Urgent change in global governance

Sunday, January 16, 2022


                                    A duty of memory. The memory of oblivion. The duty to take action and speak out.

A crime of silence.

New Year’s Eve 2021 calls for a very careful reflection and for decisions that should be taken without delay. The year that has just ended has been unusually rich with events and tendencies that must be kept in mind and corrected to avoid points of no return from being reached. For the first time in history, some of the threats we are facing at a global scale are of an irreversible nature and the Earth’s habitability could be put in jeopardy already in the Anthropocene, if we forget once again what was agreed and we fail to assume our intergenerational responsibilities.

Until very recently we were unaware of what was happening in the world and we couldn’t express ourselves. Additionally, an age-old discrimination prevented us from acting together. After Roosevelt created in 1945 the United Nations, setting up a new wisely designed multilateral frame, the reason of power prevailed once again over the power of reason, and weapons succeeded again over words. “We, the peoples”, the protagonists of the first sentence of the Charter of the United Nations, did not yet exist at that time, and the General Assembly was then composed by state representatives -all of them male- ... Until three decades ago, 90% of human beings were born, lived and died within a few square kilometres, dominated by absolute male power. They were fearful, silent, unequal, obedient, submissive... Now, when it is more urgent than ever, the peoples may at last participate and they do so actively -that is, they live democratically- because, thanks to a great extent to the digital technology, they can express themselves freely. And equal dignity for everyone has been gradually acknowledged -this being the greatest recent triumph of mankind.

When recalling the major features of year 2021 - plutocratic neoliberal governance, pandemics, climate change, emigration, hunger and extreme poverty... - we must be aware that, after remaining silent since the dawn of time, the time has come for democratic multilateralism which is now possible thanks to citizen participation. Our lives should no longer be secured by military bases and highly expensive war weapons, but rather by the new solutions offered by the duly renewed United Nations - with a General Assembly having a weighted vote instead of veto, and comprising “We, the peoples”, the civil society, alongside the representatives of the governments. These new solutions should allow us -as so wisely advised by José Luis Sampedro- “to sail in a different direction in a new ship”.

In order to ensure the participation of all citizens, we must all be aware of the current challenges we have ahead and of how we should cope with them. We must have a “memory of oblivion” and, all together, all equal, all aware, actively participate, knowing at all times what we should do so that human intelligence always prevails over “artificial intelligence” and not the other way around. An “informed and diligent” citizenship should be able under such crucial circumstances to fulfil the purpose entrusted to "the peoples" in 1945: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”... the scourge of an exhausted planet, the scourge of a small number of formidable consortia that are leading the world as a whole towards the abyss... In this respect, it is worthwhile recalling Aurelio Peccei when, in the 1960s, with as much anticipation as wisdom, and acting as a sentinel of the future, he already warned of "the chasm ahead of us”.  And, with him, all those who have since then endlessly repeated the same alerts and warnings which have always gone unheeded. The role of the scientific, academic, artistic, intellectual communities... has become much greater today when there are so many “peoples” that have realized that a response must be given to their calls and not those of the “market”... UNESCO, the US Academy of Sciences, the "Earth Summits" (Rio in 1992; Johannesburg in 2002...)... have invariably been neglected due to the hegemonic ambitions of those who, since the 1980s, have gathered together in plutocratic groups (G6, G7, G8, G20).

With President Barack Obama in the White House, it became possible to sign -in that shiny Autumn of 2015- the Paris Agreements on Climate Change and the United Nations Resolution to “transform the world”, both related with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. But when after a few months -I must insist on it- Donald Trump imposed once again the hegemony of the United States and announced unequivocally that he would not implement the agreements signed by his predecessor, the response was silence. Silence all over the world. Silence in the European Union... because, in the meantime, the EU capacity to take action had been substantially decreased when unanimity became a requirement for the approval of some of the most relevant decisions... and unanimity is the very antithesis of democracy!

To achieve the urgent change in global governance and promote the United Nations I have briefly described above, the first solemn act should be the endorsement of a Universal Declaration of Democracy, because only a genuine democracy at all levels (local, national, regional and global) - and this is the main belief that must serve as a premise - will allow to straighten up the current wreckage and to start walking towards a future worthy of the immense faculties that distinguish the human species: thinking, imagining, anticipating, innovating, creating! Every unique human being capable of creating, of inventing, there lies our hope.

A duty of memory... and a crime of silence - now that we may, and we therefore should express ourselves-. The memory of immigrants from countries rich in natural resources... which are exploited by international oligopolies... Only three days ago, on 28 December 2021, the press reported that 188 migrants had drowned off the coast of Libya... Libya! What a great value is given to the resources found in Libya's soil and subsoil... and what a small value is given to the inhabitants of this country... The memory of Yemen with more than 70% of its population living in extreme poverty, a population placed "under the caring custody" of the great Saudi economic power... And let´s not forget the Syrians, after seven years of endless suffering caused by a war that those who were supposed to prevent or solve in a context of multilateral mediation have been unable to stop... And the memory of Afghanistan... And of so many African countries -Africa, a source of wisdom and human solidarity-... And the memory of Haiti, a country that should be always taken into account because, after all kinds of suffering, "it has run out of tears", according to "El País" from 22 August... The memory of the past consequences of supremacism in Europe and Asia, in order to prevent intolerable actions such as the invasion of Iraq from happening again... or "Operation Condor" in Latin America... which opened wounds that will be difficult to heal... And a special duty of memory to solve once and for all the coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis. In June 1995, with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin an agreement was reached... which was immediately ruined due to the assassination of the Prime Minister... The memory of the autocracies that in many countries allow corrupt governance, drug trafficking and intolerable abuses of power... The memory of the assault on the Capitol of the United States... The constant memory of the abused Nature... The memory of the Arctic pole that, when melting, releases methane gas with an ecological effect far greater than carbon dioxide... And let us not forget the huge military expenditure that is made while the inhabitants of these well-protected territories often starve and live in extremely precarious conditions... I cannot stop repeating that it is intolerable to spend every day more than 4 billion dollars on weapons and military expenditure while thousands of people are dying of starvation, most of them children between the ages of one and five...

A new concept of security must be implemented without delay to provide citizens with more resources of all kinds in the event of natural disasters, health problems, etc., always bearing in mind the five priorities of the United Nations: food, drinking water, quality health services, care for the environment and lifelong education... The duty of memory of more than 4000 feminicides in 2020 in Latin America, as revealed in an article published in Other News on 25 November 2021... The duty of memory of the recent authentic "fraud" of Glasgow COP 26, where it turned out that the "commitments" reached were not "binding"! (And, therefore, were not “commitments”).  And, only 48 hours later it was made public that the NATO's capacity for action had to be extended "for geostrategic and defensive reasons"... As always!

As always, the language of weapons, of strength, of the culture of war instead of the culture of encounter, dialogue, conciliation, words, peace. Against authoritarianism, a democratic multilateralism...

A duty of memory of those who violate the human rights of their fellow human beings by refusing to be vaccinated, and in doing so also act against all scientific recommendations. But above all the duty of remembrance of those who have had no access to a vaccine due to the reprehensible greed of the most prosperous.  Now that we are aware of what is happening on Earth as a whole, we must get to the root of the problems... and no longer accept the social gap which gives rise to so much affliction that cannot be solved by resorting to force but rather to words and justice.

A duty of memory to avoid going back to the “pre-pandemic normality”, with huge drinking parties that are highly infectious... Let’s not get back to the globalisation of ignorance, with thousands of people acting irresponsibly, instead of being aware of the essential role they must play in the redirection of the ecological and social situation, and being ready to actively participate... If “going back to normality” means going back to plutocratic governance, being ruled by the intentions of huge, omnipresent and omnipotent consortia, the current challenges on a global scale will become even worse. Some years ago we had no guidelines to follow. Now we do: the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs... And the democrat President Joe Biden in the White House.

If only the extremely rich did pay their fair share of taxes! I was recently shocked to learn in the press that in Spain 2/3 of the fortunes over 30 million euros will not have to pay wealth taxes... All equal -supremacism and racism must disappear in the near future-, all united, let us raise our voice and participate in the reconstruction, the invention of the future that we owe to the generations that are just a step behind ours... Albert Camus' sentence “I despise them because they could have done so much and dared so little” encourages me, more than ever in the past, to act with urgency. There would be no excuse for us today if our descendants were to blame us for not having duly prepare ourselves to face current challenges, some of them of an irreversible nature.

“The supreme duty is to go on” said Pedro Salinas. Yes: failure occurs only when we stop trying.  Let’s transform the world, according to the title of the UN resolution on the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. A duty of memory. A duty of action. A crime of silence.

Glasgow: “We the peoples, compelled to rebellion”

Monday, November 22, 2021

Despite the excellent scientific reports that have once again alerted us of the need to adopt urgent measures and implement without delay the Paris Agreements on Climate Change, and the 2030 Agenda from United Nations General Assembly -deemed at “transforming the world”-, despite the attendance of so many active institutions and representatives of the global citizenry, with a high rate of young people having a great communication capacity... despite the fact that there are countries that strongly believe that current trends need to be immediately redirected without any hesitation... finally “big powers” (financial, military, energy, digital and media industries...) have again  further postponed, with a complete lack of intergenerational responsibility, the implementation of measures that could still stop the current ecological drift.

Since decades -I cannot stop repeating it- many communities, especially the scientific community, have drawn attention to the need to radically transform the global governance, pointing out the urgency of a joint action at a global scale through a democratic, rational and efficient multilateralism that would also allow solving conflicts by means of the power of reason instead -as has been the case since the dawn of time- of the reason of power. “If you want peace, be prepared for war”:  this rather perverse adagio has been systematically adopted by the absolute male power that has had in its hands for centuries the reins of our common destiny... and still has them today -I will insist over and over again until this is no longer the case- since every day 4,000 million dollars are invested in military expenses and in the weapon industry while thousands of people are dying from hunger and extreme poverty, most of them girls and boys ranging from one to five years old.

Despite the attempts of three American Democrat Presidents to move from force to word - Wilson in 1919, Roosevelt in 1945, and Obama in 2015 - the truth is that their efforts in favour of multilateralism have invariably been countered by hegemonic convictions which are leading us today to a clear deterioration of the Earth's habitability conditions -after having ignored all warnings about the irreversible processes that are threatening humanity as a whole for the first time in history.

The failure of present generations to fulfil their urgent duties could irremediably lead to the rights of future generations being seriously violated.

Since the 1950s the UNESCO -thanks to the foundation of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature; the geological, hydrological and oceanographic programmes; and “Man and the Biosphere” ... as well as the Club of Rome that has been warning about the limits of growth... and the US Academy of Sciences in 1979, stressing the role of seawater... and then two "Earth Summits"! (In Rio in 1992 and Johannesburg in 2002)... and the "Earth Charter" in 2000 -.... and the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (United Nations 1999)... all of them supporting guidelines for the future which have always been set aside by neoliberal plutocratic groups (G-6,G-7,G-8,G-20) driven by American Presidents belonging to the Republican Party...

Finally, in the hopeful autumn of 2015, the Paris Agreements and the United Nations Resolution on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs were signed with President Obama... A duty of memory: a few months later, President Trump came into office and immediately said that America would not implement any of the agreements signed by his predecessor... And the European Union, unable to oppose him, remained silent... because there are some measures whose approval requires unanimity... and unanimity is the antithesis of democracy...! With a six-year delay, and already on the brink of the abyss, at the beginning of COP-26 some expectations were raised by "commitments reached between the major powers"... but it then turned out that these were "non-binding" commitments!

What an outrage, what a nerve!    If they are non-binding they may not be considered as commitments. This is how the great opportunity that Glasgow represented has ended in uncertainty and despair, because a large part of the conscious citizenry clearly knows that the last opportunities to face and redirect the current situation have now vanished.

It will therefore be necessary to substantially modify our daily behaviour, lifestyle, before red lines in ecological deterioration are reached... Citizens can no longer be, to a large extent, "distracted spectators" of what is happening.

The Arctic is melting and not only do the sun's rays lack a "mirror" to reflect them, the  permafrost has also been accumulating for centuries large pockets of methane which, when released, have a far worse effect on climate change than carbon dioxide.

Clearly, the solution is now "We, the peoples", as we are so wisely and prematurely referred to at the beginning of the Charter of the United Nations. In 1945, the “peoples” had no voice of their own and most of them were born, lived and died in a few square kilometres... Their possibilities to be informed were limited to their immediate environment. They were, thus, fearful, obedient, silent, submissive. In the last three decades, they have become capable to express themselves freely, owing to a large extent to digital technology, and discrimination based on gender, sexual sensitivity, ideology, belief, ethnicity, etc., has been largely eliminated.

Now, at last, “the peoples” may finally actively participate at a local, regional and global scale.  With great popular clamour, plutocratic governance may be eliminated and democratic multilateralism can be strengthened... Now, "the peoples" may demand once and for all that nuclear warheads cease to be an intolerable "sword of Damocles" for humanity as a whole... And that tax havens disappear from the map, and a new concept of security is implemented that shall reduce the enormous expenditure on weapons and current military spending, and shall allow the inhabitants of territories that are so efficiently protected by current defence systems to also have access to food, drinking water, quality health services, lifelong education for all, proper care of the environment... The peoples shall at last take action because the Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself –what a wonderful foresight! – states the following in the second paragraph of the preamble: ... "so that man is not compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion...". Some days ago I published “Glasgow, global consciousness to change the current path”. In the light of the poor results of the COP26 and, above all, the untimely and discouraging announcement that the USA will at very short notice significantly increase its military power- it has now become clear that it is up to the conscious citizenry, “compelled to rebellion”, to see -with joined hands and voices- that the requested transitions are made before points of no return are reached.  And we  “the peoples”, looking into the eyes of our descendants, shall call for governments that are willing to implement a diligent multilateralism, as well as for a United Nations that will still be capable of taking the most urgent steps leading to the radical changes that cannot be further delayed. Compelled to rebellion, we will achieve, in no time, the transition from power to word. We will invent a new future.

Glasgow, global consciousness to change the current direction

Monday, November 8, 2021

We’ve all heard that when the Titanic was sinking, the orchestra continued playing waltzes. In no time all musicians and dancers had disappeared under the water. Let’s do whatever it takes to avoid the same thing from happening at a planetary scale. Despite countless alarms and appeals, the plutocratic neoliberal governance continues to take clearly inadequate and partial measures, instead of the strong, urgent and joint action that is needed. Big corporations are still earning huge benefits and misleading people when they should take the lead in the promotion of change and citizenship awareness.  And while diffidently expressing their support for ecological measures and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Great Powers are investing bigger amounts in weapons and military expenses, thus stressing their disagreement with “contending powers”, when they should at least take an emergency break to allow the joint and global action that is urgently needed to avoid further deterioration of the habitability of the Earth. And, as a result of the above, a larger number of war devises are being stocked -including nuclear artefacts, what a nonsense!-, thus investing -I must insist once again- 4,000 million dollars per day, while thousands of people are dying from hunger and extreme poverty, most of them girls and boys ranging from one to five years old.
It is sensible to have appropriate defence mechanisms... but the defence of people living in those well-protected areas must not be disregarded. The United Nations have appropriately identified five major priorities: food, drinking water, quality health services, lifelong education for everyone, looking after the environment. I must stress once again that this new concept of human security must prevail now, without delay. It would allow us to solve many of the big global problems we are facing today: forced migration, the impact of natural disasters, the globalization of ignorance... For decades, the UNESCO (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Geological, Hydrological and Oceanographic Programs, “Man and the Biosphere”, the ecological reserves...); the Club of Rome (“Growth Limits”...); the USA Academy of Sciences (1979); the first “Earth Summit” (Rio de Janeiro, 1992); the Charter of the Earth in 2000; the second “Summit” in 2002 in Johannesburg... have made increasingly urgent appeals, always unheard by the GDP governance, which despises multilateralism and encourages supremacism.
In the “hopeful autumn” of 2015, with the democrat President Barack Obama in the White House, it became possible to sign -in the General Assembly of United Nations- the Paris Agreements on Climate Change and the Resolution to “transform the world” whose aim was the urgent implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. These were two particularly relevant and appropriate documents because they requested - at last! - from global citizenship, who was now aware of the seriousness of the situation, to take appropriate and responsible actions for future generations.
But, a few months later, the astonishing Donald Trump became President of the United States, endorsing every hegemonic assumption of the Republican Party, and making it clear - with an unusual vigour and alacrity - that he would not implement the Paris agreements nor the 2030 Agenda... And everyone remained silent. The rest of the world remained silent. And he European Union, once a source and an example of solidarity, democracy and multilateralism, was unable to oppose his statements, because the adoption of far-reaching resolutions sometimes requires unanimity... and unanimity is the opposite of democracy! And nothing was done until the arrival of the democratic duo Biden-Harris, six years later... The Arctic is already melting by leaps and bounds and the "permafrost" not only entails the disappearance of the "mirror" that reflects the sun's rays but also the release of large quantities of methane, which is much more pollutant than carbon dioxide... And the Antarctic is beginning to crack and the glaciers are shrinking... And, most alarming of all, despite the action of laudable civil associations, the world as a whole continues to be caught in the economic web of production relocation, energy sources, tax havens... with growing social gaps.... We are becoming closer and closer to the abyss of irreversible processes, which would entail leaving behind a wrongful and irretrievable legacy for our descendants. In the 1960s Aurelio Piccei already warned: “Chasm ahead!”.
“We the peoples, ... are determined to save future generations from the scourge of war". This is how the Charter of the United Nations begins, with as much clarity as capacity to foresee the future. Because, in 1945, the peoples didn’t yet exist. 90% of humanity was born, lived and died in a few square kilometres, thus ignoring what was going on beyond their immediate environment, always placed under the absolute male power. They were obedient, fearful, silent, they had no voice and could not express their opinions. But today, for the first time in history -and there lies our hope- they can express themselves. Mankind now has a voice of its own and the mass media at their disposal. And today - we must insist on this - all human beings are equal in dignity, with no discrimination based on gender, sexual sensitivity, ideology, beliefs, ethnicity... Now, at last, "We, the peoples" can demand, through great popular clamours, a democratic multilateral governance, whose first decision must be the adoption of the "Universal Declaration on Democracy" and which, having the support of Great Powers, should firmly redirect the current trends.
Only thus will the G-20 meetings in Rome and the Ecological Summit in Glasgow be able to achieve their pressing objectives. Only thus will we dare look into the eyes of those who come within a stone's throw of us and tell them: “We have behaved as "free and responsible” individuals, as the UNESCO Constitution defines educated people. We will first have to overcome the resistance of so many... And to alert those who, despite the countless appeals, still remain distracted and obfuscated, carelessly dancing as if nothing was happening ... as in the wreck of the Titanic...