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Atlas’ annual Freedom Marathon took place from the 15th to the 18th of September, and it was an outstanding success 💫! We brought together hundreds of people digitally and, in our first in-person event in two years, almost 100 people attended our closing session in London. Together, we discussed how to protect freedom fighters, how to hold democracies accountable against backsliding, and how to innovate governance. We put together some very concrete next steps thanks to YOUR participation 👊!
Then, on Sunday, we gathered active members in our London Headquarters and digitally to discuss the future of our movement: where are we heading? what binds us all together? Honestly, the outcomes are really groundbreaking 🎯.
Scroll down 👇 to read the takeaways from these two key tipping point moments and - more importantly - what will come next.
THE FREEDOM MARATHON 🏃♀️: 4 DAYS OF PURE ENERGY & HOPE!
Last year, Atlas’ first Freedom Marathon took place in our founders’ living room and consisted of one 14-hour digital session to talk about democracy. This year's program brought together hundreds of people in a 3-day long digital conference, including Presidents and world-renowned Leaders, with almost 100 people gathering in London for the closing day. The topic? What’s next for democracy: protect, promote and innovate! Needless to say, we came up with some kickass ideas.
Read below a brief summary of the 4 days, and support on Democracy by becoming a member:
Day 1 | ⛓️ "We are not free until we are all free"
Read the full recap of day 1 here
The first day brought together an impressive number of pro-democracy leaders and activists to discuss how to support each other in the fight against authoritarian leaders. In the opening panel, we brought together freedom fighters from all across the world to explain how their countries became authoritarian, the tactics used to crack down on dissent, and the methods that those fighting back have used.
Following the panel on how to unite freedom fighters and join forces across the globe, we held a workshop on how we, normal people, can best protect and support freedom fighters from all parts of the world. This workshop was highly participative thanks to the methodology and research done by Atlas volunteers.
Day 2 | 💥 "Democracy is never won, but always remain to be won"
Read the full recap of day 2 here
Following the first day’s events, we gathered again to 💬 discuss how to ensure that democracies don’t backslide. Indeed, the best way to promote democracy is to lead by example. In this workshop, some key ideas came out, including: 1) Introducing an obligatory "Political Education" subject or course (possibly history lessons) into the school curriculum, 2) Making democratic standards a public policy goal instead of just a set of values, and 3) Promoting diffuse leadership in government, to decrease the risk of democratic deterioration.
Day 3 | 🌈 "A new utopia for democracy is needed!”
Read the full recap of day 3 here
On the third day of our marathon, we advanced our dialogue on how to innovate democracy, focusing in particular on the concept of global governance! In the panel discussion, we looked to the future to define concrete outcomes that we can advocate. We focused on innovative best practices coming from Taiwan that can be used at all levels of governance, and built upon those to discuss how to create a participative global democratic governance system.
Following the dynamic panel, participants gathered to consider how to create an innovative, global governance model! Inspired by the discussion, more than 20 proposals were debated in the session. Find here some of the most acclaimed ideas: 1. Global consultation efforts every 5 years with citizens proportionally selected from all over the world to discuss the biggest topics that need to be addressed by intergovernmental organizations, 2. Develop a transnational e-nation where everyone can become a citizen!
Day 4 | 🥳 Democracy Celebration in London
Read the full recap of day 4 here
On September 18th, Atlas hosted an in-person event in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧. In this full-day event, we gathered activists on the forefront of democracy struggles to talk about the threats that authoritarianism poses in places where crackdowns on human rights are taking place, but also in democratic countries. And importantly...we celebrated the power and resilience of freedom fighters across the world.
We also made a pretty big campaign announcement: ‼️Atlas intends to create the first Digital State in the history of humankind. Borderless in nature, people from all over the world will be able to “apply for citizenship” and partake in the democratic governance of this State. 🤯 If you like the idea, please volunteer with us to build it!
At the same time, to inspire our reflection, we held a protest art exhibition with pieces from Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand, Belarus, Sudan, and Afghanistan. Finally, we provided a writing stand where attendees could write a letter to a freedom fighter in Hong Kong that we will send.
THE COMMUNITY DAY: THAT WAS A HELL OF A MEETING 🤝
WOW! It was such a pleasure to meet in person and digitally with some of our most active members! Thank you so much to all those that managed to attend our Community Day.
Please find below a recap of the most important takeaways, and - even more importantly - the next steps to reshape our organisation!
Atlas’ Philosophy: Equitism ⭕
During the first session of our amazing Community day, right after a breakfast sugar rush, we jumped into the most important topic of all: what’s the North Star guiding our work? With a little surprise twist, the Central Team unveiled a new concept to bind all our work and values: Equitism. We recognize that until now, Atlas has been defined as a “progressive” movement - which sadly does not mean the same thing all over the planet. While definitely sharing the progressive values in the European/American sense, Atlas has nothing to do with the Bolsonaro’s “Progressive Party” in Brazil or other different interpretations of the word worldwide. To avoid misunderstanding, clarify our stances, and strengthen our identity, the concept of “Equitism” came about, which reads this way:
Equitism is the political, social, and economic doctrine promoting the idea that to maximize peoples’ well-being, society must ensure equitable rights and opportunities for all.
This new idea sparked an intense debate. Overall, the direction seemed positive, so we decided to continue the discussion and will determine whether we will soon be able to brand ourselves as the “global, equitist movement”!
Do you want to get involved? Become a member and join the conversation
Atlas’ Focus: A Digital State 📱 & Advancing our Agenda
After this enlightening debate, we moved onto more practical matters: what are the concrete goals of our movement? It quickly became clear that as a movement, Atlas has two focuses:
- The creation of a global governance to tackle today’s global challenges
- The advancement of our (progressive/equitist) agenda across the globe, via advocacy campaigns and elections
To translate these two goals into actionable aims, we understand that:
- To create a global governance, we should implement the main concept that the Freedom Marathon produced: the creation of a Digital State!
- At the same time, to advance our values across the planet and ensure consistency and clarity of goals, we must identify 10 (or similar number) political priorities that all of our teams can use as a guide for their advocacy and electoral campaigns.
Do you want to get involved? Become a member and build the future with us.
Atlas’ Strategy: 5️⃣ Arrows aimed and ready to change the world!
Oh yes, we’ve got a cool strategy to make all these things happen! And even if in a post-lunch session it was not as easy as before to keep the energy up, I must say that we advanced quite a bit on this topic too… In brief, we intend to achieve all of this by unleashing 5 macro work areas:
🏹 Advocacy (aka Empowering the Many)
🏹 Elections (aka Planting Flags all over the world)
🏹 Community (aka Bringing together hearts and minds)
🏹 Communication (aka Spreading hope)
🏹 Incubator (aka Walking the Talk)
SO, WHAT’S NEXT? ⏭️
So so so… to advance our philosophy, we need brains. To make our campaigns successful, we need hearts. To make this revolution happen, we need people: people with time, passion, and the commitment to take on the dream we have outlined above.
We are on the verge of something big that we will only realize if many of the 20,000 people reading this email will take action and ensure that thousands more hear about Atlas. Together, let's push the world in the right direction.
It’s on us to fight for change. It’s on you to ensure we succeed!
Thank you for reading this long message,
Andrea Venzon & Colombe Cahen-Salvador
On behalf of the Atlas team