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Home > English > Alternatives International Journal > 2011 > September 2011 > Alternatives’ Days Report and Alternatives’ 2011 Declaration

Editorial – September 2011

Alternatives’ Days Report and Alternatives’ 2011 Declaration

Thursday 1 September 2011, by Melissa Wils-Owens

Last month, Alternatives held its seventeenth annual Alternatives’ Days held in Camp Papillon de St-Alphonse de Rodriguez in the Laurentiens. The weekend was attended by over 300 people, in addition to over fifteen distinguished speakers from international non-governmental organizations, universities, activist groups and citizens’ organizations.

This year’s four main panels focused on the revolutions in Maghreb and the Middle East, neo-liberalism in the Americas, Quebec’s Plan Nord, and Canada’s “conservative” government.

The social, political and environmental issues discussed at Alternatives’ Days have spurred endless discussion and educated hundreds of people, thousands if you consider the amalgamation of attendees over the past seventeen years. However, steps towards amending the downfalls of our global community require the non-violent pressure of the people on their governments. An understanding of the various ways in which human rights are violated does not elicit progress if citizens do not act. At the Annual General Meeting on August 28, Alternatives International took on the following declaration.

Alternatives’ 2011 Declaration

Adopted during Alternatives’ General Assembly (August 21, 2011)

Another world is possible: Engaging ourselves here and abroad to build alternatives!

Today, our globalised world is confronted by multiple crises: structural, ecological, social, geopolitical and ideological. These crises, in addition to generating more injustice, exclusion, poverty and war, are affecting us all, as much in Canada, in Quebec, as elsewhere in the world.

While more than one billion already live in conflict zones, that another two billion live in absolute poverty, that the mass of unemployed and under-employed is growing, that violence against women and minorities is worsening, that global warming is reaching levels that endanger even the survival of species, including our own, our governments continue to steer us towards more repression, more deregulation to profit multinationals, more destruction of ecosystems, and more attacks against our rights.

In the countries of the North in particular, including Canada, we are experiencing a grave rise in right wing politics, a regression in tolerance of the other, or even the tolerance of democracy and democratic values.

In this context, Alternatives:

  • Reaffirms its support and its legitimate active participation in social movements of solidarity in Quebec, Canada and internationally, aiming to reinforce the building of sustainable societies that respect civil, cultural, economic, political, social and environmental rights;
  • Assumes its responsibility of solidarity and its right to help the struggles of the North in view of the regressive politics that have negative impacts all over the world;
  • Supports the organizations and citizens from here and elsewhere in their actions to defend those whose rights are most violated;
  • Supports the strategies to build alliances and to act in collaboration with movements and popular forces, social, progressive and alter-globalist by, in particular, the construction and strengthening of social forums.

Together, our goal is to build a world that can see:

  • Women, men and children, living with dignity and in solidarity, equally sharing the power and resources necessary to live and thrive;
  • A respect by all of the diversity of people, nations and individuals, as well as an unconditional respect of civil, cultural, economic, political, social and environmental rights, with a commitment for the protection and promotion of the rights of immigrants and refugees;
  • Equal, just, and truly democratic development as much at the local, national and global level.

Yours in Solidarity,

Melissa Wils-Owens

About the AIJ: The Alternatives International Journal (AIJ) is published by Alternatives, a member of the Alternatives International federation. The articles represent the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of Alternatives International.

Editors-in-Chief: Melissa Wils-Owens, Isabelle Reford.
Editorial Board: Feroz Mehdi, Michael Ryan Wiseman, Darren Shore.
Associate Editors: Marion Bauer, Salma Moolji, Kartiga Thiyagarajah.

Feedback: The AIJ welcomes comments, questions, suggestions, and criticisms. Email

Contributing: The AIJ is a volunteer-based not-for-profit publication, which remains open to new contributors and participants. To submit an article or photos for publication, participate on the editorial team, or otherwise get involved, email