Latin Americans call for a more just and peaceful ‘new normal’

We cannot return to the perverse normality of the pre-coronavirus world, where profits are valued more than people. A new normal is both possible and necessary, if we build it together.
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The deep world crisis we are experiencing today due to the coronavirus is a symptom of the sick normality in which we live. The virulence of this crisis is magnified by a model of civilization that prioritizes particular interests over universal rights; privatizes surpluses and socializes losses; facilitates accumulation by the few through the dispossession of the many; and imposes a political culture that destroys life. Nothing is safe from the selfish clutches privatizing policies that pretend to be public ones — not even the water we drink or the air we breathe. Even our scarce freedom is not safe and is now mixed up with our capacity to self-exploit.

The virus does not kill as much as the perverse normality to which we strive to return — normality that consists, in the best-case scenario, of turning a blind eye, while we continue to consume irresponsibly. In the worst scenario, it consists in aligning with those who loot the public budget to appropriate the final crumbs, or with those who squeeze every drop of sweat from others in order to multiply profits, at the expense of environmental destruction.

The preceding normality made us complicit in the production, reproduction and normalization of exclusion, hatred, poverty, pain, violence, fear, violation, frustration, depression and death. It was this normality that invaded our feelings and conditioned our desires and wills, that colonized our thought by hiding the ancestral knowledge of our people, granting more value to appearance over essence.

The normality we strive to unquestioningly return to is that of an anesthetized conscience. It is one that does not pay attention to the tremendous impacts of a corrupt and corrupting system we made ours. It is one that does not pay attention to the systematic violation of rights that we end up renouncing — nor to the damage we end up inflicting on the most precious assets, as evidenced by the poor condition of our healthcare systems: lacking in hospitals, ventilators and medicines, but full of vain hopes to avoid one more death.

This mindset reveals the urgency of a new normal:

  1. A new normal that guarantees the sustenance of life and attention to the material needs of the population: replacing the economic paradigm of overproduction, speculation, capital accumulation and exponential growth, with the paradigm of equitable redistribution of wealth, sustainability and good living.
  2. A new normal that restores value to life, based on care and respect, that takes into account future generations and puts an end to climate change, exploitation of living beings and natural assets, air and water pollution, and to the destruction of forests and beaches. A paradigm that understands us as part of the cosmos and as just another species in the planet’s biodiversity.
  3. A new normal that replaces the paradigm of what is “mine” with the paradigm of what is “ours”, which recognizes that we are deeply interdependent, that there are no “others”, but one common horizon. A paradigm capable of promoting the full development of human potential based on the principles of simplicity, equity and co-responsibility in seeking a life that renounces unnecessary consumption.
  4. A new normal that replaces the logic of political representation with the logic of deliberative, direct participation. A democratic model that ensures the binding and proactive participation of the entire population, especially those who have been systematically excluded from political decision-making.
  5. A new normal that recognizes different forms of knowledge, and promotes their flourishing through the development of free and quality public education, not based on fees and quantity, but on the co-responsibility of all those involved in the knowledge construction process, and in dialogic, sentipensante (feeling-thinking), participatory and emancipatory educational strategies. An educational paradigm that promotes critical reflexivity, affection and solidarity between peoples.
  6. A new normal founded upon a conception of health that goes beyond illness; oriented towards well-being; that enhances diverse, ancestral and emerging knowledge; and prioritizes dignity, sovereignty of bodies, and the healing of violence. A health model understood as a universal right and not as a business, which guarantees free access to the COVID-19 cure for humanity as a whole, when discovered.
  7. A new normal that recovers the value of diverse memories, intersubjectivity and singularity; which recognizes diversity as an inherent human characteristic; and eliminates any form of domination and discrimination.
  8. A new normal that allows us to come together based upon our difference, in which our identities, eroticisms and joys are not penalized: where no violence is exercised by reason of gender or sexual orientation; with no human trafficking, nor femicides; where subjects decide over their bodies and desires, care does not befall upon women, and parenthood is understood for its political and transformative potential.
  9. A new normal that stimulates art and culture, understood as scenes of creation and experimentation which vindicate and renew our ways of knowing, inhabiting and sharing the world.
  10. A new normal promoting nonviolent action that assumes the construction of peace as a comprehensive and participatory process, and the emergence of conflicts as an opportunity for the development of cultures of peace and convivial models of synergistic attention to needs.

A new normal is possible and necessary, and we build it together making a new path as we walk. Nothing in history is written until it is written.

Visit CLAIP’s tri-lingual web-page for more information and to sign on to the Call as an individual or organization.

This story was produced by IPRA Peace Search

Founded in 1964 to advance research on the conditions of peace and the causes of war and violence — with five regional associations covering every corner of the planet — the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) is the world’s most established multi-disciplinary professional organization in the field of peace, human rights and conflict studies.

Waging Nonviolence partners with other organizations and publishes their work.