Dr. Glen T. Martin
Grand Global Peace Meet, Bangalore, India, 7 January 2015
The Constitution for the Federation of Earth (www.earth-constitution.org) provides an integrated system for establishing peace, justice, protection of human rights, freedom, and sustainability for the Earth. Many human beings have held values such as these ever since ancient times. But having values and ideals is not the same as organizing human civilization according to these values. The values remain mere theoretical ideals unless they are embodied within concrete systems that can be put these into practice in human life.
Throughout human history most social systems were not self-consciously designed but evolved contingently from the cultures, mythologies, social pressures, and fears of the time. This is also true of the current systems that dominate our planet: global capitalism and the system of sovereign nation-states. This world system evolved contingently. It was never planned or designed to establish peace or any other values.
The roots of global capitalism go all the way back to the investments in early trading expeditions in 15th century Italy, and the system of sovereign nation-states emerged from the older feudal political arrangements over the 16th and 17th centuries to be finally recognized, many scholars agree, in the Peace of Westphalia signed in Europe in 1648.
In my book Assent to Freedom (2008), I described in some detail the “Early-Modern Paradigm” from which capitalism and the system of sovereign nations emerged. In my subsequent book Triumph of Civilization (2010), I describe the immense systemic violence of our contemporary world that derives from the present fragmented world system of capitalist sovereign nation-states. The system, identified by many thinkers as inherently a “war system,” includes structural imperatives toward militarization, war, arms races, and “national security” obsessions. It also includes structural imperatives towards economic domination and exploitation of the poor by the rich and of weaker nations by more powerful nations.
Mahatma Gandhi said that under capitalism “the rich ride on the backs of the millions,” and he said that the modern nation-state was “violence in a concentrated form.” Indeed the capitalist system cultivates greed, blocks spiritual and moral development in people, and generates extreme wealth for the few and poverty and misery for the many. This system is today legally institutionalized within nation-states and protected internationally by the militarized violence of these states. The United States invaded Iraq in 2003, for example, most clearly to control Middle East oil resources and to establish permanent military bases in the region to protect its oil and geopolitical interests.
The U.N. Charter is explicitly required to “protect the sovereign integrity of its member states,” and under its General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), it assumes and promotes the operation of the global capitalist system. These are reasons why the U.N. system can never give the world peace or justice, despite what is written in the Preamble to its Charter. We need to preserve what is valuable about many U.N. agencies while replacing its Charter (the war-system of sovereign nations) with the Earth Constitution, thereby institutionalizing a peace system for the world.
At present, the moral aspirations of peoples throughout the world for peace, justice, freedom, and sustainability are systematically blocked by these global institutions. Replacing the Charter of the U.N. with the Earth Constitution will not only establish a peace system for the Earth, it will simultaneously make possible the spiritual and moral development of peoples everywhere. If we want a spiritual and moral renaissance for the Earth, then we need to establish a world system that makes this possible. Article One of the Earth Constitution establishes the “broad functions” of the Earth Federation Government. Its broad functions address precisely the fundamental “planetary crises” or global problems created by the current world system, problems that the current system is unable to address.
The first broad function of the Earth Federation government is to replace the war-system of the nations with a peace-system under the rule of enforceable law for the world. This peace system will disarm and demilitarize the nations by law, as well as eliminate all weapons of mass destruction. The nations will become like states within the United States, India, or Cantons within China: administrative regions only and not militarized sovereign nations with absolute borders.
The second broad function of the Earth Federation Government under the Constitution is to make the list ofunenforceablehuman rights in the U.N. Universal Declaration into enforceable rights for everyone protected by the World Courts and civilian world police. The U.N. Universal Declaration does not have the force of law, not even so-called “international law.” It is merely a declaration of ideals, routinely ignored by the nations and transnational corporations of the world. The Earth Constitution makes human rights enforceable by law, and creates the institutional mechanisms necessary for that enforcement. It creates a world peace system that respects human dignity and freedom.
The third, fourth and fifth functions of the Earth Federation include conservation and protection for the resources of the earth as well as protection for the global environment to create our planet as a healthy and happy place for all humans to live. The concept of sustainability is woven into the Earth Constitution in dozens of ways. To live with clean air and water within a healthy environment becomes a protected human right, not, as now, a mere ideal that must be balanced by corporations and governments against the need to maximize profits or protect “free enterprise.” The environment of our planet continues to collapse because our current world system is not a sustainability system, any more than it is a peace system or a justice system. Unless human beings consciously ratify such as system as embodied within the Earth Constitution, we do not have a viable future on this planet.
The last of the “broad functions” identified in Article One of the Earth Constitution gives the democratic World Parliament the responsibility to deal with all problems beyond the scope of nations that may arise in the future. It mandates the Earth Federation government to continually monitor the state of our planet and to protect and plan for our common future. The world has no official body today, not even the U.N. that has the responsibility and authority to monitor the peace and health of our planet and protect it into the future. The best that the U.N. can do is call for environmental conferences like the Rio de Janeiro conference of 1992 or the Johannesburg conference of 2002—that have no authority to result in binding, enforceable agreements.
Only by establishing a democratic world system over the nations and the multinational corporations, a system that has the authority to enforce disarmament, enforce sustainable practices, to nonviolently resolve conflicts and disputes, and to monitor the health and well-being of our planet can human beings create a decent future for themselves. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is our best and most practical instrument for transforming the world system from a war and exploitation system to a peace and prosperity system. Let us study it, distribute it, and promote it in every possible way.