Issues January 2006 Newsletter
Programs AN ALTERNATIVE AGENDA

Most politically engaged persons focus their energies on short-term objectives: promoting or opposing passage of specific pieces of legislation, supporting or opposing particular parties or candidates, attempting to block ratification of unsuitable presidential appointments, and so forth. Relatively few devote much effort to promoting a holistic, long-term agenda based on a firm belief in enduring principles and dedication to the common good. Both approaches are, of course, needed. Members of Citizens for Global Solutions tend to be among those who recognize the necessity of working on both short- and long-term goals. Fortunately, we are not alone. Numerous peace and justice activists share our perspective; and, as a response to the fiascos in domestic and foreign policy that we have witnessed in recent years, their numbers are rapidly growing.

In our own state, the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (MAP) serves as figurative meeting ground for organizations committed to fundamental change, CGS, along with MAP, challenges the con-ventional wisdom that there will always be wars; that the United States has some special (some would even say "God-given") authority to be the principal interpreter and arbiter of global peace, justice and economic rectitude; that it is normal and acceptable for our political parties to be deeply beholden to corporate interests; that the obscene differences in wealth and opportunity that characterize both our own and the global economy are acceptable; or that it is somehow okay for Americans, who make up only 4.5% of the world's population to consume roughly a fourth of its material resources and generate an even greater share of its pollution.

We reject a national agenda based on fear, suspicion and deceit; characterized by double standards; and manifested by arrogant, exceptionalist, unilateral and imperialistic behavior. Rather, we embrace an agenda of hope, inclusiveness and constructive global engagement.

Founded in 1995, MAP is now a coalition of sixty-four member organizations with a combined membership of many thousands. CGS (then under the name World Federalist Association) was among MAP's eight founding groups; and, from its very inception, MAP's agenda has, in very large measure, paralleled our own. Periodically, MAP issues position statements on important issues of current and long-term concern to its members. CGS is pleased to reproduce its most recent statements on pages 3 and 4.of this Newsletter. Past position statements are available on MAP's website, www.mapm.org.

Joe Schwartzberg, President, Minnesota Chapter


HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May your new year be marked by health, happiness, good deeds and fulfillment.


A FAIR TRADE LIGHTHOUSE IN HONG KONG
By Patricia Jurewicz

Caught between protesters and government negotiators, fair trade offered a beacon of hope during the Sixth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong. The 2005 Hong Kong Fair Trade Fair and Symposium took place from December 13 - 16, 2005. It featured over fifty fair trade producers and NGOs, a welcoming reception, high profile speakers, and the highlight, a fair trade fashion show. Together, these events promoted an international trade system that is working for people, for communities and for the environment. The fair trade model demonstrates how international trade can benefit those most hurt by the negative affects of the WTO: the marginalized and the small farmers who are suffering from low global commodity prices.

The fair hosted exhibitors from twenty countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and the Middle East. Products for sale included mango juice, coffee, banana chips, nuts and sugar, not to mention exquisite textiles, jewelry, woodcarvings and paper products. In addition to the producers, several NGOs that support fair trade also exhibited such as the FAO and Consumers International.

Although the public was at times hindered from entering the fair due to the security shut down because of the building's proximity to the protests, there were still delegate visits from the governments of Canada, Luxemburg and Germany, a tour of the fair by staff of the World Bank, and full houses for several of the panels and the plenary session, which included Mary Robinson as a key speaker.

The week's most publicized event was the fair trade fashion show. Not only did models strut across the runway in stylish clothing, but the show had a message as well. In the opening remarks, India's Minister for Commerce and Industry highlighted the importance of fair trade in supporting small-scale cotton farmers and producers. During the show, models carried message boards with captions such as "What are you doing to meet the Millennium Development Goals?" and "No Peace with Poverty."

The intention of promoting fair trade in the midst of a world gathering of negotiators and demonstrators was to raise awareness, increase financing and affect policy that promotes fair trade... if this happens, then maybe in the future there will be fewer reasons to protest.

Editor's note: Working for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, CGS MN Board member, Patricia, was in Hong Kong for two weeks as the lead organizer of the Fair Trade Fair and Symposium.


THE YEAR 2005 IN REVIEW

Here are some of the things that the Minnesota Chapter of CGS accomplished over the past year:

  • Published and mailed Newsletters in January, March, May, September and November.
  • Maintained its web site, www.globalsolutionsmn.org.
  • Organized and hosted nine Third Thursday Global Issues Forums:
            January: What's Wrong and What's Right with the Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Security and Change? Joe Schwartzberg, President, Minnesota Chapter, CGS.
            February: Linking the e Global and the Local, Andy Driscoll, broadcaster and community organization activist.
            March: What to Do about Torture? Douglas Johnson, Director of Center for Victims of Torture.
            April: Is Planetary Sustainability Possible? Terry Gips, economist and President, Alliance for Sustainability
            May: The Situation in Darfur, Hugh Parmer and Colleen Striegel, President and staff, American Refugee Committee.
            September: Nuclear History You Were Never Taught at School: Lisa Ledwidge, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
            October: The Peacekeepers, film, discussion led by Michael Andregg, Director of Ground Zero Minnesota
            November: The Politics and Religious Dimensions of US Empire, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, peace educator and author.
            December: What Happened to the Road Map for Peace in Israel - Palestine, Florence Steichen, Director, Middle East Peace Now.

  • Co-hosted, with U. of M. Campus Republicans February debate on topic, "Resolved: The United States Should Get Out of the UN."
  • Co-sponsored and contributed $500 to student Model UN at University of Minnesota in April.
  • Co-sponsored and contributed funds ($50-$200 each) to, and participated in a number of other events organized by World Citizens, Inc., the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers and other P & J organizations.
  • Held annual members meeting in June, keynote speaker, Dr. Tad Daley, speaking on "Reinventing the United Nations: Towards Ending Genocide, Eliminating the Nuclear Danger and Abolishing War Itself."
  • Wrote letters to members of Congress from Minnesota, the President, and the Secretary of State on a variety of issues, partially in response to initiatives of Partners program and partly on chapter initiative.
  • President Joe Schwartzberg gave talks on various aspects of UN reform in Germany, Belgium, Ottawa, Montreal, San Francisco, Fort Worth, Duluth, and numerous locales in the Twin Cities area.
  • Adopted and disseminated resolutions opposing torture and on "The Responsibility to protect."


    The imperial project of the so-called neo-conservatives is not conservatism at all, but radicalism, egotism and adventurism articulated in the stirring rhetoric of traditional patriotism.
    --Clyde Prestowitz, Empire as a Way of Life, New York: Basic Books, 2003

    POSITION STATEMENTS OF THE MINNESOTA ALLIANCE OF PEACEMAKERS
    (including MAP's Guiding Principles in bold italics)
    Adopted, with concurrence of CGS, MN Chapter, in summer, 2005

    1. The Primacy of Justice
    At all levels, greatly enhanced efforts are required to narrow unconscionable gaps in living standards between the rich and poor, to provide decent conditions of health and education for all people. Proactively addressing the causes of legitimate grievances in the world will be the most effective deterrent to terrorism.
    "Enduring Peace requires social and economic justice at all levels of human interaction, including global, national, state, local, neighborhood, workplace, and family or household."

    2. A World Based on Law Rather than Force
    The United States should desist from unilateral armed intervention and meddling in the affairs of other nations, and from playing the role of the world's policeman. It should promptly ratify the statute of the International Criminal Court and promote greater use of the International Court of Justice.
    "Social organization and governance at any level must be based on the force of law, not on the law of force."

    3. Disarmament and Conflict Resolution
    MAP calls for massive reductions in US military spending, eliminating stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in our own and other countries, a universal ban on anti-personnel land mines, and drastic reduction in international shipments of small arms. We are deeply concerned that the research and development of ever-more-dangerous WMDs will make an already critical problem much worse. We endorse establishing a cabinet-level US Department of Peace, advocate shutting down the School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), and support the work of such organizations as the Minnesota-based Nonviolent Peace Force.
    "The enormous waste of the world's resources on weapons and militarization must cease. All forms of peaceful conflict resolution are to be supported."

    4. Support for the U.N. System
    The world requires a strengthened, better-funded United Nations with a more just and realistic system of decision making in the General Assembly and Security Council, and a standing, rapidly deployable UN police force. The UN must assume a greater, more proactive role in assisting failed and failing states, mediating international conflict, prevention of war, peace-building and, where necessary, peacekeeping.
    "The United Nations system provides a necessary institutional framework for nations to work together to avoid conflict and seek peace and justice for all people. Substantial strengthening of the U.N Charter to fit this changing world is needed to make the U.S. system more democratic and effective."

    5. A Healthy Ecosystem
    MAP endorses the Earth Charter. We call for tighter environmental standards in regard to emissions of toxic wastes and use of carcinogenic substances and urge speedy US ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming and, at minimum, adherence to its provisions. We support bio-diversity and special protection for endangered species.
    "The well-being of the earth that provides all of the necessities of life is crucial for the well-being of people everywhere. The needs of plants and animals with which we share this earth must be recognized and their well-being must be protected."

    6. Unity in Diversity
    The cultures and rights of indigenous peoples must be respected and protected. Programs that promote intercultural and international exchange and understanding deserve public support and should be expanded. Budgets for the Peace Corps and Americorps, the Fulbright program and other such exchanges should be increased.
    "All human being are equal in dignity and worthy of respect. Diversity among us, as among all life on earth, is to be sustained, and celebrated. Cultural diversity is a precious heritage and should be promoted."

    7. Providing for Future Generations
    MAP supports more responsible parenting; urges greater use of alternative energy sources; advocates voluntary curbs on material consumption, especially of luxury goods; and calls for policies of sustainable development, cancellation of crippling international debt for the world's poorest nations, and speedy achievement of the UN's Millennium Development Goals. We support initiatives such as the Apollo-Alliance Project that promote energy self-sufficiency with major reliance on benign, renewable energy sources.
    "For future generations to inherit a livable world, the twin threats of over-population and over-consumption must be addressed. The developed world must reduce consumption substantially and help less affluent countries achieve economic sufficiency, in turn helping to reduce population growth. Participatory democracy and civic responsibility need to be promoted."

    8. Fundamental Human Rights
    MAP opposes all forms of intolerance, including, but not limited to, racism, ethnic profiling, religious discrimination, sexism, and ageism. We call for reform of the Patriot Act to end needless curbs on civil liberties. We demand an end to genocide, ethnic cleansing, all forms of torture, international rendition of political prisoners and abuses of the rights of populations in occupied areas such as Iraq and Palestine. We urge speedy US ratification of the Conventions on the Rights of Women (CEDAW) and the Rights of the Child.
    "All human beings are entitled to fundamental civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. These are set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other covenants that have become a part of customary international law. Persons who have been denied fundamental rights no matter what the circumstances, require special concern."

    9. Responsibility and Accountability
    All actors on the global and domestic stage should behave responsibly. Because of the immense power now wielded, both domestically and internationally, by large corporations, there is particular need for them to act responsibly. Failure to do so should result in sanctions, even - in extreme cases - revocation of corporate charters. The World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund and regional economic blocs must be democratized and their actions should be made more transparent and accountable.
    "The enjoyment of rights implies the acceptance of responsibilities and accountability, whether by individuals, governments, religious groups, corporations, the media, academia, or any other human institution."

    10. The Education of Children
    Curricula should be implemented to train young people to see themselves as world citizens as well as Americans, to promote civic education and to teach non-violent living and acting. Military recruitment should not be allowed in junior or senior high schools. Schools should celebrate September 21 as an International Day of Peace.
    "All children need a peaceful, nonviolent home environment; opportunity for spiritual growth; and an education that not only provides basic learning but emphasizes ethics and a global perspective."


    WOULD YOU LIKE TO HELP?

    If you like what we stand for and what we are doing (see page 5), you can help in several ways:

    • Membership: If you are not already a member of CGS, we invite you to join. Just send a check for your dues ($25 for an individual, $30 for a couple; and $10 for a student), payable to CGS MN, along with your name, address, phone no. and e-mail (if any) to our Treasurer, Louise Pardee, at 5492 Bald Eagle Blvd. E., White Bear Lake, MN 55110. We will transmit your information to our national office.
    • You can join our Partners group of issue activists. For details, call Alfred Aeppli at 651-645-7467.
    • You can help us financially. The Minnesota Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions is a low-budget operation. We have no paid staff and no rented office or meeting expenses. While we do not make regular fund appeals, voluntary contributions (not tax-deductible), apart from dues, would be much appreciated. Checks may be made out in any amount to our Treasurer, Louise Pardee, at 5492 Bald Eagle Blvd. E., White Bear Lake, MN 55110. Persons contributing $25.00 or more will be sent a copy of Joe Schwartzberg's highly praised monograph, Revitalizing the United Nations: Reform through Weighted Voting.


    Book Review: SAVING CHRISTIANITY FROM EMPIRE, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, New York and London, Continuum, 2005, 184 pages, $24.00, ISBN 0-8264-1627-6. Reviewed by Louise Pardee

    Whether or not you are concerned with saving Christianity, this book is an interesting read because of Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer's clear and insightful description of U.S. Empire. In his introduction, he says "this book is written especially for people who are troubled by the arrogance manifested frequently in the policies of the nation and the practices of many who call themselves Christians. Patriotic sloganeering, flag waving, good-versus-evil rhetoric, and presumptions of divine support for war and U.S. Empire are commonplace. They leave me feeling sad, frustrated, and determined." The author, who addressed the problem of American empire at CGS's Third Thursday Global Issues Forum in November, asserts that the intentions of the present administration to dominate the world are obvious to anyone who chooses to pay attention. Much of the rest of the world sees the United States as the greatest hindrance to world peace. How have we reached such a terrible condition?

    The first five chapters (more than half the book) are devoted to the history and present manifestations of empire. Nelson-Pallmeyer describes the nuts and bolts of present U.S. foreign policy and its philosophical foundations. An especially important document is a 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, prepared primarily by Paul Wolfowitz for the then Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney. It clearly outlines a strategy for permanent empire through the use of military power. Its three themes were: preventing the emergence of a new rival, a foreign policy to aggressively promote U.S. interests since no one could stop us, and unilateralism. The think tank known as The Project for the New American Century is the source of many of these ideas. (For an additional secular perspective, as described on page 2 of this Newsletter, come to our Third Thursday Forum in March.)

    The second half of the book discusses the theology that has led to support of empire. Many of the "sacred" texts of Jews, Christians and Muslims depict a wrathful, punishing God. These texts are often used to justify violence. But there is also the radical non-violence of Jesus, which Nelson-Pallmeyer describes, especially the teaching to love one's enemy and the models for creative non-violent action.

    The problems of U.S. Empire will not go away with the end of the current administration. They will change only when we, the citizens of this great country, decide to choose republic over empire. To do that, we must be well informed. This book provides much necessary information. It is brief and well written. I highly recommend it.


    The dominant values of American life - affluence, achievement, appearance, power, competition, consumption, individualism - are vastly different from anything recognizably Christian. As individuals and as a culture, our existence has become massively idolatrous.
    --Marcus Borg, A New Vision, San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1987

    THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM
    All programs are free and open to the public.

    When? The third Thursday of each month, 7:00 - 9:00 pm.
    Where? Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin). Free parking in church parking lot.

    SHOULD THE UN TRY TO BUILD STATES?
    January 19, 2006

    Failed states and states in danger of failure exist in various parts of the world. What does this imply for the regions in which those states exist? What dangers and opportunities do they present? Whose responsibility should it be to restore some semblance of order in failed states in the absence of a functioning and legitimate government? Is that an appropriate function for the United Nations? And can the UN, with its newly established Peacebuilding Commission, actually do the job? If so, what would be a reasonable state-building mandate and at what point should the UN terminate its mission?

    Presenter: MICHAEL BARNETT

    Holder of the Harold Stassen Chair of International Relations at the Humphrey Institute of Public affairs, Professor Barnett previously taught at the University of Wisconsin, Macalester College, Wellesley College and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His academic foci are international organization, humanitarian action, the United Nations and Middle Eastern politics. He is the author or co-author of six books and of articles in numerous prestigious journals and is the winner of two major prizes for his scholarship. He is a past Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow at the US Mission to the UN and a present Board member of the Academic Council on the United Nations System.


    INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE: REALISTIC GOAL OR DANGEROUS UTOPIA? LEARNING FROM THE EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE
    February 16, 2006

    In the last fifty years Europe has undergone a major political transformation, moving from war as an oft-chosen method of conflict resolution to institutionalized non-violent methods. However, a new treaty that would establish a Constitution for Europe was rejected by the French and Dutch peoples in recent referendums. Is European integration grinding to a halt? How should we assess past accomplishments and new challenges? What lessons does the European experience have for the United States and the world?

    Presenter: CATHERINE GUISAN

    Raised in Switzerland by a Swiss-Greek family, Catherine Guisan now teaches political science at the University of Minnesota where earned her degree in political science in 2000. Her book on the ethical politics of European integration, Un sens l'Europe: Gagner la paix (1960-2003), was published by the prestigious Parisian firm, Odile Jacob in 2003. Dr. guisan has since lectured widely in Europe and the United States on European integration and international governance.


    REFLECTIONS ON CURRENT U.S. FOREIGN POLICY
    March 16, 2006

    Our country, under the current Bush administration, has embarked on a foreign policy course dominated by three elements: a) a post-9/11 paradigm that treats the struggle against terrorism as an actual "war" and depicts terrorists as primarily motivated by hatred of "who we are;" b) a "transformational" policy of democratization designed to uproot terrorism, particularly in the Middle East; and c) a national security doctrine that aims to prevent the rise of any "peer competitor." These ambitious priorities raise questions about how best to balance policy ends and means. They also cause significant counter-reactions around the world, further complicated by opposition to American free market capitalism. This program will reflect on the resulting political and economic tectonics that are now unfolding.

    Presenter: THOMAS HANSON

    A U.S. Foreign Service officer from 1973 to 1994, Thomas Hanson served in East Germany, France, Norway, the Soviet Union and other countries. He also worked on the Foreign Relations Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Most recently, he was Director for European and NATO Affairs at the Atlantic Council of the U.S. He is a frequent speaker in the Great Decisions program, an honorary Board member of the Foreign Policy Association, and Program Secretary of the Saint Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations. He holds graduate degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Institute for Advanced International Studies in Geneva, and the National School of Administration (ENA) in Paris.

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    Citizens for Global Solutions-Minnesota Chapter
    5492 Bald Eagle Blvd. E.
    White Bear Lake, MN 55110
    info at globalsolutionsmn.org
    Posted September 11, 2006