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Re: Phase One: Immediate Mobilization
by Charles J. Reid
15 March 2002 05:05 UTC
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While there are many issues to address, let me respond to only one of the
issues raised by Adam in this enlightening post.

The international legal system.

The international legal system has a core of its beginnings with the rise
of nation states culminating with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.
There the Princes settled, among others, the main religious issue facing
them after the 30 Years War, but the outcome was the establishment of an
international set of rules that evolved over time, often challenged by the
real politique of each era. Ultimately, there developed rules of
"recognition", embassies, alliances, more wars, more alliances, Napoleon,
the Coalition, the International Customs Union -- the first international
organization, the Concert of Europe, Imperialism, more alliances, the
First World War, the League of Nations, the Geneva Conventions, the
acceptance of using non-combatants as legitimate targets during the WWII,
the atomic bomb, the United Nations, the Human Rights Charter,
decolonialization, the cold war, the move from a balance-of-power system
to a bi-polar world to Pax Americana and the Coca Cola Culture, and a
single superpower who refuses to recognize "international law" unless it
fits its interests. If we talk about the "state of the world", it's
present state is due in large part to a) the outcome of WWII, b) the U.S.
Supreme Court's decisions favoring corporations, which have filtered
beyond the US, c)the demise of the USSR, and d) the perfidy of the
American traitors in the White House (traitors, because they defiled and
continue to defile our national law) who are abrogating treaties, gearing
for war, and, in their hubris, believe they can bring it all off without
the world reacting. If you are asking for a focus and mobilization around
international law, then you are asking for a Coalition against the United
States. When George the elder invaded Panama, killing 4-8,000 people to
arrest its head of state and being him back to be tried under American
law, he did something that has never happened in the international system
since 1648. When he openly broke this rule of sovereignty, Bush
essentially changed the system. When his son invaded Afganistan, it was in
violation of the U.S. Constitution and International Law. The Princes who
met at Westphalia all essentially regarded each other as equals; today,
the Superpower does not regard all heads of state has "equal", hence, the
actions taken are asymmetric. The ultimatum to Afganistan and the Taliban
was a zero-sum dictate between a superior who regarded the opponent as
inferior, not only in national power but as human beings, even though
3/4ths of the criminals they sought were Saudis and none were Afgan -- but
that oil pipeline contract just couldn't be given to Argentina. Those who
currently rule the USA are not interested in international law, they are
interested in keeping the price of a gallon of gas under $2.00, and
enlarging the wealth of their stock portfolios. The "born again" leaders
lead with words and phrases like, "kill 'em,"  "git 'em", and "evildoers"
-- the rhetoric of psychopathology at the international level, where the
rules are determined by those with the gold and the 10,000 pound bombs.
(For law and justice to prevail, the "community" must regard all its
members as equals, and those who rule the inequitable international system
we have do not share this value.) Few in the First World middle class,
skrinking though it may be, will not take to the streets to change the
local or international legal system -- they are afraid to lose their
mortgage, their vehicles, and their TV sets. To conclude:  it seems to me
it will take a world-wide movement like Gandhi's -- non-violent
non-compliance and boycotts of corporatation like Union 76, Citibank,
Chiquita Banana, Ford, and all the rest...ALL of them -- before there will
be any change. But we must also have a concrete, realizeable agenda. (Not
the abolition of social classes, an unattainable ideal, but concrete
objectives like food, health care, education, shelter, and a set of
economic policies that will provide these in a civilized manner, based on
law.) We must know what laws we want, how they will be implemented, and
who will enforce them. We cannot have a successful movement without an
objective. Moreover, who's willing to go hungry for that length of time?
Other than those who are and who will remain hungry, because of the lack
of a stable, fair International Legal System we probably will not see in
our life time, without a Coalition against the powers that have created
the unjust system we live in?


On Thu, 14 Mar 2002, Adam Starr wrote:

> Hello WSN World,
> As pointed out in my last major entry, "Remebering
> Wallerstein's Remedies", Wallerstein himself called
> for changing of the capitalist world-system. I don't
> think that there many of us that would argue against
> this. However the question remains, how to go about
> this?
> AGF himself suggests in, "The Underdevelopment of
> Development" suggests that all current remedies for
> development programs (whether being left, center, or
> right) are inaplicable and a new development project
> must emerge. I suggest that may apply to more than
> just development.
> Wallerstein has suggested a three phase stages, the
> first of which calls for immediate mobilization (as
> discussed in the above entry). Based upon AGF's
> concerns as well as historical analysis of socialist
> revolution over the past century. We have witnessed
> purges, genocide, centralization of power, IMF/WB
> style economic policies within supposed communist
> countries, and reduction of human rights. Thus, there
> is concern for implementation of immediate
> mobilization designed to stress the current world
> system that would not be repeat of past atrocities.
> Apparently people are not altruistic by merrit of
> being oppressed.
> I would also like to include (to a lesser extent)
> "activist demonstrations" in this category which seems
> to be our modern western equivalent of peasant
> revolution. Although symbolic, very little policy
> change results from demonstrations like that in
> Seattle. Therefor this human energy and
> resourcefullness needs to be directed in a more
> efficient manner. Hmmm.
> Charles J. Reid has suggested the need to analyze the
> current legal system and how it sustain inequalities
> leading to the rise of desperation which in turn has
> created the 'current' world crisis. I assume he is
> referring to the American legal system (we must
> remember that there are many legal systems). He
> suggested that Supreme Court decisions defending the
> 'Defence Appropriation Bill" and cutting of
> Corporation taxes have led to the conclusion that
> economics are controlling politics and taking justice
> away from the people. In turn, agencies such
> health-care and the media are directly affected.
> Dennis L. Blewitt asked the question, "when did a
> third branch of governement  become a system?" He
> suggested that the Judiciary has become closed system
> in which power has been transferred to public
> officials such as prosecutors and administrators that
> administers the destruction of the social contract in
> favour of a written code established by corporations.
> Let us work with this. If Charles is right in his
> speculation that the legal system is indeed a point of
> focus in that economics are controlling politics.
> Combine this with the question raised by Dennis and
> his comments concerning the transfer of power to
> public officials, in which I would to include the US
> senate and unofficially the Lobbiests they colude
> with, there is a sound platform to work upon for
> mobilization strategies.
> I would like to add a third contribution (although not
> originally intended for this discussion) from AGF. In
> "The Underdevelopment of Development", he appears
> concerned with the analysis of relations of three
> conceptual actors: the international political
> economy, world system history, and social movements.
> I propose then that the legal system that should be
> analyzed is not at the state level, but at the
> international level. Domestic policies are
> increasingly being dictated from the international
> arena. The legalities of international trade through
> the WTO, lending practices of the IMF and WB,
> international tribunals such what Mr. Molosevic is
> experiencing, etc. should be the units of analysis.
> However, the American legal system is vital to this as
> well considering where the emphasis for neo-liberalism
> comes from. Remember though, think global now and act
> local later.
> Based on AGF's analysis of relations, let us consider:
> International Law as it applies to the International
> Political Economy. How can mobilization occur at this
> level through a world-system paradigm?
> Assignment:  Brainstorm units of analysis within
> International Law  for further discussion. Come up
> with a list of relevant actors.
> Adam
> =====
> Adam T. Starr
> Undergraduate of Political Science, UVic
> 3009 Quadra Street, Victoria, British Columbia
> V8T 4G2 Canada
> (011) (250) 472-1223
> adam@hornbyisland.com or reunitedhornby@yahoo.com
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