Glen T. Martin
Sovereignty is not just a claim to independence. It is a claim to ultimate independence. It means thumbing one’s nose at all other human beings in the belief that one is independent of them in some ultimate way. The claims of others, whether claims of common humanity, fundamental rights, or the demand for universal justice, simply do not count for us, since we recognize no authority or effective claims beyond ourselves. Nation-state sovereignty makes such claims. No one or nothing is above us, for we are autonomous, free, and independent of all the rest of humanity.
This sort of arrogance may have had a place in the scheme of things three centuries ago, but today, in a globalized world of economic interdependence, weapons of mass destruction, and climate collapse, it is an arrogance crystalized as supreme madness. Without a fundamental recognition of our common human project as superseding all claims to ultimate independence, we are headed toward “megacidal” disaster. (I have made up this new word, “megacide” to add to our dictionaries.)
Neither true unity nor true diversity is served by the arrogance of sovereignty, which gives us only a death-dealing fragmentation. “We recognize no enforceable laws above ourselves” is a mantra spelling out the doom of humanity, whether by nuclear weapons, global pandemic, or climate collapse. “International law” is the name for the failed attempt to bring some coherence among the arrogance of absolute fragments. The fact that a number of these absolute fragments still possess nuclear weapons is evidence enough of this madness.
These weapons should not exit, and these weapons would not exist except for the fragmented insanity of autonomous national sovereignties. This same insanity gives us the horror of on-going climate collapse. The UN Sustainable Goals Document, signed by all members of the UN General Assembly in 2015, declares in item 18 that: “We affirm that every State has, and shall freely exercise, full permanent sovereignty over all its wealth, natural resources and economic activity.” Just as endless war is a consequence of this madness, so too this absolute autonomy of territorial fragments over their internal “natural resources” means that the unified and interdependent ecosystem of the Earth (that recognizes no artificial national boundaries) is bound to collapse.
Fragmentation collapses unity because it denies any unities more fundamental than itself. Fundamental human rights claims fail by the same token: each nation is responsible for its own internal affairs. Each may violate the rights of its citizens with relative impunity. The other fragments may scream about this, but who is going to step in to protect the Palestinians, the Kurds, the Rohingyas, or the Uyghurs? And the only way to “step in” under the sovereign nation-state system is war, which in itself violates human rights and dignity.
Human dignity and universal human rights remain merely pipedreams under this fragmented system. What of justice? Some countries are desperately poor and no one appears responsible for these fragments of the world system that have been made poor by centuries of colonialism and exploitation. Yet precisely because they are fragments, “sovereign,” no one under the current world system is responsible for them except themselves.
Take, for example, the USA as a sovereign nation. The list of international conventions that it has not signed or ratified is immense, and can be found on-line. Just a few examples will suffice. The USA never ratified the 1989 convention on the Rights of the Child. It never signed the 1990 convention on the rights of migrant workers, nor the 1991 convention on the Law of the Sea, nor the Kyoto Protocol for limiting greenhouse gasses of 1997, nor the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998, nor the Convention against Torture of 2002, nor the Convention against Forced Disappearance of 2006, nor the Convention on Cluster Munitions of 2008. All such conventions are voluntary for sovereign nations, and all such international laws can be ignored even for the signatories because they are unenforceable.
This sort of anarchy of territorial fragments has little or nothing to do with respect for diversity. Diversity can only be truly respected when each part recognizes its unity with the other parts and its unique role within the system of parts, for parts always make a whole. Everywhere in the universe science has shown this to be true, everywhere except on planet Earth where the territorial parts refuse to recognize any effective wholeness over themselves.
This vast conceptual flaw behind the world system is remedied by the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. The Constitution is premised on the principle of unity in diversity that empowers the synergistic flourishing of the healthy whole to enliven, protect, and embrace the diversity of each of its parts. The sovereignty of humanity (recognized in Article 2 of the Constitution) means that the united wholeness of human civilization can act for the mutual common good of all. Genuine unity is not just some abstract ideal. It requires a real, binding, political-economic and conceptual wholeness for humanity.
Everybody benefits: justice is served and extreme poverty is removed from each and every nation. Human rights are served and can no longer be ignored by counties that refuse the sign the convention against torture and other recognitions of human rights and dignity. Nuclear weapons and the global weapons industry are now converted from war to peace. The global environment is protected through a unified and comprehensive response to the climate crisis. Unity in Diversity brings planetary redemption and health.
The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is an idea whose time has come. Everywhere people are coming to see that fragmentation does not work. Fragmentation is not diversity but megacide. The coherence and unity of the human project are brought together in a single simple tool for planetary integration called the Earth Constitution. It needs to be democratically ratified under its Article 17. In doing so it will transform fragmentation into the synergistic power of unity in diversity.
In no time humanity will be able to get rid of weapons of mass destruction as well as all war. In no time humanity will be able to eliminate extreme poverty from our planet, and to protect universal human rights and dignity. In no time the world would be able to mount an effective and concerted global movement to stop climate collapse and restore the health of our endangered planet.
The Earth Constitution is the key to making all this happen. It is the idea whose time has come. It is the truly BIG IDEA OF UNITY IN DIVERSITY embodied in a document that can make this happen in real time, in time to save humanity from megacide. The time for quibbling over secondary details is long past. Without embracing this truly big idea, humanity will not have a chance. Unity in diversity is the fundamental principle of life. It is the very structure of life. Human beings need to bring themselves and their planet back to life by ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.