Three Reasons Why it Is Immoral to Serve in the Military of Any Country

Three Reasons Why it Is Immoral to Serve in the Military of Any Country

Glen T. Martin

President, World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA)

www.earth-consitution.org

The first reason why it is immoral to serve in any military is based on our moral freedom as human beings. Our sense of ethical obligation, our capacity to do what is morally right and not merely live according to our desires, is the source of our dignity as human beings. Since this is what justifies our lives and gives us our innate value as human beings, it is vital for each of us as individual persons to pay careful attention to the quality and implications of our actions (see Martin 2018, Chap. 2).

A free, moral human being is personally responsible for his or her actions. This capacity for moral integrity the glory and crown of human existence. Our worth derives not from wealth or power or fame, but from our moral autonomy and dignity as persons.

The idea of human rights in such documents as the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights derives from this dignity. Animals don’t have rights except insofar as human beings give these to them, or at least have compassion for them. They can be bought, sold, or used for human purposes. Only a human being cannot be bought, sold, or used by other human beings because of our innate dignity, our human rights. Only a human being, and no other animal that we know of, has the innate dignity of rights that derive directly from the fact that we are free, self-aware, moral agents.

One 20th century thinker wrote a book entitled Moral Man, Immoral Society, pointing out that people are often corrupted when they are part of institutions that pressure them to act in ways they might not choose to act as individuals. However, in a free society, individuals usually have a choice about whether to follow “immoral institutions” and can maintain at least some of their moral integrity. They can quit their job and get another job if their employer expects them to do something immoral. If their community insists they participate in a lynching, they can refuse, and perhaps move to another community. If their church wants them to hate and fear those who are different, they can join another church.

They can do this because they have enough moral autonomy to want to preserve their moral integrity and dignity as human beings. Any relatively free society makes possible this moral autonomy in its citizens, even though such integrity may often require great courage and personal sacrifice. However, there is one institution in nearly every society that systematically works to obliterate this moral autonomy in its members. It systematically works to substitute in the minds of its victims a sense of participating in an illusory and immoral substitute for true moral integrity and dignity. In place of the sense of moral integrity and individual human dignity, this institution forcibly substitutes the illusory dignity, pride, or glory of the nation-state. This institution is the military.

No military organization could operate if it respected human moral autonomy, that is, the capacity of individuals to take full responsibility for their actions. In spite of the lip service sometimes paid to the principles of moral responsibility formulated in the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals after the Second World War, military training must seek to destroy moral autonomy in those subjected to it. At Nuremburg, the victorious powers in the war put some of the Nazi leaders on trial for committing crimes such as genocide.

The Nazis defended themselves by saying that they were just obeying the laws of their own society and the orders of their military commanders or the commander in chief. The prosecution held that every human being is personally morally responsible for his for her actions and that these Nazis should have disobeyed the law and their military commanders. Yet this disobedience would have required immense personal sacrifice (they would probably have been shot for disobeying orders) and would require them to go against their entire society and its military training to always obey orders no matter what.

In all military training anywhere in the world, the constantly repeated, overwhelming message is unquestioning obedience to orders, no matter what these orders are. Recruits are forced to do agonizing exercises or other absurd tasks to ensure that they will obey any order no matter what. Once inducted into the military, there is no quitting, no looking for another job, no moving to another community, or joining another institution. Serious punishments, such as long prison terms at hard labor or execution by firing squad, are meted out to those who insist on their right to quit or refuse to obey an order. Once in the military, there is no discussion of the rightness or wrongness of actions, just blind obedience and absolute, unquestioning submission to authority.

This means that people are “trained,” forced under extreme pressure, to give up their moral autonomy and substitute the false dignity of the state and the military. The substitute values are forced upon recruits under such slogans as loyalty to one’s fighting unit, courage, honor, discipline, defending the values of the state, etc. But to give up one’s moral autonomy is to give up one’s dignity as a human being. It is to become, in effect, a robot, a human machine at the disposal of the will of others. To be trained to obey orders no matter what (the very essence of military training), is to be trained to debase one’s very humanity, the essence of which is one’s capacity for moral autonomy and integrity.

The nation-state can never have genuine dignity, for dignity derives from the moral freedom of human beings only. The state attempts to exalt itself through the idolatry of flags, national anthems, worship of leaders, or symbols of collective power and glory, but in the end every state is solely made up of human beings and whatever dignity it may have derives only from their individual human dignity. That is why the institutionalized promotion of freedom, democracy, and equality define the only legitimate form of government (see Martin 2010, Chaps. 7-10).

For the dignity of the state is proportional to the moral autonomy and integrity of its individual citizens. If the citizens are free (and hence their capacity for moral autonomy is promoted by the state), then the state derives whatever legitimate dignity it may have from that freedom. Just as with individual persons, wealth, power, or fame do not give dignity, only the free capacity to do what we believe is right regardless of desires, social pressure, or institutional demands.

Every military attempts to submerge the sense of dignity that its members innately have (that is awareness that they are free, moral beings) into the false dignity of its collective noble aims and ideals. “We are citizens of this great country.” “We stand for freedom and democracy in the world.” “We are fighting terror and evil.” “We defend our homeland against all enemies.” “We defend human rights and justice.”

However, it is an explicit contradiction for a military to claim it upholds ideals such as these at the same time that it attempts to destroy the moral autonomy of its members. Military trainees must be made to kill whomever their commanders say to kill. They must be willing to destroy the homes and factories and livelihoods of whomever their commanders designate. They must be willing to use weapons of mass destruction if their commanders so order.

This is why even militaries that are authentically founded in the above named ideals are inevitably perverted. An organization whose members who have had their moral autonomy destroyed is an immoral organization from the very beginning. It cannot be expected to care about noble ideals or human dignity. For military training is based on the very denial of these in military personnel.

Members of military organizations cannot be allowed to question strategy or tactics or individual commands that they are given. To questions any of these (as rational, moral agents always should) would be to destroy their imposed function of acting as robots in a command structure who have given over their moral autonomy to the military machine designed for killing and destroying. It would also destroy the inevitable secrecy that attends to all military planning and action. Soldiers must give up their dignity as human beings for the false dignity imposed by the military machine. Our moral dignity is something real and concrete and must not be sacrificed in the name of some vague ideals of the nation-state claiming that some noble end (e.g. defending freedom) justifies the means we are now using. There are some means that are not justified by any end.

A second decisive reason why no one should serve in the military of any country derives from the all-important distinction between the police and military. To be a member of a police force under the rule of law in a democratic country can be a noble and respectable form of employment. To be a member of a military machine, as we have seen, is neither noble nor morally respectable (see ibid. Chap. 9.2).

Police operating under democratically legislated laws serve the people by protecting them, enforcing legitimate laws, and promoting the common good. In a democracy, police always have civilian oversight. They are carefully and legally restricted in their ability to use force. They are required by law to use the minimum force necessary to apprehend those for whom and independent warrant has been issued and must accord such persons their due-process rights. Police are required to do everything reasonably possible to avoid harm to innocent bystanders and those present who are not named in the warrant. Their function (to uphold the laws using the minimum of force necessary to do so) is vital to a free and law-abiding society.

They police can remain morally autonomous as individuals and still serve effectively as police officers. If given an order by their commanders that violates their conscience or integrity, officers can challenge the order within the police department itself. They may also challenge the order by taking the matter to the civilian review board. Or they may ask for a transfer within the police department. They may resign from their job without the fear of being shot or imprisoned for years at hard labor. The argument here is not that the use of reasonable police force is never justified in human affairs. It is that the use of force to maintain order and freedom in a democratic society can be justified only if those empowered to use force are able to maintain their moral autonomy and integrity as human beings.

None of these features of police work obtain in military service. Since military organizations normally exist to perform certain functions within the international system of sovereign nation-states, they operate in an international environment where there are no democratically legislated laws circumscribing their behavior. What is commonly called “international law” is merely a treaty system among sovereign nations, broken at will by the parties to the treaty.

Secondly, there are no legal restrictions on the ability of a military to use force (international conventions like the Geneva conventions are not laws but voluntary agreements among sovereign states). Since war is the systematic attempt to cause suffering to an enemy to the point where the enemy surrenders, the use of tremendous force and violence is built into the system. Military forces do not serve people in general by protecting them for the common good. Rather they serve a certain group (their nation) at the expense of all other peoples and nations.

They may claim some noble ideal of serving “freedom,” but to destroy the homes and factories and lives of some enemy not included in this “freedom” is to act outside of the rule of law and all possibility of a democratically legislated freedom. The good of those against whom they are commanded to use force is not part of the equation. Indeed, they must try to harm those against whom they are commanded to use force. And there is no question of those against whom they use force being “innocent” or “guilty,” since there is no due process whereby warrants are issued and evidence is assessed under democratic rules to determine innocence and guilt. The civilian and military commanders act as police, judge, jury, and executioners all in one, the very antithesis of democracy.

In addition there is no genuine democratic civilian oversight of the military because the very nature of militarism requires immense secrecy: secret planning, secret strategies, secret development of weapons, secret maneuvers and tactics. A military is an organization of blind robots in the service of a few commanders or politicians operating in secret within the vacuum of international affairs where there is no law, no democracy, no real option to perform a legitimate police function. Victims of military actions need not be accorded any due process rights. They have no legal grounds to sue for damages. Their human rights need not be respected. They are either targeted as an official enemy (without due process) by the secret elite controlling the military (for example by a President or a National Security Council) or they are mere “collateral damage” for whom no one is legally responsible.

Military action is action to destroy, kill, or defeat in a lawless world. To be a member of a military organization is to have given up one’s moral autonomy and integrity to kill or destroy in a lawless world. This is never justifiable. We have an absolute moral duty never to serve in any military.

The so-called “argument from self-defense” is not valid. Individuals (who are moral decision-makers under the rule of democratically legislated laws) do have the right to use force in the defense of their persons, property, or family under certain very limited circumstances. When we live under the rule of law, disputes and conflicts must be handled by the due-process of law whenever possible. If I am under threat from my neighbor, I must call the police. I may only use force in self-defense if I am able to justify the immediacy of this need before an impartial court of law. Otherwise, I am liable to be convicted of a crime myself. Only under these circumstances, can I legitimately engage in self-defense as a morally autonomous human being (see Martin 2018, Chap. 8.5).

None of this obtains in military service under the system of nation-states. There are no democratically legislated world laws that determine individual rights to self-defense under certain circumstances. Each nation decides for itself what is self-defense in a lawless world without democracy or the enforceable rule of law.

As an individual, as we have seen, I can morally engage in the use of force in self-defense under certain circumstances. As a member of a military organization, I cannot. Militaries decide to use the self-defense argument whenever the political leaders of the nation believe it is in the national interest. There is no objective court or rule of law with binding authority over individuals to determine the moral or legal legitimacy of these decisions.

If, as an individual under the rule of law, I decide those in the next community are out to get me, how am I to behave? I believe I see them preparing the weapons or logistics to attack me and destroy me and my family. If I take a machine gun and wipe out the entire community using a self-defense argument, an impartial court of law will hold me accountable and guilty. However, individual members of a military organization are not even party to such “self-defense” decisions. I am a robot commanded to obey orders no matter what. Hence, any action I take involving force or logistical support for those using force (which includes all military jobs) is not morally justifiable under the “self-defense” argument.

Does the self-defense argument work for the decision makers? If I am a political or military decision-maker for the military machine, and I decide to attack some perceived enemy using this same self-defense argument, there is no democratic world-law to hold me legally accountable. Hence, my “self-defense” argument is invalid. There is no way to distinguish the use of force in “self-defense” from the use of force in my self-interest. I have simply acted as police, judge, jury, and executioner all in one. In a lawless world, my moral duty is not to defend myself against all perceived enemies by settling down with military force within the barbarism and chaos, but to create the rule of enforceable law. Only under the rule of democratically legislated law is the self-defense argument cogent or valid.

A third decisive reason for not serving in the military of any nation is because all militaries are inherently terroristic. In other words, there is no essential difference between terrorism as engaged in by non-governmental groups and the kind of force and violence engaged in by military organizations of nation-states (see Martin 2016, Chap. 5).

Since terrorism has become such a well-known political and moral issue in the past few decades, this fact has emerged repeatedly in the literature. Scholars commonly speak of “state-terrorism” (when nations use direct military force out of self-interest) or “state-sponsored terrorism” (when nations sponsor terrorist organizations to promote their perceived self-interest). State forms of terrorism, as is often pointed out, are many more times as vicious and destructive as terrorism by non-governmental groups since military organizations have such vast resources for violence and destruction at their command.

Naturally, individuals within military forces are not allowed to decide between state-terrorist actions and some idea they may have of legitimate self-defense actions because they have given up their moral autonomy. However, we have already seen that the “self-defense” argument itself fails to justify military violence. There is no legitimate reason for the claim of the military that it operates in self-defense, for “self-defense” by definition is whatever actions a military decides to undertake. “Self-defense” becomes just another word for “self-interest” and the rule of might makes right.

The U.S. FBI definition of terrorism, issued in 1999, reads as follows: Terrorism is “the unlawful use of force or violence committed by a group or individual, who has some connection to a foreign power or whose activities transcend national boundaries, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance or political or social objectives.”

We can see that this definition applies to the militaries of nation-states as much as to non-governmental terrorist groups. Militaries are “international” in that they threaten the use of force between nations. Their actions are not lawful, since there is no world law to govern their actions. Third, their actions always use force or the threat of force to achieve political or social objectives. Even “defending the motherland” is the use of force or the threat of force with regard to all other nations to achieve the political/social goals of preserving this nation with its institutions, customs, etc.

Therefore, since we live in a world without democratically legislated laws over all peoples and nations, the very existence of any military satisfies this FBI definition of terrorism. A military organization is precisely the perpetual threat of force, outside the rule of law, to achieve political and social objectives. Morally autonomous persons do not use force or the threat of force to achieve political or social objectives. They use discussion, voting, writing, meetings, democratic organizational structures, and other non-violent means. Hence, to be a member of a military organization is to be part of a terrorist organization. This is absolutely, morally forbidden. No one and no organization has the right to use force or the threat of force to achieve their political or social objectives.

Each of the above three reasons why military service is morally wrong is decisive. Together they represent the foundations of a new world order and new level of human civilization. For under the present world order military service is accepted and acceptable, even lauded as patriotic or as service to one’s country. Few young people have the courage or moral autonomy that makes them capable of resisting this morally deadly form of employment. As long as there is a system of sovereign nation-states in a lawless world, there will be militarism with its vast violation of human dignity and moral integrity.

Implicit in the above arguments, however, is the moral demand for all human beings to live under the rule of democratically legislated and enforceable law. Only such law, applied equally to all human persons, can enhance as well as respect human dignity. These arguments show that there is a new level of human civilization on the horizon, for implicit in our moral capacity and human dignity is the demand for universal democratic laws over all persons and nations. In fact, at the dawn of the 21st century, the world is experiencing a global movement to create non-military democratic world government under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

World government under this constitution will move humanity to a new level of moral autonomy and growth. War and all forms of militarism are progressively and carefully outlawed by the Constitution. This is not just some idealistic formulation extraneous to world government under the Constitution. No world government can be democratic and founded on the principles of human rights and human dignity if it includes a military. This conclusion is a direct consequence of the above three arguments why military service is immoral. In a pacified and decent world economic and political system, no military would be necessary because due process of law would apply to all individuals on the planet, and not to abstract collective entities called “nation-states.” So-called international law both accepts and requires militarism.

The institutions of a free society encourage moral autonomy and responsibility in individual citizens. (They do not lay down the content of morality—what is specifically right or wrong—but institutionalize the form of morality, which is the free capacity of individuals to make moral choices.). They are legitimate to the extent that they do this.

Since all military service necessarily destroys individual moral autonomy, our obligation is to create a world free of military service. Insofar as any person pays taxes in any society that fund militarism, they are complicit in the destruction of the rule of law and autonomy in the world. They are complicit, as we have seen, in fostering state terrorism. Our obligation is to create real democratic law in the world enforced by police forces responsible to the common good of all human beings, for the rule of law can only be universal if it rises above militarism and terrorism.

Under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, all nations joining the Earth Federation will be required by law to progressively disarm and disband their militaries. All weapons of war are outlawed, from the manufacture, to the transport, to the sale or deployment of such weapons. Morally decent people do not engage in such activities. For the first time in the history of civilization, human moral autonomy will be respected by the laws of the Earth. For the first time in history, human dignity will be respected upon the Earth.

This can only happen through non-military democratic world government. We can all contribute to bringing about this new level of civilization, first, by refusing to serve in the military of any country (see Martin 2018, Prologue and Chap. 1). This is the first and absolutely crucial step—to see that it is wrong to give up our moral autonomy to any institution. The second step involves working for non-military democratic world government, for only in this way can governmental institutions serve the autonomy and dignity of all citizens. The only fully legitimate democracy is world democracy. Hence, our moral obligation as free citizens is to work to ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth  (www.earth-constitution.org).

 

References

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

Martin, Glen T. (2016). One World Renaissance: Holistic Planetary Transformation through a Global Social Contract, Appomattox, VA, Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

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

Global Ecofeminist Socialism and the Earth Constitution

Global Ecofeminist Socialism and the Earth Constitution

Glen T. Martin

In my 2018 book Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence, I describe the transformative potential that lies in the very structure of our common temporalized humanity. The book elaborates an understanding of the oneness of humanity with all of nature and the deeper sources of being, showing that the divine, the universe, and human existence form an emerging, evolving unity.

From the emergent evolutionary processes of the universe, which all contemporary sciences describe as holistic to their depths, human freedom emerges, making human beings, as Teilhard de Chardin declares, “the vanguard and leading shoot of evolution.”  My book describes the many ways in which love unites us and actualizes our unity as it embraces a wondrous diversity of genders, colors, cultures, and uniqueness of persons inhabiting our beautiful planet. Love, as Teilhard also proclaims, both unites and personalizes us.

My book also describes the many ways that the regime of capitalism has colonized the dimension of law, and with it the system of militarized sovereign nation-states, in order to fetishize private property and maximize its power to commodify the labor of human beings required for this planetary system of domination and exploitation. Capitalism not only institutionalizes a regime of perpetual growth, like a cancer, within a finite and delicately balanced planetary ecosystem, thereby inevitably leading to climate disaster. Capitalism is also patriarchal as a manifestation of the male drive to dominate the body of the female. Capital perverts and distorts the domain of law for the purpose of removing human beings from the global commons in which we all share equal rights to the life-support ecosystems of our precious planet. It converts the global commons to private property of the few and the labor-power of the non-owners to an exploitable commodity.

Capital privatizes the commons through the domination of private property and forces the workers of the Earth to labor as commodified agents of exchange value for the perpetual valorization of the wealth and power of the dominant ownership class. Just as patriarchy forces the women to serve as domestic servant for her boss, husband, or boyfriend, performing not only all the menial tasks at his request but making her body available for his pleasure and domination, so capitalism dominates all workers in the same manner, forcing them to perform the menial tasks of production while dominating their bodies in the service of maximizing exchange value for the owners.

For these reasons, the struggle for the liberation of the producers from slavery under capital has clear parallels with the struggle of women for liberation from the domination of patriarchy. The ideal of democratic socialism envisions all of humanity (the associated producers of the goods and services necessary for life and health) as freely joining in solidarity to take responsibility for the processes of production for the equitable benefit of all. Human productivity must no longer work for the benefit of the exploiters and dominators who own the means of production.  So too, the ideal of feminism appears to envision a common humanity in which the feminine principle within all of us fosters a loving, sharing, and embracing global community.

A feminist world-community of loving unity in diversity is necessarily a democratic socialist world community of common producers concerned with the embracing well-being of all. Today we understand that our planet is animated within a single biosphere, a complicated and intricate synchronicity of innumerable smaller ecosystems that make up the evolving, flourishing wholeness of our planetary ecological community.  Today we understand that economics must become a subset of ecology and that the production of the goods and services necessary for human life must integrate into the ecosystems that intricately make up and sustain the web of life on Earth.

The ecological insight dovetails with the socialist insight and the feminist insight. The future of our planet must become a democratic, global ecofeminist, ecosocialism or we will not have a future at all, since the regime of capital and patriarchy violate the ecological principles of life on Earth and inevitably destroy the life-support systems that make human life possible. Patriarchy, as with its economic manifestation in capitalism, triumphs through separation and exclusion. It requires incommensurable differences: women have a nature inferior to men; ruling classes have a nature superior to the peons who work for them; nation-states have absolute borders to protect the “private property” of their “national sovereignties,” excluding the aliens and foreigners.

Capitalism, patriarchy, and sovereign nation-states have colonized the principles of law to institutionalize their systems of domination, exploitation, and separation. However, the principles of law are themselves inherently democratic and universal. The principle of law manifests our common species being and is neither masculine nor feminine, neither socialist nor capitalist. No complex society can exist for long without laws that lay out the groundwork for people to freely interact and relate to one another in trust and mutual understanding. The law “completes” and institutionalizes our unity in diversity. The law can be a great liberator when not colonized by patriarchy, capital, or militarized nation-states. The law can enshrine universal human rights, provide due process protections for everyone, and empower a multiplicity of human activities.

The law can end exploitation and empower cooperative and communal forms of human association.  The law can ensure impartiality within the diverse processes and conflicts that inevitably arise within any complex society. The law can erase militarized borders, ensure demilitarization, and unite all human beings everywhere under a universal democratic world citizenship.

The law can dovetail with spiritual awakening to the fact that the world is one family, as declared by the Vedas (vasudhaiva kutumbakam). The law can make sure that everyone is on the same ecological page as we work to produce goods and services in harmony with our planetary biosphere from every different corner of our planet. If we are to survive the planetary Earth System collapse that is happening everywhere on our planet today, we must unite under the rule of democratic world law. As Ian Angus concludes in his book Facing the Antrhopocene:

Profit must be removed from all consideration; all changes must be made as part of a democratically created and legally binding global plan that governs both the conversion to renewables and the rapid elimination of industries and activities, such as arms production, advertising, and factory farming…. The world our children and grandchildren will inherit will be defined by the way our generation responds to the planetary emergency (p. 191).

Since the very idea of law implies everyone, that is, common rules and principles that apply to everyone equally, it has the potential for overcoming natural differences of strength or intelligence and establish a baseline for our common humanity and global interactions.  I have argued in One World Renaissance and elsewhere that the idea of universal law is inherent in our common humanity, as is the ideal of universal democratic socialism. This means that the feminist vision of a loving human community of unity in diversity is also central to our common humanity.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth (as I have argued in many books and articles over the past two decades) is a central and proper expression of our common humanity, for it lays the groundwork for human freedom from class oppression and patriarchy for the first time in history.  We, the free people of Earth, can now govern our planet democratically, which means restoring the global commons to its associated producers and empowering everyone to live sustainability on the Earth within a loving global community.

Human self-transcendence occurs when people unite in solidarity to actualize the universal human spirit of cooperative service and production within an embracing global community of unity in diversity.  Global democratic government in the form of the Earth Constitution in itself raises us toward self-transcendence, since it overcomes the capitalist and patriarchal separation of the world into absolute classes and militarized sovereign territories. Domination requires separation between sexes, races, nations, and classes. When we have united in solidarity, in true global democracy, the inherent liberating features of universal democratic law will lift us toward both socialism and the actualization of the feminine principle.

In these books (such as One World Renaissance and Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence), I have pointed out the democratic socialist features of the Earth Constitution. This Constitution makes possible the dynamics of a world lifted to global unity in diversity that will inevitably take us beyond the features of law as domination and potential tyranny to law as empowering the positive freedom of people whose higher human potential is now able to emerge in global ecofeminist democratic socialism.

The patriarchal-capitalist system has colonized the domain of law worldwide as an instrument of domination, exploitation, and gendered slavery. It has exacerbated a planetary climate crisis of lethal proportions. We will not be able to establish an effective global ecofeminist socialism unless we liberate the domain of law to the service of our common humanity and human liberation. For law is in essence a potentially liberating and positive feature of all complex societies and hence of our common humanity. It is neither inherently patriarchal, nor capitalist.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is the key to this liberation of law.  Liberation for all humanity cannot succeed within a fragmented system of militarized nation-states, itself a product of both capital and patriarchy, whose absolute borders foster the psychological, cultural, political, and military separation of our natural planetary human community. The Constitution unites humanity under a universal democratic principle of unity in diversity and reorients law to the service of the common good of all in harmony with our precious planetary biosphere.  Ratification of the Earth Constitution is inseparable from the process of human self-transcendence toward planetary ecofeminist democratic socialism.

 

Brief Bibliography

Agnivesh, Swami (2015). Applied Spirituality: A Spiritual Vision for the Dialogue of Religions.

Angus, Ian (2016). Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System.

Constitution for the Federation of Earth is on-line many places such as www.earth-constitution.org and www.worldparliament-gov.org.

Gable, Peter (2013). Another Way of Seeing: Essays on Transforming Law, Politics, and Culture.

Hansen, Karen and Ilene Philipson (1990). Women, Class, and the Feminist Imagination.

Kovel, Joel (2007). The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World.

Plant, Judith, ed. (1989). Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism.

Martin, Glen T. (2008). Ascent to Freedom: Practical and Philosophical Foundations of Democratic World Law.

Martin, Glen T. (2016). One World Renaissance: Holistic Planetary Transformation through a Global Social Contract.

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

System Change or Climate Change and No Third Possibility

System Change or Climate Change and No Third Possibility

Glen T. Martin

With economic globalization the regime of capital has gone to planetary proportions.  It has demanded new globalized institutions be developed to attempt to regulate and organize this monstrous system that creatively develops ever new methods of extracting surplus value from economic exchanges. These new transnational systems for regulating globalization include the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.  These organizations are managed by experts in this system of extracting private profit from economic exchanges.

That is, they are experts in instrumentally maximizing the perpetual growth of the global economic regime directed toward the private accumulation of wealth under the ideology that such perpetual growth includes a “hidden hand” that indirectly benefits the vast majority who are not the owners and accumulators of wealth. As such the experts who run the transnational organizations regulating and modulating global capital exchanges are specialists in the very thing that makes them incapable of understanding the fundamental ecological principles that govern evolution and life on the Earth.

The entire globalized economic system is directed toward the accumulation of private profit and not the ecological viability of the ecosphere of our planet that supports and promotes the flourishing of life. Ecological principles are the principles reflecting the integrated and interdependent wholeness of evolving living systems within the framework of the immutable laws of physics, chemistry, and material forms. Ecological principles study the amazing evolution of the life-system encompassing planet Earth (our biosphere) and the interlinked and interdependent networks of increasingly smaller ecosystems from the giant Amazon Basin down to the anerobic microbes living deep beneath the Earth’s mantle.

The globalized economic system of the planet has long since colonized all the sovereign nation-states of the world into its system of powerful center nations, semi-peripheral nations, and marginalized peripheral nations. The planetary economic system draws on the military and economic strength of the center nations to maintain the “order” of the globalized economically driven hierarchy.  The peripheral nations, deeply in debt to the banking monopolies within the imperial centers, are forced to accede to the private profit imperatives of capital through structural adjustment programs selling off their public assets, along with their cheap natural resources, to first world corporate interests. In this way they remain perpetually locked into the status of the vast impoverished majority that capitalism inevitably creates while maximizing extreme wealth and power for the few.

This entire system violates the ecological principles that must be adopted by humanity in the near future if there is to be a future at all for us and future generations. The nation states are colonized by the power of concentrated capital and have all become agents for the stability of the system. Even the impoverished countries, which no longer control their own economic destiny, have been colonized into supplying the military and police powers necessary to prevent their citizens from rebelling or from experimenting with more ecologically sound patterns of economic and political organization. The world system that now dominates our planet inextricably links the fragmented system of militarized sovereign nation-states with the gigantic power of transnational corporate capital and banking. The world system, integrated economically and politically into the sovereign nation-state system, necessarily functions to destroy the planetary ecosphere and radically diminish the life prospects of future generations.

This becomes crystal clear if we consider the fundamental and necessary requirements of sustainability. First, a sustainable world system would necessarily convert all energy sources to clean, renewable sources such as solar, water, and wind power. Under capitalism, the iron law of profit declares that only what is profitable can grow and flourish. Capitalism is based on the cancerous, anti-ecological principle of endless growth on a finite planet. The planet will not be converted to clean energy for survival and flourishing’s sake, nor for moral and ecological reasons. Clean energy can only spread if there is endless profit to be made from this, and this iron limitation, of course, spells doom for humanity, since ecological principles of delicate balance and interdependence fundamentally contradict the iron law of profit.

Second, within a sustainable world system all heat waste, trash waste, and externalities of production, transportation, consumption, and disposal would be reduced to an absolute minimum and anything not so reduced would have to be recycled, repaired, and maintained for as long as possible. Immediately we can see that this is not possible under capitalism, nor under the system of sovereign nation-states. The capitalist system driven exclusively by the quest for private profit, necessarily requires that waste and all non-profitable by-products of the economic cycle be externalized onto nature and society.

Bankers and businesses require national governments to subsidize their operations through providing food stamps, medical care, and other amenities to workers who are not paid enough to live a quality life without the help of the government.  Corporations are supplied by an endless army of massive trucks spewing greenhouse gasses into the environment as they deliver supplies and goods. The externality of these millions of tons of CO2 trashing the environment worldwide is not even counted among the costs of these enterprises. The cost of trucks, tires, maintenance, drivers, etc., entirely ignores the damage to the environment caused by the burning of fossil fuel everywhere within the global production system.  The requirement of the capitalist system (grow or die: increase profits or go under) functions in direct contradiction to the equilibrium principles of ecology and requires that all capitalist enterprises externalize their costs onto the environment and/or society in order to maximize profitability.

Third, under a sustainable global economic system, all production necessarily requires products that last for many years and are repairable, so that they do not need throwing out. We have the technical capacity to build houses, roads, and all other products that would last a lifetime, or many lifetimes. Yet the imperative for the endless generation of private profit requires that capital “produce for the dump.” Capitalism faces the overwhelming incentive to produce cheap, throwaway junk products, since it is only the endless resupply, along with the requirement of endless consumption of new products on the part of consumers, that keeps much of the profit system running. Ecological principles are in direct contradiction to this need for endless production and ever-expanding consumption. Ecological principles require that all growth be qualitative rather than quantitative.

Similarly with nation-states. Not only are sovereign nation-state governments today required to use their resources and governing power to facilitate capital accumulation, as “sovereign” nations they are also in competition with one another.  This requires an endless development of new military weapons and an endless upgrade and resupply of vast military organizations worldwide, none of which has the slightest concern with ecological principles since “national security” always trumps environmental concerns. In addition, the production of these trillions of dollars in bombs and weapons is the most environmentally destructive form of production, with immense amounts of toxic waste generated even before these hideous forms of production are used to kill and destroy. But the military-industrial complex is among the most successful forms of capitalist production for private profit and is at the very core of several national economics, such as that of the USA.

Again, we see that the world system of sovereign nations integrated with global capital is anti-ecological to its very core. There is no possibility of rescuing or restoring our planetary ecosystem (to the extent that this is still possible) under the present world system. We are, indeed, faced with the choice between system change and climate change with no third possibility.  What are our options and where might we go from in the light of this frightening and deplorable situation?

The only system that can address the ecocide inherent in the very structure of the capitalist-nation-state system is universal democratic ecosocialism. Democracy, properly understood, is inherently ecological because it accords rights and responsibilities to all persons who must cooperatively work together to actualize the common good of the community. Hence, democracy has the capacity to invigorate a community spirit that lives in harmony with nature. As the French revolutionary thinkers put it: “liberty, equality, and fraternity.”

“Positive freedom” is actualized when people work together for the common good, a common good that includes harmony with the ecosystems of the Earth. Equality is both a cause and a consequence of authentic democracy in which every person plays a unique role, just as happens within healthy ecosystems. It is inherently socialist not in the sense that everybody has the same but in the sense of fundamental and reasonable economic equality and cooperative management of the means of production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Finally, fraternity is another word for community: a common identity, set of rules, and vision that brings people together in solidarity. The entire Earth must become such an ecological community if we want a future for our children and grandchildren.

Such a world system of liberty, equality, and community cannot be actualized unless humanity joins together under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth (http://www.earth-constitution.org). This Constitution provides both the means and the vision for creating a global community on the Earth dedicated to democracy and ecological sustainability.  Under the system of sovereign militarized nation-states, defending absolute borders and struggling in economic competition with one another, such a planetary community is not possible. In the very act of uniting, humanity transcends militarism, absolute borders, and destructive competition, all of which are anti-ecological.

Planetary ecosocialism without the Earth Constitution is not possible. You cannot have portions of the world clinging to the destructive process of capital accumulation if we want a sustainable global economy. Neither can you have portions of the world clinging to the destructive process of militarism, which we have seen is inherently anti-ecological. Unless everyone is united in the conversion of the world to democratic ecosocialism through authentic planetary democracy, there is no chance that we will convert to true sustainability. Once, united, every person born will be a legal world citizen, and the common good of humanity and future generations will become crystal-clear common sense.

In addition to uniting humanity, we need the global government to provide comprehensive research, monitoring and guidance for ecologically sensitive economics and politics. The global government will also rest on the best and most comprehensive knowledge provided by science and human wisdom.  All the ecological systems of the planet fit together in intricate and often surprising ways, and every local human community will need this knowledge and access to a comprehensive vision so as to be able to coordinate with other local communities around the global for true democracy and sustainability.  The dynamic interface and interdependency of ecological systems worldwide (including the oceans, the atmosphere, and the polar regions) requires a centralized, democratically run, system of management and coordination.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth supplies all of these necessities for a sustainable Earth System. Besides uniting humanity under a planetary common good, it, first, makes all essential planetary resources the responsibility of the Earth Federation government to be cooperatively run through the agencies of the Integrative Complex and the World Parliament. Second, it institutes democratically run global public banking, along with debt-free money creation, thereby freeing all nations from their international debt and instituting a banking system predicated on investment for human and ecological needs rather than, as now, a global system of private banking directed to maximizing private profit.

Third, the Earth Constitution makes ecological sustainability of the Earth system both a right and a responsibility for every person on Earth. This effort is no longer a direct responsibility of nation-states, since a fragmented, dis-coordinated system of individual national entities, as now, who are expected to assume voluntary responsibility without consequences for failure, cannot possibly achieve the level of integration and coordination necessary for planetary sustainability. Fourth, the Earth Constitution progressively and rationally disarms the nations, ending world militarism, and redirecting the immense waste of money and ingenuity from the practice of destroying one another toward multiple practices of cooperating with one another to make our planet a decent home for all its citizens and future generations.

Fifth, the Earth Constitution establishes the World Service Authority in which tens of millions of persons from around the world can leave their former military, capitalist, or jobless lifestyles and join together in global projects for the replanting of forests, conversion to clean energy sources, and the restoration of the integrity of our oceans, land and air. Finally, the Earth Federation government will have immense resources dedicated to education and training for children and adults worldwide in the rationales for democracy, sustainability, peace, and justice. Through this global effort in the name of the democratically united people of Earth, the new generations will grow up thinking differently. They will be thinking in terms of ecological systems, economic cooperation, peaceful relationships, and global harmony.

Those who argue that such things must happen from the “grass roots up” only are naïve and mistaken. We must indeed empower the grass roots in all these principles, and local democracy including ecosocialism must be freely practiced everywhere. But this is not possible under a global anarchism without a central set of principles ensuring justice, peace, and sustainability everywhere on Earth. Top and bottom must meet one another in global harmony and mutual empowerment. Ratification of the Earth Constitution is the key to making this transition from the current failed and ecologically destructive system of capitalism and sovereign nation states to a system of global peace, justice, and sustainability. Our immediate task must be to get this message out to the people of Earth before it is too late.

 

Brief Bibliography

Angus, Ian (2016). Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System. Monthly Review Press.

Hazen, Robert M. (2013). The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years. Penguin Books.

Kovel, Joel (2008). The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World? Zed Books.

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

Prims, Nomi (2018). Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World. Nation Books.

Preface to Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence

Preface to Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence

Upendra Baxi
Emeritus Professor of Law
University of Warwick and Delhi
24 October 2017

This a powerfully summoning book that brings in the good news that we
may still overcome. It brings forth a new politics of hope, pitted against
the poetics of despair. Here is a new vision of the world where distress
of the Anthropocene is writ large and global impoverishment of politics is
legible to all. Professor Glen T. Martin summons us to think that
‘choosing life’ is still doable in the face of extinction posed by the
advancing Anthropocene. And one way to meet the challenge is
facilitated by the coordination, if not outright demise, of national
sovereignties and move expeditiously towards green global governance.
Among the universal contradictions of late capitalism, David Harvey
narrates the present hyperglobalzing/post-liberalization era as fostering
the condition universal and ‘multiple’ alienation. 1 This work addresses a
similar problem but is more roseate, in diverse bold ways in silhouetting
the possibility of a new global contract. Professor Martin shows that this
possibility is both a metaphysical moment as well as practical agenda for
a new world order: for Professor Martin, a new global vision is ‘is
absolutely central to the possibility of human survival and flourishing on
our beautiful planet Earth during the 21st century’. 2

1 David Harvey, Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, 198(2013).
2 In this, he comes close to John Rawls who changed his views from justice as a
metaphysical good to a political virtue. See John Rawls, ‘Justice as Fairness:
Political not Metaphysical’ Philosophy and Public Affairs, 14:3, 223-251 (1985);

2

Emphasizing that ‘old patterns of thinking are no longer sufficient’, Martin
believes that that we need to rethink in ‘creative and innovative ways
because today we face threats to human existence and a viable human
future from many directions’.
How do we think anew and afresh rather than recycle old, fatigued, and
unresponsive ways of thinking? Martin insists that we move away from
what he calls ‘egoistic’ (the ‘orientation of childhood and immature
adults’), ‘ethnocentric’ (thinking ‘largely limited to one’s own culture,
religion, or nation’) to ‘worldcentric’ thinking which helps develop
‘compassion, care, and universal rational principles applying to all
humanity’. The emphasis respects the coequal nature of sentimental
reason and emotional intelligence and universal principles of moral
reason. This feature gives an adequate significance to the terms ’holistic’
and ’integral’, so favourite of Martin.
The ‘integral’ is the fourth entailment which prescribes ‘developing
integrated cosmic awareness and understanding and harmonizing
masculine and feminine elements within the whole of one’s being’.
Arriving at a Worldcentric stage is ‘not an endpoint, but a profound
beginning of a perpetual journeying into ever-greater wonder,
awareness, harmony, and love’ where life ‘becomes a wondrous journey
into an ever-widening future, and the ‘utopian vision becomes ever more
clear’. The ‘worldcentric’ character of the new ways of thinking is the
only possible collective human response to the challenges posed by the
Anthropocene and geophysical crises besides global warming and
climate change.

Melissa S. Williams, ‘Justice toward Groups: Political Not Juridical’ Political Theory,
23:1 67-91, (1995).

3
The term ‘integral’ has several meanings. The sense in which Shri
Aurobindo and the Mother used it in expounding integral yoga is different
from the views of the philosopher Ken Wilber coined the term “Integral”
in a specific sense, meaning a very comprehensive standpoint on reality
that combines inner and outer perspectives on the individual and the
collective. For Wilber, whom Martin follows, all of reality is constantly
mobilizing an “It” dimension (the outer-individual), an “I” perspective (the
inner-individual), an “Its” perspective (the outer-collective) and a “We”
perspective (the inner-collective). Christian Arnsperger has applied it in
what he names ‘Full-Spectrum-Economics’, 3 which means in complete
plain words that ‘that ecological and social problems are like the two
sides of the same sheet of paper, with inequality linking them
indissolubly’. 4
In the vision of a new global future (and contract) love plays a prominent
part. That love is neither romantic not Platonic, much less what
Rousseau may have meant by what he termed ‘official love’. Rather,
writes Martin, love ‘can and should be a dimension of our knowing,
caring, and being, for through it human consciousness can manifest the
creative joy in simply being: knowing as ecstatic consciousness’. He
quotes Tagore: ‘Inspired by the breath of the universe, the heart, like a
reed sings’. Love is but another name for what Martin has elsewhere
termed ‘integrative mysticism’ – the dimensions that articulate ‘wonder,
… knowledge and understanding, join[ing] together what is separated,
and … the simple joy in living, a joy that is often at the same time an

3 Full Spectrum Economics Toward an Inclusive and Emancipatory Social Science’
(London, Routledge, 2010).
4 Christian Arnsperger and Dominique Berg, Ecologie intégrale: Pour une société
permacirculaire (translation: Integral Ecology: Toward a Perma-Circular Society), 12
(2016).

4
intuitive awareness’. Love is ‘fundamental to the process of continual
self-transcendence that characterizes human life and reflects our infinite
dignity’.
Love may take many forms. It ‘can take the form of desiring what
appears good and beautiful, or … of a relationship of respect and
concern among persons within a community (and a special bond with
some that can be called friendship)’, or further … the form of
compassion (literally to “suffer with”) for other persons or living
creatures’. Seeking to co-suffer with the hapless other betokens
‘something of this form of love’. But to ‘experience compassion for
another is not to have desire for them, and not even necessarily
friendship for them, it is to feel with them’, to share critical solidarity ‘to
the point where we feel with them: their pain, their anguish, their fear,
even their joy and happiness’. No better linkage between human rights
and love can be articulated.
The book in your hands demonstrates how an ‘effective global social
contract’ would not ‘only transform…anachronistic institutions that today
are the central threat to human survival on Earth’ but would advance
‘significantly a mature worldcentrism of universal reason, love, and
compassion impact’. This will happen because science shall be
‘liberated to promote human welfare and sustainability’, culture similarly
‘liberated to promote peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding’, and
human subjectivity liberated to ‘grow to a mature worldcentrism of
universal reason, love, and compassion’.
The book focuses the new vision through the prism of Constitution for
the Federation of Earth, which is a global movement endorsed ethically
many states and peoples. As they are made more aware of the plight of
the Planet Earth, more critical solidarity will grow for a new global social

5
contract. But it is here conceived broadly as ‘a regulative ideal and a
vision of one possible coherent planetary order that can guide and
organize our thinking toward a decent human future’. 5 The Earth Charter,
outlining in detail the institutional framework of a new global social
contract enunciates a new conception for green global governance and
often amounts to a blueprint of global government. What stands
projected is the demand that ‘we form a federation that ends war,
protects universal human rights, creates reasonable economic equity,
regulates world commerce for the common good, protects the planetary
environment, and addresses all problems beyond the scope of nation-
states’. A world federation that addresses these global concerns would
be, ‘in the words of Swami Agnivesh, a paradigm shifts from a power-
dominated system to a love-orientated system’.
This book is not so much concerned with particularities of the provisions
of the Earth Charter but rather with the ‘cusp of … a paradigm-shift from
fragmentation (of capitalism and the system of sovereign nation-states)
to holism (world socialism, global democracy, and the human
community)’. To be sure, there are ‘many dialectical tensions’ which
surround ‘human dignity, human love, human freedom, human rights,
human community, etc., and our anachronistic historical institutions of
global capitalism and sovereign nation-states’. But this can only be
changed when we begin to ‘envision this transformation and actualize it
with great urgency…’.The argument entails ‘the dialectical reciprocity of
institutional structures and human consciousness’. Put another way,
transformations of individual consciousness will ensue, once rapid
changes in institutions and networks occur.
5 The literature on the subject is immense but see, for example, Dorothy Emmet,
Role of The Unrealisable: A Study in Regulative Ideals (London, Palgrave McMillan,
1994).

6
I am tempted to steal the entire thunder of the book but that is both
inappropriate for a forward and insufficiently ‘worldcentric’; so dazzling is
the vision that an act of appropriation is unseemly. I hope that the reader
of this work will want to grasp the overall significance of the vision here
propounded. The present, certainly, is a time of dystopias, but we need
a resurgence of the utopic element of thought and feeling to invent a
whole new paraphernalia to make sense of destruction, degeneration,
and the devastation that awaits us as the Anthropocene advances and
mere anthropogenic harm makes any human effort at restoration totally
unattainable.
Utopias are first best read as offering critiques of the present institutional
human condition, and as a quest for new regulative ideas and principles,
and for the near future holism and integrity of individual and collective
thought and action. Above all, we need (as the poet Samuel Taylor
Coleridge once said) a ‘willing suspension of disbelief’, not the old habits
of thought that celebrate the immutability of things. 6

Human Beings Face Extinction:   We need to act now

Human Beings Face Extinction:   We need to act now

Glen T. Martin

August 2018

The global climate is unraveling at rates far beyond the predictions of scientists. The studies are so common by this date, and the scientific evidence so pervasive going back at least half a century, that there is no need to cite sources about this fact.  The oceans are dying, the fisheries are becoming exhausted. The forests are dying. They are devastated through human overuse, logging, wildfires, acid rain, and rapidly changing climate conditions.

Agricultural lands are drying up and losing productivity, the land, water, and air are polluted. Artificial human-made chemical compounds are found in the tissues of every living creature on Earth, with unknown synergistic effects. The oceans are rising, displacing millions of coastal dwellers and submerging prime agricultural lands.

The habitats for animals and life in general are disappearing, and many species go extinct daily. The polar caps are melting, irrevocably altering the planet’s climate. Rainfall is irregular, with periodic droughts alternating with devastating floods. The world becomes hotter every year with devastating consequences for the living things dependent on consistent temperatures and regular natural cycles

At the same time, the global human population unsustainabily continues to increase. Despite some promising UN Conferences on the endless global population increases that took place in 1974, 1984, and 1994, the UN has dropped this absolutely fundamental issue as a priority because it lacks popular support from many directions, not least of all from the world’s imperial Leviathan, the United States.  Many planetary thinkers believe the carrying capacity of the Earth has been exceeded for decades now. Once the carrying capacity is exceeded, then climate collapse and extinction become inevitable. In a recent article (July 18), Noam Chomsky declares: “Survival of Organized Human Life Is at Risk Due to Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons.”

 

Meanwhile, the nations of the world focus on “sovereignty,” militarism, national independence, trade wars, and unsustainable capitalist development. “Sovereign independence” is written into the UN charter in multiple ways and continues to function as an untouchable sacred cow, preventing the development of global citizenship everywhere on Earth. Each nation inculcates loyalty into its citizens and criminalizes any non-government sponsored relationships with foreign officials, which they label “disloyalty” and “treason.” Trillions of dollars are poured down the toilet of militarism that are needed to protect and restore the planetary environment.

 

Nuclear weapons are refined and made “combat ready,” and countries like North Korea correctly understand that without the nuclear deterrent, they would suffer the same destruction as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya. For the imperial system led by the U.S. and its NATO allies continues to work for a global hegemony to counter the growing influence of Russia and China, politically and economically, without concern for human rights, dignity, or the welfare and livelihood of many millions who appear of less worthiness to live because they are “not us.” Books such as Nuclear Madness by Helen Caldicott or The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg regularly appear detailing the many times that the near use of these weapons has brought humanity close to extinction, but few seem to care. Our fragmentation, hate, fear, and need for “enemies” is so much greater than our desire for a future for our children or the planet.

 

Our planetary system is inherently a war system requiring enemies and producing vast profits for the industries that supply and encourage this system.  As climate and military disasters around the world increase so do the profits of the system of “disaster capitalism” described by Naomi Klein in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine the Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Meanwhile the big banks and masters of the global monetary systems continue to dominate unsustainable global economics, running the world as a debt system from which they derive not only vast profits but vast political power, as Ellen Brown showed in detail in her 2007 book The Web of Debt.

 

A Google search reveals a number of articles by different authors who have declared that the ruling class is “insane.”  Indeed, if bringing the entire planet to ruin in the service of ones personal greed for wealth and power is insane, then this label is appropriate, although I prefer the term “criminal,” since the majority of the ruling class of the world are simply criminals who control the mass media, the politicians, and the UN in the service of their criminal enterprises that are bringing humankind to extinction.

 

In the US, the majority of both Democrats and Republicans in the Washington, DC, government are criminals in this sense, serving both themselves and the ruling class. Many so-called liberals in the US are working to remove Trump as President, and to “take back our country.”  But the truth is they never had “their country.” The ruling class has always had it, and human extinction advanced perhaps just as rapidly under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama. The mass media, the war system, and the “sovereign nation” propaganda keep the people of the US asleep no matter who is president. Whomever fills that office can do little because the system itself defeats rationality, recognition of our common planetary humanity, and the changes necessary for survival.

 

Trump is a symptom and not a cause.  People refuse to actualize what Karl Marx called our species-being.  They refuse to become world citizens in any real sense of this word.  They cling to their sovereign borders and delude themselves that somehow extinction can be avoided if the peoples of some 193 different, militarized sovereign nations all care about the environment, recycle, and “dispose” of the trash properly.  Rather than living in what I call a “boundary-less world,” they insist on their puerile boundaries and identities, even as this exacerbates the rush to total climate collapse and human extinction. To cling to a tiny, exclusive identity that divides one from others who are “not me” becomes more important than the survival of the human race.

 

It has often been pointed out that the mass media keep ordinary people distracted, immature, and unable to think clearly.  The mass media are designed for this purpose.  For more sophisticated ordinary people, there are sources like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, which frame the immature ideologies in a more erudite manner to satisfy the egoism of the “educated” middle classes.  But the entire world system is immature and structurally inculcates immaturity into the peoples of Earth.

 

The system of sovereign nation-states is nearly four centuries old, often said to have begun formally at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, developed at a time when people were riding horses and fighting with swords.  The system of capitalism is just as old, developed at a time when the Earth seemed to have inexhaustible resources, was able to receive unlimited wastes from human industries, and the population of the world was a fraction of what it is today. These systems structurally condition people into loyalty to their puerile national identities and into a capitalism that has no concern for the environment or human dignity, but only for egoistically pursued private profit. “Freedom” becomes promoting egoistic self-interest regardless of the social or environmental consequences.

 

The world seen from space, or from an airplane, has no borders.  From space, it is clear that the planet has been colonized by a single human species, homo sapiens, with the rational and organizational capacities to protect and manage the planet successfully as a happy and healthy home for its citizens and other living creatures.  But immature people need an ego-identity that is not satisfied with our common humanity or our common planetary home.

 

People everywhere need to think: “I am an American,” not a Russian or Chinese.  “I am of a certain skin color, not like those of red, yellow, brown or black complexions.” “I am a Republican, not a Democrat.” “I am a Christian, not a Hindu or a Moslem.”  And it is the same everywhere else, national loyalty requires these identifications, as does so-called religious belief.  In India, people go crazy over their Hindu identity, or their Moslem identity, or their caste status.

 

A borderless world does not mean that we abolish all practical administrative distinctions such as electoral districts or jurisdictions for local, regional, or national governments. A borderless world means that people have realized their species-being and become one in their common humanity and dignity. This is the world as seen by the great teachers of human kind such as Jesus Christ, Jiddu Krishnamurti, the 14th Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, Jr. Despite their great differences, all these leaders lived from their fundamental humanity.

 

In this boundary-less world, political borders no longer serve militarized identities to be defended and walled off from all others. They serve only instrumental and administrative functions for persons living from their common humanity and dignity.  For Jesus, religious identity did not matter, “neither Jew nor Gentile,” St. Paul says. For Jesus, there is only the oneness of love (agape) of God and human beings.  Today, these identities are tearing the world apart because they mirror the structural (political and economic) fragmentation of the world into sovereign nation-states and the capitalist egoistic drive for power and profit.

 

Human dignity and our corresponding human rights mean that each and every person is “an end in his or herself” (as Immanuel Kant declared). Each person’s “worth” is incalculable and cannot be commodified as the capitalist model attempts to do. Human dignity encompasses both our common humanity and our capacity as free beings to actualize our love, justice, compassion, and a holistic relationship with all others and the Earth. Precisely this is what the present world system blocks with its wars, greed, unsustainability, and fragmentation. Our number one task is to become more fully human by actualizing our common human dignity in a world system structured for peace, justice, and sustainability.

 

We do not need to wait for humanity in general to grow up and embrace the holism of planet Earth, our planetary biosphere, and the human race. There is a process through which we can jump-start a borderless world system (a world peace and justice system) through the efforts of perhaps only 5% of humanity. We can ratify the “Earth Constitution” and place the common good of the planet, its citizens, and its living creatures at the heart of a global public authority that can reign in and control the egoism and nihilism of both the politicians and the capitalists.

 

Today, we need a global social contract that moves humanity from this childish and largely illusory fragmentation to a planetary constitution that recognizes our common humanity, universal human rights, and the need to work together to protect and restore our common planetary biosphere.  The Constitution for the Federation of Earth (www.earth-constitution.org) is already completed and ready for ratification. It places what is common and universal (the common good of the Earth and its citizens) above the nations and the corporations as the single most legitimate source of governmental authority.

 

The Earth Federation will establish a democratic World Parliament with authority over both global corporations and so-called “sovereign” nation-states. For the first time in history, our common human dignity will be the basis of the global public authority, not fear, enemies, war, greed, and exploitation. There is no other way to end environmental and human destruction by the corporations as well as war and terrorism by the nation-states.

 

The Earth Constitution establishes global democracy predicated on what is common and universal and empowers an Earth Federation Government to conform both economics and politics to the universal common good.  Article One defines that universal common good as ending war, protecting universal human rights, addressing poverty and inequality, and protecting and restoring the planetary environment. Law enforcement is assured through civilian police who must themselves obey the law. There is no military. Here we have the only true source of legitimate government authority: the common good of the Earth and its citizens: a global peace system, justice system, and sustainability system.

 

Human maturity and human institutions work together dialectically. All present-day governments (operating according to a paradigm 400 years old) are illegitimate and immature by this standard.  They are all contributing to the pending extinction of human beings. A borderless world does not mean these governments or nations are abolished but that they take their proper (and legitimate) place within an Earth Federation that serves the welfare of all and is dedicated to restoring the biosphere of the planet for future generations (as much as this is still possible).  We can only solve our lethal problems through moving to a higher level of existence, through actualizing our common humanity.

 

To be borderless means that we no longer build our childish ego-identities on identifications that divide us from others: my nation, my race, my religion, my unlimited private wealth, etc.  To be borderless means that the borders and distinctions take their proper places as mere instrumental devices for organizational efficiency. They are no longer life or death identifications leading me to die for my country or my religion, etc.  Our institutions must mirror the maturity of embracing our common human identity and dignity.

 

If we actualize our species-being, then we are open to love, concern, and identification with all, including the Earth’s many other living species.  We no longer need to cling to an identity that excludes the others (whomever they happen to be).  Some 200 years ago, the philosopher Lessing wrote to the Christians and Jews of Europe: “if only I had found one among you for whom it was enough to be called a human being!” My newest book,

Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence, develops these ideas in some detail.

 

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth structurally establishes a planetary democratic government that makes the world “borderless” in this sense.  All persons become World Citizens first, responsible for their planetary home and future generations. Their primary identity becomes our common humanity. We need to ratify this Constitution if we want to avoid the rapidly approaching fate of planetary extinction of the human race.

 

It is time for humanity to grow up and face responsibility for ourselves and our precious planet. It is time we ended the global war system and converted to a peace, justice, and sustainability system. It is time we united our planetary home in a global democracy under the Earth Constitution.

 

 The Empire Strikes Back

 The Empire Strikes Back:

50 Years since the Rebellions of 1968

Glen T. Martin

May 2018

In May 1968, a half century ago, young people around the planet rebelled. Young people were occupying the universities, closing the streets, disrupting the Democratic Convention in Chicago, shutting down the streets of Paris, bringing the Vietnam war-machine to a crisis, and demanding a world based on unity, compassion, solidarity, and justice. Although mostly in the US and Western Europe, these rebellions had geopolitical significance as Boswell and Chase-Dunn point out in The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism.

The rebellions were part of the on-going dialectic in the struggle between a system of class-based global exploitation and a future system of planetary equality and justice. The young were demanding a democratic socialism in which economic and political systems would be based on human and environmental values, rather than on wealth and power. Where are we in this dialectic today?

The 60s never posed any real danger to the ruling class and its war-machine, of course. In the US, by 1970, they were ready to call out the National Guard who were happy to shoot unarmed students at Kent State, just as today the Israeli military is happy to shoot unarmed Palestinians demanding human rights and human dignity. These atrocities can be committed without serious consequences to the criminals who commit them. The Vietnam War was only a catalyst that elicited the protests against the entire system. In 1968, we thought that we had established a real “counterculture” in which the values of solidarity, peace, justice, and human decency would be seen throughout the world to be the true values on which nations and peoples must establish economics and politics.

The real danger of 1968 was not to the ruling class or the war-machine. It was in the ideas. From the point of view of the ruling class, ideas that demand a world based on justice, peace, sustainability, and human dignity must be discredited and marginalized in every way possible, all the while maintaining the illusion that there is “freedom of thought and information” within the so-called “democracies” of the world.  Nevertheless, as I shall show below, there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come. It is time for the people of Earth to demand a transformation of our fragmented, immoral, and self-destructive world system. Now is the time to transcend nation-state fragmentation and join together the people of Earth.

After 1968, the ruling class and their military-industrial-academic complex decided that they needed to overcome the so-called “Vietnam Syndrome.”  They continued to secure their ownership of the mass media and their big-money control of government to the point where they could silence and roll back the subversive idea that political and economic arrangements should be premised on ecological and moral values, rather than on lies, propaganda, and manipulation in the service of power and greed. They initiated censorship of the many US wars abroad.

No longer were images of the immense human suffering caused by these wars shown on mass media screens. Geopolitical wealth and power today determine the US support for Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war against Yemen and the same geopolitical wealth and power determines US support for the Israeli genocide against Palestine. Economics and political arrangements are conditioned by wealth and power, not justice, peace, or sustainability. For the past half-century, the dialectic has swung back toward unrestrained capitalism.

In the ruling class analysis, the New Deal, in which the capitalist system compromised with ordinary people in the US to provide social security, employer sponsored health insurance, decent wages, and the possibility of education for the masses, was a major cause of the uppity rebellion of the young. The ruling class in the late 60s and 70s decided it was time to roll back the New Deal and cut off the possibility of real progressive social change. They needed to secure for themselves the domination of globalized capitalism and the imperial hegemony of the US military juggernaut.

Today, the US is actively fighting in some 13 countries. It has a long term and a short term geopolitical strategy.  The short term is to destroy all stable governments that are not puppets of Washington.  Social chaos, the lives of hundreds of millions of people, are valued at nothing despite the moralizing of Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations, first published in 1776. The long-term strategy is to eliminate Russia and China as possible rivals to US global hegemony. Capitalism is inherently an economic philosophy of domination. The capitalists know full well that the issue is not about “economic freedom.” The real issue is about maintaining and extending their rule of privilege and domination.

The capitalist system commodifies everything. There is nothing that has intrinsic value in this system. Everything (even human beings) can be bought and sold and is valued only according to the market. Its view of human beings derives from the outdated early modern idea that the world is made up of “substances” or “atoms” that have individual reality. Human beings are atoms of “rational self-interest,” according to Adam Smith, and we compete with one another to maximize personal gain.

The famous argument that capitalism provides continuous “innovation” and drives technology and creativity forward for ever more entrepreneurial progress has some truth to it (as Karl Marx understood) but misses the main point. For this engine of innovation has always primarily been led by military innovation—continuous cutting edge progress in destroying human beings and their life support systems (in the service of the domination of capital), as well as continuous cutting edge progress in ways to mine, cut down, exploit, and destroy nature in the name of private profit.  The creative engine of capitalism, uncontrolled and uninhibited by human moral and scientifically grounded ecological principles, will ultimately destroy both humanity and nature.

Today, the world is divided among three primary groups. The first group is the 1% who control the economics, politics, banking, and military systems of most nations. They possess more than half of all the wealth in the world. The second group consists in 20 or 30% of the world’s population who find the meaning of life in endlessly browsing in millions of stores and eating in millions of restaurants worldwide. They buy cheap consumer junk sold by millions of desperate vendors around the world struggling to sell the same disposable consumer junk to millions of self-indulgent consumers oblivious of any universal moral dimension that binds all human beings together.

The third group consists in the 50-60% who live in the hell of global poverty, many of whom work in the sweatshops and production dungeons of the empire. They are invisible, no one thinks or cares about them and their immense suffering.They are paid starvation wages, have no rights, no healthcare, and no hope, but are forced to produce the endless consumer junk for the 20-30% who are self-indulgent, thoughtless engines of consumption, without compassion or solidarity with anyone but themselves and their limited identity groups. These statistics are not based on any “reality” of who we are, but on the false early-modern paradigm.

The early-modern philosophical ideology of independent “substances,” or human beings as “atoms or rational self-interest” has some very limited truth about it. However, egoistic human beings operating on rational self-interest represent an immature and childlike feature of our humanity. As we grow to maturity, it is relationships that become ever more fundamental, and our thoughtful compassion and insight into the need for ecological balance also grows proportionately. Capitalists seeking wealth and power are therefore mostly immature children inhabiting adult bodies, and therefore extremely dangerous to humanity and the future. This has been pointed out by such major thinkers as Abraham Maslow and Erich Fromm.

The ideology of independent “substances” (that reality is composed of autonomous parts rather than relationships) has also colonized the political system of the world since this idea was first translated into political arrangements at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Since then, the world has been defined in terms of autonomous, independent territorial entities called “sovereign nations.” Like capitalism, with whom these entities are deeply interrelated and share a common origin in early-modern ideology, these absolute territorial fragments are presumed to operate out of “rational self-interest” in a competitive world system in which each is out for its own interests. Loyalty to one’s territorial segment is expected of citizens who happen to be born in this or that country, each segment defined by absolute militarized borders and promoting its own “national interest.” Just today, Sweden has announced to all its citizens to prepare for war and that its absolute autonomy as an independent nation must never be compromised. They will fight to the death.

If one points to so-called “social democracies” like Sweden (primarily in Western Europe) that appear to have done a good job of regulating capitalism to the point of providing healthcare, education, and a clean local environment for their citizens; this again has some truth to it. However, these countries of Western Europe serve their own citizens by keeping their heads down and their eyes averted from the rogue actions of the global hegemon and the juggernaut of unrestrained capitalism ravaging the resources and peoples of the so-called third world, the more than 50% of humanity who live in a hell without clean water, without education, healthcare, or without a decent environment. These nations serve the “self-interest” and “national interests” of their own citizens by sacrificing the rest of humanity for their local selfish social arrangements.

In the face of the dozens of intersecting global crises that threaten our future and survival as a species on this planet (dying oceans and forests, polluted air and water, melting polar caps, disintegrating weather patterns), this ideology of autonomous sovereign nation-states is clearly bizarre. It prevents us from protecting or implementing universal human rights. It threatens to destroy the planetary environment, and it has forced us to live with the terror of possible nuclear war since 1945.

Yet even so-called “progressive” governments have swallowed this fragmented nonsense. They may try to help their own populations, and protect the economic and social rights of their own populations, but no one (least of all the UN which is a treaty of sovereign nations based on the principle of non-interference) is democratically responsible for the whole and the future of humanity. And for this reason, our common human future is in very real danger.

This entire ideology has been shown to be false and has been replaced in the 20th century by the ecological and cosmological insight that there are no independent substances but rather “fields within fields” of ever-widening relationships. However, the immense weight of capitalism as a system has colonized the planet and the new ecological insight has been buried within the juggernaut of greed and selfishness. Einstein’s relativity theory showed this at the macro level in 1905 and Quantum physics showed this at the micro level by 1927). Billions of dollars from the ruling class have been invested in attempting to cast doubt on the holistic structure of reality and on the scientific-ecological insight into the profound environmental destruction ravaging the planet. Their profits depend on we the people remaining immature atoms of fear, greed, and unconcern for other people or for nature.

The reality of human life is that of relationships and communities. This is both the ecological insight and the true holistic reality of our human condition. We are constituted by our relationships and communities, and success under the relational model means cooperating with one another to provide the necessities of life. It means cooperating with nature rather than exploiting her. It means living in harmony with the realities of our human situation.

Capitalism sets up a valueless system in which private ownership of property gives those who own property the legal right and power to command and exploit the labor of those who do not own, namely the masses of the poor.  The wealth of capitalist families is legally handed down to subsequent generations, creating a relatively stable ruling class of the super wealthy who generally continue to get even more wealthy. Adam Smith’s moralizing claiming that individual capitalists should have moral sensitivity, balanced judgement, etc., misses the point. Capitalists giving to charity, etc., does not even begin to address the problem.

The key is in the system itself.  Systems powerfully condition and determine people, “behind their backs,” so to speak. People, including most capitalists, are conditioned by the system to the point where they see moral sensitivity as weak, sentimental, as not facing the facts, as a hindrance to success in business, etc. In the US today, Donald Trump is a prime example of this inner death, the moral deadness produced in most people by the capitalist system.

However, by and large, the capitalist system must place value-hypocrites and liars into power. They must be mouthpieces that appeal to people’s moral values while at the same time they must be in the service the ersatz values of greed and power. Capitalism promotes value cynicism both in the ruling class and in many citizens. It promotes selfishness, greed, and exploitation of the poor by the rich without compassion. It ensures the domination of the few over the rest of society.

Half a century after 1968, the ruling class was perhaps correct in their diagnosis.  The New Deal in the US had made people uppity. It had given them education, social security, some health insurance through their workplaces, and the leisure (of its young people studying liberal arts in colleges) to examine the system in the country and the world and find it morally bankrupt. The youth rebellions of 1968 were a prime example of this uppity attitude. The youth were not primarily concerned about getting jobs or trying to succeed in the marketplace or in any struggle to survive.  The youth were rebelling in the name of the values of equality, freedom, and justice, especially in the privileged worlds of Europe and the US. The same attitude is manifested in the bankers of Europe, who recently gave an illuminating lesson to Europe and the world by their willingness to sacrifice the entire country of Greece to the establishment control of wealth and power.

What was needed, the ruling classes surmised, was to return the working class and the masses to a condition of hunger, desperation for jobs even at minimum wages, people struggling to survive with lack of education, with ignorance about what is happening to them and why. What was needed was young people who were psychologically much more susceptible to the propaganda from the mass media and government declaring for them that there are terrible enemies everywhere and that they must give up their liberties in order to find security.

What was needed was to roll back the New Deal and return the masses to the conditions that obtained under capitalism in the 1920s.   Michael Parenti in The Face of Imperialism and other works has pointed to this drive to return civilization to the free-wheeling, unrestrained capitalism of the 1920s. Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine and the Rise of Disaster Capitalism has shown how imperial economics fits hand in glove with imperialist drive to interfere, disrupt, and overthrow country after country around the world. Ellen Brown in the Web of Debt has shown the role of the banking cartels in ruling class exploitation of the world through the global debt system.  Michel Chossudovsky in The Globalization of Poverty has shown how social chaos, genocide, and human misery are consequences of the system itself, its economic assumptions and decisions.

Half a century after 1968, the global system of domination and tyranny is well on its way to completion. The US has put together a coalition of governments representing its ruling class domination. These “Five Eyes” scrutinize the electronic communications of the planet for signs of resistance to their domination (which they call “terrorism”). The US has implemented perhaps the ultimate terror weapon in the form of pilotless, weaponized drones patrolling the skies of the places in the world the US has invaded or is struggling to ensure its domination. These drones blast whatever and whomever the imperialists consider in opposition to their juggernaut.

People trying to live their lives in the regions where these terror machines patrol the skies have testified to the nightmare of living in perpetual fear for their lives and their families. The empire reserves the word “terror” for those who resist its onslaught. The empire maintains its own vastly superior fleets of militarized drones, and its militarized hell of snipers, tanks, fighter jets, cruise missiles, and systems of death and destruction (that it imposes upon people everywhere on Earth, with some 730 known military bases worldwide). The use of these forces of death and destruction are labeled “self-defense.” The majority of people who live under the propaganda machine have been manipulated to agree that they are being “defended” against “terrorism” (that is, against any who resist the domination of the planetary overlord, its capitalist system, and its puppet “allies”).

The UN has long maintained a legal distinction between liberation forces fighting oppression and tyranny and “terrorism” designed to kill indiscriminately. But the capitalist media have largely since abandoned this distinction. Today, any forces that resist the tyranny of the global oligarchy and their puppets in governments worldwide are labeled “terrorist.” In Syria, and elsewhere worldwide where the US supplies weapons, pays salaries for, and supports private terror organizations, the propagandists distinguish between “moderate” rebels and the “terrorist” bad rebels.  That people believe this crap is quite astonishing. The “moderate” and the “immoderate” rebels use that same tactics. They kill and murder with the same murderous war mentality used by US special forces (who often advise them) and by the entire murderous system of oppression and tyranny.

50 years of effort by the ruling classes of the world to roll back democracy, equality, justice, and freedom (that is, to overcome the rebellions of 1968) have resulted in a world wracked by chaos—wars, massive state terrorism, and destruction of the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of innocent people, many millions of whom have had to flee their homes as refugees from the global assault on human decency in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and elsewhere. From the point of view of the imperialists, this carnage is success, since from their super wealthy bastions of pleasure and power their lives are not affected by the chaos, and the purveyors of this carnage have no moral qualms about destroying the lives and the livelihoods of millions. Central America

Capitalism produces sociopaths and psychopaths with no moral compass. The wealth of the world has ever more rapidly been funneled into their coffers.  The astronomical gap between the rich and poor has today become even more astronomical. The masters of the Earth appear to be winning, even as the planetary environment that supports life is collapsing, the threat of nuclear war wiping out civilization continues unabated, and social chaos reigns throughout the globe.

The UN and its loosely affiliated agencies, like the WTO, the World Bank, and the IMF, have long since been colonized by the mind-bogglingly stupid assumption that ever more capitalism is the only solution to poverty and our economic problems. In my forthcoming book called Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence, I have shown that the UN Development Program (UNDP) has attained the insight that quality of life is not dependent on the accumulation of wealth. However, this agency will not take the next step and declare capitalism the enemy. UN ideology prohibits this next logical step. The UN, integrated into the very world system that is at the root of our problems, and colonized by the US and its imperial allies, has proven entirely ineffectual in stemming the tide of global roll back, war, and destruction engineered by the world’s ruling classes and led from the United States.

At the moment, I am writing this in Venezuela, one of the countries under siege by the imperialists for its commitment to the idea that government should care about all the people and not about the capitalist ruling class alone. The way into a decent future for humanity is environmentally conscious democratic socialism. What the word “socialism” means is simply that moral values, like ecological principles, must have a place in economics and politics. Socialism means that we are all in this together and that we should devise economic and political systems that recognize that everyone (not just the rich) has a right to food, housing, healthcare, education, a protected environment, and a life of security, dignity, and peace. Democratic economics is a market economics conducted within parameters that promote human equality and protect the environment. Socialism simply means that moral and ecological values should be at the heart of our economics and politics.

In Venezuela, ordinary people are suffering greatly, not because their government fails to care about providing health care, food, and housing to everyone, but because the imperialist system, led by the U.S., has blockaded basic necessities with the intent of starving and hurting the entire people of this country until their government bends to the will of the capitalists and opens the country up, once again, to exploitation by the rich, which will, of course, throw the majority once again into poverty and misery. This pattern has been repeated in many countries around the world, such as in Chile in 1973, when the US overthrew a democratically elected market socialist government and supported a brutal dictator into power. This is the modus operandi of global capitalism. It has only demonic qualities and no moral dimension whatsoever.

I visited Cuba six times during the late 1990s to early 2000s and saw the same thing there. Ordinary Cuban people, families, women, children, virtually everyone in that country was denied basic necessities because of the US imposed economic blockade. The people of Cuba, warm, generous, and decent human beings, repeatedly would ask me “Why?”  “Why are they doing this to us?  What did we ever do to them?” But the answer is never personal. Cuba did nothing to the imperialists, just as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Venezuela did nothing to them. The answer is systemic. The world system of power, exploitation, and domination requires their destruction in the view of the imperialist functionaries of global domination.

In What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Noam Chomsky answered this question concerning socialist initiatives with great insight and concision: “The threat of a good example.”  Global imperial capitalism cannot tolerate any alternative to its tyranny. If some country achieves successful democratic socialism, it would show the rest of the world what is possible. If another country like Libya shows too much independent thought and concern for the future, it must be destroyed. A democratic socialism would show that hunger, homelessness, poverty, and misery are not inevitable consequences of life or failings of some corrupt human nature. A successful example of an alternative economics of cooperation and conservation would call into question the entire capitalist ideology and, with this, the domination of the imperial storm troopers of death and destruction who militarily enforce capitalism on our suffering planet, led by the monstrous US military juggernaut. Libya was considering switching to the Euro for the sale of its oil and was promoting the unity and solidarity of Africa. It had to be destroyed.

During the 20th century, many psychologists and philosophers reached a broad consensus concerning the stages of moral and cognitive growth that characterizes our human potential for actualizing the higher moral and cognitive stages of our common human endowment. This consensus includes such thinkers as Abraham Maslow, Lawrence Kohlberg, Ken Wilber, and Jürgen Habermas. If the process of growth takes place normally in human beings, we move from the egoism of youth to a stage of acceptance of the primary culture that envelops us. This second stage is called ethnocentrism, since most people accept the beliefs and values of their surrounding culture as somehow the most correct, or the best, when compared to other nations, cultures, ethnicities, etc.

However, this ethnocentrism (especially rampant in the imperial center of capital with its notorious “American exceptionalism”) remains an immature stage in the process of human development. Every human being is genetically nearly identical with every other, and every human being shares our same planetary home. Our true potential for maturity is actualized when we move beyond ethnocentrism to a world-centric orientation.

At the world-centric level, we increasingly actualize our sense of oneness with all other human beings. We become capable of a universal compassion for human and animal suffering wherever this happens, and we begin to formulate values of planetary peace, justice, and sustainability. Authentic, objective moral values arise at this level. The values that were followed at the earlier egoistic and ethnocentric levels are now seen to be merely conventional and arbitrary, and hence not legitimate moral values. At the world centric level, we begin to actualize truly objective values such as dialogue directed toward mutual understanding, commitment to truth and justice-making, commitment to nonviolence and peace-making, commitment to democratic socialism, ever-deeper kindness and compassion, and the need for democratic, world level solutions to our multiple global problems.

One reason why the ruling class wants to end net neutrality and make internet communications dependent on the ability to pay is because the internet provides a freedom of thought and information beyond their control. Hence, it may cultivate human world-centric maturity in a multiplicity of ways that place people in opposition to the ruling class and their drive to oligarchic tyranny. At any rate, all over the world today, there are hundreds of millions of people, including young people, who are becoming worldcentric.  They are repudiating the dynamic of nation-state fragmentation and competition. They are seeking ways to live with others from around the world in peace and harmony, in what I call “species solidarity,” which is also what Karl Marx called living from our species-being.

It may be that the dialectical pendulum is swinging back toward socialism on a higher level than that implicit in the rebellions of 1968. It may be that the socialist idea of human relationships and cooperation in a value-based economic and political system is re-emerging at the global level. It may even be that this dialectical struggle will end in a truly decent and compassionate world system of peace, justice, and sustainability. Albert Einstein said our problems can only be solved by moving to a higher level of existence. Perhaps now is the time for human beings to move to the global level and embrace the holism of our situation.

In the extensive literature on “global problems,” (that is, problems that are beyond of scope of any nation to deal with) “capitalism” is not often identified as one of these problems. However, it is indeed one of our central global problems and perhaps the cause of many other related global problems, such as global militarism, global poverty and misery, and global environmental destruction. There can be no solution to such global problems without a global public authority with the structural capacity to deal effectively with them. This means we need a global public authority, a World Parliament, with the capacity to establish a world system predicated on mature, world centric values.

Economics must be specifically designed to be a sub-discipline of ecology, and hence in harmony with and protecting our planetary ecosystems (as economist Herman E. Daly and others have pointed out). Economics must also be designed to create reasonable prosperity for all people and not simply for the ruling classes.  Politics must be taken out of the hands of the rich, and authentic democracy must be established so that government becomes representative of the genuine needs of the people and not the needs of the rich and their corporations.

Democracy is quite impossible under capitalism because the rich will always colonize the political process in their own interests, and because the imperial nation-states will always interfere in the elections of smaller nations in order to maintain their domination and the domination of global capitalism. If the electoral process nevertheless succeeds and the wrong candidate is elected (as with Allende in Chile in 1970 or Chavez and Maduro in Venezuela today), then next option is overthrow of the existing regime and the installation of a right wing puppet dictator (as in Chile in 1973).

Global capitalism creates immense poverty around the world, it destroys the planetary environment in the name of private profit, and it fosters militarism everywhere on Earth. These are all reasons why a World Parliament under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is needed. The Earth Constitution places the global public authority in the hands of a diverse World Parliament composed of three houses: a House of Nations (about 300 representatives), a House of Counselors (200 representatives), and a House of Peoples (1000 representatives).  The representatives in the House of Peoples are directly elected from 1000 electoral districts apportioned by equal population.  www.earth-constitution.org.

Election campaigning is limited to similar space for all candidates (taking big money out of politics) and therefore creating a World Parliament genuinely representative of the people of Earth. Government (through worldwide election commissions as defined in Article 8) monitors and sponsors free and fair elections and a World Parliament is elected with the mandate to address all global problems beyond the scope of nation-states. The “broad functions” of the Earth Federation are to (1) end war and procure disarmament (2) protect universal human rights (including the rights to food, housing, healthcare, and education), (3) end the blight of global poverty, and (4) protect and restore the planetary environment to the extent this is still possible. All this is found in Article 1. A global democratic public authority is created that represents the common good and common interests of all people on the Earth. No such authority currently exists, least of all the UN, a treaty of supposedly independent sovereign states colonized by the global hegemon.

This is the option before us as human beings living on tiny, spaceship Earth. Either we act together to create a global public authority that serves the true interests of us all, or we continue toward the abyss of extinction lead by a global oligarchy who care nothing for people or the planet. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth has been translated into many languages and is found on-line in many places such as www.earth-constitution.org. It presents a concrete, practical option to the present global nightmare of imperialism and destruction.

Half a century after the rebellions of 1968, our planetary future looks bleak indeed. But there is hope that this very crisis will help unite human beings to act in solidarity with one another. We must overcome both the fragmentation of capitalism and the fragmented ideology of sovereign nation-states and unite as a species in global democratic socialism under the Earth Constitution. The Earth Constitution does not abolish nation-states. Nor does it abolish markets. It simply constrains markets to serve the common good, and constrains governments to live under the rule of authentic democratic laws.

It establishes a federation in which persons everywhere continue to operate with their local governments, regional governments, and national governments. The Earth Constitution adds the level of global government based on moral and ecological principles, the only level capable of effectively dealing with global problems. Our true future, if we are to have one at all, lies in unity, solidarity, and mature, authentic values (both moral and ecological).

The Earth Constitution offers a practical route into a genuinely alternative future. It provides our most practical and doable option for creating a decent future for the Earth, a future characterized by peace, justice, and sustainability. Now is the time for all peoples to join in solidarity and establish the true human community. Only the principle of authentic unity in diversity under the Earth Constitution can redeem our human future from the threat of global tyranny or ecological collapse.

 

Holism and Self-Transcendence Investigating Our Planetary Destiny

Holism and Self-Transcendence

Investigating Our Planetary Destiny

Glen T. Martin

12 May 2018

Each of us carries within ourselves the capacity for perpetual self-transcendence. I want to try to summarize this idea, which is fundamental to my forthcoming book called Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence (Cambridge Scholars Publishers, 2018). The book is in many ways about the glory and ecstasy of being human. It places the ordinary “development” model of human growth into the dynamism of so-called integral evolutionary mysticism.

Standard accounts of personal growth describe a movement from the egoism of childhood and youth, to the group oriented egoism of the ethnocentric stage (when we identify with our group, nation, culture, race, or class) to the maturity of a world-centric orientation in which we identify, with compassion and grace, with all humanity and the Earth’s other living creatures. Scholars of human self-transcendence, such as Ken Wilber (2007), identify any number of further levels of spiritual development into an awareness that is often called “kosmocentric” or “integral.’

At the higher, “kosmocentric” levels, the masculine and feminine elements in us harmonize, and we continue to live with an ever-greater direct awareness of the holistic, ineffable depths of existence. Many of us understand that this movement can be enhanced through meditation and mindfulness in everyday existence. Meditation and mindfulness, however, are often taught in terms of a dualism between mind and body, between temporal and eternal, or between finite and infinite. In my forthcoming book, on the other hand, I attempt to elucidate dimensions of the process of a more holistic self-transcendence that are not necessarily emphasized in these dualistic meditative traditions.

This new holism includes the dynamics of human temporality—the fact that each of us lives within a dynamic present that brings a remembered past to bear on a future toward which we orient and project ourselves. As I said above, many of us who take the meditative traditions seriously develop a kind of ontological duality between the eternal One, outside of time, and the finite self, bound in time between past, present, and future. We often feel a tension and struggle between these apparent two sides of our existence. I am suggesting that this tension may often be needless and ill-conceived. We do not need to marginalize our temporal existence of moving from the past toward an ever-better future. We can live as a single, holistic reality that includes both time and eternity.

Consider the choices each of us makes daily. We exist as a consciousness that uses its memory of the past within a dynamic present to project itself toward a future that it envisions as better than the past and the present. We decide to do more physical exercising because we think it will be better for us. We decide to take a break by going to the countryside for rest and relaxation. We decide to embark on a course of study to establish a better future of knowledge, understanding, or opportunity. We may decide to take political action because we wish to change society for the better.

Each willed action that I take includes both actual and ideal dimensions, because each willed action is not only a fact of my life but pursues some good that transcends the facts in pursuit of its ideal. I strive to be a just or loving person precisely because this ideal transcends what I am in the living present in accordance with these higher future possibilities. The future animates our lives from within. It operates as a fundamental component within our present reality. As we grow through the worldcentric level of identification with all other persons and the Earth’s other sentient beings toward the kosmocentric level in which we intuit the holism of the cosmos and begin living as embodiments of that holism, we can discover the horizon of a future that calls to us from the kosmos itself, or if one prefers, that calls to us from the Ground of Being or God.

Spiritual thinker Marc Gafni speaks of a similar dynamic of the “return of the self” in “integral evolutionary mysticism.”  The meditative traditions often focus on liberation from the self; in Buddhism one must experience anatta (no self).  Indeed, we must awaken to our false selfhood, move beyond our false ego-identifications, and discover our deeper “true self.” But our unique selfhood does not disappear, it simply becomes distinguished from what is false in us. The great depth psychologist Carl Gustave Jung spoke of overcoming the ego-self through integrating and centering toward a deeper selfhood that embraces the unconscious as well as consciousness. Indeed, however today we are beginning to discover the emergent holism of the universe itself as it manifests in the human phenomenon.

Gafni writes: “What I termed Evolutionary Unique Self is the personal face of the process living in you, as you, and through you” (2014, 99). Here is the source of the glory and ecstasy of being human, the “process” lives in us, as us, and through us. Similarly, spiritual thinker Raimon Panikkar declares that, “Man has suddenly found himself bound to the Earth, joined with it in a communal destiny, playing his part in a cosmic whole of which he is the awareness” (1979, 452). In these thinkers, we find the insight that I attempt to express in my book concerning human self-transcendence. Our part in the universe is to live each of our lives as a unique awareness of the cosmic whole.

Human beings are self-aware manifestations of the cosmic whole. We are manifestations of the holism that contemporary science has discovered so profoundly through relativity and quantum physics, made clear to us by thinkers such as Ervin Laszlo (2016). The universe has become self-aware in us, and therefore we live as a key to its evolutionary and self-transcending character. As Teilhard de Chardin put it, we are “the axis and the leading shoot of evolution” (1959, 36).

One of the great divides between “East” and “West,” it has been said, is the following: the Western religions (such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) maintain a radical distinction between the world, God, and human beings (who are made in God’s image). The Eastern religions (such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism), on the other hand, see the oneness and identity at the heart of all things, including God, the world, and human beings. The new emergent evolutionary holism understands that both traditions are correct. Time and eternity, finite and infinite, body and spirit are emergent, temporalized expressions of the holism of all things, the unity in diversity of the dynamic, living now of things, of which we are “the axis and the leading shoot.”

Love, in all its dimensions, animates this holism. As I declare in  Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence: “From within the mysterious divine source, associated with the quantum plenum, the cosmos flows out in an astonishing, extending evolutionary flaring forth, a world holistically integrating all its particulars, and all the while retaining its primal unity.  We experience this “swinging outward” as emergent process, order, and structure.  Many wisdom thinkers have called this “love.” Teilhard speaks of “love, the higher, universal, and synthesized form of spiritual energy, in which all other energies of the soul are transformed, and sublimated, once they fall within ‘the field of Omega’” (1970, 122-23). The “field of Omega” is the emergent holism of the kosmos actualized in us.

Love is a pervasive context for all our knowing, caring, and being, for through it human consciousness can manifest the creative joy in simply being. Knowing as ecstatic consciousness: “Inspired by the breath of the universe,” Tagore declares, “the heart, like a reed sings” (2011, 158). Love in its multiple forms expresses itself in wonder, pursues understanding and knowledge, unites what is separated, draws us toward a liberating future, and fills our lives through the simple joy in living, a joy that is often at the same time an intuitive awareness, what I have called an “integrative mysticism” (Martin 2005, chap. 5). Love is fundamental to the process of continual self-transcendence that characterizes human life and reflects our infinite dignity.

As the universe has become conscious of itself in us, it has transcended its evolutionary process and actualized human freedom, creativity, and love. As free, creative, loving beings, we no longer simply evolve toward ever-greater holistic harmony.  Our mission is to create harmony, to establish a world of peace, justice, freedom, and sustainability. Our kosmocentric consciousness is not simply awareness of a non-temporal divine ground. It is the promise of human self-transcendence and a transformed future. I call this our “utopian horizon.” The universe has created for us (and itself) a utopian horizon in which an inadequate past and an unsatisfactory present demand loving transformation into the holistic harmony of peace, justice, sustainability and creative freedom.

We no longer need to emphasize a model of escaping temporality through meditative practices that seek timelessness. Our meditative practices and mindfulness, rather, should seek to actualize the divine principles of freedom, creativity, and love that have emerged in us. To do this we must abandon the false self of egoism as well as the collective selfhood of ethnocentrism. We must grow beyond these limitations into a selfhood and individuality that expresses through freedom and love the transformative quest for peace, justice, and sustainability. Each of us should ask his or herself: If I am a unique embodiment of the emergent self-awareness of the kosmos, what should my mission or destiny be as I envision the future? What is my utopian horizon?

To me, the Constitution for the Federation of Earth (www.earth-constitution.org) symbolizes, in many ways, the collective utopian horizon of our common humanity. It can serve as a blueprint as well as an ideal for the transformative struggle of the kosmos to actualize ever-greater freedom, creativity, and love through us.  It establishes a World Parliament predicated on peace, justice, freedom, and sustainability, and it designs the practical procedures for making this work effectively. That is why my book is named “Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence.” The goal of our freedom and love is to unite all humanity as brothers and sisters on this beautiful, resplendent planet. The Earth Constitution represents the next step in human growth and self-actualization. Actualizing this vision and this process in ourselves expresses the glory and ecstasy of being human.

Works Cited

Gafni, Marc. 2014. Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter. Tucson, AZ: Integral Publishers.

Laszlo, Ervin, with Alexander Laszlo. 2016. What is Reality? The New Map of Cosmos and Consciousness. New York: SelectBooks, Inc.

Martin, Glen T. 2015. Millennium Dawn: The Philosophy of Planetary Crisis and Human Liberation. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Democracy Press.

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

Pannikar, Raimon. 1979. Myth, Faith, and Hermeneutics: Cross-cultural Studies. New York: Paulist Press.

Tagore, Rabindranath. 2011. The Essential Tagore. Eds. Fakrul Alam & Radha Chakravarty. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre. 1959. The Phenomenon of Man. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers.

—. 1970. Let Me Explain. Ed. Jean-Pierre Demoulin. New York: Harper & Row.

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