Global emergency situation: urgent action is imperative

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The global situation has reached an unprecedented and pressing level of complexity, and the current trends that need to be urgently addressed are greater in number and magnitude than in the past. With a world population of 8 billion human beings, the solutions applied so far to provide adequate food, efficient health services, quality education for all and, above all, "humane treatment" for all, have progressively shown their wear and tear and their inadequacy... The outlook is very bleak if we continue to think that "no one can fix this" and we are spectators of what is happening instead of actors fully involved in discovering and inventing solutions.

Yes: for the first time in history, the human species is progressively recognised as equal in dignity, whatever its gender, ethnicity, ideology, beliefs, sexual sensitivity, etc., and, moreover, it is able to express itself freely thanks to digital technology. Citizens, aware of global threats, particularly those that are potentially irreversible, can now act in favour of effective multilateralism on a planetary scale, can now fulfil their urgent intergenerational duties, can now ensure the preservation of the habitability of the Earth, can now exchange force for words...

For all this it is necessary to know, to remember and to act. Duty of memory... Crime of silence..., I have written it many times and I repeat it now. To invent the future and overcome inertia, it is imperative that "We, the peoples..." dare to know and know how to dare. If we remain spectators, impassive, distracted, abducted by social networks and "artificial" intelligence, we will not be able to "change course and ship" as Professor José Luis Sampedro advocated.

Now we can. We must act now, thinking of the generations to come. Otherwise, we would deserve that terrible sentence of Albert Camus, which I often quote: "I despise them because they dared so little when they could do so much".

Otto Schermer, in his recent splendid article "Protecting the flame", showed that we now, at last, have well-established guidelines and benchmarks, such as the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs to guide our daily behaviour. "We need to know what is happening, to respond creatively.... and to mobilise collectively", he writes. Know... and do! Science, conscience and the full use of the distinctive faculties of the human species...

As I have commented on other occasions, it is urgent to change confrontation for mediation and dialogue. Moving from "para bellum" to "para verbum" implies intergenerational alliances and alliances with the media to make the democratisation of multilateralism possible, starting with the United Nations System - adopting a Universal Declaration of Democracy, with the elimination of the five disqualifying vetoes since its very creation - and continuing with the European Union, incapable of deciding since it fell - or was pushed - into the trap of "unanimity".

Science and conscience for the benefit of the human species, ensuring that political decisions will in the future have the scientific basis that is essential to carry out the radical transformations demanded by the current situation on a planetary scale. As José Manuel Morán, Vice-President of the Spanish Chapter of the Club of Rome, underlined, "it is not only a question of being very clear about what should be done, but also about how".

I have already noted that one of the great challenges that must be addressed without delay is that of migration on a global scale. From 1 January this year to 9 March, 4 500 migrants have arrived on British shores alone. All human beings are equal in dignity and deserve equal treatment. It is a real disgrace, I never tire of repeating, that every day 4 billion dollars are spent on arms and military expenditure, while thousands of people die of hunger, extreme poverty and brutal uprooting... thousands of people die. The solution lies in a global pact on migration and the extension of the UN Convention on the Rights of Refugees. We must once and for all put an end to raised and armed hands and make open and outstretched ones proliferate. Now, in addition to territorial security, there is also human security, the security of the human beings who live in such well-protected territories.

It is particularly urgent to ensure that the Mare Nostrum ceases to be an unfortunate necropolis for so many immigrants, instead of agreeing - as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have recently done - to place several nuclear submarines in the Pacific Ocean, each of which costs around 3.5 billion dollars...

It is necessary to take advantage of the extraordinary development of digital technology, but to ensure that robotisation never exceeds its limits and produces a very dangerous dehumanisation, especially when it comes to making decisions that must always make maximum use of the fantastic and hopeful faculties that distinguish the human species. It is a matter of improving the quality of life and productive capacity, with a conscious and responsible citizenship, and the fundamental pillar is, and always will be, full freedom, transforming data into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom.

Now, at last - and this is our hope - we can finally put into practice the first sentence of the United Nations Charter: "We the peoples ... have resolved to save succeeding generations from the horror of war". Until recently, "the peoples" did not exist... and male power was absolute. Now, at last, we recognise ourselves as equals and can express ourselves freely. Now we can stop being spectators of what is happening and participate now, without delay, in moving from a culture of confrontation, imposition, domination and war, to a culture of encounter, dialogue, mediation and peace, so that all conflicts, active or latent, are resolved by word and not by force.

There is an urgent need to replace plutocratic and supremacist G-group governance with democratic governance. The first step is to achieve a European Union without the blanket veto of "unanimity" and a renewed and fully multilateral United Nations. On the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we must activate great popular clamour for its validity and widespread respect while resolutely implementing the Climate Change Agreements and the 2030 Agenda. "The windows to ensure a sustainable future are closing", the United Nations has just announced... and "We, the peoples" continue to ignore the pressing appeals about the very habitability of the Earth..., we continue to postpone our essential duties concerning the future of our children and descendants... Social networks and the media keep us obedient, silent, distracted... while "the windows are closing"!

The visible irruption of the university students could initiate this process. "The silence of the intellectuals": this is the title of the excellent article by Boaventura de Sousa Santos in Other News on 28 February, which lucidly warns us about the attitude to adopt.

The duty to remember. "Let us remember in order to continue to make a better life possible", added Oscar Arias (Dec.2022)... "The lessons of our history, with the experiences they have taught us, show us that peace is achieved neither by weapons nor by war, neither by death nor by hatred, neither by forgetting nor by indifference... Peace is achieved by placing the human being at the centre of our concerns. Peace is achieved by defending life. Peace is achieved by investing in our peoples and not in our armies; by exchanging ideas and not bombs; by preserving forests and not prejudices. Peace is achieved by changing the culture of war to a culture of peace in our societies.

Now we know. Now we can. Now we must!

Europe can no longer remain a self-absorbed spectator

Wednesday, March 8, 2023


Now, "we the peoples” can. Now, we must.

Now, when, at last, we all recognise each other's equal dignity, a fundamental pillar of human rights, and can express ourselves freely thanks to digital technology, we can, at last, actively participate in favour of democratic multilateralism;

we are now, at last, aware of global threats on a world scale, some of them potentially irreversible, which call for an urgent redirection of current trends;

now, at last, we could get involved in global governance in order to change, as Professor José Luis Sampedro said, "course and ship";

now, at last, the awareness of human talent and its capacity to invent the future allows us to react with hope in order to shed light on the horizons that are so bleak today...

Now also, as it was done in 1945 with the United Nations by the veto of the five victorious countries of the Second World War... it is the European Union, the most important entity on a global scale, which has been disqualified from decision-making by the requirement of unanimity, which amounts to a veto of all the States that make it up! What nonsense! The most qualitatively relevant organisation on Earth, skilfully removed from global governance...

when nuclear fusion appears on the scientific horizon as the great solution for the unlimited production of energy without pollutants;

when the insane possession of nuclear warheads that could end the sublime mystery of life appears with particular forcefulness;

when the habitability of the Earth is deteriorating due to climate change, with plutocratic governance having ignored all the proposals that have been made, some as important as those of the "Earth Summits" (Rio de Janeiro 1992 and Johannesburg 2002), and the Resolution "to transform the world" (United Nations, 2015) on the 2030 Agenda...

when 8 billion human beings —each unique human being, capable of creating, our hope— should be the only socio-economic point of reference...

We must mobilise, conscious of our collective responsibility, and promote the takeover of the G7, G8... and the immediate adoption of a Universal Declaration of Democracy... while ruthlessly eliminating tax havens and regulating the consumption and trafficking of illegal drugs...

For the first time in history, we are in a position to invent the future of humanity's prodigy, with the collaboration of the experience of the elders and the verve of the youngest, to illuminate with special care the paths of tomorrow.

This great mobilisation in favour of a culture of peace could save "succeeding generations" —in the words of the United Nations Charter— many mistakes, many horrors...

Looking ahead with hope

Monday, January 23, 2023

                                                                                               Teacher, help me look ahead!”

Eduardo Galeano (a pupil who saw the sea for the first time).

We are living in times of great confusion, which instead of clearing things, rather cast a shadow over them; times of accelerated revision, dehumanization, confrontation and violence... Times of artifice and oblivion, of fear and disregard for the huge human capacity... The COVID-19 pandemic has been followed by great natural catastrophes and ecological modifications, some of which have an irreversible nature... And straightforward wars have been added to the “hidden” ones; the social gap on a global scale has become even greater, and thousands of migrants are constantly claiming, while moving and living in unacceptable human conditions, that the global governance takes care of them, in full compliance with the essential principle of equal dignity.

The neoliberal plutocracy, aided by multiple tax heavens, has replaced political guidelines by merchandising; and justice, which was the cornerstone of coexistence and supportive progress, has lost its essential independence in favour of ideological links - "conservative" or "progressive" - which are radically intolerable....
And as happened with the veto of the five victors of the Second World War in the case of United Nations, an organisation that was deprived since the beginning from the possibility to take any decision, it is now the European Union, due to the absurd request of unanimity — which is the antithesis of democracy— who may not play the essential role it should be playing, thus leaving the world as a whole in the hands of the reason of force of unsuitable “democracies” … The current “global disorder” (title of the Dossier from the Spanish journal La Vanguardia from January to March 2023) requires the unpostponable construction, - that could not be imagined up to now, of a  new multilateral democratic system. The adoption of a great Universal Declaration of Democracy could become the big global reference enabling this crucial renewal of global governance.
José Enrique de Ayala has recently dealt with great success with these issues (“La crisis geopolítica de un mundo multipolar”) in La Gaceta Sindical from December 2022, where Francisco Aldecoa deals with the urgent need to go further in the construction of a European federal project.
We human beings “are” not in the world, but “are” rather the world, stresses Emilio Lledó in his excellent chapter entitled “Education for democracy” from his book Identity and friendship (Taurus 2022): “The human look” -writes the author- “is simultaneously a vision and an interpretation.  A vision that may understand what it sees (...). The possibility to understand has to feed itself continuously with freedom and light (…).The light of words is what creates the universe of what is human”… I will repeat here two concepts that are essential for a new beginning: the duty of memory and the crime of silence. Yes: now “We, the peoples”  can finally put into practice the third paragraph of the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ”compelled to rebellion”. A general mobilization for a democratic multilateralism that requires —as indicated by Roberto Savio and Giuliano Rizzi (OtherNews, 13 October 2022)— “re-establishing a compass to identify the new paths of change”. Pressing changes in order to put into practice, at last, the first sentence of the Charter of the United Nations: “We, the peoples are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
Until a few decades ago, “We, the peoples” did not exist. Under the absolute masculine power, 90% of the citizenry was born, lived and died in a few square kilometres. They only knew what happened in their immediate environment. And they were fearful, obedient, silent, muted. Whereas now “the peoples” can at last take action, if we succeed in making them abandon the inertia of being impassive spectators to become diligent makers of the future we long for. Now, at last, with a conscious citizenry, capable of reacting, knowing that hope lies in human creativity, the boundless faculty of each of us to design his own future. Desperate migrants will continue to pour in, at the risk of their own lives, as long as a few ones continue to cling to a speculative economic system with huge military investments, a productive relocation to the East - anything goes, regardless of working conditions - and managerial and innovative relocation to the West, which favours only 20% of humanity and widens social rifts. There is enough place for everyone and we are all equal in dignity. The big challenge for the future we dream with is to share more equally. And to do so we only need to take a look at the world in general to be able to understand what we fear comparatively. It is only when we “see” the world that we suddenly feel we are brothers and sisters (as established, by the way, in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). The solution is development.  With a big global sustainable development plan, the right conditions for habitability and progress would be created, allowing immigration to become a freely taken decision that would benefit everyone.
“Democratic” Europe, Europe of the human rights -described in year 2000 in one of its most precise and precious “Charters”-, while “developed” and prosperous Europe... is looking elsewhere. Europe of the markets has forgotten “democratic principles” which were so lucidly written in the UNESCO Constitution at the end of the Second World War. 
The most relevant lesson of the global crisis produced by the coronavirus is that knowledge is the essential pillar of the new era. In just a few years deep changes of a very different nature have occurred that should now allow us -if we remain tied to memories and do not accept, once again, that a few ones distract and intimidate the many ones- to reach the following great objectives: the equal dignity of all human beings whatever their gender, ethnicity, ideology, beliefs, etc.; the participation of the citizenry at a national (real democracy) and international scale (democratic multilateralism) to fully exercise a governance excluding the plutocratic artifices (G7, G8, G20) of neoliberalism and ensuring a fine intergenerational legacy; the popular mobilization in presence and in the cyberspace because, for the first time in history, everybody has the capacity to express and communicate themselves thanks to digital technology; set up without delay a new concept of security to deal not only with territorial conflicts but also with natural or provoked catastrophes; a new concept of work, that will liberate humanity of many tasks that do not require the use of its distinctive faculties, always with the machine at its service and never the other way round; education during the whole life - not to be confused with training - developing personal autonomy, reflexive and creative faculties...; The implementation of the 2030 Agenda (Sustainable Development Goals) cannot be postponed, taking into account the indisputable priority of potentially irreversible processes...
In an article about artificial intelligence (“El País”, Ideas, 8.3.20 20), José María Lasalle wrote the following: “We are about to penetrate in a scenario where the negative externalities that AI may unleash - if not developed within an appropriate regulatory framework - can lead to dystopia, exclusion and inequality... The European Commission approved on 19 February 2020 a White Paper on AI that outlines an ethically based AI... which must be human-centred. The aim of this proposal is to try to improve democracy and the market without giving up the responsible autonomy of citizens and consumers..."
Environmental regulation and the implementation of the objectives of peace with the Earth and on Earth can already be glimpsed. It is now possible for “the peoples” to accomplish the mission that was entrusted to them by the United Nations on 1945. It is in the creative capacity that our collective hope lies because, for the first time in history, human beings, equal in dignity, may freely express themselves thanks to digital technology. This is why it is so urgent that as many people as possible become aware that the future is finally in their hands...  And that they must overcome the temptation to "let themselves go", to be abducted by irrelevance and irresponsibility. The first article of UNESCO Constitution defines the “educated” as those who “are free and responsible”. The moment has come for liberty, the supreme gift and responsibility, starting by always taking into account the next generations.      
A new beginning is imperative in which, aware of the big challenges we have ahead, but also of the reasons for hope, we can raise big popular clamours that shall eliminate the plutocratic governance and contribute to a diligent democratic multilateralism.
Educated within liberty and responsibility, the future must be cleared out by virtue of the distinctive faculties of the human species: reflecting, imagining, anticipating, innovating, creating!, excluding forever force and money from the government institutions.
With the leadership of intellectual, scientific and cultural communities, represented by people who have reached a great notoriety, and by those who have a great knowledge and public recognition (I am thinking of Leo Messi and Joan Manuel Serrat...) we would be able to gather many followers, especially young people who will allow the transition from force to a culture of peace and non violence, from irrelevant and easily manageable multitudes to people who “direct their own lives”, according to the wise definition of Francisco Giner de los Ríos in reference to the objective of the educational process: to educate sowers of solidarity, capable of sharing, of living together, of going out of their way for others.
We must remember today in the first place the war in Ukraine but also other wars (such as mentioned by Andrea Rizzi, José Naranjo and Antonio Pita in El País of 21/12/2022 in their article “The war in Ukraine is terrible. Also these other wars”) where most of the information is modulated by big oligopolies, in order to put into practice the great mission “We, the peoples”, a formula that was premature in 1945 but has now become possible. And this is a big hope, which has recently become sounder with other good news: first of all, the energy of nuclear fusion which - contrary to what is happening with nuclear fission - leaves no radioactive residues and is an inexhaustible source of energy. Although the ITER project was languishing since many years, now finally the US Department of Energy (National Ignition Facility) has succeeded, with laser energy of 3 million degrees Celsius, in transforming hydrogen into helium plus neutrons.
Now it is possible to comply with the ecological requirements of 8 billion people who may - thanks to democratic multilateralism without vetoes - successfully steer the common destiny.
At last “the peoples”, the genuine democracy, at the helm of the ship Earth!... to keep away the plutocratic groups from the global governance and be able to face unacceptable ravings, such as that of the tycoon Elon Musk, who has announced that "in six months he will put a chip in the human brain". “We, the peoples” shall not consent to dehumanization, the loss of freedom and creativity, which are the two big pillars of the human species. Critical moments are approaching... but also great opportunities for change that cannot be postponed... for a new beginning.