The Madrid Call

Paul Hilder
8 March 2005

I was one of the merry band of openDemocracy founders, so I believe in talking. Global dialogue is vital – especially when perspectives are diverging and vulnerability is mutual.

But we can’t just call for dialogue when we’re faced by this tsunami of fear and want, bombs and poverty breaking every day across the middle east, Africa, Asia, the Americas, even Europe.

It’s time for action as well as words. We need to gather our force – to find, in thousands or millions of voluntary acts, the transforming power of multitudes.

That’s why Nancy Skougor and I have set up the Madrid Call:

“We call for the just and peaceful resolution of all conflicts, for the uprooting of fear and want.

“From around the world we say: our brothers and sisters in the Middle East have the right to take responsibility for their future.

“We call for ceasefires and civil society-mediated talks including all sides, for citizen movements beyond borders to build peace and democracy, and for non-aligned multinational forces to replace US power in Iraq.

“Add your voice today. We ask leaders in Madrid on 11 March to do so too. Where we stand, power begins and ends.”

We invite you to go to www.Build-A-Third-Force.net right now, to sign and add your voice. Then tell your friends. The more the better. If we can present a chorus of hundreds or thousands of voices to the Madrid supremos, we may shape their final agenda. Whether they listen or not, in coming together freely to do this, we can set our own agenda for peace, democracy and justice – one not hijacked by any power. Another way is possible, beyond the terror wars: a people’s way.

After the Madrid bombings we saw the Spanish people go into the streets in their millions and hold up white-painted hands to say, “We are together, and we choose a different path.” We have seen millions marching for peace. Together we watched the Berlin wall fall, we watched millions rise up for peace, democracy and justice. We know the stories of Gandhi’s millions rising in civilian resistance to dying empire, and of the rainbow revolution in South Africa. When the tsunami struck Asia and Africa, millions of us gave to heal the ravages. We’ve seen the protesters against the Iraq war, in Lebanon and in the Ukraine. It’s time for people power on the global stage.

I would urge all of you to join or host a small meeting on 11 March – openDemocracy is offering a great meeting pack to get you started. Politics begins face-to-face. But when you meet, you don’t have to dance on the heads of pins trying to define the nature of terror. Instead, why not think about what we can do, as citizens, in our daily lives and through concerted action. Please sign the Madrid Call – and let us know what you think we people can do together, locally and beyond borders.

There’s been a lot of talking: on openDemocracy, in Porto Alegre, Davos and elsewhere. There’ll always be a place for that. But it’s time for action too.

As Sun-Tzu said: “We are like the pent-up waters of a huge dam… and our onrushing, when we plunge down the thousand-foot deep valley, is power!”

Why we're suing over the £23m NHS data deal with 'spy tech' firm Palantir

Right as the NHS battles 'vaccine hesitancy', why is the government giving a CIA-backed firm – whose spyware has been accused of creating ‘racist’ feedback loops in US policing – a major, long-term role in handling our personal health information, and in England's cherished NHS?

Get the inside story from the journalists and lawyers battling to force transparency from the government on what they're doing with public money – and our health records.

Join us for this free event on 4 March at 5pm UK time/12pm EST.

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Cori Crider Lawyer, investigator and co-founder of Foxglove, a non-profit that seeks to make the use of technology fair for everyone

Caroline Molloy Editor ourNHS and openDemocracyUK

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