for the Just Society and for Hope
1. Its origins
The idea for this movement first came to us in Lecce in January of year 1998, following a debate entitled "The society based on justice. What we can and must hope for", one of the many debates I had held around that time after publishing my book Lutopia. Rifondazione di unidea e di una storia (quoted) and once I had realized that it was no longer simply a book, but a message, i.e. the just society, its construction, the meaning of the history of man, the dawning of hope for mankind, a message that would have to be passed on to the people, everywhere and in every way. This book was the result of about twenty years studies carried out in a "research community", a group whose members have been working together for a long time in an environment where it is possible to swap and pass on ideas and criticism and where creativity is encouraged: the Lecce University Interdepartmental Group and Centre for Research into Utopia.
The original idea for the movement came into being amongst people talking after the debate since they had realized its potential. They had realized that this message required further discussion in order to get to the bottom of it, to feel it and experience it, to make it a principle for action within society, a principle for commitment at all levels. Then the message would have to be conveyed so that more people could grasp and experience it, so that the hope could be passed on to the many. The idea was, then, for a movement made up of people who would meet to discuss the problems of the just society at its various levels, to foster hope in the face of difficulties, to help one another act justly in their existence, in social life, in their work, and to help found just institutions. Meetings were held monthly or fortnightly in local groups in various towns and villages. This project was debated in various venues until the movements basic charter was drawn up, one which also acts as the membership document and which is set out as follows.
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2. The basic charter and membership document
THE MOVEMENT FOR A JUST SOCIETY
AND FOR HOPE
This movement was formed as a result of certain fundamental convictions:
that the entire history of mankind, despite many difficulties, strives towards the design of a society based on justice;
that since the English Revolution, that is for three centuries, it has been building this society;
that this course of history to some extent guarantees its continual construction for the future;
and builds hope for the whole of mankind, for every one of us, a vision of the past, present and future which comforts us, gives us strength and drives us to commitment.
The nodal points of this construction of justice through the last three centuries:
the great ethical principles which reached maturity in the modern conscience:
the principle of man, dignity and rights of a person; the principle of liberty and liberties, of equality, of sovereignty of the people; the principle of reason and interiority, the principle of solidarity;
the establishment and endorsement of these principles in the peoples charters: the English Agreement of the People of 1647-49; the Declaration of American Independence of 1776; the first Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789; the democratic constitutions of nations, starting with the American and French; and then the Atlantic Charter, the Un Treaty and the other Un charters and treaties;
the democratic model which came into being in the English Revolution and its development through the stage of mediated and parliamentary democracy to direct democracy;
the destruction of the power of the monarchy and aristocracy;
the abolition of slavery; the abolition of the death penalty;
the rise, in the 1800s and 1900s, of the working class and the improvement in living standards as regards work, income, social security, education and culture, and well-being;
the expiry of the continental empires, and subsequently of the colonial empires, the principle of the self-determination of peoples;
the assertion of the dignity and rights of children, youths, women, social outcasts, the disabled through the student revolts of the Sixties and Seventies;
the rejection of war, the beginning of the destruction of arms, cuts in the size of regular armies;
the principle of respect for nature and its balance, respect for animals as mans younger brothers, recovery of the environment.
This construction goes on but, inevitably, there are still many problems to be solved: poverty and unemployment; drugs, neurosis, and crime; local tension and conflicts; hegemonies, dictatorships, fundamentalism; immigration of peoples.
This construction progresses at different rates in different continents and nations and will continue to do so until the process of universalization gains ground.
This tending towards a just society and towards hope brings about commitment:
to spreading the message of the just society and of hope;
to acting justly, in our own lives and in social life, in our work;
to founding just institutions.
The movement is made up of people who share this commitment and meet to experience it intensely, to pass it on to others as best they can, to help build the society based on justice and spread hope.
It is formed of local groups who meet monthly or fortnightly for discussion meetings based on a report drawn up on a set topic concerning mans problems and the problems of national and local society, a topic all those attending will have read up on.
In order to carry out its activities the group can nominate a board of three-five members plus a moderator. Signing in acceptance of this proposal constitutes membership.
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Since the spring of 1998 the Movement has begun to form and spread. Dozen of meetings and debates have been held in the three provinces of Salento, Apulia, and a number of groups have been formed or are in the process of forming. Agreements are being negotiated at this time to take the Movement to Tuscany, Lombardy and Sardinia. The basic text and document have been translated into English and French with the aim of a broader diffusion. An organizational Committee has been mounted to preside over its development: members of which are Arrigo Colombo (moderator), Claudio Alemanno, Antonio Alfieri (for the province of Brindisi), Domenico Amalfitano (for the province of Taranto), Maddalena Ascalone, Cosimo Quarta, Mario Schiattone, Giuseppe Schiavone, Giovanni Seclė, Laura Tundo.