Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Walk of Our Word: Colombia Will Walk the Minga!

Translation of the Final Working Document from the Social and Community Minga in Colombia

November 21, 2008
Bogotá, Colombia

The Minga LIVES, may the MINGA LIVE! We call for a Colombia of the people without owners; all the wisdom, all the pain, all the experience, all the words, all our grandmothers and our memories guide us. We are going to live because we are forever tired of the pain, death and greed of those that continue to rob us of a life of peace.

Presentation

The following document is the follow-up proposal, presented in the Plaza Simón Bolívar in Bogotá on Friday, November 21, 2008, as part of the conclusion of the march and rally that brought the Social and Popular Minga to the country’s capital. This strategic proposal of ongoing work expresses the decision of many sectors to accompany the Minga in its walk, so as to convert it into the responsibility and the commitment of everybody in Colombia. This will allow the Minga to walk openly and with liberty, emerging from the people, in order to construct the country that we urgently need.

The Word: The Challenge That We Face and That We Share


Today, November 21, 2008, the Social and Community Minga has a life of its own. But those of us who proposed it and continue to proclaim its points must share the work of raising it in its infancy, so that the Minga reaches its maturity, and begins to walk its own steps, which are the steps of each and every one of us.

With these words, we assume the simultaneous commitment, on the one hand, to protect the Minga, being a fundamental part of her, but on the other hand, to let her walk freely, so that she moves in the direction that all of us provide her. This is because she that was born here, she that wants to continue to live – that is, the Minga of the People - is much, much more than what we individually can offer her based on our own particular capacities. This is what makes us enthusiastic, but at the same time nervous. There is no simple way to carry out the Minga. This is the truth, and for us it is a tremendous challenge.

What were simply ideas, dreams and desires just a short while back are today concrete and immediate imperatives. The countless letters of solidarity, the many manifestations of support, the various interpretations of the minga, the perceived opportunities that have emerged, along with the many inherent contradictions, are now confronted by a demand for a concrete reality.

From the point of view of the Minga of the People, the hour of truth has arrived. We call on a conscientious mobilization and offer generously our capacities as a people to work to protect and promote the struggle for life and dignity in Colombia. Either we confront the established order, expose it for what it is, and resist it, or we act within that order, and thereby help consolidate it. The established social and political order will not change with the latest phase of our organizing and mobilization, which ends here today, after a long march over the past six weeks. However, this Minga of the People is meant to fundamentally change that order.

The principal challenge we face consists of us having the wisdom to share with the people the underlying sense of the Minga (that is, the five point agenda that we include here), and not sacrifice its overall purpose and fundamental objectives while we obtain some concrete gains in the process towards social transformation, towards unity and a comprehensive coordination of our peoples.

Today, from the Plaza Simón Bolívar, we proclaim and hand over the Minga to everyone in order to confront the development model that has been imposed on us by actors of greed. We take this action in order to knock down the laws that displace us from our lands, and rob us of our collective resources. We do this in order to establish resistance and solidarity as concrete mechanisms to defend us all from a state that has been hijacked, one that permanently persecutes us. We do this to make sure that the state keeps its word, one that has cost us in blood. We do this to weave a path where all of us stop being considered ‘nothing’ at the service of the very few, to convert us into creators of a society where justice, liberty and the defense of Mother Earth become realities and principles.

The Walk: The Fabric of Colombia Walking the Minga of the People

We thereby proclaim our commitment to weave for all of Colombia a cloth of unity, one for all Colombia, such that:

We call on the establishment of the CONGRESS OF THE MINGA OF THE PEOPLE, one that should be held, at the latest, on October 12, 2009.

Beginning today, we will initiate the work needed to weave unity throughout Colombia, to construct in the public conscience, and in the actions of the people, a sense of consequent solidarity with the agenda of the people. We are committed to organizing ourselves, and to carry out an ongoing debate throughout the country, in order to convert the “Program for the Country that is Necessary and Possible” into something that can be further debated and approved in the Congress of the Minga, with a concrete plan of action, what ultimately would be the result of the common efforts of weaving the dignity of the people.

The word will continue to walk, informing us all, which will allow us to reflect, make decisions and take action.

Call to Action:

1. Starting today, we will construct on the march, a public pact of social processes, people and popular organizations;

2. We propose certain parameters to guarantee that the process of the Minga remains inclusive, participatory and democratic. We call on everybody to feel a part of this open process. The minimum requirements for active participation in the Minga include the following:
a. That we commit ourselves to working tirelessly, based on the five point agenda, which were part of the Minga de los Pueblos ever since it began in September 2004. That is, to convert Colombia from a country of owners without people into a country of peoples without owners;

b. That we commit ourselves to mobilizing all the necessary resources in order to advance the Minga, and contribute to constructing proposals, build alliances and work towards supporting the process leading up to the Congress of the Minga, so that this Congress becomes a reality;

c. We assume our obligations to support the coordination of the Minga, so that it does not become only something for us – that is, it is not ours only - but that it becomes something for everybody and anybody truly committed to the process.

Mechanism:

We call on all Colombia to:

1. Feel a part of this process, and to sign up as individuals, organizations, collectives, communities or other groups to the Social and Community Minga (for now, we offer our organizations, the ONIC, CRIC, ACIN, and the other indigenous organizations of the country, as the facilitator), such that:

a. The Minga will prepare a text, which will contain our Commitment to Act, and will make it available to all peoples, processes and social organizations in the entire country;

b. The Act will include a space that will allow participants to leave information; the collection of this necessary information will facilitate communication and coordination;

c. Organizations and groups that participate in this process will inform themselves, will reflect with one another, and will make decisions related to the long-term commitment of being a part of the Minga. Considering this, all participants will be able to sign onto the Act in the name of their respective organizations and/or groups.

d. The signed acts of commitment will be made public as an expression of recognition of your presence and participation;

e. A working group of the Minga, with representation of all participating sectors, will be charged with collecting and coordinating information during the first stages of the process, with the long-term commitment of broadening outreach in order to respond to the many specific demands of the participants in the Minga as it expands.

The coordination, in response to the Mandate of the People on the March, will be responsible for promoting the outreach effort, compile the Acts, make contact with the respective processes and/or diverse social organizations who respond to the call, and create a comprehensive map of the processes according to region and sectors. This coordination will also respond to the many challenges that might come up, always in consultation with the people based on the established criteria and with utmost transparency.

Logistical and political coordination of the Minga will continue to grow from within the process itself, according to the necessities and capacities of the participants. The Minga is basically calling on people to walk together in order to build alliances, and weave a fabric of social and popular resistance.

f. We will organize a process of planning in order to come up with a working strategy to broaden the call to action and the reach of the social fabric we are weaving.

2. With our agenda we will work with a disciplined pedagogy, with all the necessary materials and appropriate methodologies in order to reach the people and continue to weave in Minga, always looking to deepen the reach of our work and spread out to other areas. Every town, every neighborhood, every street, café, factory and home, each and every space and person will be a target of our call to action and proposal to weave in community.

a. We will create and design methodologies, content, and mechanisms of sharing, of listening and of weaving;

b. We will carry out a comprehensive process of collection of the many diverse voices of the people, in order to weave through the word of the communities;

c. The path of our march will serve as our school and our experience, so that the wisdom of the people will be converted into movement;

3. We will then synthesize the results with individual commissions focused on planning, analysis and follow-up, respecting the word of everybody because all of us will be collecting and synthesizing this information.

Mobilization and Conscience

This process requires numerous events, mobilizations, and actions of struggle and resistance that must be much more coordinated and shared amongst different sectors. This also goes for the work of constructing an agenda for debate and for practice. To weave is to walk the word. To weave is to learn to struggle in unity. To weave is to prevent the Minga from becoming exhausted, and to commit ourselves to begin the work that begins here, from now on! For this reason, in proposing this path, we respect the liberty of actions and the rhythm of our reality. The wisdom of the Minga consists of it not being a single recipe with one order, but a flexible response, a proposal that will grow depending on what we do and what may occur in the future.


Hunger, the humanitarian crisis, war and terror, the illegitimacy of the state, the struggles for our rights and liberties, the dynamics of the march of history are all a part of the Minga. We are committed to collecting all of this along the way in order to construct a country of peoples without owners. Every issue is a cause, and every cause is our cause as we march in this Minga. In order to change this reality of terror and greed, we must understand this. Our conscience will make us free to struggle. Rebellion is a right that we will exercise, without the authoritarianism of sectarianism, and without impositions.

Learning through action, this is the Minga. We must not be detoured by egoisms, nor should we drown in over-enthusiasm. Our objective is to struggle, to mobilize and to advance towards some shared goals. For now, we must join forces, resources, and capacities in order to achieve even a minimum advance in terms of convocation and action, to confront a regime and a model of which we all say “enough is enough, no more!” In our words and in our deeds, this call comes from all our struggles and pains. We work so that this demand “enough is enough” remains firm, concrete and sufficient. We will never again ask for a public audience with anybody, because we, the Minga of the People, are the country and the authority. Those who represent us must obey our demands, otherwise they should go.

The Minga LIVES, QUE VIVA LA MINGA!

For a Colombia of the people without owners, all the wisdom, all the pain, all the experience, all the words, all our grandmothers and our memories guide us. We are going to live because we are forever tired of the pain, death and greed of those that continue to rob us of a life of peace!

SOCIAL and COMMUNITY MINGA
Santafe de Bogotá, Colombia. BAKATÁ.

Plaza de Bolívar

November 21st, 2008.

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