Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Pandemic of Racism

By David Gallup

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

How many lives have been extinguished by the pandemic of racism?

Like a biological virus, racism is spread from person to person by what people teach and say to their family members and friends. It is spread by ignorance and nurtured by hatred and indifference.

Unlike a biological virus, racism immediately affects everyone who is targeted and leaves indelible lifelong wounds.

Racism does not only become lethal in the hands of those who inhabit the halls of power and privilege; racism resides throughout society. The world has been built on inequality, xenophobia, and oppression. Racism has been institutionalized and systematized. The system of exclusive nation-states has further exacerbated structural violence and cycles of discrimination. The foundations that humans have used to construct our world are unequal and unstable. The world that is our home is failing much of its inhabitants. The entire house will fall if we do not return to the drawing board to design and build an inclusive and just foundation.

What is the antidote to racism?
If we want to have a world that works for everyone, we need to teach children from infancy not only the principles but also the practices of inclusion, empathy, listening, sharing, respect, equality, and justice. These lessons must not end when youth ends; adults must continually educate themselves and be cognizant of how their words and actions impact those around them.

Stopping racism requires a holistic approach. Racism must be recognized and eliminated from every aspect of society. Stopping racism requires us to question how we are running our world. Is our competitive economic and political system that pits human against human, group against group, ethical? How we govern ourselves, or neglect to govern our world, inordinately affects people due to their race and ethnicity.

The hyper-nationalistic and corporate control of human and natural resources embeds racism in the wheels of production, consumption, and day-to-day existence. We are taught to see our fellow humans as “others” against whom we must compete, and oftentimes fight, for supremacy. Rarely are we taught, let alone encouraged to practice, how to be allies of one another, rather than competitors.

A holistic approach to stopping racism takes into account the health of humanity and the earth. It will ensure that our rights and duties are universally respected. And it will seek equality and justice in all aspects of human-to-human interaction, as well as human-to-earth interaction.
  • Education must be just.
  • Societal opportunities and outcomes must be just.
  • Economics must be just.
  • Politics must be just.
  • Governmental representation must be just.
  • Laws, their enforcement, and their adjudication must be just.

The laws that we create help determine how we will interact with one another. Racism and discrimination are outlawed in many national and international codes of conduct. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Persons (UNDRIP) affirm the principles of equality and justice.

The Preamble and Articles 1, 2 and 26 of the UDHR affirm everyone’s equality and right to be free from racism. Article 2 specifically states, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

The Preamble and Articles 8 and 46 of the UNDRIP reiterate the antidiscrimination principles of the UDHR. The Preamble states “that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust.” Article 8(2)(e) specifically states, “States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for: Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination.”

The problem is not the lack of laws against racism, it is how and whether those laws are implemented. When the institutions of society and government do not fairly represent everyone in the community, then the laws will not be implemented fairly, or at all. Laws, in the end, will never be enough to stop racism. We need to protest for change, listen and be allies for change, learn and educate for change, vote for change, and run for office for change.

We need to run on a platform of building an ethical and inclusive social and governmental system for the whole world. This means creating a just system and an equitable justice system, one that does not treat some people as lesser, and others as better, or above the law.

To have a peaceful, free and sustainable world, it must be a just world. As citizens of the world, we are all directly responsible for rooting out injustice anywhere and for seeking justice for everyone, everywhere.

Black lives matter.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Scarcity or Abundance?

Scarcity or Abundance?

By David Gallup

The COVID-19 virus is not the first pandemic to seriously impact humanity, nor will it be the last. This global crisis and existential threat provides an opportunity for humans as a species to determine how we will interact with one another and the earth from now on. We can choose a coordinated, interdependent, and holistic approach, or we can continue haltingly and in vain to deal with global issues selfishly in an ungoverned world.

Beyond a Nationalistic Strategy

A virus that impacts everyone necessitates a world citizen-focused response.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the UN agency attempting to coordinate efforts of national governments in their response to the pandemic. While structures like the WHO encourage local governments to heed their policy recommendations, they have no power to enforce their suggested courses of action. National governments may arbitrarily refuse to follow those guidelines within their self-imposed borders. National governments do what is in their self-interest or that of their leaders’ economic and political priorities. Human-made borders, we have realized, do very little to contain a virus in a free world.

In its proposed 2020-2021 budget, the WHO will receive almost five billion dollars from UN Member-States. This is a miniscule amount of money compared to the two trillion dollars that national governments spend preparing for and waging wars every year.  Not only is the WHO underfunded, but also national health institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health are severely underfunded in comparison to the life-saving work that they are doing.

It’s not a question of whether the world has the resources and funds to support the health and well-being of all humans and the earth; it is a question of priorities.

National leaders frequently appeal to the security concerns of citizens in expanding military budgets, while ignoring the impact that poor health and environmental degradation has on these same citizens. They argue about scarcity -- limited funds and resources should be directed at national military defense, rather than health care, sustainable development, and ecological conservation.

To the detriment of all, national self-defense supersedes defense of people and planet.

Scare City

In times of crisis, individuals begin to act in panic mode. They become self-absorbed, thinking only about self-preservation. This is understandable because fear and protection of oneself and one’s family are strong motivators of behavior.

Perceived scarcities have created real Scare Cities – people living in states of fear. The individual behaves like a mini nation-state setting up borders, raising their self-interest above all other concerns, and fending off those they perceive as a threat. This selfish mentality has presented itself in the hoarding of toilet paper, sanitizers, and, most importantly medical supplies that first responders, health care workers, and hospitals desperately need.

To help everyone through this crisis, local governments should establish a voucher system to assist those who have no salary or income. And there should be total loan forgiveness on necessities like groceries, medical supplies, housing, and education. Governments could easily provide digital or physical vouchers to everyone each month to pay for necessities. It just means that we need to change priorities from using money to wage wars and build walls, to using money to pay for livingry – tools that support and enhance all life.


Resources are abundant in the world. We can feed, clothe, house, educate, and provide for every human being on the planet, but only if we choose to use and share resources sustainably to help people and protect the earth.

Instead of building weapons like war planes and nuclear bombs, funds and resources must be redirected to advancing both earth and human health as well as environmental and human rights. Currently, less than half of the world’s population has universal health coverage. Global institutions devoted to the rule of law, such as a World Court of Human and Environmental Rights and a World Peace Force, should replace the wastefulness of vast national armies. Think how much humanity could do to ensure healthcare and safe infrastructures for everyone on the planet with the two trillion dollars that national governments spend annually on waging wars.

Our failure to implement global approaches to global crises will inevitably lead to higher death tolls from wars, pandemics, and climate change. How many deaths will occur if we fail to implement a coordinated global system?

Moreover, the human response to this crisis must not be about saving any one economy; it must be about saving individual lives, humanity and the earth as a whole. Human and earth survival are interconnected. We must develop a human and earth consciousness, as well as a governing system that matches this holistic awareness, in order to prevent humanity’s extinction.

What we do now will determine our fate. How seriously will we take our responsibility as world citizens toward each other and the earth? This is a test of our humanity.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Davis and Goliath

    (Photo courtesy of theworldismycountry.com)

By David Gallup

A New Year’s Parable

The massive Palace stood as a fortress alongside the River Seine. The edifice of power was built, stone upon stone, carrying an aura of ceaselessness as it rose high into the sky. Bronze statues of the gods held guard.

Now the national leaders gathered in the Palace, squabbling over the interests of their subjects, would-be citizens. In the grand meeting hall, the leaders gave selfish speech after selfish speech, sheathed in eloquence, about what they demanded for their own. Outside the chamber, the voice of the world’s people, themselves, was mute. Though not for long.

With typewriter, bible and sleeping bag in tow, Garry Davis arrived at the Palace, which had been declared “international territory” by the powers that be. For seven days, undocumented and undaunted, he camped on the steps of the Palace to the delight of the press and the world public. One calm and peaceful individual outside, in stark contrast to the hundreds of bombastic and belligerent national leaders inside.

The presence of “Le petit homme” (the little man) was a thorn in the leaders’ side. How could they continue their pretense of “maintaining peace” between nations when one stateless individual could reveal their impotence? How could they help all of the world’s citizens, when they did not even know how to assist one individual world citizen? One of the highest officials representing the nations declared, “Davis is a world baby. Our Charter does not foresee being a nursemaid. States may join our organization. Diapered citizens may not!” The embarrassed nations forcefully and illegally removed Davis from the grounds of the Palace and attempted to put him back into the nation-state box.

This was Davis’s second stand against the stalwart nation-state system, the first being his renunciation of exclusive citizenship to one nation, in favor of an inclusive embrace of all of humanity.

Time and again throughout his life, Davis spoke truth to power. Just a few months after camping out at the nations’ Palace, Davis and 20 compatriots interrupted another session of squabbling national leaders. This was Davis’s third stand against the “divide and conquer” power elite. From the balcony, this time inside the Palace, Davis implored, “I interrupt you in the name of the people of the world not represented here. Though my words may be unheeded, our common need for world law and order can no longer be disregarded. We, the people, want the peace which only a world government can give.”

He continued, “The sovereign states you represent divide us and lead us to the abyss of Total War. I call upon you no longer to deceive us by this illusion of political authority. I call upon you to convene forthwith a World Constituent Assembly to raise the standard around which all can gather, the standard of true peace, of One Government for One World.”

“And if you fail us in this, stand aside, for a People’s World Assembly will arise from our own ranks to create such a government. We can be served by nothing less.”

Attempting to free himself and humanity from the shackles of the divisive nation-state, Davis continued to stand up to Goliath.


Whether it was from his “Cabane du Bonheur” (Cabin of Happiness) built on the divide between France and Germany or from his seated position in the middle of the Allenby Bridge between Israel and Jordan, Davis exposed the injustice and violence of human-made borders.

Like the Bible’s Goliath, the nation-state is armed to the hilt. These weapons and national governments’ hubris, Davis knew, would be their undoing. Through his words and actions, he exposed the artifice of a system built upon the false belief that independent nations could protect individuals within their frontiers. Davis revealed that the nation-state system was crumbling under the weight of the world’s problems.

Unlike the Bible’s David, Davis was armed only with his quick thinking and sense of humor. His claim of world citizenship and his World Passport were his tools of revolutionary change.

Garry Davis wasn’t a hero because he was a bomber pilot and fought for the nation; he was a hero because he renounced war and killing. He gave up the comforts that the state would have provided him. He went to jail to expose the injustice of the national war system. And he spent his entire adult life teaching us to unite as world citizens -- to achieve a peaceful world.

Davis once wrote, “If spending time in the jails of the world would further the understanding of one world and one humankind, then I would gladly forfeit my freedom again this very day. For it is my considered opinion that this understanding alone is the sine qua non of world peace.”

Davis had to be brave to challenge a system that called him “kooky,” “misfit,” “crazy,” and “utopian”—to stand up to injustice against our fellow humans and the earth.

Do we want the nation-state Goliath to run our lives? Do we want to bow down to a system that separates us, human from human, and makes us believe that we must fight one another?

Garry Davis taught us that as world citizens we have the power to create an ethical system to govern our world. We have the right and responsibility to build a sustainable, just and peaceful world. This isn’t just a message for the New Year; this is a message for all time.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

71st Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Right to Know our Rights and the Right to Have our Rights Respected:
71st Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By David Gallup

As we celebrate the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10th, let’s consider how awareness and implementation of our human rights can have a dramatic impact on world peace, justice and sustainability.

According to the UDHR Preamble, attainment of our rights depends upon the people of the world raising awareness of and enforcing human rights principles. The framers of the Declaration considered that recognition and observance of our rights will follow from 1) human rights education - a common understanding of our rights and 2) human rights law - embedding our rights in the rule of law locally, regionally and globally.

1) Human Rights Education

Upon the promulgation of the Declaration in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly called on the public “to cause it [the Declaration] to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions.”  The Assembly further proclaimed that “every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms…”

Furthermore, Article 26 of the Declaration not only affirms that “everyone has the right to education,” but also that “education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.” According to the drafters of the Declaration, a portion of everyone’s education should be devoted to learning about our universal rights.

In 2011, the UN adopted an additional declaration, the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training to acknowledge the “fundamental importance of human rights education and training in contributing to the promotion, protection and effective realization of all human rights.” This Declaration seeks

  • to promote education about the principles that form the basis of our rights,
  • to advance mechanisms that protect our rights,
  • to support respect for the rights of learners and educators, and
  • to empower people to exercise their own rights and uphold the rights of others.

Human rights education has been and continues to be a significant objective in United Nations’ strategy for realizing human rights. Article 1 of the Education Declaration states,
  1. Everyone has the right to know, seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms and should have access to human rights education and training.
  2. Human rights education and training is essential for the promotion of universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the principles of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.
  3. The effective enjoyment of all human rights, in particular the right to education and access to information, enables access to human rights education and training.

The UN continues to highlight education in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. One of the seventeen goals focuses on education and specifically refers to human rights. Goal 4.7 states, “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”

Education matters: if we do not know our rights, we cannot claim them. If we cannot claim our rights, we cannot exercise them. If we cannot exercise our rights, we cannot achieve a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

Although education is key to achieving our rights, how effective has our global human rights education been? The majority of the world’s children, more than 90 percent, attend primary school; yet, few have been educated about human rights. Some students learn about the Declaration in high school social studies or history classes. But only 38% of the world’s population has any education past the age of 15. If children have not learned about the UDHR by the time they are in secondary school, then they may never learn about it. Therefore, global human rights education must start in primary schools.

Education fulfills the first half of the mission of securing “universal respect, effective recognition and observance” of our rights. Human Rights Law fulfills the second half.

2) Human Rights Law

To achieve universal observance of our rights, the UDHR urges us to incorporate and enforce human rights principles in our laws from local to global.

Human rights do in appear our laws, from the highest level laws to local civic codes. Jus cogens (peremptory norms of international law), the UN Charter (Articles 55 and 56), the UDHR, the two International Covenants, regional human rights conventions, and topical human rights treaties reaffirm our innate and unalienable rights. A majority of national constitutions mention some rights or freedoms of the people. And every constitution affirms that the authority of government derives from the will of the people.

Realization of our universal rights requires more than education and the law. Although many laws reaffirm human rights principles, we cannot reliably depend upon governments alone to uphold the law. We, the people, must stand up for our own rights and for the rights of others, who are disempowered and oppressed. And we must stand up for the rights of the earth that far too long have been ignored.

We need to assert our rights through judicial action (through the courts), through legislative action (through our parliaments and referenda), through political action (through the power of our vote and participation in government), through economic pressure and nonviolent action (through civil society and public protests), and through institutional progress (through global mechanisms such as a World Court of Human Rights, a World Environmental Court, and a World Parliament).

Our humanity and the earth already unite us. By recognizing our status as world citizens, we can begin to work together to achieve universal awareness and realization of our rights. On this 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let’s take action for the Universal Implementation of Human Rights.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

World Citizen Clubs

By David Gallup

“Being a part of a World Citizen Club helps students have a better understanding of the different issues our world faces today. They have a chance to come up with different solutions and ideas and learn from one another.”
—Semawit, World Citizen Club Member

As the school year begins, the World Service Authority (WSA), along with its co-sponsor Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS), is launching World Citizen Clubs on college, university, and high school campuses around the world. The WSA and CGS are nonprofit organizations that promote world citizenship, universal human rights, and global structures of law for a peaceful, just and sustainable world.

What is the World Citizen Club Program?

WSA and CGS encourage students to advance the mission of world peace through world citizenship and world law. The World Citizen Club Program, a grassroots movement, engages teens and young adults in world citizenship education and activism, inspiring students to become world peacemakers.

Individual World Citizen Clubs will endeavor to

1. Advocate and Educate

2. Build Community

3. Support awareness of and respect for universal rights and world citizenship

Students in World Citizen Clubs will engage in educational, service, and social events and projects that promote world citizenship, world peace, and human rights. Clubs will provide students with the 
opportunity to take local action on global issues.

How to Create a World Citizen Club

Creating a World Citizen Club on campus is a simple process. Students speak with their friends and classmates to find potential club members. They find a faculty advisor, draft a club constitution, register their club with World Service Authority, and promote the club at the beginning of each semester during club and student activities fairs. Once the club is launched, students schedule periodic meetings, events and projects to engage club participants and the wider school community in world citizenship activities.

Examples of Club Events and Projects

        heritage food potluck dinners
        world trivia nights
        cultural celebrations
        global music and dance performances
        speakers on human rights, international law, and peace issues
        refugee assistance through food drives and advocacy campaigns
        film and documentary screenings

Benefits for Students

        network with experts in the international community
        interact with students from other parts of the world
        engage academic learning outside the classroom
        acquire multicultural competencies, a top priority for employers
        make a difference in their communities and the world

For More Information

Visit the Club’s website: www.worldcitizenclub.org. Students, faculty and staff will find tools and materials to create a World Citizen Club on their campus. The website includes guides and information such as a 5-page Club Start-Up Guide, which explains the benefits of the club, how to create a club, and suggested events, projects and programs. Sample club constitutions, terms of behavior, brochures, and promotional flyers are also available at the website.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from students who are interested in starting clubs on their campuses. Please email us at info@worldcitizenclub.org.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Peace Starts with You – Insist on Peace!

By David Gallup

Garry Davis said that world peace begins with each of us putting the earth first: “Because it is your world! You are the ‘center’ of it. It revolves around you! You were born to it. And willy-nilly, you are already in it; in fact on it! And like it or not, you are therefore responsible for it … for the good and the bad. What is required is our individual commitment to one world and humanity first, and ourselves and our particular country second.”

In a recent tweet, spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said that world peace starts with the individual finding personal peace: “The creation of a more peaceful and happier society has to begin from the level of the individual, and from there it can expand to one’s family, to one’s neighborhood, to one’s community, and so on.”

When we recognize that the individual is a microcosm of humanity and that peace is a life-long process, the individual can seek both individual peace and world peace simultaneously. World peace depends upon the intertwining of the one and the many seeking peace.

Finding Inner Peace and Outer Peace

When we learn and build inner peace for ourselves as individuals, we can expand our knowledge and skills to help others learn and build outer peace.

If we see people in need, people suffering, people facing oppression and violence, we must find a way to help them. It could be speaking up or speaking out, lending a hand, checking in, sending clothing, making a donation, offering a shoulder to cry on, sharing food, providing free medical or other support, offering a safe haven, etc. In other words, we should act towards one another non-violently.

The term “non-violence” defines an action or state of being by using the opposite of how we should act as part of the term. Because people should focus on what we need to do to achieve peace, rather than what we shouldn’t do, it is important to use a positive term to describe how we can effect change in our world, both as individuals and collectively. Encouraging people to “act peacefully” is no longer enough to achieve dramatic change in how humans interact. We must now compassionately insist upon peace in our own lives and in our collective interactions. I suggest we use the stronger term “peace insistence” instead of “acting peacefully” or “non-violence.”

Peace insistence* is more than a commitment to acting non-violently. It is a question of ensuring that your interactions, your behavior, and that of others be conducted peacefully, that you consciously and consistently choose peace over aggression, and that you begin by finding peace in your own heart and mind.

The underlying elements of peace insistence are love, empathy, healing, and moving together and toward one another. Individual peace and world peace require us to move beyond non-violent action to peace insistence.

Peace Insistence through World Citizenship

If individuals do not have inner peace, it is difficult for them to participate in endeavors to build external peace in their surroundings, let alone build a loving, accepting, just, free, sustainable, and peaceful community.

Institutions reflect the values and ethics of those who create them. If individuals have suffered violence, exclusion, discrimination, harassment, poverty, oppression, etc., then the institutions they make will likely consciously or subconsciously have those experiences weaved into the fabric of the organizational structures, policies, politics, and milieu.

The current system of national division encourages killing, greed, and environmental degradation by exalting profit and competition over societal health, demanding incessant economic growth that favors the few over the many, and maintaining power dynamics with inherent structural violence.

The national-focused framework for human interaction values war and preparing for war over peace and building peace. Just one quarter of the trillion dollars that national governments spend on maintaining and “defending” fictional borders, would be enough for local communities to successfully deal with abuse, human trafficking, power dynamics, gender and different-identity othering, illiteracy, homelessness, corruption, global warming, toxic environment, and the lack of conflict analysis and resolution/non-violent communication skills.

At this point, humans have created too many complex problems threatening the earth and humanity’s survival. These problems can only be handled with complex, indigenous and unified processes. Humans do not have to agree on everything in order to agree that we would rather have a world than have none.

Causes of violence and conflict are rooted both in local and international frameworks, in our individual lives and in the wider society. We cannot apply processes of peace to resolve the root causes of violence with either/or approaches: local peace requires world peace; world peace requires local peace; and all peace requires individual peace.

By developing peace insistence skills and an understanding of our common identity as world citizens, individuals and institutions can be of value to each other in the process of dealing with root causes of negative conflict and violence.  

World citizenship is about acceptance of “the other” as if the other is related to us—as if the other is us but just separated by a different physical body, different experiences, and different education. World citizenship can help us create a “we and we” (or simply “we”) mentality (rather than an “us versus them” mentality). World citizenship can help us to meet people where they are, to listen and become aware of distinct voices and values, and to appreciate those distinctions even if the temptation is to automatically reject those distinctions.

Peace activist Azeezah Kanji says that we need to establish a “paraversal” community, meaning that uni-versal may not take into account all voices and values. “Universal” might drown out or dilute our individuality. We need a community that incorporates as well as transcends all diverse voices. We need an intersectional and parasectional community.

World citizenship brings people together to share their unique voices in developing solutions to global problems. Coming together as world citizens is not only about averting future crises; it is also about mitigating the crises we already face and perhaps finding a new sustainable path. Social, economic, political, ecological, local, and global peace require us to use all the tools we have and that we can imagine. World citizenship is about imagining, creating, and educating about a world system that can work for all.

Peace Insistence through Education

World citizenship engages change within and outside of individuals and institutions, within local spaces and within the world space. Change toward peaceful coexistence is dependent upon individuals as well as the institutions they develop having a world citizenship education and mentality.

How we educate youth and offer continuing education to adults will dramatically impact whether we will be successful in creating an ethical local and world community. Education is fundamental to all change, growth, and opening our minds to alternative perspectives. By sharing world citizenship ideas, people will become aware of the world and people beyond themselves, their family, friends, and local community.

Everyone already is a world citizen by birth and in fact, but putting into action world citizenship as an ethical framework or system for human interaction requires education and training, just like conflict resolution and collaborative development do. World citizenship is about opening people’s minds to the world as one web of life, providing the tools to help foster empathy and conflict resolutions skills internally and externally, at all levels of human interaction and within the individual human. Being a world citizen is about recognizing our link to, and having empathy for, our fellow humans and the earth. That means that we must nurture skills of living indigenously with all other beings and with our parent earth.

World citizenship and world governmental structures are meant to help us learn about and work together on issues that are more efficiently and effectively handled at the world level—issues that impact the entire earth and all of its inhabitants. Local governments will still govern locally and indigenously.

The tool of world citizen government provides a process of positive interaction of, by, and for the individuals of the world. As a world citizen, you do not give up any lower level allegiance or commitment. You do not give up your individuality. You affirm a commitment to yourself, to other individuals, to humanity, and to the earth—a commitment to learning how to live together sustainably, a commitment to insist on peace.

Each of us has the right, the power and the duty to commit to peace insistence.


*My definition of Peace Insistence: The individual and the community consciously and consistently engage the tools, skills, strategies and tactics of loving, empathetic self-perception and interaction through non-violent methods, harmonious engagement, sharing, learning and teaching peace, and rights-affirming activism. The process requires affirming to yourself and to those around you that you will choose to think and act peaceably, that you will seek out education to learn the skills of peaceful interaction, and that you will seek self-healing and offer support to everyone in the healing process.

Peace insistence may also contain elements of non-violent action, civil resistance, civil disobedience, non-cooperation, renunciation, withdrawal, civil and political disruption, legal advocacy, mediation, arbitration, non-conformity, individual and group intervention, economic boycott, strike, divestment, positive investment, protest, momentum-building, strategic organizing, long term planning, collaborative development, artistic, musical, scientific, mathematic, ethical, and comedic expression, indigenous creativity, training in peaceful communication, individual and group therapy, and the hundreds of other actions, processes and initiatives that maintain peaceful relationships as an ultimate goal. (See Gene Sharp’s list of “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.”)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Simultaneous 70th Anniversaries: Universal Declaration of Human Rights and World Citizenship Movement

By David Gallup

Two moments in recent history have helped us to realize that there is one humanity and one earth:

The first moment was when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. These bombs confirmed that humans have the power to eradicate humanity and destroy the entire world.

The second moment was when a rocket was propelled into near earth orbit in 1946, with an attached motion picture camera. The camera captured photographs of the earth as one unified whole.

These two moments provided competing visions, one view of the earth as a fractured planet and another view of the earth as one world. Representing two ends of an ethical spectrum, they forced humanity to choose between a world of destruction and a world of inspiration. Both moments ultimately led to the development of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and world citizenship.

Moments such as these helped to inspire Eleanor Roosevelt and Rene Cassin (drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) to establish universal principles to guide humanity, principles that would be applicable to everyone, everywhere.  The Declaration was a legal response to the violence and chaos of World War II. The drafters intended to establish a code of conduct for humanity in order to prevent a third world war.

These moments also inspired World War II veteran Garry Davis, as he describes in his memoir My Country is the World, to “willfully withdraw from the co-partnership of citizen and national state and declare himself a world citizen.” Garry was ashamed of his own direct participation as a bomber pilot 29,000 feet above the earth dropping bombs on his fellow humans.

1948 was the year that Garry Davis gave up his exclusive allegiance to a country and also the year that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated. Specifically, this December 10th marks the 70th anniversary of the unanimous adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, now viewed by many legal scholars as customary international law.  This year also marks the 70th anniversary of Garry Davis’s renunciation of national citizenship in favor of world citizenship, which has been followed by almost 2 million people world-wide who have also claimed world citizenship status.

What can we learn from this joint celebration of the Declaration of Human Rights and Garry’s declaration of human unity?

At the heart of the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and at the heart of Garry Davis’s claim of world citizenship is the idea that humanity, human rights, and the earth itself, deserve a universal legal status, a universal identity, and a universal governing system. The UDHR drafters and Garry Davis responded to World War II by universalizing rights and by universalizing citizenship.

The UDHR was revolutionary. It created a human rights dialogue, so that people could engage in discussion of our universal freedoms and responsibilities.

Garry Davis’s renunciation of national citizenship also was a revolutionary act. He constructed a level citizenship that did not involve violence, war, or oppression to establish a world government.

In 1948, the framers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights envisioned the Declaration as a tool to teach everyone about our rights. They wanted the global public to demand that governments “secure universal and effective recognition and observance” of our rights, as the Preamble of the UDHR states. They wanted to create “a social and international order” in which everyone could share the world peacefully and in which everyone’s rights and needs would be fully met. They envisioned every day as a human rights day.

Both the drafters of the UDHR and Garry Davis knew that if the rights of all human beings were to be upheld, those rights would have to be codified – written down for all to see, all to learn, and all to implement. As the UDHR’s Preamble states, if humans are “not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, then human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”

In the halls of the UN, however, the squabbling of the nation-states continued throughout the autumn of 1948. The Russian government and several Soviet Bloc countries were threatening to vote against the Declaration.

If you saw the documentary “The World is My Country” about Garry Davis, you learned that he was instrumental in the unanimous signing of the Declaration. By December of 1948, Garry was world renowned for camping out on the steps of the United Nations when it was holding its General Assembly sessions at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, and for interrupting a session to demand the creation of a world parliament and world government. (His interruption occurred on November 19, 1948.)

On December 9th, 1948, the night before the UN general assembly vote on the Declaration, Garry Davis spoke before a crowd of 20,000 war-weary Europeans at the Velodrome d’Hiver Stadium in Paris. Calling for world government, Garry said, “We can no longer permit ourselves to be led by statesmen who use us as pawns in the game of national interests. We wish to be led by those who represent us directly: we, the individuals of the human community.”

This rousing speech made headlines throughout Europe and impacted the representatives of the states considering whether to accept or reject the Declaration.  The next day, instead of voting against the UDHR, 8 countries abstained.  This meant that 48 countries unanimously accepted the UDHR.  Now every member-state of the United Nations, when becoming members, must agree to abide by the Declaration.

It takes moments--like Garry Davis’s bold acts of civil resistance--to build momentum.

What does the UDHR and world citizenship tell us as about humanity’s roadmap to a peaceful world? Where do we go from here?

It’s time to rise up! We need a spark—like the character Katniss Everdeen—in the novel The Hunger Games.  Or like actual heroes Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Garry Davis. We need to know that we can each be the spark of world peace, and we need to teach others how to find their spark.

Just as Garry Davis created a movement in 1948 that inspired a global public searching for hope, unity and peace, we need to do the same.

As global warming, perpetual wars, and neo-nationalism threaten the existence of our rights and our human identity, NOW is the time to organize a new world citizenship movement for global change!  We need a movement that engages both incremental change through law and institutions, as well as moments of mass resistance.

We need to stage an uprising devised of political theater and activism. We need to interrupt the UN and nation-state system once again. Through coordinated disruption, sacrifice and escalation, we need to show that our world model resolves and transcends the anomalies of the nation-state paradigm. We need to unite universal rights and world citizenship into a movement that people will flock to.

Here are two concrete examples of how the World Service Authority (WSA) is igniting this movement, one through incremental change and one through immediate action:

For incremental change, the World Service Authority, along with partner organization Citizens for Global Solutions, is establishing World Citizen Clubs on high school and university campuses. We are using the theory of change and building momentum simultaneously by educating the minds and inspiring the hearts of youth around the world. World Citizen Clubs will get young adults to start thinking and acting as world citizens, claiming this status for themselves and providing an example for others. Engaging youth will help us to create the moments that lead to momentum in the world citizenship movement.

For immediate action, representatives of WSA’s World Citizen Center of Ojai have traveled to Tijuana to stand in support of people fleeing persecution in the Americas and around the world. Along with American Friends Service Committee, we are exposing the inhumanity of militarization and borders that separate humans from humans, perpetuating the divisions that lead to violence and war. We are shining a light on the injustices that refugees, stateless and undocumented people -- millions of our fellow humans -- face on a day-to-day basis.

This 70th anniversary of the UDHR and of modern world citizenship teaches us that we can imagine change, we can organize change, and we can be the change. We can be successful in igniting the world citizenship movement by coordinating our theory of change efforts with momentum from mass non-violent action.

By coordinating the principles of the UDHR and world citizenship, we can advance institutions and identity based on unity, rather than separation – based on our common needs, rather than our cultural differences. Respect for human rights and recognition of world citizenship strengthens us socially, economically, politically, legally, psychologically, and environmentally.

The strength that we gain through world citizenship and the universalization of human rights will not supplant the nation-state system or threaten local identity. The way to protect the local is to acknowledge the global. By achieving peace at the world level, we can ensure that local culture is preserved rather than destroyed by violence.

After World War II, the drafters of the UDHR and Garry Davis were compelled to imagine a world in which all human beings could live together in harmony. To take that image of peace and portray it in the world writ large, they had to make and be the change that they wanted to see. The drafters had to affirm the universality of our rights and Garry had to affirm the universality of our human identity.

Like the creators of the Declaration of Human Rights and Garry Davis, we must be the drafters and actors of own destiny. We must be the change we want to see in the world!