WITHOUT DELAY: a “new beginning” worldwide

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

“Civilization on the arms of mercenaries”
Georges Moustaki in “Declaration” (1973)

Globalization has thrown the world off course. We have not met the serious challenges involving food, healthcare and the environment on which the quality of life of each human being depends, while at the same time:

• Speculators and rating agencies of dubious quality have provoked a chain reaction of turbulence in the worldwide economy that solely benefits the “great domain(energy, financial, military, media)”, with floods of news that shamefully conceal the genocide of thousands of people who die each day of starvation or who live in extreme poverty.
• This perfectly orchestrated hounding from the markets has progressively hindered political action, making it impossible to implement well-planned social and economic programs and tarnishing the image and careers of good leaders while, as a result of limitless greed and much incongruity, countries that are often dictatorships are hoisted into the limelight, converted into the “world’s factories” in which, as usual, production and huge profits for the “delocalizers” prompt them to look the other way, ignoring the citizens’ poor labor conditions and lack of human rights.
• Military spending and investment in weapons (which are largely inappropriate for the present conflicts) continue as if nothing had changed, and “security requirements” prompt many countries lacking in social services to acquire extremely costly war machinery: it is estimated that each day our confused and disoriented world invests 4 billion dollars in this sector, continuing to unduly promote a culture of imposition, violence and war, without providing for the peaceful conflict resolution. The first transparency that should be demanded is an accounting for these formidable expenditures, which are totally unjustified.
• The democratic principles so lucidly proclaimed in the UNESCO Constitution have been replaced by the laws of the market, prompting profound social inequalities and absolutely inadmissible living conditions for a large part of the world’s population.
• Attempts at world governance by groups of oligarchs from the world’s wealthiest nations have likewise yielded deplorable results: as was to be expected, the G7, G8… G20 haven’t been able to impose their policies on all of the countries of the world. The hegemony sought by President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher implied reducing the United Nations system to a mere humanitarian aid agency. But at the 2010 Seoul Summit it was clear that the G20 was incapable of providing adequate responses to this grave crisis.
• “Your silence is killing us”, screamed citizens willing to give their lives for freedom in Syria only two weeks ago, without so far having forced the dictator to cease crushing their protests with bullets. And Islamists have occupied Tahrir Square in Egypt demanding that Sharia be implemented… With these examples it’s clear that the only thing the groups of plutocrats are doing to resolve these serious problems is to make a fool of themselves, and at the price of so many lives!
• In the last few years, as passive spectators we have contemplated in horror invasions –Kosovo, Iraq…- prompted solely by the interests of the invaders, resulting in countless victims, disabled, displaced… with serious violations of human rights (torture, etc.). At present we are witnessing the incapacity of western governments, and especially the European Union, to address situations such as those that have arisen in Libya, Yemen, Syria… and which must urgently be resolved.
• Tax havens and generalized deregulation have enabled traffickers in drugs, arms, patents, money and persons to act with total immunity worldwide.
• Etc., etc....

In view of the foregoing and being acutely aware of many of our present circumstances that are not always obvious, in order to prompt the beginning of a new era I feel it is my duty to urge the adoption of a series of decisions that may counteract the “great domain”, regaining the progress achieved in so many areas in favor of all mankind.

President Obama could lead this historical turning point, using the G20 to urgently bring together all of the countries of the world into the United Nations to:

1. Immediately:

- With broad support, appoint a single negotiator to resolve the conflicts in Libya, Syria, Yemen and other similar ones that may arise.
- Worldwide aid to relieve hunger and poor living conditions in the most impoverished nations (Haiti, Somalia,…).
- Support for democratic transition and monitoring of judicial processes (reactivating the International Court of Justice and other international courts).
- Global regulation of financial flows (the WMF and WB being duly authorized and endowed with reference rating agencies).
- Total elimination of tax havens.
- Incorporation of the World Trade Organization within the United Nations System.

2. Immediately thereafter, implementing a constitutional process within a United Nations, endowed with the composition, structures and personal, financial and technical resources required to carry out its activities worldwide:
i) General Assembly 50% being representatives from member states and the other 50% being representatives from international institutions and organizations, and persons elected by national and regional associations, in previously agreed percentages.
A system of weighted voting would be used in deliberations of the General Assembly and in all United Nations institutions.
ii) A reinforced Security Council with balanced representation based on the countries’ current “specific weight”, with broad capabilities for mobilizing and coordinating (blue helmet) forces.
Among others, it would perform the following principal functions:
- Nuclear disarmament and the reduction of arms production. Development of new techniques in consonance with present challenges and their corresponding military strategies.
- Surveillance of the military arsenals of all countries.
- Fighting terrorism through global provisions, prohibiting the existence of “sanctuaries”.
- Rapid culmination of the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, as one of the top priorities for world stability.
- Worldwide coordination of the means for rapid response to natural or man-made catastrophes, reducing the impact of the former and preventing the latter to the extent possible.

iii) Social and Economic Security Council
- International guidelines for proper monetary balance. World Bank for development, preventing exploitation. The currency wars must be ended and atypical rating instruments eliminated.
- Economies of global sustainable development, with access to water, food, health and education for all human beings.
- Observance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Strengthening of genuine democracy: freedom of expression and right to accurate information, with adequate regulation to prevent the undue power of the media.
- Motivation of courts of justice worldwide to ensure full effect and respect for the rules of international law.
- Restructuring of delocalization to ensure that the profits prompted by greed do not conflict with environmental requirements or obscure poor working conditions.
- Promote multiculturalism and peaceful coexistence based on the essential ethic of equal dignity for all human beings.
- Prevention of supranational criminal trafficking, particularly those involving drugs whose consumption (as is the case with other products harmful to health, such as alcohol and tobacco) would become the exclusive responsibility of the consumer, with the corresponding awareness-raising campaigns, so that what is now a serious security problem may be redirected toward its real status as a health issue.
- Taxes on electronic financial transactions.
- Strict national regulation of privatized public services.

iv. Environmental Security Council
- With warranted compensation, worldwide implementation of new behavior and consumption patterns to moderate or prevent present tendencies that damage the environment, with special urgency afforded potentially irreversible situations.
- Support, scientifically oriented, of renewable energies and sources with low or zero emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which will subsequently enable more rational use of oil, an energy resource legacy that we shouldn’t deny to the future generations.
- Climate change must be made an indisputable global priority, so that the planet’s habitability won’t be compromised in the future.
- Special attention should be afforded to the oceans.

For all of the foregoing, in addition to the people involved in implementing these decisions, there could be a group of advisors of recognized worldwide renown.

“When an opportunity passes, it’s useless to run after it”. In this huge whirlwind we are perhaps now being afforded an opportunity to facilitate the transition from a secular culture of dominion and violence to a culture of dialogue, alliance and peace. That great transition to the force of the word that will mark a “new beginning”.

The future must be invented. Let’s not miss our chance to do so.

The stock markets rise, fall,… speculators are hounding us… And those who are starving? And the environment?

For everyone, especially in the West, there is only one topic at the national State level: the economic chaos prompted by Reagan and Thatcher’s globalization. And, in the meantime, social inequalities and the number of people without minimum sanitation and healthcare are increasing, extreme poverty is growing, and famine has been officially declared in the Horn of Africa. These were deaths foretold, which have been consistently ignored by those who are only interested in financial fluctuations.

And nothing has changed: tax havens continue to overflow, drug trafficking and arms sales are rampant, and the United Nations system is being progressively weakened while groups of the wealthiest nations (G7, G8, G20) pathetically make fools of themselves…

The courageous decisions that the world urgently demands have not been adopted and, as I never tire of repeating, the outcome is more tragic each day: 4 billion dollars invested daily in arms and military spending while in a silent and ignored genocide over 70,000 people die of hunger.

This situation is unbearable and should weigh on the conscience of all citizens of the earth. It’s time to say “enough!”.

In the last gasps of a system off course and faced with the winner-take-all attitude of the “great domain”, decisive action is essential from those who are still capable of recognizing that democratic principles must now firmly prevail over the “markets”.

The policies of the groups of plutocrats have been a resounding failure (witness what is transpiring in Libya, Syria, Yemen); it is also essential to rethink dirt-cheap manufacturing in the “world’s factories”, where labor conditions are totally ignored; disarmament, based strictly on new global security strategies, is a key factor in reestablishing economic balance in the world, as is the price of oil and, for environmental reasons, the rapid deployment of renewable energy sources…

Some of the “emerging” countries that were until very recently subjugated, are winning the battle, while the West’s loss of prestige is pathetic.

Thus, let’s stop the battle between the dollar zone and the euro zone and rapidly reach nationwide agreements between conservatives and liberals, republicans and democrats… because if we don’t, world leadership will soon be assumed by others who are not yet prepared to play a role of that nature and scope.

The day before yesterday President Obama reacted with great resolve against speculative threats from the “great domain” made through rating agencies whose impartiality leaves much to desire. Let’s hope that Europe reacts accordingly, and in a genuine emergency meeting adopts deep-cutting decisions involving economic federation, security autonomy and the re-founding of an efficient United Nations system with global authority…

We must put an end to the speculators’ current embarrassing spectacle that is being played out while we shirk both our social and environmental responsibilities to the future generations.

Outraged against the “Outraged”?

To the contrary, we are thankful for and inspired by the peaceful and positive “outraged” who offer proposals and freely express their points of view.

But with the violent “outraged”, no. Never.

Peaceful “outraged”, yes. It was about time. Gandhi said, “Peace is the way”. And now, for the first time, this road may be traveled without having to seek permission from the “powers that be”.

The Popular Party’s Deputy-Secretary for Communication Esteban Gonzalez Pons has stated that “Many Spaniards are becoming outraged against the “outraged”. I believe that even more are becoming outraged with those who, moved solely by their ambitions for power, never contribute anything, not even a little cooperation when it’s for the benefit for society as a whole, and at especially critical times.

Iran, China, Tunis, Egypt… Spain… Italy… and now Israel… it is clear that a new era of participative democracy is irreversibly dawning, thanks to the civic emancipation provided by new information and communications technology. In 1994 it was already possible to perceive and announce that the secular era of silence was over.

We are counted in the ballot boxes. But democracy doesn’t consist of being counted once in a while, but rather being constantly taken into account.

From the onset, the reaction to the “outraged” from non-progressives, from those who think more of themselves than of the present and future of the people, has been very much reticent. They continue to cling to the G7, then to the G8 or G20… while global and regional governance worsens and becomes more arbitrary, while the West continues off course for having sought to achieve total hegemony.

It’s clear that most of the promises that they make over and over again will be impossible to achieve without radical changes: How are they going to create jobs if, as was also the case in Portugal and the UK, they continue to believe that neo-liberal policies are the best? How are they going to create jobs if they accept as inevitable cuts in social benefits and public employment, interruption of public works projects, rampant privatization and delocalization of production to countries where labor is dirt cheap?

Thread by thread. Strand by strand, citizens who are now aware of their recently-acquired capacity for action will weave an immense web of solidarity around the world and will accelerate economic and social evolution. Let those who are “outraged against the outraged” know that fortunately the end is nigh for fragile democracies, with their political leaders weakened by the “great domain”.

The “outraged” will no longer tolerate this and -with all of the inconveniences that popular mobilizations may occasionally provoke- now that they can freely express themselves via Internet and mobile phones, they will peacefully but firmly propose in Spain and gradually elsewhere genuine democracies with active and transparent parliamentary representation (can we continue to accept parliamentarians who hold multiple jobs, or Euro-Deputies elected by less than 20% of voters?); and they will demand that political party programs include the appointment of high court judges with verifiable objectivity, professional standing and commitment demonstrated before a full session of parliament after the necessary nomination hearings; and that within a given term banks demonstrate that they no longer hold funds in tax havens, since otherwise many depositors and consumers will no longer trust them or acquire their products…; and that industrial delocalization be reduced, limiting greed and taking into consideration employment conditions in other countries and, above all, the environment…

And so on: rating agencies in the European Union, rejecting speculation and the hounding of the markets, rapidly adopting a system of economic federation; a new, urgent structure for the United Nations, displacing once and for all world governance by groups of the wealthiest countries (G7, G8) that has prompted so many conflicts; and once a strong United Nations system has been achieved, the initiation of a process of disarmament, as well as global ecological policies…

Having broken the silence of fear and submission that has always kept the people on the fringes of power, the “outraged” may make the 21st century the century of the people. I expressed this wish years ago. Today –thanks, Stéphane Hessel- it may become a reality. And that would really take the wind out of the sails of those who are outraged against the outraged (in reality, it already has)…