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A People’s World Government: Who’s Fooling Whom?

February 24, 2014

By Carl Teichrib

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Preamble: The following article was originally penned after I attended a small, but intense meeting in Chicago in the fall of 1997 on ways to implement a world parliament – a “People’s Assembly.” A number of years later I reprinted this piece in Forcing Change magazine, (Volume 2, Issue 5), along with the full text of a survey given to the meeting participants. The purpose of the survey: To ascertain the structural conditions of a world parliament – including options for choosing potential candidates to the global body.

(Note: If you have a membership to Forcing Change, log-in and download Volume 2, Issue 5).

The reason for re-publishing this item on the Forcing Change blog is straightforward: the world parliament idea has never gone away and, in recent months, has gained some traction. For example, in late December 2013, a representative of the United Nations Secretary-General received a special appeal document calling for the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly. This text was singed by over 1,250 active and former lawmakers, hundreds of professors, political personalities, and scientific and cultural leaders. (UNPA Campaign, “Appeal for a global parliamentary assembly…” December 20, 2013).

In fact, 2013 witnessed renewed interest regarding the creation of a UN world parliament; the German Bundestag subcommittee on the United Nations reviewed the proposal, the East African Legislative Assembly adopted a pro world parliament resolution, the September UNCCD conference in Namibia recommended the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly, the chair of the European Parliament’s Commission on Foreign Affairs and the President of the European Parliament expressed support last October, and the idea was advanced at the Commonwealth Summit by Malta’s Foreign Minister. Many other calls for a world parliament were made by government officials, former and active diplomats, and noted political personalities in the past 12 months and during the last few years.

Since 1997 when I attended the Chicago “world parliament” meeting until now, I have watched the movement ebb and flow. The concept was debated at a special working group at the UN Millennium Forum, and it was at this event where I watched as personalities clashed over how the world assembly should be organized and who should do it. Later, I heard calls for the Assembly at the FIM Global Governance conference in 2002, and then listened as renewed commitments were made at an international meeting of the World Federalists in 2012. It’s a big idea that’s not going to go away.

In order to help understand what all of this means, I’ve decided to re-print my personal experiences at one of the earlier People’s Assembly/world parliament events. Some editing changes for better flow have been made, along with the addition of a few extra details. Something else to note is that two of the organizations mentioned are now defunct. In the case of the Action Coalition for Global Change, the organization morphed into a website network, Empower the United Nations. And the sci-fi sounding United Planetary Federation, the small group who hosted the Chicago event, ceased being operational many years ago. However, the work of these organizations – and others – helped energize the movement, and formed its historical backdrop.

Presently, through the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, almost 400 organizations – including 22 international networks – have expressed support and advocacy for a UN world parliamentary assembly.

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A People’s World Government: Who’s Fooling Whom?

 

By Carl Teichrib

To the residents of a weathered looking section of north Chicago, I must have looked lost. After the fourth drive around the block, I still hadn’t found what looked like the right building. The sun had set hours before and the street lighting was poor. Large hardwood trees lined the sidewalk, and all the houses looked the same – dark.

This was where elite global movers and shakers were supposed to meet, in an old residential section? This was where, for the next two days, world thinkers would develop directives towards bringing Chicago on-line with global government? Something didn’t seem right.

Finally, after 20 minutes of frustrated searching in the gloom of a November evening, I stopped the car and ran up the steps of the only building that vaguely fit what I was looking for. No lighted signs, billboards or banners announced my location; just a plain piece of paper with simple type posted on the door. Walking in, I was welcomed to “DreamHouse.”

Unknown to all but a handful, Chicago was the setting for a small but intense conference on world government in early November 1997. For two days (7th and 8th), the United Planetary Federation (UPF), under the leadership of Glen Nuttall, hosted the United Peoples Advocates and Global Virtual Assembly – a visioneering event for global governance. The meeting place, already alluded to, was very low profile. DreamHouse, as the place was called, was a former Salvation Army chapel. It was from this location, still equipped with a podium embossed with a wooden cross, that the message of global consensus was preached.

A few months earlier I had talked to Mr. Nuttall, the conference organizer, about the up-coming Assembly. Optimistic, he explained that this meeting was meant to unite the peace movement and work to bring Chicago to the forefront of the emerging global system. He also hoped to have a substantial crowd for the conference. The crowd never showed. Less than twenty people were in the building.

A Meeting of Minds

At first it seemed to me that the UPF Assembly was a washout. With so few attending, what could happen? Little did I know that those in the room were some of the most influential players within world government circles. [Note: the following short list reflects the positions these people held in 1997.]

• Lucile Green: member of the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA), 4th signer of the WCPA Constitution for the Federation of Earth, founder and co-chair of the World Government Organization Coalition, member of the American Humanist Association, the World Future Society, and on the executive of the Action Coalition for Global Change (ACGC). From the mid-1990s until 2004, the ACGC was a notable United Nations advocacy group based in San Francisco.

• Nari Safavi: President of the World Federalist Association of Chicago and on the World Federalist Association National Board.

• Tom Hudgens: President and CEO of the Association to Unite the Democracies (an organization that was influential in the early history of NATO), a member of the World Federalist Association, and a member of the World Citizens Assembly.

• Robert Stuart: Chairman of the Board of the Association to Unite the Democracies, member of the World Federalist Association.

• Howard Cort: member of the International Public Policy Institute, and a task force member to organize a United People’s Assembly under the guidance of the Action Coalition for Global Change.

• Roy Corr: member of the World Federalist Association and Worldwatch.

• Amos El-Roy: key developer of the Grassroots World Government (GWG) web site and author of GWG working papers.

Summing up the gathering of these individuals, Lucile Green, in her Saturday morning speech, stated,

I feel that I’m speaking to a room full of VIPs. Robert Muller loved to quote Margaret Mead, saying, ‘You know it takes only a few committed people to change the world.’ And it’s the only thing that ever does change it. So I think we have here a few important people, this is an important event, and we could change the world.

In some respects it was a “federalist family” atmosphere. Because of the small size, and because most of those in attendance knew one another, the discussion and planning time was overt to the cause of world federalism. For myself, an unknown to the group, it was a time of education concerning the goals and principles of global government.

The Voice Of Special Interest Groups

Key to the UPF meeting was the development of strategies to bring Chicago into a unified world’s People’s Assembly. Even though the concept was new to me, I soon discovered that the idea of a People’s Assembly spanned decades.

As far back as 1978, Lucile Green recommended that non-governmental organizations act in an official-like capacity to the world community. This was expressed during an NGO forum – a “People’s Assembly” – running parallel to the 1978 United Nations Special Session on Disarmament. After the Special Session was over and the People’s Assembly closed, Green publicly suggested the following line of action,

“…the Peoples Assembly… will continue as a precedent and possible nucleus for forming a truly global institution to represent the common interests of people rather than the competing interests of nations. A Peoples Assembly will be held every time and place the U.N. special sessions are held on problems that concern people in general, such as the future of the oceans, technology, and childrens [sic] rights. The Peoples Assembly should be… soundly incorporated into the structure of the U.N. as a permanent house – a Peoples Assembly with the voting power to change the no-win game of dis-united nation…”

In 1997, the idea of a People’s Assembly witnessed a renewal. Lucile Green, Robert Muller (former UN Under Secretary General), Douglas Roche (Canadian Senator), and Lady Rhyl Jansen (president of the UN Association of New Zealand), started to organize an NGO network with the goal of creating a People’s Assembly. That same year, UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, gave the call for the formation of a People’s Millennium Assembly in the year 2000. NGOs such as the World Federalist Association and Green’s Action Coalition for Global Change recognized this historic opportunity, anticipating the time when NGO’s would act as the collective voice of people around the world.

So what does this mean? NGOs with United Nations status would have a direct say, on “your behalf,” in determining international policies. Groups such as Planned Parenthood, the Global Futures Network, the World Federalist Movement, the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, the Bahá’í International Community and Lucis Trust, among other like-minded and similarly configured organizations, would act as the official voice of humanity in the international arena. All of this would be done through elected local representatives – a global Member of Parliament – holding a seat in the newly formed United Nations People’s Assembly, and working hand-in-glove with the UN accredited NGO community. And as NGOs such as the World Federalist Movement formed the backbone of this hoped-to-be official body, so too they would be the channels through which these MPs gained influence and power.

Targeting Cities and the Year 2000

Developing the foundation for this not-so-distant People’s Assembly was one of the main purposes for the Chicago meeting. Moreover, the Chicago People’s Assembly was only one of many similar gatherings being convened worldwide. At DreamHouse we were told of major cities planning similar events; Boston, Bombay, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, New Delhi, Paris, Philadelphia, Tokyo, The Hague, and Wellington. Each was scheduled to host events leading to the creation of an Assembly.

Some cities, like San Francisco and New York, had already held conferences, and NGOs in those cities were moving forward. In Perugia, Italy, it was explained, People’s Assembly organizers were hoping to have 80,000 participants march from Perugia to Assissi in support of this global cause. But because of an earthquake in the area, only 10,000 showed up. Even as the UPF conference in Chicago was taking place, a high level NGO/People’s Assembly meeting was being conducted in Geneva, Switzerland. On Saturday morning, Lucile Green presented personal greetings from the Geneva group, as well as from the Perugia Assembly organizers.

But why target cities? At Chicago the reason became obvious: Cities are strategically significant. To illustrate, UPF participants were given a list of 94 of the largest cities in the world. We were told that these were “global cities,” representing major portions of the planet’s population. Hence, these urban zones are the economic, political, corporate and academic hubs for their represented regions and nations. By bringing cities on-line as players in a UN People’s Assembly, governance on a planetary scale could be ramped up. Ms. Green provided extra context,

“…the idea of a People’s Assembly has gone from a long, long dream, (from) at least ‘78 and probably earlier than that… into an embryo. It’s no longer a question of if it will happen but a question of what will it be like? And there are already signs of life in all of these Assemblies around the world… life signs of this embryo about to be born. We even know the date when it will be born, which will be the year 2000. And between now and then, my friends, we are in labor. And there will be pain in labor. Plenty of it, I’m sure. But our labor pains will bring forth a new life in the year 2000.”

Glen Nuttall was confident in the realization of this People’s Assembly, but thought the year 2000 might be too soon before the necessary pieces came together. However, he did see the millennium year as being valuable to the build-up of a future parliamentary assembly.

Problems

Twice during the UPF conference I overheard participants talking about the Christian problem. Simply stated, Biblical Christianity doesn’t fit in the new global paradigm. Christianity is built on the exclusivity of Jesus Christ – a narrow view that doesn’t mesh with a pluralistic world. Another problem Christianity poses is that of childrearing: children are “infected” with a “backwards” worldview. Glen Nuttall explained what the new ideal should look like,

“We need to teach children about global government, global governance, and the world at large. We must encourage them to devise and explore alternatives to modern realities.”

During the lunch hour another “problem” was encountered; me. Because of the small size of the group and the fact that everyone, except myself, contributed to the discussions, I stood out. Within a few minutes of our lunch break, Robert Stuart from the Association to Unite the Democracies, along with Ms. Green, questioned my silence and lack of participation. Pulled aside and questioned, I explained that I was attending because I felt this meeting would be of historical value – a truism. I also explained that as an obvious outsider, I didn’t feel comfortable contributing to the discussions.

At this point I was given an interesting insight. They explained that what we were doing was secretive, and that the general public was not aware of world government developments. This work, I was told, was theoretical in nature.

Somehow this didn’t fit with the political ideal of “representation.”

Democracy & Representation in a World Government

Tom Hudgens, CEO of the Association to Unite the Democracies, gave an alternative scenario to the concept of a planetary assembly. Rather than using the United Nations as a basis, Hudgens outlined how NATO could be used as a framework for a unified world democratic system. If NATO nations would come together on a macro-level (politically, economically, militarily, etc.), he believed other countries would feel pressure to join this global “democratic” system. Others in the audience thought this approach had merit, and suggested pursing it further.

Another gentleman who contributed heavily to the UPF meeting was World Federalist Nari Safavi.

“I cannot hide my sense of excitement and exultation because I think a lot of the goals and principles that the World Federalists have been advocating now are coming to fruition. The historical forces are aligning… All of a sudden what was unachievable, what was unthinkable, is thinkable and is achievable.”

Mr. Safavi elaborated on the connections between world government and a People’s Assembly,

“To the idea of a world government, World Federalists nowadays basically respond that the world government is already here. When you look at organizations such as the World Trade Organization or IMF (International Monetary Fund) or… the World Bank; what are these? These are instruments of global governance. World government is here, but we just don’t have any voice in them… if we want to have a Federation to be democratic, we need to have people’s representation… so we hope to see a People’s Assembly ultimately to evolve into the Constituents Assembly body of the world government, where the citizens of the world, their representatives, will have the power to legislate for the whole world.”

During our talks, somebody asked about the electoral process of a global People’s Assembly. What values and ethics would be required in a global Member of Parliament – a world congressional representative? After some lengthy discussion it was obvious that a global MP would have to meet a certain set of criteria.

– No pro-nationalism or country specific patriotism. First and foremost, a global MP must hold allegiances to the Earth community.

– Western views of development and economics, primarily capitalism, would have to be downplayed. Instead, a more holistic approach would be necessary in a global MP.

– A global MP couldn’t be someone who held narrow religious and philosophical beliefs. Rather, he/she must embrace spiritual pluralism and a wider set of ethics.

– His/her focus must be on the Earth first: environmental concerns must supersede human growth and development.

– A global MP must be in lockstep with the agenda for world government. Period.

Democracy? Representation? The words rang hollow.

Getting To The Point

Deborah Burris-Kitchen, an overt Marxist who teaches at the University of LaVerne, California, gave a speech outlining the dangers of global capitalism. Her presentation added much to the discussion, but it also caused uneasiness within the group.

Was it that her message acted as a type of mirror for the other participants, revealing the core nature of world government? In any case, even as participants disagreed with Burris-Kitchen, the general consensus was that a global system must be not Westernized, but based on a larger methodology. Lucile Green demonstrated what this would look like in her book Journey to a Governed World,

“A new consciousness is also emerging from a growing awareness in the West of the wisdom of the Eastern world-view. Buddhism, Hinduism, Taosim and Shinto, while they differ in many respects, portray the world as a multi-dimensional, organically interrelated eco-system of which man is one of many inter-dependent parts. Perhaps we can learn through them to see the world whole, as it really is, and together – West and East – begin to build the foundations of a new world order.

The most urgent item on the planetary agenda is to set the limits of freedom and order in supra-national, global affairs. A constitution for the world is needed which combines the achievements of both hemispheres: that is, constitutional limitations and a bill of rights from the West and a spacious world-view from the East.”

Before the Chicago event ended, a special survey was passed around. The questions presented to us painted an interesting picture of world government and global democracy; Should potential Members of the Parliamentary Assembly provide “evidence of global citizenship either by formal declaration or reputation”? Should constituents be pulled from worldwide non-governmental organizations? Would a global “electoral college” be a good idea? Is it important to “promote a global world constitution convention” in light of continuing to develop a People’s Assembly? How should “a permanent Global Peoples Assembly be financed?” (NOTE: The full survey is available to Forcing Change members).

Direct taxation on the world’s people? Yes? No? Undecided? Fees for use of our Common Heritate, including oceans, air, water, and the total biosphere… Dues from electoral contributions… Taxes on international money exchanges…

All of the above caused me to reflect: What kind of world will my children inherit? It was an unsettling thought.

But something else was unsettling. Coming up to the supper hour I found myself questioned again regarding my purpose and intent. Now, however, the message was clear: I was viewed as an infiltrator.”

Knowing when your time’s up is important. I gave myself an hour more and then headed for the door. In the space of a comparatively few short hours, DreamHouse had allowed me to catch a glimpse of the bigger picture – a vision of pseudo-democracy and the desired centralization of power.

In the future, watch as a United Nations-inspired “People’s Assembly” gains momentum and comes to public light. When it does, I fully expect that the media spin will be primarily positive, selling the idea to a public ill-equipped to comprehend the true nature of the global dream.

A people’s world government… who’s fooling whom? FC

P.S. If this report has been of value to you, please consider a subscription membership to Forcing Change. Members have access to eight years of downloadable back-issues; that’s over 1500 pages of articles, essays, and special reports. Or, consider a donation through PayPal. Your partnership is necessary to keep this important work moving forward.

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