The Manifesto (English)

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«Last Call»

This is more than an economic and political crisis: it’s a crisis of civilization.

ultima-llamada-v0-2-640x927A large portion of European citizens hold the belief that our present consumerist society can (and must) “progress” into the future. Meanwhile, a majority of the inhabitants of the planet can only dream of attaining the same level of material comfort that we have. However, our level of production and consumption has been achieved at the cost of exhausting natural (including energy) resources and by disrupting the equilibrium of Earth’s ecosystems.

But this is old news. The most lucid researchers and scientists have been warning since the 1970s that if humans were to maintain the current trends of growth (economic, demographic, resource use, pollution and increase in inequality), the most probable outcome during the 21st century is the collapse of civilization.

Today, there is mounting evidence indicating that the path of unlimited growth is similar to a slow motion genocide. The end of cheap energy, the catastrophic scenarios of climate change, and geopolitical conflicts over natural resources illustrate that the years of seemingly unlimited progress are forever gone.

To cope with this challenge, the flimsy mantra of sustainable development is not enough; nor is betting on eco-efficient technologies or a supposed transition to any “green economy”. Indeed, all these versions of friendly development disguise plans for the general commodification of natural resources and ecosystemic services. Technological solutions, to both the environmental crisis and the decline in energy production, are insufficient. Further, the ecological crisis is not an incidental problem, but an essential one that is affecting many societal issues: food, transportation, industry, urbanization, military conflicts… In fact, it concerns the foundations of our economy and our lives.

We are trapped in the perverse dynamics of a civilization that does not work if it does not grow, even if growth destroys the resources that maintain the civilization. Our culture, completely addicted to technological and market solutions, has forgotten that, in fact, we are inherently part of an interdependent ecosystem.

Our production- and consumption- oriented society cannot be sustained by the planet. We need to construct a new civilization capable of securing the dignity of a huge, and constantly growing, human population (which today comprises more than 7.2 billion) in a world of diminishing resources. This would be possible only after radical changes in our lifestyles, forms of production, urban design, and organization of territories. We need a society that focuses on recovering an equilibrium with the biosphere by using research, technology, culture, economy, and politics to advance towards this end. However, to do this we will need all the political imagination, moral generosity, and technical creativity that we are able to deploy.

Such Great Transformation would need to confront two obstacles: the inertia of the capitalist lifestyle and the interests of privileged groups. However, to avert the chaos and barbarity that would ensue were we to maintain our current trends, we need both to rupture the political hegemony that currently predominates, and to establish an economy focused on satisfying social needs within the limits imposed by the biosphere rather than on the accumulation of private profit.

Fortunately, more and more people are resisting the attempts of elites to make the public pay the consequences of the crisis. Today, in Spain, the awakening of dignity and democracy emerged from the 15M movement (during the spring of 2011) that is creating a constitutional process that opens up possibilities for other forms of social organization.

However, it is fundamental that the various projects working towards social alternatives become fully aware of the implications of the limits to growth. This is the only way they will be able to design sound proposals for durable social change. The economic and political crises can only be overcome in tandem with the ecological crisis. In this sense, old Keynesian policies are far from adequate. Those policies led us, in the decades following the Second World War, to a cycle of expansion that has brought us to the brink of exceeding the planet’s limits. At this point, any new cycle of expansion is unfeasible: there is no material basis, ecological space, or natural resources to sustain it.

The 21st Century will be decisive in the history of humankind. It will be a great test for cultures, societies, and even for the species as a whole. It will be a test that will decide our continuity on Earth and the appropriateness of qualifying future social organization as ‘human’. We face a transformation akin to major historical events such as the neolithic revolution and the industrial revolution.

But just beware: The window of opportunity is closing. Certainly there are many social movements around the world pursuing environmental justice (the organization Global Witness has registered almost a thousand environmentalists murdered during the past decade, killings during demonstrations against mining or oil projects, or against people defending their land and water). But we have at most five years to settle a broad debate about the limits of growth, and to construct democratic ecological and energy alternatives that are both rigorous and feasible solutions. We should be able to convince large majorities willing to promote a change in economic, energy, social, and cultural models. It is not only about fighting against the injustices resulting from the exercise of domination and the accumulation of wealth; we are speaking about defining a new model of society that acknowledges reality, makes peace with nature, and makes possible a good life within the ecological limits of the earth.

One civilization is ending and we must build a new one. Doing nothing, or too little, will lead us directly to social, economic, and ecological collapse. But if we start today, we can still become the protagonists of a society that is united, democratic, and in peace with the planet.

— Written at many locations aroundthe Iberian Peninsula, Balearic and Canary Islands, during the summer of 2014.

The solution to this crisis is very easy...

Cartoon by El Roto: «The solution to this crisis is very easy: we just have to consume more to reactivate the economy and consume less not to spoil the planet»

Download the Manifesto (in Spanish)

Manifiesto Última llamada (PDF)

Some signers of the manifesto:

Ada Colau, Alberto Garzón, Antonio Turiel, Antonio Valero, Arcadi Oliveres, Belén Gopegui, Cayo Lara, Enric Duran, Esther Vivas, Ferrán Puig Vilar, Florent Marcellesi, Joan Herrera, Joan Martínez Alier, Joaquín Araujo, José Manuel Naredo, Juan Diego Botto, Juantxo López de Uralde, Justa Montero, Marina Albiol, Olga Rodríguez, Pablo Iglesias Turrión, Teresa Forcades, Teresa Rodríguez, Xosé Manuel Beiras, Yayo Herrero… (See full list where you can also sign at the bottom simply by leaving a comment)

(Translation by Popular Resistance & Joaquim Ballabrera; Revised by Carol Smith)

Other versions in English:

(Lee nuestro aviso legal y normas antes de participar en el blog con tus comentarios.)

50 comentarios en “The Manifesto (English)

  1. Thank you for the manifest and direction forward. Lolly Tindol, educator for climate disruption, organic farmer, nurse, college teacher, tour guide

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  2. YES, YES, YES! Esto is muy importante! As we align ourselves in this work, let us also attend to the essential foundation of our own personal wound of enculturated separation. For while stopping the madness and creating new ways to live sustainably is paramount, unless we also re-establish the mythology of ourselves as being connection with self, each other, and all creation, then all our efforts may be in vain. We may not have unlimited time to do this and we may not succeed, but the effort may enculcate a grace that will serve as mass hospice as well as planting the seeds for the next civilization.

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  3. First and foremost, we need to address unbridled population growth. The essay above mistakenly listed population in millions, a typo I am sure, as it should be BILLIONS. We are too successful a species on this planet and to avoid a natural correction (pandemic, viral outbreaks, destruction of ecosystystems which sustain us etc) we need to VOLUNTARILY limit our numbers. If we only had one child for two generations, globally, population numbers would start to stabilize and diminish to sustain us as a species for the long haul. Most other things would follow. This goes hand in hand with unlmited growth, since large population devalues human life and gives rise to ever more cheap labor for the struggling masses.
    More education and power for women would be a good start as well as access to birth control for all citizens should be a goal of every nation. This is one of the most difficult things to achieve in the current political and religious environments worldwide.
    There are just too many of us

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  4. To me this is common sense. I have some ideas for the USA that may truly be applicable anywhere, starting with converting to a cooperative business model owned by the natural born citizens.

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  5. Yes, this is both a terrifying and exhilarating time to be alive –there is an urgency to collectively create a different way of living on this sad and beautiful planet.

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  6. Κρυσταλία Πατούλη

    ***

    The Spanish « Ultimate Call »Manifesto qnd the Greek research on the crisis

    “How” we arrived where we are and “why” changing our civilization is, now, more than necessary are two things that become clearer every day, all over the world.

    It is as important as interesting to see that the conclusions of the activist research on the causes and solutions to the crisis go in the same direction as the Spanish “Ultimate Call” Manifesto.

    ***
    Το μανιφέστο «Ύστατη έκκληση» των Ισπανών και η ελληνική έρευνα για την κρίση (greek / français / english)

    Το τι μας έφερε ως εδώ και γιατί είναι πλέον επιτακτικό να αλλάξει ο πολιτισμός μας, γίνεται συνεχώς όλο και πιο προφανές στα τέσσερα σημεία του ορίζοντα.

    Είναι σημαντικό όσο και ενδιαφέρον ότι τα συμπεράσματα της ελληνικής ακτιβιστικής έρευνας για τις αιτίες και τις λύσεις της κρίσης συμφωνούν με το Μανιφέστο “Ύστατη Έκκληση” των Ισπανών:

    ***

    Le manifeste « Appel ultime »des Espagnols et l’enquête grecque sur la crise

    Le comment nous en sommes arrivés là et pourquoi changer notre civilisation s’impose dorénavant sont deux choses qui deviennent de plus en plus clair dans le monde entier.

    C’est aussi important qu’intéressant de voir que les conclusions de l’enquête activiste grecque sur les causes et les solutions de la crise vont dans le même sens que le Manifeste ” Appel ultime ” des Espagnols.


    Read more – Περισσότερα (greek – ελληνικά/ français – γαλλικά/ english – αγγλικά) :

    http://afigisizois.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%BD%CE%B9%CF%86%CE%B5%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF-%CF%85%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B7-%CE%B5%CE%BA%CE%BA%CE%BB%CE%B7%CF%83%CE%B7/

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  7. We do not own our world. We hold it in trust for the future, for our children. And we need to become better stewards, to work harder for positive change, if there is to be anything for them to inherit.

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    • Bradley Fuller, social activist and member of the Canadian group Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER). This manifesto spells out humanities problems and solutions in one neat essay with the imperative of do or die as a call to all peoples of conscience to come together and act for the universality of all life on this planet. To do otherwise is a sin against all creation.

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  8. Our planet provides a HORRIBLE existence for so many people and animals ! Here in the U.S.A. our so-called “democratic” political system is a morbid joke . It cannot, does not deliver democracy and It’s time for dramatic change . We NEED a totally “New and Improved” method of government, as does the world . I will help any way I can . EXCELCIOR !!! Donald J. Ludwig, Citizen and Decorated War Veteran

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  9. This Manifesto is great I am going to be sharing it.
    In 2013 Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 20th. This means there is no room to “grow” out of the crisis. One way to win some time to change our habits, is to draw as much of the only outside resource as we can, the sun. This means organic food, renewable energy and materials we can grow (wood, bamboo, cork, cellulosis, straw, hemp, flax, cotton, wool, …). Used for a long time as clothes or even beter as construction materials, they constitute a sink for CO2.
    Lots of success with your engagement for a better life for all.
    Thank you.

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  10. Actually it’s too late already to save this civilization. The forward inertia of our civilization will take years to turn around. In the meantime we continue to waste resources on lifestyle and fripperie. It’s been a long time since we last created real wealth. Now it’s all credit out of thin air, using the future to pay for our excesses. The future is not going to wear our expenses.
    The “best”[so to speak] way forward is to crash the current financial house of cards, called a Debt Jubilee. It wipes out all debts and the banks too. Still nasty, considering the mass unemployment etc, but we may save the ‘furniture’ so that in future in a much reduced world we can survive with some technological potential. Failing that, the future will truly be catastrophic.

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  11. This beautiful, sensible manifesto is exactly the wake-up call we need worldwide. Thank you for crafting it. I wholeheartedly support it. I stole this quote from someone above me, who phrased it perfectly. We wholeheartedly support it.

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  12. The statement sums it all up. We need a vibrant planetary anti-capitalist degrowth movement that also takes into account the needs of the other species with whom humans must share the earth.

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