Now at last “We, the peoples”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The time has come for citizens to get involved without delay in both local and global governance in order to be able to tackle the irreversible processes that have today become a serious threat for the standards of living of the planet Earth.

It’s been years since the UNESCO, the Club of Rome, the United States National Academy of Sciences and the UN panel of scientists first requested and then urged to monitor the prejudicial effects on environment -soil, sea and air- produced by “greenhouse” gasses emissions and resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, especially those used for industrial, transport and cooling activities.

To ensure that these urgent calls would not be ignored and that the appropriate measures would be implemented, it was essential for democratic multilateralism to swiftly and efficiently operate and, therefore, to provide United Nations with all personnel, defence and financial resources that were needed to allow an efficient and urgent response.

Neoliberalism not only ignored the many requests from the scientific and academic communities, it also put the common fate of mankind in the hands of just a few countries (G6, G7, G8, G20 plutocratic groups), who submissively obeyed their master’s voice and took decisions based on short term financial interests, without taking into account the obvious deterioration signs such as the climate change and the melting of polar ice caps.

In the autumn of year 2015, and owing largely to President Obama, Paris Agreements on Climate Change were signed and UN approved the 2030 Agenda, which contained the Sustainable Development Goals for “Transforming our World”.

The period for hope did not last very long: President Donald Trump sidelined United Nations, as his predecessors of the Republican Party had done in the past, and he then proclaimed that the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives regarding climate change would not be implemented.

And silence prevailed. Silence from the European Union which was still seen by many countries as the main reference with regards to universal values that should prevail.

Silence also from big global consortia, the most faithful guardians of communication and information media. 

And silence -the most baffling silence- from the academic, scientific, artistic and literary communities... that is, from intellectuals.

All were absent-minded, all looked elsewhere, instead of caring about future generations just behind us, instead of letting Mr. Trump know that no outrage would be committed against humanity without being punished. 

The American President asked for more money for defence, and all countries remained silent and submissive, and immediately said they would increase their investment in military expenditure and weapons.   Apparently more than 4 billion dollars per day were not enough to ensure territorial defence... although thousands of people were dying every day from hunger and extreme poverty, most of them boys and girls ranging from one to five years old.

The time has now come to take notice of what is happening and raise our voice, now that for the first time in history we, the peoples, can freely express ourselves.

We should bear in mind Stephane Hessel’s words urging us to become angry and commit ourselves, and José Luis Sampedro’s advise to young people when he told them they should “change direction and embark on a new ship”.

It is today urgent to establish a new concept of security, so that these big amounts of money are no longer invested exclusively in armies and weapons for territorial defence, but also in efficient prevention and response systems allowing us, for example, to deal with fires that have -in America itself- reduced to ashes thousands of acres without any essential step being taken during one whole year to protect the forests and with no available ground and air technology  for an efficient  response.  The same applies to other natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis... In a word, we have prepared ourselves and have gathered thousands of soldiers in barracks in order for them to tackle military conflicts, but not to deal with natural disasters, in order for them to be ready to protect the property of land, but not the well-being of people living there.

Once again, if the opportunity was given to United Nations to act as it should, all human beings, equal in dignity, would have access to the five social priorities set by UN System: food, drinking water, high quality health services, environmental protection and education.

I must insist: a new concept of security is needed to be able to tackle global threats. Faced with problems that have an impact on humanity as a whole, all citizens of the world should react.  We must indeed admit that, in terms of quantity, most countries are irrelevant. Compared to India or China, each with more than 1 billion inhabitants, most nations of the world have no weight, if an objective analysis is made. But they might be extremely influential in terms of quality, if they show with their actions, their projects, their vision of the future, etc. that they have the ability to correct current worldwide trends and to enter the new era full of hope.

The time has come to hear the voice of “We, the peoples”, especially the voice of women and young people who have taken on today responsibilities they were not allowed to assume up to now.

Because I’m deeply concerned about the silence of some of our leaders and the statements of others (such as those made by the heads of IT corporations), I’ve come to believe that the time has come to promote without any further delay big worldwide demonstrations from the “peoples”, as citizens were referred to so prematurely and so wisely in the Charter of the United Nations in 1945, citizens who are today our only hope.

There is only one sole and most urgent solution at a global scale: Democratic Multilateralism

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

“... Everything is still possible... but who if not all of us can make it become true?”.
Miquel Martí i Pol

Having a deep knowledge of potentially irreversible processes, I’ve pointed out a long time ago the great challenges humanity must face and try to tackle with a democratic multilateralism that will prevent us from reaching points of no return. Only then shall we be able to start a new era where the power of reason will prevail against the power of force, and weapons shall be replaced by words, thus allowing us to assume our unavoidable intergenerational responsibilities.

It would be a historical and irreparable mistake not to do everything possible so that the legacy of the Anthropocene is not a seriously deteriorated standard of life, with totally inefficient governance systems entrusted to plutocratic groups consisting of 6, 7, 8 or 20 countries, under whose cover lies the worldwide hegemony that has always been pursued by United States Republican Party.

In their address to the UN General Assembly in autumn 2018, Presidents Macron and Sánchez made it clear how urgent it is to reinforce multilateralism.

As a scientist, I insist that it is essential to have a deep knowledge of reality to be able to transform it deeply if needed. Otherwise superficial and biased information and appraisals will continue to convey to the public a distorted image of facts and, therefore, a distorted image of the actions that must be taken.

Had it not been for Mosul and its oil, would Iraq have been invaded on the fallacious grounds of the possession of “weapons of mass destruction”? Why does Bengazi matters much more than Tripoli in the case of Libya? Would there have been such an obstinate interest in attacking Iran were it not for the fact that it owns, together with Venezuela, the best oil wells? If Venezuela had not such fantastic oil reserves... would the big consortia placed under the leadership of Trump have paid so much attention to this country?

For the time being, Trump has already managed to achieve a historical record in military expenditure. Everybody accepts obediently and submissively the intentions of the magnate who, at the same time, proclaims that he will not implement neither Paris Agreements on Climate Change -whose signature was made possible thanks to the relevant role played by his predecessor President Obama- nor the Sustainable Development Goals approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2015 in order to “transform the world”. 

The five priorities set by United Nations to ensure a dignified life -food, water, health, environment, education- that should be the rationale for development aid for the poorest countries have no value for plutocratic groups (G7, G8, G20) who were entrusted in the eighties by President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to take control of our common destiny, while United Nations System was excluded from this endeavour.

The worst thing that is happening today is the trivialization of the irreversibility of processes that can have an irretrievable effect on the Earth’s habitability. Since UNESCO created in 1947 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and then launched the Geological, Hydrological, Oceanographic Plans...there has been the great programme “Man and the Biosphere”...; and in 1942 Aurelio Peccei, founder of the Club of Rome, warned about the “limits of growth”; and in 1979 United States National Academy of Sciences informed that -apart from the dangerous increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses emissions-  what is even worse is that  the oceans recapture capacity was decreasing significantly. 

The general public has always received a much greater number of false than true data, the reason being -and this is another big issue that should be urgently tackled- that most media speak with “their master’s voice”. They are in the payroll of the most powerful consortia that have gradually annihilated the response capacity of a drifting civilization. This is a consequence, as can be seen in the European Union, of money having replaced the invulnerable values and “democratic principles” established in the UNESCO Constitution.

Faced with the triple challenge of climate change and the biosphere’s deterioration, extreme poverty and nuclear threat, which all require the immediate implementation of a new concept of security and labour, a new lifestyle, we are living purposeless and without a path to follow. Instead of promoting the search for balanced alternatives, instead of having each day a largest number of responsible citizens who are the actors of their own destiny rather than mere impassive spectators of events... instead of raising our voice through a big popular clamour, now that we can freely express ourselves... we are easily intimidated, dazzled, and we walk aimlessly. It is clear that the biggest problem humanity must face is not the difference but rather indifference, not the recognition of the equal dignity of all human beings but rather supremacism and racism.

It will be up to “We, the peoples”, as we are so wisely referred to at the beginning of the Charter of the United Nations, to take over. At last women will get on the stand on an equal footing...; at last young people will become aware of their responsibility regarding the quality of the intergenerational legacy, and will take firm action so that measures are implemented to prevent humanity from socially collapsing and to avoid the deterioration of the quality of life.

This popular mobilization must be led by the academic, scientific, artistic and literary communities, that is by intellectuals who are aware of the fact that tomorrow might be too late.

Every unique human being capable of creating, there lies our hope: the future must be invented, by overcoming both inertia and outdated formulas.

To be able to straighten the many crooked paths, at this crucial time, it is indispensable to transform the global governance. In previous papers I have summarized the proposals that have recently been made for the refoundation of United Nations, and I have also mentioned the urgent need for a Universal Declaration of Democracy[i] -ethical, social, political, economic, cultural and international democracy- capable of promoting the full exercise by all citizens of the rights they are inherently entitled to. It is worthwhile stressing in this respect the interesting and timely proposal known as San Francisco Promise that was made public in 6 November 2018 and which lays the foundations that should allow us to convert the Charter into a Constitution of the United Nations, with all functional and structural reforms that would be necessary.

“You will have to change direction and embark on a new ship”, said José Luis Sampedro to the young generations. Let’s now speedily follow his advice.

Women and young people, the cornerstones of a new era

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Let’s all join together in the women and student protests of next 8 and 15 March -because equality concerns everybody without exception.

Women and young people will raise their voices, both in the street and in the cyberspace, to support the essential and urgent changes that must take place before we reach a point of no return.

At last, we’ll become “We, the peoples”, as we are referred to at the beginning of the Charter of the United Nations! In 1945 it was too soon because mankind still lived under the absolute male power and the vast majority of individuals were born, lived and died within a few square kilometres. They were fearful, obedient, submissive, silent human beings.

Today -thanks to a great extent to the digital technology- there are many human beings who can freely express themselves, who are aware of what is happening and, above all, women -who were marginalized for centuries- are about to play within a few years the essential role they deserve to play on an equal footing.

Humanity is facing for the first time in history potentially irreversible processes and this is why specially vigorous and tough measures must be taken to prevent the quality of our intergenerational legacy from deteriorating -something that would represent a historic mistake.

Unfortunately many individuals remain impassive spectators instead of being involved, committed actors. Mass media -many of which speak with the “master’s voice”- are, according to a brilliant expression from Soledad Gallego, very powerful weapons of “mass distraction”.

Scientific, academic, artistic and literary communities -in short, Intellectuals- should be aware of the seriousness of the current situation and trends, and should take the lead of popular reaction. But the bureaucratic-cybernetic maze that goes along with the neoliberal drift and the governance of its plutocratic groups (G7, G8, G20) has prevented up to now -there have been recently some upturns that can be of interest in that respect- the implementation of specific measures that were the cause in 2015 for great hope for those really aware of the nature of global threats posed by a world placed in the hands of irresponsible leaders. In fact, the Resolution of 21 October 2015 from UN General Assembly, where the 2030 Agenda is established together with 17 Sustainable Development Goals, is entitled “Transforming our World”. And Paris Agreements on Climate Change  were signed immediately afterwards in the firm belief that, if we bear in mind our descendants, we will understand how urgent it is to take action without delay.

The nomination of United States President Donald Trump, unexpected in so many respects, should have had an immediate response when he said he would not fulfil the commitments made by his predecessor. The European Union, a strictly monetary organization, didn’t have the ability nor the strength it should have shown at that time. On the contrary, following the instructions of the USA magnate, the G7 decided unanimously to increase funds devoted to defence (4,000 million dollars were already invested in military expenses and armament while thousands of people were dying every day from hunger and extreme poverty, most of them boys and girls ranging from one to five years old).

A new concept of security is urgently needed that will take into consideration not only the territories, but also food, health, education, environmental care... of people living within those territories.

“Two thirds of mankind have mobile communication”, as advertised in the International Mobile Congress that has just been hold in Barcelona. How wonderful! This can be the end of the governance of plutocratic groups and the beginning of a reinforced democratic multilateralism, with United Nations on par with the competencies it should assume immediately at a global scale.

Let’s join our voices to the voice of women and young people who in the next days will take the first steps to allow us to enter a new era in the best way possible.

On March 1st 2016 I wrote the following: “Your voice, / women around the world, / is the mighty force / that will move / what has until now been immovable. / A silent and unheard / voice / since the dawn / of time. / Today light is shed / on the roads / we’ll walk / together, / joining our voices / joining our hands / at the dawn / of a new era”.

Yes: let’s join our hands and voices!