Presented to the Peace Development
& Global Competence Commission
of the International Society of
General Systems Research Conference
University of Pennsylvania
27 May 1986
Our conference this week has the opportunity to be accorded not a line, not a niche, but a chapter in history. Its organizers have brought together some of the finest systemic minds to work through a problem which has repeatedly and relentlessly plagued humanity. We have come together to find a door to world peace.
While some may seek to dismiss us as merely a small clique of concerned political idealists, I remind them of a similar clique of so called idealists who came together in this same town some one hundred and ninety-nine tears ago. In the horse and buggy days of 1787, a diverse group of state citizens laid a then revolutionary foundation for government. Their ideas of inalienable or natural rights of the individual's sovereignty, and of the need to form a higher or "meta" government found expression in the United States of America.
They realized even then that their efforts were only an experiment. They carefully circumscribed their constitution; even included an extra-ordinary amendment reserving enumerated rights to the people. The day would come when their political descendents would have to carry the noble experiment one step further to the global level and today is that day.
This conference comes at a time of giant confrontation. We watch as civilizations collide; we wait as the nation-state is confronted by the one world era. Now we must act before it is too late.
Whether we are the facilitators of our destiny or its obstructors is up to us. We have a choice - sovereign action or tragic inaction, decision or sterile debate, revolutionary practice or benign theory.
I made my choice many years ago; after receiving my invitation form John Holmdahl, I decide to invite you, in fact challenge you to make yours.
My purpose today is three-fold: to stimulate and activate your global political will, to convince you of the legitimacy of World Government and, third, to bring the cyberneticists and world citizens together to create an even more powerful, more productive group than those who met here in 1787.
Almost forty years ago, after bombing cities and towns in World War II, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki turned war into holocaust, I realized the modern nation-state was the most insidious political con that ever had been perpetrated on our free intelligence. I opted out.
You perhaps already know the story. Becoming stateless was my bridge to world civic power. But being stateless is what we all are today in terms of protection of of inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness proclaim by the U.S. fonding fathers.
If world peace is our goal, then you here are fully as stateless as I am in spite of you United States or other nationality. For obviously no nation can prevent war between nations. On the contrary, war is inbuilt to the nation-state system since its breeding ground is anarchy. For instance, in conferring discretionary powers on the U.S. President from the outset , even the U.S. Constitution vitiated its democratic principles when nation confronted nation. So we find ourselves insanely and literally on the brink of total annihilation as a species on the planet earth.
If we view the earth from a nationalistic perspective, it is absurd to contend that the national political world ruled by madmen and women? Is a threat against all humanity in the name of national security rational or insane? If so-called nuclear war is not winnable, as both Reagan and Gorbachev have repeatedly stated, is the threat of it possible for responsible leader?
Only world civic power can systemize that "proliferating complexity" which in your terms defines the crisis of our global era. But is world civic power legitimate or is it only a naive hope, a chimera? If it is to be legitimate and, more importantly, if it to be successful, its institutional framework - the World Government - must first be proven to be legitimate.
The question of the legitimacy of World Government is two parted: Does World Government exist and is it lawful? Let's look at its elements. First, we have a "legitimate" world citizenry. In September 1954, a Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons was set for ratification by all nations of the General Assembly of the United Nations. In June, 1960, after thirty-five signatures it went into effect. According to that convention, the stateless person, ironically, became legal...according to the nation. He or she was recognized as a human being with clearly defined rights. Statelessness, therefore, enjoys it own legal status distinct from that of the state. But what the authors perhaps didn't realize was that status had a sovereign character in and by itself opening the way for the stateless person to become a legitimate world citizen! It only required him or her to declare that new or "meta" citizenship as an inalienable political right. That right had already been proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human rights in 1948.
I only realized that breakthrough after renouncing my own nationality in 1948 and being forced to defend my rights vis-a-vis all states with which I come in contact. I discovered to become stateless is not to relinquish inalienable human rights which, by definition, cannot be renounced. On the contrary, if divorced from the nation-state, the individual's rights become fully revealed, powered and thus operative. His or her access to humanity and the world community is direct, dynamic and decisive. The new world citizen status, as well, affirms the accepted right of "self determination of people." This right is codified in the United Nations Charter, the International Bill of Human rights and various protocols and conventions signed by the nation-states. But until the declaration of World Government in 1953 we stateless had no government to call our own.
Second, in addition to a natural citizenry World Government - unlike other governments in exile - has its own territory which is legally recognized by all nations. We all are familiar with the word "frontier." Every here has no doubt crossed many frontiers in his or her life, but have you ever truly analyzed them, figured them out? As you timidly presented your national passports, those shameful control devices issued by states to ensure your property status, to the frontier control guard to prove your innocence or rather complicity with the divisive system. Have you seen through them?
Indeed, it is over those vert "frontiers" that most national wars are fought. The "frontier" is vital to a nation, but then so is your acquiescence to it as exclusive national citizens. The frontier then is the most important aspect of any nation since it defines the physical, political, social,economic, often ethnic and even moral limits. today we have Jewish states,Christian states and Moslem states. Certainly without the frontier the nation wouldn't exist. But its most important task is legal; it defines the legal limits of a given nation.
Let's dig a little deeper into this "frontier" business applying geo-dialectical thinking. We just might discover a legal way out of the nation-state suicidal cauldron. If two national "frontiers" actually face one another, which divides them? In other words, what actually separates one nation from another? Simple reason tells us there must be a physical line, if only pencil thin, which serves this all-important function. But in that function - and herein lies the crucial fact - it actually serves a dual purpose. The same line serves two nations! So here we have a geo-dialectical equation: nation equals nation, the dividing line being the equal sign. The dividing line then is not incidental to all nations but contrarily essential to their legal existence. Without it they don't exist. Then itself must be legal otherwise nations themselves could not claim to be legitimate.
But let's carry this reasoning one step further. The same dividing line obvious continues unbroken wherever many nations exist. Therefore, it is actually inter-national territory. In fact, since all nations are defined by it, it is even world territory!
World Territory and World Citizens naturally co-exist. Yet while the product is World Government, the impetus, ironically, originates with national law itself. World Government is as a result made a "lawful" entity. A so-called alien physically entering a country yet not admitted legally is necessarily placed legally on the line dividing one nation from another or, in the case of a natural boundary such as an ocean, on the line separating that nation from the ocean territory.
It might surprise you to know that million of humans have been legally consigned to live on the dividing line between nations; I am one. Standing here on this platform, I am not yet legally admitted into the United States; my classification is "excludable alien." This title has also been conferred on Afghans, Cubans, Haitians, Salvadorans, Iranians, Iraqis, Ethiopians, Chinese and so on. This legal device is used by all nations to exclude unwanted "aliens," "refugees," and others considered undesirable to the national authorities. In the Soviet Union, this has been carried to extremes: an individual simply applying to emigrate becomes "stateless" as far as Soviet citizenship is concerned while still residing in the USSR. The Soviet government has put a personal dividing line between the non-citizen and Soviet society.
Those confined to this unbroken world territory, however, are a de facto sovereign people. Whether they know it or not, they are actually world citizens living on "world" territory. Still retaining the inalienable right to choose their own political allegiance and consistent with the actual legality of the line they are forced to live on, many have declared themselves world citizens. Since it is the very same right used by the founders of the nations themselves, this declaration is per se valid and legal. Indeed, all national constitutions refer to the sovereignty of the people as their mandate. Therefore, the claim of world citizenship by this new "people" must be recognized by the very nations which have confined them to the dividing line between nations. It is essentially for this reason that the government by, of and for world citizens was declared.
On 4 September 1953, from the city hall of Ellsworth, Maine, in order to legally represent this new citizenry as well as humanity itself, your speaker declared the World Government of World Citizens. If citizens make governments, as Tom Paine was insistent to point out, world citizens make world government.
Among other mandates, moral, social and biological, I claimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the political mandate for this new government, specifically Articles 21(3) which states "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government..." and Article 28, which states that "everyone has the right to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms are set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized." The declared World Government then is the world power institution. So much for World Government's legitimacy.
Hopefully by now, you understand the basis of World Government. Hopefully you recognize the need for it and for your active involvement. I come now to my third and most important motive for being here today: inviting, nay, drafting you into the only government which represents the meta-level peace development about which you have been theorizing. The synthesis has already begun.
Bill Perk has already exploded into a fully metamorphosized global state as both a general systems expert and Coordinator of the Design-Science Commission of the World Government. He seems to be surviving the mix well enough. Then another and impressive witness to the embryonic union between the world of organizational science and world politics is Stafford Beer, one of your former presidents, whom I recently appointed - and he accepted - the Coordinator of the World Cybernetic Commission of the World Government. Then our global city hall, the World Service Authority, received John's filled in Pledge of Allegiance last week. Bill, Stafford and John are now three of the 250,000 registered citizens of the World Government of World Citizens.
This encourages me to invite all conference participants to join the only global legal authority in our world town, the World government of World Citizens. Together, we have the chance or perhaps the obligation to change the world.
In summary, my claims this afternoon have been: 1) as individual humans, we possess a sovereign world power that translates politically into world citizenship, 2) world government is the instrument of application of that world civic power, and 3) world government is no longer a theory or pious ideal but a reality actually operating on a real-time basis dealing with immediate and pressing human problems. This world civic power, this "meta-power" alone can meet the total or meta-crisis facing you, me and the human race today. For, as Einstein put it, either we will eliminate war or war will eliminate us.