The shocking results of the November 1991 elections demand an urgent reaction, also by those who are not actively involved in politics.
The success of right-wing extremists, particularly threatening since it is a European phenomenon, must be understood as being a symptom of underlying processes that will no doubt result in social disruption.
Western democracies allow citizens considerably less influence on society than they claim to. The political system functions too much in isolation and is unable to answer the questions concerning the relations between individuals and their social environment. This rightly causes annoyance, confusioin and a paralysing feeling of impotence.
The social crisis is felt at the political, the socio-economical and the cultural level.
Politics appear to be a spectacle unworthy of belief in which interests are served and rules are applied that leave the majority of the population out in the cold. This frustrated majority is allowed to look on the political deterioration, which is characterised by lack of transparancy, inefficiency and a shameless overlapping of interests. To counter this, a new, trustworthy culture of politcs has to be installed, based on transparancy of management, a better administration of justice and venerable political activities. New organs and new institutions are needed to make immediate participation and control by citizens possible.
During the last 15 years, the socio-economic conditions of our society have changed considerably. The wealth of our country has been redistributed at the expense of those in need, and the welfare state has been replaced by a new class-society. Small wonder that, in some neighbourhoods of our cities, unemployment, poor housing and social exclusion cause intolerance and xenophobia. Discontent grows, even in so called upper class neighbourhoods because of decreasing professional perspectives and lack of recognition. Education, public health, socio-cultural activities and scientific research suffer from cost cutting.
The cultural climate grows continually poorer, thus causing an ideological shift to the right. The common denominator of mass culture suppresses innovation and choice. Growing illiteracy, failure in school, premature exhaustion of the educational system and media game culture cause great damage to the spiritual fabric of society.
A reversal of this political, social and cultural climate is needed. The situation will not change by itself. Which priority is to be chosen? A European economic and monetary unification that is imposed undemocratically or a gratification of the social and cultural needs of the population? If shock therapies are necessary , let them hit those who can take them.
Charta91 intends to contribute to this newcourse. Charta 91 is neither the embryo of a political party, nor the substitute for feelings of indignation that are expressed in manifestations and petitions. It tries to be complementary to them.
We are proposing action on three levels.
Firstly: a serious debate in clear political terms. Local, national and international structures are becoming less democratic in design and practice. This tide can not be turned by quick, superficial countetr-moves nor by ready-made ideology, but only by exhaustive political analysis.
Secondly: this new political awareness demands a strategic and continued effort. The nature of the problems deteremined the frequency of reactions. All this presupposes a long range and in-depth action.
Thirdly: we strive to be an independant movement of individual citizens. The fact that these individuals are members of different organisations and movements, must not keep them from working independently on a basis of common agreement concerning the causes of stacial stagnancy.
The situation is far too serious to be left at the mercy of the structures of power that have caused the decay in the first place. Responsible citizens are able to counter the social deteriorationb that causes intolerance, xenophobia, social exclusion, anxiety and insecurity.
Charta 91 gathers people from different social, professional and cultural backgrounds, citizens with their different dreams and expectations, who want to act together in plurality for freedom, equality and solidarity.
Until the unholy tide has been turned....