Shahbag Manifesto: Part 1

Shahbag procession
Talk is cheap. We have been talking, venting, protesting, demanding, and then protesting some more for the last 42 years. The result is a perfectly rounded, wonderfully crafted, zero. As I said in my previous posts, the only way you…we will get a government that truly represents the people is by challenging and replacing the status quo. Declare yourself free. Unite. Organize. Challenge. Vote.
Following is a draft manifesto. Make it your own. Build consensus. Register a party and then let’s talk. Many of us expatriates will gladly support you with whatever means necessary. So, here goes nothing.


We, the citizens of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, united in common purpose, hereby rededicate ourselves to the principles which have been the cornerstone of our society for millennia – secularism, progressivism, nationalism, and social justice.
We believe that to strengthen a democratic society, we must work together to strengthen our social, cultural, and political institutions founded upon our core values
We believe that any party that wishes to lead our nation and the government must be accountable to the people it wishes to govern
We believe that fundamental principles of secularism, embedded in our constitution, must be upheld in all and every governing decisions
We believe that religion or practice of any faith must be protected, but religious doctrine or laws should never be the guiding benchmarks of our nation, nor shall any religion be the supreme religion of the state
We believe that all policies and governing decisions must fulfill the promise of socio-economic progress guaranteed in our constitution
We believe that every citizen of Bangladesh has an obligation to promote his/her country, and defend its sovereignty from domestic and foreign enemies who threaten our independence and/or work to alter the cornerstone values of our society
We believe that all social, economic, political and religious institutions must be altered, disposed of, or re-created if they fail to be equitable and render social justice for all
We vow to fight for every citizen of Bangladesh, both within our borders and abroad, regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, religion, place of birth, national origin, economic or social status, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability
We vow to establish a free and transparent political environment so that all citizens can participate without fear of reprisal
We pledge to abide by the Constitution of Bangladesh, the supreme law of the land, and seek to pursue lawful judicial and legislative recourse to ensure that the constitution properly reflects the cornerstone values of our nation
We pledge to conduct all affairs of our party worthy of a society of free people, and for these ends and upon these principles, we adopt this Charter of the New Generation Party of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Name and Symbol of the Party
The name of the party shall be the New Generation Party, and our symbol shall be the flag of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Our Mission and History
We form this party in the spirit of the Shahbag Movement of 2013 that began as a peaceful, non-violent movement of the common men and women of Bangladesh to demand highest punishment for the war criminals of 1971. When the opposition parties and the ruling party and its allies began to discriminate against, marginalize, and terrorize the activists and young bloggers, it became imperative to form a political party that would not only challenge and replace the establishment in a democratically held election, but also move the country forward that has been mired in dynastic politics and vicious cycle of violence for decades.
Our mission is to return to the founding principles of our independence movement, and establish a true people’s democratic republic devoid of religious extremism, political anarchy, and socio-economic stagnation. Our goal is to move the country forward through social, economic, political, and cultural reform based on the values of our constitution.
We are the new generation, not in age, but in spirit. We are the lifeblood of our nation, the future of our society. We plan to build this nation, encourage economic growth, educate every children, promote equal opportunity for every man and woman, abolish religious fundamentalism and communal politics, render justice through transparent judicial process, alleviate poverty, ensure safety and security of our fellow Bangladeshis who practice other religions and faith, uphold the fundamental rights guaranteed in our constitution, and bring Bangladesh to its much deserved state.
We recognize that we are a new in politics, but we vow not to be changed by the current culture of politics. Instead, we plan to redefine and rebuild our political institutions, so that political discourse is confined in the parliament and not on the streets, and disagreements are not exhibited by destruction of public and private property or through extrajudicial killings of anyone.
We demand that any individual or party who wishes to form a coalition with us and support us in our political endeavor must meet the basic criteria of “constitutional principles”. We shall not form any coalition for political expediency, nor shall we accept support from politicians and political parties that have, either in their stated mission or implicit in their activities, do not uphold the principles of secularism, progressivism, nationalism, and social justice for every citizen of Bangladesh.
Our Goals
Our primary goal is to establish a people’s political party and participate in the next national election. We believe it is a moral imperative of every Bangladeshi citizen to reform or replace the current political establishment, both ruling and opposition, and establish a true democratic republic. We shall fight any and every opposition to this formation of a new party, either by the government, ruling party, opposition parties, or their allies.
Our goal is to stop the cycle of oppression by the government, opposition, and fringe religious groups immediately and reform them through a democratic electoral process
We plan to garner support from the general public, party loyalists from other parties, and expatriate Bangladeshis, and vigorously campaign in every major district and divisions.
We plan to use social media, as well as modern communication tools to campaign, disseminate information, organize, fundraise, and encourage people to vote.
We demand that the government ensures a free and fair election in December 2013
We urge every single Bangladeshi, both here and abroad, to support us and join us in our struggle to establish a new government that works for every Bangladeshi and not just for a few. Our policy positions are to follow.
Joy Bangladesh!