Chus González García, Quorum Global's driving force
The collective loss of economic, social and political rights; job and livelihood insecurity; laws that persecute freedom of expression; the upsurge of racism, xenophobia and machismo; the rise of the far-right, violence and environmental destruction. A global context that, although bleak, must not stop us but rather encourage us to construct and draw attention to alternatives that break the paralysis and fear. With this in mind, more than 300 people from a hundred organisations and groups (social, ecology, feminist, those fighting for the rights of migrants and refugees, development NGOs, media outlets, etc.) came together in Málaga from 19 to 21 October.
For three days, the groups worked through a number of proposals for the creation of a joint action framework. One of the questions that appeared repeatedly was the need to learn from the feminist movement, a policy proposal that has successfully put the ethics of the citizens at the centre of the political and social agenda. It also opted on an economic model that revolves around the welfare of people and the planet; through the return of democracy and the right of citizen participation in making public policy and economic proposals. The retaking of legislation as a tool to protect the rights of everybody; the prevention and eradication of many types of violence that we endure; and the recovery of transforming potential from the local and day-to-day were the other pieces of the common puzzle to change course.
Using a participative methodology intended to move from theory to action, the event encouraged people to outline links and connections in the so-called “islands”. Each island made umbrella proposals that bring together diverse topics and agendas, and cross-cutting and specific questions. Six islands and six big topics were chosen: democracy and citizenship, coexistence and dialogue, empowerment and collective solidarity, overall sustainability and citizens, economic alternatives and living spaces. Each of these had a great diversity of opinions, thoughts, experiences, agreement and disagreement that were very inspiring. From that collective inspiration and work came proposals on how to connect our practices and work methods.
The islands were part of an innovative programme that invited us to suggest a route of exploration and contact. It was made up of different complementary activities, such as concerts and exhibitions, the playroom, laboratories – spaces intended for transformation at a symbolic level, and virtual exchange with organisations and platforms at an international level.
Constructing collective power
The collected conclusions were shared at the close of the sessions. A space that served as a starting point to light up new islands, to imagine how to navigate the future and reaffirm the commitment with a change of course: “It would be foolhardy to say that we do not have proposals. We have proposals, what we do not have is power. We need to construct collective power,” Yayo Herrero, member of the Foro de Transiciones Think Tank, asserted at the end of the event.
“We throw away our sea, so we can connect our shores, cultures and dreams. To bring people closer. We leave our islands of struggles and privileges, of our old ways of doing things, to be and become the sea that unites us. We want one sea to meet together, not for death,” said the manifest that was given at the end of the event and called for a march through the streets of Málaga with the slogan “We stop the sinking of rights”. A march that, consistent with what has been constructed during the three days, called for dignity and justice in the face of capitalist, patriarchal and racist violence.
For further information on the programme and the audio-visual record of the event, see the website https://encuentro.quorumglobal.org/ (the outcomes will be available soon).