The Zero State One Nation Solution: Terra Nullius

by H. Gibrain

A viable solution which would respect the human rights of all concerned and which would solve the problem of borders and resources, as well as demographics and the right to return for all peoples, Palestinian and otherwise, would be to declare the geographic boundaries defined by the Palestine Mandate as terra nullius – no one’s land.

Since this “disputed” land (annexed and occupied by the UN and Israel and the US and others by proxy) is really the last great colonial product of the British Empire – now perpetuated by the US and the other former colonized British states – let it be the first place on earth where there is no state control based on any discriminatory factor, where no one owns the land and where all people are seen as equal under the moral code of the nation as determined by what could be a stateless nation with a constitution (not defining a government structure, per se, but defining a moral code analogous to the Bill of Rights in the US and other international declarations based on equality, peace, justice, liberty, freedom, truth, dignity, trust and the rest of the virtues.

Such a move will require a great deal of courage from the United Nations organs and member states who are willing to uphold the law through their words and actions, an organized popular resistance from Palestinian civil society – and potentially the PA (as, say, exhibited in Abbas’ speech at the UN (in 2011 I think it might have been), and the international solidarity movement through BDS and other means of non-violent popular struggle.

The UN, in order to overcome the inertia of the security council and other organs that prevent the UN organizations – as an expression of its member states – to carry out its functions as prescribed by international law, the UN will likely need to change the structure since the current structure is not properly carrying out its function. The possibility and effects of a Second UN Charter convention should be seriously contemplated by the General Assembly and other appropriate bodies of the UN. Primarily, a restructuring or elimination of the Security Council, the veto, or how it can be used needs to be evaluated and the creation of some body representing civil society needs to take place – a people’s parliament.

In a Newtonian sense, when there are forces acting on a body creating a certain trajectory, in order to alter that trajectory and get it to go in the direction of an international law and human rights based system, the right actions need to take place from the right forces. In this case, as history has shown, there is no political will or skill from the main stakeholders to change the trajectory, so the Palestinian civil society and the respective civil societies of the world need to learn the principles and practices of non-violent popular struggle – which has shown, historically, to be a much more effective means of conflict transformation. It is not the military might that will win the struggle for legitimacy, it is the struggle for equality and justice from international solidarity with the Palestinians that will usher in a durable peace.

 

 

Aspects of the Neoconservative Agenda through the lens of Dahrendorf’s Social Conflict Model

I. Introduction:

Trying to reduce a complex social interaction to a general theory, as Dahrendorf states, leads to empty generalizations or to empirically unjustifiable oversimplifications. With this in mind I limit this discussion of social conflict in the United States, specifically from the beginning of the Bush Jr. Administration, noting that an analysis based on Huntington’s theory – largely the disposition of the Neoconservative agenda, which I will discuss in more detail – would make for an interesting discussion. As I hope to show, the social structure of the US closely resonates with the key points highlighted in Dahrendorf. Additionally, while I do believe there is valuable information to be obtained through a psycho-social analysis of this, or any social structure, I think Dahrendorf’s limitation on endogenous conflicts as “the task of sociology to derive conflicts from specific social structures” points out most of the main functional relationships of the two dichotomous models of society along with the principle of authority and authority structures. These aspects of the Conflict Theory model and, what I would call the general tendency toward a neo-totalitarian state are the main points of my argument.

An important aspect, and precondition, of the Conflict Theory model is that it is intended to be ‘crafted’ to suit the needs of a particular conflict and therefore avoids generalizations and oversimplifications. Further, it considers the trajectory of the system and therefore,  through empirical research, attempts to establish a reasonable set, or multiplicity, of parameters to evaluate the system and the relative intensity of each parameter in the specific context. As Dahrendorf points out, “it is erroneous to assume that a description of how elements of a structure are put together in a stable whole offers, as such, a point of departure for structure analysis of conflict and change .” Such an approach can tends to eliminate many of the assumed structural and functional relationships that may lead to incorrect interpretations of empirical data and eliminates the difficulties of distinguishing between intended and unintended outcomes and relies more on the scientific method of matching empirical evidence with stated hypotheses.

 

II. Critical Evaluation of Key Points

I will highlight the key points of Dahrendorf’s Social Conflict Model as presented in lecture at the World Peace Academy by Dr. Jürgen Endres.1 Beginning with dichotomous models of Integration and Conflict, as listed in Table 1, it is important to note that these
two contrasting models form what I would consider to be a canonical set of mutually induct and mutually restrictive pairs. This is to say that these two aspects of society are, in the case of the Unites States at least, intertwined and are the impetus for change itself.
There is always a very progressive element of society which is met with a more conservative element and the more, for example, the indicators of Conflict become dominant, the more their tends to be a reaction by the more conservative elements of society. This explains the oscillation from Democratic to Republican parties controlling the three branches of government. However, there is an added layer which, according to Dahrendorf, would be the real progenitor of the social dynamic – namely, that the real holders of authority in the United States take advantage of the Conflict/Integration dichotomy as a strategy to divide and conquer the US population while the laws and regulating freedom, liberty and justice are slowly manipulated and normalized into totalitarian state.

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NON VIOLENT Movement #1 in G(ene) Sharp: The Fifth American Revolution (Dedicated to Gene Sharp)

Prelude:
In the very short amount of time that modern weaponry has existed, humankind has witnessed a tragic escalation in violent military conflicts. These conflicts have shifted from inter-state military actions of both offensive and defensive natures to  humanitarian interventions’ and intra-state military actions. In one sense – the case of interstate warring – the world has become a  less violent place; though the means for the total obliteration of life on earth (roughly) exist, they do not pose as great a threat to peace, security, health and the welfare of humankind as much as things like access to and availability of potable water, street drugs, cancer, civilian related gun deaths, choking on pretzels and falling asleep while driving.

In places where there is no relative peace, work can be done to foster relative peace through the means elaborated and elucidated by  many ‘experts’ who work in the field (Galtung, Gandhi, Sharp, Olberg, Johansen, et. al.). Where there is peace, work can be done to  foster community and creativity as well as a sense of charity to those in need. Charity  an come in many forms and, in its essence –  whatever the form,  is an act of solidarity. An example of this would be OTПOP ‘members’ working with movements in the Arab Spring; this is a direct form of charity, solidarity and peace building through the statistically proven effective method of non-violent actions  and interactions. Perhaps that is the differentiating factor – where there is relative violence, non-violent actions can take place. Where there is relative peace, peace promoting actions can take place.

The intent of non violent or peace promoting actions is to change the dynamics of the system in question. The system in question here is the the structure and function of a tyrannical regime, as opposed to the dynamics of trade union disputes, interpersonal  relationships such as marriage, or saving endangered species from the threat of environmental degradation and destruction. In terms of promoting democracy (the ideal and principle of one person one vote – not it’s practical manifestation) there are a number of  aspects we must consider with respect to the the structure and function of governments: how the government gets its money; how the system maintains the status quo in terms of the work force necessary to keep the state functioning; the military; the police; civil obedience , and the bureaucracy of governmental institutions and its proxies. Two dynamical models should be considered and applied and will be recurring themes throughout the movement: 1.) viewing the six items listed above as pillars for dismantling; 2.) viewing the six items listed above in terms of fulcrums that will act as the pivot for displacing or shifting structure and authority in a direction away from the status quo.

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Toward a Pedagogy of Liberation: Holotivity and the Internal Arts in Peace Education

Posted on 9th June 2013 in Peace, Peace Pedagogy, Self Determination, Theory

Abstract: The evolutionary trajectory of many fields of discourse teleologically suggest a pedagogy for peace studies with an analogous trajectory towards a holistic inclusivity, an understanding of complexity, and an epistemological understanding that the rational limits of knowledge acquired through western intellectual discourse and deductive reasoning, or positivism,1 are not the actual limits of knowledge; rather, they can be considered as the boundaries for the nascent spaces and phases of the metaphysical and transcendental. Drawing from the fields of the natural sciences, philosophy, psychology, the internal arts, futures studies and peace studies I elucidate a concurrent trajectory of these respective fields as an argument for incorporating the internal healing arts into the pedagogy of a peace studies discipline.

 

I. Introduction:

This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. – Paulo Freire

In this paper I propose a rationale and justification for a pedagogy for peace workers to incorporate practices and principles from the internal healing arts. Drawing from many diverse fields of the natural sciences, transitional justice, philosophy, psychology and future’s studies I will elucidate the analogous trajectories of these fields converging on a holist dialogical2 conscientization3, or re-
indigenization (Nelson, 2006), towards empathy and the ‘self-actualization’4 of the peace worker which is very closely related to the goal and role of the Shaman – or internal healing artist. This lends to the notion that we should potentiate any and all possibilities for expanding the knowledge, skills and personal qualities of peace workers.

 

Two working assumptions for the following discourse are: 1. The broader and deeper a peace worker’s knowledge and skill set are, the greater will be their effectiveness in helping others transform from a state of internal and external conflict to a state of internal and external peace, and 2. the effectiveness in a peace workers ability to transform others from a state of internal and external conflict to a state of internal and external peace is greater when that peace worker has undergone an internal transformation towards self-actualization.
As I shall argue in this paper, there is not one working definition of such terms as peace, peaceworker, transitional justice, shamanism, or intervention. However, for the sake of establishing some of the positivist limits imposed upon such terms I shall introduce some working definitions for this paper. Later I will introduce the idea of ‘spectral composition’, providing several examples, to indicate that we need not limit ourselves to rigid ideas but, rather, we can incorporate a more inclusive, albeit more loosely defined, set of definitions expanding both the meaning of the language used to describe such peace praxes and, therefore, the praxes themselves.

 

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Earth, Its Inhabitants, and Their Survival Viewed as a Multi-Stakeholder Process

 

The basic premise I shall expound upon in this brief reflection paper is the notion that in order for human beings to live more sustainably with the environment they will have to ask all members of the five kingdoms of life, and the natural worlds provisions upon which they are reliant for their survival, what their interests are in the gross interplay of the dynamics of self-organizing organic systems.

 

To consider this idea immediately poses a problem for most modern civilized westernized cultures – which I shall refer to as occupiers; the situation is quite different for many indigenous cultures whose survival is intimately intertwined with the land they inhabit – thus, I shall refer to these people as inhabitants.

 

Since we can’t communicate directly to organisms other than humans in a language that is familiar to us we have decided to make decisions for them without asking them what they want. In the best case, we have decided to be the stewards of nature. In the worst case we have decided to consider other living organisms and the organic systems upon which they are reliant as resources for us.

 

This speciesist arrogance poses a severe problem for humans regarding their survival. Since the air we breath, the water we drink, the land on which we walk, and the atmosphere that protects us are all influenced by human activity and, for so long, humans have not considered the other than human living beings and the water, earth and sky’s needs for their health – if not happiness – humans are finding that the normal structure and function of the earth’s inhabitants and environment have been influence in a way that has not only harmed other organisms and the environment, humans themselves are suffering the consequences of their own actions. Perhaps the most noteworthy examples of the consequences of humans not paying attention to the environment is global climate change and the fifth mass extinction.

 

It makes sense, however, for an occupier to ask, “What should we do to find out what they want if they can’t represent themselves at a MSP party when we get together to determine how we shall exploit natural resources for benefit and profit?”

 

The answer to this questions is quite simple: ask them.

 

“How do we know what the answer to our questions are,” would be a next logical question?

 

As you might expect, the answer is quite simple: pay attention and listen.

 

So, for example, if you ask the diatoms in the oceans, which supply a majority of the atmospheric oxygen that people like humans need to survive, if they enjoy and appreciate the temperature changes and toxins we give them as a result of our activities if they are happy and healthy and then listen to the signs they are giving us we might quickly conclude that our actions, which will ultimately not benefit us, do not benefit them. If we ask the tens of thousands of species of amphibians who have gone extinct because of human behaviors which have caused changes in weather patterns and acidification of the rain and earths waterways what they want we shall see and hear no response. However, I speculate we can take their silence as a sign that they are dissatisfied with our selfish behavior. If we ask the river, who provides life for vast numbers of species in vast numbers of ecological niches, if the dam that was built by humans served the river well in providing for the welfare of the interconnected webs of lives, you might speculate that it’s diminished flow was simply a stream of tears from the sadness and humiliation it feels for not being able to provide for the lives of its inhabitants and for not being able to control its own destiny.

 

These words and thoughts should not be taken to imply that every species that becomes extinct and every diatom that dies is the result of human activity. Likewise, it is also clear that it is impossible to consult all beings of all species all of the time to determine if it is FOK to burn this tree for warmth or to kill this opossum for food. Similarly, there is no absolute proof that global climate change is the direct result of any and all human activities – as local, and even global, fluctuations are perhaps the result of other factors. There is no certainty in these areas. This, however, does not and should not warrant arrogance and ignorance of the lives of others and, of course, the organic systems upon which they rely for their survival.

 

It is, in my opinion, always better to error on the side of caution. Especially in cases where so much is at stake. If we consider the notion that ‘effectiveness is the measure of truth’ and we ask ourselves how it is that in the last 45 years approximately, since the publication of “Silent Spring”, so much environmental degradation has taken place and so many non-linear changes have taken place in the environment and compare that to, for example, some indigenous cultures of the North American continent who had lived for 12,000 years, sustainably, in their environment who did strange things like asking trees, snakes, spiders, lakes, rivers, streams, and even their dreams, what it is they wanted out of this shared existence – this co-existence – they might very well say something like this, “The same things you want: to be considered, to be cared for, to be loved, to control my own destiny, to provide for my basic needs, and to be happy – as a bare minimum.

 

The challenges for a culture of occupiers, who consider the earth’s inhabitants and systems as resources for exploitation, to transform their behavior to an inclusive disposition in a global multi-stakeholder process are significant but not, theoretically at least, impossible. In order for a change to take place such that there is a shift in the perceptions of humans to consider the welfare of other living beings and systems as being important to those living beings and systems (let alone important for the survival of human beings) there will have to be a change in the attitudes and behaviors of people and this can be achieved through education. This shift in attitudes and behaviors has certainly begun as it is obvious that there is great attention being paid to the earth’s inhabitants and organic systems by children, educators, scientists, politicians and even business persons for they/we all realize that everyone’s survival, ultimately, is at stake.

 

While the shifts in perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors is obvious, the question I have is is it still possible for this shift to be reinstated as a part of a culture of inhabitants in time for the general trends of species extinction, climate change, resource wars, and so on to be slowed down and/or reversed in their course. Clearly, an extinct species will not come back to inhabit the earth, but maybe the general trends of climate change can be affected by changes in human behavior. My knowledge and understanding as a scientist is that it is already too late for the general trajectory of environmental degradation to be changed. The human population is increasing. While first world nations are struggling to limit, not necessarily reduce, the greenhouse gas emissions they produce, the second and third world nations are struggling to exploit more resources and produce more waste.

 

There are many other impediments to this shift in attitudes and behaviors that prevent attention and energy from going to the dire environmental circumstances on earth that threaten human survival and, of course, the survival of all living beings and the organic systems upon which they rely. I argue that these impediments are largely based in issues of identity. For example, while people are busy with their gender identity, or their national identity, or their religious identity, or their personal identity as relates to things like styles of hair, clothes, shoes, nails, eyes, lips, money, etc, attention to the environment is reduced to a minimum or is simply not there at all.

 

Necessity is the mother of invention, it is said, and so, as it becomes more and more necessary for people to focus on survival, perhaps the attitudes and behaviors of humans will change such that they/we begin to take into account the needs, desires, wills and expectations of all of the stakeholders in this multi-stakeholder process of the large scale dynamic of life on earth (generally best referred to as either ‘survival’ or ‘reality’).

Mock Radio Broadcast at WPA: South Sudan Insurgent Media

South Sudan Insurgent Media

The following audio is a mock radio interview conducted as an excercise for a class at the World Peace Academy: ”Power, Resistance, and Participation in Peace Building” with “Peace Worker” Adrian Bergmann.

South Sudan Insurgent Media is an independent broadcast based on Human Rights, Survival, Self Determination, Social/Cultural/Economic Justice, Peace, Freedom and Liberation.

The setting is South Sudan, the issue is transformation of structural and direct violence to a sustainable peace based in human needs, human rights and personal, cultural, historical, religious and gender identities of the South Sudanese peoples.

The issues discussed, through the lens of a history of violence and oppression and the lens of  liberation, are related to deep culture and societal fabric as an element of conflict along with the structural violence related to (lack of) education, agriculture, health and sanitation – a few of the primary issues regarding human needs and human rights.

While some of the facts, intentions and processes are real, the names of the radio guests and their alleged affiliations with the real organizations mentioned are fictitious and hypothetical. The nature of this mock radio broadcast was to demonstrate and emphasize the power of peace journalism, and many theories and practices of transforming trauma,  as well as to elucidate some of the real issues faced in many countries and by many peoples as they work towards independence and sustainabilty – as is the case with South Sudan.

 

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Music by Head Roc and Godisheus (Pronounced “Gotta See Us”). Song Title “Reparations