Bahá’ís Teach World Federation

Bahá’ís Teach World Federation

Sovaida Maani EwingThe educational branch of the Bahá’í faith now offers an online course entitled “Building a World Federation.” The course is taught by Sovaida Maani Ewing, a Bahai who is an international lawyer and the author of Building a World Federation: The Key to Resolving Our Global Crises. The Bahá’í religion, which took origin from within Islam in the nineteenth century, has always promoted progressive social change on a global level, including gender and race equality, universal human rights, and democratic world government. In this video, Sovaida’s presentation begins at 3:12.

 


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.


 

Top One Percent Owns Half of All Global Wealth

Top One Percent Owns Half of All Global Wealth

Top 1% imageIn the absence of a world federation that could quickly address redistribution of wealth, worldwide inequality continues its upward march: The top one percent of households now “account for half of all assets in the world,” according to the 2015 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report. This is a level “possibly not seen for almost a century,” the researchers write. For those on the other end of the wealth spectrum, the numbers are reversed. The poorest half of the world’s population owns just one percent of its assets. In 2015, a household net worth of $759,000 will put you in the ranks of the global one-percenters. The cutoff for the top 10 percent stood at $68,800. Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.


A Letter to Our Readers

A Letter to Our Readers

DWF Board Members

Dear Concerned World Citizen,

I am writing you today for several reasons, and with a sense of urgency. I’d like to give you an update on our work, discuss how our world federalist message can help defeat terrorism and solve the climate crisis, and also ask for your help.

I find it appalling that today’s fastest growing international political movement is ISIS, a terrorist organization. Their ideology is one of hate, ignorance, and death. They slaughter and enslave anyone they consider an outsider or infidel. They now control a good amount of territory and have resources such as oil, money, and guns. They are masters of recruitment using social media. They have organizations in 12 countries and are growing. The civilized world needs a strategy to combat this spread of ignorance and barbarism. We need a different mindset that appeals to the rational and tolerant majority of people around the world.

Building a democratic world federation to handle such dangerous challenges is now urgently needed. Aggrieved peoples, especially in the Middle East, have nowhere to turn for justice, no binding world courts or enforceable global law that they may use to resolve conflicts and pursue peacemaking. We need a system where all international conflicts can be resolved with law rather than by violence. The current system of American intervention has failed to produce stable democracies in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, or Syria. We need to move to a system of international responsibility and individual accountability before the law in order to prevent failed states and meet other pressing crises.

Most people in the world have never heard of or thought of the concepts of democratic world federalism. But ours is an ideology that is open to all nations, peoples, religions, and ethnicities. As you know, world federalism is currently a concept held by a small group of intellectuals and activists. Our challenge is to bring these concepts to the broader world and to build a movement that will dwarf terrorist and nationalist ideologies, and for this work I need your help more than ever.

With the recent terror attacks in Paris, Lebanon, and the Sinai there is a coming together of the civilized world to fight ISIS and radical Islam. Russia and America are working toward a joint strategy to combat terrorism. Muslim countries and populations in Europe are condemning the attacks and hopefully will fully engage in the fight against ISIS and similar groups. Fighting ISIS requires the capture and control of territory they hold and cutting off of money to the organization. The strategy of bombing only and containment has failed to produce results. The terrorists must not be allowed to find a safe haven in any country or to receive funds from any outside source. They are thriving in the places where civil war has left a vacuum, such as Syria, Iraq, and Libya. These countries must be stabilized by the international community. The military defeat of ISIS and the rebuilding of the countries they occupy should be done by a coalition of as many countries as possible, and it is especially important to involve Sunni Arab countries. An empowered United Nations is the best organization to help coordinate such an immense project and to help in the transition to stability and democracy after a military victory. Because jihadists have cells in many countries, a vigorous and coordinated international effort to identify and arrest potential terrorist before they strike is needed. This effort will need to involve a great deal more participation of the international community and in particular the Muslim community. Greater unity and coordination of effort of the international civilized community will defeat terrorism.

As humans we have been programmed by evolution to have an allegiance to our tribe and to consider outsiders as the “other” or as our enemy. We have expanded our definition of our tribe to now mean swearing allegiance to our nation. In many parts of the world and particularly in the Middle East the allegiance is to one’s religious or ethnic group rather than to the nation. The most urgent task that is necessary for our survival is for the majority of civilized humans to pledge allegiance to humanity rather than any one religious, ethnic group or nation. This social evolution is now possible because of our global inter-connectedness and interdependence. We need a message to engage the decent members of society, one that will drown out the negative message of ISIS. It is by energizing the rational majority of global society that a new political movement and paradigm can be created.

We must seize the day. This is our time to help the world move to greater human unity and tolerance by building a viable and dynamic organization to promote a world ruled by just democratic law rather than force. American politicians often say America cannot be the world’s policeman and I agree, but policing is needed. When there is a crisis, an international coordinated response is best; even better would be to have a world legislature and world courts to deal with the crisis according to law and justice meted out on behalf of all of humanity.

Since my last letter we have seen several positive developments:

  • Due in part to the report of the commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance, the forces for change at the United Nations are growing. Our movement is working to use this opportunity to further democratize the UN, making it more able to fulfill its vision,
  • The Democratic World Federalist board has agreed to closer coordination with Citizens for Global Solutions and plan to work on joint projects in the coming year,
  • Our President, Bob Flax, represented us at the World Federalist Movement Council Meeting held at the United Nations. Our application for full Member Organization status will allow us to send more delegates to future meetings, having more influence on WFM’s policies,
  • Andrea Kischkat, an intern and doctoral student based in New York City, has joined our team.

Your continued support will help us spread the message of how to achieve a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.  In 2016, with your help we plan to:

  • Increase our public speaking at schools and other organizations throughout the SF Bay Area,
  • Improve our website and newsletter to educate more people and grow our membership,
  • Explore the relocation of our office to a location with other social justice and environmental organizations near the University of California, Berkeley Campus.  This will put is in the heart of a student activist population.

Please call, email, or mail now to volunteer your time and skills, or make a tax deductible donation to help us amplify our message.

Sincerely,

Jerry Tetalman
DWF Development Director

 

Training Youth: The Model Global Parliament

Training Youth: The Model Global Parliament

Model Parliament
By Chris Hamer
DWF Board Member

A Model Global Parliament was just held in the New South Wales Parliament building, the eighth in a series of Model Global Parliaments that have now been held over the past three years in Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney. The Model Global Parliament program is the brainchild of Pera Wells, formerly an Australian diplomat, and at one time the Secretary-General of the World Federation of United Nations Associations. The scenario is that the Members of Parliament (MPs) act as if they are members of a real global parliament, with the power to enact binding laws or regulations concerning global issues, such as nuclear weapons, climate change, and so on. In Pera’s model, half the MPs represent regions of the globe, such as North Asia or Latin America, and half represent global civil society organizations such as the World Parliament of Religions or the International Association of Trade Unions. Up to now, most but not all of the MPs have been graduate students in disciplines like international relations or international law.

Attendance at our 3rd Model Global Parliament in Sydney was modest, but as always included an extraordinary mix of students and others from many different nationalities, including Syria, Italy, Turkey, Sri Lanka, China, Spain, Ireland, Singapore, New Zealand, Egypt, Hong Kong, Palestine, Australia, and Bangladesh. The concept generally seems to appeal more to international students than the locals.

This session took place on the theme of climate change, looking forward to the global conference in Paris at the end of the year. Prof Chris Hamer, President of Scientists for Global Responsibility, gave a quick rundown of the conventional view of the facts behind climate change, as given by the IPCC. Dr Howard Brady, an Antarctic geologist, gave the skeptical viewpoint, arguing the need not to panic, but to slow down and give time for infant technologies to develop. Debate of the motions put forward to the MGP followed.

The following motions were voted upon:

Motion 1: North Asia

Motion Carried

Noting the increasing concerns over global environmental issues,

Calls for the creation of a global umbrella group instead of establishing a new institution, which will act as a research facility, think-tank, and information bank for the wider public. The Global Institute for ‘Green’ Innovation (GIGI) will have a headquarters in North Asia coordinating regional hubs, and will be internationally renowned as a hotspot for innovative renewable energy technology. The institute will include a significant scientific research division with focus areas being the development of ground-breaking ‘green’ technologies on an international scale.

 

Motion 2: International Union for the Conservation of Nature

Motion defeated

Considering that setting of emissions reduction targets is hindered by differing viewpoints over appropriate accountabilities of developing and developed nations.

Proposes that the target agreed-upon in Paris informs resolution of these conflicting views by incorporating objective, crowd-sourced data around human dependence on nature/natural resources and the contribution of nature to people’s livelihoods.

 

Motion 3: World Parliament of Religions

Motion carried

Noting that more than eight in ten people worldwide identify with a religious group, religious adherence should be given greater acknowledgement by the United Nations.

Calls upon the United Nations to establish a Council of Religions and also to bring the religious groups into discussion, to give a voice to religious groups, and to ensure their interests are represented in policy.

Motion 4: Latin America

Motion Defeated

Noting the power imbalance in the UN Security Council and the changing dynamics of global power.

Calls on the United Nations General Assembly to vote to amend the Charter to include Brazil as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Motion 5: Universities

Motion Defeated

Noting that the UNSC is becoming increasingly ineffective in stopping transnational wars as in Iraq, Syria and Yemen,

Calls on the UNSC to disband and to allow the UNGA to make decisions involving global security on an 85% supermajority vote.

 


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.


 

Global Evolution and the Next Generation

Global Evolution and the Next Generation

ButlerHeadshotBy Jack Butler

I am Jack Butler, a Cambridge-educated integral coach and social entrepreneur. I think we live in remarkable times. Two years back, I spent some time in personal retreat over my 30th birthday thinking about what I wanted to put my major life energy into. I had one book with me—Ron Glossop’s World Federation, passed to me by a friend. The relationship he described between community, law, governance, and eventual peace made immediate sense to me. I was baffled how I had studied politics at Cambridge and had never once heard anyone talk about stronger global governance as a desirable emergence. I was convinced that the ideas Glossop discussed needed to be part of a broader conversation about how we are doing life in the global era.

Since then, I have been meeting and dialoguing with all sorts of civic and thought leaders—see http://beingjackbutler.com/web-show-new/ for my podcasts and video interviews. I have seen how business is changing from owner-dominated decision-making to holacracy, a very decentralized constitution for a company where people are much more empowered, vested interests are marginalized, and constitutional updates are easy to adopt. Global governance could usefully draw from this approach. The more people are used to this way of being in their day-to-day work, the more the world of distant representatives is unsatisfying as the sole method of government at any scale. I have seen how culturally creative young people are not watching TV or buying newspapers. They are producing and consuming media on Facebook and Youtube. This has profound implications for civic life and participation. Either/or politics is losing its appeal. Millennials may both be more right wing and left wing than you! They want minimum government interference in their entrepreneurial projects; but those projects are often done, not for profit, but on behalf of the community. The age of both/and integral politics is dawning.

With the recent establishment of the new 17 global goals by the UN, we are starting to see the beginnings of the cultural conditions for a world where everyone is included and where we can have more effective ways of handling all-humanity issues.

We are squarely in the global era now, not the post world-war two era. The global era is the age of ubiquitous social media, the transcendence of controlled mass media, instant internet connectivity, instant coverage of social movements and political events, the largest-ever global civil society organization (Avaaz, 44 million members and growing fast), global Facebook feeds, emerging integral consciousness, flat organizational hierarchies, countries selling e-residency (Estonia), self-organizing systems, the decentralized possibilities of blockchain technology (what Bitcoin runs on), re-imagination of social value creation (impact investing, e.g.) and a global generation committing to have no one go hungry (e.g., the Global Citizen Festival pledges and Global Poverty Project). This is not an apathetic generation. They may just be apathetic about the old means—joining a party, climbing the company ladder, believing in traditional institutions. The savviest millennials are not hankering after corporate jobs, they want to set up projects which make a difference in the developing world, where they do ‘with’ (and not ‘to’) the communities they serve. Life scripts have never been so moldable and self-authoring, and our globally intertwined fates have never been so close to so many’s hearts.

Cultural change often needs to proceed political change—there needs to be a cultural constituency before an effective political constituency can form. It’s forming. Google Trends shows that searching for ‘global citizen’ has gone up 20 times since 2007. Whilst some may descry that absent a legal status “global citizenship” doesn’t mean anything, I would suggest that the cultural identity is hugely important, growing and is a necessary precursor to the political identity.

My sense is that stronger global governance can be driven forward by the millennial generation but it needs to integrate the new ways of doing life: peer networks, decentralized information flow, and participatory civic technology amongst other things.

World federalists have an important part of the puzzle—global law is where we need go to. But I think we need to be open to how that looks as it’s not just parliamentary decision-making. It is also opt-in protocols at the individual and local level. The entire internet runs on TCP/IP protocols (how your computer talks to the net)—even, I’m told, in North Korea. That’s a global standard which everyone has gotten behind. Linux underpins a huge share of operating systems. It’s a global open-source project, which everyone can contribute to, simply if they have enough domain-specific knowledge. And it’s completely transparent, so it’s fairer and safer. It’s much easier to create viruses for Microsoft than Linux because of the decentralized and responsive intelligence of the Linux community.

My contention therefore is that the vision I read about in Glossop won’t unfold in the way it lays it out. It has to evolve with the times. There will be some disruptive emergence. So I wouldn’t hold the “federalism” part too tightly, if we can innovate something better. And especially if it’s not a brand that appeals to the generation most likely to enact some of the ideas you most care about. Maybe we will move from representative democracy to some more direct participation via our smart devices. Maybe we will have liquid democracy where I can give policy-specific revocable proxies to people I trust. Maybe our politicians will be bound by transparent dashboards aggregating the big data and views of all constituents. Maybe law will democratize to the extent where everyone can form easy protocols and opt-in agreements, just like if you buy my app on your iPhone and agree to my terms. Maybe New Zealand’s idea to introduce a global impact visa will become a new norm and talented social entrepreneurs will be able to work anywhere in the world. Maybe location independence, fueled by Airbnb and the sharing economy, will become the new norm within a set of global cultural norms which I can already feel when I meet traveling millennials.

My point is the world is changing exponentially fast. The more self-authoring people are, the less they look to representatives to solve their problems. The biggest problems in the world are arguably mostly being tackled and led by civil society, not governments. Both have their part to play. So it’s important to see the changes that are happening and align with them, not miss them because they may not look like how we solved problems in the 1950s. In the integral age, we need to see the value of both unity and decentralization. As humanity grows to be a self-organizing system, better decisions are often made by the group (think Linux) than a small group of elected officials (think Microsoft’s centralized security team). If we are about maximizing the greatest collective potential, presumably a fairly central aim of civics and politics, then we need to bring everyone’s talent into our biggest collective concerns. That is, global citizens need to participate maximally in their global life. I am curious how federalism can best adapt to that and capture the imagination and genius of the most informed generation ever to live.

*Want to join this conversation? We just held the first Global Evolution Camp in Oakland on 8th October. This was a gathering to bring our personal, cultural, and global evolution into one place. The purpose of these camps is to talk both about how we are with each other, how we want to run the world, and where we can explore the identity, strategies. and advocacy of being a global citizen. The Global Evolution Camp will be coming on the road, so feel free to register your interest here (www.globalevolutionyourcity.eventbrite.com), join my mailing list here (www.beingjackbutler.com/contact-2) or connect with me via facebook (www.facebook.com/beingjackbutler)

 


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.