Revolutionary Solidarity and Liberation for the 21st Century

Our Debt to Karl Marx and Che Guevara

Glen T. Martin

 

Even the criminal thought of a malefactor has more

grandeur and nobility than the wonders of the heavens.

G. W. F. Hegel

 

Many things have changed in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Human beings have created weapons capable of wiping out humanity entirely. Globalization has greatly intensified the development of planetary consciousness. The global pandemic has revealed to us our interdependence with the rest of humanity. We are now acutely aware that we are one species living within one, unique ecosystem that supports our existence. We also understand that climate change is threatening to destroy the very conditions that support higher forms of life on Earth.

With increased planetary consciousness the conceptual description of the struggle for human liberation has also transformed. What can we bring forward from the revolutionary consciousness of past generations that can animate our own struggle to establish a just, peaceful, and sustainable world civilization?  Should the revolutionary solidarity of the past animate our thinking today?

Today, we understand that liberation cannot be accomplished on a nation by nation basis. It has to be, as Einstein declared, “one world or none.”  Today we understand that it is not only class consciousness that needs to be activated, but also planetary consciousness. Today, we understand that all human beings are interdependent economically, technically, and ecologically. Human liberation must be holistic. We must transform our thinking and our praxis to become holistic through and through.

In what ways are Karl Marx and Ernesto “Che” Guevara still with us?  Che was a major spokesman for the Cuban revolutionary task of creating the hombre nuevo, the new man, and the educational and social system in Cuba that he helped found has indeed created many extraordinary human beings, some of whom I have met on my 6 extended trips to Cuba in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  I supported and continue to support the Cuban revolution. Indeed, on the wall of my home in New York State I have a large framed photo of Che Guevara that was part of a limited edition series of prints taken from the work of the father and son team who chronicled the revolution: Osvaldo and Roberto Salas.  This was a gift to me from my friends in Cuba to honor my solidarity with them.

There is a famous quote from Che taken from his letter to the Uruguayan editor of the journal Marcha that was first published in Montevideo in 1965. In this quote Che declares that “the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love” (el revolutionario verdadero está guiado por grandes sentimientos de amor):

And it must be said with all sincerity that in a real revolution, to which one gives his all and from which one expects no material reward, the task of the vanguard revolutionary is at one and the same time magnificent and agonizing.   At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality…. Our vanguard revolutionaries must make an ideal of this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible. (1989, 14-15)

One of the Marxist criticisms of the class society during the capitalist era is that this society in its propaganda, art, and literature produces many fine ideals such as moral goals, human rights, and noble aspirations, but these ideals never penetrate into the day to day social and economic existence of people to the point where human domination, degradation, and exploitation are eliminated.  Human beings remain in contradiction between their abstract idealism and the concrete material realities of existence. So-called “scientific materialism” was supposed to transform this situation by exposing the mechanisms of exploitation and thereby allowing us to create material conditions of production, distribution, and consumption that empower human freedom, fulfillment, and development, rather than exploitation and dehumanizing degradation.

Those in the leadership of the “revolutionary vanguard” in the effort to create the concrete conditions for human liberation, then as now, are animated by the love of humanity, of human dignity, and the destiny of the human project. The question is how to bring our love down from merely abstract ideals and allow it to transform the real political and economic relationships that determine everyday life on Earth.  What are the elements of the equation? What role should abstract ideals still play, if any?

What is the real meaning of ending class society and empowering genuine justice and equality in human relationships?  How does the hombre nuevo overcome egoism, selfishness, and greed to become loving, ego-free, and dedicated to others? How do we establish a world in which human dignity and flourishing are the foundational premises of spirituality, politics, and economics, rather than the reverse (which is the case nearly everywhere on Earth today)?

In his “Reminiscences of Marx,” Paul Lafargue (who knew Karl Marx well in his later years) tells us that the statement by Hegel at the head of this essay was one of Marx’s favorite aphorisms. Marx repeated it often along with another of his favorite aphorisms: “Work for Humanity.” Marx told him: “Science must not be a selfish pleasure. Those who have the good fortune to be able to devote themselves to scientific pursuits must be the first to place their knowledge at the service of humanity” (in Fromm 1992, 222-24). Marx’s revolutionary solidarity in these aphorisms can be seen to include the affirmation by Che Guevara that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. Much of Marx’s liberating vision can be derived from these two statements, and so should ours.

The first aphorism, that even the criminal is more wondrous than the stars, recognizes the cosmic depth, uniqueness, and greatness of the human project, and the second declares how we should be responding to that greatness—our love for humanity and human dignity should animate our work for its actualization in human history: “work for humanity,” Marx declares, serve humanity. Our lives should be such that “one gives his all” to human liberation “and from which one expects no material reward.” The true vanguard of human liberation will include only those whose lives are focused and dedicated in this way.  Marx loved Hegel’s statement because it underlines the miracle and dignity of simply existing as a human being: even the criminal manifests this miraculous quality of being human.

As both Marx and Che Guevara understood, to work for the actualization of our human “grandeur and nobility” within history means that we must develop an understanding of why our human image is distorted, repressed, alienated, and maligned throughout the course of history to date. Why is there such an abyss between what human life is and what it should and could be? Why this historic divorce between the ideal and the real? Throughout Western history, values were kept is a metaphysical vault called “natural law,” or “God’s will,” while the concrete conditions on Earth were those of slavery, oppression, and injustice.

Indeed, the grandeur of man and our human potential was nevertheless recognized throughout western history from the ancients to the present. In the Renaissance it was recognized in thinkers from Pico della Mirandola to Nicolas of Cusa. Our human place in the Cosmos, Pico declares in his famous “Oration on the Dignity of Man,” is no fixed place because human beings have been given the capacity to determine their own nature. Our “human dignity” consists in this apparently miraculous position in the scheme of things (1965, 93-111). In the 17th century Blaise Pascal declared that “man infinitely transcends man” (Penses 434). It is our self-awareness, he affirms, that gives us this infinitely self-transcending quality. For both thinkers, as for Marx, our self-awareness gives us the capacity to create a decent world for all.

In the 18th century Immanuel Kant (1964) declared that our self-aware moral freedom placed us above the determined and mechanical workings of the cosmos. It demands that we work to transform concrete human affairs according to the ideal of a morally perfect society, which he called “the Kingdom of Ends.”  In the 19th century Hegel saw human consciousness as the centerpiece of cosmic development toward ever-greater freedom and reason: “World history is the progress of the consciousness of freedom….and thereby the actualization of this Freedom as the final purpose of the world” (1953, 24). Hegel placed progressive transformation at the heart of the human project.

And in the 20th century (uniting East and West) Sri Aurobindo declared that “the universe and the individual are necessary to each other in their ascent” (­­­1973, 49). For Aurobindo, the universe became self-aware in us as part of its evolutionary ascent. Our human task was to make those cosmic purposes come alive. In a statement that sounds as if it could have come from Karl Marx, Aurbindo writes:

The aim of economics would be not to create a huge engine of production, whether of the competitive or cooperative kind, but to give to men—not only to some but to all men each in his highest possible measure—the joy of work according to their own nature and free leisure to grow inwardly, as well as a simply rich and beautiful life for all. (ibid., 197)

For all three thinkers, human beings play a key role in cosmic history. Revolutionary solidarity first and foremost recognizes human dignity (this apparently miraculous depth and quality of human existence) and acts on this insight by “working for humanity.” Our transformative love strives to actualize this human dignity in concrete human economic and political affairs to allow a fulfilling and meaningful life for all, to allow the “free leisure to grow inwardly.” We are in solidarity with all others to share the vision of human potential and self-actualization, with all those who strive to bring the ideal out from some abstract mental heaven down into the concrete earthly relations between human beings.

Second, revolutionary solidarity lives from what I have named the “utopian horizon” at the heart of human temporality (Martin 2018). Every person exists within a dynamic present moment that simultaneously embraces a remembered past, and every person critically evaluates that past with respect to how it falls short of its real dignity and potential. We project from the present towards a better and transformed future. Marxist thinker Ernst Bloch (1986) demonstrated that this “utopian futurity” is fundamental to the revolutionary vision. The future that animates our human self-awareness is not some metaphysical heaven in which values exist divorced from our concrete earthly economic and political conditions.

The future is an ever-present pressure on our conscious lives to grow in awareness, love, and transformative vision. One begins to live from this future calling us to actualize the transformed self and society implicit within our futurity. It is precisely the vision of a transformed future that reason uses to critically evaluate a failed present and past. Human dignity emerges from the temporalized dynamic of self-transcendence itself, just as Pico, Pascal, Kant, Hegel, and Aurobindo had intuited. Bloch concludes:

The ultimate quintessence of classical natural law, without all the other accessories, remains the postulate of human dignity…. Thus we find the authentic inheritance of natural law that was revolutionary: the abolition of all relations that have alienated man for things that have not only been reduced to being merchandise but are even stripped of their own value. (1986, 203)

Third, revolutionary solidarity binds us under the transformational goal of freedom, a freedom that can only be realized through the blossoming future-driven power of liberté, égalité, fraternité. Human freedom, freedom for humanity, reveals the power of living historical beings who can critically evaluate the past and envision conditions of living that free us from slavery, degradation, exploitation, and domination. Revolutionary psychologist Erich Fromm asks, “how can man become so profoundly transformed that the values he has hitherto only recognized ideologically, become compelling motives for his personality and his action?” (1996, p. 95).

Just as ideals under bourgeois civilization have always been divorced from a horrific concrete reality of domination, exploitation, and human degradation so in each of us our ideals (the vision generated by our utopian horizon) have been divorced from the concrete reality of our lives. Philosopher Henry G. Bugbee writes: “The world as I take it reflectively and the world as I muddle through it then seem excruciatingly worlds apart. What is all this talk of love, of respect, of decision coming from one who is so often devoid of them?” (1961, 140). Fromm, like Marx and Che, insists that our highest values (our utopian horizon) must become “compelling motives” in our personalities and actions.

Fourth, revolutionary solidarity develops compassion for all those who have their dignity humiliated, denied, or crushed beneath the oppressive institutions and criminal classes who by and large dominate the system. The development of compassion by and large increases as our transpersonal moral maturity increases. Compassion is not a contingent human virtue to be cultivated by those who wish to post a laundry-list of their accomplishments. It is a living solidarity with other persons precisely to the extent that one lives beyond ego in solidarity with others.

Fifth, revolutionary solidarity projects us beyond “egoistic man” into post-egoistic community. We work to overcome egoistic self-interest in the name of the community of freedom and equality that is emerging within history. The slogan arising from the French revolution of liberté, égalité, fraternité animates a profound vision. The true freedom of each person arises in and through the genuine socialistic community in which the needs and self-actualization of each is empowered precisely because each contributes to the common good according to his or her abilities. The universal pattern of healthy human development modeled by transpersonal psychologists such as Ken Wilber (1978) today underlines Marx’s vision of transcending of bourgeois egoism for the higher self-actualization in which one lives from one’s “species-being,” and selves within community mutually empower and enhance one another.

Marx continually distinguished the so-called rights and ideals of the “abstract citizen” from the concrete egoism within which most people lived their lives in bourgeois society:

Political emancipation is a reduction of man, on the one hand to a member of civil society, an independent and egoistic individual, and on the other hand, to a citizen, to a moral person. Human emancipation will only be complete when the real, individualized man has absorbed into himself the abstract citizen; when as an individual man, in his everyday life, in his work, and in his relationships, he has become a species-being…. (1978, 46)

The “realm of freedom” arises beyond the “realm of necessity” that now dominates our lives when we focus our love and our energy on reversing the relationship between these realms (Marx 1981, 959).  We transform the material realm of necessity so that it empowers freedom, equality, and community, no longer pretending that we must stay with the realm of necessity while “the best we can do” is help these ideals slowly evolve into reality. Up to now the “realm of necessity” has come before the realm of human dignity and freedom. We are revolutionary (rather than evolutionary) precisely because we act to reverse that relationship, thereby establishing human history (economic and political relationships) on a new foundation: human dignity.

Sixth, we must fully realize that revolutionary love is about the transformation of all human history. It is about human beings as a species and their historical assent from necessity to freedom, from egoism to the solidarity of love, from selfishness to compassion, from domination to justice and equality. In the process of understanding this we see that the sovereign nation-state exists as a merely contingent and passing historical phenomenon. In contradiction to what Hegel appeared to claim, that the nation-state was the culmination of the progression of the cosmic spirit (1991, sect. 360), we see today that the nation-state is destined to give way to the economic and political unity of humanity. Erich Fromm writes: “It follows that man will obtain the full capacity for objectivity and reason only when a society of man is established above all particular divisions of the human race, when loyalty to the human race and it its ideals is considered the prime loyalty that exists” (1950, p. 58).

At one time, the revolutionary thrust of history to some extent flowed through the organization of the so-called sovereign nation-state. Just as capitalism, Marx saw, was necessary to develop the forces of production to the point where production could serve the needs for everyone effectively, so the nation-state served as a cradle of freedom (as, for example, in the French and North American revolutions). The territorially bounded sovereign state, crystalizing in the 17th century, emerged within a deep relationship to expanding capitalism. As social scientist Christopher Chase-Dunn describes this: “The state and the interstate system are not separate from capitalism, but rather are the main institutional supports of capitalist production relations” (1998, 61).

The aspirations of people for freedom often centered on the end of colonialism, imposed by these “sovereign nation-states,” these supposed “cradles of freedom.” It involved struggles both within these nations and without, fighting endless social battles and anti-colonial wars and opposing the military domination of entire peoples by the imperialist powers. Both the dominators and the dominated defended nation-state sovereignty, the dominators because it allowed them to divide and conquer the world with relative impunity and the dominated because a limited “sovereign” territory appeared to provide a customary and quasi-legal “international law” defense for their liberation struggles. In neither case is human liberation in the deep sense served. A just society in one territorial sovereign state, struggling defensively against a capitalist world system, is not the central means necessary for establishing a world of universal peace, economic justice, and deep sustainability.

While it remains important to be in solidarity with those struggling within all nations for a just and liberated society (as well as with the nation-based struggles of countries like Cuba and Venezuela), we must remember that the ultimate goal is a united humanity and liberation from the reactionary dogma of sovereign nation-hood altogether.  The only legitimate ultimate sovereignty is that of the people of Earth who, through their democratic World Parliament, delegate limited sovereignty to the nations, regions, and cities of Earth. In his May 1843 letter to Arnold Ruge, Marx declares: “Freedom, the feeling of man’s dignity will have to be awakened in the hearts of these people. Only this feeling, which vanished from the world for the Greeks, and under Christianity disappeared into the blue mist of the heavens, can again transform society into a community of men to achieve their highest purpose, a democratic state.”

Today, emerging planetary consciousness points beyond the failed system of militarized sovereign nation-states to the unity in diversity of all humanity. Nations do not disappear but take their proper place as regions within the whole. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth (2016) lays out the blueprint for uniting humanity under this principle. For the first time in history, freedom (and the end of class domination) becomes central to “the democratic state.” It provides the plan for a concrete embodiment of the hitherto abstract ideals of freedom, equality, and community. It shows how to bring these directly into political and economic reality so that the life of each human being exists within the nexus of conditions necessary for flourishing within a world of real peace, universal justice, and effective sustainability.

The human community as a whole then empowers the self-actualization of each. There is no longer a conflict between the state and the individual, for representatives are chosen directly by the people of Earth will far outnumber the nations in the World Parliament. When world law is based first and foremost on human dignity and well-being, the state loses its coercive and repressive character because it no longer dominated by a capitalist class running it for its own self-interest and self-protection. The class-character of the state dissolves. Universal, cosmopolitan democracy becomes the synchronous union of political and economic democracy.

The people of Earth now organize themselves through a democratic World Parliament that places our common human dignity and well-being above the sovereign nation-states, above the private banking cartels, above the multinational corporations and above the super-rich dominators of the planet. The sovereign power of the people of Earth, both representing and organized around human dignity, alone has the effective means to end the reign of terror and domination perpetuated by these four forces of fragmentation and injustice. Enforceable democratic world law, at our present stage of history, constitutes a necessary and effective means within the process of human liberation.

Under the Earth Constitution, these forces of domination and exploitation are not repressed by force or violence. This is part of the brilliance of its construction. Rather, they are allowed to “wither away,” so to speak, naturally reducing to their proper levels and relationships with respect to the whole of humanity. They wither to their proper dimensions (likely much smaller than at present) because the laws within nations and the lawless international system no longer support their domination.

Nations are not abolished; private banking is not abolished; corporations are not abolished; rich people are not abolished. But each will shrink to some perhaps important and possibly necessary function within the nexus of relations comprising the common good of the whole. Revolutionary solidarity is solidarity with the whole and with the inner promise of human history. It does not arise from an abstract ideal residing in heaven but from the dynamic futurity and capacity for self-transcendence that constitutes both the self-awareness of each human being and the foundational dynamic of human history.

Marx recognized political democracy as a great step forward, but it had not yet given us substantive democracy, which included control of the producers over the production process. Under substantive democracy, production exists for the common good of all and no longer for the private wealth of the few. The Earth Constitution in Article 8.7 puts control of the money of the planet into the hands of the people of Earth, both in terms of money creation and in terms of global public banking. It directs the uses of federation money for the common good of all, with equality and freedom.

The World Parliament generates laws (such as those enacted to date by the Provisional World Parliament) that allow the people of Earth to creatively and democratically produce the conditions for flourishing everywhere on the planet. Nations, private bankers, corporations, and wealthy individuals find their meaningful places related to the common good and the flourishing of the whole. As Buckminster Fuller pointed out, when we unite beyond the territorial nation-state, the world’s economy takes on a creative and productive synergy that make the former “mine versus yours” orientation in the world of scarcity obsolete: “they will not struggle for survival on a ‘you’ or ‘me’ basis, and will therefore be able to trust one another and be free to co-operate in spontaneous and logical ways” (1972, 88 & 95).

Today, in the early years of the 21st century as we face climate collapse and nuclear holocaust from the rogue collection of so-called sovereign nations recognizing no effective law about themselves, revolutionary solidarity means embracing the Constitution for the Federation of Earth as the key vehicle through which our love of humanity can actualize a world premised on human dignity and flourishing.  The true revolutionary is indeed guided by great feelings of love. Both Marx and Che animate our vision.

Our love and our transformative praxis can bring those merely abstract ideals into political and economic realities, into concrete embodiment through the ratification of this Earth Constitution. After we pioneers, we “revolutionary leaders” have worked to get the Constitution ratified and world democracy established, future generations will truly want to sing-out in joy: Viva la revolución!

 

Works Cited

 Aurobindo, Sri (1973). The Essential Aurobindo. Robert A. McDermott, ed. New York: Schocken Books.

Bloch, Ernst (1986).  Natural Law and Human Dignity. Trans. Dennis J. Schmidt. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Bugbee, Henry G., Jr. 1961). The Inward Morning: A Philosophical Exploration in Journal Form. New York: Collier Books.

Constitution for the Federation of Earth. With an Introduction by Glen T. Martin (2016). Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.  Also on-line at www.earth-constitution.org.

Della Mirandola, Pico (1965). “Oration on the Dignity of Man,” in Werner L. Gundersheimer, Ed. The Italian Renaissance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Publisher.

Fromm, Erich (1950). Psychoanalysis and Religion. New York: Bantam Books.

Fromm, Erich (1992). Marx’s Concept of Man. New York: Continuum Books.

Fromm, Erich (1996). To Have Or To Be? New York: Continuum Books.

Fuller, Buckminster (1972). Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. New York: Pocket Books.

Guevara, Che and Fidel Castro (1989). Socialism and Man in Cuba. New York: Pathfinder Press.

Hegel, G.W.F. (1953). Reason in History. A General Introduction to the Philosophy of History. Trans. Robert S. Hartman. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company.

Hegel, G.W.F (1991). Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Alan Wood, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kant, Immanuel (1964). Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. H. J. Paton, trans. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.

Martin, Glen T. (2018). Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence: The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

Marx, Karl (1978). The Marx-Engels Reader. Second Edition. Ed. Robert C. Tucker. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Marx, Karl (1981). Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 3. Trans. David Fernbach. New York: Penguin Books.

Provisional World Parliament legislation can be found at www.worldparliament-gov.org

Wilber, Ken (2007). Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World. Boston: Integral Books.

The Curse of National Sovereignty

Glen T. Martin

The dogma of national sovereignty is an illusion and a curse. For those who understand the world system, the dogma of national sovereignty stands out as the single illusion that is most destructive of humanity’s quest for a world of peace, justice, and sustainability.  “Sovereignty” means what is independent. In political affairs it means the highest authority for legislating, judging, and enforcing the laws—beyond which there is no further appeal.

If this highest authority is accorded to the governments of various territories on the Earth, and the planet is composed of nearly 200 such sovereign territories, then the fragmented result can only be a war system, a domination system of the strong over the weak, an exploitation system of the wealthy over the poor, and a system that inevitably results in the threat of nuclear holocaust and the destruction of our planetary environment. National sovereignty is the core illusion that is leading our entire planet to destruction.

Under the system of militarized sovereign nation-states, the powerful nations love sovereignty because it allows them to do whatever they want in the world.  They invade, overthrow, assassinate, blockade, subvert, or manipulate elections of weaker nations at will. What about international law? Why does international law not stop them?

If, by definition, sovereignty means the highest legal authority, then so-called international law is a fraud, since you cannot enforce any laws over sovereign nations. You can only go to war against them or punish their entire people by some economic blockade. That is why the world disorder is founded on this treaty system, and even the UN itself is only a treaty of sovereign nations. Treaties between sovereign nations are unenforceable, or, as the UN system explicitly recognizes in article 42 of its Charter, treaties can only be enforced by economic blockades or war. In the international world system of today’s sovereign states, there is almost no such thing as enforceable law over individuals. Even in the year 2020, so-called international law consists of treaties that apply to whole nations (with no requirement that these nations be just, democratic, equable, or free).

The International Criminal Court (ICC), like the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, also appears as a sad joke within this distorted and unjust scheme of things (even though staffed by serious, well-meaning people). It is unwilling the prosecute the real criminals of the world who are at the head of powerful sovereign nation-states, criminals such as Ronald Reagan (who led the destruction of Nicaragua), Bill Clinton (who led the destruction of Yugoslavia), George W. Bush (who led the destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq), or Donald Trump (who is attempting to destroy Venezuela and Iran).

These courts are not real courts because they are hamstrung by this dogma of national sovereignty. The entire flawed UN system is hamstrung by this same illusion. The self-determination of peoples, as with individual persons, can only come about under the rule of democratic enforceable laws that protect and empower the people of Earth through the principle of unity in diversity. Self-rule means internal governance and freedom for a people to democratically determine their own affairs. It does not, and should not mean, external lawlessness.

Under the system of militarized sovereign nation-states, believe it or not, the poor and weaker nations also love the dogma of sovereignty. This is because they have the illusion that this fantasy idea can protect them from the power-politics and exploitation economics that dominate the world. The utterly flawed Charter of the United Nations, based on this illusion of national sovereignty, speaks of “the self-determination of peoples.” It then institutionalizes a system in which the five big winners in World War Two (all of whom have a history as major imperial colonizers, exploiters, and dominators) control everything from their veto power on the Security Council.

The five big dominators of the world (China, Russia, Britain, France, and the USA) all love sovereignty because it allows them to divide and conquer the weak. The French have a history of brutal colonial empires in which the French “sovereign” state enslaved others. As recently as 2011 the French helped destroy the sovereign nation of Libya. From their lawless independence as the French “sovereign nation,” there was never anything to stop France from brutally enslaving Haiti, Algiers, or bombing Libya into chaos in 2011. No President of France as ever been arrested for such criminal activities.

China invaded Tibet in 1950 and the other nations of the world left Tibet to its own fate. Since they are “sovereign” nations, Tibet is not their first concern, only their own security and sovereignty is their first concern. The USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and the other nations left Afghanistan to its brutal fate, happy that it is not themselves that had been invaded. The United States and Britain invaded Iraq in 2003, and the other “sovereign” nations of the world weakly protested but did nothing and could do nothing under this fragmented world system. The system of sovereign nation-states is the perfect system of “divide and conquer.”  Since the world is already divided, it is easy for big imperial powers to conquer.

Yet the people of weaker nations mindlessly continue to cling to the illusion of sovereignty. Every one of the six  times that I visited Cuba during the lethal US economic blockade, the people of Cuba did not want to hear about uniting humanity under democratic law that ended the neo-colonial domination and exploitation system. They simply kept repeating to me, as if hypnotized, “we are a sovereign nation. The US has no right to do this to us.  We are a sovereign nation. They must respect our sovereignty.”

The people of Cuba claimed to be revolutionaries. They claimed to be in solidarity with the oppressed worldwide. But in reality that was just empty rhetoric. Because real solidarity means uniting with others to create a decent lawful and just world for everyone. The people of Cuba did not want to really unite with others to make the world a just and peaceful place for everyone.

They were just selfishly concerned with their little corner of the world that they called their “sovereign” territory. The tragic irony of today’s world is that the weak, small nations cling to the same illusion of sovereignty loved by the big imperial nations, a world fragmented and disunited that is easy pickings for the imperialists. It is also easy pickings for the multi-national corporations and the private banking cartels of the world, like the World Bank and the IMF, enslaving the peoples of Earth through international debt. The exploiters love this fragmented system that allows them to get away with their economic pillage and systems of debt enslavement.

Some national constitutions in this lawless system of sovereign nations claim that “sovereignty belongs to the people.” But they do not really mean this.  What they mean is that their government represents a tiny fragment of humanity within their territorial boundaries. Cross the border to another country and suddenly there is a different sovereignty supposedly belonging to a different people and territory. Territorial boundaries override the sovereignty of the people making this slogan meaningless. If government really represents the sovereign people, then it is all the people on the Earth. You cannot fragment the notion of sovereignty of the people into some 200 territorial units and somehow claim that the people are sovereign. The result is again power politics, militarism, neo-colonialism, economic exploitation, and chaos.

The world today is a world of power, domination, and exploitation relationships precisely because it is divided into nearly 200 units recognizing no effective laws above themselves. Any real rule of democratic law is enforceable over individual persons who have their rights and dignity protected by these same laws. Under the rule of real democratic law no one can say “I am a sovereign person and am therefore above the law.” Yet this is exactly the attitude of sovereign nations in their external relationships. Real law is enforceable over individual persons while at the same time empowering and protecting them. Real law derives from a democratic constitution through a legislature, and executive, and a judicial system protects all citizens equally before the law.

However, at the world level, the illusory notion of national sovereignty leads to precisely the opposite— lawlessness. Treaties of sovereign nations are voluntary agreements between supposedly independent entities. They can withdraw from the treaty. They can fail to meet their obligations under the treaty. A new government may come in that abjures the treaty. And they can each abuse the human rights of their own citizens with near impunity. The result is not only lawlessness and injustice. The result is a militarized world threatened with nuclear holocaust and an entire world system of lawless nation-states that care more about their own self-interest and self-preservation than they do about saving the collapsing planetary environment.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth recognizes the sovereignty of the people of Earth. It is non-military because democratic law enforceable over individual persons requires only civilian police and due process of law. It protects every nation big and small because for the first time in human history it brings the rule of genuine democratic law into world affairs.

Under the Earth Constitution, individuals, including the heads of nation-states, are subject to the same enforceable laws as everyone else. The sovereignty of the people of Earth is then apportioned into legitimate governmental authority on various levels: at the local levels around the Earth in cities and towns, at the national levels of some 200 nations who have representation in the House of Nations, and then at the world level through the World Parliament. The world achieves, for the first time in its history, a peace system, a justice system, and a sustainability system.

The nations become states within the Earth Federation and the small states are protected because they are components of the larger system designed to protect and empower all its parts.  In the federation of states called the USA, for example, the smallest state of Rhode Island has no fear that the bigger states will blockade or invade. It is protected by the rule of law for the whole.  That is what we must do for the world if the world is going to have a future at all. To be truly united means that every person and every nation is protected by the whole.

The smaller or weaker nations of the world need to give up their illusion that the dogma of “sovereignty” will somehow protect them. The big nations love this dogma just as much as they do because a fragmented, lawless world system allows them to do whatever they want. The illusion of sovereignty gives us power politics rather than the politics of democratic justice.

The Earth Constitution joins all of humanity together under the rule of democratically legislated world laws that take away militarism, power politics, domination, and exploitation. The Constitution makes these corruptions nearly impossible because it removes the system of sovereign nations that permits and fosters such lawless corruption. It protects all persons and nations equally. It unites humanity under the principle of unity in diversity. It recognizes and is based upon the only true sovereignty—the sovereignty of the united people of Earth.

Notes

  1. The Constitution for the Federation of the Earth is at earth-constitution.org You can sign the Earth Constitution there and also become a member of the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA)
  2. For an examination of why the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is protected against becoming totalitarian and undemocratic, read my comprehensive analysis called “Safeguards Against Totalitarianism” (Chapter Seven of One World Renaissance) found at http://earth-constitution.org/archives-documents/
  3. Excellent discussions of the concept of sovereignty can be found in two books by Errol E. Harris: Twenty-First Century Democratic Renaissance (2008) and Earth Federation Now: Tomorrow is Too Late. Second Edition (2014)

 Glen T. Martin, Ph.D., is President of the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA), the main organization sponsoring sessions of the Provisional World Parliament and ratification of the Constitution or the Federation of Earth. His website is located at www.oneworldrenaissance.com  

Human Dignity and Global Pandemic

Why do we need the Constitution for the Federation of Earth?

 

Glen T. Martin

 

 

  • What Does it Mean to be Human?

What is a human being?  Why do we place such extraordinary significance on human life?  Why do we speak of human rights or human dignity?  We cannot explore these questions without including questions about the whole of the universe or the ground or source of existence itself. The universe has evolved us. It has produced human beings with all the exceptional qualities of human beings, some of which I will outline below. Who or what we are is fundamentally inseparable from the meaning of the whole. The famous “Anthropic Principle” investigated by thinkers like Errol E. Harris (1991) argues that intelligent creatures such as us were built into the structure of the universe from its very beginnings.

Throughout much of the ancient and medieval worlds, the understanding that human beings possessed a unique dignity within the design of things was taken for granted. Today, the dominant civilization has lost this sense of the whole. It is in danger of losing any sense of the dignity of human life. We are fragmented into a collection of confused atoms struggling for power, ascendency, and wealth. We think of the world as made up of individual parts (atoms), rather than that all the individuals in the world are really aspects of greater wholes. We have lost sight of the whole that we are as human beings, a whole that manifests our common dignity. We have lost sight of our unique role on planet Earth and within the cosmic scheme of things.

Restoring our sense of the dignity and meaning of human life will today require uniting humanity within the framework of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. It is only when humanity is united politically, economically and democratically that we will begin to think in terms of our unique dignity and the important role that we should be playing on this planet. We understand today that human beings are firmly rooted within our planetary home and its holistic biosphere. Climate science has made this very clear. The realization of this holism should lead us to understand that we must unite economically and politically in order to harmonize ourselves with the planetary biosphere.

  • The Fragmentation of Modernity

With the rise of modernity with the scientific revolutions of the 17th century, there developed a reductionist view of nature and a corresponding reductionist view of who and what we are as human beings.  Human beings were viewed in terms of the mechanistic world view of the day. The world was thought of as a giant machine and human beings were merely atoms (or individual substances),  both physically and subjectively. Philosophers like David Hume (1957), writing in the 18th century, thought of humans as bundles of merely personal subjective wants and desires. The greatness and dignity of human life that had been characteristic of the thinkers of the world’s great religions and the philosophers of ancient and medieval times was seriously diminished.  Humans were little more than conscious machines to be studied by behavioral scientists as if we were just another natural phenomenon among the plethora of living things on the Earth.

The modern economic system developed based on this reductionistic view of human life. It was thought that innumerable human atoms and their businesses operating in competition with one another within a “free market” to accumulate private profit would result in the greatest prosperity for the greatest number.  After nearly four centuries of people greedily engaging in their “free” enterprises, we find ourselves in a world where 1% own 50% of the world’s wealth and hundreds of millions live in dire poverty and misery.

In the modern economic system, the dignity of persons disappeared into systems of exploitation and commodification. Human beings became simply another form of capital to be exploited in the service of private profit.  Working people had to struggle against great odds just to have laws prohibiting child labor for their children.  They had to struggle and suffer just to get safety measures installed in the factories where they worked. They had to engage in brutal struggles just to get social security or health insurance. Capitalism intrinsically resists any encroachments on its “free market” mechanisms for accumulating private profit. The dignity of workers is not commodifiable and fits into no economic equations concerning investment, production, supply, or demand.

Like the capitalist atomism of business interests competing for private profit within a “free market,” the early-modern atomistic and mechanistic paradigm divided the world into competing units called sovereign nation-states. Each sovereign government had effective power over its own citizens and organized them in ways that promoted national interests.  The citizens were encouraged to patriotism, to be willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of their country, and to nobly offer their hearts, minds, and bodies to “defend” their country’s interests in foreign wars.

The dignity of those killed and whose life-supports systems were destroyed in the other countries did not count in the “homeland.”  Only “German lives” or “Japanese lives” or “British lives” or “American lives” counted.  Human dignity was replaced by national identity.  As with capitalism, the dignity of citizens is not calculable within the equations of national self-interest in a world of competing, militarized sovereign nation-states. More value was placed on “our loyal boys,” “our valiant troops,” or “our citizens abroad.” The common human dignity animating human lives everywhere disappeared into a world of power politics, intrigue, corruption, and foreign wars.

In India Mahatma Gandhi organized the Salt March to underline the dignity and rights of ordinary people. The British Viceroy of India declared: “It will take more than a pinch of salt to bring down the British Empire.”  The “empire” comes before human dignity. What is British counts for more, what is Chinese counts for more, what is Russian counts for more, what is Indian counts for more.  Not human dignity, not justice, not love, not the emergence of one world civilization of peace and justice and sustainability.

In the early decades of the 20th century, some thinkers began challenging this reductionism of human beings to just another creature who had evolved on Earth through the Darwinian process of natural selection. Alfred North Whitehead as a philosopher and scientist rebelled against what he called “this triumph of materialism” and reasserted what he called “the religious vision” that was always there, however obscured by the reductionism of science: “It has the power of love presenting the one purpose whose fulfillment is eternal harmony. Such order as we find in nature is never force—it presents itself as the one harmonious adjustment of complex detail” (1925, 60 and 192).

Whitehead associates the holism of the cosmos with love. He sees the universe as a process guided by an ever-increasing love. Process philosophy rebelled in this direction. Existentialism rebelled in another direction, some theologians in another, and humanism emerged in a fourth direction. All of these were attempting to restore a missing dignity, gravity, and consequence to human life that the prevailing science and culture seemed to ignore or diminish. Philosopher Karl Jaspers, in his 1930 book Man in the Modern Age, wrote of the leveling down of humanity into a mass in which the immense significance of human life was in danger of being lost: “Everywhere on occasions we encounter peculiar forms of corruption dependent upon self-seeking and the pursuit of private advantage. They continue because they are tacitly accepted by all concerned.” (1951, 57). We are in danger of losing our selfhood, Jaspers declared, in danger of losing the possibility of “transcendence” into a higher human future.

After the second world war, existentialist writer Albert Camus declared that hope remains only in the “most difficult task of all: to reconsider everything from the ground up.” The new order we seek, he declared, “cannot be merely national… It must be universal” (1946, 46). Similarly, in his book The Broken Image: Man, Science, and Society  (1964), Floyd W. Matson attempted to restore the image of human dignity and the vast significance once associated with the fact of being a human being. He quotes Karl Mannheim on the loss everywhere of the vision of transcendence: “The disappearance of utopia brings about a static state of affairs in which man himself becomes no more than a thing” (ibid., 256).  Without a utopian vision that actualizes our human dignity, these thinkers declare, human beings become only things to be manipulated by capitalism or nation-state power politics.

  • Fragmentation and the Global Pandemic

Yet in spite of the efforts of many thinkers to overcome the fragmentation and reductionism of both capitalism and the sovereign nation-state system, and to reestablish the vision of human dignity and our vast human potential for self-transcendence, the immense inertia of these systems brought them crashing into the 21st century with ever-increasing chaos, madness, and disintegration of civilizing trends. The human rights movement disintegrated under the onslaught of the war on terror, with nation-states becoming more lawless and terroristic than the groups they claimed to be fighting. The environment that sustains human life has continued to disintegrate all around us under the weight of the absurd dogma of economic growth, a growth evaluated as GDP, the gross domestic product of competing sovereign nation-states.

The global coronavirus pandemic has exposed the entire corrupt world system for what it has become. While the pandemic rapidly spread worldwide due to a globalized economy and transport system, the fragmented nations descended into petty in-fighting, bickering, and struggle for the needed resources and remedies. They competed as well for who to blame for the collapse of their universal economic con-game. The UN Secretary General put out a video to all the world begging the warring groups and nations everywhere to declare a ceasefire so that people might deal with the terrible conditions of the pandemic. Yet wars, economic blockades, sanctions, and struggles continued regardless of people everywhere becoming sick and dying from the virus. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the hand of their Doomsday Clock to just 100 seconds before midnight.

Meanwhile within nations, the poor, who under the capitalist system live from day to day, week to week, depending on their meager pay, have lost their jobs and face starvation. This is true not only in places like India and Bangladesh, but in the United States as well, where the government has been bailing out the rich businesses while millions of poor are falling through the cracks and facing desperation, homelessness, and ultimately starvation.

Under capitalism and the system of militarized sovereign nation-states, there is no world health system in place to protect against such a terrible pandemic and nip it in the bud.  There is no world sustainability system in place to slow down and reverse the disintegration of the planetary environment.  There is no world peace system in place to eliminate terrorism, war-making, or even weapons of mass destruction. There is no world justice system guaranteeing everyone the right to live with dignity and sufficient food, clothing, and shelter. There is no freedom system in place to protect against the spying upon and manipulation of people by nation-state and mass-media domination and control forces. There is no social security system in place to protect people who have lost jobs or livelihoods. 

The result is planetary chaos.  The dehumanization of human beings now raised to apocalyptic proportions. The death of millions means nothing to those who wield these systems of wealth, power, domination, and violence. Human dignity does not exist for either capitalism or sovereign nation-states. Reductionism and fragmentation can never seriously address what is inherently transcendent and universal.

Can there be a rebirth after this collapse?  Many people are asking this question. The rich and powerful are acting to secure their continued domination after the pandemic.  But their domination depends on the dehumanization of mankind. Their domination requires fragmentation, atomism, and compassionless exploitation in a dog eat dog world.  Those human qualities that led to the idea of human dignity, however, remain with us. They are difficult to eradicate because they are intrinsic to our humanity. Can we retrieve them and enhance them to the point there we create a decent civilization for the Earth?  That is the great challenge of our present moment. Let us review some of these qualities.

  • Recognition of Human Dignity

Human beings have come about on planet Earth with several qualities that betoken the idea of dignity. Throughout civilization historic cultures, religions, and philosophies have generated the idea that we are a microcosm of the whole (the macrocosm).

First, human beings are conscious in a way that no other creature exhibits. We are self-aware. We know that we know, and we alone can ask the question of existence: what is the meaning, origin, and nature of existence? What is the significance of our self-awareness in the scheme of things? We alone, through our consciousness, can discern meaning, crave for meaning, and attain to meaning.

Second, we are not only subjective (conscious) being. We are also bodily being. We appear to live as unique creatures, who, through our being-in-the-world, join the material world, the living (biological) world, the world of consciousness, and the realm of transcendence. It has appeared to many throughout history, including today, that we are truly a microcosm, a special manifestation of the ground and source of Being itself, uniting all these dimensions into one self-aware manifestation of the whole.

Third, only human beings have reason, the logos, the capacity to discern the order and laws of the universe and formulate principles of reasoning, knowledge, and truth. As philosopher Raimon Panikkar observes: “We know things because they are knowable; they are knowable because between things and our intellect there is a primordial relationship” (2013, 146).  Our reason opens an immense window onto reality that we observe in no other creature. What is the significance of our emergence as a self-aware window into reality?

Fourth, among all living creatures that we know of only human beings can think in terms of freedom, with its concomitant ideas of responsibility and capacity to choose, and the question about what is the meaning and role of freedom is the cosmic evolutionary process. How is it that freedom seems to have blossomed out of a universe that is everywhere conditioned by causal laws and a mechanical determinism?

Fifth, among all living creatures we alone appear to distinguish between good and evil. We alone can comprehend moral principles and live according to these. We alone appear to sense a cosmic demand, a divinely commanded duty, to live according to such principles. We alone encounter value: the true, the good, and the beautiful. And we alone appear capable of evil. This human quality appears to have a cosmic significance, a dimension far transcending our individual existence.

Sixth, human beings are capable of an “I-Thou” relationship. Our lives are intrinsically relational. We can communicate with one another and relate to one another with respect, love, compassion, and concern, apparently far beyond such relationships in other “social” animals. This appears to be a capacity that shows up in a deep and compelling form only in human life. We are capable of a deep oneness with one another that does not abolish our individual uniqueness. Historically this quality has led extraordinary persons as well as ordinary persons to conclude that “God is love” or “relationship is the foundation of all things.”

Seventh, among all living creatures, we appear capable of self-transcendence.  All of the above “gifts” of human existence appear open ended and capable of unlimited realization. We can grow beyond selfishness and egoism into ever-greater love, compassion, and communicative relationships. We can attain transcendent forms of awareness, rationality, or moral purity. Some thinkers have declared that we are more accurately defined by our potentialities, rather than our present actualities.

Eighth, among all living creatures we alone live within history, both personal history and civilizational history. We understand the idea of becoming and realize that we could become greater, better, or wiser than we now are. Indeed, all our human qualities from consciousness, to freedom, to morality can become greater, more actualized, than they now are. Even our dignity can become greater, our sense of having a transcendent worth, an incalculable value within the scope of things.  One great Indian thinker and mystic, Sri Aurubindo, for example, concluded that “the universe and the individual are necessary to each other in their ascent…. [The universe] creates in itself a self-conscious concentration of the All through which it can aspire” (1973, 49). In other words, the universe has become conscious of itself through us.

  • The Constitution for the Federation of Earth Restores and Actualizes Human Dignity.

No matter how we interpret its cosmic significance, dignity can be further actualized in each of us and in all of us.  And because we are intrinsically social and relational, my dignity is actualized along all these lines only through living and being with others.  The dignity of others is similarly actualized through who and what I am in relation to them. We come to realize that we are bound together in our common humanity, our common consciousness, our common logos, our common compassion, our common capacity for love, our common universality of value.  Dignity is a common human dimension binding all together simultaneously. That is why we attribute inviolable dignity to all, even children, the infirm, criminals, or the insane. We do not “possess” dignity or rights as individuals; we participate in them in virtue of our common humanity (cf. Martin 2018).

My dignity cannot be fulfilled as long as others are denied the conditions for actualizing their own dignity. As long as human beings are exploited, crushed, or subjected to violence my own dignity remains diminished.  A violation of human rights anywhere is a violation of the rights of all of us. We are one in our dignity, to which all the above-named qualities point (cf. Kirchhoffer 2013). Dignity is not fragmented like the egoism of capital or national sovereignty. The collective egoism of thinking that we are Russians, or we are Chinese, or we are Americans is clearly a manifestation of our fragmentation as crippled and maimed human beings.

We are maimed by our fragmentation in all the above-named ways: in our consciousness, our bodies, our freedom, our love, our relationships, our morality, and our historical destiny. Only by joining with all others in a world system predicated on peace, justice, freedom, and sustainability can our own dignity open to its highest potential actualization. Only through ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth can human life take on the character of a world dedicated to the realization of human dignity.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth actualizes this dignity within its principle of unity in diversity. Everything in nature has this holistic quality of a multiplicity of parts embraced within ever-more holistic fields.  The Constitution does not philosophize about dignity, it establishes a world system predicated on that dignity—and upon the prospects of continually enhancing and actualizing our dignity.  By recognizing the whole that human beings are as a species and a civilization, the Constitution is able to found or establish a peace system, justice system, freedom system, and sustainability system for the Earth. 

All human beings are embraced by its recognition of their dignity. They are guaranteed the basic necessities of life precisely because they are human beings, including worldwide good health conditions, pandemic prevention, aid in times of natural disasters, clean water, clean air, and a healthy biosphere. In sum, they are guaranteed a world of peace with justice and sustainability because this alone expresses and enhances our common human dignity.

Not only does our historic recognition of human dignity demand a holistic world system under the Earth Constitution, the moral demand to further actualize our common dignity also demands this.  We are at a crossroads.  Shall we return to systems of dehumanization and degradation: global capitalism and sovereign nation-statehood?  

Or shall we ascend toward our higher common human destiny characterized by love, compassion, truth, justice, and sustainability?  Now is the time for a fundamental decision.  Can we embrace the Earth Constitution as that document that can redeem our broken world system and raise us to a higher level of existence on our planetary home?  Only then will we restore and enhance our common human dignity.  Fragmentation is dehumanization, destructive of human dignity. Now is the time to humanize our planet. Now is the time for us to become more truly human.

Works Cited

Aurobindo, Sri (1973). The Essential Aurobindo. Ed. Robert A. McDermott. New York: Schocken Books.

Camus, Albert (1980). Neither Victims Nor Executioners. Trans. Dwight MacDonald. New York: Continuum Press.

Constitution for the Federation of Earth, found on-line at www.earth-constitution.org. See also Constitution for the Federation of Earth: with an Introduction by Glen T. Martin. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Democracy Press, 2010.

Harris, Errol E. (1991). Cosmos and Anthropos: A Philosophical Interpretation of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle. London: Humanities Press International.

Hume, David (1957, orig. pub. 1752). An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. New York: Library of the Liberal Arts.

Jaspers, Karl (1957, orig. pub. 1930). Man in the Modern Age. Trans. Eden and Cedar Paul. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books.

Kirchhoffer, David G. (2013). Human Dignity in Contemporary Ethics. Amherst, NY: Teneo Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2018). Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence: The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Matson, Floyd W. (1964). The Broken Image: Man, Science, and Society. New York: George Braziller Publisher.

Whitehead, Alfred North (1967). Science and the Modern World: Lowell Lectures, 1925. New York: The Free Press.

Pandemic Message 25 March 2020

WORLD CONSTITUTION AND PARLIAMENT ASSOCIATION (WCPA)

Glen T. Martin

25 March 2020


Pandemic Message 25 March 2020 on Youtube:   https://youtu.be/QbE8rO91YVs

Brothers and Sisters,

The COVID 19 pandemic has become an historic threat to the entire world.  Nuclear weapons and climate change were also such threats, but people managed to ignore them because they were not immediate and obvious.

The global coronavirus pandemic is immediate and obvious, and is affecting everyone on Earth, regardless of country, regardless or race or religion, regardless of wealth or poverty.

We are in a global emergency, a global economic and logistical collapse. Nations and health-care systems are in crisis.  Please self-isolate.  Please follow the best sanitation practices. Please avoid contact with others as much as possible.  By cooperating with emergency measures, we will likely be saving millions of lives and avoiding millions of needless deaths, including our own.

There is much speculation that the COVID-19 virus came out of some bioweapons research laboratory, perhaps in Canada, in the USA, or in China.  Whether or not this is true, it is certain that these horrific practices by many nation-states are developing weapons just like the COVID-19 virus.  This is a taste of what is in store for humanity in the future if we do not abolish the system that allows it to go on. Something similar is going on in other diabolical weapons laboratories.  They continue to develop the nuclear weapons systems that will someday wipe out humanity.

Can we use this global crisis as a means to a better, post-pandemic world?   Or, after the pandemic, one year from now, will we go back to the same insane world of rival sovereign militarized nations competing relentlessly with one another.  Will we go back to the same insane, out of control global economic system, struggling for wealth and power regardless of its impact on the poor or the ecosystem of our planet?

WCPA is reaching out to the Non-aligned Nations especially, but also to all humankind.  Do we want to return to poverty and marginalization in a global war system of exploitation and militarized dominance?  Do you want the bioweapons labs to continue to design ever more efficient global pandemic weapons of mass destruction? After we see how vulnerable the world is, how vulnerable we all are, and how our present world disorder has failed not only us but all future generations, do we want to continue with the madness?

In India, Swami Agnivesh has called for a new Arya Samaj, that is, a new moral and spiritual awakening to the fact that all human beings are one family, all brothers and sisters, and the implication of this truth for our future on this precious planet Earth. We all need to be part of this movement. We need a world based on this simple moral truth, we are one humanity and one civilization, and must establish the institutions to make this truth a living reality.  No more lies, corruption, ideologies, nationalisms, or fanaticisms.

If you are in a Non-Aligned Nation, or any poor and marginalized nation, speak to your government, to your leaders, and ask them to plan a constituent assembly one year from now that considers ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Your nation has been long marginalized and is now a victim of this corrupt world system. One year from now you need to have a founding convention centered on the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. We are all equals. The Constitution ensures your equality and protection.

We need to use this first-ever truly global threat to human civilization as a wake-up call for humanity.  One year from now, we need to establish a new world system based on equality dignity, peace, justice, freedom, and sustainability.   Only the Constitution for the Federation of Earth can make this happen.  Now is the time.  Let us study it, promote it, and use it as a concrete means to establish a truly human, morally grounded, sustainable and just world system.

Be safe, and be the change you want to see in the world.      May God bless us all.   

Five Steps to Create a Decent Human Future

Glen T. Martin

As a YouTube video:      https://youtu.be/0fSbWYl7wU0

There has been much talk about where the world should go after the global pandemic that we are facing everywhere on Earth. People have proposed modifications of the global economic order. Others have proposed modifications of the UN system.  Still others have proposed greater peace and disarmament among nations. However, none of these will solve our most fundamental problems on this planet. None of these will give us a future.  All of you young people out there are being betrayed. As Albert Camus declared, you are being cut off from the future. You are being cut off from having any future at all.

The coronavirus pandemic has made us realize that we are fragile and vulnerable as a species worldwide.  The pandemic has made us realize that our global institutions are historical anachronisms that are not designed for human welfare.  The global economic system is made for the rich and powerful in order to make them ever more rich and powerful and allow them to continue ruling the world.  The global bankers, the transnational corporations, and the super rich have the governments of the world in their pocket and they run things for the benefit of the few rather than the common good of the whole. This system is centuries old and is not suitable for planetary human welfare. This system is cutting the young people, you young people, off from the future. It is destroying the possibility of your having any credible future at all. Why do we put up with this absurd system of economic criminality?

The global political system of militarized sovereign nation-states is also centuries old and is not suitable for planetary human welfare.  Sovereign nations obsess about their military strength, their security, their resources, their inviolable territories protected by border walls, visas, police, and ever more weapons.  They subvert one another, sanction one another, move against one another as if the planet were a grand chessboard of conflicting forces, and they threaten one another with war and weapons of mass destruction. It is possible that the coronavirus pandemic is a spinoff from one of the bioterror labs that these rogue sovereign nation-states maintain all over our planet. Why do we put up with this unworkable system of anarchy and nation-state criminality?

Since the end of the Second World War the world has been facing the possibility of nuclear holocaust.  For the first time in history we entered an era in which the human race could wipe itself out entirely.  We have never solved this absurd situation.  In addition, since the 1960s we have known that the human population on Earth is skyrocketing, that the ecosystem of the Earth is being destroyed, and that we are facing climate change that could wipe out humanity by the end of the 21st century.  Yet the global economic system has resisted converting to sustainability, and the global nation-state system has continued its militarism and warring instead of converting our planet to sustainability.  Why do we put up with these absurdities that cut us off from the future, monstrous systems that threaten to destroy our future on this planet altogether?

There are five steps that need to be taken together if we are going to have a future on this precious planet Earth.  These five steps are all integrated within the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.  Let us examine the five steps.

Step 1.   Internalize Holism. Not our current economic and political fragmentation, but holism. We need deep awareness of the emergent holistic paradigm that derives not only from contemporary science but resonates with much traditional wisdom. The world’s great religious traditions all spoke about the cosmos and our holistic place within it, and science has discovered the holistic unity in diversity of all things. This paradigm includes understanding of the interdependence and interrelationship of all things in the universe, including the geosphere, biosphere, and noosphere of the Earth. This awareness must inform all our design efforts.  The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is based on this awareness, on the holism of unity in diversity, and is designed to promote this awareness.

       This means that the nations must join together into a federation of unity in diversity that does not abolish them but places them within a holistic world system in which they no longer can operate to destroy the future of our planet, its living creatures, and ourselves.  The Constitution for the Federation of Earth gives us a democratic world system based on holism: the holism of peace, of justice eliminating vast disparities of wealth, of universal human rights protection, and of sustainability. It is designed to holistically protect and restore the ecosystem of our planet.

Step 2.  Establish Ecological Economics. We must convert our planetary economy to one that benefits everyone while living within the parameters of the laws of entropy, renewability, and steady-state prosperity.  There are good books out there that describe sustainable economics like Herman E. Daly’s Beyond Growth or Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics.  They all show that a healthy economy cannot infinitely grow on a finite planet with a finite ecosystem.  Economics must be for the common good of everyone in harmony with the planetary biosphere. Such a sustainable economics is built into the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. The Constitution is designed for a planetary sustainable economy.

Step 3. Institutionalize Planetary Climate Science. We must design institutions for studying and monitoring the Earth as a whole and for timely responsiveness to maintain stability. Climate science must be institutionalized and empowered to the point where we really understand and can manage our planetary climate for health and stability. As Buckminster Fuller declared, this means seeing our spaceship as a whole.  As James Lovelock declared, this means seeing our planet as Gaia, a living whole.   Climate science must be institutionalized at the planetary level with love and respect for our earthly home and all its living creatures, including human beings.  The Earth Constitution establishes an Integrative Complex with worldwide agencies staffed by climate scientists and other experts who know how to monitor, adjust, and manage our planet to keep human activities in harmony with the biosphere that sustains all life.

Step 4.  Promote Moral and Spiritual growth. We must design for a world system that promotes cognitive, moral, and spiritual growth, that nurtures those aspects of human nature that transcend selfishness, egocentrism, fear, and hate, while promoting those aspects that include love, compassion, dialogue, mutual respect, and concern. Mature people are worldcentric, not egocentric like so many people in power today worldwide. Neither are mature people ethnocentric believing that their religion or country or culture or race is somehow better or superior to the rest of humankind.  World Centric people are World Citizens. They think from what Karl Marx called our species-being.  They think as what Ervin Laszlo calls “planetary citizens.”  They have a planetary consciousness. They are citizens first of Planet Earth, and only secondly of this or that nation state, religion, or race.  The Earth Constitution institutionalizes and supports planetary consciousness and global thinking.  It is designed to help us think like the citizens of the Earth that we all rally are.

Step 5.  Give the Earth a Brain. The world right now is a chaos of conflicting nations, corporations, cultures, races, ideologies. It is an anarchy of the egoistic greed for wealth and power.  The world has no coordinating center, no brain.  The UN is not a government for the world but merely a treaty of sovereign nation states colonized by the big and powerful nations to be used for their own purposes. We recently saw the sad spectacle of the UN Secretary General begging the nations of the world to temporarily stop their wars in order to let everyone deal with the coronavirus pandemic. How absurd is this?  The UN freely admitting that it cannot stop all these wars. It can only beg them to delay their wars for some medical emergency.

        The world needs a brain, a central Parliament representative of all humanity, a Parliament capable of protecting stability, justice, and equity within the present, and a Parliament capable of planning and acting for a stable, prosperous, and equitable future. This is absolutely essential to creating a decent and secure future for humanity. The UN is not a government and its Charter must be replaced by the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.  That way all its valuable agencies like the World Health Organization can be brought into the Earth Federation and empowered to really do their valuable work.  We need a World Parliament, a brain representing all the nations and peoples of Earth, a brain that can coordinate, plan and design a decent future for all of us and our children.  Without such a brain, we will remain a chaos of conflicting forces that can never deal with the threat of nuclear holocaust or the collapsing planetary climate.  We need democratic planetary leadership. Let us ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

Think about it. Love it. Act on it. The future belongs to us all.  Let us make it happen.

After the Pandemic—A Return to MAD?

Glen T. Martin

People and groups everywhere are talking about the failure of our world system in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.  They are pointing out that nations are on their own in the face of this epidemic.  Poor nations are ravaged because they do not have the resources to cope with the devastation.  Some rich nations are ravaged because their profit-based health care systems cannot possibly deal with what goes beyond profit to the common good of human beings.

And the nations are mostly competing with each other to get what is necessary for the own citizens. We see that the global economic and political system, in a word, is fragmented, unorganized, and not designed for human welfare. Whose welfare is the system designed for?

The natural competition between sovereign nations for the resources and materials necessary to deal with the pandemic reveals their inherent inability to work together.  The situation has been compared to a war against all for survival.[1]  Everywhere people are asking how we can change the world system to something better that will be able to deal effectively with the next global pandemic that will surely arise in the future, and perhaps even to deal with some of the other crises we are facing.

However, most of the proposed changes for after the pandemic tip toe around the real solution. It may be that nearly everyone knows the real solution, but they hesitate to say it aloud.  The Emperor has no clothes, but who dares to say that plainly to the Emperor?  The real solution involves challenging the fundamental premises of the political and economic systems now in power. 

Our planet, plainly speaking, has no government, no center, no brain.  Only a chaos of undemocratic “governance” revolving around the system of so-called “sovereign nation-states,” institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the unenforceable “international law regime” sponsored by the United Nations, several globalized trade agreements, and the international military “empires” of several powerful nations or alliances.[2]

But how are we going to expect any change if we tell them the truth that we need new, democratic, planetary systems in power?  We do not want to frighten them off because we believe we need their cooperation in creating these more universal planetary systems.  We need them to give up some of their claims to absolute sovereignty so that these more planetary forms of governance can emerge. 

If we tell them the truth—that their sovereignty is illegitimate, corrupt, counter-productive, and destructive of the very survival of humankind—they will be upset with us and refuse to cooperate in developing more universal forms of governance.  So we tip toe around the issue.  We assure them that we really don’t mean “world government.”  Absolutely not.  Perhaps they may let us have a powerless “UN Parliamentary Assembly” to complement the current powerless General Assembly as a symbolic gesture pointing toward a possible future of a more universalized global governance.[3]

We do not mean that the people of Earth should democratically govern themselves.  Not at all.  Horrors! How terrible that some dare to imagine any arrangement in which the Lords of the Earth have lost their illegitimate, coercive systems of wealth and power. We don’t mean to offend. We just mean that the Lords of the Earth, the ruling elites in these sovereign governments, should cooperate to let us please make some forms of “governance” a little more planetary and a little less nation-state and private-profit oriented.

Recently, the Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, made a speech begging the warring nations and groups around the world to proclaim a cease-fire while people everywhere struggled to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.[4] How symbolic is that of our broken world system? The UN must beg the nations: “please stop your wars (only temporarily) because we are in the midst of a plague.” So too all the groups planning for a better world after the plague feel they must beg the sovereign nations: “please, let us develop some ‘governance’ for our planet. We don’t mean world government. Honestly, we don’t mean that. But please, relax your sovereignty just a little bit.”

Meanwhile the climate scientists, those pesky people who actually study and understand the planetary ecosystem, tell us that we have perhaps 10 years to totally transform our ways of living and doing business on the Earth before it will be too late.[5]  At the same time, of course, the Lords of the Earth not only do little to address the demands of climate science but continue to upgrade and improve their nuclear weapons systems, preparing the planet for the Armageddon that we have just nearly missed unleashing on ourselves repeated times over the past 70 years.

But who will say out loud that the Emperor has no clothes?  Who dares to be honest in the face of the pending extinction of the human race?  It appears to some that only WCPA dares to speak the truth, only the World Constitution and Parliament Association admits openly that the system of absolute sovereign militarized nation-states is utterly corrupt and illegitimate. Their system is the real problem, whether the Lords of the Earth like it or not.

The other forward-looking organizations that see the need for planetary governance would rather risk the extinction of humanity than offend the Lords of the Earth.  They just want to say “Please, could you allow us to have a little more planetary governance even though we all know what those irksome climate scientists are saying, even though we all know that the Doomsday Clock is now set to 100 seconds before midnight because of the nuclear weapons in combination with on-going climate collapse and the global pandemic.”[6]

The question: “By what right does government govern?” is fundamental here.  Where do governments get their right to claim the sole, legitimate arbitrators of violence within their territories and externally?  Where do they get the right to decide the tragic fate of the Earth itself? At one time it was the divine right of kings.  It was thought that the social system was decreed by God and that the right to govern something following from God’s will.  Today we realize that was a mythology; today we consider it nonsense. 

Then along came the nation-state and the rise of the capitalist bourgeois class of wealthy commoners not of royal lineage. They denounced royal blood as the legitimate source of governing and demanded “rights” for those of property to participate in rulership.  At the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, a key mechanism was born that allowed those of property to take over rulership: the sovereign nation-state.[7] 

No longer was blood lineage the only source of governing authority but now each territory had to set up its own system independently. The “social contract” was born.  The property owners and the newly rich now had the right to form a social contract placing some group within their ranks into governing power in order to serve their interests.  It did not have to be democratic, Hobbes declared. It simply needed to be a power that could keep order and, Locke added, it had to protect people’s “right to property.”[8]

But the argument of the property owners and the rich that they had the “right” to decide a social contract and put into power authorities who would enforce their business contracts, protect their property rights, and ensure their freedom to do business (free trade) did not fly, much to their chagrin, unless it was framed as universal.  The claim to royal lineage did not have to be framed as universal. God had chosen these particular people to be rulers. But to claim that government was there to protect my private property and freedom to trade had to include the claim to universality. The common people asked: “Doesn’t everyone have these same rights?”

There arose among those without property another pesky idea: democracy.  This was the idea that everyone had dignity and rights, not just the rich and the property owners who had divided the Earth into territories bounded by absolute borders and organized things so that they ruled these territories. These absolute borders, of course, did not come from divine decree like the realms of the king in the previous era. These borders came about through contingent historical and geographical factors (e.g., island or coastal nations bounded by the oceans surrounding them), but they came about mostly through conquest, colonization, slave trades, etc.—those great historic spin offs of free trade, sovereign national greed, and the private accumulation of wealth.[9] 

The ideology of the property owners created this unfortunate corollary: it made the uneducated, penniless, riff raff of each country believe that they too had rights, and the fact of their poverty and misery even gave them the nerve to claim that “free trade” and unlimited accumulations of private wealth somehow violated their rights. There was talk of revolutions that made the rulers nervous. What was of course needed, the rich understood, was control of the mass media. They bought up the newspapers, the TV stations, and the airwaves so as to frame the concept of “democracy” properly (cleverly blended with the concept of “patriotism”).[10] Democracy now meant the legitimacy of the ruling class, the status quo, the war system, free trade, and business as usual. It worked. 

Ordinary penniless working people displayed their freedom by being willing to fight in wars that made the war industries and the politicians extremely wealthy.  People believed they were “defending democracy” as they slaughtered their counterparts, the penniless working people in other countries. Territorial nationalism and the fear of official enemies was identified with democracy. NATO was formed to solidify the beacon of freedom that was Europe. The ruling class was applauded for keeping us safe from these terrible enemies.  “America is free,” “India is free,” “Europe is free,” “Russia is free,” “China is free.” George Orwell published 1984 articulating their plan of action: “Slavery is Freedom,” “War is Peace,” “2 + 2 = 5.”

To be a “democracy” meant to be a militarized territory dominated by a wealthy ruling class but “independent” of all other militarized territories.  To be a democracy was the same as being a “free nation,” no matter how vicious, corrupt, or devious its ruling class, no matter how poor or desperate its working class. The mantra intoned: “we are a free and independent nation.” It looked as if the ruling classes dominating these sovereign territorial units had solved the “problem of democracy.”  They were keeping us “free.” Our freedom, meant, of course, that they had to spy on us, and curtail our liberties for the sake of our security. Our freedom meant, of course, they had to have their giant war machines paid for by our taxes, necessarily operating in secret apart from democratic prying eyes, in order to ensure our democracy.

But this irritating problem of democracy refused to go away so easily. Like the concept of property rights invented by the 17th century social contract theorists, some wild-eyed individuals wondered if the concept of democracy had a universal dimension to it. Had the problem of “free speech” been handled appropriately by ruling-class ownership of the mass media? Had the problem of “private property” been handled properly by inventing the fine notion that “slavery is freedom?”

Democracy means that the owner of private property has the right to exploit your wage-slave labor for his private profit. It is as simple as that. Free enterprise is fundamental to democracy. In a true democracy slavery is freedom, by definition. But some tedious persons asked why owners of private wealth had the right of exploitation. A nonsense question, associated with some 19th century nut case sitting in the reading room of the London Public Library scribbling some notes he later called Das Kapital.[11]

Other pesky persons asked why democracy had to stop at the militarized borders. Why did democracy apply more to this territory than that?  Why did democracy need endless wars that required that citizens to give up democracy in order to fight and die in them?[12] So many questions making our ruling classes nervous. Better to be polite, better to suppress the questions, better to beg them to please just allow the people of Earth a little more leeway.

However, beginning in 1958, along came that irksome WCPA group shouting out that the Emperor has no clothes.  The world federalist movement, going all the way back to the First World War, was shocked.[13]  How can anything ever be accomplished in the world unless we caress the egos of the Lords of the Earth by pretending that they are the legitimate custodians of democracy, freedom, and private wealth accumulation?

The world federalists decided to ignore this wild-eyed upstart group that refused to pretend the Lords of the Earth had some legitimacy. WCPA, shockingly, refused to repeat the mass media mantra telling the world that “slavery is the same as freedom and democracy.” If you don’t believe us, just join the military, and they will teach it to you. You too can defend democracy by killing other working people abroad. But WCPA persisted, they would not go away, a churlish group of people now spreading worldwide. A sort of pandemic on behalf of human liberation. “Can you have democracy in a system of militarized, sovereign, territorially bound nation-states,” they asked?  

If the coronavirus pandemic has revealed the failure of our world system for all to see, perhaps that world system had already failed before the pandemic, but few were there to point this out?  Didn’t the entire history of the threat of nuclear holocaust from the 1950s on reveal this total failure?  The secret history of the nuclear madness reveals that Armageddon to wipe out humanity has almost happened multiple times (not only during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962).[14] In those days they called this system MAD (mutually assured destruction).  Does this reveal a problem that requires real system change?  Only those annoying WCPA people seemed to think so.

From the 1960s on, the climate scientists have proclaimed that we are facing extinction as the planetary climate disintegrates around us. But the nations have managed to do almost nothing. Even though a series of UN Climate-Change conferences of 1972, 1992, 2002, 2009, and 2015 pointed out their failure and impotency to address the problem.  Does this reveal a problem requiring real change?  Only those pesky WCPA people seemed to think so. The sovereign nations, confronted with the pending extinction of humankind through climate destruction, refuse to make the necessary political and economic changes to save mankind. Should this system also be called MAD?  Only those endlessly disturbing WCPA people seemed to think so.

Human rights are violated worldwide by the Lords of the Earth. These facts are widely known and documented. Nations calling themselves “democracies,” where slavery is freedom, are no exception: torture, political assassinations, bombings, false flag operations, super exploitation, lack of housing, healthcare, or education for citizens, human trafficking, bioweapons research. No problem. Those annoying WCPA people think this is unacceptable.

They even think that there are “third generation” human rights to world peace and a protected planetary environment. How bizarre is this? They claim that peace and a protected environment are universal human rights![15] What national governments might be responsible for violating these third generation rights?  They answer: every single one of them. No sovereign nation can create world peace, protect the planetary environment, or defend the common good of human beings. By their very claim to sovereign independence, they are violating our rights to peace and a protected planetary environment. They are all illegitimate.

The Lords of the Earth have to go, with their militarized absolute borders, endless wars, economic greed, environmental destruction, threat of Armageddon, and domination of the rich over the poor in every nation. Oh, those pesky WCPA people!  They only make the problem worse.  We cannot just demand that the Lords end their nuclear Armageddon and bioterror war systems.  They will be insulted and angry with us.  We cannot just demand that they convert to sustainable economics and globalized democratic politics. They will call us utopians and unrealistic.

What is realistic is that we go slow, that we continue the Armageddon system and hope (against the odds) that they don’t blow us all up. What is realistic that we find “business friendly” ways of converting to sustainability, and hope (against hope) that runaway planetary heating does not continue spinning out of control and burn us all to hell.  What is realistic is not to question the sacred notion of national sovereignty because that is the very essence of the profound truth of democracy that slavery is freedom. What is realistic is not to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.

Those vexing WCPA people question these realistic truths. They make the absurd claim that democracy is universal, that it can only be universal and global. They make the absurd claim that the people of Earth are sovereign, and that the only legitimate government is government that represents the common good of the people of Earth.[16]  Only democratic world government, they say, can represent the legitimate sovereignty of the people of Earth and the common good.  Only democratic world government can protect the universal human rights to peace and a sustainable planetary ecosystem.

Are those bothersome WCPA people just crazy?  We forward looking world citizens know that realistically we cannot call the system of militarized sovereign nation-states for what it is, for that would offend the Lords of the Earth who need to stay with their MAD system of nuclear and bioterror weapons and their MAD system of environmental destruction in the face of nation-state rivalry and war-making.

If we point out that we need to replace the UN Charter with the Constitution for the Federation of Earth (while bringing all UN agencies into the world government) in order to protect the survival of the human species, they will say it is unrealistic. We need to stay with the nuclear and bioterror MAD and with the environmental destruction MAD for these are the only realistic courses of action.  Not to offend the Lords, with their immense riches funneled through their war and security systems.  Not to threaten their wealth and power if we want to make progress into the future.

The climate scientists tell us we have 10 years left at maximum.  The nuclear and bioterror warfare scholars tell us the likelihood of Armageddon in the next 10 years is not small. But we world federalists assure the Lords of the Earth that “We do not mean world government… We only want to promote a bit more of harmless global governance.”  But those irritating WCPA people just refuse to cooperate. Who are they to claim that we future-thinking people really want to return the world to MAD after the coronavirus subsides?

Notes and Bibliography

[1]  From Italy during its virus crisis: “The whole world says it’s a war. And for the first time in history it seems to be everyone against everyone, without any alliances. Each nation thinks for itself, using every means to guarantee the winning weapons against the virus: swabs, masks, respirators. So the United States managed to buy in Brescia half a million kits to detect the infection. And they shipped them to Memphis in a military aircraft…. In these hours, there are world auctions to buy even rising stock of masks and respirators at increasing prices: an economic challenge, in which the strongest wins. Like in war. But waged without any alliances.”

http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/international-relations/us-scarfs-up-supplies-urgently-needed-in-epidemic-stricken-italy

[2]  Christopher Chase-Dunn, Global Formation: Structures of World-Economy. New York: Roman & Littlefield, 1998.

James Petras, Global Depression and Regional Wars, Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2009.

Michel Chossudovsky, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century. Montreal: Global Research, 2010.

[3] “We are not proposing movement toward world government for were we to travel in that direction we could find ourselves in an even less democratic world than we have.”  Our Global Neighborhood: Report of the Commission on Global Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995, p. xvi.

“World government…. This notion is both politically impossible and practically unworkable.”  Al Gore, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit. New York: Plume Books, 1993, p. 301.

Philip Isely, founder of WCPA, writes that those who minimize or ignore world government will “mislead the people and the governments of the world into more years of aimless wanderings in a foggy and extremely hazardous wilderness of avoiding the required practical measures to cope genuinely with world problems.” In Harris and Yunker, eds., Toward Genuine Global Governance: Critical Reaction so “Our Global Neighborhood,” Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1999, p. 105.

[4]  The Secretary-General’s speech:  https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sgsm20032.doc.htm

[5]  Joseph Romm, Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. 

James Gustave Speth: The Bridge at the End of the World: Capitalism, The Environment, and Crossing the Bridge from Crisis to Sustainability. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. 

David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. New York: Duggan Books, 2019.

[6] Doomsday Clock: https://thebulletin.org/2020/04/covid-19-and-the-doomsday-clock-observations-on-managing-global-risk/

[7] Errol E. Harris, Earth Federation Now: Tomorrow is Too Late. Second Edition. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press, 2014, Chapter 4: “Sovereignty and Power Politics.”

       Emery Reves, The Anatomy of Peace. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946.

[8]   Glen T. Martin, Assent to Freedom: Philosophical and Practical Foundations of Democratic World Law, 2008, Chapter 5.

[9]  “Capitalism is an extremist ideology that advances the concentration and rights of ownership without limit, to the exclusion of the needs and rights of the many who own virtually nothing.” David Korton, When Corporations Rule the World. San Francisco: Kumarian Press, 1995, p. 9.

Terry Boswell and Christopher Chase-Dunn, The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism: Toward Global Democracy. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000.

[10]  See Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies. Boston: South End Press, 1989. 

Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda. New York: Seven Stories Press, 1991.

Helen Caldicott, If You Love this Planet, W.W. Norton & Co, 1992, Chapter 8: “The Manufacture of Consent.”

[11] Karl Marx, Das Kapital. Volume 3. Trans. David Fernbach. New York: Penguin Classics, 1981. Marx writes:

 “The same justification would apply to slavery, since for the slave owner who has paid cash for his slaves, the product of their labor simply represents the interest on the capital invested in their purchase.” (p. 762). Also: “From the standpoint of a higher socio-economic formation, the private property of particular individuals in the earth will appear just as absurd as the private property of one man over other men. Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the earth.” (p. 911).

[12] Noam Chomsky, Year 501: The Conquest Continues. Boston: South End Press, 1993.

       Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic. New York: Henry Holt, 2004.

[13] Glen T. Martin, Constitution for the Federation of Earth. With Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press, 2010, Chapter 1.

[14] Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2017.  

John Cirincione, Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the world Before it is Too Late. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.

[15]  See Raymond Wacks, Law: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 149-50.

        See also the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, Articles 1 and 13.

[16]  See Constitution for the Federation of Earth, Article 2.  The Constitution is on-line in many places such as  www.earth-constitution.org.  

Planetary Noncooperation with Evil Is Our Duty

Glen T. Martin

Venice, Italy, January 2020, on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi

“Noncooperation with Evil is a Duty”

Mahatma Gandhi

These words of Mahatma Gandhi bring out the revolutionary Truth of our human situation.  Today they grow ever more compelling as we watch our planetary environment disintegrate everywhere into droughts, wildfires, water shortages, superstorms, floods, and relentless, stifling heat waves (Wallace-Wells 2019; Romm 2018).  These words of Mahatma Gandhi grow ever more compelling as the Lords of Death and Destruction dedicate yet another trillion US Dollars to upgrading nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. This paper argues that true noncooperation with evil requires action in support of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

Some groups are beginning to realize the absolute imperative for revolutionary transformation of our broken and anti-life planetary systems.  One group calls itself “Extinction Rebellion.”  Without massive rebellion against the systems of evil that are destroying our planet and our future, there will soon be simply no planet and no future. Yet rebellion without a concrete vision of what must replace the system of evil is hardly sufficient. You cannot effectively resist evil without concretely understanding the good, the ideal, what should be there in place of evil. Like Gandhi, we capitalize the word “Truth” because it names our fundamental human and cosmic reality.

Mahatma Gandhi was a revolutionary who envisioned total transformation of life on Earth, a transformation from violence to nonviolence, from evil to good, from hate, fear, greed, exploitation, and domination to love, justice, freedom, and Truth. Swaraj or liberation was to include all aspects of life, from economics to politics to world order (see Jesudasan 1984). Similarly, Martin Luther King Jr. declared “I have a dream.”  Without a dream of total transformation of our broken humanity and this evil world system we can do nothing. We cannot be “evolutionaries” working within the system to slowly change things but must be “revolutionaries” acting on a credible vision of total transformation of our partitioned, fragmented, anti-life world system. Today, Swami Agnivesh in India is one such revolutionary (see Agnivesh 2015).

Yet our duty is not simply to be followers of Gandhi or King or Agnivesh. It is not to adopt their vision or their dream. Our duty in Gandhi’s formulation is satyagraha, clinging to Truth, acting on Truth, living according to the gigantic Truth at the heart of our cosmic and human situation. We must see for ourselves the evil nature of the world system and discern clearly the requirements of goodness, nonviolence, and justice. This requires self-actualization, self-realization. Each of us can realize the divine Truth within as we grow out of immature egoism and self-centeredness toward worldcentric and cosmocentric forms of consciousness (see Wilber 2007).

The vision of good transforming the immense evil of our present world system arises within each of us as we discern our common humanity and the oneness of our human project. We must see for ourselves the absolute need for love, justice, compassion, and Truth to replace, hate, injustice, hardness of heart and ignorance.  We do not follow Gandhi or King.  We embrace the Truth of our cosmic and human situation.

Here in Venice the streets are filled with people on holiday from all over the world, families, couples, visiting groups—tourists all. They walk the streets, alleys, and bridges, and ride the canals, laughing and conversing, sitting in endless restaurants or gaping into the brightly lit shop windows of this consumer paradise. They appear oblivious. Some may worry that Venice is sinking beneath the sea as waters continue to rise and ever more frequent floods begin to envelop the precious Medieval and Renaissance heritage that this city represents. 

Yet none appear to realize that our entire planet is suffocating under evil institutions destroying the future of everyone—every man, woman, child, and living creature. The evil institutions comprising the militarized sovereign nations around the world that these tourists call home is so “normal” to them, so much in the unspoken background of everyday life, that they do not question it. Their ignorance is part of this evil system. Ignorance is indeed evil, but we must repudiate the evil itself, the ignorance itself, not the persons who are lost within this planetary criminal matrix of deceptions, lies, and propaganda.

Likewise, the correlative evil institution of a global economic system that has empowered them to have money for travel and tourism at the expense of the world’s billions of poor living in wretched hunger and scarcity again lies in the background of their consciousness, so pervasive as to be invisible, like the air we breathe. Their ignorance is palpable was they tend their credit cards or pay out their Euros to shops and restaurants in this mecca of global tourism and consumerism.

Mahatma Gandhi’s thought today is pigeonholed and marginalized. It has been truncated into a mere resistance against British colonialism in India. Few realize that he saw the world system itself as intrinsically evil. He demanded a total revolutionary transformation of our ways of living on the Earth predicated on Truth. He demanded that we live from the gigantic Truth of our universal common humanity, from the gigantic Truth of our precious planet Earth that sustains and embraces us, and from the gigantic Truth of God becoming ever more self-aware within our human reality.

Gandhi declared that the modern nation-state was “violence in a concentrated and compacted form” and that, under the capitalist system, “the few ride on the backs of the millions.” He lived through the two world wars in which these evil systems expressed their true anti-life imperatives, wiping out tens of millions of persons and destroying the planet that sustains us with bombs, explosives, chemicals, and poisons. Gandhi called not only for grassroots economic independence for the masses but also for a World Parliament above the nations, predicated not only on ending war but on removing poverty, misery and exploitation from the entire Earth (see Kripalani, ed. 1972; Hudgens 1986; Martin 2017).

The great Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism generally spoke of “knowledge versus ignorance,” rather than good and evil.  The great Western religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam generally spoke of “good and evil,” rather than knowledge and ignorance. Gandhi was influenced by both traditions. He was deeply influenced by the Christian Gospels, Leo Tolstoy, and John Ruskin as well as the readings from the Quran in his own Hindu temple when he was a boy. He rightly saw the confluence of these two traditions and declared that all the religions come from the same source (see Iyer 1973).

Noncooperation with evil is a duty, and the economic and political institutions that dominate our planet are evil. Evil is what destroys life and the future, whether from ignorance or malice or both. The system of militarized sovereign nation-states, fragmenting our common human project into some 193 competing national projects with their absolute borders, secrecy, manipulations, bombs, warplanes, ships, and missiles, is evil and anti-life. It destroys our ability to live in peace with one another as well as our ability to respond to the climate crisis. It results in an immense militarism that pours some 1.5 trillion US dollars down the global toilet annually while the poor languish in hunger and the climate that sustains us rapidly disintegrates.

The global capitalist economic system is evil. It is predicated on endless growth on a finite planet, an omnicidal quest of the unredeemed human ego. It is predicated in creating money as debt, to sinking humanity into endless indebtedness to the one percent (the banking-corporate elite) with their minions and academic enablers in the top twenty percent, and enslaving the bottom eighty percent to endless scarcity, economic desperation, lethal competition, and financial liability. It is a system designed for the domination by the rich and the elite, the few, who ride on the backs of the honest labor of the rest of humanity (see Martin 2010b, Part Two).

It is a system that promotes the lucrative military destruction of people and our planet, an industrial military complex that reaps trillions in profits from its institutionalized order of death and destruction. It is a system that promotes fragmentation and collapse of the planetary environment, pumping out endless fossil fuels and limitlessly devouring the finite resources of the planet that sustains our life. Capitalism, like the militarized sovereign nation-states, is intrinsically evil.  We need a revolutionary transformation of our world system predicated on life rather than death.

How is it possible not to cooperate with these gigantic planetary institutions that have so colonized our thinking and our world processes that they are everywhere and nowhere, like the air we breathe? The militarized sovereign nation-states force us to pay taxes to support their military death machines and their “national security” insanities.  They force us to use their debt-based monetary systems. If we spend some of our money organizing meetings and educational events to resist their evil system, they make a profit from our action. How do we cling to Truth when the untruth controls the media, the banking, the governments, and the very infrastructure of our lives?

The answer lies in the dream, in the vision of Truth that lies within every human heart and cannot be killed by their evil institutions. The dream of transformation and redemption is always there (see Martin 2018). Yet the dream must be made concrete. It must tell us how to transform evil into good, how to transform the world system from a broken and fragmented nightmare of injustice and untruth to one of justice, Truth, and sustainability.  That concrete vision is available to humanity in the form of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth (see Martin 2010a).

The Earth Constitution is predicated on the gigantic Truth of our common human situation. It is founded upon the unity in diversity of human civilization. It is founded on the absolute imperative to organize our planetary system premised on the common good of all. The “broad functions” of the Earth Federation government specified in Article One articulate the premises of this common good: ending war and disarming the nations, protecting universal human rights, ending poverty and “diminishing social differences,” and protecting the ecological fabric of the Earth to make the planet “a safe and happy home” for all.

The system of sovereign nation-states interfaced with the global debt-based economic system is centuries old, (some three to four hundred years old). It developed long ago when the Truth of our common humanity living together with fragile planetary ecosystem were entirely unknown. These developed within an age of slavery, colonialism, discrimination, and inequality. These developed long before the idea of universal human rights, planetary justice, or comprehension of our global, holistic ecosystem. The vast momentum of these interfaced institutions has colonized every corner of our world and today threatens to destroy our entire human project and the life support of nature’s other living creatures.  Their evil and ignorance are palpable.

The duty of noncooperation with evil is most effectively achieved by advocating ratification of the Earth Constitution in thought, word, and deed.  Article 19 of the Constitution demands that we begin the World Government here and now in its provisional, pre-ratification form.  We can act now to create it though establishing provisional world ministries, a provisional world judicial system, a provisional world parliament, and worldwide programs for global grassroots empowerment for sustainability and justice. 

We have little choice to avoid living within the framework of the evil system of militarized sovereign nations with its corresponding corrupt monetary system of exploitation, debt, and scarcity. But the Lords of the Earth cannot stop us from dreaming, from speaking out for gigantic Truth of our common humanity, our common planetary ecosystem, and our common human destiny of love, justice, compassion, and freedom. By spreading awareness of the Earth Constitution as an institutionalization of gigantic Truth, of satyagraha, we are actualizing our noncooperation with evil. 

By making no concessions to their so-called pragmatic, practical, reality of “evolving toward the good,” we resist the evil and declare it for what it is. Their evil propaganda system also claims to honor the good. But we must go slow, they tell us, we must evolve the good patiently and incrementally. Their lies and deceit pollute even the vision of the good.

We cannot “evolve” toward the good. Those days and that possibility are over.  Our future on this planet is in imminent danger and we can no longer compromise with the corruption and ignorance that are destroying that future. We need revolutionary transformation of our broken world system through ratification and activation of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

The Constitution does not give us a set of empty ideals about loving one another and our planet with no concrete way to make this a reality. It is not an Earth Charter or an unenforceable set of UN system ideals. Rather, it gives us a blueprint on how we can transform the system that now blocks and derails love, compassion, justice, and Truth. The Earth Constitution provides a nonviolent revolutionary manual for human liberation. It explicitly incorporates all viable UN agencies into its framework.

We must study it, promote it, organize around it, and speak from its premises in everything we say, think, or do. Noncooperation with evil is a duty.  We fulfill that duty by living from the premises of a transformed future. We begin living from the framework of valid law provided by the Earth Constitution and recognizing that no government of any sovereign nation is any longer legitimate. 

A legitimate government serves the common good of its citizens, but today no government can any longer do that because the common good is planetary, not national. No national government can protect the environment of its citizens or their universal human right to peace with justice. Only democratic world government under the Earth Constitution can do this (see Harris 2008, Chapter 8). National governments can regain their legitimacy only insofar as they unite under the Earth Constitution, thereby becoming participants in actualizing the common good for humanity and future generations.

Our absolute duty is noncooperation with the evil world system of militarized sovereign states interfaced with their global economic system of exploitation, debt, and misery. This noncooperation requires a vision of a transformed world system under the Earth Constitution.  This vision can be actualized here and now as we establish the agencies and institutions called for by the Constitution. The most effective from of noncooperation with evil is dedication to ratification and implementation of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. We must act now. Tomorrow will simply be too late.

Works Cited

Agnivesh, Swami (2016). Practical Spirituality: A Spiritual Vision for the Dialogue of Religions. New York: Harper Element Books.

Harris, Errol E. (2008). Twenty-first Century Democratic Renaissance: From Plato to Neoliberalism to Planetary Democracy. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Hudgens, Tom A. (1986). Let’s Abolish War. Denver: BILR Corporation.

Iyer, Raghavan N. (1973). The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi. New York: Oxford University Press.

Jesudasan, S.J., Ignatius (1984). A Gandhian Theology of Liberation.  Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Kripalani, Krishna, ed. (1972). All Men are Brothers: Life and Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi as Told in His Own Words, New York: World Without War Publications.

Martin, Glen T. (2010a). Constitution for the Federation of Earth with Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press. The Constitution can also be found in an inexpensive pocket edition and on-line at www.earth-constitution.org and many other locations.

Martin, Glen T. (2010b).  Triumph of Civilization: Democracy, Nonviolence, and the Piloting of Spaceship Earth by Glen T. Martin, Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2017). “Gandhi’s Satyagraha and the Earth Constitution” in Examining Global Peacemaking in the Digital Age: A Research Handbook, Bruce L. Cook, Editor, published by IGI Global, pp. 361-371.

Martin, Glen T. (2018). Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence: The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

Joseph Romm (2018). Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know. Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

David Wallace-Wells (2019). The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. New York: Tim Duggan Books.

Wilber, Ken. 2007. Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World. Boston:Integral Books.