Need for global democracy manifestly self-evident
World government was the logical next step.
Nations had plenty of incentive, given the dreadful dawning reality of several of their number nuclear-arming to the teeth. But the way forward was quickly frozen solid, by the Cold War. The next fleeting opportunity arose when the Berlin Wall came down, but was squandered by the West, delighting in its supposed victory of the isms.
The last opportunity for nation states to lead the move to global democracy was probably immediately post– World War II—barring some miraculous democratisation of capitalist China occurring. Now, the most probable leaders are the globe’s inhabitants, impatient to become global citizens. Two weeks ago today, a cosmopolitan affiliation of high-profile intellectuals released the Manifesto for a Global Democracy. The succinct 867-word declaration demands:
…not just a local and national democracy, but also a global democracy, and we commit to work for its development and call on all the political, intellectual and civil-society leaders of the world, all the democratic organizations, parties and movements, and all persons of democratic persuasion on the planet to actively participate in its constitution.
While the manifesto lacks prose to compare with the ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident…’ of the United States’ founding declaration, but commendably nor does it contain an equivalent of the litany of complaints against George III, which makes up more than half of that revered document. A list of the ‘injuries and usurpations’ of globalisation would run much longer than the 27 indictments listed in the Declaration of Independence, and would only detract from the manifesto’s potently distilled language:
Globalizing democracy is the only way to democratize globalization. Beyond our differences about the contents and appropriate methods to move towards a fairer and more stable world order, we the signatories share a strong commitment to the development of a global democracy. On behalf of Peace, Justice and Human Rights we do not want to be governed at the world level by those who have only been elected to do so at the national one, neither do we wish to be governed by international organizations which do not represent us adequately. That is why we work for the development of supranational political spaces and for regional, international and global institutions that live up to the challenges of the twenty first Century; institutions that express the different viewpoints and defend the common interests of the seven billion people who shape humankind today.
The signatories most likely to cause native English speakers, oriented towards the United States and United Kingdom respectively, to sit up and take notice are Noam Chomsky and George Monbiot. Linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian and author of 111 books, Noam Chomsky is one of the world’s most-cited scholars. And while George Monbiot may have 100 fewer titles to his credit, he more than makes up the ground with his widely read and quoted Guardian column, in which he has long maintained that anthropogenic global warming is the moral question of the 21st century.
It is a measure of Monbiot’s influence and integrity that he is much quoted by Green acolytes, despite his emphatic assertion that renewable power without nuclear is entirely unrealistic. Monbiot’s life to date, if accurately portrayed and featured in an action film, would be dismissed as a Hollywood concoction—if Peter Jackson chose to make another important film, he could jump in here and help hasten the dawning of global democracy.
It is also a measure of the man that George Monbiot admitted to having been wrong, which he conspicuously was when he called for the resignation of Professor Phil Jones, climatologist at the University of East Anglia, immediately following the spurious selective release of portions of hacked emails, engineered to purport fabrication of global warming data. However, he doesn’t appear to have been wrong in taking Noam Chomsky to task over the foreword for the latter provided for The Politics of Genocide, a book in which the phrase Rwandan genocide is placed in inverted commas throughout. That they are, nevertheless, amongst the manifesto’s initial signatories, speaks volumes for both men.
A fortnight after its release, the manifesto has yet to attract its first mainstream-media mention, while its title returns more than 17 000 Google results. Following the London launch, further events will take place until December, in Rome, New York, Brussels, Buenos Aires and New Delhi, so it is essential to begin building momentum soon. Because Avaaz could so readily place the manifesto before its 15 million members, it is utterly mystifying as to why it has not done so already.
Perhaps Avaaz is verifying the figures underpinning it, before celebrating its 15 million milestone—which it appears to have achieved this week—by urging its membership to sign the Manifesto for a Global Democracy, en masse.