WAR! – WHAT WAR?
If I were to suggest that that the whole world was at war would you smile, tap you finger on your temple and roll your eyes? Well, I am going to try to explain why I see things that way; then I am going to ask you to put on a uniform and join me and fight back.
If there is a war, and we are in it, it begs the obvious question of who are the belligerents and what are the ultimate objectives?
As I see it, here are the two sides in our current conflict: On one side we have the plutocrats, oligarchs, multinational corporate leaders with their hopeful horde of yes-men and increasingly, religion’s theocrats.
On the other side, there are the six or seven billion poor, meek, frustrated, disheartened individuals from about 190 distinct and separate nations.
What are the belligerent’s objectives?
- To create an occupation force in every nation possible so the whole world works for the financial gain of the aggressors; like the aggressor of occupied France during the last big war, they generously allow the leaders and populous a perceived freedom of being in control of their own affairs.
- To systematically take over control of the governments of all countries so that the politicians and leaders are in fact de facto puppets who do the bidding of the belligerents, who in their ever-helpful manner will even write up all laws and trade agreements for them. (Trust us – we are the experts – we know what we are doing)
- To control democracy itself so that it can never truly represent a cross-section of society, while doing their best to maintain the illusion that we are in control.
- To disenfranchise anyone who might vote against the aggressors and the objectives.
- To control and exploit the entire world’s natural resources for the benefit of the aggressors.
- To manipulate and control manpower and wages and to cripple and destroy labour unions by any means possible.
- To take total control of any “liberal” public media by withholding funding and appointing boards that support neo-conservative values so that news and information is indistinguishable from the corporate owned, controlled and edited media.
- To join forces with fundamentalist religions so that the love of money and possessions becomes virtuous and part of the conservative/fundamentalist doctrine. (Eg. You do know that God wants you to be rich, don’t you?)
- To exploit human frailty and anxiety over such ‘primeval’ issues as science, family planning, birth control, Darwinism, creationism, xenophobia, islamophobia, homophobia, communism, socialism, intellectuals, minorities, racism, abortion, euthanasia, women’s rights etc.
- To undermine and stifle the efforts of the United Nations when it does not serve their global objectives and interests.
- To keep the world on edge and fearful by finding a terrorist behind every rock and tree.
- To create the highest wages and bonuses possible for themselves at the expense of shareholders’ and society’s interests.
- To do everything possible to avoid paying taxes on their own wages, bonuses and other capital gains. (Contrary to the granting of a charter to operate a business – at the detriment of the infrastructure and social benefits to people)
- To negotiate trade pacts that interfere with a government’s ability to control business and which give corporations the right of multinationals to sue governments (I.e. The people) for perceived lost earnings for any number of reasons.
- To do everything possible to avoid environmental regulations, laws and responsibilities.
- To spy on and to keep secret files on anyone who disapproves of their actions.
- To keep societies constantly on edge by exposing threats to their views on ‘our way of life’.
- To exploit patriotism and nationalism to their advantage.
- To remove or stifle all progressive judges who might expose and undo their web of deceit.
- To encourage family members and citizens to “rat” on those who try to expose them.
- To play the tough-on-crime-bill-card and to fill jails to overflowing.
- To advocate for small visible government, while building and financing a vast gang of lobbyists to influence fewer and fewer politicians.
- To oppose any and all social programs that might make the lives of citizen’s better and more secure.
- To dismantle any existing and established health care, elderly benefits/tariffs/labour laws/unemployment benefits/public, support of sports, arts, education, culture etc. whenever and wherever they can.
- To sell off national institutions to private individuals and concerns whenever and wherever possible so that they can be neither recovered, nor rebuilt by a country.
- There’s more but that will do for now.
If there is such an adversary that we acknowledge but do not readily see, then the same can be said for the opposition to this worldwide destructive adversary of both social and environmental concerns. Sure, I see them when I am at a demonstration or protest of some sort. I hear and read of them in the news and see them on TV carrying their placards and shouting their various chants and singing their songs of protest. Unfortunately however I never see them when I walk through town or sit with my coffee in the café every morning as I read my hard copy Guardian Weekly. We good guys and gals are just as invisible as those that corrupt the very air we breathe and ruin the water that sustains all life, from the humblest organism to homo-sapiens. I could write a list of the thousands of things they and we do; both consciously and unconsciously, but that is for later. As for making people visible I would like to change that situation once and for ever, now! – immediately! I would like to look at someone, whom I have never met, and know instantly that we are kindred spirits with regards to social and environmental issues. I would like to know that I am not alone in this city and world with my anxieties. But just how do we make a concerned person visible? – By giving them a ‘uniform’ of course.
Putting on a uniform like a soldier is not what I have in mind, so bear with me. Suppose that we all sewed something onto our clothing that was as immediately recognizable to others as a company logo. That something would have to be distinct and readily available to people in the poorest of nations. How about considering and using pottery clay? It is readily available and it is dirt cheap. It could be made into small everyday buttons and fired in a kiln into a more permanent form. They would then be distinctly little coloured “Terra Cotta” buttons. The name is perfect as it translates as “burnt earth”; which seems appropriate enough considering that our earth is burning up in the process of our activities; even if global warming is but one symptom of our diverse problems. For other individuals a terra cotta coloured neck tie; a right-hand shirt pocket of distinctive terracotta coloured cloth; a handkerchief for those a little shy; a terra cotta medallion to hang on a string around ones neck; the possibilities are extensive. – mugs, caps, socks, neckerchiefs, scarfs, toques etc. A very diverse uniform indeed! I love the contrasting terra cotta coloured shirt pocket idea, as who doesn’t need an extra pocket for comb or sunglasses? It could even be emblazoned with the words “CIVIS MUNDI SUM”. “I am a world citizen” tells it all.
So we now all have our subtle but distinct uniform; we can perhaps approach one another and gain an insight into their anxieties and get their suggestions for remedial action. (I cannot promise you will meet the girl or boy of your dreams simply because they were wearing a terra cotta ID, but who know? – You can approach them with something more original than “what’s your sign?” You might even say “Civis mundi sum?” “Are you a civis mundi?”
WHAT’S IN A NAME? A lot!
Next I would like to suggest a name for our far-flung gaggle of activists with their terra cotta ID proudly identifying them as having a sense of purpose, and a defined mission. Let’s consider this name idea as it relates to both people and planet or social and environmental. These two words (also in Latin) are CIVIS for person and MUNDI for world. Together we have CIVIS MUNDI © or world citizen. (A Hungarian would say Világ állampolgár perhaps) To be called a ‘citoyen du monde’ in French speaking nations is an honourable title which I would adopt in a Nano-second. Others would adopt 世界公民, वैश्विक निवासी, гражданин мира etc. in their own language, but universally we would be known as CIVIS MUNDI. As this name is in Latin, a decidedly dead language, it should not create a lot of friction or hostility. As I see it, the words CIVIS MUNDI can only indicate compassion for mankind and our planet earth, in its broadest sense.
GOING TO WAR
What persuades people to go into combat? My father left my mother and two children the day the Second World War broke out; just as his father had done at the start of WW1. My grandfather never made it out of France and my dad was injured in training so he never served overseas; much to his lifelong disappointment. Following tradition, I joined the Air Force at 17. Why do we do this sort of thing? Not that I had any great hardship during my service but those in the two world wars and Korea suffered for their countries. They slept in the mud; ate rotten food; suffered dysentery; watched their buddies die. We do not have to die in our conflict, but we do have to commit to do something so that others will not suffer from our inaction. So how do we get people to become united in a worldwide movement for justice and plain common sense in this generation’s ultimate and horrific crisis? How can we instil a sense of comradery, adventure, excitement and purpose in this generation? Actually joining together to do something significant might be a place to start.
Joining the CIVIS MUNDI © movement (if that is the name chosen) is really important as it shows a personal commitment. Putting ones name on the dotted line and seeing it added to an expanding list of like-minded people would visually show that something tangible is finally happening. One could see their comrades-in-arms listed, one following the other, from 190 nations – a truly international movement; all colours, all languages, all sexual orientations, all religions, and all nationalities; with one strong voice. In this scenario, people could actually be given a ‘regimental number’ from the order that they signed on. How unique and personal is that?
WHAT WEAPONS WILL WE USE?
First we have to use our brains to defeat this adversary; because there are no gung-ho generals to force you out of your foxhole into battles of their choosing. You will make the decisions of what battles you want to fight or not fight. Your weapons will be your brain, your computer, your participation and your signature. Let me elaborate:
HOW WOULD THIS ALL WORK? Here is the simplified version.
IDENTIFY THE PROBLEMS
Collect and write out all of the problems that need addressing so that the depth of the overall situation is clear to one and all. I can guarantee you that there are more active NGOs then there are problems, and that there are many problems that have no defenders or representatives whatsoever.
CATEGORIZE THE PROBLEMS
Next we need to put the problems (separate issues) into categories. I am going to suggest that there are be no more than 26 categories for reasons that will be apparent later although this is not absolutely essential.
PRIORITIZE THE PROBLEMS
Prioritize the issues within each category and put them into a 25 year plan. Don’t worry, as the priorities can be changed and rearranged as data comes in and membership grows.
CHOOSE THE FIRST ISSUES
It may be best to put something relatively simple at the top of the list rather than the most ominous issue/problem, remembering that it will take time for this new organization to gather significant worldwide member support. (I will put examples for a single category at the end just to show how this would work)
Simple mathematics will now show that we have 26 X 25 issues to put to the membership for their personal input and consideration; the total equals 650 separate issues spaced over 25 years. (A good start)
USE EXISTING INFORMATION
NGO’s and other groups have a lot of information in their data bases with which we can make informed decisions. These groups will be important to the new organization and movement as they can help with identifying and prioritizing and establishing the first and subsequent issues that will be put forward.
PUT THE CATEGORIES INTO A REPEATING ORDER
Take the 26 or so categories and put them into a sequence so that they can be presented to the membership for input and consideration one at a time. If we use 26 categories, and allow a two week period between publication and email distribution of a new petition to the membership, we can address an issue in each and every category in each year of the plan; This is not absolutely essential.
ESTABLISH A SET TIME FRAME
It is important that the membership is not overwhelmed with action requests too frequently. A minimum of a 14 day interval is suggested as this allows time to research, ponder and sign. Also, governments receiving such petitions will not be overcome on a daily basis from multiple sources.
PUT THE WORLD ON NOTICE
Remember that we must visualize the whole world and all the people as one community with all problems affecting all its citizens’ welfare. Once the categories and issues have been established, the whole world including business leaders and politicians everywhere on the planet, will effectively be put on notice that we (Civis Mundi) are determined to press for remedial action now and in the foreseeable future, or until the job is done. Anyone, anywhere, will be able to see for themselves what is in the proverbial “pipeline” and slatted for corrective action.
SEND E-PETITION TO THE LEADERS OF EVERY NATION
Email the petition to every member for consideration and signing. If the member agrees with the suggested petition’s objectives then it is signed and the totals tabulated. After a designated time frame the signed e-petition is sent to every political legislative power in each and every country.
I personally have a great desire to see reductions in the unrestrained use of PLASTIC for reasons I will make clear below. Alternatively hormone-mimicking chemicals in products create a host of problems beyond the scope of this paper. I also have concern for FOOD safety. In the category of HUMAN RIGHTS I would like to see a worldwide ban on female genital mutilation. Therefore, I would enthusiastically subscribe to the categories of PLASTIC, TOXINS, FOOD and HUMAN RIGHTS. With these choices I would then be asked to participate and consider only 4 petitions per year. If I choose to support others in their causes, I could then simply change my settings to include or perhaps exclude categories at any time. Someone who hates the phony governments produced by plurality/majority voting might sign up for DEMOCRACY/VOTING as they push for proportional representative voting. The same person may dislike nuclear power plants and add NUCLEAR ISSUES to his or her list. Another might prefer WATER RESOURCES and LAND/SOIL LOSS DEGRADATION as they push for natural burial of the human body to prevent formaldehyde from leeching into ground water. Another might choose POPULATION CONCERNS as it gets little attention from anyone. Eventually all categories would have their champions.
SET CRITERIA FOR PETITIONS
Most groups that currently use e-petitions are reacting to human rights violations within single nations. Other petitions may be to protect a species like a butterfly (always the Monarch) or bees and other pollinators. (Category SPECIES) Our petitions however must meet more stringent criteria. I suggest that the following two questions be asked before an issue is put to the members.
Does this action benefit the welfare of the planet?
Does this action undo or prevent an injustice against all humankind?
DEVELOP MULTI LANGUAGE CAPABILITIES
As this is a global effort we need to have multi-language capabilities just like the UN. As the movement grows, volunteers would provide translation services.
AVOID POLITICAL AND MARKET FORCES
The UN is awash with political intrigue and corporate pressures. Powerful nations exert their will on the less powerful and use money, economic pressure and veto power to get their own way. Assassination is also now an accepted policy of many nations which includes all of the permanent Security Council. This new organization must avoid such outside influence and stick with the concept of one member, one vote. Every citizen on the planet can participate if they have access to social media.
STEAL GOOD IDEAS FROM OTHERS
AVAAZ and others use e-petitions quite effectively. They also have a good record for gathering members to the cause. They have an enviable 42,000,000 members at last count. Unlike AVAAZ we would cover all 26 categories and e-petition all 190 plus nations whereas they cover only a few categories and e-petition single legislations or corporations.
EXAMPLE OF HOW THIS MIGHT WORK
As an example of how this might work, let’s assume that in step one we decided that PLASTIC was a distinct and separate category that needed to be addressed. If you watched a recent documentary regarded the pollution of the oceans with plastic you might agree that this would be a suitable and essential category. The program suggested that the problem lies in the world’s recycling and waste management programs. This is a grave error in judgment as plastic and the manufacturing in plastic is the problem itself. It is a problem so harmful that it potentially threatens all that exists and those who perpetuate and profit get off scot-free.
Can we eliminate all manufacturing in plastic? – Not realistically or likely! Can we eliminate manufacturing of drinking straws from plastic? Why not? Using straws made of waxed paper would not diminish my lifestyle at all, but it would be a small step for correcting earth’s ecosystem. So, we make it an issue for inclusion and our collective attention somewhere in the 25 year plan.
Using the above logic, after demanding “No manufacturing of plastic straws” we could combine several related issues and demand “No manufacturing of plastic net bags for citrus, onion and garlic.” Manufacturers and suppliers could revert back to twisted paper code bags. Sure, some manufacturers will cry foul and that is unfortunate. We survived the problems they created when they destroyed our shoe industry, our appliance industry, our textile industry, our ship building industry etc. They will adjust just as they forced us to adjust.
Next might come “No excess plastic may be used as fillers in packaging of food products.” My life style would not be diminished.
As we progress we might demand “No manufacturing of toys in plastic”. Kids would still have toys to play with, as manufacturers look to alternative material. Life would not be diminished what-so-ever.
Let’s try attempting something that might be more contentious. “No packaging of toothpaste in plastic tubes” I’m not sure that this could ever be accomplished but really, if my tooth paste came in powder form in a little tinned or cardboard container I’m sure I could cope. Also, billions of empty non-biodegradable tubes would be essentially removed from the ecosystem each and every year, forever and ever. (Imagine the number of albatross that might survive because there were billions fewer plastic caps to feed (and kill) their fledgling offspring)
Here are a few more to consider. (You are welcome to offer more.) “No plastic in razor manufacturing”, “No plastic coat hangers”, “No plastic stickers on fruit and vegetables”, “No plastic inserts in bottles”, “No plastic to be used in vegetable/olive oil containers” “No injection molded chairs” etc. Again my life style would not be diminished.
We eventually get to harder and harder issues. It we look to the problem with manmade fibers we will find a singularly horrendous problem. All clothing and carpets break down and shed fibers. Millions of tons of these fibers are washed into the oceans where they become part of the food chain that reaches ever upwards. This ocean of toxic soup is a crisis that can be reduced because we know what is causing it. We have about 35 natural plant and animal fibers that can be used as replacements to synthetics. We just need to accept the obvious and make some dramatic changes.
In this exercise, I have addressed only one category of problems and only a few issues within said category. NGOs, individuals and other groups could put together a much more comprehensive list.
No problem was ever successfully resolved without an analysis of the problem and an overall plan. In our case we have enough information to categorize and make a list of what needs to be done. Then we need the determination to “tackle that at thing that everyone says cannot be done and just do it.” OK civis, where do we sign up for duty?
Before I waste time on this I would like to ask a question: if I had a registry where you could sign up as a world citizen, who you sign up?