Unifying Principles for Social Change Organizations, Spiritual/Faith Communities, and Activists
Set forth below are five principles that we think articulate values upon which those of us working for a loving, just, and sustainable world might agree. Please read them and then reach out to social change organizations, faith/spiritual communities, and others asking them to publicly commit to these principles by signing on here. We can be the change we wish to see in the world. To do so, we need to not only advocate for the world we seek, we must also live into that world now. Guiding principles to which we all commit can be the catalyst needed to unite our efforts and help ensure that we truly transform our world.
- Affirm the Humanity of Self and Others: We commit to reaching out across differences and through disagreements while respecting the dignity of others. We will simultaneously challenge every manifestation of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and all forms of “othering” while acknowledging the humanity of those who espouse such views and those who have been part of movements based on those hate-oriented ideas and practices. We will not demean, ridicule, insult, attack, or threaten people with whom we do not agree, even as we challenge hate speech and policies that protect the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the rest of our society.
- A New Bottom Line: We agree that a society based on a bottom line of money, fame, and power is destructive to people, all life forms, and the planet. Thus, we seek a world based on a new bottom line. A New Bottom Line is one that judges the success of every sector, system and institution of our society (economy, corporations, government, schools, health care, the legal system, etc.) based not on the old bottom line of whether they maximize money, profit and power, but instead by the extent to which they maximize love and caring, kindness and generosity, empathy and compassion, social, economic and environmental justice, peace and nonviolence, and protection of the life support system of our planet, as well as encourage us to transcend a narrow utilitarian approach to nature and other human beings and enhance our capacity to respond with awe and wonder to the universe and to see the sacred in others and in all sentient beings.
- Sacred Relationship with the Earth: We believe that the earth is a living organism and that we are dependent upon its well-being for our well-being. We commit to being in right relationship with nature, and be stewards of the Earth to ensure its well-being and longevity, just as we commit to do so with all other life forms.
- Honor Our Diversity of Faith, Belief, and Reason: Recognizing that people have different beliefs, traditions, and practices, we commit to respecting all faith and spiritual traditions as well as all secularists, atheists, and others.
- Non-violence: Recognizing that the only way to create a loving and just world is through loving and just acts, we commit to non-violence. All our marches, sit-ins, demonstrations, acts of civil disobedience, and the like will be non-violent. We will assume that anyone advocating for or engaging in violence is either misguided, a provocateur, and/or not a true supporter of the cause of liberation for all. We will work with them to change their behavior and tactics, and demand that they leave if they fail to do so.
Agreeing to unifying principles does not require that organizations change their focus or work, but rather highlight a shared commitment to certain values and practices that could build a sense of connection and solidarity amongst organizations working for social transformation. This would not only help people working in separate silos sometimes inhabited by social change movements to see their interconnection with all the other social change movements, but would also give those not yet part of our movements a sense of our positive vision for which what we stand (rather than what we are against).