Resistance is growing around the world to the big multilateral companies’ system of the domination of globalized capital over nations, individual people, and nature. For better or worse, a tendency is appearing of ecologically oriented practices and projects, that are already trying out the new. The basis is always solidarity economics, respect for the cycles of nature, synergy with Mother Earth, economics at the service of life and not for profit, and politics sustained by hospitality, tolerance, cooperation and solidarity among the most diverse peoples, thereby suppressing the seeds of religious and political fundamentalism, and of the terrorism that we have seen in the United States and, now, in Norway.
Of the many projects in existence in Latin America, such as solidarity economics, family organic agriculture, clean alternative energies, The Peasant’s Way, The Zapatista Movement, and others, we would point out two for the universal relevance they bear as expressions of a new type of socialism: the first is «Living Well» and the second, «Community Democracy and of the Earth».
«Living Well» is present throughout Abya Yala (the original name of the continent known as “South America”), from the extreme North to the extreme South, under many names, two being the best known: suma qamaña (from the Aymara culture) and suma kawsay (from the Quechua culture.) Both names mean «the process of life in plenitude.» This results from a harmonious personal and social life and a material and spiritual equilibrium. In the first place, it is knowing how to live well, and then, knowing how to coexist: with others, with the community, with the Divinity, with Mother Earth, with her energies present in the mountains, the waters, the woods and the jungles, in the soil, the sun, the moon and in every being. A harmony is sought, not through accumulation of wealth, but by producing what is enough and dignified for everyone, with respect for the cycles of Pachamama and the needs of future generations.
That «Living Well» has nothing to do with our «living better» or «quality of life.» Our living better presupposes accumulating the material means to be able to consume more, within the dynamic of an unlimited progress whose motor is competition, and a relationship based on the mere use of nature, with no respect for its intrinsic value and without recognizing oneself as part of nature. That some may live well, millions must live poorly.
«Living Well» is not simply identified with our «common good» thinking only in function of human beings in society, in an unconscious anthropo-and-sociocentrism. «Living Well» touches all that exists, nature, with all her different beings, all humans, the search for the equilibrium among all, also with the spirits, with the wise persons, (the Grandfathers and Grandmothers already gone), with God, that all may coexist in harmony. «Live Well» cannot be imagined without the community, the widest community possible, human, natural, Earthy and cosmic. «Minga», the work in community, expresses well this spirit of cooperation.
This category of «Good Living» and «Living Well» is enshrined in the Constitutions of Ecuador and Bolivia. The big task of the State is to create conditions such that «Living Well» may be for all beings, and not just for humans.
This perspective, born in the periphery of the world, with all its utopian ideals, is directed to all because is an attempt to respond to the present crisis, that will be able to guarantee the future of life, of humanity and the Earth.
The other Latin American contribution to a different kind of world is «Democracy of the Community and of the Earth.» It is a type of social life, already in existence in the cultures of Abya Yala. It was repressed by colonization, but now, with the indigenous movement retaking its identity, it is catching the eye of analysts. It is a form of participation that goes beyond the classic, European type of representative and participative democracy. It includes them, but adopts a new element: the community as a whole. The community participates in developing projects, in debating them, in creating consensus around them, and in their implementation. This form of democracy presupposes an already established community life in the population.
It differs from the other type of democracy because it includes the whole community, nature and Mother Earth. It recognizes the rights of nature, of the animals, the jungles, the waters, as they appear in the new Constitutions of Ecuador and Bolivia. The juridical personhood of all other beings is widened, especially to Mother Earth. By virtue of being living beings, they have an intrinsic value and are carriers of dignity and rights, and for that reason they are deserving of respect.
Democracy will then be socio-Earthly-planetary, the democracy of the Earth. There are some who say: all this is utopia. And it is. But it is a necessary utopia. When we have overcome the crisis of the Earth (if we do), the path of humanity will be to organize ourselves globally around «Living Well» and to the «Democracy of the Earth,» the Bio-civilization. There are already signs that anticipate this future.