Discussion

The initial signers, and likely all signers of the We Stand Statement hope that related discussion occurs in diverse venues, alternative and mainstream. Still, having a place here on the We Stand Site to register comments seems desirable.

Please feel free to enter comments about the statement itself, or about its potential use, or reacting to essays and pieces that you have seen elsewhere.

Comments will be periodically examined for civility and relevance. Any initial signer can call for removal of any comment on grounds of blatant incivility or spam-ish intent. If that occurs, but there is any doubt about a comment being appropriate or not, a broader subset of initial signers will be polled before action is taken.

36 thoughts on “Discussion

  1. In order to best promote Stand For Peace and Social Justice I think it would be very beneficial to create pages in various social media platforms. Facebook would be an excellent place to start!

  2. Thank you for this initiative. Yes, I think we need in good time a convention of people generally agreed upon such broad principals. I think strongly stated should be 1. support the organizing and strengthening of democratically controlled unions; 2. We oppose any military beyond limited military for self defense an oppose US intervention as an international police force or imperial army for oil or other corporate interests; 3. We are outraged and will expose and fight the sexual violence perpetrated in this patriarchal, machismo society whether that violence is on the street, in the home, in the military, in prison or on foreign soil by US personnel and will not tolerate it within our movement for peace and justice; we will actively engage in the struggle to see that Black Lives Matter against the racist police forces in communities around this country.

  3. Follow up:

    How about “We stand against the discrimination and suppression of any person based on their gender and express solidarity with all people of any gender who serve to promote peace and understanding, the upliftment of children in social stature andor reconcilitiation between opposing groups of any kind through means of consensus.”

    not just saying..

  4. I understand Michael Albert’s assertion that we do need to speak to the converted; however, perhaps because of my working class background and most of my social support network is the solidly working class, I think the statement as it is written has too much of an elitist ring to it. I suspect (though I could be wrong) that the “converted” average Bernie Sanders supporter might also have a hard time relating to it as it is written. Shifra

  5. Whilst i appreciate, respect and support the values and motives behind the statement (and have signed it) i fear that this initiative suffers from the same overtly dense language that the IOPS statement did(does?). So here follows some hopefully constructive criticism….The statement is laden with convoluted sentences that would be more suited to an academic textbook than as a founding statement of a global new left populist movement.

    This, like it or not, severely limits its ability to appeal or connect with the vast majority of people. The populist right(whether their leaders or the hate filled press that does their groundwork for them) has made huge gains by offering simplistic, easily understood ‘solutions’ to people’s problems and , whilst we must not simply mimic their tactics, we do need, for instance, to recognise that most people will not even read through a statement that is laden down with complex language such as this, let alone share it on their social media platforms. It is more suited to the lecture hall than the factory canteen. (e.g.”the devolution of human kindness and wisdom under assault by celebrated authority and enforced passivity.”). I really don’t feel that things need to be put in such a way and to me – having spent a few years in university and many more employed in warehouses, factories and other manual labour – the language implies a real disconnect with the lives and language of ordinary people. This is doubly unfortunate as i have no doubt that the authors and signatories of this statement have devoted huge efforts to making this world a better place for all whilst the right wing businessmen demagogues and gutter press who spew simplistic hateful solutions are quite the opposite, and yet it is the Right that currently manages to effectively communicate its message. In short, I would suggest a rewrite aimed at the common man and woman!

    1. I couldn’t agree more with Martin. It’s not merely that the language sounds like something out of an academic textbook; it’s worse than that. Some words in here I’m sure are words the “average” American who may have voted for Donald Trump would have to resort to a dictionary. For example, “transphobia”. In addition, I can already hear the right wing crying, we are the typical “elitists”. In addition, when we allege support and empathy for the poor, it shows that we still don’t comprehend why 60 million Americans voted for Trump. Most people, even if their standard of living makes them part of the “poor” out of dignity and for their own self esteem resent that label and refuse to identify themselves as such. They see themselves as part of the “struggling middle class”. Worse than that, they believe they are “struggling” because all the benefits go to the “poor” who are naturally stealing from their hard earned tax dollars. Never mind that their paychecks reflect that they are only one paycheck away from becoming homeless. We should try to reach the average Trump voter and not just preach to the converted. The semantics of this statement are beautiful and so well written, but let’s write it in such a way so that the average person who only has a high school diploma or maybe not even that much can feel that finally someone is speaking on their behalf.

      1. Just a brief reply…of course we should be reaching out in all manner of ways – I hope every signer agrees on that. And of course when doing so we should try to express ourselves in ways that take into account who are are reaching out to. Again, I hope all signers agree on that, even if we aren’t always very good at doing so.

        But this statement is not going to reach the broad population. There is no vehicle in place for that or anything like that, sadly. Even just reaching people who are already progressive and radical is proving to be very very difficult. And this statement, in any event, is precisely about reaching what you call the choir, and getting some unity in the choir, rather than lots of separate voices. Even when talking to the choir I happen to agree that obscure language should be avoided like the plague, for many reasons. But at the same time, when you are reaching out to the whole choir, you have to address the varied concerns of those in it, and to a degree, at least at the moment, regrettably that still often requires using their words for their concerns – just as it would when reaching out to, say, Trump’s voters or any other audience. So the solution is that all the left constituencies and movements need to develop a plain language approach, and again, I agree. But, again regrettably, we haven’t gotten there yet.

        Nonetheless, if we were talking about a statement produced by, say, 100,000 signers of this statement – where the new one one had real backing and was going to get really wide visibility, then I would agree with you not only broadly as a goal, but specifically for that type statement, even now. That kind of statement should be addressed to that far far larger audience.

        As a bit of an addendum, and not really in reply to you, Shifra, I think people should realize, please, that to get the initial signers to sign meant meeting all their inclinations simultaneously, and, regardless, now having 1500 signers, the statement can’t change. The thing that can actually be done, by any signer, and that might have impact, is to promote the visibility of the statement, talk about its content to others, and so on… even trying to recast it, without losing substance, in simpler language might payoff, down the road.

        I have to admit, when creating this site, and incorporating a comment system, my hope was that most comments would be people reporting on their signing, and on other things they are doing, perhaps about the statement, or about other efforts, to report and inspire.

    2. As someone who earns his living mostly by writing, I couldn’t agree more with your criticisms. I am afraid that this is unlikely to be of much use.

      As the Germans put it “Well-meant is often the opposite of well-done”.

  6. Thanks everyone for signing and thoughts on the wording. I strongly suspect that so long as the wording best supports the reign of the heart over the ego, then the wording best supports net positive outcomes over negative outcomes. The conceptual simplicity of this critierion empowers the people so that we can gain widespread participation and consensus, toward the people’s agenda of global self-rule and maximum universal wellbeing. The People’s Values/Allocations project at iopsociety.org is an example of the people’s infrastructure that will replace authoritarian infrastructure, as part of the people’s movement toward the people’s nirvana. I think we stand for peace and justice because these connect/resonate with heart aspirations, and all of the holistic sphere of good.

  7. I would draw your attention to the work of SURJ.
    It addresses the ‘inside job’ that needs be done.
    (In this case, white peoples addressing their racism, then taking actions to repair both the damage it has done and is doing.)
    Smart, effective actions.

  8. Another declaration of good intentions, with which a great deal of the intellectual elite and experts would agree. Yet, this means nothing to the people that populate our democracies. Where is the alternative?

    We need to get real and translate this into institutions that are in daily touch with the people, because the majority of people understand things only in their everyday language. That is populism’s advantage.

    My practical proposal is to start the transformation of the majority of existing companies into cooperatives. Let’s us device a well-thought system, where proper incentives enable the economy to produce high quality jobs, goods and services, in a sustainable way. We might need to sacrifice the neoliberal globalization agenda, but if that is necessary, so be it.

  9. Oh look, a global movement composed of Americans, and some people from the UK, Canada and Europe. Perhaps having a list of prominent signatories that is a bit less imperialistic might make people not based in the US and Europe likely to take you more seriously. We don’t need you to lead us anywhere thanks.

    1. In what country are you based? If you are active I would be happy for you to take my place on the list. But do be clear about this, the initial signers are not leaders – as you seem to think.

  10. I agree with so many of the commenters above. But I worry that this is yet another wonderful, and urgent proposal that disappears within a short amount of time. Where are the left media ? Where are the names that we need like those of Paul Jay and Laura Flanders and Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, the folks behind common dreams the folks behind Jacobin?? Have I missed them?? And more importantly when will we see this initiative promoted elsewhere?? When will we see I nterviews that tie many related discussions already in progress to such a project, towards the realization of a unified front that swells in ranks and engages extant movements and left activists already furiously and diligently working for some kind of decent future for humanity, for life, for our planet ?? For that answer we must look to ourselves and do as much as we can to make it happen.

    1. You didn’t miss anything – they haven’t signed. Asked, but not on board, yet. Paul Jay did publish an essay I did, though. And will likely do more, I think. But as to the others, perhaps you might want to write them and suggest it…

  11. The diversity of approaches to peace and justice is our strength. Actions should be based on shared values, not agreement on their effectiveness or importance in the struggle. In that regard, Gandhi’s “4 Principles of Nonviolence in Cooperation with the Good” is a place to start: 1.swaraj (self-rule)-autonomy; 2.swadeshi (home-spun)-self-reliance; 3.satyagraha (Truth force)- empowerment and 4. savodaya (the uplifting of all)-solidarity.

    These values are the 4 core elements of a constructive program of action: 1 Equality and justice for all life (not just humans) 2. Economic independence 3. Liberation education (information) & 4. Living in accord with ecological law.

  12. At some stage, it would be useful to have this available in multiple languages, at least in French, Spanish and German, as that would get most people in the western world. But then, why stop with the western world?

    1. ATTAC is already working on it. The German version should be ready tomorrow.

      As far as the languages of the rest of the world — I am sure translators into those languages who volunteer would be welcome.

  13. I’ve happily signed. It is rare for me to come across a list of issues that does not have within it a red flag – so congratulations to the originators!
    I think that, once heading in this peace and justice direction, all the dearly held issues not specifically annotated will be swept up in the momentum.

    1. Agreed, but it has costs too – so we are waiting to lay out the cash, to be brutally honest about it, until there are enough names so it really matters and the programmer has freed up time for it, as well.

  14. The opening “We see…” paragraph mentions right wing populism and neo-fascism which suggests to me that this effort is being promoted as a reaction to the recent US elections.
    I wish the statement more clearly indicated that an unjust rightwing policy trajectory predates Trump’s election by many decades.

  15. I already signed. The text may not be perfect, but we have to start somewhere. We need to spread the word as widely as possible.

  16. Please remember that nothing is perfect. Thus this movement could be criticized for one of the other issue. But the main goal should be accepted by everybody. I think that the manifest should be reduced to a few general sentences regarding peace and human right. We should try not to end up with a lot of requests for amendments. We don’t want people saying that they will not sign unless ….(add here some requests). We should move ahead in the full recognition that nothing is perfect and we can add items on the way. Important is to start now to move ahead for a more peaceful world without injustices, well knowing that this state will never be reached.

  17. I did sign, but I ask the writers to make some changes. “Anti-minority” is inaccurate since POC are majority on planet. Please consider these word options, depending on how you revise: POC, white supremacy, racism, racial justice. I also question the use of “national sovereignty.” I suggest when you speak of native/indigenous rights, you name those rights as connected to sovereignty, and the right of original peoples to remain on their lands, and change national sovereignty as something about not violating borders (though arbitrary) of countries. Lastly, I would name the importance of the people most affected by injustices to be the leaders of our movements.

    1. Words matter. I agree that “anti-minority” may not be accurate. In the US, “anti-other” or “anti-what I’ve been convinced to fear” is presenting itself as more accurate. We have real resentments between groups of color, both of which may technically be “minorities”. Most Americans did not vote for the Pres. Elect or Republicans, but there is a clear anti-“Democrats” agenda. Maybe “pro-bigotry” or simply “prejudice” is what we’re really facing.

  18. Happily signed, but one line from the petition seems strange and unclear in its meaning: “We stand for participation against surveillance.” Should “action” replace “participation” here? Or is “participation” being counterposed against “surveillance” If so, how are they opposites? In either case, this line doesn’t make much sense.

  19. TO GAIN MOMENTUM this declaration DESPERATELY NEEDS multimedia message to accompany it. Growing masses of people watch YouTube as opposed to reading books. We hate it but watch more movies than we read books yearly so let’s be honest about it. If we want to get “thumbs up” we need to make it user friendly. Otherwise we might as well build a monument with a plaque and wait for 7 billion people to come over and read it. Good luck with that. What I have in mind is something like this video: “Google’s Plan for World Domination | Beast Files – YouTube” but preferably read by well known voice – say Morgan Freeman or Richard Attenborough.

  20. I respectfully suggest that ecological concerns be listed first, not last. The destruction of the environment will make all other concerns moot.

    1. I agree.
      Also a focus on the environment is something that inherently encompasses diversity/peace etc issues because it impacts on us all.
      History shows that courage and ingenuity flower when there is a shared enemy (somewhat sadly). If that shared enemy could be ecological degradation then our other, very worthy, concerns would be subsumed into this more urgent but fixable problem.

    2. We are unlikely to get to a point where we all agree on what order the list should be presented. However, this is only an issue if we read the list as being one that says the first item is more important than the second, and so on. This, I think, is not how the list is intended to be read. Rather, from the perspective of a potential movement, each item should be read as of equal value.

      1. I agree with Mark Evans, but would highlight that environmental degradation is caused by human activity in most cases, rather than occurring naturally. As such, positioning ‘we’ against environmental destruction, as Mark Allcock suggests, does not make sense to me. We ought to be primarily opposed to the human activity that is causing said destruction which, I think, is covered well by the statement.
        However, my comment should not be read as one of opposition; I see more commonality than difference between my views and values and those of the other participants.

  21. I signed on for peace and justice because I am very alarmed by the new U.S. government administration taking shape under Donald J. Trump. I see this new administration shaping up as an hostile acquisition of the U.S. government by the super powerful multinational corporations. [They have plenty of experience in hostile takeovers through the financial markets.]The U.S. is already an oligarchy. The oligarchs now have the power to get more rich and powerful through direct rule of the U.S. government.

  22. I have signed, thanks for the initiative. I understand that the main argument has to be short. However, i would add, what i see missing: we oppose WARS (there are terrible wars going on right now, in particular in Syria, and more generally in the Middle East. And there other wars or warlike situations all over. I would also add MILITARISATION, POVERTY and MIGRATION as important issues: we are against the militarisation of societies, of surveillance, of security, poverty needs to be addressed and – migration should be everyone’s right (with the right to live anywhere one wants) while welcoming migrants and taking refugees should be an obligation for every country. (See the situation with the Myanmar Rohingyas and the toll on migrants and refugees in the mediterranean.) We should be for OPEN BORDERS.

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