Asambleas Ciudadanos


 

the Citizens' Assembly in the Southern Cone

 

 

2009 Recapitulation and Perspectives

Translations : français . Español . English


“It seemed natural for us to choose dialog and reflection as the key issue in our method… What we have learned is clear: to look after the methods to relate and get closer together, as much as or even more than the end itself. We corroborated that the right attitude involves caution and observation, learning from the different views – which should not be denied – and thinking about the doubts” - Carlos Liberona


Taking stock of our “Regional Citizens’ Assembly of the Southern Cone (hereafter, “the Assembly”) is not easy, since it is a complex and on-going reality.


However, after the physical loss of our engine and general coordinator, our dear comrade Carlos Liberona, recapitulation and collective precision become necessary in order to re-organize and continue this initiative according to the objectives and commitments that we have set for ourselves, precisely, with our dear and for ever present comrade Carlos.


What is the Assembly? Who is it made up by? Since when?


This is, in essence, a “process”, that is, a movement, a changing dynamics, which grows.


It has its origins in an Assembly of hundreds of social representatives from all over the world in the city of Lille, France, in 2001 which spread out through experiences in all five continents.


In the Southern Cone, since 2007, this melts and complements with the Human Responsibilities Network. It is formed by the chapters from that Network in Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, which we have shortened as “Southern Cone”, and various other organization and people connected with any of its initiatives, activities o lines of work, have been joining in.


Till now, around 300 organizations and people have joined in, in some way, in the Assembly’s very diverse work in the four countries.


What is its key objective? What is it about?


In essence, it has to do with responding to the current and evident governance crisis, i.e., that connected with the way society is ruled and organized on the local, regional, national and global level. All other crises (ethical, economic, military, political, cultural, environmental, food, health and so on) are derived from this essential crisis, which is a civilization crisis.


Our idea is that the new and necessary world governance should include regional actors, i.e. from large blocks of countries joined around their common good. But that requires educating active, participative and leading citizens who can make the new governance possible in those countries and blocks ; diverse citizens in terms of identity, professions and topics, but who share common fundamental agreements ; citizens who are regionally integrated, in our case, “south-americanly”, and in dialog with other citizens’ assemblies from other regions of the world. These are, precisely, our objectives.


That is why the Assembly does “not invent a thing” ; it responds to the global crises, needs and dynamics globally, regionally and locally. It is a conscious part, an intentional effort, of what the peoples and citizenships need, seek and build. It is the right idea at the right historical moment.


Who exactly are these citizens?


“All of us! Citizens demand economic, social and cultural conditions which were often – and still are – denied, and which are currently no more than a construction based on nationality.


The assemblies outlined should give birth to a new vision of citizenship : to consider the future citizen as an actor in its own right, as an individual like all others, in order to create a common process Who are these citizens, then? Any person who can see him or herself within those values and wishes to commit in that direction…


…these assemblies have a calling : to allow the group of citizens to take on society’s challenges, to feel with the duty and the right to understand them and speak up about it”


(“Citizens’ Assemblies”. Work Document for the first meeting of coordinators of Citizens’ Assemblies from the five continents. Paris – June, 2008 in the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for Human Progress – FPH).


Which are its shapes and work criteria?


We are not a political party. Nor are we a vertical organization. We are a networks’ Network - diverse and complex - people and organizations with basic, fundamental agreements in common : responsibility, plurality and solidarity. Many others are entailed in these too : social and environmental justice, no exclusion, ...etc.


Hence, we can only work with an ethics of openness and articulation of the “other”, inside those values. No one can be the exclusive owner of the word and the truth. We are not afraid, on the contrary, we value difference, controversy and we take on the conflict, but on the basis of respect, of serious and fraternal argumentation to reach collective agreements in common.


Even though we have a definite structure with responsibilities, which is essential for functioning, participation on the level of ideas and activities is horizontal, reciprocal. No one is superior to or has more authority than any other on any aspect ; consensus and decisions are part of the argumentation and strength of the ideas.


Serious commitment and coincidence with these values and principles are both required, as well as mutual monitoring and not castrating the discussion potential in the interest of a chimeric “monolithic soundness” of ideas, which has already been proved inhuman and a failure. On the contrary : we believe in respectful diversity which provides the foundation for the strength of what is authentically in common. Collective dialog and reflections are, in a way, the methodological heart of the Assembly, and therefore they are to be always taken care of.


There is a general coordination in common, formed by the comrades Ula, Alihuen and Ricardo, together with a representative of the Coordination in each of the other countries : Ángela in Argentina, Rodrigo in Bolivia and Lucía in Peru.


But it is only for that : to coordinate the multiple actions, to facilitate and enlarge them, including diversity, never excluding it.


And there is also a virtual forum: info@foros.asamblea-conosur.net, the place par excellence where the great variety of people’s actions, reflections, agreements and disagreements are shown and talked about or debated, always in a horizontal, reciprocal and respectful manner.


How is it globally linked?


There is also coordination outside the Southern Cone with the processes of sister Assemblies around the world, through Gustavo.


There we connect with the processes of Citizens’ Assemblies in other continents, which are already preparing their great 2010 meetings. In Asia, where India-China-Japan is on its way and the great 2010 Citizens’ Assembly in Bengalore is already scheduled for August. In Oceania, it has already been decided that it will be carried out on an island in the Pacific. In the Sahel Saharan, they are already working on the third stage of their great Caravans as an instrument of constructive, citizen overcoming of the growing violence. And in the Mediterranean, work is done and discussed from “both banks”, southern European and north African.


So, the local level is connected with the regional and the global ones. Little by little and concretely, we are weaving that solid citizenship network on the world level, deeply rooted and fed by the specific realities, but closely linked on the global level. Only then will we be up to face the challenges imposed by the construction of new global citizenships and new geometries of the global power.


Both our web page for the Assemblies and our “Roads Logs”, sustained and written by a team coordinated by Francois, keep us informed and “translate”, in all possible senses, these experiences and reflections, nurturing ourselves and the group, within a plural and supportive movement, which represents in itself the new Governance architecture that we are trying to build.


The general meetings of the Assemblies and the participations of the representatives from some processes in the activities organized by others complement this essential world link with personal and collective exchanges of experiences and thoughts.


How is it financed?


There is some minimal financing to sustain communications and to support activities from the Charles Leopold Foundation for Human Progress – FPH, whose main locations are in Switzerland and in France. This cannot finance everything, but it rather lends a hand and helps each organization or group to self-finance as much as possible. Alliances are established as well with other entities which can finance some of the activities or products in common.


How has it been developed so far?


We have defined our “First Citizens’ Assembly of the Southern Cone”, to be held in Iquique, Chile, in November 2010, as the staring point and the final part of a first stage and the opening of a new one.


In preparation for this Assembly, we have been developing countless activities since 2007. Countless since there are hundreds of organizations and people that, in some way or another, are involved in the Assembly and it would take too long to detail the very many activities and initiatives which we take part in and connect with - in some way - the process of the Assembly, the bi or multi-lateral initiatives, exchanges, alliances, etc.


Thus, we can mention those activities that centrally and directly involve us as conveners and organizers :


I. Inter-regional meetings :


  • a) Youth : Valparaíso: January, 2007
  • b) Bolivian sea solution : Antofagasta : April, 2007
  • c) Education and youth : Córdoba : January, 2008
  • d) Women in movement : Lima : April, 2008
  • e) Overcoming resentment : towards a new Governance of the Southern Cone, in alliance with the Forum for a new World Governance: December, 2008. Iquique, Chile
  • f) Popular green movements meeting : January, 2009. Santiago de Chile
  • g) Second meeting of Latin American Democratic Militaries: October, 2008. Santiago de Chile
  • h) International Seminars and other activities of the Chairs detailed below

II. Traveling schools


  • a) Lima : April 2008 and Cochabamba : Apbril 2008
  • b) Alternative popular communication school : Cochabamba: 2009

III. Chairs : Alliance between Universities and Social Actors


  • a) Human Rights, at U. De Los Lagos Chile, en 2008
  • b) Indigenous Peoples, at U. Arcis Chile, en 2008
  • c) South American Regional Integration “Francisco Miranda”, at U. Arcis, -* Chile, in 2007 repeated at U. San Marcos, Lima, Peru in 2008 and 2009 Diploma by U. San Simón, Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2009 and International Seminars on water and geopolitics in Cordoba, Argentina, in 2008 and 2009
  • d) Strategic Studies Center – CEDES and U. Arcis. 2009, Chile.

IV. Publications


V. Communications


VI. Coordination with Assemblies in other continents


Through exchanges, communications (Web page and “Travel Logs”) and constant visits, as well as meetings during the Assemblies themselves, for example in the Meeting of Coordinators of Citizens’ assemblies (Paris : June, 2008), and during more general instances, such as forums and summits.


... With our comrade, Carlos Liberona, in our hearts, we continue





 

 

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the Southern Cone Assembly ont the web

Visit the webpage of the Assembly : www.asamblea-conosur.net and the different blogs linked to its initiatives : the General Blog of the Argentinan team in Córdoba, the Blog of the revue Pensamiento Propio, the blog de la Regional Integration Chair.

Pictures of the 2009 women's meetings



Have a look at the pictures of the women’s meetings held in September and November 2009

     
 



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