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Add your voice to The People’s Declaration for Beijing+25

Remember that time we gathered in New York for the 64th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the state representatives delivered a thoughtful groundbreaking declaration on the rights of women and girls, trans and gender-diverse people?

You don’t?

Neither do we. And it was not because of the coronavirus.

Instead, the official CSW64 Declaration, released on March 9th, is so yesterday’s news.

It ‘reaffirms,’ ‘welcomes,’ ‘emphasizes,’ and ‘recognizes’ commitments from the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action without any of the boldness that this difficult moment calls for. And we understand, it’s a horrible time, with some terrifying capitalist, fascist and fundamentalist governments, it is no time for negotiation.

But, suffocating in politeness and bearing all the hallmarks of inter-governmental language, the [a]political declaration tastes like a watered down decaf skim-milk cappuccino: where is our spoon full of challenging fascisms and fundamentalisms? No sprinkles of current struggles? And, can we please take that in a social movements cup, instead of the state institutional one?

25 years later, it’s too little, too late. In short, it put us to sleep. And then it riles us up.

At a moment when the United Nations is working overtime to mobilize around the 25th Anniversary of Beijing, when feminist movements strive to shape the process, and when a bevvy of new structures -- from upcoming Generation Equality Forums in Mexico and France to potential Action Coalitions -- could shape gender equality agendas (we hope!), the bar must be raised.

So at AWID we decided to write our own declaration - and we want you to write it with us.

Below is our People’s Political Declaration - Zero Draft. No, it’s not going to go into the language at CSW. No, the commas don’t matter. But it sure feels good to write down what we really mean, instead of  negotiating it, because words matter and shape our realities. … We invite you to add on!

Join us in rocking the boat to recall that the spirit of Beijing lives on. Yes, feminists might choose to engage with formal political processes. But amidst all the bureaucratic processes and often empty celebrations, we remain true to our vision, our words, our movements.

What would you add to the People’s Declaration below?
Open the Comment box below and start a discussion. (through your Disqus or social media accounts)

The People’s Declaration for Beijing+25

On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, we, feminists of the World:

  • Remember the massive movement-led mobilization that, over the course of years, led to the 1995 Conference in Beijing that pushed language and boundaries beyond acceptability and politeness. True, we didn’t get all our language in the document, but we saw each other in our interconnected struggles and we left feeling like it was a step forward.  

  • Reject and call out any future processes that tinker at the edges of Beijing; that declaration was a floor to stand on, not a roof to limit us!  It was a start and 25 years later you better believe that our demands are miles ahead.   

  • Honor the courage of the more than 4,000 accredited civil society representatives who, in 1995, spoke truth to power and negotiated hard for women’s rights to be front and center on global agendas; and we applaud those government representatives that listened and committed to something bold, new, and propositional for that moment (we miss them now);

  • Recognize that feminist, social justice and liberation movements are transforming people’s lives by all means, with and without governmental support, often in the face of domestic or colonial state oppression, and that we will continue to do so;

  • Celebrate that while the current oppressive state and global systems hold a great deal of power over our lives, rights and freedoms, - our counter-cultures thrive, our community economies are based on solidarity and care, and our joy and pleasure are powerful strategies of resistance;

Looking at the current moment:

  • We refuse and resist all forms of  fascisms and fundamentalisms throughout the world and call on all the people of the world to rise up and resist! We will be ungovernable if we have to.   

  • We demand with our feet, with our direct action and with our vote the end of neoliberalism and  financial capitalism.

  • We demand that governments and the UN  stop claiming they 'empower women' in the current exploitative economy and instead ensure that feminist movements are well-resourced, that the economy is transformed to serve the public good, and that the brutal rule of transnational corporations is smashed!

  • We believe that it is time to end the domination of the military-industrial complex, end all military spending and put the resources to healing the Earth!

  • We demand respecting the right of Indigenous communities to govern themselves and ending the dominance of those countries who continue to exploit them as if they were their colonies.

  • We defend the right to define our own food and agriculture systems, choosing those that provide us with healthy food, produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods.

When political declarations don’t serve us, let’s make our own.

We celebrate that the Women's Rights Caucus has also produced an alternative Beijing +25 political declaration.

What would you add to the People’s Declaration? Say it below.
Open the Comment box below and start a discussion. (through your Disqus or social media accounts)