Thursday, June 28, 2007

For Liberty, Justice, Equality & Sustainable Communities Across Borders

For Liberty, Justice, Equality & Sustainable Communities Across Borders

Determining Our Rights, Envisioning Our Future

A message from the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

The first U.S. Social Forum, being convened in Atlanta, Georgia, the heart of the U.S. South, is taking place amidst momentous global, national and local transformations and crises. These provide unprecedented challenges and opportunities to the U.S. movements for social, racial, environmental and economic justice. Here, together, we must begin envisioning not only a different and better world, but one where we reposition ourselves and our country in the service of solidarity – with the struggles of Indigenous peoples everywhere, with the foreign-born, migrants, refugees, women, children, workers, and “other” – the marginalized and exploited people and communities the world over so that a “another world” becomes possible.

These challenges involve “defragmenting” our movements in order to broaden the impact and scope of our work and band together more easily across different sectors and organizing ideas, strategies, visions and agendas.

Immigrant rights provide a core challenge and issue that almost demands the attention of all sectors and movements. U.S. immigration policy is also trade and foreign policy – immigrant rights has never been just about the rights of the foreign-born. The U.S. war and occupation of Iraq, the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the anti-immigrant, rightwing climate in the U.S. are all linked. The militarization of border and immigration control have become the entry points for unprecedented attacks and rollbacks of civil rights and liberties.

U.S.-led and imposed economic development, “free” trade and neoliberal policies, are the root causes of forced and involuntary migration around the world. As a result of unequal and profit-driven capitalist development, working class, Indigenous peoples and people of color communities are being destabilized. Migrants are also Indigenous people who are losing their remaining traditional lands, are forcibly displaced and must endure wherever they can find work. Migrants are workers who have lost jobs and all else, and now must cross international borders to survive.

The password for development has become privatization: almost everything -- including air, water and land, rights, humans, and culture -- can be bought and sold or deprived from those who have little or nothing. At the same time, the natural world is being radically destroyed and altered, where global climate change threatens the human habitat but starts by destroying the most vulnerable and poor in the global South.

The U.S. Social Forum provides an ideal setting to cross-fertilize ideas, movements and communities. Only through such dialogue -- becoming vulnerable and opening our hearts -- can we as social justice movements become invulnerable. It is through the process of dialogue that we can arrive at a shared vision and analysis - the necessary preconditions to work from a shared agenda, where together we define our rights and organize to attain them as part of envisioning another future, the better and more just world that is possible, and that we must enact into being.


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