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Alliance 21: Making Another World Possible
Evaluations, Visions, Proposals, and Projects
Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World
April 2003

The first three parts :

- Evaluation and Vision of the Future
- Proposals and Projects
- Report on the Participatory Process Used for the Evaluation and Future of the Alliance


- The second stage of the Alliance :

 

THE SECOND STAGE OF THE ALLIANCE


By Pierre Calame pic@fph.fr

First Contribution to a Collective Thinking Process

C/ Perspectives for the Second Stage of the Alliance (2003-2010)

a) A second seven-year stage ending with a World Parliament of Citizens

The Alliance has given itself a second stage of seven years culminating with the organization of a World Parliament of Citizens. This stage is made up of three periods:

  • 2003-2006, ending with an interregional meeting defining the specifications for the organization of the Parliament on the basis of a twofold global representation—geocultural and socioprofessional—inspired from Lille
  • 2007-2009, ending with an inter-socioprofessional world meeting defining
    the list of the significant organizations likely to send representatives to
    the Parliament
  • 2010, the year of the Parliament, which will be a 12-month process with 11 months of remote work, and one month of Assembly

b) A change of scale leading to multiple alliances

The general idea, reflecting the move from the World Citizens Assembly of 2001 to the World Parliament of Citizens in 2010, is one of a new change of scale. This is what we did already in the early stage by moving from the “preliminary convention for the States-General of the Planet” of 1993, which gave birth to the Alliance, to the World Assembly of 2001. We have, in 2003, what I have called a prototype: an Assembly, the Socioprofessional Networks, the Workshops, the Proposals, a Web site, methodological tools… This prototype has enabled a first exploration of all the challenges of this adventure. The change of scale is not going to consist in “doing the same thing but bigger,” all the less so that the world context has itself changed. We are entering a new phase of invention where each of the dimensions of the Alliance must explore the means of its own change of scale.

This change of scale doesn't consist in “doing bigger” what we “did small.” Rather, it is a way of exploiting all of the progress we have made in multiple ways.

For example, in 2000-2001, we were able to set up the prototype of about twenty Socioprofessional Networks: farmers, inhabitants, company managers, engineers, academics, women, researchers, journalists, shareholders, etc. Each of these groups was fairly limited, but it allowed us to see the interest of the working methods and to draw the main lines of the possible social contract between every socioprofessional sphere and the rest of society. The upcoming change of scale now depends on our capacity, in every sphere, to find concerns that are close to ours, to find an echo in pre-existing networks, and to set up multiple alliances.

Similarly, the methodology of the World Citizens Assembly can be transposed to regional or national citizens assemblies. We cannot, however, expect a hundred, a thousand assemblies of this type to be organized in the coming years. But if the idea of a citizens assembly finds an echo in such or such a region, such or such a country, or such or such a continent, if it proposes a way of doing things that meets the needs of a society in a small number of cases, if it is promoted by social or political forces, the change of scale will happen by itself, selectively.

c) Setting up a form of governance for the Alliance that is truly adapted to its nature and inspired from the common principles of governance

During the year 2003, we set up the “governance of the Alliance” by applying the principles of governance that were determined progressively by our work. The general philosophy of this “revolution in governance” is exposed in Proposal Paper N° 9 on the common principles for a governance adapted to the challenges of the twenty-first century. This Paper has already been translated and is being circulated in four languages.

To open the debate, I would like to suggest the following leads:

(1) Governance, when placed outside of the framework of national identities, is founded on a social contract. Belonging to a community is defined by every person’s rights and responsibilities. The Alliance has no “members” and the signature of a common platform confers no rights. Being “in an alliance” is defined by the commitments made to others, by everyone’s participation in the common effort.

(2) While traditional governance is defined by institutions, rules, and a distribution of jurisdiction, future governance will be defined above all by objectives, ethical criteria, and working systems. Hence:

  • The Alliance’s objective has to be expressed. It is the framework according to which everyone’s commitments are defined. For me, the objective is: “to build a world society contributing to face the major challenges of the twenty-first century, to define and to steer the necessary mutations for humankind's survival and development, in a spirit of responsibility, respect for diversity, and solidarity; in order to achieve this, to constitute, through experience and knowledge sharing, a force of evaluation, protest, and proposal from the local level to the global level.”
  • The ethical criteria are derived from the Charter of Human Responsibilities, which we should adapt to our specific case, as we did for different regions of the world and different socioprofessional spheres, in order to constitute the Charter of the Alliance. This charter would constitute the “house rules” of the Alliance. Participation in the Alliance would involve commitment to respecting this Charter.
  • The working systems are constituted by the working methods and calendars. They should therefore be an integral part of the core of the Alliance.

(3) Governance of the Alliance, like any governance, must be focused on making connections: between the local and the global, among the different socioprofessional spheres, among the cultures, among the challenges. We must verify that at all times our working systems correspond to our objectives, privilege the connections, and guarantee a maximum of unity and diversity.

(4) The principle of responsibility comes with a requirement of transparency and accountability to others. This applies of course to the FPH, but also to all the Allies.

(5) The idea of the legitimacy of exercising power and responsibilities is essential. An action is legitimate if it demonstrates commitment to the common effort and respect of the objectives, the criteria, and the working systems.

d) Continuation of the work according to the three paths: geocultural, socioprofessional, and thematic

The development of the Alliance according to the three paths—geocultural, socioprofessional, and thematic—has been confirmed. It is one of its main originalities because it recognizes that the diversity of the world does not apply to just one dimension.

e) A diversified strategy for the dissemination and ownership of the potential of the proposals resulting from the Proposal Papers and the World Assembly

It seems to me that this should go in several directions:

(1) Circulation of the Papers in different languages, both through written documents and through other media—CD-ROMs, DVDs, etc.—that make it possible to organize all the accumulated material, from summarization elements such as the Agenda for the Twenty-first Century, then moving on to the Proposals, the supporting experiences, and the working documents. The structuring of the Web site makes this partly possible, but a CD-ROM makes it additionally possible to include “navigation” tools in this material (mapping software, search engine, etc.).

(2) Collective ownership of the work of the Alliance so we can move from a summary drawn up by a small group or by a single person to a “plural” reading of this work. The FPH has already stated that it was ready to back collective thinking in this direction in 2003.

(3) Confrontation of the priorities determined by the Papers and the World Assembly with those determined by the work and proposals of other movements.

(4) Decompartmentalization of the Papers: In 2000-2001, the rule of the game was that everyone was to work on their own; this is what made it possible for so many Papers to be completed within the deadline. Now, however, the work needs to be decompartmentalized. There are several ways to do this. For example, by starting work on “second generation” Papers, which would integrate, on a given theme, contributions from the other Papers, or by drafting “cross-cutting Papers” around the strategic lines that were determined by the summarization of the Papers and the World Assembly.

(5) Opening local debates on the Agenda or on the whole series of Papers by setting up a “second generation” of Local Groups of the Alliance.

(6) Translation of the proposals into concrete strategies for change. At the outcome of the first stage, proposals have often remained in the state of general orientations. They need to be translated into more concrete action plans at different scales. The Alliance, due to its pluralism and its non-institutional nature, is not able to lead campaigns as an entity, the way a traditional social movement or organization focused on one topic, such as Greenpeace or Amnesty International, can do so. It is, however, a forum of relations among the Allies, which makes it possible for them to propose to others a common action to which they are committed personally. Respecting the objectives, the ethical criteria, and the working methods should be the framework in which it might be possible to define an “Alliance label,” i.e., the right to refer to the Alliance and to use its logo, without committing the whole of the Allies to an action.

f) Socioprofessional enlargement

Our 2001-2002 experience of having diversified the Socioprofessional Networks seems to me essential for the future. The existence of visible products of the Alliance—the Papers, the Charter of Human Responsibilities, and the Agenda, make it now possible to go further by making “partial” alliances—that is, without “forcing” others to get involved in the Alliance itself—with pre-existing networks (unions, scientists’ associations, academic networks, women’s movements, international networks of inhabitants, organizations of local elected officials, social-economy networks, farmers' organizations, company-managers’ movements, etc.)

g) Development of Local, National, and Regional Citizens Assemblies

During the first stage of the Alliance, we were not able to find the means to support sustainably and for productive purposes the “geocultural groups” of the Alliance, although there are a few exceptions. They did not reflect a broad enough socioprofessional diversity. The involvement of Allies from a same region in different Workshops did not necessarily inspire them to form a Local or Regional Group. On the other hand, the preparation process of the World Assembly has produced a proposal for working system on a local, national, or regional scale, which is the Citizens Assembly. This system enables progress according to the “three path” method. It could be a way of building common perspectives with the different existing networks. Some of the participants in Lille expressed their wish to initiate such a process. Those from Colombia have begun to work on one. I believe this to be a very important perspective for the Alliance. If by 2010 a small number of this type of assembly has been staged, particularly in countries where the traditional democratic model is in crisis—Argentina, Venezuela, Palestine, Congo, etc.—the Alliance will have taken a great step forward.

h) Circulation, appreciation, and transposition of the Charter

The value of the working process itself is tremendous. The need to have a common ethical core on a world scale, and for this core to be based on a broadened definition of responsibility will be increasingly and extensively recognized.

The absurdity of a democratic system in which a president considers that he is only accountable to his specific voters, of an economic system where a CEO is only accountable to his shareholders, of a scientific system where a researcher is only accountable to his colleagues and his employer is increasingly being revealed.

I therefore consider that the circulation, appreciation, and transposition of the Charter are a priority of the second stage of the Alliance. Perspectives are many, as for the Proposal Papers. For example:

(1) Translation and circulation of the Charter in many languages. Many participants of the World Assembly are prepared to take initiatives in that direction. Edith Sizoo is prepared to coordinate this work.

(2) Establishing contacts with spiritual leaders to work on a common sharing and a broad visibility. For this, Makarand Paranjape is going to take advantage of the organization in India of the next World Social Forum.

(3) Using the Charter to promote an ethical foundation on a regional, national, or local scale. Beno"t Derenne and Jacques Onan have taken this type of initiative in the framework of the debate on a European Constitution.

(4) Elaboration, with other networks, of an ethical charter in different socioprofessional spheres, in the framework of the second stage of the Socioprofessional Networks. Initiatives in continuation of the work of 2000-2001 have already been taken in the direction of scientists, executives and engineers, academics, and companies. The Charter then appears as the foundation for a new social contract.

i) Consolidation of an information system using the confirmed experience of
the first stage

The information system. Earlier, I mentioned what appeared to me to be the strengths and weaknesses of our present information system and the FPH’s impossibility to support it alone. In a non-institutional process as that of the Alliance, however, the information system is the condition for its survival, the equivalent of blood circulation in the human body.

(1) What appears to me to be urgent is to reinstate a regular information system, as inexpensive as possible, which circulates the simplest possible information on “what is going on in the Alliance.” It is every Ally’s duty to inform others of his/her initiatives, and in my opinion this should be part of the “house rules” of the Alliance.

Information is above all sharing “what is happening.” The “What’s New?” produced twice a month by Pierre Johnson in 2000-2001 seems to me to be a model to be restored. This very brief information, circulated if possible through the Internet, provided that in some cases regional or local centers can furnish its translation and postal routing, could refer to sources for more complete information and data bases on the Web site, these same centers providing a postal rerouting service to where access to the Web site is impossible.

(2) The Web site of the Alliance must maintain its “turntable” function. The development of techniques and practices should make it possible in the coming years to decentralize part of the management of the Web site, with Thematic and Socioprofessional Workgroups taking responsibility for the management of their own area. But there must be a team with the permanent function of managing and improving the general architecture of the Web site, and adapting the common specifications of all the Networks that are set up in relationship to the Alliance and which should refer to the main Alliance Web site. This evolutionary standardization function appears vital to me. Its aim is to ensure, as in any form of governance, that unity and diversity are both met with.

(3) Facilitation of exchanges among Allies is another function of the information system. We already have a varied experience of e-forums and mailing lists. It shows that such exchanges must be well regulated to be useful. Otherwise, information is only noise. The “peace forum” experience set up on the initiative of Allies around Richard PŽtris and Gustavo Marin after September 11th is especially interesting, as well as the facilitation by Marti Olivella and Laia Botey of the forum for the Enlarged International Facilitation Team (EIFT). We will therefore need small teams to take responsibility for the facilitation and transfer of their knowledge to others in a field where technology changes rapidly.

(4) Two other interconnected ideas, a resource center and a monitoring center, are beginning to take shape at the crossroads of the Web site, the research systems, and experience-sharing systems. On the initiative of a few Allies, two resource centers have been set up as prototypes: RINOCEROS (Suzanne Humberset, Franoise Feugas) on Responsible, Plural and United Development, and IRENEES (Henri Bauer, Vincent Calame) on the art of peace. In the continuation of the Socioprofessional Network of Academics, a monitoring center for university reform (ORUS) is under construction (Alfredo Pena Vega, Georges Garcia…). Another, WEEL, had been outlined in the framework of the "Energy Workshop,” but has not made any headway. Another could set up soon around the topic of environmental education (POLIS-Yolanda Ziaka).

With common specifications, a constellation of resource and monitoring centers linked to the Alliance Web site could come into being. This would contribute to the pening of the Alliance, preventing it from closing up on itself.

j) Development and circulation of the tools and methods at the service of
the democracy

The success of the contribution of the “mapping team” (implementation of the mapping tools to produce models of the debates and proposals developed for the summarization of the Proposal Papers and the World Assembly) at the last World Social Forum shows that such methods are fundamental for the construction of a true democratic debate. Terra Nova on its side has developed the practice of deliberation tools (Delibera). We have adapted for the Alliance, taking advantage of the Internet, the experience-management methods developed with the DPH network. Many efforts are being made elsewhere to provide world democracy with appropriate tools. Claude Henry of the CNRS, the French national research center, is conducting research with us on software for “tooling alliances.” The Alliance must be in the future a place for the development of these methods in the spirit of free-software communities. It must also and above all be an international collective forum for the sharing and learning of these methods, in keeping with the idea that working systems and methods, in the broad sense of the term, are an essential part of the governance of the Alliance.

k) Action designed to address the media, institutions, and political
authorities

The Alliance, a long-term effort with no spokesperson, no spectacular action, no strong identity, responds neither to the logic of a “society of the spectacle” nor to that of the media. Nevertheless, my conviction is that the wind is turning and the need for an “Alliance for another globalization” has become necessary, without which protest and resistance actions will be lacking perspective. But there is no possible centralized action that can be addressed to the media. It is up to every Ally to say to him or herself that he or she has a responsibility in this area and that it is possible to refer explicitly to the collective intelligence of the Alliance to speak out and to challenge things in his or her own name. Such a visibility of the Alliance, more for its concrete efficiency than through its own action, would be in keeping, in my view, with its deep nature.

l) Exploitation of complementarities with international forums, in
particular the Social Forums

I believe in the complementarity of the Alliance with other international forums. They are indispensable to one another, as underscored by Candido Grzybowski—one of the early Allies and one of the instigators of the World Social Forum—at the closing of the Lille Assembly. How can we best take advantage of this complementarity, among others with the WSF? On the basis of the experience of the first three WSFs and of the first Regional Social Forums my personal point of view is the following:

(1) I am more convinced than most of the Allies of the limits of the present form of the WSF. If they do not manage to provide better organization, and to be more diverse in their recruitment and their themes, more democratic in their debates, and more rigorous in the elaboration of alternatives, they will rapidly collapse under the weight of their own success. Such a downfall could be dramatic, it could spoil the efforts of collective hope. It could reinforce the idea that there is no alternative to the evolution of the world’s present course. It is therefore a collective responsibility of the Alliance to help these forums to change by providing them with methods and proposals, and by giving a cross-cultural and cross-professional dimension to their organization committee.

(2) The yearly organization of the forums, provided that this does not dissipate our energy, can offer an opportunity to take regular stock of the progress of the Alliance by making sure that the Allies participating in them are not only advocating their own concerns but also the progress of the whole.

(3) The WSFs, unlike the Alliance, are media oriented. They therefore offer a rare opportunity of visibility for the Alliance, its objectives, its methods, and its proposals, provided that the Allies are organized to promote this visibility in the colossal fair that these Forums constitute.

I therefore think that we should jointly define a strategy for the presence of the Alliance in these Forums: Allies who go there can be the advocates of the image and the proposals of the Alliance, the guarantee for diversity, the visibility of the Alliance, and of the events that we organize there singly or with others. A meeting on site two or three days before the Social Forums would make it possible for the attending Allies to take stock of the proposals and to ensure a much better dialogue and collective visibility. A number of Allies—Gustavo Marin, Siddhartha, Pierre Vuarin, Marti Olivella, and Chan Hue Gang—have participated regularly or occasionally in the international committee of the WSF. We must think about a way to ensure continuity and renewal of the mobility of the Alliance.

m) Commitment of the Foundation to what is most difficult to support and to
finance

Involvement of the Foundation in the second stage of the Alliance. The FPH’s orientations for 2003-2010 will be outlined in April 2003 and finalized in June 2003. I can therefore express myself on this subject only in my personal name:

(1) From the ethical point of view, in terms of responsibility, the FPH cannot lose interest in the future of the Alliance, as far as there is the same determination among the Allies.

(2) The Charter of Human Responsibilities says that “our responsibility is proportional to the knowledge and power that each of us holds.” As long as the FPH continues to carry considerable weight in the Alliance, for historical reasons and because of its financial and methodological influence, it is its duty to give a transparent account of its general strategy (which it did as early as 1996) and of its partnerships and financial decisions (which it has improved upon since the Call for Initiatives in the spring of 2002).

(3) The orientations that I am thinking of submitting to the Foundation Council are inspired from the same intuitions that I have exposed here for the second stage of the Alliance. More than ever, we must use our financial independence to enable that which is essential but usually cannot find any financing: the construction of connections at the service of a pluralistic world civil society, work in the long term, and the elaboration of alternatives.

(4) Beyond the money, focus on the necessary methods and disciplines for collective work is one of the specificities and strengths of the FPH. We need to continue down this path.

(5) The FPH is only one of the components of the Alliance. It has its own profile. It has its priorities. It has its limits. From this point of view, I remain faithful to the orientations that the Foundation Council defined in 1996: the FPH, within the Alliance, must concentrate on that which is most difficult to carry out or to finance, that which does not go spontaneously in the direction of social movements. I am thinking in particular of the following points: going toward the various socioprofessional spheres and developing the socioprofessional networks that are most distant from the world of NGOs; going toward the regions that are least present in the Alliance, where it is not easy to go but where the future of the world will be largely played out: China, India, the Anglo-Saxon countries, Indonesia, Russia, Central Asia, etc.; making a constant disciplined effort to avoid consensus among people who are predisposed to believing in the same things, assuming the complexity of realities, drawing up alternatives in a rigorous fashion, having strategies for change built for the long term; taking an active part in the maintenance and the development of the information system, the methods and their circulation; advocating as a priority the proposals deriving from the Agenda for the Twenty-first Century, governance and ethics, which are not spontaneously the priorities of the civil-society movements; backing the process of dissemination of the Charter; supporting the setting up of systems for the assessment of the governance of the Alliance, such as the implementation of the house Charter, auditing the tools and methods, organizing yearly assessment meetings on the occasion of the Social Forums; working for the Alliance’s long-term existence, in respect of the continuity and the timetables and in a spirit of tolerance and pluralism; contributing to the organization of the World Parliament of Citizens.

© 2001 Alliance pour un monde responsable, pluriel et solidaire. Tous droits rZservZs.