Against hegemony, in defense of humanity

Ramsey Clark, greeted by President Hugo Chávez, gave a keynote speech at the conference. Caracas, December 2004.

Photo: Peta Lindsay
This statement was adopted by the delegates at the Worldwide Gathering of Intellectuals and Artists in Defense of Humanity, Dec. 1-7, 2004.

Gathered in Caracas, birthplace of Simon Bolivar, intellectuals and artists from fifty-two countries and diverse cultures all agreed to build a wall of resistance against the project of global domination that is being imposed on the world today.

We are living in an era in which United Nations decisions are not respected, international laws have been broken and the basic principles of non-intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign nations—and the concept of sovereignty itself—has been lost.

The Geneva Conventions on prisoners of war and protection of civilians have been violated; detainees are tortured and tormented; an illegal jail has been constructed in the usurped territory of Guantanamo Bay. The invasion and devastation of Iraq, threats against other nations of the Middle East, the ongoing martyrdom of the Palestinian people, and the interventions by Super Powers in Africa, reveal the intention to impose, through blood and fire, a world order based on force.

The objective of many of these aggressions is to appropriate the natural reserves of hydrocarbons, minerals, water and other elements of biodiversity of the least developed nations. We support the right of the people to maintain control over these resources and to repel expropriating interventions.

The crimes against the Iraqi people show the extreme complicity between the mass media and governments, who meanwhile declare themselves as defenders of human rights. The city of Fallujah, now being razed, will remain a symbol of heroic resistance in a tragic moment of history.

Part of this hegemonic project is the collection of an illegal foreign debt and the attempt of economic annexation of Latin America and the Caribbean, through the FTAA and other trade and financial accords, damaging possibilities for independence and real development. Meanwhile, there is increased danger of new forms of intervention and aggression, in the face of growing social movements and the process of positive change now taking place in the region.

The notions of “pre-emptive war” and “regime change,” proclaimed as official doctrine by the government of the United States, are used to threaten all countries that do not submit to imperial interests, or that have a specific strategic importance. One example is the recent intervention in Haiti.

Today, as never before, it is necessary to mobilize solidarity with Venezuela, Cuba and all popular causes on the continent. We express our solidarity with the people of Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and all who resist imperial occupation and aggression.

A crucial component of global opposition to imperialist adventures, together with those who in Europe, Latin America and other parts of the world have stood against the war, is undoubtedly mobilizing the most conscious sectors of the U.S. people. We condemn terrorism and oppose the political manipulation of the “war against terrorism,” and the fraudulent appropriation of values and concepts such as democracy, freedom and human rights. We reject that the people’s resistance struggles be defined as terrorism and the oppressor’s aggressions be called “war against terror.”

While incalculable financial resources are wasted in the military industrial complex, a silent genocide takes place every day due to hunger, extreme poverty, curable illnesses and epidemics. The daily suffering of the peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, as a result of the policies promoted by the international financial institutions, is ignored by those who intend to dominate the world, and the global elites who benefit from neo-colonial plunder.

The absence of effective proposals for real solutions to these problems is another sign of the dehumanization that characterizes our era.

We join the struggles of workers, farmers and all those exploited or excluded: the unemployed, the first indigenous people of original cultures (first-nation people), people of the African Diaspora, immigrants, women, sexual minorities, and children without protection, victims of sex trade.

We support and commit ourselves to the revindication of those who defend their rights and their identity in the face of the totalitarian and homogenizing intentions of neoliberal globalization.

Lacking basic access to food, medicine, electricity, housing and potable water, an enormous part of humanity is sacrificed by a system which exhausts natural resources and destroys the environment through irrational, wasteful consumerism, and puts the survival of the species itself at risk.

The vast majority has limited access to education, excluding them from the benefits of new technologies in information and production of medicines. The dominant economic system generates the commercialization of intellectual production, privatizes it, and turns it into an instrument to perpetuate the concentration of wealth and the domestication of consciousness. We must stop the WTO in its obsession to transform the world into commodities by annihilating cultural diversity.

The concentrated ownership of the mass media has made freedom of information a fallacy. The power of media, at the service of a hegemonic project, distorts the truth, manipulates history, foments discrimination in all forms and promotes a resignation to the current state of affairs, presenting it as the only possible option.

We need to take the offensive through concrete actions. The first of these, agreed upon at this summit, will be to create a “network of networks” of information for artistic action, solidarity, coordination and mobilization, uniting intellectuals and artists with popular struggles and Social Forums, guaranteeing the continuation of these efforts and linking them in an international movement “in defense of humanity.”

It is also essential that we work to counteract the propaganda of the hegemonic centers and to circulate emancipatory ideas through all channels: radio and television, the Internet, alternative press, film, media and others, to broadcast coverage on projects of development, participation and popular education, that they become references in the reconstruction of the utopias that have made history.

The Venezuelan reality proves that popular mobilization is capable of giving power to the people, promoting and defending massive transformations in their interests. We express our gratitude to the Bolivarian government, to the people of Venezuela and to President Hugo Chávez for their commitment to the future of this international movement.

At this hour of great danger, we reaffirm the conviction that another world is not only possible, but necessary. We reaffirm our commitment and make an open call to join the struggle for that world with more solidarity, more unity and more determination. In defense of humanity, we reaffirm our certainty that the people will have the last word.

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