Vision statement

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Vision statement

I've been thinking a bit about whether a section of the Vision statement could perhaps be improved. So here are my draft suggestions for discussion re the key values. I've uniformly called them 'ideas' and tried to make them a little clearer or more exact without becoming too specific. They have thus become a little longer. I see the dilemma as: too general and they become often meaningless 'motherhood' statements, too many details and people will start disagreeing more... I've also added an additional point for discussion: Non-Violence. No doubt there's room for more improvements...

The present list is in quotes at the top, my suggestions for discussion in bullet points below:

"Social Justice: The view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.

Ecological Sustainability: The capacity of the biosphere to meet the needs of the present generation, without hindering future generations from being able to meet their needs.

Participatory Democracy: The idea that decision-making systems should be designed to maximize inclusive participation, which forms the roots of democracy.

International Solidarity: Recognizing and strengthening the common bond of all individuals seeking a better world, in turn strengthening the results."

We are seeking 'another world' of social justice, ecological sustainability, participatory democracy, international solidarity and non-violence.

• Social Justice: the idea that all are entitled to equal economic, political and social rights with a view to decreasing social inequalities within and between nations by democratizing economic decision-making and equalizing access to resources needed for survival and a good life; this now includes no one living beyond their ecologically sustainable ‘fair earth share’ of material inputs and outputs

• Ecological Sustainability: the idea that all economic and social activities should be conducted within the constraints imposed by the ecological carrying capacities of local, regional, national and global ecosystems so that these can be indefinitely maintained or improved into the far future

• Participatory democracy: the idea that freedom and forms of direct democracy should be maximized and extended to public decision-making in all areas of society and the economy so that the people themselves make the rules and call the shots

• International solidarity: the idea that we all now belong to one planet and people, and that regions and nations must now engage in more intense levels of global dialogue, cultural interchange, cooperation, mutual aid and wealth equalization with a view to securing global peace, social justice, well-being and ecological survival

• Non-Violence: the idea that, although one may understand oppressed people sometimes having to take up arms to defend themselves from lethal attacks, deep social change towards a non-violent society of maximized democracy, cooperation, justice and dialogue cannot be achieved by using the inherently oppressive, undemocratic and non-dialogic means of violence


i created a new forum called Site Presentation and moved this topic there along with a previous topic i posted about “mission” statements.

so, i recently changed those four points to words suggested by Lambert awhile back. the re-wording is as terse as before:

• Social Justice: Everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.

• Ecological Sustainability: We must respect and safeguard the capacity of the biosphere to meet the needs of the present as well as future generations.

• Participatory Democracy: Decision making should allow and encourage inclusive participation by all those concerned on all levels of all sectors of society.

• International Solidarity: We recognize and value the common bond of all individuals seeking a better world, supporting and strengthening each other in our efforts.

my initial intention was to keep those points as non-expansive as possible, with the idea each one would link to an expansion, say, a dedicated page with a more in-depth piece on that point. another thought was a dedicated page to contain user contributed expansions of those, if there happened to be interest, but i think we could save that idea for a time of demand.

i definitely enjoy your words here. my basic reasoning was to allow for some interpretation on the doc which is loosely a user’s agreement, for the same reason you mention about disagreement, or otherwise narrowing the appeal. there has to be something at the gate, but should also allow for some journeys toward more radical thought for mainstream activists. an expansion would be separate from that loose agreement and meant to stimulate thought and point those basic ideas at some of the application a bit more specifically.

any thoughts on that view? or on writing a page version of these points?

terse is better

Forget my ungainly attempts completely, camerado, much too wordy and inelegant. Your new terse version of the main points is MUCH better, and takes care of my main quibbles with the lack of clarity or disjointedness in the earlier version as well. Still wondering what your thoughts are on possibly adding non-violence?


It is not easy to formulate the rejection of violence as a means to seek a better world while avoiding condemning self-defence. One person’s revolutionary terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter engaged in justified self-defence against violent oppression. We cannot put an essay here, and any statement that is as concise and strong as the other items can hardly do justice to the complexities of the matter.

Apart from that, the items from the Vision statement are about the end, that is, the world we seek, not how we may hope to gain it. The statement about non-violence is primarily about the means. Listing it among the vision items it would be odd man out.

To express our own commitment to non-violence we could change the bold sentence preceding the four bullet points to:

We seek a peaceful fundamental transformation leading to a world that is rooted in social justice, ...


As you say, Lambert, an essay wouldn't be appropriate here, so your formula in bold might be the ticket. My original suggestion re non-violence in the first box above does also somewhat mirror your reservations about legitimate 'self-defence'. I personally cannot see myself as an absolute pacifist. However, I'd make careful distinctions between advanced industrial countries and others, the question of outright national war or not as a defence against external attack (versus the question of internal social change/revolution), the frequent ideological use of 'self-defence' as a pretext for aggression/attack etc. I also don't think ends and means can be separated and that they should be as congruent or identical as possible. Bart de Ligt: 'the more violence, the less revolution'. Behind all this of course the tacit historical experience of many cases of terror, massacres, brutality, torture etc all in the name of some 'revolutionary higher cause', from the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions to various modern 'revolutionary' terrorisms. A legacy, one could argue, that many on the left have never squarely faced and drawn the consequences from...