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
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
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.
TO THE EDITOR
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
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.
6431 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101
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
Thanks for bravely continuing to speak what R. M. Hutchins' biographer,
Harry Ashmore, called our "unreasonable truth."
[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
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
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
If a world federation misses that essential element of law, I'm taking
the second amendment.
315 Dean Dr.
Rockville MD 20851
[chuck at igc dot org]
TITANIC AND MOVING THE PUBLIC
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
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,
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.
(Editor's note: distilled from a much
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
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
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.
AND NOTES FROM ALL OVER
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.
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
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
$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