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Overcoming the crises with “unprecedented possibles”

Our Country Will Be the Universe


A dialog on proposals for the governance of global migration at the Fourth Migrants World Social Forum
by Lucía Mariana Alvites

The Fourth Migrants World Social Forum was celebrated in Quito, Ecuador, from October 8 to 12, 2010. In it, Ricardo Jiménez facilitated a dialog on the Proposal Paper “Our Country Should Be the Universe”...




Humankind is facing a historic transition, a crisis in civilization, and pressing dilemmas. This was the context in which Ricardo Jiménez made his public presentation of his work, [“Our Country Should Be the Universe. Proposals for Migration in a New World Governance in the Twenty-first Century,” part of the Proposal Papers series published by the Forum for a new World Governance (FnWG) worldwide on different topics. [1]

Paulo Illes, international coordinator of the Espacio Sin Fronteras network and of the Centro de Apoyo al Migrante – CIAMI in São Paulo, Brazil, emphasized the need for the reflection and proposals imposed by responsibility in the current context of the global migratory crisis, and he featured as a concrete example of what the text calls “enlarged and regional citizenship” within the Union of South American Republics - [UNASUR- http://www.pptunasur.com/], pointing out the progress, opportunities, and challenges that this integration process has introduced into the field of migrations.

The author characterized the text as a summary of years of experiences and collective dialog in the framework of the process of the World Charter of Migrants, which is the basis of the focus of the text within a multiple, integral crisis, in which migrants are the expression and the indicators of the forms and degrees at which these crises are addresses in the political, socioeconomic, and cultural fields.

How can we move toward universal citizenship?

The forty participants engaged in a fraternal, emotional, plural, and enriching dialog on the various aspects broached by the Proposal Paper, bringing to the fore the following question: “How can we move toward universal citizenship and overcome the universalisms that have so far been hegemonic particularities presented as universal?” There was also discussion of the need and the current processes in Latin America aiming to build a new foundation for the state such that it is adapted to the actual existing nations on the basis of a paradigm that does not exclude but combines, enlarges, and pluralizes simultaneous identities: national, Latin American, universal, and other possible ones.

Photo: Lucía Mariana Alvites, coordinator of the dialog, surrounded by Paulo Illes on the left and Ricardo Jiménez on the right

Migration acts as a redistribution mechanism

From the socioeconomic point of view, the author described his hypothesis that current migration in fact acts as a redistribution mechanism for global wealth through the redistribution of employment and through remittances, compensating for the absence of formal mechanisms to carry out this function. It is those who are excluded by the hegemonic economic model who, in search of a better life, make an important effort to fulfill this role, in their home countries as well as in their destination countries. This shows the responsibilities of the rich countries in the impoverishment of those in which migration originates, and calls for mechanisms to compensate this responsibility.

As a temporary conclusion, the complexity of the challenges was underscored. Easy answers will be useless. What is needed is: great effort and responsibility; the collective development of proposals in interaction with the concrete practices of the people, which generates possibilities and opens ways; and a critical consciousness in order to be open to “unprecedented possibles” as a creative need in order to overcome the crisis and move toward fulfilling the duty pointed out by Flora Tristan in 1835 of making our country the universe.

[1] This Proposal Paper is available in Spanish and in French.

Published on: 12 December 2010
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