Glen T. Martin
Where can we find a source of real, affirmative hope and vision within today’s fractured and deranged world? The daily news appears to reveal only hopelessness and despair. But a negative prognosis may well become a self-fulfilling prophesy in the direction of even further disaster, just as real vision and hope might become a self-fulfilling prophesy in the opposite direction. What is the news telling us today?
The banks in Cyprus, without the democratic consent of the people of Cyprus, have just now confiscated the savings of depositors. Cyprus was forced, against the will of its people, to do this in order to maintain the liquidity of the country through paying off the giant private banking concerns that fund the European monetary system. We knew the bankers were thieves, but this is truly a new low.
The news is now full of the new “solution” that the big private banks have come up with to continue filling the coffers of their investors: appropriate (i.e. steal) the savings of people from the banks when these banks need bailing out, perhaps turning the money into stocks that can entirely disappear with the collapse of the bank. According to Ellen H. Brown, author of Web of Debt, this “solution” can also happen in the U.S. or anywhere the private banks have control. She calls it a “long-planned confiscation scheme”. (www.webofdebt.com/articles/battleofcyprus.php) Even the FDIC, which supposedly protects individual savings accounts in U.S. banks up to $250,000 would not apply. As we sink further into the end of the capitalist post-war boom, the huge banking corporations that control politics and world governance are calling in every last exploitation card.
According to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar, author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World Is Dissolving into Liquid War, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) will be meeting this week in South Africa to discuss an alternative global economic arrangement that will abandon the U.S. dollar as a key international exchange currency, promote trade agreements among these five countries, and set up set up an international “Bank of the South” as an alternative to the Western dominated World Bank and IMF. This coalition, representing more than half the world’s population, might well marginalize the U.S. dollar and economy, leading to further rapid economic decline for the West. (http://portside.org/2013-03-30/brics-go-over-wall)
In Rob Kall’s OpEd News interview with Paul Craig Roberts, author of the Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the development of high speed internet, the West has been gutted of its industrial base. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the development of a globalized economy beginning with the Clinton Administration, the manufacturing base within the U.S. was rapidly shifted overseas to places like China and India where labor costs were significantly cheaper. With the development of high-speed internet, even non-manufacturing, professional service jobs have been more and more outsourced to India and other foreign countries. Globalization has been a disaster for the economic well-being of the U.S., and for the ordinary citizens of most countries in the world.
Roberts sees no future for the U.S. He thinks we are “washed up”. He states: “So the demand and use for the dollar is about to rapidly constrict. We’ll have a situation where the Feds are not only creating a trillion new dollars more than the demand is growing, but the demand will be shrinking! And so the thing will blow up. And when the dollar bubble pops, so does the bond market bubble, the stock market bubble. We will have the biggest economic catastrophe in the history of the world, and there is no solution. The United States will go from being a so-called superpower to a nothing!” (http://www.opednews.com/articles/4/Paul-Craig-Roberts-Transcr-by-Rob-Kall-130330-454.html)
The only thing that is booming in the U.S. is the industrial-military complex, which makes a small elite very rich but is hardly sufficient to provide employment to the masses of citizens who are likely to rapidly sink into unemployment, poverty, and misery. As of 2011, the U.S. has spent 3.7 trillion on its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/29/us-usa-war-idUSTRE75S25320110629) Chalmers Johnson, in his book, Dismantling the Empire, describes the massive militarism of the U.S. and the immense costs of maintaining more than 700 military bases worldwide. He argues that this militarism is bankrupting the country and that the only way to avoid collapse is divestment of this vast system of military bases. The fact that the transnational corporations who control this militarism, in league with the Pentagon, have no intention of abandoning their cash cow seems to escape Johnson. The militarism is there for a reason: to promote the interests of the U.S. ruling class and prevent coalitions like BRICS from successfully undermining U.S. global hegemony.
Meanwhile, on top of the economic bad news, we have terrible news about our planetary environment. 27 of the world’s top ocean experts have made public an international report describing the unprecedented speed at which the world’s oceans are deteriorating. They report that coral reefs are dying, and biodiversity is rapidly declining with many invasive species; there are rapidly growing open-water dead zones, widespread depletion of the fish populations, and rapidly spreading toxic algae. (http://coastalcare.org/2011/06/the-speed-of-change-oceans-in-distress-an-international-report/)
This comes immediately after a January 2013, 1000 page report by 300 U.S. scientists, from both the private and governmental sectors, on the present and pending effects of climate crisis on the U.S. The future will be significantly hotter, drier, more disaster prone and may lead to epidemics, social unrest, shortages and disastrous storms throughout the U.S. This scientific community represents a compelling consensus of experts.
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/11/climate-change-america-hotter-drier-disaster?amp;buffer_share=98d2f) The future looks bleak no matter how we assess our present situation of the Earth or within the U.S. The solution to our global problems is certainly not found in further nation-state rivalries and intrigues. If we want to survive and flourish, it clearly cannot be a matter of BRICS versus the West. Nor can it be merely a matter, as Roberts puts it in the above named interview, of merely maintaining the right balance between the power of government and the power of corporations.
Most people appear unable to imagine any force on Earth that might be more powerful than the bankers who now control the global economy or the militarized nation-states that jockey for position and ascendency through militarism or economic maneuvering. People today appear unable to imagine any institutions for the Earth other than globalized corporate capitalism and sovereign nation-state militarism (that could really overcome these forces). Yet many leading thinkers and activists have been doing just this since at least World War One, when leaders of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, such as Rosika Schwimmer and Mary Georgia Lloyd, pointed out clearly that the system of sovereign nations was an unworkable war-system that needed to be replaced by an Earth Federation.
Since that time many thousands of world citizens have discussed, written, and finalized a document that could solve the problems of our planet in an integrated, practical, and efficient manner: the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Thinker after thinker concerning the “global issues” that transcend the boundaries of all sovereign nation-states (global population explosion, resource depletion, militarism, environmental collapse, economic disparity, poverty, etc.) have pointed out that all these problems are interrelated and interdependent. We cannot solve the global economic problems without solving the immense waste of money and resources in global militarism, and we cannot direct resources into restoring and saving the environment as long as we waste trillions on global militarism. We cannot prevent deforestation and its horrible environmental consequences as long as global poverty forces poor people to burn wood as cooking fuel. Compelling evidence of the interrelatedness of our global crises has continued to mount for more than half a century, but, still, the principle does not appear to sink in.
The Earth Constitution is a 30 page document that sets up a brilliantly conceived democratic world system addressing all these problems at once, in an integrated and comprehensive fashion. There is simply no other alternative. Economic collapse can only be prevented if a worldwide authority takes the power out of the hands of private bankers and regulates for the common good of the planet and its citizens. If even 5% of the thoughtful and articulate people of the world decided to unite behind this practical and simple solution, we could create a real future for our planet, whereas it appears now that we have no viable future. We could create the energy of real vision and hope, whereas it appears now that we have no vision and little hope.
Under the current global economic system, controlled by private banking corporations, and under the current system of “sovereign” militarized nation-states, none of these problems can be effectively addressed or solved. We are forced, despite ourselves, to look for an integrated, global democratic solution. That solution is readily available in the form of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, which can be found on many websites (e.g., www.worldproblems.net, www.worldparliament-gov.org), and has been translated into all the major languages of the world. If we stop thinking as parochial and Lilliputian citizens of fragmented nation-states, we can begin thinking as citizens of a democratic Earth Federation that, alone, has the enforceable democratic authority to control the bankers, demilitarize the nations, and establish a global peace system, justice system, and sustainability system.
Along with others within the Earth Federation Movement going back at least a century, I have written a number of books presenting the philosophical, moral, and practical foundations for this paradigm shift that must happen if human beings are going to survive on this planet (and have an intact planet on which to survive). These include Ascent to Freedom (2008), Triumph of Civilization (2010), and The Earth Federation Movement (2011). A solid groundwork of reasoning and justification is not lacking. As Paul Craig Roberts points out, economic globalization has been singularly destructive of the well-being of ordinary citizens worldwide. But what has not been globalized is a democratic force that can transform private corporations and militarized nation-states for the common good of the people of Earth.
The only thing that appears to be lacking in politically aware people today is vision: the vision, will, and the discipline to think as a global citizen rather than parochially—not to think like a flea but rather like an elephant. We need people to think big and who dream of real solutions, planetary solutions. We need a positive vision of integral human liberation that will become a self-fulfilling prophesy for human civilization.
The 13th session of the Provisional World Parliament is coming up in Lucknow, India, December 19-21, 2013. These Parliaments operate under the authority of Article 19 of the Earth Constitution. They are important historic, paradigm-shifting events. We invite all who have the vision and courage to think as global citizens, to think like elephants rather than fleas, to join us in transforming our world system to one of peace, justice, and sustainability. It is surprisingly easy, it is exciting, and it is our only serious option on this planet. We need to unite behind the vision of a global social contract, a real Constitution for the Federation of Earth.
(Glen T. Martin is President of the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) and Professor of Philosophy at Radford University in Virginia. His website is www.radford.edu/gmartin.)