(This statement was developed and adopted at the second Assembly on January 16, 2010. Please note that this is a work in progress.)
Capitalism is a barrier to human development. It has defined our successes as obstacles to progress and has deepened the grossest inequalities here and across the globe in the name of ‘competitiveness’. Its drive for profits at any cost has threatened the survival of the planet and narrowed the meaning of democracy as well as individual and collective possibilities. Never satisfied, it demands that working people and the poor pay for the crisis that the system itself created by further cuts to our quality of life and living standards. As the financial system teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, and we more clearly came to see the bankruptcy of capitalism itself, something else was revealed: our own inadequacy in challenging this staggered but still powerful social and economic system.
Many of us have been involved in various impressive movements and political projects but whatever successes we might have had, we were pushed to acknowledge that our capacities to resist have not matched what we are up against. The Assembly is an attempt to address that failure. The Assembly calls on activists to join together in a democratic process to create a new politics. It is both a space for dialogue and learning within the popular left movement and an organ of common action. Seeking to move beyond coalition and network politics the Assembly is an organization that individuals belong to without giving up their membership and allegiances to community organizations, unions and left groups. We are committed to developing our understanding of what we’re up against, who our potential allies are, and to organize and act in new ways that will take us from a politics of resistance to emancipatory alternatives.
We are united by an anti-capitalist, anti-racist, feminist, queer-positive, and anti-oppression politics. We are against imperialism, including Canadian imperialism, and rooted in a variety of struggles, ranging from the movements against Israeli apartheid to the imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Latin America and the Caribbean, to solidarity work with Indigenous peoples, to the struggle for environmental sustainability, to fights to rebuild a democratic and militant labour movement. We want to build unity and solidarity amongst the working class defined in the broadest terms, throughout Canada and internationally: among unionized and non-unionized workers; those who have lost their jobs or are unemployed; those who live and work in Canada but have been denied full status; those who do paid or unpaid housework and childcare; all those who face discrimination because of gender identity, including queer and trans people; those with disabilities; and others who are living in abject poverty at the edges of society. We stand in solidarity with communities against racial profiling, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of discrimination.
While capitalism itself has created ongoing suffering and oppression in its “normal” phases, the crisis has made things worse. But crises do not just come and go; they bring both great dangers and significant opportunities. Historically, they have represented new openings for either the consolidation of, or shifts in, social power. The question is whether we can take advantage of the new openings and threats to build a new kind of politics. The Assembly represents one answer to that challenge.