By Michael Albert
In his own United States, in his own 2040, Miguel Guevara began questioning eighteen prominent revolutionaries about their Revolution for a Participatory Society (RPS). From the resulting interviews, Guevara stitched together an oral history, RPS/2044.
Guevara lives on an “alt earth” whose initial divergence from our earth shuffled people, morphed names, tweaked events, and shifted time 28 years. Alt earth’s 2016 closely resembled our 2016, but when we endured 2016, alt earth enjoyed 2041. Our future won’t mimic their past, but could their experience inform ours? Could their commitment inspire and incite ours?
An eye blink ago, in our own 2016, 52 activists and 2,000 additional advocates signed a statement titled, “We Stand for Peace and Justice.”
“We stand for peace and justice. We see an organized anti worker, anti minority, anti immigrant, anti woman, anti LGBTQ, anti ecological, pro imperial, incarceration minded, surveillance employing, authoritarian reaction proliferating around the world. It calls itself right wing populist but is arguably more accurately termed neofascist. It preys on fear as well as often warranted anger. It manipulates and misleads with false promises and outright lies. It is trying to create an international alliance. Courageous responses are emerging and will proliferate around issue after issue, and in country after country. These responses will challenge the unworthy emotions, the vicious lies, and the vile policies. They will reject right wing rollback and repression. But to ward off an international, multi issue, reactionary assault shouldn’t we be internationalist and multi issue? Shouldn’t we reject reaction but also seek positive, forward looking, inspiring progress? To those ends:
“We stand for the growing activism on behalf of progressive change around the world, and their positive campaigns for a better world, and we stand against the rising reactionary usurpers of power around the world and their lies, manipulations, and policies.
“We stand for peace, human rights, and international law against the conditions, mentalities, institutions, weapons and dissemination of weapons that breed and nurture war and injustice.
“We stand for healthcare, education, housing, and jobs against war and military spending. We stand for internationalism, indigenous, and native rights, and a democratic foreign policy against empire, dictatorship, and political and religious fundamentalism.
“We stand for justice against economic, political, and cultural institutions that promote huge economic and power inequalities, corporate domination, privatization, wage slavery, racism, gender and sexual hierarchy, and the devolution of human kindness and wisdom under assault by celebrated authority and enforced passivity.
“We stand for democracy and autonomy against authoritarianism and subjugation. We stand for prisoner rights against prison profiteering. We stand for participation against surveillance. We stand for freedom and equity against repression and control.
“We stand for national sovereignty against occupation and apartheid. We oppose overtly brutal regimes everywhere. We oppose less overtly brutal but still horribly constricting electoral subversion, government and corporate surveillance, and mass media manipulation.
“We stand for equity against exploitation by corporations of their workers and consumers and by empires of subordinated countries. We stand for solidarity of and with the poor and the excluded everywhere.
“We stand for diversity against homogeneity and for dignity against racism. We stand for multi-cultural, internationalist, community rights, against cultural, economic, and social repression of immigrants and other subordinated communities in our own countries and around the world.
“We stand for gender equality against misogyny and machismo. We stand for sexual freedom against sexual repression, homogenization, homophobia, and transphobia.
“We stand for ecological wisdom against the destruction of forests, soil, water, environmental resources, and the biodiversity on which all life depends. We stand for ecological sanity against ecological suicide.
“We stand for a world whose political, economic, and social institutions foster solidarity, promote equity, maximize participation, celebrate diversity, and encourage full democracy.
“We will not be a least common denominator single issue or single focus coalition. We will be a massive movement of movements with a huge range of concerns, ideas, and aims, united by what we stand for and against.
“We will enjoy and be strengthened by shared respect and mutual aid while we together reject sectarian hostilities and posturing.
“We stand for and pledge to work for peace and justice.”
Here is a list of the We Stand Statement’s Initial Signers:
M. Adams U.S., Ezequiel Adamovsky Argentina, Michael Albert U.S., Vilma Almendra Colombia, Bridget Anderson UK, Omar Barghouti Palestine, Walden Bello Philippines, Medea Benjamin U.S., Peter Bohmer U.S., Leah Bolger U.S., Patrick Bond South Africa, Jeremy Brecher U.S., Leslie Cagan U.S., Adam Carpinelli U.S., Avi Chomsky U.S., Noam Chomsky U.S., Marjorie Cohn U.S., Steve Early U.S., Mark Evans UK, Bill Fletcher U.S., Lindsey German UK, Angela M. Gilliam U.S., Linda Gordon U.S., Andrej Grubacic, U.S., David Hartsough U.S., Chaia Heller U.S., Pervez Hoodbhoy Pakistan, Kathy Kelly U.S., Joanne Landy U.S., Dan Leahy U.S., Rabbi Michael Lerner U.S., Mairead Maguire Ireland, Ben Manski U.S., Robert McChesney U.S., Miranda Mellis U.S., Leo Panitch Canada, Cynthia Peters U.S., Francis Fox Piven U.S., Justin Podur Canada, C J Polychroniou U.S., Milan Rai UK, Manuel Rozental Colombia, Boaventura Santos Portugal, Irene Ramalho Santos Portugal, Lydia Sargent U.S., Kim Scipes U.S., Marina Sitrin U.S., Norman Solomon U.S., Verena Stresing France, David Swanson U.S., Rudolfo Torres U.S., Tom Vouloumanos Canada, Bob Wing, U.S.
The We Stand statement didn’t yield a broad U.S. project, but Black Lives Matter, the earlier Occupy Movement, the Sanders campaign, the Women’s March, on-going anti-war resistance, persistent Sanctuary organizing, and vigorous anti-Trump resistance broached the likelihood of more to come.
Interviewed at a People’s Summit in Chicago, heading into summer of 2017, the noted actor, producer, and activist Danny Glover voiced widespread activist sentiments: Develop clear vision. Seek fundamental change. Transcend being peripheral to power. Avoid circling wagons.
Guevara’s RPS/2044 takes Glover’s advice. Can an oral history from a revolutionary alternative future inspire advance in our world? Time waits for no one, and time will answer.
– Michael Albert, 2017