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Envisioning the Movement
Contribution to GTI Forum What’s Next for the Global Movement?

Guy Dauncey

How to foster a global citizens movement fit for the challenges of today is one of our most urgent questions. I thought it would be a difficult question to answer, but I find that I can visualize such a movement quite easily. It would have a strong name, a striking visual image in the form of a flag, an inspiring definition of “success,” a clear set of achievable demands, determined support from millions of people, and mobilization across the planet that persists until we achieve success.

How would we define “success”? Personally, I define it as ending neoliberal capitalism and developing in its place a new ecological civilization with a new cooperative economy that will put us on the road to socially responsible corporate behavior, a safe climate, the restoration of nature, reduced inequality, and affordable housing for all.

The movement would need a global head office, national offices in most countries, and a host of chapters in each larger country. It would probably not be governed or managed by a democratically elected body: that would take years just to reach agreement on a constitution. It would be held together by a core group of activists from around the world, using a platform such as Polis to enable people to reach consensus on difficult issues.

My personal preference is that the movement would not distinguish between people from the colonizing North and the colonized South. The movement would acknowledge historical abuses and griefs, but it would also acknowledge that in most colonizing countries, powerful elites have exploited and abused their own people as well, and that in all countries, powerful elites still seek to dominate. The distinction that matters is between those who believe in kindness, cooperation, and democracy, and those who believe in selfishness, domination, and plutocracy.

The movement would be birthed in a particular place, where 300 people would gather for three weeks of deliberation in a spirit of friendship and collaborative problem-solving. Let us call it Mount Ubuntu, referencing the South African Zulu philosophy, laying aside ego and self-importance for the benefit of all humanity, and nature. The event would become equal in global importance to those that took place at Bretton Woods (1944) and Mont Pelerin (1947). Three people would be invited to attend from each of 100 organizations, each of whom would be committed to building a new ecological civilization, or whatever was agreed to be the goal.

I would not invite representatives from political parties, because although many people in progressive parties also want a new ecological civilization, the peculiar dynamics of political parties quickly puts people who would otherwise be friends into conflict with each other. We need members of the Global Citizens Movement to be active inside every political party. Guest speakers could be invited, but their role would be to inspire and inform, not to organize.

The gathering would produce a brief Charter, translated into many languages, which would be circulated widely, including to the members of like-minded non-profit organizations all over the world, seeking the first million members, with the ultimate goal of a billion members. The Charter would state key demands for global change, including climate action, biodiversity action, ending global tax avoidance, replacing abusive free trade with cooperative fair trade, a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, and so on.

The movement would need a global engagement strategy to reach the first million members quickly. Persuading celebrities and social media influencers to join would be important, since a growing number of people get all their news (alas) from TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitch.

Following the gathering at Mount Ubuntu, those who attended would be invited to organize gatherings in their home countries, and to write national or regional Charters. A date would be set for the first global protest, and the movement would come alive, guided and supported from its head office in Rio, Capetown, Mumbai, or wherever. Whenever a date came up for a critical global or national meeting, the movement would fill the streets.

It will be difficult, but if we can avoid the Scylla of ideological dogmatism and the Charybdis of disorganized chaos, we can do it. The extreme urgency of the times and the dire needs of nature’s creatures demand that we do.

Guy Dauncey
Guy Dauncey is an ecofuturist and the author of such books as The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming and Journey to the Future: A Better World Is Possible.

Cite as Guy Dauncey, "Envisioning the Movement," contribution to GTI Forum "What's Next for the Global Movement?," Great Transition Initiative (January 2024),

As an initiative for collectively understanding and shaping the global future, GTI welcomes diverse ideas. Thus, the opinions expressed in our publications do not necessarily reflect the views of GTI or the Tellus Institute.

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