|Issues||May 2006 Newsletter|
STEPS ON THE PATH TO GLOBAL JUSTICE
The achievement of historically significant goals is seldom, if ever, realized in one grand sweep. Typically, the path to success is long, tortuous, and marked by an alternation of setbacks and gains. Ultimate success can never be taken for granted. Many more attempts at shaping history end in failure than in triumph. Alexander the Great, Attila, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin are but a few in a long list of would-be earth shakers whose careers bear witness to this truth. Soon, I would predict, the gang of neo-cons who have set our own country's current imperial agenda will join their ranks.
But, even when a movement's goal is obviously worthy, providing logical arguments in support of it will not suffice to insure its realization. Change agents must do more. They must outmaneuver those who benefit from maintenance of the status quo and they must also overcome one of the most powerful - and least recognized - political forces: the inertia that is born of apathy and ignorance. This requires careful and realistic planning, education (including salesmanship) and steadfast determination. Although world federalists have done well in putting forward logical arguments for world federal government, we have fallen woefully short in other respects and would be well advised to reassess our strategy to date.
Consider, if you will, the history of attempts to climb Mount Everest. While the conquest of that peak will probably not go down as one of the major achievements of the 20th Century, it still has much to teach us. Let us examine that story.
Everest was recognized as the world's loftiest summit in the year 1852. For decades thereafter it is doubtful that mountaineers even imagined that it could be successfully ascended. Although Mont Blanc, Europe's highest peak, had been climbed as early as 1786, Everest, at 29,028', rose almost twice as high above sea level. Mountaineering as a serious endeavor did not gain much of a following until the middle of the 19th century. Men might have dreamed of conquering Everest, just as they dreamed of reaching the north and south poles; but it was not until 1920 that a team of alpinists actually attempted an ascent. Approaching the mountain from the high plateau of Tibet, the expedition ended in failure. The ensuing decades witnessed six more unsuccessful expeditions (not counting three for reconnaissance only) and a variety of approaches to the summit were abortively explored. Several brave efforts ended in fatal tragedy.
Finally, in 1953 an expedition met with success; Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norgay of Nepal at last stood briefly at the apex of the world. While these two climbers are justly lauded for their achievement, they knew that their success would not have been possible without a great deal of teamwork. And it required not merely individual skill and stamina, but also careful planning at every stage along the way. No fewer than eight camps were established from the initial base up to the one at the South Col at an altitude of roughly 26,000 feet. Only from that key point could the final assault on the summit be made, via Everest's treacherous, but negotiable, Southeast Ridge. At each of the camps leading to the Col, stores of supplies were brought in and a strategy for further advance was formulated or modified as conditions warranted. Credit must also be given to advances in technology, including oxygen tanks, radio communication, better insulated clothing, and improved mountaineering equipment. Thus, what may have truly been impossible in 1920 proved doable in 1953. Other routes were successfully negotiated in subsequent years, demonstrating that the way that worked first was not the only possible path.
World federalists can, I believe, learn much from the foregoing account. First, we should recognize the likelihood of repeated setbacks before our goal is reached and the probability that certain paths that appear most promising will not necessarily take us where we want to go. Additionally, the necessity for planning, teamwork and the efficient use of available resources is obvious. But, plan as we may, there is also the factor of luck to consider; some of the failures on Everest prior to 1953 were related to rapid shifts in the weather over which climbers had absolutely no control. Human history can be equally quirky and unpredict-able.
Less obvious, perhaps, is the necessity to distinguish between our true goals and key steps en route to those goals. Listening to many world federalists, one would think that federal world government is our ultimate objective. I would maintain, however, that that is but a key step, very likely the key step - the sine qua non - on the way to what our true goal ought to be: a just, peaceful, democratic and ecologically sustainable world; just as reaching the South Col was the key step on the way to the summit of Everest.
Although peace activists are inclined to speak (as I did in the previous paragraph) of peace, justice, democracy and ecological sustainability as if they are separate objectives, in actuality such rhetoric is redundant. If we make justice our over-riding goal, the others would logically be subsumed under that term. Without a high degree of justice and a strong commitment to its maintenance, there can be no enduring peace. Further, justice presupposes that government will be democratic. Finally, a society committed to justice will acknowledge its obligations to future generations and therefore feel obliged to become ecologically sustainable.
Our traditional emphasis on the goal of world peace through world government and law, which characterized organized world federalism in its early decades, was understandable in the aftermath of World War II. Justice, as opposed to government, did not loom large in the thinking of Clark and Sohn, arguably the most influential of all modern writers on world government. The need to avert a catastrophic World War III, fought with nuclear weapons, overrode all other considerations. Times have changed, however. The chief global needs at present are to deal with the obscene economic gulf between the world's haves and have-nots (and thereby, incidentally, to significantly reduce the threat of global terrorism), and to seriously address environmental threats to the very survival of our species.
But, if we are to succeed in addressing these and other pressing concerns, we will have to emulate the conquerors of Everest and move forward by pursuing a carefully planned series of attainable objectives, each setting the stage for further advance. In that way we will, over time, instill in a critical mass of the world's citizens growing confidence in our ultimate goals and an atmosphere of trust in the efficacy of ever-greater international cooperation.
Analogies, of course, can be pushed too far. While attainment of the South Col of Everest was the penultimate step in the initial ascent, we would be wrong to suppose that the creation of a world government would be the penultimate step in what ought to be a never-ending quest to promote and maintain global justice. And while ascents subsequent to the initial one via the South Col demonstrated that multiple routes to the summit were feasible, it is doubtful that enduring global justice can be attained without the prior creation of world government. But that does not mean that there is only one route from where we are at present to our cherished - if not final - goal of world government.
Among our most immediate objectives, I would endorse some on which CGS is already working: a standing UN rapid deployment force to preclude future acts of genocide, support for the ICC, an improved UN Human Rights Council, a major reduction in green- house gas emissions, and the attainment of the millen-nium development goals. Beyond these, I would recom-mend several more on which I have written papers over the past decade or so: a more effective means of raising substantial revenue for the UN; a larger and more robust standing UN Peace Corps equipped to function in both peaceful and military modes; the creation of a UN Administrative Academy through which to build up a standing UN Administrative Reserve for service in failed states; a more realistic system of weighted voting in the General Assembly, with a concomitant GA capability to legislate on a limited (but expansible) set of vital global issues; and a fairer, objective and flexi-ble system of representation in the Security Council. Further down the line would be a global Marshall Plan; restructuring the international financial and trade insti-tutions; and the establishment of a popularly elected World Parliamentary Assembly, advisory at first, but ultimately with real legislative powers. This list is ten-tative and may be indefinitely expanded; and the sequencing is certainly open to debate. But a point should come when people and many of their repre-sentatives will say, in effect: "Hey, this legalized global cooperation stuff really works! Things are getting noticeably better. The system may not be perfect, but it sure beats our fighting or exploiting one another. Moreover, it is in our power to improve it. Maybe a whole new UN Charter would be the way to go. Let's give it a try and see what we can come up with."
Is all of this a pipe dream? I don't think so. Everest was conquered. Humans learned to fly. Men were sent to the moon. Women won the right to vote. Slavery and Apartheid were ended. The list of achievements of goals once thought to be unattainable goes on and on. World government will also come and in its wake global justice will be mightily advanced.
HOW DO OUR REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS SCORE ON KEY GLOBAL ISSUES?
Every year Citizens for Global Issues rates all the members of the US Senate and House of Representatives according to their voting record on key global issues of particular concern to our members (e.g., nuclear weapons, global warming, energy policy, UN peacekeeping, interrogation and treatment of prisoners, defense appropriations, funding for UNESCO and for the UN in general, Darfur, etc.) The full set of scores, vote by vote, may be studied at http://www.globalsolutions.org/hill/reportcard/. But here are the scores for the delegates from Minnesota (D = Democrat, R = Republican):
Senate: Norman Coleman (R) C, Mark Dayton (D) B.
House of Representatives: (in order of Congressional District): 1. Gil Gutknecht (R) D+, 2. John Kline (R) C, 3. Jim Ramstad (R) C+, 4. Betty McCollum (D) A+, 5. Martin Sabo (D) A+, 6. Mark Kennedy (R) C, 7. Collin Peterson (D) C+, 8. James l. Oberstar (D) A-.
WANT NEWS OF COMING EVENTS?
May we suggest that you check regularly on the website of the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, www.mapm.org for news of events sponsored by the 63 organizations (including our own) making up that coalition? On December 13 MAP will host its annual meeting, and you are invited to attend. This information-filled program will begin at 11:30 a.m. and will include lunch. The cost is only $10.
We also suggest that you contact David Shove at shove001 [at] umn.edu and request that your name be added to his Progressive Calendar list-serve.
In a democratic society like ours, relief must come through an aroused popular conscience that sears the conscience of the people's representatives.
--Felix Frankfurter, US Supreme Court Justice
The following letter was sent to President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and all ten of Minnesota's representatives in Congress. Ed..
A MESSAGE OF DEEP CONCERN ABOUT THE US AND THE MIDDLE EAST
We are deeply concerned about recent developments in the United States' policy in the Middle East, with respect not only to Iraq, but especially now to Iran as well.
We urge a policy of diplomacy, true acceptance of the right to national self-determination, and a move away from a policy of threat and intimidation.
We deplore the inclination of the Bush administration to disregard well-established international law and conventions and believe that its attempts to destabilize and remove governments not to its liking will be counterproductive and work against the long-term national interests of the United States.
In light of the United States' violation of the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which obligates the nuclear powers to substantially reduce and ultimately eliminate their nuclear arsenals, we question the double standard in regard to Iran's nuclear program.
We speak as citizens with a shared and deep interest in the well-being of our planetary community. That perspective leads us to the conclusion that policies of militarily powerful nations, such as the United States, that are intended to manipulate and control other weaker nations can and will have unintended, but severe, consequences. History has proved this time and again. Among the likely consequences, we foresee: mounting antipathy or hostility towards the United States and its allies in the Middle East and elsewhere; a marked increase in the recruitment capability of terrorist groups and in the frequency of acts of terrorism; a potentially ruinous financial burden, and the erosion of our cherished civil liberties in a nation needlessly divided by an atmosphere of manufactured fear and distrust.
Dr. Joseph E. Schwartzberg, President,
THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM
When? The third Thursday of each month, 7:00 - 9:00 pm.
May 18: WHAT TO DO ABOUT IMMIGRATION?
The United States allegedly is now home to some 12 million undocumented immigrants, mainly from Mexico and other countries of Latin America. Their economic and social status and their prospects for becoming citizens are currently being vigorously debated in Congress, in state legislatures, in the mass media and in communities throughout the land. Opinions differ widely over how to deal with the issue in ways that are at once just, socially viable and economically sound. This discussion will address the factors that have led to a large undocumented population in the US and some of the proposals for immigration reform that have been introduced at state and federal levels and also consider the effects of immigration on wages and employment.
Presenters: KATHERINE FENNELLY and RAYMOND ROBERTSON
Dr. Fennelly is Professor of Public Affairs at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. She taught previously at Penn State and Columbia University. She holds a certificate of studies from the University of Madrid and a masters of philosophy, a masters of health education, and a doctorate in adult education from Columbia University. Her research, teaching and outreach interests include immigration and public policy, leadership in the public sector, human rights of immigrants and refuges in the US and the preparedness of communities and public institutions to adapt to demographic changes.
Dr. Robertson, an associate professor of economics at Macalester College, specializes in the effects of globalization and labor market integration in the Americas. He has been a Fulbright scholar in Mexico, has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and has taught at Syracuse University and ITESM (in Mexico City). He has published in several leading economic journals and has served as a consultant to the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. His current research, supported by the Mellon Foundation, focuses on the effects of trade, outsourcing and migration on migrant workers in the US.
The government is us; we are the government, you and I.
CGS MN ANNUAL MEETING INVITATION
PARKING in 19th Avenue Parking Ramp just to west of Carlson School, at hourly rate, or, less expensively, in open-air parking lot 94 on 4th Street, just to the south of the Carlson School.
SCHEDULE: 6:00 Social Hour; 6:30 Dinner (vegetarian options available); 7:15 Program; 9:00 Adjournment.
COST: $25 per person; $12 for students and those with limited income.
Send checks to Louise Pardee, 5492 Bald Eagle Boulevard E., White Bear Lake, MN 55110. Reservations should be made by June 12. QUESTIONS? Call Louise at 651-429-9562.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: CHARLES J. ("CHARLIE") BROWN National President and CEO, Citizens for Global Solutions
IF I WERE PRESIDENT: A NEW FOREIGN POLICY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Charlie is President and CEO of Citizens for Global Solutions and the Global Solutions Education Fund, both of which have made great strides during his incumbency. From 2001 to 2004 he was a deputy executive director at Amnesty International, USA. From 1999-2001 he served as Chief of Staff for Assistant Secretary Harold Hongju Koh in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the department of State and Director of the Bureau's Office of strategic Planning and External Affairs. In 1998-99 he was the Bureau's Senior Advisor on Public Affairs. During his tenure in the State Department he served as spokesperson on US delegations to the UN Conference on the establishment of an international Criminal Court, the UN Commission on Human rights, and the Warsaw Ministerial of the Community of Democracies. From 1988-98 he worked in various positions at Freedom House, ultimately as Director of Program development. He is co-author of The Politics of Psychiatry in Revolutionary Cuba and co-editor of Judges and journalists in transitional Democracies.
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MEETING RESERVATION FORM AND BALLOT
RESERVATION: Please reserve __________ places for (indicates names of those who will attend):
My check for $____________ is enclosed. Send check to Louise Pardee at address noted above.
VOLUNTARY DONATION: I would (also) like to contribute $__________ to promote the work of the Minnesota Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions. My check is enclosed.
BALLOT (for CGS members only): Check the following spaces as you wish. I hereby cast my ballot for:
____ all the candidates listed for the officers' posts and Board of Directors;
____ all of the candidates except for the following: ____________________________________________
____ the following write-in candidates (please state position):____________________________________
CANDIDATES FOR OFFICERS AND BOARD OF CGS, MN CHAPTER
N.B. One must be a member to vote, but does not have to attend the dinner to do so. Ballots appear at the bottom of page 3 and should be sent to Louise Pardee at 5492 Bald Eagle Blvd. E., White Bear Lake, MN 55110.
PRESIDENT: JOSEPH E. SCHWARTZBERG. A retired professor of geography and South Asian studies at the University of Minnesota, Joe has served numerous terms as Chapter President (including the past four years) as President of the Minnesota Chapter of CGS and previously of the World Federalist Association (WFA).
VICE PRESIDENT: VERLYN SMITH. A former president of the MN Chapter of WFA and the incumbent Vice President of CGS, Verlyn is a retired pastor, college teacher and holder of various positions in campus ministry and is one of the co-founders of the Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice.
SECRETARY: MARY ROSE GOETZ. Mary Rose, the incumbent Secretary of CGS and previously Secretary of the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, has served in the US foreign aid programs in Korea, Turkey and the Philippines, and as a public health nurse in New York (in Harlem) and Minnesota.
TREASURER: MARY ELLEN FOSTER, A sister in the Order of St. Joseph of Carondelet, an ardent social activist, and a current member of the CGS Board, Mary Ellen has taught economics at Bethlehem University in Palestine and also in the US.
NEW BOARD MEMBERS:
CINDY ATCHISON. Cindy is a free-lance website consultant and webmaster for non-profit organizations, including the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, and a volunteer writer for "Connection to the Americas," a publication of the Resource Center for the Americas.
ROSITA BALCH. Colombian by up-bringing, Rosita is a long-time educator and peace activist, and has worked, for the last nine years, primarily on educational issues within the local Latino community via the Resource Center for the Americas.
MARY ENDORF. An about-to-be-retired principal of the Orono Elementary School (officially a "Peace Site") and a professor of educational leadership in the Graduate School of Hamline University, Mary also serves on the Board of World Citizen, Inc.
EARL ("SOOK") HOLDRIDGE. One of the founders of the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers and a past Chair of MAP's Long-Range Planning Committee, Sook is a passionate advocate of energy conservation and an independent businessman selling environmentally friendly synthetic lubricants.
SAM IMBO: Raised in Kenya, Sam is an associate professor of philosophy and Director of the African Studies Program at Hamline University; his chief interests include comparative, African, and social and political philosophy. (He will be returning to the Board after a short leave of absence.)
MICHAEL KLEIN. A Ph.D. student in education and a social justice vocation instructor in the Justice and Peace Studies Program at the University of St. Thomas, Mike formerly directed St. Thomas' Vision program in which students did brief service trips in needy areas of the USA and Central America.
LOUISE PARDEE. A past Chapter President of WFA and CGS's outgoing Treasurer, Louise was among the founders of and leading figures in the Minnesota Peace and Justice Coalition and is presently a student at the United Theological Seminary.
Thanks to OUTGOING and CONTINUING BOARD MEMBERS. OUTOING: Dick Bernard, Mary Ellen Foster, Louise Pardee and Jay Shahidi. CONTINUING: Alfred Aeppli, Cindy Anderson, Michael Andregg, Jesse Felix-Ellison, Catherine Guisan, Patricia Jurewicz, Lisa Ledwidge, William Mc Gaughey, James Nelson, Cecil Ramnaraine, and Wayne Wittman.
Citizens for Global Solutions-Minnesota Chapter
5492 Bald Eagle Blvd. E.
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
info at globalsolutionsmn.org