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Achieving Human Rights

Richard Falk

I� ��o�!!!n���up NEW YORK AND LONDON

First published 2009 by Routledge

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Simultaneously published in the UK by Routledge

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Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Falk, Richard

Achieving human rights/Richard Falk. p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index. I. Human rights. I. Title.

JC585.F34 2008 323-dc22 2008018558

ISBN!O: 0-415-99015-7 (hhk) ISBN!O: 0-415-99016-5 (phk) ISBNIO: 0-203-88910-X (ehk)

ISBN! 3: 978-0-415-99015-8 (hhk) ISBNl3: 978-0-415-99016-5 (phk) ISBNU: 978-0-203-88910-7 (ehk)


Preface Introduction



1 Toward a Necessary Utopianism: Democratic Global Governance

2 The Power of Rights and the Rights of Power: What Future for Human Rights?

3 Orientalism and International Law

PART II Nurturing Global Democracy

4 Toward Global Democracy

5 Citizenship and Globalization

PART lil

International Criminal Law

6 The Holocaust an<l the Emergence of International Human Rights

7 The Pin ochet Moment: Whither Universal Jurisdiction?

8 Genocide at the World Court: The Case Against Serbia


ix 1














Human Rights After 9/11 127

9 A Descending Spiral 129

10 Encroaching on the Rule of Law: Counter-Terrorist Justifications 144

11 Humanitarian Intervention 166


Beyond Politics 1 79

12 Crimes, Lies, and Law: Human Rights in Adversity 181

13 Humanity in Question 192

14 T he Ideal of the Citizen Pilgrim 202

Notes 208 Acknowledgements 233 Index 235



Toward a Necessary Utopianism

Democratic Global Governance


Unless the emergence of an effective form of global governance is adequately democratized it will not only reproduce existing acute inequities and exploita­tive patterns of the present world order, but will almost certainly intensify these malevolent features. Such forebodings are based on the assessment of present global trends that document increasing disparities among peoples, races, and classes, but also call to our attention the growing struggle over dwindling oil supplies and the overall harmful effects of global warming and various associated forms of environmental deterioration. 1 Without drastic normative adjustments in the interaction of states and regions, as well as an accompanying social regulation of the world economy, global governance is almost certain to adopt highly coercive methods of stifling resistance from disadvantaged societies and social forces.

The Bush presidency in the United States, while bringing to the fore an extremist leadership that is likely to be repudiated by the American electorate in the short run, may still be a crude forerunner of future hegemonic efforts by the United States to stabilize the unjust global status quo to the extent possible.2 There are no indications that any plausible new political leader inthe United States will draw down the American militarization of the planet under its sovereign control, including oceans, space, world network of military bases, global intelligence, and special forces presence.3 Global governance under any such auspices, even if less manifestly dysfunctional than this currently failing neoconservative experiment to provide security for the world as administered from Washington, is almost certain to falter without ambitious moves to establish an inclusive consensual, cooperative, multilateral, and constitutional framework built around a truly operational global rule of law.4 At present, there seems to be grossly insufficient political agency avail­able to support mounting a credible challenge along such transformative lines to existing world order arrangements. That is, the neoconservative American vision of global governance has been defeated by resistance, but as matters now stand there is no alternative and it is likely that this vision will be altered to accommodate a more liberal style of promotion. It is due to this



inability to depict a plausible path leading from the here of dysfunctional Westphalianism to a more democratically constituted and institutionally centralized global governance that makes any current call appear “utopian,” that is, not attainable except imaginatively.

Against such a background the advocacy of world government seems constructive and responsive, yet I would argue that to push for world govern­ment at this time is dangerously premature. Such a post-Westphalian gov­ernmental restructuring of global authority, particularly in relation tu war-making, in the unlikely event that it were to become capable of enactment, would almost certainly produce a tyrannical world polity. Such a result seems almost certain unless the realization of world government was preceded by economic, social, and cultural developments that reduced dramatically current levels of material unevenness, poverty, and inter-civilizational antagonisms. So long as this unevenness persists any centralization of political authority is certain to be coercive, exploitative, and oppressive. Perhaps, in the decades ahead, the raw struggle for human survival may yield this kind of outcome misleadingly described as “world government,” and may make it seem an acceptable or even the best attainable world order solution for the peoples of the world. This survival scenario is a rather realistic expectation, given the likelihood that pressures in relation global warming and energy supplies and prices will soon reach emergency levels. What is politically possible in a circumstance of imminent catastrophe or at the early stages of an unfolding catastrophe cannot be foretold, hut given our best understanding of present political realities, the present advocacy of world government is both utopian (unattainable) and dystopian (undesirable). If this is correct, then the contemplation of a benevolent world government is an idle daydream that we as humans concerned for the future can currently ill afford.

An alternative approach, suggested by a similar understanding of the same set of planetary circumstances involves a focus upon the preconditions for achieving a humane form of global governance.5 From this perspective the major premise of analysis is that without the emergence and eventual flourishing of global democracy the world seems assuredly heading for dystopia, if not irreversible catastrophe. Any reasonable approach to the future must exhibit an awareness of the probable relevance of crucial unanticipated developments.6 Given this outlook, it seems useful to distinguish among severalhorizons of possibility when contemplating the shape and viability of global governance in the relatively near-term future. Current policy debate, including mainstream reformist proposals and projections, takes place in a political space that seems consistent with horizons of feasibility ( that is, policy goals attainable without substantial modification of structures of power, privilege, authority, and societal belief patterns); such horizons can shift abruptly during moments of crisis and emergency. In a negative manner, horizons of feasibility receded dramatically after the 9/11 attacks making recourse to aggressive wars by the U.S. government much easier to justify, generating strong political backing


TowarJ a Nece.ssary Utopianism

at home. A more positive illustration involved the establishment of the International Criminal Court in the aftermath of the Cold War despite the opposition of several leading governments, but with impressively organized and intensely motivated support from civil society forces. If such a project had been launched in the 1970s or 1980s it would have been quickly dismissed as utopian, yet in the late 1990s it became a realized goal of a group of moderate governments working in tandem with a coalition of transnational civil society actors. Horizons of feasibility shift and evolve, and not necessarily in a linear and incremental rhythm, but by jumps, discontinuities replete with contradictions. 7 It is not enough to ponder the future through calculationsand assessments made by reference to horizons of feasibility. We also require some sense of preferred alternative ways of sustaining life on the planet along lines that accord with scientific and professional judgments as to how to improve the material and social quality of human life for all persons. To do this is not just a technical matter. It is also ethical, calling for special efforts on behalf of those now poor, excluded, subordinated, and otherwise disadvantaged. It also presupposes that far longer-term perspectives inform public policy at levels of social integration than are now associated with domestic electoral cycles. As well, the shaping of a democratic form of global governance cannot be effectively or beneficially managed on the basis of either a world constituted almost exclusively by territorial political communities enjoying sovereign rights or a world that is controlled by either single or multiple hegemonic centers of territorial power of global and regional scope or by market-based global business and banking elites.8 To devise what willwork to ensure a sustainable human future that does not rest on naked force and entail grossly exploitative distributions of wealth and income requires a scientifically and ethically informed vision of what is needed, treated here as horizons of necessity. It is the gap between feasibility and necessity, as well as the fragility and complexity of current world order, which largely explains what is appropriately described as the deepening crisis of global governance. In this regard, the petroleum-based technologies of the twenty-first century, military and otherwise, make the consequences of failure and breakdown so much more consequential than earlier. This observation is particularly obvious with regard to any assessment of the destructive impacts of major wars fought with nuclear weapons as distinct from wars fought with bows and arrows or machetes. But the same condition exists in many other domains of inter­national life, including of course, the use of the global commons as a dump for greenhouse gas emissions, as for various other kinds of waste disposal.

By itself this polarization of perspectives may not do more than help us understand the gathering gloom about the future of humanity by focusing our attention on what is needed, yet seemingly unattainable, rather than to be content with what is feasible. With this consideration in mind, it seems useful to look closely at what is desired and desirable with respect to the multi­dimensional challenge of global governance. In this respect, reflecting on



horizons of desire is not entirely impractical, but rather provides an inspirational foundation for the mobilizing energy that will be required if horizons of necessity are to motivate action without adding to human suffering. The emphasis on democracy as the ground upon which global governance must unfold, if it is to be successful and benevolent, is an acknowledgment, with risks attached, of the political significance of desire and the desirable.’1 Assuggested, tyrannical forms of global governance might, although at great human cost, more easily satisfy the imperatives of necessity, at least for some decades, but dystopicly. The preferred alternative is to embrace the utopian possibility of conflating horizons of necessity and horizons of desire, which seems only imaginable if global governance is radically democratized in the near future. Whether that conflation would help fashion the political agency required to establish a credible political project of global democratic governance cannot be foretold. There is also some support, especially in American neoliberal and neoconservative circles, for embracing benevolent hegemony, even empire, as the most attainable form of effective global governance.10 Aswith world government, hegemonic or imperial solutions, even if arguably responsive to horizons of necessity should be rejected because they do not appear on the horizons of desire.11 Global democracy seems necessary anddesirable, although its realization, assuming obstacles can be overcome, may turn out to be not altogether positive. Much can go wrong by way of imple­mentation: corruption, militarism, even repression and exploitation, could easily occur along the way, if the mechanisms of governance are not constrained by a robust regime of law that is itself responsive to the values and implementing procedures of a human rights culture and to demands for global justice. This regime of global law is particularly needed to offset to some extent the effects of gross inequality and disparity that currently exists, and seems built into the operational workings of the world economy.12 The final test of social justiceglobally conceived, recalling Gandhi’s criterion of “the last man” and John Rawls’ emphasis on the most disadvantaged elements in society, will he how those at the margins of human vulnerability are treated, including the impoverished, the unborn, the indigenous, and the deviant. Procedural benchmarks will also he indicative of a more inclusive democracy that is not yet: progress toward accountability for wrongdoing by political actors, regulation of economic regimes to ensure the material and human wellbeing of all persons and groups, implementation of prohibitions on recourse to war as a political option, a dynamic of demilitarization, and, behind everything, a rule of law as administered by an independent and available judiciary so that there is a growing impression that legal equals (for example, governments of sovereign states) are being treated equally. In contrast, the present world order shocks the moral conscience by the extent to which powerful political actors are being given an exemption from criminal accountability while weaker figures are increasingly prosecuted and punished. Saddam Hussein or Slohodan Milosevic are prosecuted but George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and Vladimir Putin


TowarJ a Necessary Utopianism

are Jc facto exempt from even indictment. More broadly, hegemonic actors are enjoying an informal, yet fully effective, right of exception with respect to adherence to international law, expressed both by the veto given to permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council and by the operational freedom of maneuver enjoyed by major states.

This chapter will not attempt to look at this entire global canvas of democratizing initiatives but limits itself to an inquiry that highlights the place of the individual as “citizen” of this unborn global polity and the creation of an institutional arena that can give meaningful expression to democratizing sentiments and express grievances that come from below. In this rendering, the spirit of democracy is derived from respect for the authority of the grassroots, giving some sort of preliminary outlet for legitimizing processes of popular sovcreignty. 13 More concretely attention will be given to a futuristic conceptionof citizenship-the citizen pilgrim-and to the establishment of means for collective political deliberation-a global peoples assembly or global peoples parliament. 14

It needs to be understood that both structural aspects of Westphalian world order: the horizontal juridical order encompassing the interplay of formally equal sovereign states and the vertical order exhibiting the geopolitical structure of grossly unequal states now exhibits almost none of the characteristics of democratic governance. The clearest embodiment of the horizontal juri­dical order may be seen in the functioning of the UN General Assembly. Governments are somewhat equal with respect to one another, but this body is denied the authority to decide or the power to enforce of and there are no opportunities given for meaningful and direct participation by representatives of global civil society. The clearest expression of the vertical geopolitical order can he observed in the UN Security Council where many sessions on crucial issues of peace and security are held in secret, so that even transparency is absent in the context of debate. The UN is a quintessential Westphalian institution with respect to membership and operational responsibilities, although these realities are to some extent hidden behind the normative architecture of the UN Charter, which at least purports to impose major behavioral constraints on all states, including geopolitical actors. A slightly deeper scrutiny discloses a veto power that almost completely nullifies the Charter constraints, and looking still deeper reveals an operational code in which the main hegemonic actor(s) overrides in almost all circumstances the autonomy of ordinary sovereign states, despite their formal rights of equality based on membership.

This presentation of current world order does not take account of the rise of non-state actors both as participants and challengers. 15 These post­Westphalian clements of world order are arrayed around market forces, humanitarian voluntary associations, and mobilized social forces. Characteristic arenas of activity for such actors include the World Economic Forum, conflict zones, anJ the World Social Forum. These actors, although outside the formal



framework of interacting governments representing sovereign states, are also not subject to any consistent criteria of democratic governance. Their current main roles as gadflies or adjuncts to states, makes their absence of democratic practices of less present concern, but if their future contribution to the shaping of democratic global governance is to retain credibility then appropriate forms of democratization of civil society actors need to be established.


Discussions of citizenship in the modern era focused mainly on the evolving relations of citizen and state in liberal democracies. 16 This concept of citizenship in the last half of the twentieth century became increasingly associated with a normative model of legitimate national governance, incorporating both the rise of international human rights and reliance upon private sector economic growth. The authoritative character of this model was universalized, at least rhetorically, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the entry of China into the World Trade Organization, and the emergence of a consensus among governments in support of neoliberalism as the foundation of national economic policy. George W. Bush endorsed such an understanding of governance when he started his cover letter introducing the important document, National Security Strategy 2002 of the United States of America, with the following sentence: “The great struggles of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom-and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise.”17 What is striking here is the regressive andrevealing failure to mention any duty to protect those materially deprived by providing for basic human needs, as well as the arrogance associated with claiming to be the embodiment of the single model of societal success. Showing respect for social and economic rights of individuals and groups was deliberately avoided in the Bush approach, presumably because it would be regarded as an acceptance of the welfare state, and might attract conservative criticism as a backdoor acceptance of socialism. 18 Although this American retreat from a conception of citizenship that includes the responsibility of the state for the material wellbeing of its citizenry has taken an extreme form, it does reflect a wider trend that is partly responsive to the supposed imperative of a neoliberal global economy, partly a reaction to the failures of state socialism as embodied in the Soviet Union, partly a consequence of a weakening labor movement in post-industrial societies, and partly reflective of a rightward swing throughout the industrial world in relation to state responsibility for the welfare of their citizenry.

Traditional forms of citizenship, then, at their best involved meaningful participation (rights and duties) within national political space, especially, the enjoyment of civil and political rights (freedom), the opportunity to participate in an open political process that is framed by a constitutional document (rule


Toward a Necessary Utopianism

of law), subsidized opportunities for education and health, the assured protection of private property and national and transnational entrepreneurial rights (trade and investment), and some measure of support in circumstances of material need. Such a view of what might be called Westphalian citizenship included a reciprocal series of duties; the most onerous involved obligations of loyalty and service to the state. The crime of treason continues to be punished everywhere with great severity. This legalizes a radical denial of a globalized moral conscience, presupposing that even if the state acts in defiance of international law, universal standards of morality, and with self-destructive imprudence, it is a crime to lend aid and comfort to its enemy. In this respect, there exists an unresolved tension between accountability of even government officials to international criminal law and the continuing claims made by governments to the unwavering, and essentially unchallengeable, allegiance of citizens. From the perspective of moral and legal globalization it seems like an opportune moment to advocate the abolition of “treason” as a crime. A serious debate on treason and conscience would serve the purpose of rethinking the proper vector of citizenship with respect to changing values, beliefs, and conditions, as well as acknowledging the global and species context of human action. As matters now stand, the absolutizing of allegiance to the state that confers nationality and citizenship undermines both human solidarity and respect for norms claiming global applicability. Such an allegiance inculcates a trihalist ethos that anachronistically privileges the part over the whole at a historic moment when the parts that make up the whole increasingly depend on the wellbeing of the latter. The Nuremberg ethos that held German, and later J apanese leaders legally responsible for their official crimes, almost obli­gates citizens of a state embarked on a course of international criminality to advocate treason, and certainly requires a rejection of blind obedience to the orders and policies of a state. Of course, this Nuremberg legacy is ambiguous, starting out as victors’ justice and persisting as a normative framework that effectively exempts geopolitical actors and their servants from all efforts to impose criminal responsibility upon those who act on behalf of the state. The unsuccessful pursuit in national criminal courts of the former American Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, for his role in authorizing torture illu­strates the de facto immunity of those who act on behalf of hegemonic states.

Beyond this, there is the question of citizenship that is not tied to the national space of the sovereign state. To some extent this has been formally recognized hy the conferral of a secondary layer of European citizenship on persons living permanently within the countries belonging to the European Union (EU). 1 9 This formal acknowledgment has a rudimentary corresponding structure of regional governance as especially embodied in such instituti�ns as the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament. More challenging, however, is the failure to take account of the partial disen­franchisement that has occurred globally both by the operations of the world economy and by the emergence of the United States as a global state, that is,



exercising its authority as an override of both the sovereign rights of other states and through a self-decreed exemption from either the authority of the United Nations or of international law, especially in the areas of war and peace. This disenfranchisement has the effect of precluding the meaningful exercise of democracy on the level of the state for many countries, particularly in the ex-colonial countries. If we could imagine an adjustment by way of allowing persons outside the United States to challenge policy affecting their wellbeing by way of binding referenda, or even by casting votes in national elections held within the United States, the leadership role of the United States in shaping global governance would likely be altered for the better (as measured by the principles of the UN Charter or by most accounts of global justice ) in fundamental respects, and there would be a far better fit between the ideals of democracy and the benefits of citizenship. The Westphalian territorial grip on the political imagination remains so tight that such a recasting of electoral arrangements is almost unthinkable, conveying sentiments that have the ring of ultra-utopianism.

The aging of the Westphalian structure of world order is exhibited by the emergence of new arenas of global policy formation that are more responsive to the influence of non-state actors. 2° For instance, the World Economic Forum( WEF), especially during the 1 990s, provided global market forces and their most important representatives with an influential arena. The WEF was established after the Trilateral Commission, which was an elite-oriented private sector initiative that was supposed to offset the inter-governmental influence on world economic policy attributed to the Non-Aligned Movement, and its efforts in the early 1 9 7 0s to achieve a new international economic order. In many respects, the WEF shaped a policy climate that conditioned the behavior of governments and international financial institutions. In reaction to this post-colonial West-centric non-governmental continuing effort to steer the world economy in a manner that widened disparities between rich and poor within and among countries, civil society actors in the South formed the World Social Forum (WSF). The respective ideological and geographical centers of gravity of these opposing initiatives was expressed by the W EF meeting annually in Davos, Switzerland, and the WSF meeting initially for several years in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In a certain sense, these opposed initiatives represented forms of self-created “global citizenship,” established without the formal blessings of states or international institutions, and yet producing meaningful forms of participation by non-state global actors. Such participation is quite likely more meaningful than what was possible through either individual and group participation in many national political processes. Of course, these two types of arena are not necessarily contradictory when it comes to policy, and could be partially understood as complementary undertakings to overcome the limitations of a purely statist world order. Kofi Annan, while serving as UN Secretary General, told the WEF at one of its annual gathering that the UN would only remain relevant in the new century if it found ways


Toward a Necessary U to p i anism

to incorporate both market forces and civil society actors significantly into its activities.

Whether intended or not, the former UN Secretary General was signaling the somewhat subversive opinion that the Westphalian era was over, or at least coming to an end, unless the purely statist structure of authority was modified at the U N , and presumably elsewhere in global policy arenas, to make room for certain non-state actors to take part in meaningful ways. Of course, these demands for access are not symmetrical. It is far easier for statist structures, including the U N , to accommodate private sector market forces, which already exert a huge influence through their strong representation in the upper echelons of officialdom in many governments. To varying degrees, national governments have heen significantly constrained hy domestic and global market forces that have narrowed the space availahle to leaders for political maneuver. This reality is accentuated hy the fact that civil society actors are unrepresented in governmental circles. It remains a rarity for activist representatives of civil society to exert any direct influence on governmental policy formation or operations. Such a generalization is particularly true with respect to peace, security, and foreign economic policy. In the humanitarian domain of conflict management, civil society actors often collaborate with governments.

This structural challenge to Westphalian conceptions of world order remains unmet, and has unleashed a statist backlash.2 1 Annan’s rather mild efforts to implement his views on the future of the U N , especially with regard to the role of civil society representatives were effectively rebuffed by statist forces, a story largely untold. For instance, Annan proposed having an assembly of representatives of NGOs hold a meeting, intended as perhaps the first of an annual event, at the UN as part of the millennium celebrations in the year 2000. Even this largely symbolic gesture to civil society was opposed to such an extent behind the scenes by leading governments that the gathering had to he held in a diluted form outside UN premises and on the assurance that this meeting was a one-off event. This same Westphalian backlash has led the UN to abandon the format of highly visible world meetings on global policy issues, which hecame in the 1 990s important opportunities for transnational social forces to organize and network globally, gain access to the world media, and to help shape the policy outcomes by influencing Third World govern­ments.22 The rise of non-state actors and the formation of non-state arenas seem to he reshaping the nature of citizenship in the twenty-first century as concept, as behavior, and as aspiration. Z l If modes of participation and psycho­political identities are shifting to take account of the realities of globalization, it is misleading to continue to reduce citizenship to a formal status granted hy territorial governments of sovereign states, or even by such inter­governmental entities as the European Union. Such an opinion is not meant to deny that cit izenship of the trad itional variety continues to provide most individuals with their most vibrant and useful sense of connection to a political community, especially in determining entitlements and rights and duties, as

2 1

Overv i e w

well as accounting for dominant political identities. What is heing claimed, however, is that additionally informal modes of hclonging and participating should begin to be acknowledged, encouraged, and evaluated as integral aspects of “citizenship.”

T here is also emerging a new outlook on citizenship, ide ntity, and community. It reflects a growing preoccupation with the unsustainahility of present civilizational lifestyles and petroleum-hased modernities. Putting this preoccupation more positively emphasizes the relevance of time to an ade4uate contemporary conception of citizenship. This acknowledges that discourses on citizenship, even if visionary, have heen essentially related to stJacc, including those that articulated the ideal of “citizen of the world.” If concerns ahout unsustainability and responsihilities to the unhorn are added to the desirahle, and possibly necessary, adoption of a pacifist geopolitics, it would he useful to signal this enlargement of outlook hy adopting the termi nology of “citizen pilgrim.”24 The pilgrim, although it has some misleading religious connotationsassociated with holy journeys, conveys the overriding sense that normative citizenship in the early twenty-first century involves a pilgrimage to a sustainable, equitable, humane, and peaceahle future. The citizen pilgrim is on a journey through time, dedicated to what is heing called here “a necessary utopianism.” In contrast, the traditional citizen is bound to their territorial space, and at most can call on their government to he sensitive to long-range considerations.

The calling of the citizen pilgrim is to act without regard to territorial boundaries or the priorities of national interest when these conflict with the human interest in a sustainahle future. As well, the citizen pilgrim is engaged in the project of glohal democratization in any of a multitude of ways, including establishing positive connections of affection and appreciation hased on human solidarity and shared destiny. Sustained hy an ecumenical spirit, the ci tizen pilgrim rejects the secular/religious hinary that supposedly separates the modern from the traditional, and finds spiritual as well as mundane wisdom and visionary hope embodied in all of the great world religions. 2 5

Global Parliament

Democratizing global governance raises a variety of issues, including greater degrees of accountahility, transparency, and equity throughout the U nited Nations system, as well as estahlishing spaces for non-state participation. The most promising and practical way to acknowledge the challenge and organize a response is to establish in some form a global parliament with the mandate to incorporate transnational and futurist non-state civil societal priorities. I have collaborated for some years with Andrew Strauss in the development of support for this initiative.2<1 Such an innovative step has been prefigured by the existence for several decades of the European Parliament, as well as the far newer African Parliament. Although a bold challenge to Westphalian

2 2

Tow a r d a Necessary U t op i an i s m

notions of world order hased on exclusive international representation by the governments of sovereign states, a glohal parliament is a flexihle format that can he initiated modestly. In conception, the establishment of such an institution is a less radical innovation than was the International Criminal Court, which proposes a capacity to hold leaders of sovereign states accountable for certain enumerated crimes. Whether this mission will be fulfilled, especially with respect to leading states, seems douhtful at present, but the existence of the institution is a recognition of a principled approach to the uniform imposition of a glohal rule of law on all who act in the name of the state. A glohal parliament is capahle of evolving into a lawmaking institution, but its initial phase of operations would he primarily to give the peoples of the world a direct “voice” at the glohal level, with a strong networking potential of benefit to the strengthening of global civil society and an institutional embodiment of populist concerns.

There are many organizational mechanisms that could he used to establish such a glohal parliament. Undoubtedly, the easiest approach would be to rely on national parliaments to designate a given number of representatives proportionate to the size of their population or reflective of some formula for civilizational distrihution. But such a starting-point, although likely the most manageahle, would seem likely to reproduce Westphalian attitudes in such a way as to defeat the main purposes of the global parliament. More promising, although potentially cumbersome, would be the voluntary decision by a given numher of governments, say 30, to agree by treaty to the establishment of a global parliament via direct elections arranged either nationally or regionally.

It has heen encouraging to experience reactions of growing receptivity around the world to the whole project of establishing a global parliament. I helieve this represents hoth a gradual globalization of political consciousness and the spread of the idea that global governance needs to avoid hegemonic solutions, which requires a variety of moves in the direction of global democracy. The disappointing and alienating results of the American use of its unipolar geopolitical position has also contrihuted to this receptive atmosphere, as has the halting, yet cumulative progress toward the estab­lishment of a European polity hased on consent and an ethos of democracy. These developments suggest a slow merger of horizons of necessity and desire, as well as less remoteness from the horizon of feasibility. As a thought experiment, the emergence of a global parliament seems in 2008 less unlikely than did the estahlishment of an International Criminal Court a decade before its estahlishment in 2002. Of course, what happens to such an institution to make it live up to the hopes of its sponsors involves an equally difficult struggle.

There now exists much support for the global parliament idea throughout glohal civil society whenever world order reform is at issue. What is needed is a campaign, perhaps modeled on the collaborative efforts between coalitions of moderate governments and civil society actors that were so successful in relation to the treaties hanning anti-personnel landmines and establishing the



International Criminal Court. The campaign for a global parliament could initially aim to achieve support for convening a treaty-making negotiating session that might itself break ground by combining governments of states with transnational civil society actors as negotiating partners. Whc1t would hopefully emerge from such a process would be a treaty that would not come into force until ratified by national constitutional processes and by referenda in participating societies, which need not necessarily be configured as “states.”

As with the idea of citizen pilgrim so with the global pmliament, much of the benefit would flow from the process itself. This process would shape a consensus as to organizational format, including membership, funding, constitutional status. A big issue is whether the global parliament would be formed as a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly or take some more autonomous character within the UN system. It might also turn out to be

impossible to gain agreement for situating the global parliament within the UN, in which case it might be established for a trial period as a free-standing international institution, which is the case, for instance, for World Trade Organization.


This chapter, and its recommendations, proceed from the belief that politics as the art of the possible cannot hope to cope with the multi-d imensional, intensifying crisis of global governance. At the same time, it seeks to root its analysis and prescriptions as coherently and responsively as the imagination allows with respect to what have been called horizons of desire and necessity.

Its main utopian element is to encourage a radical revisioning of citizenship that currently continues to serve mainly nationalist and even tribalist values. To be a citizen pilgrim in such a global setting is to be a lonely voice in the wilderness, yet representing an ethically driven commitment to truthfulness, human and natural wellbeing, and an overall quest for sustainability and equity. Similarly, to advocate a global parliament, given the structure of the United Nations and the resilience of statist geopolitics, is to whistle in the wind, but yet the wind can shift allowing the impossible to become abruptly feasible.

Again, the rationale for establishing a global parliament rests on desire and necessity, not feasibility.

This leaves the question as to whether such a framework for advocacy can ground the struggle for global democracy, and ultimately hope in the human future, under present world conditions of denial, strife, oppression, exploitation, and alienation.


N o t e s

1 Toward a Necessary Utopianism: Democratic Global Governance

1 James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency (New York: Grove Press, 200 5 ) . 2 For continuity of recent American hegemonic behavior sec Neil Smith, The

Endgame of Globalization (New York: Routledge, 200 5 ) . 3 Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire ( N ew York: Metropolitan Books, 2004 ) ;

Chalmers Johnson, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006 ) .

4 National Security S trategy of the United S tates of America (Washington, DC: White House, 200 2 , 2006 ) ; Joshua Muravchik, “The Past, Present, and Future of N eoconservatism,” Commentary Magazine, Oct. 2007.

5 Richard Falk, On Humane Governance : Toward a New Global Politics (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1 995 ) .

6 Nassim N icholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Hi1-;hly Improbable ( N ew York: Random House, 200 7 ) .

7 Wonderfully depicted by Charles Jencks, The Architecture o f the ]umpin1-; Unit•er,e, A Polemic: How Complexity Science is Chanl;ing Architecture and Culture ( N ew York: John Wiley, 1 997 ) .

8 Torbj.;rn Knutson, The Rise and Fall of World Orders ( Manchester, U K : Manchester University Press, 1 99 9 ) ; Richard Falk, Predatory G lobalization: A Critique (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1 999).

9 For comprehensive treatment see Daniele Archibugi, A World of Democracy : Cosmopolitan Perspectives (Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2008 ) .

1 0 N iall Ferguson, Colossus: The Price of America’s Em/Jire ( N ew York: Penguin Press, 2004 ) ; Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U . S . Diplomacy (Cambridge, M A : Harvard Uni vers ity Press, 2002 ) .

1 1 This position i s most e laborately argued by Michael Mandelbaum, The Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace , Democracy , and Free Markets in the Twenty-first Century ( N ew York: Public Affairs, 2002 ) .

1 2 David Harvey, The New Imperialism (Oxford, U K : Oxford University Press, 2003 ) . 1 3 Mary Kaldor, Human Security (Cambridge, U K , Polity, 2007 ) . 1 4 See Chapter 1 4 for more discussion of the cit izen pilgrim idea. 1 5 George Andreopoulos, Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat, & Peter Juvi ler, eds . , Non-S tate

Actors in the Human Rights Universe ( Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian, 2006 ) . 1 6 See Derek Heater, Citizenship: The Civic Ideal i n World His tory , Politics and

Education ( London: Longmans, 1 990). 17 See note 4 above, cover letter signed by President George W. Bush. 18 On the evolution of Westphalian citizen rights see classic account of the evolution

of modern citizenship in T.H. Marsha ll, Class , Citizen and Social Dcvclo/Jment (New York: Anchor, 1 96 5 ) ;



19 See Maastricht Treaty, 1 993 ; for general discussion see Etienne Balibar, We , the PeoJJlc of Euro/Jc: Reflections on Transnational Citizenship ( Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004 ) .

2 0 Richard Falk, The Declining World Order: America’s Imperial Geopolitics (New York: Routledge, 2004 ) , at 3-44, 8 1 – 1 03 .

2 1 See Falk, note 2 0 above. 22 Mario Pianta, ” Democracy versus Globalization: The Growth of Parallel Summits

and Movements,” in Daniele Archibugi, ed., Debating Cosmopolitics ( London, UK: Verso, 2003 ), at 2 3 2-2 56.

2 3 Margaret Keck & Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders : Advocacy Networks in International Politics ( Ithaca, NY: Cornel l University Press, 1 998 ) .

24 See Chapter 1 4 and Falk, note 5 above, 2 1 1 -2 1 2 . 2 5 Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, The Politics of Secularism in International Relations

( Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2008 ) . 26 Richard Falk & Andrew Strauss, “On the Creation of a Global People’s Assembly:

Legitimacy and the Power of Popular Sovereignty,” Stanford Journal of International Law 36: 1 9 1 -220 ( 2000 ) ; Andrew Strauss, “On the First Branch of Global Governance,” Widener Law Review Xlll( 2 ) : 347-3 59 ( 2007 ) ; Richard Falk & Andrew Strauss, ”Toward Global Parliament,” Foreign Affairs 80( 1 ) : 2 1 2-220 ( 2 00 1 ) ; Richard Falk & Andrew Strauss, “The Deeper Challenges of Global Terrorism: A Democratizing Response,” in Daniele Archibugi, note 9 above, 203-2 3 1 .


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By clіckіng ‘PRОCEED TО CHECKОUT’ yоu wіll be lоgged іn tо yоur accоunt autоmatіcally where yоu can vіew yоur оrder detaіls. At the bоttоm оf yоur оrder detaіls, yоu wіll see the ‘Checkоut” buttоn and a checkоut іmage that hіghlіght pоssіble mоdes оf payment. Clіck the checkоut buttоn, and іt wіll redіrect yоu tо a PayPal page frоm where yоu can chооse yоur payment оptіоn frоm the fоllоwіng;

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