On March 12, 2006 the Constitutional Assembly was held for Lokarri, citizen network for agreement and consultation, whose origin lies in the work of Elkarri, social movement for dialogue and agreement. Elkarri decided in its 8th and final general assembly to begin the creation of a new social organization, adapted to a new situation and new goals. Though Elkarri’s mission has been completed, the peace effort should continue. Elkarri contributed to preparing for the peace process, Lokarri will contribute to developing it fully.
From Elkarri To Lokarri
We put forth a synthesis of Elkarri’s history in one sentence, a paragraph, and four lines:
- The synthesis of Elkarri’s history can be summarized in one phrase: "Opening useful paths towards dialogue and peace"
- Synthesis is only one idea: Elkarri’s history is that of a social movement that, for 13 years, fought until it achieved the social acceptance of the majority and the political support that would determine the conditions for non-violence, dialogue without exclusion, and multi-party talks. This was its contribution and this is how its history can be summarized.
- Synthesis in four lines:
- Elkarri’s mission. Three years ago, Elkarri propused as its mission that it contribute to making the majority social and political opinions regarding a solution involving dialogue become a determining force in reaching peace. Elkarri captured the promotion of these goals into a four-part proposal: non-violence, dialogue, agreement, and social consultation. This general proposal has found its most practical and concrete form in that of multi-party talks. All of this—the initial proposal, founding proposals, and concrete program all define Elkarri’s mission.
- Initial Proposal. The objective of bringing the majority social opinion around in favor of dialogue has been fulfilled. Society’s position has a driving force, without it there is no possibility of understanding the change that has taken place in the past two years.
- Founding proposals. The proposal of non-violence, dialogue, agreement, and social consultation that Elkarri put forth thirteen years ago has been taken on by society and the vast majority of the political parties and is being carried out in practice.
- Concrete Program. The plan for multi-party talks has been adopted by the institutions and political forces that, though with some different details, are beginning to create this forum.
Specific Contributions. Throughout these 13 years, Elkarri has brought into the public sphere a series of concepts that have had a noticeable influence. In chronological order we cite four of the most important:
- The “neverending tie” (29-IX-95). This concept served to describe graphically and with a significant echo, the minimal usefulness of the different strategies focusing on force and imposition.
- The “third space” (3-XII-96). Elkarri created this term to describe the existence of a majority social space that neither accepted violence nor supported inflexibility. It’s not easy to understand the current situation without focusing on the importance that this analysis had.
- The Izan Proposal (5-XI-97). Elkarri elaborated a proposal, which had a great impact and was rejected by no one, regarding Annex I of the Spanish Constitution and historic rights. It showed that there are several shareable and passable routes for finding a way out.
- ”Capacity to decide and the obligation to agree” (23-VI-04). With the experience from two Peace Conferences, Elkarri suggested this synthesis of apparent contradictions as a meeting point that was a viable way to construct a shared solution. This thesis is now accepted by practically all political actors.
This balance culminates in the birth of Lokarri.
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On the 17th of December 2005, the VIII General Assembly of Elkarri made two decisions. First, to view as completed, as of March 2006, the itinerary of this social movement, because it has completed the mission for which it was born with a clean balance, clear and supported by the change in the political situation. Second, to promote the creation of a new social organization, adapted to the new situation and new challenges because, though Elkarri’s mission is complete, the struggle for peace should continue. Elkarri has contributed to the preparation of a peace process. The new organization will try to contribute to its development.
This two-part decision represents a commitment to making dialogue prevail over decadence, the peace process over the disintegration of the conflict. We have a historic opportunity to turn the page on violence and destructive confrontation in a civilized and constructive way. As a civil society, we cannot ignore this opportunity. With this intention, Lokarri was born in Bilbao on the 18th of March 2006—a new social initiative inheriting the best of Elkarri, its experience and human resources—and aspires to represent a renewed impulse that incorporates more people and new experiences in order to accomplish new objectives.
The organizational structure that Lokarri adopts is adapted to the way of life, the customs of relationship and communication, and the organizational culture and social activism of our time, characterized by its versatility, quick responsiveness, and functioning as a network. To achieve this goal, it is necessary, first, to diversify the forms of involvement and collaboration available and second, to distinguish and not confuse the means of participation with the organs of financing or decision-making.
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