Keynote Address: World Peace Through Democratic World Government

Keynote Address: World Peace Congress, 2005, Kolkata

Glen T. Martin

Dr. Chattopadhyay, Program Director, Leaders and members of ISISAR, eminent guests, friends and colleagues, I speak to you today with great sadness because of the recent disaster that has befallen south India and all of Southeast Asia.   It is truly one of the great natural disasters of our time.   More than 100,000 people in 11 countries were killed by the initial tidal wave.  As many as 500,000 may be injured, 200,000 with serious injuries.  In Sri Lanka alone there are a million people without shelter.   Ultimately 5 million people may be seriously affected by this terrible tragedy of nature.

However, the magnitude of the disaster goes far beyond what is entirely natural.   There could have been an early warning system in place.   Buoys are available that could have given two hours warning and saved many thousands of lives.   These buoys only cost U.S. $250,000 each and three or four of them could have warned all these countries easily: Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and the others.    The United States has buoys in the pacific ocean that provide early warning for its Western coast in the event of just such a tsunami in the Pacific Ocean.

By contrast the U.S. spends 1,500 million dollars per day on military, bombs, missiles, and weapons.     1, 500 million dollars per day and they can only come up with 35 million for the victims of this disaster.   35 million is what they spend every two hours in Iraq alone destroying the cities, lives, and future of that wretched country.   Compare this with the recent hurricane damage in the state of Florida.   The U.S. Federal Government spent 13.6 billion in relief aid.    That is 388 times as much spent on Florida as was donated to all the countries of South Asia affected by the Tsunami.  The Inauguration parade and ball of George W. Bush on January 20 will alone cost 40 million dollars.

International aid organizations began immediately to work for the refugees.  This is crucial since many thousands more are at risk for starvation and disease from the immense destruction caused by the waves.    The big danger is that these relieve organizations will be uncoordinated, since coordination is vital to effectively preventing an even greater disaster of starvation and epidemics of disease.

There is no world relief organization but only hundreds of small aid organizations that want to help.  They are uncoordinated and doubtless much time will be lost saving the one million people still at risk because of this disorganization.   There is even conflict over who will supervise the entire operation, whether the UN or some superpower country.

The fact remains that this terrible tragedy could have been mitigated by an early warning system and could have been dealt with great speed and efficiency if there were a world organization devoted to protecting citizens of the world.

The fact that the tragedy affected many countries from Indonesia to India, to Thailand, Sri Lanka and countries on the coast of Africa indicates the interdependent nature of our natural world order.   Just as the natural world is interdependent and what happens in one part of that world affects every other part of that world so the social, economic, and political world’s are interdependent.  

Yet there is no world organization capable of integrating all these interdependent features of our world order and protecting the whole.   Ultimately, it is every country for itself.   Any relief given to India or Sri Lanka is strictly voluntary and might not be given by the rich nations if they had political reasons for withholding this aid.   There is no world organization ready to help.

The disaster is also magnified many-fold by the fact that the victims of the disaster are all poor countries.   Buildings were not made to withstand any impact.  Infrastructure was fragile.  There are only threadbare emergency response systems in place.   There is very little money available to begin relief aid.   Is being a poor country a natural phenomena?

Is the division of the world into wealthy northern countries and poor southern hemisphere countries a natural phenomena?   Or is it a consequence of a history of imperialism, colonialism, and exploitation?    Is today’s globalized so-called “free trade” economy one that creates prosperity for all countries?   Or is it a form of neo-colonialism that continues to suck the wealth from the poor countries of the world?

Do the World Bank and IMF have prosperity of all nations as a goal, or do they represent rich northern countries that continue to exploit and dominate the poor of the world?   This terrible natural disaster, and its on-going consequences of suffering and misery for millions of people in south Asia is a microcosm of a world order that is entirely unjust, fragmented, and corrupt. 

 It is a microcosm of a world order that is ecologically, socially, economically, and politically interdependent but fragmented by a set of institutions that prevent integration, prevent prosperity for all, prevent justice, and prevent human beings from dealing with the immense catastrophes that are happening all around us.

This set of institutions is summed up by two names: global monopoly capitalism and the system of so-called sovereign nation-states.   Together these two institutions have created a world of perpetual war, a world where at least three billion citizens live in horrible poverty, a world in which preventable diseases are raging like plagues through poor populations.

People say that the death toll from this terrible disaster is now well over 100,000 people.   But since 1991, the tiny country of Iraq has unnecessarily lost 1 ½ million people from US led /UN sanctions, bombings, and invasion.   This disaster is of a magnitude much, much greater than the recent tidal wave in south Asia.   Why doesn’t the world join together to stop this unspeakable disaster for the people of Iraq?    Why did the UN sponsor what amounted to a genocide of the Iraqi people during this period?

Every day in the world 30,000 children die unnecessarily from starvation or starvation related illness.   That amounts to 11 million children every year dying unnecessarily.   Why doesn’t the world join together to stop this unspeakable disaster?     Fresh water tables are receding everywhere on Earth.  Agricultural land is disappearing worldwide at an alarming rate.  Forests disappear from our planet at the rate of an area ½ the size of Finland  every year.   Fisheries, a source of protein for much of the world’s population, are collapsing everywhere from over-fishing.   The oceans levels are rising, threatening to engulf the coastlines of the Earth.   Why doesn’t the world join together to stop all these unspeakable catastrophes?

The answer is given in two concepts – global monopoly capitalism and the system of so-called “sovereign” nation-states.   These two intertwined institutions prevent the world from uniting to solve a set of crises that are threatening our very existence on this planet.   World peace only will come through two great changes in human life, and it will not come in any other way.  We must unite under democratic federal world government and we must create an economic system premised on prosperity for all, not just for the already wealthy, not just for the neo-colonial northern countries of the Earth.

The United Nations is totally impotent in both these regards, since it is premised on these institutions.   The UN has many excellent agencies that must be integrated into a genuine democratic Earth Federation but its Charter can only be totally scrapped.  It was written by the five victorious colonial powers after WW II in order to preserve the world system under their domination.   And this is exactly what the UN has done. 

It has presided over more than 130 wars since its creation, with the death of 25 million people, mostly civilians.  It has presided over the development of weapons of mass destruction beyond the wildest imagination of the carnage of WW II.   It has presided over the massive deterioration of the global environment since that time to the point where our very survival is being called into question.   And it presided over a genocide conduced against the people of Iraq since 1991.   When are we going to let go of the utter fantasy that the United Nations can bring about world peace?

For a period of nearly thirty years ending in 1991 thousands of world citizens worked to write the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.   This Constitution creates non-military, democratic world government that is directed toward solving every one of these global catastrophes that I have mentioned above.   It is directed toward eliminating all weapons of mass destruction and ultimately all militaries from the world.   It is directed to restoring the agricultural lands, fresh water supplies, and fisheries of the Earth to health.   It lays the foundation for a global economic creating universal prosperity, rather than prosperity only for the few at the expense of the many.   Finally, it is directed toward protecting the people of Earth from natural disasters like the terrible one that has just occurred in south Asia.

The people and nations of Earth joining together to ratify this Constitution would simultaneously address all these global catastrophes.   Why don’t they simply do it?   One reason is that the tiny minority who now dominate the world order do not want it to happen.   They own the newspapers, radio, television, the global corporations.  They have the military forces and power to punish any who do not toe their propaganda line about independent “sovereign” nation-states and “free trade.”

Another reason that will be given by many at this Peace Congress is that humankind is simply not ready.   We will be told we need time to evolve further, to learn a spirit of inner peace, to develop forms of communication or cultural exchange that will create mutual understanding in the world.  But this will never happen under the dominant world institutions.   Sovereign nation-states create the nationalistic mentality.  In my country, most people care only about American lives.  They will tell you that over 1000 people have died in Iraq.  These are U.S. soldiers.  They don’t even recognize the suffering of the well over 100,000 Iraqi people that have been slaughtered by U.S. forces.

This is true worldwide.  The spirit of universal love and brotherhood is not spreading among humanity.   The nations with their nationalistic propaganda prevent this from happening.   The capitalist system with its horrible cultivation of egoism and greed prevents this from happening.  Karl Marx pointed out one of the profoundest truths of human social life: if you change the institutions under which people live you will change their consciousness. 

If we want universal love and brotherhood, we must create democratic world government under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.   The Preamble of this Constitution says that it bases the Earth Federation on the principle of “unity-in-diversity.”   Love and brotherhood have the unique characteristic that they are at the same time universal and radically particular.   If you love humanity as a universal than you love each one, for each person manifests humanity and there is no such thing as an abstract person.  If you are a person of love then you love people as they are in their diversity and differences, differences of religion, race, ethnic group, culture, language, education, and nation. 

This transformed attitude of love can only be cultivated in the world through democratic world government under the Earth Constitution.   The human personality cannot be separated entirely from the institutions that form it.  Only when the world is truly unified under a government that guarantees rights, prosperity, and peace for all will there be a transformed human consciousness that begins to respect the wonderful diversity of all.   As long as we remain under the fragmentation of sovereign nation-states, diversity will be irredeemable and there will be perpetual conflict, hatred, division, and dissension, rather than love.  

A transformed economic system will also promote the love and brotherhood of unity-in-diversity.

The Earth Constitution lays the foundation for an economic system that promotes prosperity for all rather than exploitation, domination, and misery for the majority.  Every nation is not “on their own” in a dog eat dog world of so-called global “free trade.”  Union Carbide, now purchased by Dow Chemical, will forever give us more Bhophals, because profits are before people and they know that in India they can get away with their criminal activities. 

Coca Cola company will forever steal the drinking water of poor people in India, buy up their wells, and force them to purchase bottled water.   Monstanto corporation will forever manufacture more “terminator seeds” producing sterile crops to force poor farmers to buy their seeds anew each year.  That is the very nature of capitalism.  The strong prey upon the weak.   It is vicious, immoral, and immature.

World peace will never “evolve.”   Time is running out for humanity as the recent terrible tragedy of the tsunami shows.   The great sorrow that we feel for the victims of this terrible tidal wave must spur us to action to change the system that magnifies that disaster and reveals the tragic nature of the economic and political world that we inhabit.  We can either join together now to solve the problems of the world together, in one package – for they are all interrelated – or we can perish.  

But the system of “sovereign” nation-states and global capitalism will never let human beings evolve toward love and brotherhood.  They thrive on war, imperialism, and exploitation, not on peace, freedom, and prosperity for all.   Only a founding document, only by all of us joining together now to establish world peace in a founding document – the Constitution for the Federation of Earth – can we have peace on Earth before it is too late.  

Establishing a political and economic institutions based on unity-in-diversity will transform peoples attitudes toward one another.  Love and brotherhood will emerge from the Earth Federation, not the other way around.  We do not need to “evolve” for we know the root causes of our misery in so-called “sovereign” nations and global capitalism.  Peace can only be established, founded.  The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is the foundation for world peace.  May God guide us to act with wisdom and intelligence – before it is too late.   Thank you.