No to racism, anti-Semitism, the production of enemy images and the distortion of history!

By Federal Working Group on Europe – Attac Germany, and
Federal Working Group on Globalisation & War – Attac Germany.
Not yet on their website.

Declaration on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army. The camp was part of the murder system of German fascism and since then has been a symbol of the Holocausts singular crime against humanity towards Jews. Auschwitz also stands for all the other human beings “whom National Socialism systematically murdered or had intended to exterminate,” as is stated in the Remembrance Day Act of 1996, Sinti, Roma, disabled people, Soviet prisoners of war, countless civilians from Eastern Europe, who in the extermination camps were degraded to “subhumans”, enslaved and murdered. This must never be forgotten and must be a reminder to today’s generations for vigilance against all tendencies that led to Auschwitz, which is particularly important at the moment in view of the appalling extent of inhuman ideologies and rightwing terrorism. For these reasons we are actively engaged in the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, right-wing extremism neo-fascism and social inequality.

Never again fascism, never again war!

We are concerned that the lessons of the past are increasingly fading or are even being instrumentalised for other purposes. Already the ruthless misuse of Auschwitz to justify the international war against Yugoslavia in 1999 by the then Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer was a shocking relativisation of the Holocaust. This led with the secession of Kosovo to the first border change by military force in Europe since 1945. Simultaneously, NATO’s eastward expansion destroyed the opportunities for a zone of security and cooperation from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Long before the Ukraine crisis, Russia had already been stigmatised once again as an enemy. Currently, we are witnessing a similar stigmatisation of China, and at breathtaking speed the stage is being set for a Cold War 2.0. At the same time, the enemy image of Islam – an extremely useful enemy image for the wars in the Middle East and North Africa is being constructed.
Weapons, arms production and armies are necessary prerequisites for war. A major driving force of violence under capitalist conditions is the worldwide hunt for raw materials and ever new sources of profit. War is then the continuation of profit maximalisation by military means. However, the willingness of a population to engage in confrontation and war also depends on the corresponding enemy images.

Enemy images – ideological basis for confrontation and readiness for aggression

Enemy images are characterised by a simple, binary world view. The enemy is portrayed as completely evil while “we” are the good guys. At present, media reporting on Russia and, more recently, China are basically following the same pattern. The nuances between absolute evil and good are faded out. Over time, the images of the enemy become entrenched.

A typical outcome of this, in connection with the Russian Corona vaccine, is expressed by the daily DIE WELT “Even if a Russian product can hold its own in international competition, the stamp of being Russian is and will remain a stigma.” (4.11.2020; S. 10). The implications of such a statement becomes fully apparent when one imagines that instead of Russian, American or even Israeli were used instead.

Most major media are part of this dynamic. Whenever it is about “external enemies”, they often engage in state supporting coverage and seldom, if at all, ask critical questions. Unverifiable statements by secret services suddenly become sources of unquestioned truth. The most recent examples are the grotesque orchestrations of the Skripal and Navalny cases.

No image of the enemy without an idealised self-image

The image of the enemy is always accompanied by an idealised self-image. We are the good guys, the bad guys are the others. The formula is then often emotionally underpinned by patriotism. But since patriotism is quite rightly discredited in this country, there are more and more attempts to package the matter as European patriotism.

Those who prefer not to talk about patriotism speak rather of “European” values. But this too amounts to Eurocentric superiority thinking. Of course, values like democracy and human rights – including those of second generation human right such as economic, social and cultural rights – have universal validity as normative guiding principles. But it is precisely this universal validity that is undermined when it is applied
selectively in international relations and exploited for geopolitical interests.

Compared to Saudi Arabia, Russia is in a very different position when it comes to democracy and human rights. Nevertheless, close economic, political and military relations are maintained with Riyadh while Cold War is waged against Moscow.

Falsification of history

Part of the enemy and self-image fabrications has always been an aspect of the politics of history, i.e. the manipulation of historical truth. We are shocked to see that the EU also falsifies the history of the Second World War with its more than 70 million dead, 27 million of them Soviet citizens. For example, in the declaration “The importance of remembering the European past for the future of Europe” by the European Parliament of 19.09.2019, in which the Second World War became a joint undertaking of both Hitler and Stalin. This is a scandalous relativisation of the German responsibility for the war. Similar falsifications can
also be found in Commission and Council documents.

The history of the Second World War has been thoroughly researched and documented. The evidence that Hitler was aiming for war from the outset in order to reverse the results of the First World War and subject Eastern Europe for “the master race” and “the people without space” is overwhelming. The chain of evidence stretches, among other things, from his book “Mein Kampf” and the delusion of the Jewish-Bolshevik world conspiracy, to the massive rearmament after 1933, the intervention of the “Condor Legion” on the side of the troops of the fascist General Franco against the elected government in Spain 1936-1939, the annexation of Austria in March 1938, the occupation of the Sudetenland in October 1938, which France and England had agreed to in the Munich Agreement, he destruction of Czechoslovakia up to the decision to invade Poland in May 1939. Germany’s sole guilt was also clearly proven at the Nuremberg Trials.

One does not have to be a historian to realise that the claim in the EU Parliament’s resolution that Hitler and Stalin had set the course for the Second World War absurdly distorts the prehistory of the war.

Peace policy instead of Cold War

Against the backdrop of the dramatic upheavals in the international system, the renewed increase of nuclear war due to the termination of arms control agreements and new technologies – key words: digitalisation, hypersonic weapons, drones – as well as the global challenges posed by pandemics, increasing poverty and also increasing wealth, climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity, a new Cold War is sheer madness. Peaceful coexistence, confidence-building measures, international law and human rights, international cooperation and disarmament measures are prerequisites for mastering global problems.

Required is broad solidarity-based, anti-racist and anti-fascist alliances in the struggle against inequality, privatisation, militarisation and surveillance, as well as for a strengthening of fundamental rights and resolute environmental and climate justice.

27 January 2021

Declaration from the Assembly of Social, Peace and Environmental Movements of the WSF 2021

As we start a new decade, the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to claim lives, and devastate economies globally. The impacts of the virus and the worsening climate emergency are increasing social inequalities everywhere. Fighting both crises is the fight for survival of humankind, our lives and our livelihood, for decency and humanity. This year is crucial to address both crises.

In the past popular movements have put forward the need for a system change; they have improved the lives of millions, especially of the marginalized majorities. For example, the labor, women’s, social justice, anti-slavery and anti-racism, liberation, peace, youth, environmental, ecological, peasant and indigenous movements have many times achieved with their struggles historical changes.

Today we need to join our forces to forge an even stronger movement because on top of the old problems caused by harmful relations between humans and nature, capitalism, patriarchy, racism and colonialism we are faced with even greater challenges. The deep and multi-faceted crises of today are characterized by extreme concentration of wealth and power, precariousness of work and livelihoods, failures of the public health system, authoritarian and many times militaristic response to the Covid pandemic and manipulation by the old and new information technologies.

Solutions can only be found and implemented by articulating the different regional and territorial levels of action: from the grassroots to the global. Changes should come from below, supported by people and their organizations. In this context we have to realize that all our different thematic areas of specialization are inter-connected: peace cannot be achieved without the protection of the environment and economic relations cannot be restored without social justice; the environment cannot be preserved without a radical change in the social imaginary and peace cannot be achieved without social justice and the transformation of our monetary system. Otherwise the one-sided power and profit motive would harm the interests of all.

That’s why we are committed to building a broad-based movement for social, ecological, economic, and political transition with intersectional equality, recognizing the rights of the Earth, nature and community participation democracy as core values. By binding the different initiatives together we want to address the concerns of common people and everyday life in order to prevent humankind from experiencing devastation by wars, hunger and ecological catastrophes.

Local initiatives in both rural and urban communities that enable local populations to take control of land, housing and other resources are important. This gives access to making a living enabling a buen vivir, a good life. Such initiatives are food sovereignty and agroecology, mutual aid to help each other in both times of crisis and in a better future both in the countryside and the towns and to build democratic economic forms of cooperation to strengthen local economies.

In order to achieve this, the movements participating in the World Social Forum 2021 have decided to establish, for the coming future, a GLOBAL AGENDA OF COMMON ACTIONS, starting with mobilizations at the end of April and in the first weeks of May demanding Universal Disarmament for Social Justice and an Ecological Transition, highlighting the following demands:

1. A universal cease fire in all military conflicts, a radical reduction of all military spending, a general nuclear disarmament and a radical reduction on big per capita energy consumption.

2. Protection of life everywhere through free access to Covid-19 vaccines and medicines as well as equal, quality health services for all. Fight against corporate patent rights that leads to a sort of health apartheid. Promotion of community-based solutions to the pandemic. Protection of wildlife to prevent new virus and future pandemics to emerge.

3. End austerity, especially shrinking public services, social security and welfare, and abolish the illegitimate debts, private and public, in the global South as well as in the global North!

4. Stop the commodification of commons, water, animals, plants,food, water tables, woods, rivers, lakes, beaches, minerals, but also of working conditions, education, health, culture and nature!

5. Economy must respond to the legitimate needs of individuals and not profit. Therefore: no to unjust free trade agreements. Promote transformative economy, fair trade and mutually beneficial international agreements instead of so-called “free trade” sell-outs and investment regimes that benefit investors and rich countries. 

6. No to inciting nationalist identity fears and to proliferation of racist or religious hate-speeches and xenophobia, and against scapegoating enemy images which have led to a new Cold War scenario! No to sanctions as an economic tool for military actions. 

7. Stop repression by states and private militias of social movements and defenders of territory, nature and human rights, respecting the democratic right to dissent peacefully. Condemn and demand justice for the murders of environmental and rights activists.

8. Promote ecological democracy and participation in the community and the right to self-determination for all peoples, including comprehensive empowerment, e.g. by developing food based on sovereignty and agroecology, especially of indigenous communities, women, and all oppressed peoples!

9. Give particular attention and support to the migrants by creating sanctuary cities all over the world and special commissions on a regional level to protect their right to mobility.

10. Democratize spaces for science and technological research, cultural cultural expression in arts, sciences, and traditional healthcare, including abolition of intellectual property and patent regimes.

11. Create a social and ecological transition by dignifying the life of small farmers, craftsmen and industrial workers, establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between rural and urban economies. Develop and harness sustainable renewable energy technologies under democratic governance.

12. We advocate for the right of all peoples to sovereignty and self-determination, particularly of the Saharawi people and the people of Palestine.

13. We urgently need an international supply chain law that obligates multinational corporations to enforce labor law, social and ecological standards.

14. Full solidarity with activists facing repression everywhere, in the West     and the East, the North and the South! 

In particular we want to suggest to all movements participating in the World Social Forum 2021 and all others around the world to form an action period for peace, social and ecological justice and transition, from 17 April to 1 May.

17 April – International Peasant Struggle Day,

22 April – International Mother Earth Day,

26 April – International Chernobyl Day

30 April – Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) including International Anti-Military Base protests,

1 May – International Workers’ Day: For socially just and dignified work

In the tradition to oppose the Davos forum, we call for 15 May a day of action for universal mobilization for the right to health and social protection to counteract the neo-liberal agenda of the World Economic Forum convening 25-28 May in Singapore.

We suggest also that we continue to combine efforts further on such occasions as:

8 March International Day for the Rights of Women

7 April – World Health day

5 June – World Environment Day,

6 August – Hiroshima Day,

28 September – International Safe Abortion Day,

2 October – International Day of Non-Violence, Gandhi’s birthday,

7 October – World Day of decent work,

16 October – UN food day

20 November – National Day of Black Awareness in Brazil

29 November – International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Besides the action days and weeks, we commit ourselves to build together organizations and networks that pursue the common causes expressed in this declaration. We especially welcome continued coordination of popular educational cooperation to support the Global Agenda for Common Action. We also welcome old and new initiatives to converge on all levels from local neighborhoods to global networks. We are ready to unite in diversity and play the historical role our times demand.

Adopted by the undersigned organisations and participants of the Assembly for Social, Peace and Environmental Movements at World Social Forum 2021.

30 January 2021

Signed by 

Organisations:

06600 Plataforma Vecinal y Observatorio de la Colonia Juárez, Mexico
Activists for Peace, Sweden
AFAPREDESA – Association of the Families of Sahrawi Prisoners and Disappeared, West-Sahara
AlfaQuebec Projetos Sociais – Grupo Sistemas Complexos e Inteligência Coletiva, Quebec, Canada
Alliance of Labour and Solidarity (former Czech Social Forum), Czech Repubilc
Association des Familles des Prisonniers et Disparus Sahraouis-AFAPREDESA, Sahara Occidental/Western Sahara
ATTAC Hungary Association, Hungary
Central and Eastern European Alliance for the Solidarity with the Saharawi People, Budapest, Moscow, Ljubljana
Coletivo resistência e Luta no Judiciário, Brazil
Culture of Peace, Germany
Confederación Intersindical, Spain
Confederación Nacional de Cooperativas para la Emancipación, Mexico
Centro de Estudios Estratégicos Nacionales, Mexico
Defraudados en Santander México, Mexico
Dynamique Sociale Sahraouie – Sahara Occidental/Western Sahara
ECOMUNIDADES, Red Ecologista Autónoma de la Cuenca de Mexico
Fundación Latinoamericana de Apoyo al Saber y a la Economía Popular, Mexico
Frente Amplio Sindical Unitario FASU, Mexico
Grupo de los Cien, Mexico
HunabKu, Mexico
Instituto Cidades Sustentáveis, Brazil
Instituto Mexicano de Gobernanza Medioambiental AC, Mexico
Intersindical Valenciana, Spain
LATINDADD, Peru
Organization of non violence in western Sahara, Western Sahara
Prague Spring 2 – network against right-wing extremism and populism, Europe
Red Universidad y Compromiso Social de Sevilla, Spain
SEFRAS – Serviço Franciscano de Solidariedade, Brazil
Sindicato de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana, Mexico
The Jus Semper Global Alliance, United States
UJSARIO – Saharawi Youth Union, West Sahara        
UNEGRO – Black Union for Equality of Brazil, Brazil
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam Network – Comprehensive Democracy Forum, Finland-India-Nepal-Sweden
Women’s Collective, India

Individuals (organisation for identification purposes only)

Alexandre Braga, Brazil – Unegro Brasil
Ajay K Jha, India
Azril Bacal Roij, Sweden – Amigos de la Tierra-Uppsala, IPB, IRIPAZ
Deo Kumari Gurung, Nepal – South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED-Nepal)
Bachir Moutic, Sahara Occidentalm – AFAPREDESA 
Cândido Grzybowski, Brazil – IBASE – Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Econômicas
Cecilia Casin – Red humanista por la renta básica universal
Carlos Tiburcio, Brazil – IPS Inter Press Service / CI-FSM
Deo Kumari Gurung, Nepal – South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED-Nepal)
Dorothy Guerrero, UK – Global Justice Now
Eduardo Missoni, Italy – saluteglobale.it
Fabiana Sanches-Urbal, Brasil, SEFRAS – Servicio Franciscano de Solidariedad
Francine Mestrum, Belgium
Giselle el Raheb, France – Mouvement de la Paix
German Niño – Corporacion Ciase – Latindadd – Fospa
Henning Zierock, Germany/Int’l – Culture of Peace
Hugo Moyano – Red Humanista por la Renta Basica Universal
Jan Kavan, Czeck Republic – Association of Labour and Solidarity (SPaS)
Jennifer Lingerfelt de Araujo Carneiro, Brazil – Ação popular socialista
José Enrique González Ruiz, Mexico – Profesor de la UNAM
Juliana Rosa, Brazil – Fórum Popular da Natureza – Núcleo Bahia
Katie Conlon, USA – Portland State University 
Laura Beatriz Teresa Collin Harguindeguy, Mexico – COLTLAX
Leo Leguizamón, Argentina – RHRBU – Red humanista por la renta básica universal
Marko Ulvila, Finland – Finnish Social Forum
Marta Benavides, El Salvador – SIGLO XXIII 
Matyas Benyik, Hungary – member of the Organizers for the Left (SZAB)
Miguel Valencia, Mexico – ECOMUNIDADES, Red Ecologista Autónoma de la Cuenca de México
Miguel Alvarez, México – SERAPAZ 
Mira Shiva, India – Initiative for Health & Equity in Society
Mirek Prokeš, Czech Republic – UNITED for Intercultural Action
Miroslav Prokeš, Czech Republic – Defence for Children International (DCI) – Czech section
Monica Romero, Colombia – Red  transfronteriza de arte, educación y autogestión
Patricia Gutiérrez Otero López, Mexico – Descrecimiento México
Péter Farkas, Hungary- Karl Marx Society
Ritu Priya, India – Health Swaraj
Rahma Hassan. USA – Never Again
René Coulomb, Mexico – Taller de Urbanismo Ciudadano
Soledad Rojas Ruiz, Chile – CEAAL Chile, GAFA, ONG Caleta Sur
Tord Björk, Sweden – Aktivister för fred
Uma Shankari Naren, India – Swadeshi Trust
Uddhab Pyakurel, Nepal -Nepal Social Forum
Vera Zalka, Hungary – ATTAC Hungary 
Vijay Pratap, India – Samaajwaadi Samaagam
Ville-Veikko Hirvelä, Finland – New Wind Association
Vivek Babu Girija, India- M S Swaminathan Research Foundation & Promote Linguistic Equality Platform
Yogendra Vijay Dahal, Nepal – Environmental Coalition
Zeno Bernhard, France – Attac

Documents used in the process of making the declaration 

Remarks: the above text is translated into French, Spanish and Portugese and available here:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aZBG1QFFJR3JrjfNt7-EM3A4jTstZpiqqHKJUr2itO0/edit

Other translations of the declaration will follow soon.

The Declaration is open for co-signing at this formhttps://bit.ly/3pBShJd