People’s Congress: Countrywide Proposal for a life with dignity.

Sent by CENSAT

(Translated by Deryn Collins, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN’s Volunteer Editor.)

October 5, 2010

8-12 October 2010, National University of Colombia, Bogota.

The People’s Congress is a process of a social and popular character that brings together all those processes and dynamics at a town, sector and regional level that are willing to construct a present and a future for our country with a Latin American and world perspective.

We are taking Minga1 at its word by spelling out and bringing together the distinct ways that the Colombian people have to express and organize themselves as a proposal for a better country.

Recognizing this as part of the 518 years of resistance by the indigenous peoples and the 200 years of the popular fight for a country where everybody has a place; today we call upon the whole of Colombian society to be a part of the construction of the People’s Congress to begin the community march towards the dignifying of the life of our country and our people.

Objectives: We look to evaluate and plan the route taken in social and political processes during the last two decades in our country’s history, that express the life goals of the processes and the points of view that we must defend together with the actual destructive model. For this we propose:

  1. To develop the themes that lay out at the outset, the motivation and joint construction of  ‘El Plan de Vida Digna Nacional’ 2
  2. To set a framework for a ‘Mandate of Mandates’ that brings together all the distinct processes at town, sector and regional levels.
  3. To propose and create a platform of mobilization and action to plan and take on, in the next few years, jointly and with the strategic pact for the country.
  4. To define the organization and methodological criteria for the social and political articulation with all the processes that bet in the construction of the proposal of the country.
  5. To gather and strengthen an international agenda to forward the advance of the integration of the people.


The Main Topics of the People’s Congress

The perspective of the dialogue we propose, takes into account the following considerations:

  • The depth of the current worldwide financial crisis in which we live, which shows the crisis in the occidental world and consequently demonstrates that capitalism is unfeasible as a life model.
  • Questioning the rationality that has structured our current critical social systems.
  • The urgent need for a new way of thinking and a new order that establishes social and natural balance for the planet.
  • The norms of the community as an action-vision for a new social plan: The Good Life.
  • The systematic negation by those in power to accept the need to replace current imposed order.
  • The direction of social action at this historic moment: demanding the rights to exercise our rights and a full and integral life.

The People’s Congress should allow us to put a plan into action that includes all the core ideas we consider fundamental in moving towards the dignified Colombia we all deserve.   
Initially, from the Minga we came up with five points that were fundamental in bringing together the many social processes from around the country and we found that it is necessary to include other visions which complement these 5 points of light to create an integral plan for the country.  
From this perspective, we have come up with the seven main themes that bring together and synchronize the accumulated actions and thoughts of the people; and we now have the distinct processes and organizations that the People’s Congress promised: 

  1. LAND, TERRITORY AND SOVEREIGNITY: to take into account the communities daily regional and territorial construction, in a pact of self determination and autonomy.
  2. ECONOMY FOR LIFE AND AGAINST LEGISLATION THAT EXPROPRIATES: we are facing production model in which the general rule has been inequality and of expropriation. We propose realizing another possible economic plan, lead by the people living in harmony with nature.
  3. CONSTRUCTING THE GOOD LIFE: the politics and dynamics which are understood as a process and a way to liberate the potential for a natural and social life which allows us to recuperate its integrity and harmony.
  4. CULTURE; DIVERSITY AND COMMON ETHICS: taking onto account the many diverse ways in which we live together, we are thinking about a diverse country.
  5. LIFE; JUSTICE AND ROADS FOR PEACE: it is impossible to build a country for everyone without betting for peace and justice. The essence of the conflict neither consists of an unbalanced and unnatural society with the dominant model having produced, for whatever reason, our framework for thinking that overcoming it is not the juncture nor biased, part of the character of life itself and the dimensions fits relations.
  6. VIOLATION OF RIGHTS AND BROKEN AGREEMENTS: at every stage, the agreements that we have made with the government have been betrayed, twisted, broken and disrespected, in the same way, our rights have been systematically violated and unrecognized. As a memory exercise strengthens and founds our fight, we have to take into account this history, it the way which our interests have not been recognized.
  7. INTERGRATION OF THE PEOPLES AND THE GLOBALIZATION OF THE FIGHT: Colombia is not our limited frontier. In Latin America and the whole world the people are moving towards a different world vision and of possible international relationships that correspond with our own ideas. To articulate and plan together is our duty.

How we came to this first session of the People’s Congress:

  • From the creation class, town, sector and regional mandates: To make legislation for our country requires a solid base of proposals, coming from mobilization, from life experience and the struggle of the different grassroots processes. The People’s Congress has to use the mandates we have: those accumulated from thoughts and proposals which have been created collectively, those that have social legitimacy, and those that highlight the most important contradictions we face. It also has to develop methodologies to ensure the completion and carrying out of said mandates. To achieve this it is necessary to systemize our thinking, our words and the way we fight, (Life Plans, Balance Plans, Permanent Plans, Programs, Demonstrations, Requests, Conclusions from Meetings, Schools of Thought, Proposals and Political Ideologies), articulated within that which we stipulate as a county.
  • Starting from meeting and conversing with those who wished to participate in the People’s Congress: In our country the ways people have organized and the logic of their fight has many different forms. To allow a meeting between them requires patience, mutual recognition, the construction of common ethical bases and synchronizing the way we look at the pacts we have and the ways we can make them viable. On a local, regional, national and international level the People’s Congress is driven by different dynamics to find, o talk about and to agree upon.
  • The rhythm and way to mobilize: The People’s Congress arose out of, and thanks to the capacity of the people to mobilize in support of their fight. In this session, apart from the demonstration in Bogotá, there was a series of acts on a regional level that allowed the whole country to participate in the People’s Congress.

The pact of the People’s Congress is to generate effective communication, and to diffuse and social positioning: This is a proposal for everyone, we need ways to spread it and make it everyone’s, so that it seems a part of national life, that it exists in the imaginations of the people of this country as part of the process of recuperating our identities. 

This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author and translator are cited.


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