TIME FOR MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL
Starting in 2013 our St. Louis chapter of Citizens for Global
Solutions decided to have tax-deductible memberships and
contributions for our members.
If on your newsletter address label, you see the date “31 Jan
2014” above your name, that indicates when your membership in
our organization expires, so it is now time to renew. If you see
“XOXOXO” above your name, that means that you have made a
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member, one whose extra financial support we especially
appreciate. If there is no expiration date on the label, that means
you are receiving the newsletter even though you have not joined,
but we hope that you will.
On page 7 you will find the membership form for our chapter
along with a letter explaining the new relationship with the national
organization since 2013.
REPORT ON DEC. 9, 2013 DEBATE ON THE U. N. SECURITY COUNCIL VETO
by Suzanne Reinhold
STL-WILPF member Bob Reinhold debated in favor of the retention of the present veto available to the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Ron Glossop opposed, calling for changes in the use of a veto. The debate was held on December 9, 2013, in the Hanke Room of the Ethical Society of St. Louis. Nineteen persons attended the discussion, in which Ron Glossop argued for a change in the U.N. Charter, to eliminate the veto in certain instances. The St. Louis area Citizens for Global Solutions sponsored the debate, and the monthly current affairs discussion group held each second Monday evening at 7:30 pm at the Ethical Society and the Ethical Society generously offered the time and space for the debate.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K., and France.
Bob Reinhold’s argument focused on the nuclear danger. He said that the veto prevents a nation from being backed into a corner from which it might decide to use nuclear weapons as its perceived only alternative. He cited the recent success of the veto in stopping the United States’ plan to invade Syria.
Ron Glossop asserted that his argument to limit the veto furthers goals favorable with peace activists, such as the admission of the Palestinians to the United Nations, which the U.S. blocked with its veto. (Note: The U.N. General Assembly voted to admit the Palestinians as observers, and UNESCO admitted the Palestinians, although the Security Council blocked admission.)
Some of the comments of Bob and Ron follow.
Bob Reinhold said that the veto destroys the ability of nuclear nations to destroy the world. The five permanent members can veto any peacekeeping action. The veto prevents nuclear confrontation which could destroy humanity. A U.N. S.C. vote that could eliminate opposition to actions sought by a majority would lead to military confrontations. Reconciliation should be the goal among nations, such as in South Africa and the veto in its present form promotes conflict resolution.
Ron Glossop said he is not hostile to the United Nations. He stated he lived through World War II, and participated in high school debates in favor of a democratic world government, which would be similar to the government of the United States. He
said that the federal structure of the U.S. government has eliminated war in the U.S., except for the Civil War. He said that eliminating the Security Council veto would eliminate the war system. He said that the five permanent members should be shamed into amending the Charter to eliminate the veto in certain cases and that the
General Assembly could call an assembly to seek to amend the charter. Genocide and mass atrocities are the instances in which the veto should be eliminated. The word “veto” is not used in the Charter, but an effective veto is found in Article 23 of the Charter.
Bob Reinhold responded that the governmental structure of the U.S. is not comparable to the United Nations, because the states of the U.S. lack nuclear capacity. Ron Glossop noted that the present Security Council structure did not prevent the Cuban missile crisis. He said that changes in the United Nations could eliminate military
The audience offered comments. Frank Flinn noted that Bob Reinhold’s argument was more realistic. Ken Curtis questioned in what circumstances the veto might be eliminated. Bob Reinhold said that the definition of genocide, one of the instances in which the veto would be eliminated, according to Ron’s proposal, is not so clear. Grant Williams mentioned real politik, and that to join the U.N., a nation needed to declare
war on Germany. Terry Gates said that the veto does not deter the use of nuclear weapons, but that the nuclear risk itself deters the use of nuclear weapons.
Most of the audience declined to vote on who won the debate, although one count noted three votes in favor of Ron’s position for a modification of the veto and two votes in favor of Bob’s position for no change in the veto.
U.S. Granny Peace Brigade calls on U.N. to stop drones
Ronald J. Glossop, October 11th, 2013
Something new and revolutionary is happening. U.S. citizens are appealing
to the United Nations to take action to stop their own national government from
using drones by demonstrating support for Pakistan’s call for the U.N to act to
stop all weaponized drone attacks, including U.S. drone attacks on Pakistan.
Nick Mottern of KnowDrones.org writes: “This is a preliminary report on
last week’s six-day (Sept. 23-28) street witness that was organized at some of
the busiest locations in New York City by the Granny Peace Brigade (GPB) to call
for an international ban on weaponized drones and drone surveillance. . . . [It]
was timed to coincide with the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly,
and it turned out to coincide with the plea before the General Assembly by
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, for a halt to US drone strikes against
Pakistan. . . . The GPB witness involved at least 20 volunteers from New York
City, New Jersey, Westchester County, NY and even Rochester, NY, and was
supported by KnowDrones.org, World Can’t Wait, New York Peace Action,
Brooklyn for Peace, CodePink NYC and the War Resisters League, all joining the
GPB in the No Drones Coalition.”
Mottern’s report goes on to say, “The action was preceded by letters
from the GPB to Ban Ki Moon, UN General Secretary, to appropriate UN
agencies and to consulates of nations that are believed to be sympathetic to a
ban on weaponized drones and drone surveillance.”
This event reflects a new view on how to act to influence public policy:
protest against the violent actions of your national government by seeking to
prevent counter-productive interpretations of the law at theinternational level. It is very much like appealing to the U.S. federal government to stop something that your
state government is doing such as supporting school segregation or preventing same-sex marriages.
One might argue that this effort won’t work because the U.N. can’t make
laws and international law doesn’t apply to any nation that won’t ratify the
relevant treaty. But such a view is just arguing about what the situation happens to be at the moment, not what it will be or should be in the future. National governments should be morally obliged to conform to a higher law of humanity just as the governments of U.S. states conforms to the U.S. Constitution and U.S. federal law.
We need a world ruled by a constitution and world law made by a parliament. The U.N. and international law are steps in the right direction, but we need to have world law in order to outlaw all violence and wars within the global community just as has already
been accomplished within many democratic national communities. More and more members of the global community are coming to realize that truth.
Ronald J. Glossop is Professor Emeritus
at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
(SIUE) and a board member of
THE ANATOMY OF A SUSTAINABLE WORLD: OUR CHOICE BETWEEN CLIMATE
CHANGE OR SYSTEM CHANGE, AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
by Glen T. Martin [The Institute for
Economic Democracy, Appomattox VA
24522; 2013, JZ1318.M37645, 255 pages]
(Book review by Ronald J. Glossop–
January 20, 2014)
“This book shows the deep connections between our collapsing global ecosystem and our current world system of militarized nation-states and globalized corporate
capitalism.” (p. xii) That is how Glen Martin succinctly describes his perceptive analysis
of where we are and where we need to go. Despite our bleak situation which he
documents in depth, he assures us that our situation is not totally hopeless because we
“are in the midst of a paradigm shift from a world view that is inherently fragmented and
mechanistic to a new paradigm that is inherently holistic, ecological, and premised
on unity in diversity” (p. xiii). He notes that changes in individual attitudes and behavior
will be insufficient unless there are also structural changes. “Properly designed institutions” are critical. Martin is explicit that the needed political blueprint “for
founding a truly sustainable and democratic world civilization” (p. 145) is provided by the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. That global constitution which has been
developed by the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) appears in
its entirety as the book’s 70-page Appendix A. The critical period of its evolution from
the mid-1950s to 1990 is reviewed on pages 66-71. Martin is now its president, and
r e c e n t n e w s i s a v a i l a b l e a t <www.radford.edu/gmartin>.
“Our Present Danger and its Solution” is the title of the first chapter. Martin cites
many well-known scientists and thinkers (James E. Hansen, Jeremy Rifkin, Helen
Caldicott, James Gustave Speth, John Cairns, Jr., and B. Sidney Smith) to support
his contention that “our collapsing biosphere endangers everything” (p. 1). As a
philosopher, Professor Martin is interested in the big picture of the overall changes
occurring in our global community, the “paradigm shift from fragmentation to
holism” (pp. 7-17) while at the same time most people have not made such a shift in
their thinking. “Universally—in quantum theory, cosmology, ecology, systems theory,
social science, and psychology—part and whole have come to be understood as
inseparable from one another. . . . Yet our thinking remains mired in divisions,
separations, and fragments that appear incommensurable with one another. The
result is collective and personal egoism, war, conflict, economic exploitation,
destruction of nature, & destruction of one another” (p. 8). We need to see things as
parts of the whole which make them what they are. Rather than viewing the world as
composed of 193 competing nation-states we need to see it holistically as a global
community of humans within a larger biosphere. As examples of thinkers pointing
us in this holistic direction Martin discusses E. Laszlo, E. Fromm, R. J. Lifton, Marx,
Gandhi, Kant, Hegel, Dewey, E. E. Harris, H. E. Daly, K. N. Townsend, C. Birch, and J.
B. Cobb, Jr. Institutionally, the ideal model for establishing a holistic planetary society,
a global democracy, is the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.
Focusing on the link between ecology and sustainability, Martin notes that now many
economists (R. K. Turner, D. Pearce, I. Batemen, L. R. Brown, H. Henderson, D,
Korten, H. E. Daly, K. N. Townsend, S. J. Goerner, R. G. Dyck, D. Lagerroos, J.
Rifkin, and F. Capra) are making the point that economic theorists can no longer
continue “as if investment, production, and consumption were self-contained without
thought of the immense negative external consequences that production and
consumption have on society and the planetary ecosystem” (p. 18). The new
holism will mean a transformation of institutions. It will mean the end of
militarism and widespread use and waste of non-renewable resources. There are two
prominent global institutions that will need to be transformed as we move to a holistic
planetary outlook–global corporate capitalism and the system of independent
“sovereign” nation-states. These two kinds of institutions are historically linked, and
both are anti –ecological (pp. 23-25).
Martin notes that despite the consensus about the paradigm shift taking place, only a
few thinkers such as Shridath Ramphal recognize that these new changes “will
always remain incomplete until they are brought ‘under the rule of law’” (p. 26). The
existing system of voluntary treaties among nation-states and voluntary cooperation
among international corporations “are all hopelessly inadequate forms of action in the
face of our global climate crisis” (p. 27). We need to shift from the idea of negative
freedom linked to the liberalism of the past to the new idea of positive freedom based
on the quality of life in the community as seen in the thinking of Spinoza, Rousseau,
Kant, Hegel, T.H. Green, Bosanquet, Ernest Barker, Errol Harris, and Jürgen Habermas.
Democratic government is then seen as an instrument to promote the “common good of the social whole” (p. 32), a situation which requires “reasonable economic equality” (p.33). But only a few of the progressive thinkers see that the global community
needs “planetary democracy” (p. 35).
Martin gives us his own view: “Our global situation today requires the vision to create
a constitutionally mandated planetary community of positive freedom in which
human beings are empowered to deal with the global crises that threaten our existence
and future generations . . . . The ‘common good of all’ needs to be the product of a
global positive freedom that is only possible under a democratic Earth Constitution. . . .
[T]he creation of government alone will not suffice. However, government as the
mainspring of positive freedom . . . remains the necessary prerequisite for a truly
transformed world order” (p. 39).
The second chapter provides the long-term historical background for the changes now
taking place followed by the recent development of the Constitution for the
Federation of the Earth. The third chapter gives a detailed explanation of and
argumentation for the Earth Federation which Martin is supporting. In the fourth
chapter Martin indicates why a revolutionary approach such as adopting the Constitution for the Federation of the Earth is required. “Perpetual compromises with the immense systems of economic exploitation and imperial sovereign nation-states have led to disaster after disaster for the people of Earth” (p. 129). “At the dawn of the twentyfirst century, we are . . . in a position to selfconsciously found a just, democratic,
peaceful , and enduring planetary society” (p. 133). The Provisional World Parliament which is part of the Earth Federation Movement has adopted measures indicating what must be done to save the Earth. “Resistance and criticism to the present system, while appropriate, are not enough. We need a concrete, positive blueprint that we can envision, work for, and actualize. The Earth Constitution provides the best possible blueprint for system change—for funding a truly sustainable and democratic world civilization” (p. 145). The provides the full text of The Constitution for the Federation of the Earth. This book is well reasoned and well documented, and its intention is to convert you to become a supporter of the Earth Federation Movement of which Glen Martin is a leader.
“The abolition of war is no longer an ethical question to be pondered solely by learned philosophers and ecclesiastics, but a hard core one for the decision of the masses whose survival is the issue. Many will tell you with mockery and ridicule that the abolition of war can only be a dream -that it is the vague imagining of a visionary. But we must go on or we will go under … We must have new thoughts, new ideas, new concepts. We must break out of the straightjacket of the past. We must have sufficient imagination and courage to translate the universal wish for peace-which is rapidly becoming a necessity-into actuality.”
-General Douglas MacArthur
July 5, 1961
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