Declaration of the Assembly of Social Movements, Porto Alegre (RS), Brazil

We, people of all continents, gathered in the Assembly of the Social Movements during the Thematic Social Forum Capitalist Crisis and Social and Environmental Justice, fight against the causes of a systemic crisis expressed as the economic, financial, political, food, and environmental crisis, that puts at risk the survival of humankind. Decolonizing oppressed peoples and confronting imperialism is the main challenge of the social movements of all over the world.

In this space, we gather, from our diverse backgrounds, to build together common agendas and actions against capitalism, patriarchy, racism, and every type of discrimination and exploitation. We therefore reaffirm our common struggles adopted in the assembly of Dakar, in 2011:

Fight against transnational corporations
Fight for climate justice and food sovereignty
Fight against violence against women
Fight for peace and against war, colonialism, occupations and militarization of our territories

People all over the world are suffering the effects of the aggravation of a profound crisis of capitalism, in which its agents (banks, transnational corporations, media conglomerates, international institutions, and submissive governments) aim at increasing their profits applying interventionist and neocolonial policies. War, military occupations, free-trade neoliberal treaties and “austerity measures”, expressed as economic packages that privatize state companies, cut wages and rights, increase unemployment, and ravage natural resources. Such policies strike the richer countries of the North harder and are increasing migration, forced displacement, evictions, debt, and social inequalities.

The exclusionist rationale of that model only makes a small elite wealthier at the expense of the large majority of the population, both in the North and South. Defending people’s sovereignty and self-determination and social, economic, environmental, and gender justice is key to overcoming the crisis, strengthening the leading role of a State free from corporations and at the service of the people.

Global warming is the result of the capitalist system of production, distribution, and consumption. Transnational corporations, financial institutions, governments and international bodies at the service of the system do not want to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. Now, they are trying to impose the “green economy” as the solution for the environmental and food crisis, which, in addition of aggravating the problem, causes the commodification, privatization, and financialization of life. We reject all the false “solutions” for these crises, including biofuels, GMOs, geo-engineering and carbon markets, which are merely new disguises of the system.

Rio +20, to be held in June, in Rio de Janeiro, 20 years after ECO 92, reinforces the importance of the fight for environmental justice as opposed to the model of capitalist development. The attempt to greenwash capitalism by imposing new instruments of “green economy” is a warning for us, the social movements, to strengthen our resistance and to take the leading role in building true alternatives to the crisis.

We denounce the violence against women, regularly used as a tool to control their lives and bodies, and the increase in the overexploitation of their work, used to buffer the impacts of the crisis and to maintain constant profit margins for the companies. We fight against the traffic of women and children and racism. We defend sexual diversity, the right to gender self-determination, and we fight against homophobia and sexist violence.

Imperialist powers use foreign military bases to instigate conflicts, to control and ransack natural resources, and to foster dictatorships in several countries. We denounce the false discourse of human rights defense that often justify these military occupations. We are against the consistent violation of human and democratic rights in Honduras, particularly in Bajo Aguan, the assassination of union leaders and social activists in Colombia and the criminal blockage of Cuba, which now in its 50th year. We fight for the release of the five Cubans that are illegally imprisoned in the US, against the illegal occupation of Malvinas Islands by the UK, the tortures and the military occupation of Libya and Afghanistan by the US and NATO forces. We denounce the neo-colonization and militarization process experienced by the African continent and the presence of Africom. Our fight is also for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and against NATO.

We express our solidarity with the people of the world struggling against the predatory and neocolonial rationale of the extractive industry and mining transnational corporations, particularly with the people of Famatina, Argentina, and we denounce the criminalization of the social movements.

Capitalism destroys people’s lives. However, every day, many struggles for social justice emerge to eliminate the effects of colonialism and to allow a decent quality of life for all. Each of these struggles implies a battle of ideas that demands actions for the democratization of the media, which is currently controlled by large conglomerates, and against the private control of intellectual property. At the same time, it requires the development of independent communication that strategically follows up our processes.

Committed to our historical struggles, we defend decent work and agrarian reform as the only way to encourage family, peasant and indigenous agriculture and an essential step to reach food sovereignty and environmental justice. We reaffirm our commitment with the struggle for urban reform as a fundamental tool to build fair cities, with participative and democratic spaces. We defend building a different integration, based on solidarity and strengthening of processes such as UNASUR and ALBA.

The fight for strengthening public education, science and technology at the service of the people, as well as for the defense of traditional knowledge, cannot be postponed, as they are increasingly commodified and privatized. We therefore declare our solidarity and support for the students of Chile, Colombia, Puerto Rico and worldwide that continue to march in defense of these common goods.

We assert that people must not continue to pay for this systemic crisis and that there is no solution inside the capitalist system!

The agenda carries important challenges that demand us to interlink our struggles and our massive mobilization.

Inspired by the history of our struggles and the inspiring strength of movements like the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall St., “indignados” and the struggle of Chilean students, the Social Movements Assembly call upon popular forces and activists of all countries to mobilize actions – coordinated at world level – to contribute to people’s emancipation and self-determination, reinforcing the fight against capitalism.

We call for support of the International Human Rights Meeting in Solidarity with Honduras and for building a Free Palestine Social Forum, strengthening the global movement of boycott, disinvestments, and sanctions against the State of Israel and their apartheid policies against the Palestine people.

We call upon activists around the world to take to the streets from June 5th to join in the global action against capitalism and to support the People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice, against the commodification of life and in defense of the common goods, to be held in the framework of Rio+20.

If today we fight, the future is ours!

Porto Alegre, January 28, 2012
Social Movements Assembly