From a group of citizens from civil society and the cultural sphere, active citizens with a desire to change this world so that this long-awaited paradigm shift can take place, so that after this global health crisis, we are not served the same soup, which has become undrinkable.
Ladies and gentlemen, leaders and all those with power in this world, dear citizens,
Do you really think we’ll live like we used to, the day after? Do you really believe that we will still accept to be those servile citizens who follow a world where we have been sold a supposedly infinite growth as a model of society, with financial capitalism as the adjudicator, consumption and immediate pleasures as corollaries? Bread and games, in short. As old as history!
Do you really believe that after having lost some of our loved ones or fellow citizens, we will still want that life where we sometimes spend more time on the road to work than with our children and loved ones?
Do you really believe that we will still want to consume this food full of additives, pesticides and other molecules that are harmful to our bodies, as is regularly shown by blood samples collected for analyses that give us the creeps in terms of toxic substances that we should never have ingested?
Do you really believe that we are still going to accept this massive destruction of our environment – our home – and of biodiversity, the source of life for our planet and for us?
Do you really believe that we will still accept these indecent discrepancies in wealth, worthy of Zola’s best books, written in another century?
We are sure, people of power, that you are already thinking about the future: how to bounce back or activate our resilience, to use a fashionable vocabulary. Well, this is the perfect opportunity to bounce back differently, to do better, to create a fairer world for us, where human relations will have regained a more important place than financial transactions and dividends to be distributed to a minority, a world where work will be better distributed so that half of humanity doesn’t slave away to the point of breathlessness, to the detriment of its quality of life, while the other half lives in misery because they don’t have access to this Grail of work. A world that will respect all humanity, including animals and ecosystems. A world where our being can be built differently, with its multiple dimensions and no longer confined to the single dimension of being a producer of economic wealth.
We do not dare to imagine what is likely to happen if we remain stuck on identical economic models, while States will spend colossal budgets to manage this health crisis. What debts will weigh on our countries if we keep the same economic mechanisms? Are you going to cancel these debts? Are you going to cancel these debts, including those of African countries? Or will you once again advocate austerity to repay everything, when the 2008 crisis has shown that it doesn’t work and that it further accentuates social disparity and the dangerous divisions within our societies?
This is an a-partisan and a-dogmatic demand. A simple reflection based on common sense, because to resist, we also need hope. And this hope does not lie in a return to the pre-existing state of our societies, but in a paradigm shift that so many philosophers, economists, ecologists and sociologists have been calling for for years. The health crisis will be difficult to manage, but it will have to be managed in the same way as social and environmental crises.
And if this feeling came to us after a week of confinement, just imagine only after a few weeks!
We are convinced that citizens and civil society actors will have to be involved in this change in a new way. That we will have to imagine with them, with us, the means to make them the real stakeholders in a broad process whose openness is justified by the exceptional nature of the moment. Democracy, too, will have to reinvent itself.
So, during those weeks, let us make the most of them to prepare another world for us. Now is the time and it is absolutely necessary. There are times in history when we need the courage to take great decisions.
From SAW-B, Belgium