My manifesto is structured as a map, with a starting point and a goal, and in between there are milestones to help us reach the goal we all want to – a better, more sustainable world. A world where we can live together without having to hurt and exploit each other and our environment. The milestones can be seen as ideological positions, as promises, as dreams. A road to something better!
We live in a global capitalism, where a society like Finland cannot be considered without looking at a larger picture. We have exports to over 150 countries and imports from almost as many. That is trade with more than two-thirds of the world’s countries. It is thus virtually impossible to live a life here, without being in contact directly or indirectly with large parts of the world. At the same time, we have little idea of the conditions that really prevail and what effect our daily choices have on the global environment and for the people who are behind the products we consume. Our daily choices are therefore rarely based on a knowledge of their true influence. But the fact remains that our daily choices affect the whole world. And we justify these choices, which lead to consequences we do not know, with a variety of arguments; we have to take the car right now, otherwise we will not have time, we have to buy one thing or the other, we do not have time or money for a more sustainable solution. Often, we are lulled into a false belief about the sustainability of our way of life and our consumption, even though the facts speak against it. It could happen that the alternative we choose may be more sustainable than some other option, but it does not necessarily mean that it is actually a sustainable alternative.
We know the truth! The products we use daily are too often made in conditions that we would not approve at home, they destroy the environment in ways that we have been condemning here in Finland for decades, they are manufactured by people who are exploited in ways we cannot even imagine ourselves being exposed to or that we would expose someone else to, we know this, and even so, we expose others to it. We have to live with that knowledge and the shame, and try to legitimize our position as best we can, often by making the direct consequences of our actions invisible. Although we act locally, we must learn to think globally. We must be ready to take our responsibility for the collective, which in the current situation means to abstain from some of the amenities we have become accustomed to.
We have also seen, that the free market as capitalism understands it, is a lie, and that production according to supply and demand, is only a smokescreen. In a system that is built on constantly increasing profits and constant demands for profit, products that will maximize profits, are prioritized. I other words, products that are cheap to manufacture and as addictive as possible. Such products can be sold in high quantities or at an unusually high price, preferably both. The demand is created through aggressive marketing, through research findings made on market terms and through laws which have been stipulated due to company lobbying. Products that are beneficial to the community, non-profit or serve humanity and the environment in a sustainable way, are not prioritized in a capitalist market economy. The fear and the belief that if capitalism collapses, then the development stops, that we will plunge hundreds of years back in time, is also wrong. On the contrary – only if the technological innovations are open, if we together have the opportunity to develop them openly, without coercion for profit or the need to hide and keep everything a secret, we can produce inventions together, that are sustainable and benefit humanity and the environment.
The election are about promises, concrete promises for change and ideological promises of values. After the government is formed and the everyday politics get started, the concrete promises often dismantle and are split up into compromises. Which is a necessity in large-scale joint decision-making. But the compromises we see at the moment are, unfortunately, only on a very small scale of change, they continue to build on a market-centered capitalist world. The small changes we make can make life easier and better in small portions for small groups. But the world goes to hell even so. We can no longer close our eyes to the global ecological crisis we are experiencing. To the mass extermination of species, the destruction of habitats, the enslavement of our fellow human beings. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that our lifestyles, our privileges have been built up for hundreds, thousands of years by exploiting and enslaving fellow human beings, the nature around us, and ultimately ourselves. We have become masters of self-deception and it is time to admit to ourselves that we live over our assets, that we are taking too big of a piece of the cake. Instead we should truly try to show what a sustainable society would look like.
To be able to reach such a goal, a true change, a strong ideology is required, a strong devotion and determination, a dream of something better. We must help each other help each other. The state is ours. It is our tool, which we can use to guide our lives in the direction we want. We have become accustomed to having an authority that bears responsibility for us, a teacher for our knowledge, a physician for our health, a politician for our social engagement. Let us then make sure that we use our state as an authority to lead us into a sustainable life, until one day we know ourselves, our communities, and our environment well enough to make the necessary decisions in our local collectives.
How should we proceed to achieve that dream?
We must start where we are:
We begin with basic income
In order to live and develop ourselves, we need security, the first step towards a sustainable society is to ensure that everyone has something to live by. Food on the table, roof over their heads and the opportunity to engage in something meaningful. Which ideally is something that is not such a small part in a huge machine, that we do not have the opportunity to understand ourselves what the things we do really mean and what consequences they have, no one should involuntarily have to be a cog in a destructive force.
We cannot dismantle capitalism overnight. But to start with we can divide the resources so that no one needs to be a slave, while someone else dwells in abundance. Here comes the basic income. The surveys show that time is the biggest deficiency in our society. We all need time for each other. In order to live sustainably, we must slow down the pace of society, so we can have that time. And to do that, we all need a simple basic income secured. Society exists to ensure everyone’s equal opportunity for a sustainable life.
To make this happen, we can find resources for example in the defense budget, in supports to large companies already making huge profits, in setting a roof on income and ownership, etc. Where there seems to be too much resources, there most likely are too much resources. The goal is an equal, and sustainable life for all.
We will need some limitations
Forbid what destroys our planet. There is no way of justifying the fact that we are able to consume products which are made by slave labor or products that destroy habitats, in areas where we live or elsewhere on earth. As long as we maintain a nation-state, a huge mechanism with the ability to make laws and upkeep them, we have an easy opportunity to ban the production, import and sales of such products.
No one should have to be a millionaire or expert researcher in any field to be able to live sustainably. We cannot demand in the present situation that everyone should have the insight or the opportunity to know and understand each product’s life cycle, therefore products that cannot be considered sustainable should not be available. No one should knowingly be able to, or unknowingly, be forced to, use these products.
Ensure the right to live a good life
The rights to the resources nature has to offer belong to all those, who live in that nature, both humans and other species. No one should be able to monopolize, own and utilize these resources for only a few people’s gain. When we furthermore see that too often the profits are private but the risks are common. That a few shareholders or managers become rich at the same time as nature and those who live in it have to pay tenfold.
Only if the natural resources that exist are needed, and can be used in a sustainable way, can we use them. And then we do it in concord with nature and we share the resources that are created. No single company or individual shall receive sole benefit. It’s not sustainable. With our common state as a shield, we can ban these companies, through which the resources slip into a few pockets and nature is depleted and exploited. In addition, Finland can begin by ratifying the ILO169 convention on the rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples immediately and give the Sami people back the land they need for a sustainable life.
To live we need communities
In order to find alternatives to global capitalism and ways to live sustainably on earth, those who can, and want to build sustainable communities should be supported and given the resources required. Let these communities be formed on state-owned land, let those who live in the apartment buildings take possession of their houses. Let the groups that are seeking or have found the key to a sustainable life, ecologically and socially – become models for others, let them become hubs from where information and examples about sustainable cohabitation, about new technology, about development that is sustainable is spread.
There is not only one solution to what a sustainable life looks like. We need a multitude of communities whose foundations are to work together in a way that does not destroy their own or anyone else’s environment. Where words such as peace and love don’t need to be naive utopias. We must fully support the emergence and development of these communities, our society must offer time, place and opportunity for us to find each other. And we must utilize and create these opportunities. In today’s hectic, individualistic, lonely world, there is no space for this. The capitalists’ fear that our affinity is their fall, amounts to our attempts to organize ourselves being opposed by the state power. We have to break our isolation, and stop building communities according to the models the market offers. It’s time to build communities on the terms we want, while doing so, the boundaries of private ownership will be blurred, we will see that we as individuals, can go beyond ourselves. And we become a collective, a community. Without these communities, we cannot live a sustainable life.
Signals lights gleam in the forest.
When the street lamps and screens are extinguished, the fires are lit.
We gather at. 18:42.
We gather as the sun goes down.
Tomorrow we will rise.
We need education
In order to cope with a life together with others, we need three basic skills, we need to get to know ourselves, so that when we see wrongfulness, we can stand up and say stop and to ensure that the resources and knowledge we acquire do not go to waste. In order to respect and safeguard others and others, we must respect ourselves and dare to be who we are.
Furthermore, we need to learn how to function in a group and be able to organize ourselves, in a group, everyone does not have the same knowledge or skill to solve all problems. But when we know how to organize ourselves and function in a group without oppressing others or ourselves, everyone’s knowledge can be availed. Together we can manage to solve all problems.
As a third skill we need to know how to look for information, and how to evaluate it and put it into practice. The education should not focus so much on providing the same information for everyone whether they are receptive to it or not. There is an abundance of information at hand and we must above all learn to deal with it. With these three basic skills, no crisis becomes too great. The education will help us learn how to create a community and work sustainably in it.
Grant the groups that function sustainably autonomy
Let the smaller groups that have formed and who have found a solution to a sustainable life decide for themselves, let dem govern their immediate environment and their community. Granting autonomy and splitting the state into smaller entities does not mean chaos. On the contrary, when the decisions concerning the local environment comes directly from the people who live there, it becomes more sustainable. Having smaller units that work autonomously does not mean that large units cannot exist. The smaller communities can work together on issues that concern them all. But the decision-making goes from the bottom up. This ensures a sustainable life for all. Which our current system does not succeed in.
The world could be a place where we all agree on some foundations. I.e. to safeguard our local environment, not to enslave each other or to exploit anyone. That we share the resources and help those who need help, within the reasonable limits of the planet. There is a risk that we cannot all live sustainably. Everything finds its balance within time.
We have to open the borders and dismantle the state apparatus
The fact that we live within the borders of a nation state and defend them, while exploiting the environment and the people outside our borders (and inside) is a disgrace. Everyone should be able to build a sustainable community. The Earth belongs to everyone. As long as our society is built on repression, threats of violence and exploitation of others, we will always be afraid. Afraid that we will meet the same fate. Therefore, we must first of all change the society in which we live in order to regain the belief in humanity.
Eventually, as more and more autonomous communities are formed and functioning organs to deal with common matters grow, the thing, which we now perceive as a state apparatus will be dismantled and replaced with more organic, not as rigid functions for consultation and co-operation between these autonomous groups. Artificial borders will become superfluous, as a border between two countries does not matter to an owl, an elk, a moss or an elephant.
The so-called real politics is a secondary issue when it comes to the election. In the election, we are looking for a person with the right values, we are looking for a dream, we are looking for someone with perspective and a strong dedication to working for that world. If, as a politician, I do not firstly have a strong foundation of values, I will fall into the same line of slow reform, which today often is directed by the faster and more effective lobbyists.
In my short manifesto, I describe a possible road towards a better, more sustainable way of organizing ourselves to live as human beings. The closer the utopia we come, the blurrier and dreamier my thoughts become. It is not one, or a few people’s dreams that should come true. It is that kind of individualism and pursuit of self-gain that has led to our world looking like it does. We start today to work towards those communities, where everyone can find their place, and slowly but surely, we move towards the world we then dream up together. A collective utopia we could call it.
We are already moving towards a more pluralistic world. The dream is a pluralistic, collective world, where we can be guided by some simple common foundations; that no one should have to destroy the environment they live in or an environment for someone else, that no one should be enslaved or enslave others. To get here, we must start by slowing down our pace and observing and understanding what we are doing. We need to scale off the many layers that hide the truth, and realize that before we know everyone is alright, no true progress can be achieved. The progress we are talking about today is based on adversity for someone else. The freedom we enjoy today is only a backdrop. We can try to believe, that our society and the abundance we have here, are not made on other people’s work, and the exploitation of nature. That infinite growth is possible.
Or we can look for another direction to head, and not by making minimal changes, which will only continue to maintain the same old conditions and hiding those behind new fine scenery. We can also stop blaming, displaying and pointing at others. And instead simply use our forces to search for and to show the beautiful path we find, together. We will invite others to be inspired and create their own communities. And we can be inspired by other communities, present and future.
Together, we can meet to draw up guidelines, ideas, and for them who have resources to share, also to share those resources. We are all looking for a community. We all need a community. There is no doubt that industrial production must be reduced, that collective engagement must increase. That the borders should be opened. Communities are formed as you read this, let us also merge. Reclaim the state as our tool to realize our common dreams, use the state apparatus to make the dismantling of capitalism as peaceful and smooth as possible. In the future, we will hopefully dismantle the strict nation state and create a more sustainable form of community and life. And one day, global capitalism is just a sad chapter in history, like the feudal state.
Weep no tears for a lost nation state –
It is not a lost society.