21st Century Challenges Facing Spaceship Earth
Sunday, September 21, 2014 – 2:30-7:30
The Ethical Society – 9001 Clayton Road
ASSEMBLY HALL-LOWER LEVEL
(park in rear & enter by rear door)
General Session – 2:30 PM
Followed by Discussion Sessions with Experts
Participate in 3 one-hour discussion sessions and general sessions during the workshop
Discussion session presenters and topics from whom you can select three:
- Ronald Glossop, PhD – How to develop the UN into a better governing body,
- Allan MacNeill, PhD – The income gap and global governance in the 21st Century
- David Oughton PhD – The world’s religions and world peace.
- Robert J. Reinhold, Atty. – The Helsinki Accords and US/Russia relations.
- Mary Beth Reissen, PhD – Countering Espionage and Agression in cyberspace
- Amanda Rosen, PhD – Climate Change and Conflict
There will be a Closing Panel of discussion session presenters
A light supper will be provided, and voluntary contributions will be collected
RSVP by Sept. 17 to JTGates@aol.com
Baha’i of St. Louis • Citizens for Global Solutions of Greater St. Louis • League of Women Voters of St. Louis •The Lentz Peace Research Association • United Nations Association of Greater St. Louis • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
CGS/STL 2014 Essay Contest and Winner Reflections
By Meaghan Gass and Sara Rahim
To begin, we would both like to thank the St. Louis Citizens for Global Solutions chapter for this unique opportunity to visit D.C. and learn about concepts and issues related to global citizenry. These topics included: world federalism; different international treaties; grassroots leadership; and the difficult transitions of an organization. Prior to this trip, we had heard of neither world federalism nor its popularity in the United States following
World War II.
We also were able to attend two different conferences. The first conference was sponsored by the World Federalist Institute, and the second was sponsored by Citizens for Global Solutions. We also lobbied on Capitol Hill for a variety of issues including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the International Criminal Court. We were both very surprised to learn that the United States has not signed and ratified any international treaty since 1997 and hope that the U.S. will soon take a more active role in creating global governance. We were also able to watch a draft version of a documentary film about Garry Davis, global government, and world citizenship. In general, our trip to D.C. was very rewarding, and in the next two sections, we outline the trip’s individual impact.
Overall, having the opportunity to attend two conferences in D.C. and to lobby on Capitol Hill was a very rewarding experience–especially as a student of Political Science. I was able to meet people from all over America working to promote the United States as a better global actor and to support world federalism. In addition to learning more about the world federalist movement, I was able to see how an organization manages transitions in leadership, name, and age. It demonstrated to me the importance of engaging members in the transition and seeking a wide variety of opinions when possible. We were lucky enough to get insider views to most of the meetings, and it was great to make one-on-one connections with individual members of WFI and CGS. The conference was especially educational with the different workshops where experts discussed different global problems and potential solutions.
Personally, I was fascinated by the concept of world federalism. As previously noted, prior to this trip, I was not aware of this exact terminology. Instead in my studies, I always used the term, global governance. It was especially surprising to learn about the world federalist movement following World War II, which was never discussed in any of my history or social sciences courses. It was also interesting to find out this movement’s popularity outside of the United States. Even though I had never heard of world federalism, I am a supporter of global governance as a solution to our global problems, which I found to be very similar concepts. In general, I believe that both ideas are useful in creating a dialogue to confront global problems since it is important to engage actors globally to solve problems that do not respect individual countries’ boundaries.
In general, I really enjoyed the trip to D.C. and learned so much in such a short period of time. As I reflect on the trip now, I find that it has strengthened my drive as a global citizen and hope for effective global governance to solve our world problems. It also demonstrated the importance of taking the initiative to be an active citizen in one’s community, and it was very inspiring to meet such passionate people working together to positively impact the world. I look forward to working with CGS more in the future and am so thankful for having this experience.Global Ethic Towards Global Governance- By Sara Rahim
As a new graduate of Saint Louis University, I find myself at odds with this transitional moment in my life. For the past four years, the interfaith work in which I have been so thoroughly involved helped me find a voice for my passion and put my values into action. But more importantly, it allowed me to cultivate a community out of solidarity.
Interfaith organizing on a college campus can sometimes feel surreal. On a college level, I have had access to student groups, allies, and resources that help mobilize like-minded individuals to action. It’s easy to feel like you’re making a difference. The frustrating part can be when you feel like you’re preaching to the
choir. Yet, at the end of the day, I can confidently say that my interfaith work has allowed me to strengthen my own leadership. It has helped me build a coalition of inspired young people, who are ready to create change.
The truth is, I feared not knowing how to access similar communities once I graduated. One of the biggest criticisms of the interfaith movement, like many other movements, is that it can tend to be idealized and focused more on dialogue and less on action. I worried that this would become a reality for me without the network and resources I had previously worked so closely with.
Last June, I was one of two students who were selected as the St. Louis Citizens for Global Solutions Chapter Essay Contest winners. In the essay, we were asked to speak about what the US can do to solve our global issues. I wrote about the role that a global ethic could play towards creating a new cadre of religiously and culturally competent citizens around the world, and how it could serve as a call to action for faith and secular communities.
I was most surprised on the last day of the conference, when I attended a workshop about how the major World Religions can help establish a peace system of a democratic world federal government. Dr. Oughton, the guest presenter, referenced the Parliament of the World Religions’ Global Ethic as a guiding document to action.
I was, like everyone else in the room, truly inspired by the notion that interreligious dialogue can help build peace and justice in our global communities. I now understand that interfaith action is something that applies to all communities – both domestically and internationally. The world’s religions are responsible for building a foundation of peace by promoting the ideals of a global community through the teachings of the Golden Rule, the Global Ethic, the Charter for Compassion, and so forth. Interfaith is not limited to one network or community; it is all encompassing and inclusive to any worldview. As I begin this transition to the working world, I am certain that my motivation for interfaith action will continue to shape my experiences and interactions.
Review of Joseph Schwartzberg’s
“Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World”
(United Nations University Press, 2013)
By David Oughton
Professor Schwartzberg, Distinguished International Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota and a long-time world federalist, has written a monumental book about how the UN can become an effective instrument of world peace.
Schwartzberg says that the entire UN “system suffers from a serious democratic deficit.” (p. 2) This is the thesis of his book: “In a vicious cycle, distrust keeps the United Nations weak, and the UN’s weakness in turn perpetuates distrust. Reforms are sorely needed.” (p. 263) Because the present confederal United Nations system includes 193 independent national governments and is based on the principle of national sovereignty, “political considerations persistently trump morality in formulating UN policy.” (p. 321)
One of the biggest problems with the UN is the “one-nation-one-vote” principle followed in General Assembly and most other UN agencies. China (the most populous country with 1.35 billion people), Nauru (the least populous country with 9,300 people), and all of the 191 member-nations in between have the same voting power in the General Assembly. Thus it is possible for 129 nations that together have only 8% of the world’s population and who pay only 1.271 percent of the UN budget to vote as a two-thirds majority on a substantive issue in the General Assembly.
In order to change General Assembly resolutions from being merely non-binding recommendations to legally binding obligations, Schwartzberg’s proposal involves calculating a weighted vote for each Member of the General Assembly by averaging three percentages: (1) its percentage of the total population of all UN members; (2) its financial contribution as a percentage of the UN budget; and (3) the percentage of the total number of members in the UN. This third item would be the same for every Member, now 1 out of 193 or 0.521 percent. For example, the United States has 4.558 percent of the world’s population, is assessed 22 percent of the UN budget, and is 0.521 % of the Members of the UN. Averaging these three numbers would give the United States a weighted vote of 9.936. In descending order, the weighted vote for China would be 9.640, for India 6.700, for Japan 3.543, for Germany 2.554, for France 2.047, for Brazil 2.006, for the United Kingdom 1.938, for Italy 1.671, for Russia 1.625, for Indonesia 1.605, for Mexico 1.250, for Spain 1.234, for Pakistan 1.176, for Canada 1.150, for Nigeria 1.049, and for Bangladesh 1.002. For all other 176 Members, their weighted vote would each be less than 1.00. The smallest 11 nations would each have a weighted vote of 0.174.
Schwartzberg suggests that decisions of the General Assembly on global and general questions become binding if made by a two-thirds majority of the weighted votes, provided that the total population of the concurring members represents a majority. On issues such as proposals for Charter revision, recommendations to the Security Council to impose sanctions on nations in serious violation of international law, and requests to the Security Council to send armed peacekeepers to deal with serious threats to world peace, Schwartzberg suggests that such proposals require as much as 75% of all weighted votes as well as approval by nations with at least two-thirds of the total population of all UN members. Such a change in voting in the GA would give it some law-making capability.
While the General Assembly is composed of representatives of national governments, Schwartzberg recommends also that a World Parliamentary Assembly be created to represent the people of the world. These two bodies in the future could become parts of a bicameral global legislature. Schwartzberg’s proposal for weighted voting could also apply to the composition of the Security Council which would be responsible for enforcing binding resolutions made by the General Assembly. He first proposes that permanent seats and the veto power of the so-called P5 (United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France) be discontinued immediately or gradually phased out. Under the present UN Charter, a Security Council resolution is passed with a three-fifths vote or 9 out of the 15 countries which then make up the SC and with no veto by any one of the P5. Thus, a resolution with a vote of 14 to 1 could still be defeated if just one of the five P5 members decided to veto it.
In order to change this situation, Schwartzberg recommends that the Security Council be composed of twelve seats, each representing a major region of the world. He proposes that any single Member for which the sum of its percentages of the world’s population and of contributions to the UN budget exceeds a threshold of 12% (currently, United States, China, and India) would be allowed to form a region on its own. The other seats would be held by groups of countries. The twelve regions and their weighted vote suggested by Schwartzberg are: Europe (15.86), United States (12.53), China (12.24), India (9.30), Latin America (7.90), East Asia (7.24), sub-Saharan Africa (7.16), Southeast Asia (6.61), West Asia (6.49), Arab League (5.45), Russia and five neighboring countries (4.67), and the Westminster League [which includes Canada, Australia, and 13 Pacific island nations (4.54)]. In the nine suggested regions consisting of more than a single country, regional meetings would have to be held to discuss how a region’s weighted vote should be used. Schwartzberg proposes that resolutions in the Security Council on procedural matters require a simple majority vote while decisions on substantive matters require a two-thirds majority and the concurrent approval by regions whose combined populations exceed 50% of the world’s total.
Schwartzberg proposes that the UN Economic & Social Council be transformed into the Economic, Social, & Environmental Council. The UN currently lacks a major organ that deals with major environmental problems. He also proposes that the Human Rights Council become a principal UN organ which would monitor and enforce human rights and the Responsibility to Protect principle.
Because one of the main purposes of the United Nations is to maintain peace and security, Schwartzberg recommends the creation of a UN Peace Corps, a UN Administrative Reserve Corps (UNARC) that would provide highly-trained civilian
personnel for peacebuilding, and a UN Administrative Academy for training UNARC
personnel. Unlike present peacekeeping operations, the UN needs to create a standing rapid deployment force capable of intervening speedily in order to prevent mass atrocities and genocide. A total force of 300,000 would cost about $25 billion per year. This is a small fraction of the current annual world military expenditure of about $1.63 trillion; the United States has been spending around $700 billion each year recently. If the UN Peace Corps were created, national governments could drastically cut their military budgets.
Schwartzberg holds that the UN International Court of Justice should be given increased authority. It should be given the right to engage in judicial review of the legality of other components of the world’s judicial system and agencies with the UN system. It should also be involved in important cases that pose serious threats to international peace and security. He also believes that the authority of the International Criminal Court, created by the Treaty of Rome (ratified by 116 nations so far but not the United States, Russia, China, and India) and limited to hearing cases against individuals accused of committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity whenever national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute, should be expanded. He thinks that the ICC should also prosecute cases concerning aggression, illicit dealings in the arms trade, piracy, and terrorism (by individuals, groups, or governments). Additionally he calls for substantial expansion of regional courts and specialized courts to deal with such issues as the environment, human rights, etc.
The UN also needs to protect those areas that are not, or should not be, under the jurisdiction of national governments. These areas include the Earth’s atmosphere, the high seas, the underlying seabed, the Antarctic, outer space, the moon and other heavenly bodies. Schwartzberg calls for the creation of a Common Heritage Council that would establish legally binding norms for the protection of the Global Commons.
Each member-nation of the UN is supposed to pay a portion (based on its share of the world GDP) of the regular budget of the UN. In recent years, the top 15 were together assessed 81.5%, and the remaining 177 nations the remaining 18.5%. Schwartzberg proposes that assessments to the UN budget be a flat rate (initially, 0.1 percent) of a member’s gross national income (GNI). Under this formula, United States would pay 24.73% of the UN budget or $14.5 billion while Tuvalu, the UN member with the smallest economy, would pay $30,000. He believes that even the poorest countries could afford their UN dues. As of 2010, this formula would have yielded $58.65 billion, more than twice the then total current expenditures for the entire UN system. A nation that did not pay its UN contribution could lose its weighted vote.
In many places in his book, Schwartzberg proposes that different UN groups address the current issue of gender inequality in the UN system. He proposes a requirement that not less than one-third nor more than two-thirds be either male or female.
Schwartzberg believes that the UN reforms he has proposed are necessary and workable. These reforms could lead to “a constitutional system of democratic federal world government, characterized by a division of powers among executive, legislative, and judicial branches and with clearly specified checks and balances to ensure none of the three branches gains ascendancy over the others.” (p. 297) A transformed United Nations system would be based on a world constitution that contains a Bill of Rights for Nations and a Bill of Rights for all humans.
What can motivate people to work on these goals? Schwartzberg emphasizes the importance of education. Students around the world can be taught about global citizenship, the importance of the human family, and responsibility for our common planet. People need to be taught how the world works and how the United Nations functions. They need to debate various proposals for improving and transforming the United Nations Organization.
Schwartzberg hopes that an appropriate global ethos will develop in the future so that global solutions will be found for our many global problems.
REPORT ON THE 2014 HIROSHIMA-NAGASAKI REMEMBRANCE HELD JULY 27
(This article is based on a message from Suzanne Reinhold.)
Roy Tamashiro, Professor in the Multidisciplinary Studies Department at Webster University, was the main speaker at the 2014 annual remembrance of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki sponsored by the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom and co-sponsored by Citizens for Global Solutions/ STL and other organizations and held at the Ethical Society of St. Louis.
In his presentation titled “Hiroshima/Nagasaki Remembrance: Finding Peace, Making Peace, Living Peace,” he recalled his first and unforgettable visit to Hiroshima at age 17 with his Boy Scout troop. Out of that experience, he decided to register with the Selective Service System as a Conscientious Objector when he turned 18. He noted how this first visit to Hiroshima has been a defining moment in his life, and he described the many activities in which he has engaged as a result. One example was his involvement in “The Global Forum on the Future of Nuclear Weapons,” a live webcast and video conference held in March, 2010, between the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Dr. Tamashiro noted that he had nominated Hiroshima survivor Koko Kondo to receive an honorary doctorate at Webster University in May of this year. Ms. Kondo spent a week in St. Louis. She received her honorary degree at the Webster graduation held at the MUNY, and she threw the opening pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals game.
Professor Tamashiro has written about Koko Kondo’s life-changing experience of letting go of hatred when she saw tears in the eyes of the co-pilot of the Enola Gay on a “This is Your Life” television show which honored her father, a Methodist minister who was an ambassador for peace and reconciliation. Koko’s father was one of the five Hiroshima residents whose lives were chronicled by John Hersey in his book HIROSHIMA. While lunching on May 12 with St. Louis WILPF members and friends at the Missouri History Museum, she discussed her life including how her planned wedding was cancelled when the parents of her husband-to-be objected because of her having been exposed to radiation. Such discrimination against survivors in employment and marriage was widespread after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, and also following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.
TO: Members and Friends of Citizens for Global Solutions of Greater St. Louis
FROM: Ron Glossop, Chair
SUBJECT: About your membership in CGS of Greater St. Louis
We value your membership in Citizens for Global Solutions of Greater St. Louis. We hope you will continue your support. If you have not already renewed your membership for 2014, please do it now using the form below. Your address label indicates when your membership expires. If you are a life-time member, it says “XOXOXO.” If there is nothing, that means that you are getting this newsletter even though you are not yet a member. Membership guarantees that you will get this quarterly newsletter GLOBAL SOLUTIONS NEWS which keeps you informed about our local activities and provides articles of interest. We encourage you to participate in our events in order to learn about and discuss global issues and global solutions.
Our relationship with national GlobalSolutions.org has changed. That organization now relies on its website <www.globalsolutions.org> for its informational efforts. Individuals can join the national politically-oriented GS Action Network for $25 per year, either at that website or by sending a check to Global Solutions, P. O. Box 15256, Washington DC 20003-0256. This GS Action Network is also home for the GS Political Action Committee, which endorses and provides reports on candidates for the U.S. Congress. We hope that you will support this political effort.
But we also hope that you will join our local educational organization, CGS of Greater St. Louis. Members receive our newsletters, join in our local activities, and have voting rights at our annual meeting. Annual membership is $25 ($10 for students). Please also consider making an additional contribution to assist us in educating for peace and justice on the basis of implementing enforceable law on individuals at the global level. Life membership (no more renewals!) is awarded to those who donate $500 or more.
Make your check payable to “Citizens for Global Solutions of Greater St. Louis” and send it along with the membership blank below to David Oughton, 1130 Big Sky Drive, Fenton MO 63026. Both dues and any additional contributions are tax deductible because CGS of Greater St. Louis is a 501(c)(3) educational, non-political organization.
Thanks for your continuing support.
Ron Glossop, Chair
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Membership and Donations to Citizens for Global Solutions of Greater St. Louis
Name: _____________________ Dues _________ 1 yr. $25 ($10)
Address: _____________________ Donation ____________
Email:______________ Phone: _______________________
Make checks payable to “CGS of Greater St. Louis” and mail to:
David Oughton, Treasurer; 1130 Big Sky Drive; Fenton MO 63026
CGS of Greater St. Louis is a 501(c)(3) corporation; dues & donations are deductible for federal income tax purposes. No merchandise or direct services are provided in exchange for any part of your contribution.
Saturday, September 13, 10:15 a.m. – CGS/STL Board of Officers & Directors meets at World Community Center, 438 No. Skinker, 63130. The meeting is open to all. It will focus on making sure that everything is ready for the September 21 Global Solutions workshop. Sunday, September 21, 2:30-7:30 p.m. – See page 1. On this International Peace Day we will be holding our first “Challenges Facing Spaceship Earth” workshop at the Ethical Society. Don’t miss it.
Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. – University City Library auditorium – “Palestine-Israel: The Palestinian Perspective.” Presenters are Professor Dr. Steve Tamari of SIUE; Suhad Khatib, Jordian-born part-Palestinian who recently visited Palestine, & Michael Berg, local Jewish supporter of Palestinan rights.
Sunday, October 19, 2:00-3:30 p.m., in the Hanke Room of the Ethical Society, 9001 Clayton Road, 63117 – Professor David Oughton will lead a discussion of Joseph Schwartzberg’s important new book TRANSFORMING THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM: DESIGNS FOR A WORKABLE WORLD.
Thursday, November 7, 2:00 p.m. – On UMSL campus: U.N. Day celebration sponsored by UNA of St. Louis and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Further details not yet available. You will need a parking permit, and you can get a free one by calling 314/516-7299.
Citizens for Global Solutions
of Greater St. Louis
8894 Berkay Avenue
Jennings, MO 63136