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WORLD CONGRESS DISCOURSE. EL PORTUS 2006
25th FEN ANIVERSARY
By Ismael Rodrigo, president of FEN
The Naturist Revolution: The Right to Be Nude.
A Debate
Dear Naturists Friends,
A new statute was adopted at our last World Congress. There we upheld the traditional and already familiar definition that “Naturism/Nudism is a way of living in harmony with nature. It is expressed by communal nudity, associated with self-respect, respect for the opinions of others and care for the environment.” (Art. 2.1))1 .
The Spanish federation, which, by the way, is celebrating its 25th birthday as this World Congress is being held, would like to take this opportunity to call for a debate among all naturist federations. We would also like to extend this debate to the mass media in order to effectively achieve the goals mentioned in Article 2.1 of our statutes.

Ismael Rodrigo

 
Is Nude Recreation the Only Way?
 

 
We often hear our federations say Body Acceptance is the Ideal as the goal to achieve, which frequently though is translated into the more practical Nude Recreation is the Way. Let us question whether this is the only way.
We believe the time has come to take a step forward so as to make nudism socially acceptable. Let us give our movement a rather revolutionary tilt and yet keep on enjoying our nude recreation.
In countries, such as Spain, where public nudity is not longer illegal, we take the view that nudity is one more right which has been achieved in the pursuit of freedom and must be spread everywhere.
In countries where there are still laws against nudity, derived from unacceptable moral codes, we must fight for their repeal within the legal framework of the land, appealing, as a last resort, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (Articles 2, 18, 19, 20 and 26)2.
 

 
Concern for the Environment
 

 
With regards to another aspect of our goals, concern for the environment, we see that often it is insufficiently dealt with in Naturist publications, being replaced by health concerns instead. Many a time what is known as alternative medicine is the only view on the subject of health.
While the promotion of physical and mental health can be read in successive paragraphs of our statutes3, we should take care as neither the definition or methods of achieving are even mentioned.
According to the goals stated in our statutes a person can be a Naturist and also be sceptical of all their goes under the name of alternative medicine. Likewise, a Naturist can be a believer of all that is alternative medicine regardless of its reability. In a similar manner a naturist can  de either against what might be thought of as ‘naturist ghettos’ or in favor of leisure during the holidays in zoned-off areas.
Our movement is sufficiently open to take in people of differing beliefs and ideas. That does not mean we should take up our promoting them either institutionally or giving them support through our publications.
Conversely, we must promote all that might lead to a wider acceptance of nudity in our society and we must also fight for the preservation and improvement of our environment. Both ideas are explicitly stated in our definition of Naturism and are fundamental beliefs which should not be detached from each other. That is, we must promote a concern for our environment while enjoying nature, in the nude, with other people.
Article 2.6 of our statutes points in the direction of how to achieve this, through sports and other activities with special consideration to the youth 4 .
Indeed, we regret the decrease in membership among the youth. In our opinion, the lack of new ideas and goals worth fighting for could be part of the problem. We need to give our movement a revolutionary U-turn if we want young people to be involved. That U-turn must have an ecological concern, incorporating and picking up some of the ideas out there to bring back to our fold those who have moved away from what they thought was a submissive movement 5 We must not give up the freedom that means the right of our bodies to be in the nude in any environment. We must not be complacent at having private areas where strangers can be subject to compulsory nudity.
Our movement, once reinvigorated, would undoubtedly attract number of young people with new ideas, new energy and new values; leaders in a new world; not just youth who may only enjoy spending their holidays without their clothes on.
 
Some suggestions
 

 
Here are some suggestions on ways to follow and changes to carry out so as to reach the goals stated in Art.2 of the INF/FNI statutes:
    1. The World Congress should not only be an executive assembly but also a meeting where Naturists can contribute with presentations and projects which are eventually compiled and published in a proceedings book. The INF/FNI must gather and select these presentations. The biennial assembly can continue being held while the World Congress takes place. The Naturist movement must generate its own philosophy which will find its way in forums, publications and research studies which should be financially supported by the IFN/FNI (Art. 2.6.e)6 .
   2. The present statutes of the Spanish Naturist Federation, (FEN), has amongst its goals ‘to protect and claim the right to be nude amongst our freedoms and to spread that ideal’ (Art. 5-2-d). We encourage every federation and indeed the INF/FNI to add a similar article to its statutes (Art. 2.4; in the present statutes it is not clear enough about it)7
   3. We should publicly show ourselves in the nude thus making a stand for our rights and demanding the removal of all legal obstacles which may curtail that right. (Ibid.) Let us spread the notion of mutual respect; that is, we, Naturists, do not compel anybody to take their clothes off and, likewise, Naturists should not be forced to be clothed. There is no such right as ‘not to see’ what may not be agreeable to the eye of the beholder. Thus, nobody should be able to impose on others their prejudices or ethical imperatives. Naturism is our philosophy, we should defend it.
   4. The federations must foster ‘independent’ sites on Internet which promote media campaigns to inform about public events and massive e-mailing acting as independent lobbies.
   5. We must encourage and hold nude public events in defence of our environment. For instance,
     a. To demand, in the nude and in the presence of at least a journalist, reforestation of burnt down areas which are led by experts and subsidised by the authorities.
     b. To demand the cleaning of beaches and recreational areas under the same conditions as in above.
     c. To support and assist environmentalist groups in their activities which our associations can not carry out directly. Such support can be translated into protests in the nude against the purchase, sale and wearing of furs
    d. To support and assist other groups with their demands for bicycle paths and other initiatives which are geared towards sustainable lifestyles in our cities. We should be able to support and publicise events although we might not organise them as they fall outside the range of our goals, but reflect the variety of interests there are amongst our members.
 
 
Naturists have plenty to offer our culture and our society. The repression of nudity is still a fundamental cog in the whole machinery that controls the behaviour of human beings.
Recreation’ and ‘leisure’ are concepts which have the connotation of ‘holiday making’ and have inspired our model so far. We think that that approach may now be obsolete and often has been the source of an undesirable perception of our movement.
We should neither profit from nor be linked to past beliefs already debunked by Science and modern Medicine. On the contrary, our movement must come closer to environmentalist concerns, to mental health and educational preoccupations, which we see as closer to an urgent need for freedom from conventional repressions. (Art. 2.2)
Achieving freedom from having to wear clothes does not mean giving up our Naturist locations. By the same token, the existence of football federations and specific areas to play it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it was once declared a legal sport. In fact, since nudity stopped being forbidden in any public place in Spain Naturist centres have kept growing in number and membership and they have been fully utilised summer after summer.
We regret the increasing desertion of young people from our associations. In view of this fact we should ask ourselves if we provide them with ideals and goals to strive for. Our movement must make the necessary revolutionary changes if we want the youth to be involved.
These are the ideas we lay before the Congress for debate by all world federations . This is our contribution on this our 25th anniversary. It is our wish that the outcome of that debate could be achieved at this, our World Congress.
During 2005 we have been commemorating the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ stance against discrimination. She was a 42 year old seamstress returning home from her job in Montgomery, Alabama, in December 1955 when she took a decision that changed History; Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus.
Great battles for freedom are fought on apparently insignificant fronts; the right to sit on a bus, the right to show ourselves the way we are. The fight against criminalisation of nudity is no less important than any other fight, like that against the deterioration of our environment.
Our fight is the fight for the rights of women, and a healthy education for future generations so that they can go on enjoying this wonderful planet, in the nude
 
Ismael Rodrigo,
Presidente de la FEN


 
Points for Discussion (Federations may suggest additional topics before the Congress convenes):
• Nudism and the Law in each INF/FNI member country. How to change the legislation. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
• Mutual respect: nudity in frequently non-nudist places.
• Nudism and Alternative Health Movements. Distancing.
• Youth in their relationship to the points above.
• World Congress: widening our range of goals.
• Internet: workshop on proposals through the webs of the different federations.
• Internet: active independent sites.
• Cooperation with Universities and other Scientific Institutions on subjects such as Naturism and Childhood, Naturism and Psychological Health, among others.
• Cooperation for cultural purposes. A season exhibiting Naturist motion pictures; Award giving contests for literary contributions on the subject.
• Debate on the INF/FNI aims and goals within the framework of Art. 2, one by one.


 
Annexes
 
1. INF Statutes, Art.2. Naturism/nudism is a way of living in harmony with nature. It is expressed by communal nudity, associated with self-respect, respect for the opinions of others and care for the environment.
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2. Annex ll: Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights mentioned:
ARTICLE 2.
"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
ARTICLE 18.
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
ARTICLE 19.
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
ARTICLE 20.
"Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
No one may be compelled to belong to an association."
ARTICLE 26.
"Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children"
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3. INF Statutes Art 2.2. The purpose of naturism/nudism is the promotion of the physical and mental health of humanity in open air or on the occasion of sporting activities. The INF-FNI supports all initiatives that contribute to the development of the body, the heart and the soul, and opposes everything detrimental to it, in particular the abuse of nicotine, alcohol, and drugs. It encourages the protection of nature and the environment.
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4. INF Statutes, Art. 6.2.d. promoting the organisation of sporting activities and activities for the young
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5. “The Naturist/Nudist ideal arises within a cultural background that represses nudity and consigns it to intimate moments. In general, opinions within this culture do not question that repression but they still demand a special consideration for people who wish to be nudists. They thoroughly accept the repressive prejudices the rest of society hold, as they look for some intimacy, the support of a group and the reclusion in places, partially or totally exclusive.
Hence, the Naturist/Nudist groups that abide by these prejudices, are looked upon condescendingly and are consequently easily given some concessions which are readily presented as advances and a great success; a zoned-off beach, an exclusive timetable at a swimming pool, a camp site and so on. Once these demands are fulfilled, the discrimination the movement suffers is turned round against clothed people in the exclusive places it now enjoys: like an image reflected in a mirror.” (Passage from a letter to Barcelona’s City Hall)
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6. INF Statutes, Art. 2.6.e. the publication of materials about naturism/nudism,
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7. 4. The INF-FNI works for the worldwide recognition of naturism/nudism and encourages its development. The INF-FNI works together with national and international institutions.
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