By John Resenbrink
In the two previous issues of our magazine, we’ve pondered the absence of global governance on planet earth. A fact of stark world reality came home to me earlier this year in a quote from Zbigniew Brzezinski sent to me by Scott McLarty.
Scott is the U.S. Green Party’s media coordinator and frequent contributor to this magazine. Brzezinski was President Clinton’s National Security Advisor. Before that, back in 1982, he wrote the following prophetic Orwellian words:
“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by authorities.”
Sound familiar? Then Brzezinski goes on to say that “[The] nation-state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: international banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts on the nation-state.”
The quotes are from his Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technotronic Era.
What I draw from this is support for the proposition we’ve been making that the nation-state is on its way out as a central player in the world; second, that floods of international banks and corporations are criss-crossing the planet, largely uncontrolled and doing enormous damage to people and nature; and, third that the technology of surveillance far outruns efforts to control it or even regulate it.
These are stark facts that must be brought directly into our consciousness and our activism. They are facts that beg for a bigger and deeper way to think about our human situation on this planet. We can no longer just concentrate on our national government as the major theater of operations for our thinking and activism.
The challenge to Greens is especially poignant. We know that all things are connected— that a holistic analysis is more necessary than ever. We know there are brother and sister Greens organizing and building Green Parties in over 100 countries.
We know how deadly to nature is the continued rampage of international banks, of monster corporations, and of wildly out of whack governments run from the top by blind elites. And we know how devastating to our liberty and equality is the horrifying creep of ultimate surveillance.
Is there an antidote? Is there a way for the peoples of the nations to blunt, escape, deflect, and overcome the powers of political and personal surveillance and manipulative consumer-targeting by governments and international corporations and banks?
As I mentioned in the first of my articles on global governance a year ago, there are now over 60,000 corporations doing business across nation-state lines, many, many more than Brzezinski would have been able to know about or even imagine in l982.
I recommend a look, first, at the article that follow this one by Romi Elnagar on Fukushima and then to give a careful read to Steve Schmidt’s articulation of a bold way to envision and practice a people’s grass roots response to the ruinous forces that threaten us.
Fukushima, we must realize and Romi eloquently reminds us, is far more than just a problem for Japan, or even for the surrounding region. Of itself it impacts the whole world.
Furthermore, the inadequate, even perverse, response to it so far by the governments of the world, including of course Japan’s, should tell us how perilous is the threat facing the planet and all its peoples.
Steve offers a way to think Green and to pursue best practices to meet the global challenge. His approach unites both concerns that have been raised in response to our initial query last spring.
That query asked: “Global governance: Can we talk about it? Must we?” The answer we made to both questions was a definite “Yes!”. The answer sought to weave together the need for global governance and the need for a strong grass roots foundation in the structure and practice of such governance.
Yet both concerns, seemingly at odds with one another, invited more questions. Steve, both in the last issue (Number 28) and in the present article, affirms that the planet needs a form of global governance.
But he also looks to a decentralized, anti-autocratic, and anti-top-down approach. He looks to a decentralized system to achieve adequate global governance. Read his eOS schemata with that in mind. Ponder it and ask yourself whether this does not indeed offer a way to think, one that serves well as a guide to Green action. I hear him saying: use fully the e-technology we have already at hand—which is developing by leaps and bounds in any case.
Use it to achieve maximum communication, maximum participation, and thus also maximum accountability to the people of our planet.
Use it as a necessary and doable foundation for effective global decision making.
Sound like pie in sky? But don’t be so quick to dismiss.
What he is talking about is happening as if under our noses.
On the one hand we are wracked by accounts and accompanying pictures of wars, intrigues, brutal violence, hideous betrayals, mayhem and the like. People fleeing; people suffering terribly; people not getting along with one another at all, spawning hate, corporations on the loose destroying more of nature than can be replaced or redeemed.
And seemingly puny efforts of thousands of Non-governmental Organizations to stem and overturn the tide; and with as yet sputtering efforts by a Global Greens organization. But turn that around in your mind—the NGOs and the Global Greens can be part of Schmidt’s eOS.
Many already are, whether they know it or not. There are even some corporations that are doing the right thing, or trying. And even some governments are trying, though most continue to be in the hands of the 1% who dominate the world and want to be on top and stay on top—with their wealth and power intact of course. But they have a sorrowful future in store as the sources of their wealth and power disintegrate in the face of nature’s mounting toll. As the world moves to an uncertain future, we must forge on to help the planet and its peoples.