Howard’s End: Internet People's Parliament
The UN Millennium Summit ended Friday by adopting ambitious goals for the UN to strengthen peacekeeping, and to reduce poverty, disease and illiteracy in the 21st Century - I doubt it will happen. We need a global Internet People's Parliament. John Howard writes.
On the very day the UN Millennium Summit convened, news services around the world carried dozens of stories about continuing atrocities in many of the countries whose leaders attended the event.
Three UN aid workers had been killed in West Timor, China was again being criticised for its human rights violations, Taiwan and China continued to spar at each other, deadly clashes were reported between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, then there was Rawanda, Kosovo, the Middle East, Columbia etc. etc. etc.
Leaders of Russia and Japan still couldn't agree on a resolution of territorial disputes that have prevented them from signing a peace treaty formally ending World War 2 hostilities for five decades - Five Decades!
All this in just one news day.
And yet at the opening of the UN Millennium Summit Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, told the around 150 world leaders gathered; "Your peoples look to you for a common effort to solve their problems."
It seems to me that the atrocities that were being reported in the news on the opening day of the Summit, suggests that our world leaders haven't quite got the hang of eliminating poverty, promoting peace, eliminating disease and safeguarding the natural environment.
But they collectively vowed to hit the people with yet more political institutions that were responsible for making the 20th Century the most violent era of mass muder in history.
To me, it was like a collection of world power addicts who had gathered, not to declare their devotion to a 10-step programme to deal with their addiction a day at a time, but to celebrate the miseries their decisions have wreaked on others by vowing to continue with more of the same - but even on that they couldn't agree.
The answers to the problems of the world do not rest with world leaders - they rest in the hearts and minds of the people of each individual nation state coming together in a global People's Parliament.
Only a state could have built the atomic bomb and weapons of mass destruction; only a state populated by civil servants trained to do what they're told so long as the paperwork is in order could conduct a genocide or a world war; only a state has the instrument of coercion at its disposal; only a state can have the most single characterisitic of a desire to wage an internal or external war.
These same world leaders allow the arms manufacturers on their soils, they allow the production of the bullets and warheads, they promote policies of genocide, it is they who allow and promote internal policies of discrimination, and it is they, and only they, who are responsible for the misery in this world.
It is they who allow themselves to be captured by the special interests groups who promote policies and war for selfish greed.
It is they who promote financial policies and subsidies for their industry which results in poverty for many others.
Equally, those leaders could promote civilised behaviour and peace - yet in many cases, they don't.
The best thing that many of those power-addicted leaders who gathered to afflict the world with their would-be Imperial City plans could do is get out of the way.
Hook into the chat groups on the Internet and see if what I'm saying is not true.
"Talk" to those on-line in war-torn areas such as Africa, Kosovo, Indonesia, and South America - those people want peace, harmony and prosperity - not strife, war and poverty.
" Talk" to those in the US, Japan, Australia, Britain and throughout Europe - those people, too, want peace, harmony and prosperity - not strife, war and poverty.
Recently in New Zealand we had a session of the Youth ParIiament where 120 of our young people gathered as "parliamentarians" in an attempt to set to rights some of the problems of our country.
There is no good reason why that idea can't be taken globally.
I have a vision of a global People's Parliament through the Internet with the primary purpose of bringing about policies in each nation state which will reduce and ultimately eliminate arms and weapons manufacture, reducing and ultimately eliminating poverty and disease and protecting our global habitat.
A global People's Parliament made up of "representatives" from throughout the world could become a persuasive force in setting global and internal nation-state policies.
Imagine, for example, millions of people telling a government or a multi-national company, through their People's Parliament representatives, that it will not deal with them or their products until they get their human rights or environment policies in-sync.
An on-line form and feedback could be used to establish positions and policy. Further down the track a voting form could be used to "elect" the People's Parliament representatives and spokespeople from each country.
Each member of the global People's Parliament could be issued with a membership card - I'm sure somebody will sponsor that.
Isn't it time to now formalise into a global organisation what many ordinary people in the world want - fairness, justice, the elimination of poverty, disease, weapons and arms manufacture and most of all - peace and prosperity on earth.
Surely, the the abundant resources of the world should distributed in such a way that they are spent on life and not on weapons and things which destroy life.
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