Table of Contents
Beyond War Organizational Model
Cultural Relativism and Universal Human Rights
Going Beyond Nation States
The secular pro-democracy movement in Iran and the rest of Middle East, is the best deterrent to the danger of nuclear war in the region and beyond, and can help to avoid a nuclear war starting in that volatile part of the world, and to help the first steps of working for an alternative beyond war. As explained in Futurism vs Terrorism, the alternative to the conflict of Western Democracies and Islamist terrorism, is the success of secular pro-democracy movement in Iran and the rest of the Middle East (1).
If the reactionary Islamist vision of the 1979 Revolution of Iran was a representation of a return to the past, in response to the crisis of industrial society, in contrast, today's post-industrial global vision of the world, from the perspective of secular pro-democracy movement of Iran, represents the most thorough endeavor to go beyond the industrial paradigm in responding to the global events.
If basically the progressive movements in the West have been neglecting the atrocities of regimes such as Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), by focusing only on the demerits of ultranationalist interventionist political factions of the West, the pro-democracy movement of Iran, not only has shown the Medieval nature of regimes such IRI, but has also reminded the West of upholding its own achievements in the areas of human rights values, democracy, and justice when countering Western ultranationalists, rather than sacrificing human rights values for the exigencies of doing business in the undeveloped countries of the world, appeasing Medieval regimes like IRI with the pretense of fighting colonialism.
Iranian pro-democracy movement has opposed the interventionist
currents of the West,
but not like some anti-war groups of the West, which have used the
so-called anti-imperialist anti-American slogans of regimes such as IRI, to
justify their own silence about the atrocities of such regimes.
This does *not* mean that the pro-democracy activists of Iran support
interventionist views of U.S. ultranationalists, who want to attack other parts
of the world as a solution to the crisis of old industrial society. But it
does mean that Medievalism of regimes like IRI is as much of a Dark Force in the
world as the ultra-nationalism of the Western interventionists.
Iranian pro-democracy movement sees the progressive forces of the West as its ally. But because of the old views of the world among some of these forces, they do not see the curent global line ups, that we are facing today. Not only we are not living at the times of flourishing of nation-states, rather we are actually living in the era of the death of nation-states, as political entities of the future.
Beyond War Organizational Model
In 1989, the above shift to new global line ups was discussed in a paper entitled "A Futurist Vision", which was endorsed and signed by my late friend Jack Li, who was a co-founder of Beyond War organization in Palo Alto of California in 1982 (2). That was even before the spread of the Internet, at the time of US-Soviet tensions, when Beyond War became an example of international endeavors to go beyond the war and peace paradigm of nation-states.
From economics to science, new international organizations started popping up, every day, in the international arena, and the new communications media and the Internet helped the new global development that was taking shape.
Later, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the former Beyond War organization grew into a new organization called Foundation for Global Community. The German organization uses the same name of its predecessor, Beyond War (Welt Ohne Krieg). These entities are legally independent and work autonomously.
In the A Futurist Vision, it was argued that just as tribes and families lost their *political* significance in the Modern Times, in the post-industrial era, the nation-states are increasingly losing their importance in political life of their citizens. Reviving political rule of religious communities or families, are attempts to return to the past, in search for finding an answer to the present reality of demise of nation-states as political entities.
I should note that the demise of tribes and families as political entities did not mean the demise of love of one's family. In the same way, demise of nation-states does not mean the demise of love for one's nation and, as I have explained about national sentiments, they will continue to exist. But the political importance of nation-states will diminish. For example, the leader of an international organization like UN can have more impact on the life of an individual, than the head of state of his/her own country.
Thus the need to have a global alternative for *political* life of the world, beyond the industrial paradigm of nation-states and their confederacies. This vision of going beyond nation-states and seeking options *beyond* war, is what is needed for progressive forces that identify themselves as anti-war or peace movement, to achieve universal human rights ideals that have been clearly formulated in this century.
Just as confederacy of tribes and families could not help, when nation-states were ushering in, the UN or confederacy of nation-states cannot solve the issues of today's world, and the new values must create new organizational forms that are beyond nation-states.
Cultural Relativism and Universal Human Rights
Cultural relativism which is popular in the current anti-war and peace movements, negates universal human rights ideals that have started these movements in the first place, and this mindset has been a major block for the progressive forces in the West, to form new international alternative to war and peace of industrial world, and has ended up helping retrogressive forces in the undeveloped countries.
The cultural relativists are not respecting the progressive views of the undeveloped world, to condemn the backward forces of those countries alongside condemning of ultranationalists of the West, and their view of the non-Western world is very patronizing, when they stop to understand the outcry of progressive forces who speak of onslaught of secularists by the pre-industrial Medieval forces in countries like Iran. They think they know better by supporting states like IRI and ignoring the reports of killings of heretics, amputations, eye gouging, and other atrocities. And do not listen how the secularists in these societies are killed and maimed by the Medieval forces like Taliban and IRI in these societies, where pluralsim and secularism has been imprisoned by these dark forces for centuries.
In fact, the issue is deeper than not understanding the outcries from the dungeons of Islamic Republic. It is an industrial vision of anti-war movement which is holding them back. The progressive forces of the West can learn from Iranian pro-democracy movement, where the activists are questioning the basic tenets of the past ideologies of industrial society, in both its capitalist and socialist versions, and looking beyond the industrial paradigms.
The post-industrial vision strives to end the state of majority of human beings, living as intelligent tools for millennia, and tries to plan economic and social life of the future around the new possibilities of AI and nanotechnology, rather than the opposite, which is prolonging the tool-like life of human beings, to accommodate the obsolete economic, social, and political views of human beings.
We have already spent three decades of intensive post-industrial development in some parts of the world yet the work week is still unchanged. True that some professions may even end up to have more work than the past workweek would assume, but the society at large should have come down to less than 30 hours a week of work in the developed countries by now. Moreover, the topic of social justice in the post-industrial is examined, and shown why it is completely different from what it was during the industrial age, and issues of taxation and welfare need to be restructured accordingly, based on the new realities.
The commitment to a world beyond the industrial society of the past, gets its primary opposition in the West, from the industrial forces, that are the foundations of ultranationalist political forces of the West, whereas in the undeveloped countries, the main opposition to post-industrial development, is coming from the pre-industrial forces, because of the weakness of industrial development in those countries. This is why these retrogressive movements in the undeveloped world have religious and ideological flavor more than what one would find in the developed countries.
Cultural relativism patronizes the undeveloped countries, while still viewing the world in the framework of the socialist movement of the past, albeit a social-democratic version of it, by not taking the progressive views coming out of countries like Iran seriously, when such views are an alternative to current views in the anti-war movement, that completely ignores the import of Dark Forces of Medievalism in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The progressive forces of the West are the natural allies of pro-democracy movement of Iran, if they separate the Medieval reaction to globalization, from the genuine attempts to democratize the globalization worldwide, and at the same time, to discard Cultural relativism, which fails to understand the reality of new global developments beyond the nation-states.
Going Beyond Nation States
Nation states are becoming more and more obsolete as the watchdogs of nations. Their economic viability has ended with the dominance of multi-national corporations. As economic units, their significance is declining like that of the family. If families lost their economic and political functions centuries ago, it is in our lifetime that nation-states are losing their power roles.
As explained above, this claim does not mean that the nations will vanish or
that independence for small nations is of no value. Nations similar to families may remain as social forms of
human community for centuries to come. However, their function will become
essentially ethnic rather than legislative, judicial, or executive (similar to
the Spanish nation in the
It should not mean to kill or be killed for a nation , the same way that belonging to a family today does not mean killing or being killed for family; and nations should not promote rigidity and resistance towards intermingling with other nations. National parties that move towards isolation, rigidity, and militarization of nation-states are historically reactionary, especially such parties of the powerful nations are hazardous to the well-being and openness of the global community.
If some nations similar to rigid families choose to enter this epochal change later than others, one can only regret for their mistake rather than to call for imposing the change on them.
The above is in contradistinction to United Nations. U.N. is founded on the assumption of accepting the legitimacy of nation-states in their current role of watchdogs of certain people and territories. This proposal is based on the belief that such right and historical legitimacy is ended in our times.
United Nations is similar to the confederacy of tribes (or families) with the recognition of their separate sovereignty over their subjects and territories. In contrast, this proposal dissolves that legitimacy and power, and replaces it with a legislative, judicial, and executive body beyond the "tribe" (i.e. the nation-states).
The parliamentary system of government with its division of power and checks and balances is no longer adequate to guarantee human freedom. Parliamentary system was probably the best form of power sharing with the citizens in the industrial society. In the last fifty years, the citizens of the more developed nations no longer view the ideal of democracy as equivalent to representative democracy and direct participatory law making is gaining momentum (See the article on Ballot Initiatives).
If in the industrial society, the internationalist parties, such as communist parties, turned into nationalist parties, the reverse is true in our times. The relationship of different national parties with global bodies will map the fate of human freedom, and justice, in the post-industrial societies.
The move towards a united
All human institutions such as family, schools, nations, church, professional associations, corporations, media, special interest groups, etc. have been created to respond to some particular human needs. Some of these institutions will evolve, some will vanish, some will transform, and some will block the new upheaval.
The goal is not to oppose all existing institutions or support all of them,. One needs to vigilantly understand the function, viability, and value of each one, individually, before deciding on whether an institution is a barrier to progress or can be reformed and help progress. The pursuit of happiness for individuals will not be achieved by negating all institutions as evil, and self-growth does not automatically "make things to fall in the right place!"
The correct understanding of human institutions and proper functioning of them can enhance the individual happiness more than any kind of anarchy. After the French Revolution, the destruction of traditional social institutions left the individuals powerless in the face of a swiftly-formed tyranny.
Similar cases are abundant in history. Anarchy does not solve the problem of evolving institutions, it simply ignores the reality and leaves us at the mercy of the worst kinds of institutions, without creating a viable alternative in practice.
The success of the new civilizations is not guaranteed. A worldwide economic disaster, environmental deterioration, nuclear war, or reversals such as reactionary revolutions, can put an end to humanity. Tyranny, poverty, menace of war and disease, injustice of all kinds, are surrounding us at this historic time.
Thus our optimism is not without reservation. Even peaceful transition or revolutionary radical changes may be the different routes of transition in different parts of the world. The organization of change may also have different forms and any progressive organization will be one of the many international endeavors to help building a post-industrial global world.
Hopefully new progressive organizations will be created to function vertically and horizontally to incorporate the reality of our future vision in ourselves and to share it with other like-minded groups. Thus, let's summarize the basic tenets of global organizations for alternatives beyond war:
1-To oppose the popular money and profit-centered view of people and the world; and to support the manifestation of a movement towards enlightened self-interest; for individuals, businesses, and governments.
2-To nurture social justice in every corner of the world, by introducing a comprehensive welfare sector in the world economy to encourage the unfolding of the most far-reaching creative activities that are ahead of economic feasibility. The foundation of this sector to be formed as an international public mutual fund investing in very advanced production. To aim at changing the work-centered mass culture of industrial society and to encourage free creative activities.
3-To promote globalization and confront nationalism. To help the formation of a global political system based on post-industrial production. To advocate formation of new legislative, judicial, and executive bodies worldwide, to work for individual freedom, social justice, progress, disarmament and peace. To propose a comprehensive global constitution with the goal of eliminating the political authority of nation-states, starting with biggest nation-states.
4-To urge the democratization of all human institutions for the pursuit of individual happiness. To outreach for autonomous synchronicity, as the ideal of interpersonal relationships of the individuals, and the institutions. Also to oppose any form of tyranny, war, injustice, and aggression; and to assist the overcoming of the human unconscious flight or fight programming, as the only guarantee for a lasting peace.
5-To support the progress of new technologies such as space technologies, biotechnologies, robotics, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, etc. And to champion research programs on the perplexity of social justice, the future of various human institutions, and the political and spiritual issues.
6-To oppose all the so-called "new age" propaganda that promote retrogression to Dark Ages. To encourage new understanding of the universe and to favor the boldness to challenge popular philosophical and religious beliefs about the origins and fate of humanity and the universe.
7-To promote different organizations and publications that discuss these global topics.
Hoping for a World beyond War,
Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher
December 1, 2004
1. Futurist Iran: Futurism vs Terrorism
2. A Futurist Vision
3. A Note about Thirty Years' War