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Pierre Calame

The Second Stage of the Alliance

First Contribution to a Collective Thinking Process

February 19, 2003

Table of contents
A/ First stage of the Alliance: an Attempt to Put Things in Perspective ................................ 4
1. First Steps (1994-1997) ............................................................................................... 5
2. Structuring the Alliance (1998-1999) ............................................................................. 6
3. Elaboration of the "Proposal Papers"—Preparation and Staging of the World Citizens Alliance (2000-2001) ............................................................................................................................. 8
B/ Present Assets and Weaknesses of the Alliance As It Faces the Changing Challenges of the World ....................................................................................................................... 9
1. Assets ....................................................................................................................... 9
2. Weaknesses .............................................................................................................. 11
C/ Perspectives for the Second Stage of the Alliance (2003-2010) ............................................................................................................................. 13
a) A second seven-year stage ending with a World Parliament of Citizens ........................... 13
b) A change of scale leading to multiple alliances ............................................................. 13
c) Setting up governance for the Alliance that is truly adapted to its nature and inspired from the common principles of governance .............................................................................. 14
d) Continuation of the work according to the three paths: geocultural, socioprofessional, and thematic ........................................................................................................................ 15
e) A diversified strategy for the dissemination and ownership of the potential of the proposals resulting from the Proposal Papers and the World Assembly ............................................. 15
f) Socioprofessional enlargement .................................................................................... 16
g) Development of local, national, and regional citizens assemblies .................................... 16
h) Circulation, appreciation, and transposition of the Charter .............................................. 17
i) Consolidation of an information system using the experience established during the first stage ............................................................................................................................ 17
j) Development and circulation of the tools and methods at the service of the democracy ...... 18
k) Action designed to address the media, institutions, and political authorities .................... 19
l) Exploitation of complementarities with international forums, in particular the Social Forums ......................................................................................................................... 19
m) Commitment of the Foundation to what is most difficult to support and to finance ............ 20

The Second Stage of the Alliance

First Contribution to a Collective Thinking Process

A / First Stage of the Alliance: an Attempt to Put Things in Perspective

The Alliance for a Responsible and United World, which became in 1999 the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United World in order to privilege the relationship between unity and diversity, was born in 1994 and was gradually developed by the progressive approval by people and institutions from many different countries and backgrounds of the Platform for a Responsible and United World, drafted in December 1993. The Platform itself is the fruit of extended cross-cultural research conducted by the Group of Vézelay between 1998 and 1993.

The Group of Vézelay’s work was financed by the FPH, which also backed at the time the birth and the development of the Alliance.

Right from the beginning, the Alliance determined for itself a vocation, some elements of working methods, and a timetable.

A vocation: to contribute to defining and implementing the great mutations highlighted in the Platform as inescapable.

Some elements of working methods:

1.      To promote a gradual process, favoring at all times the interaction between diversity and unity, and between the local and the global. To combine three forms of approaches—three paths, so to speak: the "geocultural" path, which symbolizes the diversity of contexts, the "socioprofessional" path, which symbolizes the diversity of socioprofessional spheres, and the "thematic" path, which symbolizes the diversity of the challenges.

2.      To move beyond analysis and denunciation toward producing proposals and to base these proposals on concrete realities, innovations, and experiences.

3.      To maintain permanent interaction among the three approaches and to highlight the connections among the proposals in an effort to show the interdependence among the problems and the strategies for change.

A timetable: the Platform proposed the organization of an "Earth Citizens’ Assembly" in the year 2000. The actual outcome was the "World Citizens Assembly" held in 2001.

The vocation, the working-method elements, and the timetable of the Alliance defined a style and a state of mind to start from. From then on, the Alliance was to be "invented as it went along."

Three periods can be identified within this first "founding" stage of the Alliance (1994-2002):

·         first steps (1994-1997);

·         structuring attempts (1998-1999);

·         elaboration of Proposal Papers; preparation and staging of the World Citizens Assembly (2000-2001).

1.      First Steps (1994-1997)

This was the time of abundance and expansion. After a first wave of expressed interest in the considerations of the Platform (it was not long before its signatories were from more than eighty countries and the Platform was translated into many languages), it became necessary to move on from the approval of a text to making commitments and working collectively. Each "Local Group" established the way it would work, the first "Socioprofessional Networks" were set up (in particular the "Youth Workshop"), and the "thematic path" led to the institution of a large number of Workshops. The thematic path was the easiest to make operational. Each Workshop was entrusted to a facilitator, usually chosen by the FPH, which funded the Workshops. Each comprised, on the basis a more-or-less broad geographical and socioprofessional spectrum, experts or people interested in its specified field. A few meetings were organized for the "Workshop members" to get to know each other.

From the time it was imagined, the Alliance was not to be a classic movement, with members, bodies, a doctrine, and a strongly asserted identity. A formula often used during this first period was, "The Alliance will not close its doors because it has none." Its objective was to create a "collective living being," something between a network (which doesn't have common objectives and favors exchange) and a movement (which is cemented by an identity and statutes). Those who initiated it, who had the vision, who produced its first description, who proposed its vocation, its methods, and its timetable—in a word its founders, who were essentially the FPH and part of the former Group of Vézelay—aimed at making it a collective working process for the "Allies"—an inevitably vague category basically comprising people and institutions working together in a spirit of tolerance and effectiveness.

It was not very long before the first challenges, contradictions, and difficulties cropped up, including:

·         divergent expectations of the first Allies, some wishing to make of the Alliance a regular social movement, others more attached to making it a workspace for experts;

·         the Alliance’s low visibility, due its nature, which prevented it from taking a stand or taking sides as "the Alliance";

·         the difficulty of explaining, precisely, the nature of the Alliance;

·         the insufficient socioprofessional diversity of the Allies, who were mainly academics or NGO activists;

·         the position and the power of the FPH in the facilitation and the orientation of the process; the FPH provided the Alliance with practically all of its financial backing; and as the Alliance was neither an institution, nor was it even "visible" as such, this made complementary or alternative fund raising very difficult.

This first period ended with the Alliance’s first world assembly in Bertioga in December 1997. The meeting revealed the Alliance’s assets and weaknesses. On the assets side: a great geocultural and thematic diversity, enthusiasm and working methods, outlines for proposals, an increasing autonomy of the Local Groups and Workshops, and the first joint financing. Weaknesses included the fact that the participants were selected through fuzzy, opaque methods, and divergent objectives and methods among the organizers.

2.      Structuring the Alliance (1998-1999)

During this second period, the Alliance was structured in two aspects: through the adoption and the development of communication tools; and through a collective organization and governance of the Alliance.

The adoption of common communication tools, i.e. the means both for Allies to carry on discussions and facilitate their collective work and for the Alliance to be given public viewing, had been a concern since the beginning, supported by a newsletter. As of 1998, however, the abundance of the material produced and the diversity of systems in use made it necessary to upscale. For this, the Alliance benefited from the development of the Internet, which soon became indispensable, given its international nature and the new possibilities, therefore the new momentum, it offered for the structuring of a "world civil society." The FPH financed the release and operational costs of a new magazine in three languages, Caravan. It also contributed to setting up and structuring an Alliance Web site and began to finance the development of tools and methods for remote communication, in connection with the Web site: a Directory of Allies, a research data base, and the first Internet e-forums.

All of this, which was indispensable for the Alliance’s continuity, also produced growing operational costs.

The collective organization of the Alliance occupied, during that period, a relatively small number of Allies—probably less than 200, and at some moments as few as thirty. But those were the most active, most committed Allies. This led them naturally to raising, more explicitly than the others, the question of the Alliance’s collective orientation. This question proved to be especially difficult, or even contradictory, for a series of reasons mainly due to the originality of the Alliance:

·         Turning the Alliance into an institution, with executive bodies and rules, carried the danger of changing is very nature, closing it up, reducing its pluralism, and, in the process, making it more commonplace and less useful.

·         Formalizing the functions that would have to be filled showed that the institutionalization of each of these would be complex and expensive in terms of time and money.

·         The strength of the Alliance, thus far, had resided in the continuity of the process, which was guaranteed by the method and the timetable. The FPH had proposed them and the Allies had become associated with the Alliance on these bases. There was the danger of having this continuity contested by the executive bodies of the institution that would be set up.

·         The FPH, in the hypothesis of the institutionalization of the Alliance, would keep, at least for some time, "the power of money." In 1996, on request of the early Allies, the FPH clarified the role that it was prepared to play in the Alliance: it committed itself to backing the Alliance up to and including the World Assembly (then planned for 1999-2000); it would finance as a priority "what was most difficult," i.e.: the development of new socioprofessional networks, reaching out to spheres that were very different from those that constituted the Alliance as a majority so far; and the organization of the World Assembly. What would have happened if the priorities of the FPH and those that might be set by the new legal bodies of the Alliance diverged?

We did not know how to overcome these contradictions. The long debates in 1998 wore out some of the Allies, who then found in the Alliance the usual tensions of the world of nonprofit organizations and unions, which they thought had been avoided in the Alliance. The outcome of those debates resulted in fact in a tenuous solution: the Alliance would not be institutionalized and would therefore have no formal members nor executive bodies; nevertheless, the Allies designated, by voting for candidates that most of them did not know, an International Facilitation Team (IFT), made up partly, moreover, of FPH employees.

As soon as the IFT began to advance priorities that differed from those of the FPH, a dead end was ahead. The visibility of the perspectives darkened and suspicion set in. These tensions and contradictions did not stop the work of the Alliance from progressing, the proposals from being developed, and the methods from becoming clearer.

During this period, the international context also changed. Isolated at the time of its birth in its project of progressively structuring a world civil society, the Alliance was soon caught up with and quickly left behind—at least in terms of numbers and visibility—by more traditional nonprofit movements, such as ATTAC, the lightning success of which revealed the aspiration, ten years after the fall of the Berlin wall, to a collective resistance against the rapid unhindered spread of "neoliberal globalization."

Many other pre-existing movements felt the need for new forms of coordination to make this resistance more effective. In addition, the success of the citizens’ campaign against the more-or-less secret negotiation of the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment), the success of international boycott actions, and the considerable media impact of the demonstrations against the WTO in Seattle showed that the development of the Internet had changed the political and social hand and had enabled global actions spurred by the short-lived coordination of social movements and NGOs. The appearance and success of the first World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in January 2003 would be the concrete expression of these hopes.

These new structures and forms of action brought the Alliance to redefine its position within the whole of the construction dynamics of a world civil society. On the one hand, the visibility and activism of the latter made these considerably appealing to many Allies. On the other hand, those movements made it possible to clarify the position of the Alliance, torn, at that point, between the Allies’ contradictory aspirations. The Alliance, a pluralistic proposal-building process, was in a complementary, not a competitive position with regard to these other dynamics.

Affirmation of this specificity led to underscoring the Alliance’s specific characteristics: long-term continuity, insistence on the methods; the determination to draw up solid proposals, the search for dialogue; the determination to reflect the diversity of the whole world.

3.      Elaboration of the "Proposal Papers" — Preparation and Staging of the World Citizens Assembly (2000-2001)

The statement by the International Facilitation Team (IFT) in the fall of 1999 of priorities diverging from those drawn up at the start, which the FPH had committed to achieving, generated a crisis situation, materialized by the refusal of the FPH Council to vote, in 2000, the budget to support the development of the Alliance. A new meeting of the IFT in the spring of 2000 produced an ambitious operational plan for 2000 and 2001, including: a major effort to diversify the socioprofessional networks; standardization of the working methods; the establishment of a shorter timetable for drafting a large number of Proposal Papers, elaborating drafts for ethical charters to be applied in different specific spheres; and the organization, on the initiative of the Alliance but with direct involvement of the FPH, of the World Citizens Assembly in December 2001. This Assembly was to be the reflection of the diversity of the world and its composition was, from the geographical and sociological points of view, very different than that of the Alliance. Far from being an "Allies’ Assembly" made up of Ally delegates, the Assembly opened up, in fact, a new stage of the Alliance.

Those who had been most involved in making the Alliance autonomous felt that this operational plan was intended to bring the Alliance back under the control of the FPH, and in particular, my own. I was suspected of exercising single power.

This climate did not prevent the years 2000 and 2001 from being particularly intense and productive. The diversification of the socioprofessional networks and of the represented world regions introduced new points of view, even though the newly set up socioprofessional networks had the fragility of artificial set-ups. The drafting of the Proposal Papers induced new discipline. Confrontation of the Papers made it possible to determine the main strategic lines of change. The organization of the Assembly enlarged the networks considerably and led to the elaboration of numerous methodological innovations, among others, the use of mapped models. The Assembly itself, in spite of its difficulties, made it possible to reveal unsuspected convergences and to discuss a common ethical reference—the Charter of Human Responsibilities. Under the influence of all these enlargements, the Alliance Web site was considerably improved. Remote-discussion methods via the Internet were diversified and tamed.

The World Citizens Assembly marked the end of the moral commitments the FPH had made with regard to the Alliance at its beginning. In 2002, the FPH opened its "sabbatical period"—which had been postponed—which was to allow it to make an assessment of its action and to define its orientations for the period covering 2003-2010. This period could coincide with the second stage of the Alliance.

The FPH clearly stated all of the following as soon as the World Assembly was over:

·         For the second stage of the Alliance, it does not intend to be the driving force or to play the central role that it did for the first: the sources for initiatives and financial resources need to be extended. Tired of being suspected of seeking power or imposing its views, it only wishes to become involved as far as its legitimacy to do so is acknowledged.

·         The second stage of the Alliance is therefore a "blank page," and anyone is invited to contribute to writing it.

·         The FPH has not, for all that, abandoned the dynamics that it took the responsibility of generating. As a sign of its commitment, the Foundation Council voted in April 2002 the credits to launch a Call for Initiatives making it possible to provide financial help for those who wished to write this page. To break with the excessively personalized relations that marked the first period when it came to allocating funds for the facilitation of the Workshops and the Socioprofessional Networks, and for the organization of meetings, the FPH has publicized on the Web site its decision-making criteria and the allocated subsidies. There is the same concern for transparency in the ongoing support to the Workshops of the Socioeconomic Workgroup, which continue to be active.

B / Present Assets and Weaknesses of the Alliance As It Faces the Changing Challenges of the World

1. Assets

a) The need to build a world civil society that is capable of designing and steering vast mutations is newly confirmed every day. The existence, success, and limits of the Social Forums are a good demonstration of this. The construction of an "anti-globalization coalition" has shown the latter’s ability to resist. Nonetheless, this resistance is likely to fail if it does not turn into an "Alliance for another globalization." However, an "anti" coalition and a "pro" Alliance do not respond to the same logic. It is easier to face a common challenge together than to build credible alternatives jointly. More than ever the "alliance project"—with all that it implies in terms of duration in its work, openness to diversity, confrontation of different points of view, the elaboration of common proposals and implementation strategies—is indispensable. In my view, the Alliance is more relevant today, has a greater vision, and is more necessary than ever. The stubbornness with which we have defended these ideas year after year, the thinking capital that we have accumulated, our strong presence in world forums to contribute proposals and to help them to be elaborated gives the Alliance an ever greater moral credit. Whatever its limits and contradictions, this endeavor is unique in the world.

b) The Charter of Human Responsibilities, given the way in which it has been elaborated and its discussion in the different Socioprofessional Networks, can become a reference. There can be no governance without a common ethical reference. The interdependence among societies and with the biosphere has gradually brought about awareness of the larger definition of responsibility on which the Charter has been built.

c) The first stage of the Alliance has made it possible to achieve a true prototype, a scale model for dialogue within a world society. The World Citizens Assembly was its symbol, both through the diversity of its participants and through its progress, which was designed as an itinerary, a shortcut in the necessary dialogue within every socioprofessional sphere, among different spheres, among the regions of the world, and among the challenges. This prototype has made it possible, as for the vocation of any prototype, to explore all the limitations of such a dialogue and to test appropriate answers. This prototype now makes it possible to consider a change of scale.

d) The sixty Proposal Papers and the work of the World Citizens Assembly have made it possible to determine the main lines and the priorities of an Agenda for the Twenty-first Century, which expresses the major changes that need to be made. The summarization of these sixty Papers made it possible to test methodological tools. The deliberation of the Papers by all the Allies is making it possible to test others.

e) The socioprofessional approach allowed in 2000-2001 a considerable enlargement of the social and professional diversity of our approaches with the constitution of workgroups made up of the military, jurists, union activists, company managers, engineers, financiers, shareholders, local elected officials, civil servants, etc., beyond that which had thus far constituted the Alliance’s center of gravity.

f) The idea of a process organized to last a long time, providing a stable work protocol and clear deadlines without being institutionalized, seems more familiar today that it was in 1994. The Web site itself has been developed according to a similar logic. The Continental and World Social Forums share the same intuitions on a number of points. The need to set up, for this type of "new collective being," a new framework of thinking and governance, different from the usual political, union, or organization references, has begun to appear more clearly.

g) The considerable challenge of setting up information systems in several languages among the Allies and with the outside world has been met. We have both the appropriate technical tools (organization of the Web site, electronic forums, remotely managed data bases) and a significant learning capacity: most these tools have been perfected several times and have been accompanied by human skills that can transfer this know-how. The mapping team mobilized for the third World Social Forum and the team of public writers (DPH) mobilized at the World Citizens Assembly are illustrations of this.

h) The Call for Initiatives, launched by the FPH in the spring of 2002 to help those who wished to begin to write "the blank page" of the second stage of the Alliance, was amply successful. Answers to the Call have covered the different facets of the Alliance: circulation and transposition of the Charter of Human Responsibilities, organization of Regional or National Citizens Assemblies, organization of information systems to network the innovations, development of the Socioprofessional Networks, further elaboration of the thematic proposals. These answers have also shown that the early Allies are aware of the need to no longer count mainly on resources from the FPH. They have also made it possible to discover new partners.

i) Close to 40% of the participants of the World Assembly answered the assessment questionnaires on Lille, even though for a lot of them that was their first contact with the Alliance. It may therefore be possible to maintain in the long run the social, professional, and cultural diversity of the world that the Assembly symbolized, if there is constant effort in that direction. The idea of a World Parliament of Citizens in 2010 has raised a lot of interest and appears more Utopian to me, unless discussion begins now on designing the methods for it.

j) The present world crisis, triggered by George W. Bush’s unilateralism, demonstrates the emergency of setting up a form of legitimate, democratic, and efficient global governance, which the official governments of the world cannot even conceive. Under these conditions, the perspectives that we have begun to outline are particularly relevant today: although a world democratic government may not be for tomorrow, the dialogue, consultation, proposals, assessment, and mediation of an organized world civil society is irreplaceable.

2. Weaknesses

a) Compartmentalization among the Allies and among the initiatives remains. The distance among the Allies and the scattered range of their interests has favored communication among themselves. The call for dialogue is often not heeded, or hardly, if only because of lack of time. Despite its name, the Alliance all too often appears as a simple juxtaposition of people, movements, and initiatives united by the same diagnosis, the same intuitions, and the same aspiration, but without, for all that, forming a really living social fabric. People’s different priorities and pressures are too different for common action to be easy. The example of the Workshops of the Socio-Economy of Solidarity Workgroup, which has achieved real interconnection and cross-cutting research, shows that decompartmentalization is no simple matter. It requires energetic action, methods, and the corresponding human and financial means.

b) Due to a lack of time, human resources, and money, communication among the Allies, in the past year, has relied too much on the Internet and on the Web site. In this intermediate period, we had to interrupt the magazine Caravan. Those who received it free of cost did not wish to contribute to its financing, as shown by the failure of the subscription campaign. We also temporarily interrupted the "What’s New?" which served to inform the Allies regularly on what was in progress. The FPH, through which all this information is processed, remains central in its circulation. After a period, when e-mail first started and appeared to be a tool adapted to our needs, its fantastic success has now turned it into a weakness. All those who have access to e-mail are flooded with messages. Under these conditions, it is difficult to highlight the information specific to the evolution of the Alliance if it is not organized and summarized. As for the Web site, it is a good solution to the need of organizing information but it underscores the digital divide between those who have an easy and inexpensive access to the Internet and those who do not have those same means. Moreover, it is not the proper means to circulate information regularly. From the moment the FPH stopped supporting the circulation of newsletters, the Alliance has tended to come apart.

c) This finding leads us to two others: the operational costs of the "maintenance" of the Alliance and the passive position of many of the Allies with regard to this. The maintenance of a system of structured and multilingual information including reference information, such as the Proposal Papers, experiences, information that has to be updated such as the Allies’ addresses, news, and discussion forums implies incompressible operational and maintenance costs. These can be reduced if all the Allies play an active role in the construction and structuring of the information. But we cannot deny that they have become accustomed to the fact that the FPH covers these costs.

d) The determination with which the FPH began in 2000-2001 to set up new Socioprofessional Networks, to demand the completion of the Proposal Papers, and to prepare the World Assembly met with some incomprehension among many Allies. This strategy had been publicly clarified as early as 1996. But that was not enough. Probably the central position of the FPH in the Alliance led to some confusion. Similarly, there was a lot of misunderstanding regarding the connection between the Proposal Papers and the debates at the World Citizens Assembly. The preparation of the World Assembly created a "deadline effect" for the production of the Proposal Papers. The objective of the Assembly was not to discuss these Papers but to elaborate a much broader cross-cultural and interprofessional dialogue. Here again, the written explanations were not enough. Many Allies would have preferred that the World Citizens Assembly be a sort of General Assembly for the Allies and that the Assembly’s discussions be based on the Proposal Papers. We therefore have to cope with the bitterness felt by some and think of a way of debating strategies in the future.

e) Probably due to the compartmentalization and the novelty, the Proposal Papers and the cross-summarization of the Papers to determine the common priorities for the twenty-first century are yet to be owned by the whole of the Allies. On the one hand, very few have the time and the capacity to absorb all the material to produce their own summary. Of the other, not everyone is prepared to adopt and to own a summary commissioned by the Foundation (for the Proposal Papers), or that I produced myself (as for the summary of the World Citizens Assembly). We still haven’t found the means to move from the stage of a collectively shared diagnosis to the stage of shared proposals. Even when there is an organized system for the collective elaboration of the summaries, as in the case of the Socio-Economy of Solidarity Workgroup of the Alliance, ownership by everyone of the findings is not that simple. Collective ownership remains a major challenge of the second stage.

f) The thematic approach is the easiest. So far, the geocultural approach, through Local or Regional groups, with the remarkable exception of the Sao Paulo group, has not been conclusive. We were not able, for example, to make the appropriate connections between the African Caravan and the Allies of the different countries that it traveled through. Nor did we maintain the promising links born of the European Continental Assembly.

g) Is the Alliance only a lot of nice rhetoric? Is it capable of turning into concrete action for change? What is the relationship between global thinking and local action? During the first stage of the Alliance, the focus was on starting from everyone’s experiences and innovations—hence from the action—and in pooling these to determine broader perspectives. But the absence of institutionalization of the Alliance hampered the visibility of everyone’s commitments on a local level, making it impossible to put forth a common rhetoric for the Alliance. Many Allies suffered from this, and now that the Proposal Papers has been drawn up, the challenge before us is that of our capacity to translate these proposals into strategies for change and into local action.

h) The idea of setting up a different way of working than the ways traditionally used by organizations, unions, or political movements is probably more commonly shared today than it was three years ago. The fact remains that the question of the governance of the Alliance is raised.

i) Similarly, the question of the position of the FPH in the Alliance is raised. The FPH has shown its determination not to "drop" the Alliance. It acknowledges a moral responsibility to a process that it contributed extensively to start up and to develop. In the next few months, it will state its orientations and priorities with regard to the Alliance. It is its duty to do so. But if the Allies do not come up with a consistent perspective for the second stage, it will have to define its strategy on its own. The Allies’ perspective has yet to emerge.

C / Perspectives for the Second Stage of the Alliance (2003-2010)

a) A second seven-year stage ending with a World Parliament of Citizens

The Alliance has given itself a second stage of seven years culminating with the organization of a World Parliament of Citizens. This stage is made up of three periods:

·         2003-2006, ending with an interregional meeting defining the specifications for the organization of the Parliament on the basis of a twofold global representation—geocultural and socioprofessional—inspired from Lille

·         2007-2009, ending with an inter-socioprofessional world meeting defining the list of the significant organizations likely to send representatives to the Parliament

·         2010, the year of the Parliament, which will be a 12-month process with 11 months of remote work, and one month of Assembly

b) A change of scale leading to multiple alliances

The general idea, reflecting the move from the World Citizens Assembly of 2001 to the World Parliament of Citizens in 2010, is one of a new change of scale. This is what we did already in the early stage by moving from the "preliminary convention for the States-General of the Planet" of 1993, which gave birth to the Alliance, to the World Assembly of 2001. We have, in 2003, what I have called a prototype: an Assembly, the Socioprofessional Networks, the Workshops, the Proposals, a Web site, methodological tools… This prototype has enabled a first exploration of all the challenges of this adventure. The change of scale is not going to consist in "doing the same thing but bigger," all the less so that the world context has itself changed. We are entering a new phase of invention where each of the dimensions of the Alliance must explore the means of its own change of scale.

This change of scale doesn't consist in "doing bigger" what we "did small." Rather, it is a way of exploiting all of the progress we have made in multiple ways.

For example, in 2000-2001, we were able to set up the prototype of about twenty Socioprofessional Networks: farmers, inhabitants, company managers, engineers, academics, women, researchers, journalists, shareholders, etc. Each of these groups was fairly limited, but it allowed us to see the interest of the working methods and to draw the main lines of the possible social contract between every socioprofessional sphere and the rest of society. The upcoming change of scale now depends on our capacity, in every sphere, to find concerns that are close to ours, to find an echo in pre-existing networks, and to set up multiple alliances.

Similarly, the methodology of the World Citizens Assembly can be transposed to regional or national citizens assemblies. We cannot, however, expect a hundred, a thousand assemblies of this type to be organized in the coming years. But if the idea of a citizens assembly finds an echo in such or such a region, such or such a country, or such or such a continent, if it proposes a way of doing things that meets the needs of a society in a small number of cases, if it is promoted by social or political forces, the change of scale will happen by itself, selectively.

c) Setting up a form of governance for the Alliance that is truly adapted to its nature and inspired from the common principles of governance

During the year 2003, we set up the "governance of the Alliance" by applying the principles of governance that were determined progressively by our work. The general philosophy of this "revolution in governance" is exposed in Proposal Paper N° 9 on the common principles for a governance adapted to the challenges of the twenty-first century. This Paper has already been translated and is being circulated in four languages.

To open the debate, I would like to suggest the following leads:

(1) Governance, when placed outside of the framework of national identities, is founded on a social contract. Belonging to a community is defined by every person’s rights and responsibilities. The Alliance has no "members" and the signature of a common platform confers no rights. Being "in an alliance" is defined by the commitments made to others, by everyone’s participation in the common effort.

(2) While traditional governance is defined by institutions, rules, and a distribution of jurisdiction, future governance will be defined above all by objectives, ethical criteria, and working systems. Hence:

·         The Alliance’s objective has to be expressed. It is the framework according to which everyone’s commitments are defined. For me, the objective is: "to build a world society contributing to face the major challenges of the twenty-first century, to define and to steer the necessary mutations for humankind's survival and development, in a spirit of responsibility, respect for diversity, and solidarity; in order to achieve this, to constitute, through experience and knowledge sharing, a force of evaluation, protest, and proposal from the local level to the global level."

·         The ethical criteria are derived from the Charter of Human Responsibilities, which we should adapt to our specific case, as we did for different regions of the world and different socioprofessional spheres, in order to constitute the Charter of the Alliance. This charter would constitute the "house rules" of the Alliance. Participation in the Alliance would involve commitment to respecting this Charter.

·         The working systems are constituted by the working methods and calendars. They should therefore be an integral part of the core of the Alliance.

(3) Governance of the Alliance, like any governance, must be focused on making connections: between the local and the global, among the different socioprofessional spheres, among the cultures, among the challenges. We must verify that at all times our working systems correspond to our objectives, privilege the connections, and guarantee a maximum of unity and diversity.

(4) The principle of responsibility comes with a requirement of transparency and accountability to others. This applies of course to the FPH, but also to all the Allies.

(5) The idea of the legitimacy of exercising power and responsibilities is essential. An action is legitimate if it demonstrates commitment to the common effort and respect of the objectives, the criteria, and the working systems.

d) Continuation of the work according to the three paths: geocultural, socioprofessional, and thematic

The development of the Alliance according to the three paths—geocultural, socioprofessional, and thematic—has been confirmed. It is one of its main originalities because it recognizes that the diversity of the world does not apply to just one dimension.

e) A diversified strategy for the dissemination and ownership of the potential of the proposals resulting from the Proposal Papers and the World Assembly

It seems to me that this should go in several directions:

(1) Circulation of the Papers in different languages, both through written documents and through other media—CD-ROMs, DVDs, etc.—that make it possible to organize all the accumulated material, from summarization elements such as the Agenda for the Twenty-first Century, then moving on to the Proposals, the supporting experiences, and the working documents. The structuring of the Web site makes this partly possible, but a CD-ROM makes it additionally possible to include "navigation" tools in this material (mapping software, search engine, etc.).

(2) Collective ownership of the work of the Alliance so we can move from a summary drawn up by a small group or by a single person to a "plural" reading of this work. The FPH has already stated that it was ready to back collective thinking in this direction in 2003.

(3) Confrontation of the priorities determined by the Papers and the World Assembly with those determined by the work and proposals of other movements.

(4) Decompartmentalization of the Papers: In 2000-2001, the rule of the game was that everyone was to work on their own; this is what made it possible for so many Papers to be completed within the deadline. Now, however, the work needs to be decompartmentalized. There are several ways to do this. For example, by starting work on "second generation" Papers, which would integrate, on a given theme, contributions from the other Papers, or by drafting "cross-cutting Papers" around the strategic lines that were determined by the summarization of the Papers and the World Assembly.

(5) Opening local debates on the Agenda or on the whole series of Papers by setting up a "second generation" of Local Groups of the Alliance.

(6) Translation of the proposals into concrete strategies for change. At the outcome of the first stage, proposals have often remained in the state of general orientations. They need to be translated into more concrete action plans at different scales. The Alliance, due to its pluralism and its non-institutional nature, is not able to lead campaigns as an entity, the way a traditional social movement or organization focused on one topic, such as Greenpeace or Amnesty International, can do so. It is, however, a forum of relations among the Allies, which makes it possible for them to propose to others a common action to which they are committed personally. Respecting the objectives, the ethical criteria, and the working methods should be the framework in which it might be possible to define an "Alliance label," i.e., the right to refer to the Alliance and to use its logo, without committing the whole of the Allies to an action.

f) Socioprofessional enlargement

Our 2001-2002 experience of having diversified the Socioprofessional Networks seems to me essential for the future. The existence of visible products of the Alliance—the Papers, the Charter of Human Responsibilities, and the Agenda, make it now possible to go further by making "partial" alliances—that is, without "forcing" others to get involved in the Alliance itself—with pre-existing networks (unions, scientists’ associations, academic networks, women’s movements, international networks of inhabitants, organizations of local elected officials, social-economy networks, farmers' organizations, company-managers’ movements, etc.)

g) Development of Local, National, and Regional Citizens Assemblies

During the first stage of the Alliance, we were not able to find the means to support sustainably and for productive purposes the "geocultural groups" of the Alliance, although there are a few exceptions. They did not reflect a broad enough socioprofessional diversity. The involvement of Allies from a same region in different Workshops did not necessarily inspire them to form a Local or Regional Group.

On the other hand, the preparation process of the World Assembly has produced a proposal for working system on a local, national, or regional scale, which is the Citizens Assembly. This system enables progress according to the "three path" method. It could be a way of building common perspectives with the different existing networks. Some of the participants in Lille expressed their wish to initiate such a process. Those from Colombia have begun to work on one. I believe this to be a very important perspective for the Alliance. If by 2010 a small number of this type of assembly has been staged, particularly in countries where the traditional democratic model is in crisis—Argentina, Venezuela, Palestine, Congo, etc.—the Alliance will have taken a great step forward.

h) Circulation, appreciation, and transposition of the Charter

The value of the working process itself is tremendous. The need to have a common ethical core on a world scale, and for this core to be based on a broadened definition of responsibility will be increasingly and extensively recognized.

The absurdity of a democratic system in which a president considers that he is only accountable to his specific voters, of an economic system where a CEO is only accountable to his shareholders, of a scientific system where a researcher is only accountable to his colleagues and his employer is increasingly being revealed.

I therefore consider that the circulation, appreciation, and transposition of the Charter are a priority of the second stage of the Alliance. Perspectives are many, as for the Proposal Papers. For example:

(1) Translation and circulation of the Charter in many languages. Many participants of the World Assembly are prepared to take initiatives in that direction. Edith Sizoo is prepared to coordinate this work.

(2) Establishing contacts with spiritual leaders to work on a common sharing and a broad visibility. For this, Makarand Paranjape is going to take advantage of the organization in India of the next World Social Forum.

(3) Using the Charter to promote an ethical foundation on a regional, national, or local scale. Benoît Derenne and Jacques Onan have taken this type of initiative in the framework of the debate on a European Constitution.

(4) Elaboration, with other networks, of an ethical charter in different socioprofessional spheres, in the framework of the second stage of the Socioprofessional Networks. Initiatives in continuation of the work of 2000-2001 have already been taken in the direction of scientists, executives and engineers, academics, and companies. The Charter then appears as the foundation for a new social contract.

i) Consolidation of an information system using the confirmed experience of the first stage

The information system. Earlier, I mentioned what appeared to me to be the strengths and weaknesses of our present information system and the FPH’s impossibility to support it alone. In a non-institutional process as that of the Alliance, however, the information system is the condition for its survival, the equivalent of blood circulation in the human body.

(1) What appears to me to be urgent is to reinstate a regular information system, as inexpensive as possible, which circulates the simplest possible information on "what is going on in the Alliance." It is every Ally’s duty to inform others of his/her initiatives, and in my opinion this should be part of the "house rules" of the Alliance.

Information is above all sharing "what is happening." The "What’s New?" produced twice a month by Pierre Johnson in 2000-2001 seems to me to be a model to be restored. This very brief information, circulated if possible through the Internet, provided that in some cases regional or local centers can furnish its translation and postal routing, could refer to sources for more complete information and data bases on the Web site, these same centers providing a postal rerouting service to where access to the Web site is impossible.

(2) The Web site of the Alliance must maintain its "turntable" function. The development of techniques and practices should make it possible in the coming years to decentralize part of the management of the Web site, with Thematic and Socioprofessional Workgroups taking responsibility for the management of their own area. But there must be a team with the permanent function of managing and improving the general architecture of the Web site, and adapting the common specifications of all the Web sites that are set up in relationship to the Alliance and which should refer to the main Alliance Web site. This evolutionary standardization function appears vital to me. Its aim is to ensure, as in any form of governance, that unity and diversity are both met with.

(3) Facilitation of exchanges among Allies is another function of the information system. We already have a varied experience of e-forums and mailing lists. It shows that such exchanges must be well regulated to be useful. Otherwise, information is only noise. The "peace forum" experience set up on the initiative of Allies around Richard Pétris and Gustavo Marin after September 11th is especially interesting, as well as the facilitation by Marti Olivella and Laia Botey of the forum for the Enlarged International Facilitation Team (EIFT). We will therefore need small teams to take responsibility for the facilitation and transfer of their knowledge to others in a field where technology changes rapidly.

(4) Two other interconnected ideas, a resource center and a monitoring center, are beginning to take shape at the crossroads of the Web site, the research systems, and experience-sharing systems. On the initiative of a few Allies, two resource centers have been set up as prototypes: RINOCEROS (Suzanne Humberset, Françoise Feugas) on Responsible, Plural and United Development, and IRENEES (Henri Bauer, Vincent Calame) on the art of peace. In the continuation of the Socioprofessional Network of Academics, a monitoring center for university reform (ORUS) is under construction (Alfredo Pena Vega, Georges Garcia…). Another, WEEL, had been outlined in the framework of the "Energy Workshop," but has not made any headway. Another could set up soon around the topic of environmental education (POLIS-Yolanda Ziaka).

With common specifications, a constellation of resource and monitoring centers linked to the Alliance Web site could come into being. This would contribute to the opening of the Alliance, preventing it from closing up on itself.

j) Development and circulation of the tools and methods at the service of the democracy

The success of the contribution of the "mapping team" (implementation of the mapping tools to produce models of the debates and proposals developed for the summarization of the Proposal Papers and the World Assembly) at the last World Social Forum shows that such methods are fundamental for the construction of a true democratic debate. Terra Nova on its side has developed the practice of deliberation tools (Delibera). We have adapted for the Alliance, taking advantage of the Internet, the experience-management methods developed with the DPH network. Many efforts are being made elsewhere to provide world democracy with appropriate tools. Claude Henry of the CNRS, the French national research center, is conducting research with us on software for "tooling alliances." The Alliance must be in the future a place for the development of these methods in the spirit of free-software communities. It must also and above all be an international collective forum for the sharing and learning of these methods, in keeping with the idea that working systems and methods, in the broad sense of the term, are an essential part of the governance of the Alliance.

k) Action designed to address the media, institutions, and political authorities

The Alliance, a long-term effort with no spokesperson, no spectacular action, no strong identity, responds neither to the logic of a "society of the spectacle" nor to that of the media. Nevertheless, my conviction is that the wind is turning and the need for an "Alliance for another globalization" has become necessary, without which protest and resistance actions will be lacking perspective. But there is no possible centralized action that can be addressed to the media. It is up to every Ally to say to him or herself that he or she has a responsibility in this area and that it is possible to refer explicitly to the collective intelligence of the Alliance to speak out and to challenge things in his or her own name. Such a visibility of the Alliance, more for its concrete efficiency than through its own action, would be in keeping, in my view, with its deep nature.

l) Exploitation of complementarities with international forums, in particular the Social Forums

I believe in the complementarity of the Alliance with other international forums. They are indispensable to one another, as underscored by Candido Grzybowski—one of the early Allies and one of the instigators of the World Social Forum—at the closing of the Lille Assembly. How can we best take advantage of this complementarity, among others with the WSF? On the basis of the experience of the first three WSFs and of the first Regional Social Forums my personal point of view is the following:

(1) I am more convinced than most of the Allies of the limits of the present form of the WSF. If they do not manage to provide better organization, and to be more diverse in their recruitment and their themes, more democratic in their debates, and more rigorous in the elaboration of alternatives, they will rapidly collapse under the weight of their own success. Such a downfall could be dramatic, it could spoil the efforts of collective hope. It could reinforce the idea that there is no alternative to the evolution of the world’s present course. It is therefore a collective responsibility of the Alliance to help these forums to change by providing them with methods and proposals, and by giving a cross-cultural and cross-professional dimension to their organization committee.

(2) The yearly organization of the forums, provided that this does not dissipate our energy, can offer an opportunity to take regular stock of the progress of the Alliance by making sure that the Allies participating in them are not only advocating their own concerns but also the progress of the whole.

(3) The WSFs, unlike the Alliance, are media oriented. They therefore offer a rare opportunity of visibility for the Alliance, its objectives, its methods, and its proposals, provided that the Allies are organized to promote this visibility in the colossal fair that these Forums constitute.

I therefore think that we should jointly define a strategy for the presence of the Alliance in these Forums: Allies who go there can be the advocates of the image and the proposals of the Alliance, the guarantee for diversity, the visibility of the Alliance, and of the events that we organize there singly or with others. A meeting on site two or three days before the Social Forums would make it possible for the attending Allies to take stock of the proposals and to ensure a much better dialogue and collective visibility. A number of Allies—Gustavo Marin, Siddhartha, Pierre Vuarin, Marti Olivella, and Chan Hue Gang—have participated regularly or occasionally in the international committee of the WSF. We must think about a way to ensure continuity and renewal of the mobility of the Alliance.

m) Commitment of the Foundation to what is most difficult to support and to finance

Involvement of the Foundation in the second stage of the Alliance. The FPH’s orientations for 2003-2010 will be outlined in April 2003 and finalized in June 2003. I can therefore express myself on this subject only in my personal name:

(1) From the ethical point of view, in terms of responsibility, the FPH cannot lose interest in the future of the Alliance, as far as there is the same determination among the Allies.

(2) The Charter of Human Responsibilities says that "our responsibility is proportional to the knowledge and power that each of us holds." As long as the FPH continues to carry considerable weight in the Alliance, for historical reasons and because of its financial and methodological influence, it is its duty to give a transparent account of its general strategy (which it did as early as 1996) and of its partnerships and financial decisions (which it has improved upon since the Call for Initiatives in the spring of 2002).

(3) The orientations that I am thinking of submitting to the Foundation Council are inspired from the same intuitions that I have exposed here for the second stage of the Alliance. More than ever, we must use our financial independence to enable that which is essential but usually cannot find any financing: the construction of connections at the service of a pluralistic world civil society, work in the long term, and the elaboration of alternatives.

(4) Beyond the money, focus on the necessary methods and disciplines for collective work is one of the specificities and strengths of the FPH. We need to continue down this path.

(5) The FPH is only one of the components of the Alliance. It has its own profile. It has its priorities. It has its limits. From this point of view, I remain faithful to the orientations that the Foundation Council defined in 1996: the FPH, within the Alliance, must concentrate on that which is most difficult to carry out or to finance, that which does not go spontaneously in the direction of social movements. I am thinking in particular of the following points: going toward the various socioprofessional spheres and developing the socioprofessional networks that are most distant from the world of NGOs; going toward the regions that are least present in the Alliance, where it is not easy to go but where the future of the world will be largely played out: China, India, the Anglo-Saxon countries, Indonesia, Russia, Central Asia, etc.; making a constant disciplined effort to avoid consensus among people who are predisposed to believing in the same things, assuming the complexity of realities, drawing up alternatives in a rigorous fashion, having strategies for change built for the long term; taking an active part in the maintenance and the development of the information system, the methods and their circulation; advocating as a priority the proposals deriving from the Agenda for the Twenty-first Century, governance and ethics, which are not spontaneously the priorities of the civil-society movements; backing the process of dissemination of the Charter; supporting the setting up of systems for the assessment of the governance of the Alliance, such as the implementation of the house Charter, auditing the tools and methods, organizing yearly assessment meetings on the occasion of the Social Forums; working for the Alliance’s long-term existence, in respect of the continuity and the timetables and in a spirit of tolerance and pluralism; contributing to the organization of the World Parliament of Citizens.
Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer © 2003