Tag: <span>Donald Trump</span>

Woody Guthrie Portraits of World Citizens.

Woody Guthrie: This land is my land and I…

Featured Image:  Woody Guthrie, half-length portrait, facing slightly left, holding guitar / World Telegram photo by Al Aumuller. By New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer: Al Aumuller, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Woody Guthrie or Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (1912-1967); whose birth anniversary we note on 14 July; was the voice of the marginalized; especially those hit by the drought in the west of the U.S.A. during the late 1920s-early 1930s – what has been called the “dust bowl”. (1)

This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to New York island,
from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me.

Nevertheless; many lost their farms due to unpaid bank loans; and others moved to the greener pastures of California; where they were not particularly welcomed.  However; nearly all were U.S. citizens; and they could not be deported to another country.

Times have changed.  Today, there are the homeless who would like to reach the U.S.A. There has been a good deal of media attention given to those at the frontier; including those who have died trying to reach the U.S.A.

Less media attention has been given to those living in the U.S. and who are being deported to their “home country” although some have been living in the U.S. since childhood and could sing:

“This land is my land.”

Deportation.

A large number of persons; an estimated three million, were deported during the 8-year presidency of Barack Obama; with relatively little attention given except by specialists.  The more flamboyant speeches of former President Trump have awakened more people to the issue of deportation; and the conditions in which people are held prior to deportation.

Those in danger of deportation are not organized in a formal way.  The U.S. trade union movement is a weak organizational force; whose membership has vastly declined.  In practice; trade unions never fought to protect “illegal” foreign workers; even when trade unions were stronger.  There are legitimate, non-racist concerns that an influx of immigrants will lower wage rates and overburden welfare services.  These non-racist concerns join in with the noisier, racist-voices.

President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama‘s official photograph in the Oval Office on 6 December 2012. By Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump poses for his official portrait at The White House, in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead). By Shealah Craighead, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Sanctuary Movement.

Opposition to deportation has come largely from religious-spiritual groups stressing human dignity and using places of worship as sanctuaries; in which to house people in danger of deportation.  This sanctuary movement began in the early 1980s to provide safe-havens for Central American refugees fleeing civil armed conflicts.  Obtaining refugee status and asylum in the U.S. was difficult.  

Some 500 congregations joined the sanctuary movement to shelter people; based on the medieval laws which protected church building against soldiers.  Other congregations used the image of the Underground Railroad which protected runaway slaves prior to the Civil War.

religious sanctuary

Photo by Tungsten Rising on Unsplash.

 

Woody Guthrie would no doubt lend his singing voice.

There is now a new sanctuary movement started in the Age of Trump, focused on the protection of undocumented families from the newly created police of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Woody Guthrie would no doubt lend his singing voice to help those in danger of deportation; as he did for the farmers and workers of the 1930s.

You can also read Rene Wadlow’s: Woody Guthrie: Dust Bowl Blues and Revolt, HERE!.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace Education of World Citizenships.

International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.

photo by 995645 in Pixabay.

24 April; International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace was established by the U.N. General Assembly and first observed on 24 April 2019.

The resolution establishing the Day is in part a reaction to the “America First, America First” cry of the U.S. President Donald Trump; but other states are also following narrow nationalistic policies and economic protectionism.

The Day stresses the use of multilateral decision-making in achieving the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Yet as the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said:

“Multilaterism is not only a matter of confronting shared threats, it is about seizing common opportunities.”

António Guterres

The UN General Secretariat António Guterres (2019). By Cancillería Argentina, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

United Nations.

One hour after Trygve Lie arrived in New York as the first Secretary-General of the United Nations in March 1946; the Ambassador of Iran handed him the complaint of his country against the presence of Soviet troops in northern Iran. From that moment on; the U.N. has lived with constant conflict-resolution tasks to be accomplished. The isolated diplomatic conference of the past; like the Congress of Vienna in 1815 after the Napoleonic wars has been replaced by an organization continually at work on all its manifold problems. If the world is to move forward to a true world society; this can be done only through an organization such as the U.N; which is based on universality, continuity and comprehensiveness.

Today’s world society evolved from an earlier international structure based on states and their respective goals; often termed “the national interest”. This older system was based on the idea that there is an inevitable conflict among social groups: the class struggle for the Marxists; the balance of power for the Nationalists. Thus; negotiations among government representatives are a structured way of mitigating conflicts; but not a way of moving beyond conflict.

The U.N. Charter.

However; in the U.N. there is a structural tension between national sovereignty and effective international organization. In the measure that an international organization is effective; it is bound to impair the freedom of action of its members; and in the measure that the member states assert their freedom of action; they impair the effectiveness of the international organization. The U.N. Charter itself testifies to that unresolved tension by stressing on the one hand the “sovereign equality” of all member states and; on the other; assigning to the permanent five members of the Security Council a privileged position.

We the Peoples.

However; what was not foreseen in 1945; when the U.N. Charter was drafted was the increasing international role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). “We the Peoples” in whose name the United Nations Charter is established; are present in the activities of the U.N. through non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. NGOs have played a crucial role in awareness-building and in the creation of new programs in the fields of population, refugees and migrants, women and children, human rights and food. Now; there is a strong emphasis on the consequences of climate change; as the issue has moved beyond the reports of climate experts to broad and strong NGO actions.

This increase in the U.N. related non-governmental action arises out of the work and ideas of many people active in social movements: spiritual, ecological, human potential, feminist, and human rights. Many individuals saw that their activities had a world dimension; and that the United Nations and such Specialized Agencies as UNESCO provided avenues for action. Thus; as we mark the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace; we recognize that there is the growth, world wide, of a new spirit which is inclusive, creative and thus life-transforming.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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U.N General Assembly Role of Non-Governemental-Organizations.

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global…

Featured Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

27 Sep 2019 – The international relations specialist Stanley Hoffmann once quipped:

Goals are easy to describe. What matters more is a strategy for reaching them.” 

The United Nations through its annual debates in the General Assembly;  its special world conferences such as those devoted to the environment, population, food, women, urbanization, and within the Specialized Agencies have created goals for a world public policy in the interests of all humanity.  There are three important phases of this world public policy: formulation, implementation and evaluation.

Climate Action Summit.

Thus;  this September the UNGA began with a “Climate Action Summit” to evaluate governmental efforts to meet the challenges of climate change. Government leaders set out what they have done, or plan to do  at the national level; but they said relatively little on what they could do together.

The Climate Action Summit was followed by the policy statements of national governments: Jair Bolsonaro, Donald Trump, Recep Tajyip Erdogan, Emmanuel Macron, Hassan Rouhani, Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson, Narendra Modi and Abdel Fatth el-Sisi.    All except al Sisi came to national power through elections and not military coups.  Thus in some way;  they represent the degree of awareness of world issues and the priorities of their electors.

The question asked many years ago by the world citizen Norman Cousins.

UN General Assembly

President Trump Addresses Journalists at the UN General Assembly. By U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

“Who Speaks for Man”?

To meet the major challenges of world-wide issues;  strong leadership is necessary.  Yet the avenues for leadership at the world level are difficult to trace.  Leadership at the national level is usually clearly structured in a pyramid; with the office of President at the top;  with Cabinet Ministers; the higher ranks of the military just below. 

There may be a vast informal network of influential advisors; business leaders, the press – all with leadership roles; but the formal structure of governance is hierarchical and clearly defined.   People generally expect the Prime Minister or the President to lead.  In fact; he is judged on whether or not he provides such leadership.

At the world level; there is no world government as such, and a strong leader at the national level may play little role on the world level.  What the Commission on Global Governance wrote in 1994 remains true today:

At the moment;  political caution, national concerns, short-term problems, and a certain fatigue with international causes have combined to produce a dearth of leadership on major international issues.  The very magnitude of global problems such as poverty; population or consumerism seems to have daunted potential international leaders.  And yet without courageous; long-term leadership at every level – international and national – it is impossible to create and sustain constituencies powerful and reliable enough to make an impact on problems that will determine; one way or another;  the future of the human race on this planet.”  (1)

The United Nations is the only universal organization at the world level…

Thus;  there is a need for constant leadership and direction at the world level.  There is a need to maintain and rebuild enthusiasm;  to reset the course when policies do not work out as expected;  to keep up a momentum and an enthusiasm.  The United Nations is the only universal organization at the world level;  and thus it is from within the United Nations that leadership at the world level must come.  Leaders within the U.N. system must be able to reach beyond the member governments – at times over the heads of current government office holders – to the people of the world.

There are two positions of authority in the ill-defined pyramid structure of the United Nations.  One is the Secretary-General; the other is the President of the General Assembly;  who is elected for one year at a time.  The President of the current;  74th session is Tijjani Muhammed-Bande of Nigeria.  There have been times when the head of one of the Specialized Agencies of the U.N. or the financial institutions or U.N. programs have provided leadership;  but usually on only one or two subjects.

United Nations

Flag of the United Nations (Pantone). By We moved to 8.12, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
 
 

The Secretary-General for Leadership.

Especially on the resolution of armed conflicts;  people look to the Secretary-General for leadership.  In some cases;  the Secretary-General has been able to play a central role.  As the servant of the Security Council;  the Secretary-General has been able to play a mobilizing role in times of conflict;  and political crisis in those cases when the Security Council has been unified behind a decision.  Since the chairman of the Security Council is a national diplomat and serves on a rotating basis only for one month;  he cannot play a real mobilizing role nor is he perceived as a world leader.

Some hope that the President of the U.N. General Assembly; who is in post for a full year;  could play a leadership role.  So far such hopes have not been realized in practice. It would be difficult to find many people;  who can name the last five Presidents of the General Assembly;  or to cite much of what they have done other than presiding over meetings.

Today;  with real challenges to humanity;  with a reform-minded Secretary-General,  who for a decade faced refugee issues;  we may see some of the marks of strong world leadership.

Note:

1) The Commission on Global Governance. Our Global Neighbourhood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995)

René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC; the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.