Sitting back and waiting for others to take action is no longer an option. We have a duty to stand for one another. We have the power to shape this world for the better. We have to unite. By Colombe Cahen-Salvador & Andrea Venzon
Find below the full text of the article, or follow this link to read the original piece on NOW!'s Medium account.
When contemplating the effects of climate change, the inability of states to tax digital giants, or the injustices that minorities face around the world, one cannot avoid to feel hopeless and powerless. Can our actions actually change the tide? Can our voices be loud enough?
This feeling is understandable: over the last decade, major wars and humanitarian crises have struck the world: Yemen, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar or Venezuela are only some notorious examples. Long-standing conflicts, such as the Israeli-Palestinian one, have continued to develop instead of getting closer to resolution. Even in some of the most economically stable countries, financial turmoil and growing inequalities took their toll: from the 2008 financial crisis pushing G-7 countries’ economies on their knees, to Greece experiencing 60% youth unemployment in 2013.
In 2016, we felt powerless. We felt sidelined. Many countries were seeing the rise of hateful trends we naively thought long-gone: destructive and nationalist forces were making a come-back. Brexit happened. Trump was elected. The far-right in Europe got stronger and stronger.
It was clear to us that Europe’s challenges could not be solved by nation-states alone: they went beyond our individual countries. Migration, youth unemployment, or the green transition could only be tackled if Europeans started to work together to fight for their shared future. So we decided to take action.
The founding of a European party, going beyond national borders
We, with Damian Boeselager, founded Volt Europa, the pan-European political party as a way to leverage the huge potential of transnational collaboration. Furthermore, in founding a transnational political party we sought to fill a gap in European democracy. We knew we had to beat the odds and take the future into our own hands. We ought to give it our best, because even a glimmer of hope was better than no hope at all, than not acting.
Three years later, after having mobilized people across 32 countries, built 14 national political parties under the Volt flag, campaigned in 8 countries on one programme, Volt entered the highest political institution of the continent: the European parliament. Representatives were also voted into local councils in Germany and in Italy.
In short: Volt Europa is up and running, and will continue to work its magic. We gave it all we had, our hearts and souls, and tens of thousands of people joined us to make our dreams come true. Most importantly, Volt showed that collaborating and creating a movement across borders works.
The realization that the only way forward is global
Despite the successes of many political parties seeking social, environmental and economic progress, we are no closer than three years ago to curbing the effects of climate change, taxing appropriately multinational digital companies, guaranteeing and upholding the rights of all humans equally, managing earth’s resources in a fair manner or ensuring safe migration.Unfortunately, the list could go on. And time is running out: humankind might become extinct by 2100 because of climate change, and even before in case of nuclear disasters.
A higher level of cooperation is needed between countries, regions, intergovernmental institutions, and — first and foremost — citizens, in every corner of the world. Urgently. While supranational institutions and multilateral treaties do exist, we see their lack of enforcement mechanisms, the lack of far-reaching solutions, the unwillingness of governments to go beyond their electoral interests, and the inability of citizens to meaningfully participate and get their voices heard.
We believe that it is time to dream big again.
We need a global movement for humanity, aimed at mobilizing citizens across the world to push for shared solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. While great examples of global mobilization exist in the digital space or related to one particular topic (such as climate change), no movement yet exists that mobilizes people across the world on a wide agenda to implement into law clear common solutions to the world’s biggest issues.
The time has come, and it is NOW!
That is why we took the decision to launch NOW!, the global movement pushing for humanity to work as one to solve the biggest challenges of our time.
Yes, we are big believers that we are stronger together. Starting January 1st, 2020, NOW! will:
- Craft global solutions for the world’s biggest challenges,
- Communicate them massively to create a common consciousness, and
- Campaign to push for global solutions to be passed into law.
From calling for referendums, to lobbying elected officials, organizing protests, levying influencers’ voices, supporting political candidates who stand for our beliefs, and using civil disobedience when needed, we will push for concrete change across continents to fight for our future.
The first few times we discussed NOW! with people we trusted, we couldn’t help but nervously laugh when explaining that we “are launching a global movement that will take on and attempt to solve the biggest challenges of our time.” People who knew us typically answered with “Ah, only that?! Why not go for something a bit more ambitious?”
Indeed, NOW! is a big dream, a huge one even. We could not have had a bigger one. Yet, big dreams are needed to move the world forward. And we are lucky: in the last few years, the ground has been fertilized. The Women’s Marches or global climate strikes showed that people can mobilize in the millions to fight for a better future. So did March for Our Lives, the Hong Kong protests, the Sudanese people, and the list could go on. The youth has also flooded streets across the world because to show that there is no more time to waste.
Yet, this will still be a bumpy road. We won’t succeed immediately, there are no ready-made solutions to all challenges. What we know though is that together we can make it. Together, we can do better. Together, we can change laws. Together, we can change the world.
More importantly, we ought to try. We are not the only hope out there, but we believe that we are filling a gap. We have a chance of succeeding if we manage to outperform ourselves, if citizens join in big ranks, if influencers land their voices, if a common consciousness flourishes.
All those ifs have stopped people before us. They will not stop us, and we hope they will not stop you either.