title: PEOPLE ARE FUNDAMENTAL
what: during the Second World Social Forum in 2002, the Articulación Feminista Marcosur (Marcosur Feminist Coalition) launched the consciousness-raising campaign "Against Fundamentalism, People Are Fundamental". This action encouraged thousands of women and men to denounce the all forms of fundamentalist backlash against human rights, especially women's rights. This campaign called attention to the resurgence of fundamentalist movements around the globe and stressed the need for a united front against this reactionary threat.
This campaign promotes democratic and pacific forms of conflict resolution, which allow differences to be recognised and solidarity strengthened, equality pursued and diversity expressed, in the search for negotiated solutions, whether in the public, private or intimate spheres of human coexistence.
who: an analysis of the campaign's global impact to date was carried out by the Articulación Feminista Marcosur at a "Metaforum" held in Uruguay, July 31 - August 3, 2003. Special emphasis was placed on the impact of the activities developed in the context of the past World Social Fora, and participants discussed potential events to be held in the context of the 4th WSF in Mumbai, India, January 2004. The Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network (LACWHN) has been committed to this important initiative since the start. In 2003, LACWHN sent a delegation of women to Porto Alegre who joined their voices to the thousands of others united in this effort.
why: "Fundamentalisms can only be overcome through a transformation at the individual level, of citizens, of political subjects. This means clearing the field and sowing the seeds of egalitarian, ethical and impartial political and economic relations of solidarity. It means nurturing the belief that a more stimulating and exciting society can flourish, one in which sexual, racial, religious, ethnic and all other types of diversity can be truly valued".
Whether religious, political, economic, scientific or cultural, fundamentalism is always political and flourishes in societies which negate the full diversity of the human race and which legitimate the use of violence to subordinate one group to another, or one person to another. Essentially exclusionary and bellicose, fundamentalisms undermine the construction of a project for the human race where all people have the right to have rights, by sacrificing women’s lives, with increasingly refined perversity.
The campaign aims to multiply voices expressing firm opposition to discriminatory social practices, discourses and representations, which oppress people or leave them in a state of vulnerability. The promoters believe it is possible to construct both symbolically and politically, a new dimension to the human being and subject, whether embodied as woman or man, through which these practices will become impossible.
contemporary divinity: Articulación Feminista Marcosur highlights the theory that contemporary market dogma is responsible to having created a form of fundamentalism, which has nothing to do with religious faiths but it’s equally dangerous. The market has become – they argue - a kind of ‘contemporary divinity’. Like religious fundamentalisms, market fundamentalism also suppresses the spaces available for the expression of differences, and rejects democratic debate. There is no belief left in the possibility of institutions, and a purely economic concept such as ‘market’ gains the privileges of a myth, organising the new world. In this world, only the most competent survive, be they companies or individuals.
Investment capital and those who control it – private banks, multinational corporations and the like – are the new masters of the universe. In this frenzied development environment, poorer nations are forced to attract foreign investment to their shores to increase exports by any means; for the money earned from exports provides income to reinvest in the nation. Thus, the only way out of the mire of poverty is through international trade. Today there is an urgent need for actions that express our values as citizens of the world, rather than just global consumers.
how: "Your Mouth, Fundamental Against Fundamentalism". - the key slogan of this campaign - emphasises that it is crucial that civil society speak out, free from censorship, in the defence of the essential freedoms of all human beings. At the Third World Social Forum in 2003, the thousands of women and men participating in the opening ceremony tossed around huge balls decorated with this slogan and the campaign's logo: a voluptuous, open mouth. The campaign flourished at this meeting, which provided an opportunity to share testimonies, experiences and reflections on the subject from very different countries.