentary

Forum reiterate again peoples’ right to self-determination, including independence

if they express their wish democratically. Recognizing people’s right to govern

themselves is a both a fundamental right and a solution to many international

armed conflicts.

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