Declaration of the 1st North American New Humanist Forum

In New York City on the 16th, 17th and 18th of November 2007, social, political and cultural organizations from Mexico, Canada and the United States met together with representatives from Africa, Europe and Latin America to launch the North American New Humanist Forum.

We began this process a year ago without a clear understanding of whether the region existed as more than a geographic and economic entity. We wondered if it would be possible to create a regional consciousness guided by the value of the human being.

On this journey, through profound dialogue and with an intentional search, we have seen:
- that our three countries share a long, common history and the daily lives of its people are already deeply interrelated.
- that we do not want to be defined by the actions of our governments, corporations or military but rather by the needs and aspirations of the people.
- that there is a growing recognition of the need to take control of this regional integration and change its direction.

In these days we have accumulated a great body of work in many spheres of human concern, a starting point for a North American process that will continue from here on.

From this work we can highlight the following proposals:

1. As residents of this region, the largest producer and supplier of weapons in the world, we demand the complete dismantling of the nuclear arsenal as an urgent need for the survival of humanity. As a first step we require that our countries adhere to the treaties that they have already signed.
2. Let us bring down the physical and psychological walls that separate us. We want open borders for people, not just for goods and money. We demand an end to the ?demonization? of those who are different and to the culture of fear which is used to manipulate and distract from a resolution of the region?s true problems.
3. We recognize the dark moments in our history. in particular the genocide of the indigenous people and the slavery of Africans. We must acknowledge the crimes committed, take responsibility and make amends for the suffering caused in order to achieve true reconciliation and move towards a common future as one family.
4. We must correct the current imbalance between labor and capital, where the expansion of capital is given priority regardless of its impact on the workforce that produces it. We value decentralized models which respect labor rights and we condemn free trade agreements such as NAFTA, Plan Puebla Panama, Plan Mexico and the SPP which reinforce this imbalance between labor and capital, widening the gap between rich and poor.
5. People have the right and opportunity to participate in the decision-making processes that affect them. Therefore we demand the expansion of voting rights to all residents regardless of citizenship and the enactment of laws of political responsibility. We cannot continue to allow governments to come to power through fraud!

Today, a new region is starting to take shape in our minds and in our hearts. We aspire to a North American Human Nation as a step on the way to the Universal Human Nation. For this work we count on the richness of our diversity and the spirit of the new generations that have captured the sensibility of these new times.

The union of the peoples from all nations within North America – including all indigenous peoples, the Quebecois, and the most recent of immigrants – is not just about the opening of borders, but a common fight against discrimination and all forms of violence. This is the meaning of our construction; the overcoming of pain and suffering on earth.

- November 18, 2007


Convoking Statement of the North American New Humanist Forum

For too long, we Mexicans, Canadians and Americans have been betrayed by our governments and their compliance with big capital. The region has produced great wealth, but instead of improving health, education and quality of life for us all, this wealth has been hoarded by a tiny minority, producing instability, rampant corruption, and a drastic loss of civil liberties. Our natural resources are exploited for profit, new generations are looked at with suspicion and the cult of consumerism masks a profound loss of meaning in life. Our governments increasingly rely on intimidation, violence and militarization to maintain control. In the face of this growing chaos, it is not the voices of reason that are being given space for expression, but instead the darkest forms of racism, fundamentalism and other irrationalities.

Elsewhere on our small planet, there is a growing awareness of the need to address such urgent social problems in ways that look beyond the confines of the old nation-states. Europe has organized itself into a political, cultural and economic union, the countries of Africa and Asia are recognizing the need to work together to resolve their common issues, and a new progressive spirit is linking the nations of Latin America in a search for a shared destiny. In North America, however, we are building walls and pretending it's the same old world. The tendency towards regionalization has manifested itself primarily through trade agreements which ignore the human dimension and wipe out anything that interferes with the obsessive accumulation of profit. Is there a way to re-orient this regional process -- to see this as an opportunity to include other points-of-view, let go of outdated paradigms and false conceptions, and tap into a profound aspiration for social change?

This would require a new way of thinking, a new spirit of activism, and a new faith that change will come only from those who seek it. The North American New Humanist Forum is being formed to encourage thinking beyond borders: to find common ground by drawing on the insights, hopes and actions of individuals, organizations and communities in Mexico, USA, and Canada. At the same time we are searching for models that help forge a new regional consciousness in North America, an important intermediary step in the formation of the future Universal Human Nation to which we aspire.

Choosing a New Direction

How do we map out a new direction for our region, one that is guided by principles of non-violence and with respect for diversity and real democracy? Can we imagine a united North America that transcends national boundaries by building upon our existing human and cultural connections? One driven by a powerful new sensibility that seeks personal and social renewal based on the understanding that progress for the few ends up as progress for no one?

As humanists, we believe this is possible and the time is now. We promote a vision that puts human beings above money, rejects war and all forms of discrimination and violence, celebrates personal and cultural diversity, promotes freedom of thought and belief, and advocates for truly equal opportunities for all.

On November 16-18, 2007, individuals, organizations and grassroots groups will gather at the North American New Humanist Forum (NANHF) in New York City to meet, share experiences, propose and develop projects, and advance new social models. The forum will shed light on how Mexico, Canada and the USA are already deeply intertwined and begin to identify mutual priorities and collective ways of working as a region.

The NANHF is an open forum and will include presentations, panel discussions, workshops and working tables to maximize participation and exchange on a wide-range of themes with a regional framing, including human rights, migration and immigration, health and education, spirituality as a social force, disarmament and non-violence, ecology, youth/student activism, indigenous peoples' rights, and alternative economic models.

Many people are looking for new solutions, and many people are working to advance them. In that spirit, we warmly invite everyone throughout Mexico, Canada and the USA to take part in the 1st North American New Humanist Forum and to help in the construction of a North America Beyond Borders.