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EDITOR'S CORNER: GENOCIDE AND WORLD UNITY

Recently, the United States Congress tried and failed to pass a resolution that would have declared the Armenian Massacre perpetrated by the Turks in the early years of the twentieth century to have been an act of genocide. The measure was simply too controversial to pass, at a time when the nation of Turkey is so important to American purposes in Iraq.

It would be perfectly reasonable for a skeptical person to ask, what difference does it make now? After all, the crime happened almost a century ago, the perpetrators and the victims are long since dead. The government, indeed the entire nation-state which either instigated or tolerated the affair, the Sultanate of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, no longer exists. There is now an independent nation-state of Armenia. Surely the question of whether the violence visited upon the Armenians by their Turkish neighbors was sufficiently vicious to qualify as "genocide" is largely moot by this time.

Yet both the events leading to the Armenian "genocide" and the subsequent quarrel over whether it was in fact "genocide," are both intimately tied up with the nation-state system and the lack of real political world unity. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is the existence of the nation-state system that makes genocide possible, even likely. And by this I do NOT mean that a world judiciary such as the ICC would deter people from carrying out genocide by threatening them with eventual punishment. What I am talking about instead is designing a system that would prevent genocide from happening at all.

Consider the context of the Armenian Massacre. World War I was underway. The government of the Ottoman Empire, which was long a polyglot of Turks, Greeks, Arabs , Kurds, Armenians, Slavs, Christians, Muslims and Jews, was trying to redefine itself in a way that would appeal to the nationalistic and religious pride of the majority Turkish population and win support for the war. Jingoistic appeals to the "Turkish" and "Muslim" identity of the state, in contrast to the European and Christian nature of its chief enemies ( Russia, France and England) were the order of the day. Scapegoats are always useful to an unpopular government intent upon redirecting the people's antagonism away from itself. The Greek minority was under the protection of the then-neutral Greek government. The Arabs and Kurds were fellow Muslims. But the Armenians, of an obscure Christian sect and ethnically distinct, were under no one's protection. They made a perfect target.

In the context of the larger horrors of World War I, the killing and abuse of the Armenians went largely unnoticed. As Adolf Hitler (a man who knew a little something about killing masses of people) was reported to have said, "Who remembers the Armenians?" And he was right. After their victory, the Allied governments were much too concerned about achieving their own war aims to spend much time on the massacre of some obscure people in a distant corner of the world. It was expedient for the national governments of the time to sweep the whole matter under the rug.

And that expediency continues to this day. Declaring the Armenian massacre to be genocide would be sure to insult the national pride of the Turkish people. Turkey is a valuable ally of the United States in its so called War on Terror, as well as being a member of NATO, a potential member of the European Union, and the only secular republic in the Middle East. It would be foolish for the United States to risk the friendship of Turkey over a matter of largely historical interest. In the same way, the United States was able to close its eyes to the killing fields of Pol Pot, because the Khmer Rouge government was fighting against the Soviet-backed Vietnamese government, and "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Thus the system is designed to permit, even encourage, genocidal acts, whenever and wherever those acts seem to serve the national interest of the most powerful nation-states. The autocracy and narrow nationalism that results from war fever is the perfect breeding ground for massacres of those who are different and seem to represent the enemy. We can expect with confidence that it will happened again and again. Instead of "Never Again," our cry seems to be "Only Every Once In A While."

There is only one certain way to make sure that history does not keep repeating itself over and over again. In a truly united World Republic, there would be no national governments with the power to turn loose the dogs upon a scapegoat. There would be no religious or ethnic majorities tempted to kill, oppress and try to wipe out an unpopular minority. Most of all, there would be no war, an institution that tends to legitimize other forms of violence, like genocide, because of the all encompassing nature of its warped psychology.

"Who remembers the Armenians?" asked Hitler. It would be well if we all did, and used that memory to help insure that what happened a hundred years ago, does not happen again.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dear Gary,

Enclosed is a rebuttal to Chuck Woolery's article on "The Death of WFA, Who Did It and Why?" for publication.

Chuck Woolery misrepresented the rationale for the change of name from WFA to CGS (Citizens for Global Solutions). About five years ago, with a Republican-controlled Congress and President in the White House, it had become clear that the US government was considering the value of our country's membership in the UN and US support for the UN was in danger. Accordingly, taking into account that both WFA's membership had not changed significantly for many years, and that the main need for UN reform had likewise not progressed since its founding, it was determined that an analysis should be made as to whether our focus should be re-directed. Over a period of six months, a thorough review and study was made of WFA operations and goals which ended up with an 88 to 33 vote at a special membership meeting in Braintree, MA, transforming WFA into CGS and merging with CUNR.

During the six months, questionnaires were distributed to WFA leaders, concerned organizations, and other interested parties, on whether it was time for a structural and name change. Also, top WFA staff members visited many chapters explaining the reason and need for change and three focus groups were convened in San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, DC. The findings from this survey were that "government" was a negative word and that "federalism" was a hard concept to sell, particularly when linked with world government. Basically, what was done and approved was the decision that democratic world government based on the rule of law and human rights was still a distant concept and before it can be seriously considered, fundamental shifts in global thinking and structure are essential. Since the founding of CGS, funding from foundations has greatly expanded and our general acceptance by the NGO community, as well as the media, firmly established.

In closing, I have known Chuck for several years as a man of vision, action and conviction, but feel as a minimum, he should accept that the change over from WFA to CGS was justified and necessary in today's irrevocably integrated Internet world.

Best Regards,

Edward Rawson
6431 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101

Gary,

Here's a small donation to show the value I place on your publication. And a small request -- please put your e-address and your web address on your publications, if you have them. The online world can be a nuisance and a chore, but it will make for much more communication with your readers.

Thanks for bravely continuing to speak what R. M. Hutchins' biographer, Harry Ashmore, called our "unreasonable truth."

Tad Daley
[tad at daleyplanet dot org]
5388 Village Green
Los Angeles, CA 90016

(Editor's Note: Thanks for the donation and the praise. United World does not have its own website. We have been talking about getting it archived on the CDWG website, but so far that has not happened. We do however, have an e-mail address. You can contact us at [gshepher at verizon dot net].)

Open letter to Carl Joudrie:

I found your comment about "evolutionary psychology" (in United World, Nov/Dec 2007) regarding the "two common errors of thinking" most useful and helpful. And I fully agree with your belief that we must not concentrate power in any one level of government. I'm sorry that my writings didn't state that more clearly.

I must warn you, however, that you will lose credibility referring to me as a "world federalist elite." I may have rubbed shoulders with many WF elites, but they are leagues above me in legal, literary and scholarly abilities. I consider myself a scientist that follows those with the most evidence. And I must report, in the living interactions I've studied in animals, plants, pathogens, humans and politicians, I've found NO evidence of "independence" on this planet. Given our dependence on the sun for our energy, climate, and food, I don't believe it exists anywhere in the given universe.

I have found that word however in many documents – and have observed the concept in action between individuals and nations – but I've never seen it succeed as an experiment. There is always some "outside" force making a nasty display of interdependent reality – that almost always butters up the application of the concept to an irreparable degree. I am quite confident that as sure as the earth revolves around the sun, there is irrefutable evidence that "independence" and "national sovereignty" are nothing more than mental illusions. They may have been useful illusions at some time. Like believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy – and even a broken clock is right twice a day. But that doesn't mean it's a real time piece.

Trying to maintain one's most basic security and freedom without acknowledging and appropriately interacting globally with those who have the same basic desires is not only insanity, it's homicide and suicide. Given the growing WMD capacity of individuals, the days of government tyranny of ANY kind are over. Timothy McVeigh, the Anthrax mail bomber, and Bin Laden are not heroes, but they did make some notable points. Power is with the people. Security is an illusion. And freedom is all we really have. The freedom to wage world law with one another, or to wage war.

I hypothesize that you and many others like you are mirroring a "moralistic fallacy" believing that certain things like "independence" and "national sovereignty" are right…and reality. The real world that I study begs to differ. We may allow states rights and even provincial rights, but human rights are inalienable and must always reign supreme.

If a world federation misses that essential element of law, I'm taking the second amendment.

Chuck Woolery,
315 Dean Dr.
Rockville MD 20851
[chuck at igc dot org]

THE TITANIC AND MOVING THE PUBLIC

By David E. Christensen


By chance the other evening I came upon a rerun of the movie "Titanic" and watched it through, despite it's frequent and lengthy intervals with strings of ads. In watching the movie I was again struck with the awe and disbelief that appeared in the eyes and on the faces of the two lookouts, the two young men in Titanic's "crow's nest," when they first saw and understood that directly ahead was not a nighttime apparition, but a real iceberg. Immediately on their warning, action was taken to change from "full speed ahead" to the reverse and to turn the ship to the left as quickly as possible.

But turning a ship as massive as the Titanic, reputedly with an undersized rudder, is slow business at best, and the same is true with reversing the direction of the massive spinning propellers. With only a slight change of course having taken place, instead of a head-on collision, the Titanic (in the movie) seemed to slip by the iceberg with hardly a bump being felt. But only 1/7 of an iceberg is above water level. The "unsinkable" ship sustained a long and fatal gash below the water line on the right side. In a couple of hours, it was on the bottom of the North Atlantic, with only about one-third of its 2340 passengers and crew saved.

I see the Titanic's situation as a metaphor for the human family's predicament (unbeknown to most members) as it faces the many interrelated crises that are coming at us. Despite the recent acknowledgment and attention to climate change issues, other crises remain largely ignored. Surely academics in many fields are aware of the disruptive perils before us and at least some leaders in every country must be aware of these crises. Our presidential candidates surely must have some clue but they are not alerting or educating us. Their messages focus shallowly on pieces of the status quo ("rearranging the deck shares on the Titanic?"). Leaders and the media are not doing their job and most of the general public remains not well informed, struggling to live day to day and lulled and distracted by constant entertainment.

Perhaps it is redundant to list the several crises that we all face, but here they are as I see them: climate change in all of its disruptive manifestations, greed (above "international law") corporate globalization, futility and wastefulness of war and militarization, unsustainability of our fossil-fuel-driven way of life, unsustainability of our high tech/mechanized agriculture, "western" civilization's runaway "growth syndrome" and the out of control debt of the United States. And as a significant "common denominator" of all of these crises: global overpopulation.

How much time does the human family have before the alarms blare out on one after another of these interlocking crises, all of which call for major changes in how our so-called "civilization" functions, and any one of which can "sink" us? I believe there is a "window of time" before some of these might pass "tipping points" and become irreversible. However, because the crises are burgeoning and little action is being taken to deal with them and some of these crises are gaining speed, in my view it is a very short time window, only one or two decades at most. And once undertaken, it would take solutions decades to restabilize things, reverse the damage done to our Earth home, and reduce world population.

If human beings are truly what our "homo sapiens" name means, once informed we will apply our intelligence to face these crises and accept necessary changes in just about everything we do. If we are not truly "homo sapiens" then very bad times are ahead for the human family.

Over recent months I have reread and reviewed my many books relating to the above crises. I also have learned about other books. Among my newer books only Lindsey Grant's Too Many People (2000) also analyzes the arable land crisis, as I do in my Earth is Overpopulated Now (2007). And in my view, Earth's arable land endowment remains the key limitation of the Earth's carrying capacity for humans.

Another book I have encountered is New World, New Mind by Ornstein and Ehrlich, 1989. In Chapter 8 titled, "The Beginnings of Real Change," they discuss the difficulties attendant with moving a nation to adopt new ideas and take a new direction. Along with several other optimistic examples, they note that, faced with the reality and the urgency of a war with Japan and Germany, the United States in about one year transformed itself to a wartime economy and way of life with rationing of many items, manufacturing shifted very heavily to fulfilling wartime needs, and military training of all kinds increased manifold.

The point is: a nation of many millions of people can change direction quickly if there is a will to do it. But wartime urgency with a specific "enemy" is quite different from an array of very different crises that come from different directions, require vastly different solutions, and may have different levels of urgency. And there would be a general expectation that wartime emergency measures would be temporary, and that, for the victor at least, after the war things would go back to "normal."

Inasmuch as the several crises listed are all global in nature, no nation alone can solve any one of them. Resolving those global crises also is beyond the capabilities of NATO, OECD, the EU or even the UN as presently organized.  Many, including this writer, believe that only through a new global government can long term solutions to those crises be found. It is probably a no-brainer that a viable global government must be democratic. It must represent and work for the people of the world, not national governments. A global government also must establish and be able to maintain global law, have a standing volunteer global peace force, a global parliament (with triad voting) and a constitution; it must have its own dependable sources of revenue, and must be able to encourage and manage disarmament.

Homo sapiens must teach and learn fast that a global government with these characteristics is not only desperately necessary now, but also that it is more achievable than it has ever been before. That is so because of our far greater communication and transport capabilities over any earlier time. We should understand clearly that a global government would not detract from a nation's "sovereignty" within its borders. We must realize, with the high degree of interdependence among all people and nations, that the classic sovereignty our governments want to protect is a myth. In our time no nation can "make it" alone. And we must all learn to accept that, even with all of the differences among us, all human beings are our brothers and sisters, struggling to survive and do well on this planet. We must abandon divisive religiosity and attitudes of superiority. "Sharing and caring" must be key watchwords as we move ahead.

The new human family also must understand that the decades of transition from the old world to the new will be difficult and disruptive. But think of the chaos that definitely will ensue if we do nothing. The changes to be made will entail sacrifices of just about everyone, probably more in the United States than other countries because we are farther "out on a limb" in terms of our wealth and power. However, considering the challenges, the opportunities and the better world for our children that will follow the decades of difficulty, it will be worth it.

I close this piece with a few comments about Clarence Streit's 1939 proposal for a union of western democracies, a Union of Democracies, etc. Of the 190 plus nations in the world, many have a façade of democracy, but only a few dozen would pass muster as true democracies (and the current Washington administration is compromising ours more every day). However, those few dozen democracies dominate the world in everything except population. And that "everything" includes (not happily) pollution, militarization, major (greedy) global corporations, and waste.

It is logical that the core of a new global government could start with the few dozen democracies in the world, but they would have to "tread carefully". They would have to tread carefully because most functional democracies are "westernized" nations. They must do nothing that would advantage themselves while further disadvantaging people in other countries, whether they are members of the new global government or not. To be successful, possible solutions to global issues emanating from a new global government from the start must consider fully the long term (and sustainable) interests of all people, including those in all nations that are not members.

Further, and also from the beginning, the door to membership must be there for other nations to join as they demonstrate that they have maintained for some years (seven?) a way of life that respects human rights, demonstrates peaceful transfer of power, etc. A probationary period of several years (three?) also might be in order. In the meantime, representatives of all nations should be welcome as "associate members" to attend meetings of the Democratic Global Government and have limited privileges on committees and to participate in discussions. But voting and decision making would be limited to full-fledged democratic members of the global government.

To be accepted as a member, however, and in addition to being a democracy, a nation should have a minimum population, perhaps on the order of two million, and/or a minimum level of GDP, perhaps $2 billion per year. To become a member the smallest nations simply would have to join together with other small nations or with a larger nation, or be content with some kind of associate membership.

WORLD PEACE NEWS

By Doug Everingham

(Editor's note: distilled from a much longer communication)

Tom's (Liggett, editor of World Peace News)…editorials have often deplored that groups formerly committed to government at the world level have diluted this essential minimum of commitment to law and order to keep the peace at national or international level (making, judging and enforcing law). Too often, he has pointed out, formerly committed world federalists settle for a broader constituency by affiliating or merging with groups that seek something less effective – patching up loose confederations of nations like the failed League of Nations, UN and the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Empire). They have become luke-warm apologists for world government, which has been demonized by fear mongers as just more of the worst aspects of national governments.  The more "acceptable" concept, "governance" makes small cosmetic or token amendments to the UN Charter like increasing the number of permanent members of the Security Council, limiting their veto to matters in which the members voting are not a concerned party, setting up the International Criminal Court, Kyoto protocols on the environment, etc. with no democratic means of enforcing such treaty commitments.

I have sympathy with Tom's view. I accept that but I feel that it would be no derogation from the venerable commitment if Tom and all federalist would acknowledge that they are just one channel for influencing world citizens, law makers and other groups towards democratic world law.

Existing law and order united formerly separate sovereign states in peaceful national federations, notably parliamentary democracies like Tom's country, USA, and mine, Australia. Sadly, often both countries (and perhaps most others from time to time) reject moves to honor governance that the UN and other treaty organizations establish as international "law." The most consistently enforced and tolerated supranational governance is that of the Bretton Woods triplets, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization (WB, IMF, and WTO) wherein even the most powerful nations (economically and militarily) acquiesce meekly in confidential (star chamber) non-appealable (kangaroo court) WTO decisions dominated by private banking interests, penalizing governments for passing laws that deprive transnational corporations of freedom. This WTO limits national trade regulations to those of the most "business-friendly" treaty member, regardless of special or general public or environmental needs.

So "governance" in practice perpetuates the evils of national sovereignty, with UN Charter declaring in Article 2 the sovereign "right" of nations to make war if they feel threatened. I favor more than polite mutual recognition of groups favoring divers tracks toward a common goal of a just and peaceful world.

I've campaigned for democratic world federal government groups for over 50 years and we seem no nearer to getting consensus of voters and governments since the early Cold War years. Tom has urged a convention of UN members to draft a federal world constitution – like the convention of the loosely confederated sovereign states of the then less United States which produced the US Constitution -- and the convention of Australian colonies which met to draft the Australian federal constitution.

I'm all for continuing this push, but I now think it will fail unless publicly committed to work with other approaches. Parliamentary democracies are now not just an example of how to achieve a just peace. Increasingly, they are the enemies of a just peace.

Some advocates of "direct democracy" call for bypassing the UN and national governments and increasing the number of world citizens declaring themselves sovereign citizens of the eventual world order, sometimes starting from World Citizen's registries, with or without registration of "mundialized" communities symbolically declaring themselves world territory. They may have derived their maximum momentum from "world citizen number one," Garry Davis, who interrupted the fledgling UN Assembly and was invited by the Assembly President, Dr. Bert Evatt of Australia, to explain his concern to put human rights and individual sovereignty ahead of government sovereignty.

Others prefer a more local and direct start at many centers – local cooperatives forming networks which should progressively interlock with liaison among different levels, regions, interests and functions to produce decision in groups of manageable size with maximum opportunity for inputs form all shareholders, until eventually nested networks (networks of networks) would involve everyone. This approach is thriving but slowly, as outlined by the Sociocratic Center and Dr. Shann Turnbull's writings, including A New Way to Govern: Organizations and Society after Enron.

A new approach has emerged lately, the simultaneous policy (SP) of the International Simultaneous Policy Organization (ISPO) founded by John Bunzl in London. This has combined the citizen registry, munializing groups, and specific interest groups approaches with a multilateral legislation approach which may be the most promising demonstration of the value and feasibility of world government in world issues. I recommend it to all democracy seekers.

I think it needs the combined efforts of all approaches to cure the world full of plutocrats and warmongers, and I'd like to see world federalists and others acknowledge kinship with those pushing for similar outcomes via different paths.

NEWS AND NOTES FROM ALL OVER

World Citizen Award

On March 14, in Leipzig Germany, Major Florian Pfaff received the 2008 World Citizen Award from the Association of World Citizens (AWC). The award is in recognition of the moral decision by Major Pfaff to refuse orders to participate in the US led attack on Iraq. Major Pfaff followed his conscience, believing the war was an act of aggression and violation of international law. In 2005 the Federal Administrative Court in Germany ruled that Major Pfaff was "righteous" in his decision and not guilty of any illegal behavior. The award was presented during the Leipzig Book Fair at the Congress Center. Other individuals who have received the AWC World Citizen Award include Dr. Robert Muller, former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General; the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Stanislav Petrov, the subject of a documentary movie titled The Man Who Saved the World, due to be released in Sept. of 2008.

Iraq Conference

The Global Constitution Forums will present "Iraq, What to Do?" on Saturday, April 12 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA. The forum hopes to address the above question in a manner that is non partisan, covering a spectrum of viewpoints and committed to a freewheeling yet respectful dialogue focused on solutions rather than debates about past mistakes. Speakers include William R. Polk, author of Understanding Iraq; Sohail Hashmi, author of An Islamic Solution to the problem of Iraq; Bill Pace, contributor to A United Nations Emergency Peace Service; Joseph Schwartzberg, A New Perspective on Peacekeeping; and Robert Dreyfuss; author of Getting Out. Cost is $25 (includes a box lunch) with advance registration, or $35 after April 5. Students with valid ID are free. Only 180 seats are available. However, there will be special observer category for current policymakers, current soldiers and families of soldiers who have died in Iraq.


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