Evo Morales’ Manifesto…


How To Save The World

Evo Morales’ Manifesto: The President of Bolivia made a speech to his people last month that contained the following remarkable statement:

Let us witness the end of this age of violence against human beings and nature and let us move into a new age. An age where human beings and Mother Earth are one, and where all people live in harmony and balance with the entire cosmos… We are the Rainbow Warriors, the Warriors of right living, the rebels of the world. Here we give you ten ways to confront capitalism and start building a culture of life:

  • Rebuild democracy and politics, transferring power to the poor and putting it at the service of the people
  • More social and human rights, not the commodification of human needs
  • Decolonize our peoples and cultures to build a communitarian socialism of well-being
  • A real environmental policy to stand against the environmental colonialism of the ‘green economy’
  • Sovereignty over natural resources as a prerequisite for the emancipation from neocolonial domination and a movement towards integral development of peoples
  • Food sovereignty and the human right to food
  • The alliance of the peoples of the south against interventionism, neo-liberalism and colonialism
  • The development of knowledge and technology for all
  • The construction of a global institutional union of peoples

Economic development should not have as its goal capital accumulation and profit, nor market income, but must be holistic, and seek people’s happiness and harmony with Mother Earth. This new age is one of the power of workers, of the power of ’communities’, of the solidarity of all peoples, of the communion of all living beings with Mother Earth, all working together towards building the communitarian socialism of well-being. Our vision of a communitarian socialism of well-being is based on rights and not on market forces; it is based on the fulfillment and happiness of humankind.

Idle No More: Morales’ statement above seems consistent with the mission of the Idle No More movement, started by four First Nations women to seek social and economic justice for the indigenous peoples of North America. My friend Chris Corrigan summarizes the movement’s goals. First Nations Chief Lookinghorse, in supporting the movement’s aims, writes:

This effort to protect Mother Earth is all Humanity’s responsibility, not just Aboriginal Peoples’. Every human being has had Ancestors in their lineage that understood their umbilical cord to the Earth, understanding the need to always protect and thank her. Therefore, all Humanity has to re-connect to their own Indigenous Roots of their lineage — to heal their connection and responsibility with Mother Earth and become a united voice… All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer.


The Indigenous are teaching/showing us the way. One day we may listen to their words and learn to adopt their wise wisdom, in fact many areas of the globe already are.

In 2007, Ecuador became the first country on the planet to write into their constitution Rights of Nature laws. In the United States over 200 townships, municipalities and even Pittsburgh, Penn. have developed ordinances and laws recognizing the Rights of Nature. This most important work is also spreading to Italy, Nepal and around the world.

The wording used in the Ecuadorian Constitution was developed from the work of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which helped craft township ordinance laws in Pennsylvania banning corporation personhood and giving Nature Rights to exist. Born from the small townships of Pennsylvania a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother has been created.


Ecuador rewrote its Constitution in 2007-2008 and it was ratified by referendum by the people of Ecuador in September 2008.

The new Ecuadorian Constitution includes a Chapter: Rights for Nature. Rather than treating nature as property under the law, Rights for Nature articles acknowledge that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles. And we – the people – have the legal authority to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. The ecosystem itself can be named as the defendant.

What is Rights of Nature?

Rights of Nature is the recognition and honoring that Nature has rights. It is the recognition that our ecosystems – including trees, oceans, animals, mountains – have rights just as human beings have rights. Rights of Nature is about balancing what is good for human beings against what is good for other species, what is good for the planet as a world. It is the holistic recognition that all life, all ecosystems on our planet are deeply intertwined.

Rather than treating nature as property under the law, rights of nature acknowledges that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.

And we – the people – have the legal authority and responsibility to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. The ecosystem itself can be named as the defendant.

For indigenous cultures around the world recognizing rights of nature is simply what is so. All life, including human life, are deeply connected. Decisions and values are based on what is good for the whole.

Nonetheless, for millennia legal systems around the world have treated land and nature as “property”. Laws and contracts are written to protect the property rights of individuals, corporations and other legal entities. As such environmental protection laws actually legalize environmental harm by regulating how much polution or destruction of nature can occur within the law. Under such law, nature and all of its non-human elements have no standing.

By recognizing rights of nature in its constitution, Ecuador – and a growing number of communities in the United States – are basing their environmental protection systems on the premise that nature has inalienable rights, just as humans do. This premise is a radical but natural departure from the assumption that nature is property under the law.

The internet is so full of petitions, pleas, signature campaigns etc. that one wonders at the apparent effectiveness of them all. Seems there is some clout there, despite the overall sense of redundancy emanating from the process. I’m not the one who can/will do it, but I think there should be a monster campaign, for millions of signatures, to inundate to a point of utter saturation our governmental lackies, including President Obama, lackey in chief, with copies of Morales’ statement and associated comments, like J. Lee’s here. Clog their damned system, and let’s get on with this otherwise “non” revolution. Ukiah is a simpering case in point of utter “localism irrelevancy”. Long live the Palace hotel, and dear lovely little downtown, with its hope for a shopping savior in the form of a better “walmart”, costco.

People of Ukiah, There is an opportunity to stand up for nature here in our town. In spite of a detailed and thoughtful General Plan expressing strong support to protect our urban streams, the City is insisting on putting a 20 ft roadway within 2 feet of the top of the bank of Gibson Creek, exactly where several of us have seen large steelhead resting in the past few weeks. Ask me for more information, and I will gladly provide it. pinkykushner@mac.com