The first international conference of the World Prout Assembly, entitled, “Building a New World,” committed to ending imperialist wars and affirming models of cooperative, community-based economies and political activism, will be held May 22-25 at Radford University, Radford, Virginia.
World Prout Assembly Founding President Garda Ghista announced: “We seek to bring together activists from all countries fighting for justice in all spheres of life to form one universal coalition in order to mobilize moralists for creating global change. By decentralizing economies, we intend to transfer economic power from corporations to the common people. Once cooperatives are established, economic democracy will follow automatically.”
Several thousand “activists, academics, journalists, poets, musicians and policymakers” are expected to attend, Ghista said.
More than 70 authorities will speak, including activists opposed to the Iraq war and those who seek solutions to the growing economic crisis, including the provision of health care for all. Along with paper and workshop presentations, major session topics range from “End of Empire,” “Women’s Liberation,” “Facing Fundamentalism,” “Right to Health Care,” “Undoing Racism,” “Economic Democracy,” “Cooperatives and Economic Localization,” “Civil Liberties,” “Academic Freedom” and “Sustainability.”
(For additional information, please see the organization’s Internet site, http://www.wpaconference.org/ .)
Featured speakers include anti-war “Peace Mom” Cindy Sheehan; Washington reporter William Blum, author of “Rogue State”; Adam Kokesh of Iraq Veterans Against the War; author Mike Whitney, Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence; journalist Gareth Porter; media scholar Professor Robert Jensen; Medea Benjamin, Founding Director of Global Exchange; historian Michael Parenti; University of New Hampshire professor and Quaker peace activist William Woodward; author Antonia Juhasz; Freeman Wicklund, founder of Mercy for Animals; and Michael Richards, founder of Sustainable Ecological Economic Development.
The Prout name is derived from PROgressive Utilization Theory, a concept that involves nothing less than the creation of “new moral values” to “provide the impetus for accelerated social progress.” WPA is a non-profit organization founded in January 2005 in Highland Heights, Kentucky.
According to Ghista, there are significant differences between capitalist and communist economic approaches and Prout. Under communism, she says, human liberty is limited “by the primacy of the interests of the party bureaucracy,” while capitalist societies until recently permitted “freedom of expression” but not “freedom from want and material insecurity.” Since 9/11, she says, even these basic civil liberties have come under attack.
Ghista said, “Prout’s paradigm of economic democracy is based on worker participation in decision-making and cooperative ownership of assets, conditions which increase motivation and enhance possibilities for personal fulfillment. History has shown that during times of economic depression, cooperatives remain largely unaffected, and provide a path to economic survival.”
All those concerned with the crisis in our democracy and our economy are urged to attend this historic conference.
Asked why she founded WPA, Ghista said it was “out of a sense of tremendous frustration with the status quo in our country and in the world. I felt there is too much suffering, and people should become aware of it and should collectively take steps to alleviate that suffering.”