Issues May 2008 Newsletter
Programs
OUR VISION:
We envision a future in which countries work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms, and solve the problems facing humanity that no country can solve alone. This vision requires effective democratic global institutions that will apply the rule of law while respecting the diversity and autonomy of national and local communities.

OUR MISSION:
We are a membership organization working to build political will in the United States to achieve our vision. We do this by educating Americans about our global interdependence, communicating global concerns to public officials, and developing proposals to create, reform and strengthen international institutions such as the United Nations.

OVER THE HORIZON

Claude Buettner, President, Minnesota Chapter, CGS

 

"Something old, something new, something borrowed..." is an incantation that has served countless people as they prepared to pass a threshold into a new stage.   

Not too long ago I was privileged to witness a dedication ceremony performed at a Minnesota manufacturing plant, but simultaneously shared via a satellite video hookup with workers at the corporation in India where the test equipment in question was to be installed.  The magic wasn't just in the relatively cutting-edge technology being demonstrated for acceptance.  It was also with the simulcast sharing of the moment with hopeful souls on the other side of the planet.  A Hindu ceremony to greet and honor was performed first, as in ages past, to acknowledge Ganesh, an ancient god in the Hindu pantheon, who is also known as the "Remover of All Obstacles."  The real magic that day was the bridging of time to acknowledge the shared aspirations with those who came before and with those who have yet to be born in a world made new,  again.  

There always will be news to push us into cynicism about the world's prospects for avoiding disaster of one kind or another.  We band together to encourage one another that plans for a better world with a more certain future are being proposed and refined into workable solutions to the world's most menacing problems.  Something old (the UN), something new (charter amendments for empowerment and secure funding), and something borrowed (the best ideas available for checks and balances for democratized international law) are just over the horizon for our stressed global civilization. 

PEACE ISLAND 
 

On September 2-3, at the time of the Republican National Convention, the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, of which CGS is a founding member, will convene PEACE ISLAND, a major conference to promote and celebrate a vision for a better world marked by peace, justice, harmony and sustainable stewardship of the earth. The conference, to be held at Concordia University in St. Paul, will feature outstanding speakers from across the country. The conference will run for two full days, with three plenary sessions, several breakout sessions, films, discussions, presentations, and entertainment each day. Registration is $50.00 and on-site lunches will be available for $10.00. For information and registration details go to www.PeaceIsland.us and registration@peaceisland.us. Since space is limited, registrants will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Volunteers are needed; if you wish to help, contact Ann Lewis at AnnLewis604@cs.com or 952-944-9604.  

IRAQ: WHAT TO DO?

Joe Schwartzberg 
 

On April 12, I was one of eight speakers at a conference on Iraq at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Organized by Jim Ranney of the Philadelphia Chapter of CGS and funded by the Newman's Own Foundation (established by actor Paul Newman, a long-time supporter of World Federalism), the conference was titled "Iraq: What to Do?" I was asked to participate because of relevant papers that I'd had published in Global Governance and the UN Chronicle on a standing United Nations Peace Corps (UNPC) and a UN Administrative Reserve Corps (UNARC) respectively. My task was to discuss how those two agencies might have been used during the Kuwait crisis of 1990-91 to forestall subsequent misbehavior by Saddam Hussein and how they might yet prove useful if hey were soon to be created. 

The other speakers, all much more expert on Iraq than I, offered a wide range of policy perspectives; but there was near unanimity that a speedy American exit from that country was necessary. I sensed little, however, in the way of creative thinking as to what ought to come next. Consequently, in my brief closing remarks I put forward a more constructive approach and later fleshed it out by e-mail as follows: 

"Despite what I said about the potential utility of a UNPC and UNARC, I would readily admit that neither of those two agencies is likely to be established and made operational in time to be of much use in Iraq unless (as I think unlikely) there is a really long-term occupation of the type that McCain and some remaining super-hawks would countenance. Like most of our speakers, I believe that the speediest possible orderly exit is called for. But, unlike several (most?) of our presenters, I do not hold the view that a descent into wholesale bloody chaos is inevitable once we depart. While it certainly could happen as a result of a poor departure strategy, it need not. As I see it, if virtually everyone talks about the future bloodbath, that helps it become a self-fulfilling prophecy in that all factions will tend to accept the expert opinions and see no alternative to acquiring the maximum weaponry to protect their respective interests when the presumably inevitable power show-down comes. Such an internal arms race must be forestalled to the extent possible.  

The way to leave with some semblance of honor and prepare the way for peace would be to do the following: 

1) The US should admit that the war was a tragic mistake and accept its moral responsibility, subject to certain conditions, to restore Iraq's destroyed physical infrastructure and to help heal the nation in other ways, i.e., to make reparations. (Not an easy task, I know, since countries seldom own up to their mistakes; but Obama might be able to pull it off.)  

2) The condition for obtaining US aid that Iraqis would have to meet would be to accept their moral responsibility to put their own house in order. Failure to act would result in temporary reduction, withholding or suspension of aid. This would provide Iraqis with an incentive to work cooperatively with one another and also to invite outside assistance from various UN agencies, the Arab League, and civil society organizations to help stabilize the country. (The US would do well to stay out of the picture except in a financial sense.) 

3) To insure that the US does not arbitrarily 'pull the plug' on the reconstruction effort on the pretense that Iraq is not making a sufficient effort, it would be necessary to establish, ideally through the UN, some sort of monitoring agency, with strict auditing capability and other forms of requisite expertise. (This would be more or less analogous to the UN monitoring in respect to WMD.) 

4) Some time limit and maximum payments per specified reporting periods would have to be established to prevent donor weariness and recipient exploitation of the reparations regime. If, for example, we specified maximum payments of one or two billion dollars per month for a total period of, let us say, ten years, that should suffice to be a tempting enough carrot to induce the constructive response we desire. While $120-240 billion might seem to be a heck of a big sum, it would still be much cheaper and a far better investment than maintaining a counter-productive military presence at the current rate of spending of roughly $13 billion or so per month. [Since this was written, it has been reported that Nancy Pelosi would shortly introduce into the House of Representatives a supplemental $172 billion funding bill to support the current occupation through the end of this year, no strings attached. JES] 

5) Other countries in the US-led alliance might be induced to help by contributing their financial mite to the reparations effort. Psychologically, that would help make the package palatable to the American public. 

Sadly, there is a widespread presumption that only violence can follow violence. This leads to a paralysis of the imagination and failure to come up with creative recommendations. The path I recommend above would not only help Iraq immensely, but it would also help restore our country's badly tarnished image in the world and set an example that others might follow in the wake of other unwarranted conflicts.”                 

MARTHA RUGH PLATT, July 26, 1907 - March 5, 2008, AN EXEMPLARY LIFE 
 

With great sadness we report the recent death of our dear friend, mentor and role model, Martha Rugh Platt. Born in Clarion, PA in 1907, Martha derived her life-long spirit of service and compassion from her lawyer father. Following her education at Oberlin College, Martha studied social work at the University of Chicago and, during the great Depression, went on to work at United Charities in Chicago and at the famous Hull House, founded by Jane Addams, in the same city. In 1933 she married Stanley Platt and moved with him to Minneapolis. The gracious home at the northern tip of Lake of the Isles, which the Platts acquired in 1945, remained their residence for the balance of their lives (Stanley dying in 1997). There they raised four children, Vincent, Louise, Douglas and Kenneth.  

The Plats hosted numerous foreign students (more, it is said, than any other Minnesota family). They provided a meeting place for innumerable planning sessions and fund-raising events for many of the organizations in which they were active. Celebrities attending such gatherings included William Sloane Coffin and Jane Fonda. Especially prominent among the organizations to which the Platts were deeply committed was the World Federalist Association and its successor, Citizens for Global Solutions. Other international, peace and civic agencies in which Martha was active (often along with Stanley) included the League of Women Voters (since 1936), the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Women Against Military Madness, the United Nations Association, Minneapolis People to People, Minnesotans to End the War in Vietnam (of which Martha was co-chair), Minnesotans for Peace in Central America (Executive Committee member), the Minnesota International Center, Middle East Peace Now, the US-China People's Friendship Association, Clergy and Laity Concerned, and the Citizens' League.  

Martha also championed numerous causes of particular concern to women: the National Abortion Rights Action League, Planned Parenthood, the White Neighborhood House, and PRIDE (an organization devoted to getting women out of prostitution). She and Stanley were also long-time members of Plymouth Congregational Church.  

Martha's work frequently took her abroad. She led four trips to China, and attended the 1975 Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi. From time to time, the Platts also visited the homes of the foreign students whom she and Stanley has formerly hosted.  

Along with Stanley, Martha was the recipient of many awards. Especially prestigious were the Vincent J. Hawkinson Foundation Peace and Justice Award in 1990 and the Twin Cities International Citizens Award in 1996.  

For most of her life Martha identified herself as a Republican; but that changed early in the 1990s when she changed her allegiance. Remarkably, even after her 100th birthday, and one month to the day before her death, she attended her neighborhood Democratic caucus. Her spirit was indomitable and she will be greatly missed.  

Gifts in honor of Martha Platt may be made to any of the causes to which she and Stanley contributed. The Minnesota Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions would be most grateful to receive donations in her memory (see page 5) and will be sure to notify members of the Platt family of their receipt.


 

N.B. We are indebted to Susan Lenfestey and the Hill and Lake Press of Minneapolis for much of the information in this account. J.E. S.

THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM

             Free and open to the public 

When: Thursday, May 15, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Where? Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church,

              511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin) Park in church lot. 

Thursday, May 15, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

CUBA, VENEZUELA AND THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION

Recent events in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and other Latin American nations have made world headlines, while being virtually ignored by our presidential and congressional candidates and the US mainstream media. These events will be discussed by our two speakers. Professor Nimtz will focus largely on the transition from Fidel to Raul Castro and the Cuban understanding of global governance and Professor Kennedy on the contextual background for the emergence of the Bolivarian revolution and on the movement's achievements.  

Presenters: AUGUST NIMTZ and BARBARA KENNEDY.

Dr. Nimtz is a professor of political science and African American and African studies at the University of Minnesota and a member of the U's Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He came of age in Jim Crow New Orleans and has long been engaged with issues of civil rights, Black nationalism and Third World revolutionary upheavals. His most recent book is entitled Marx, Tocqueville, and Race in America. Professor Kennedy teaches Spanish at Century College in White Bear Lake and has developed courses in Latin American culture and civics, global studies, and women in a global perspective. She lived for six years - three as a Peace Corps volunteer - in Ecuador. She spent ten weeks in Venezuela in 2006 and 2007 and led a group of activists there in 2007 to observe and report on its constitutional referendum.  
 
 

Citizens for Global Solutions

(formerly the World Federalist Association)

17350 West 67th Street Circle

Eden Prairie, MN 55346 

http://www.globalsolutionsmn.org/ 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If the United Nations is to survive, those who represent it must bolster it; those who advocate it must submit to it, and those who believe in it must fight for it. Norman Cousins

CGS MN ANNUAL MEETING INVITATION

Thursday evening, June 12, 2006, 6:00 - 9;00 p.m.

Bistro Dining Room, basement of Humphrey Institute

West Bank, University of Minnesota, 301 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis

 

          PARKING in 19th Avenue Parking Ramp just to west of Carlson School, at hourly rate,

      

SCHEDULE:  6:00 Social Hour; 6:30 Dinner (vegetarian options available);

      7:15 Program; 9:00 Adjournment. 

      COST: $30 per person; $15 for students and those with limited income.

Reservations should be made by June 9.  QUESTIONS? Call Mary Rose Goetz at 612-374-5321.

Keynote Speaker: PROFESSOR BARBARA FREY

 

       HUMAN RIGHTS AND GLOBALIZATION:

                      THE WAY FORWARD 

Barbara Frey is Director of the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, She is well known as an international human rights teacher, advocate and scholar and served from 2000-2003 as an alternate member of the UN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and from 2000-2006 as the Sub-commission's Special Rapporteur to study human rights abuses with small arms. From 1985 to 1996 Frey was executive Director of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and is a co-convener of a coalition of 44 human rights organizations in the Midwest. She is the past Chair of St. Paul-Minneapolis Council on Foreign Relations She has received numerous prestigious awards for her work on human rights and on advancing the status of women in the legal profession.         

MEETING RESERVATION FORM AND BALLOT

 

RESERVATION: Please reserve __________ places for (indicates names of those who will attend): 

__________________________________________________My check for $____________ is enclosed.  

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION: Please enroll me/us as (a) member(s). My check for $30 for an individual membership / $35 for a joint membership is enclosed.  

VOLUNTARY DONATION: I would (also) like to contribute $________ to honor the memory of Martha Platt and promote the work of the Minnesota Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions. A check is enclosed. 

Please send checks, payable to "CGSMN," to Mary Rose Goetz,

1712 Humboldt Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55403. 

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 (see list on page 4): 

____ 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 Mary Rose Goetz at 1712 Humboldt Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55403.  

PRESIDENT: CLAUDE BUETTNER. A life member of WFA/CGS since the 1970s, Claude, the incumbent President, has also served numerous terms in other offices of the Minnesota Chapter. His international perspective was shaped by living in the Middle East and South America for four of his formative years. Working in industrial sales, he continues to travel widely for both business and pleasure and is a firm believer in international education. 

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: RICHARD LEE DECHERT. Recently retired after many years as a staffer at Twin Cities Public Television, Lee continues to be a researcher, writer, organizer and consultant for local and national media organizations. His activism extends also to the Resource Center for the Americas, WAMM and Friends for a Non-violent World. 

TREASURER: DENNIS DILLON. Retired after 38 years of work on educational testing and survey research and a co-founder of two companies, Dennis is active in peace, justice and sustainability pursuits for the Basilica parish, the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (directing Peace Island project) and the Network of Spiritual Progressives. 

NEW BOARD MEMBERS: 

RICHARD (DICK) BERNARD. Following a career with the Minnesota Education Association, Dick became a full-time peace and justice activist. He recently completed a three-year term as President of the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, marked by strong growth in membership and was also formerly a Board member of CGS.   

MARY ELLEN FOSTER. Mary Ellen, our incumbent Treasurer and a previous Board member, is a sister in the Order of St. Joseph of Carondelet. An ardent social activist, Mary Ellen has taught economics at Bethlehem University in Palestine and also in the US.  

MARY ROSE GOETZ. Mary Rose, the incumbent Secretary of CGS and previously Secretary of the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, has served in US foreign aid programs in Korea, Turkey and the Philippines, and as a public health nurse in New York (in Harlem) and Minnesota. 

RANDY ROBERTS. Randy has taught social studies at the Blake School for 20 years. He has also taught for 3 years in Japan and 2 in Portugal. He has just returned from a semester sabbatical of travel and study in China and Japan. He teaches courses on the United Nations and on world cultures and literature and directs Blake's Model UN program.  

KATHRYN SHARPE. Kathryn received her MA in geography at the University of Minnesota and now works for the Urban 4-H Youth Development program. She has done volunteer work in Central America and Mexico, with the Resource Center for the Americas, and with various organizations in Denver, with a particular emphasis on migration.  
 

Thanks to OUTGOING OFFICERS AND BOARD MEMBERS: Alfred Aeppli, Cindy Anderson, Cindy Atchison, Lee Dechert (to post of Secretary), Dennis Dillon (to post of Treasurer), Mary Ellen Foster, and Mary Rose Goetz, and also to CONTINUING BOARD MEMBERS: John Groos, Catherine Guisan, Earl "Sook” Holdridge, Gail Hughes, Bharat Parekh, June Parrott and Joe Schwartzberg  
 

Leaders are indispensable, but to produce a major social change many ordinary people must also be involved.                                         Anne Firor Scott 

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.     Harry S. Truman 

Citizens for Global Solutions Minnesota
17350 West 67th Street Circle
Eden Prairie, MN 55346

www.globalsolutionsmn.org

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Citizens for Global Solutions-Minnesota Chapter
(formerly World Federalist Association)
17350 West 67th Street Circle
Eden Prairie, MN 55346
info at globalsolutionsmn.org
Posted May 27, 2008