Tag: <span>Thomas Mann</span>

Law of the Sea Appeals

Our Common Oceans and Seas.

Featured Picture: Photo by Alice Mourou on Unsplash.

The people of the earth having agreed that the advancement of man in spiritual excellence and physical welfare is the common goal of mankind…therefore the age of nations must end, and the era of humanity begin.”

Preamble to the Preliminary Draft of a World Constitution.

The Association of World Citizens has long been concerned with the Law of the Sea; and had been active during the 10-year negotiations; on the law of the sea during the 1970s; the meetings being held one month a year; alternatively in New York and Geneva. The world citizens position for the law of the sea was largely based on a

Three-point framework:

a) That the oceans and seas were the common heritage of humanity; and should be seen as a living symbol of the unity of humanity.

b) That ocean management should be regulated by world law created; as in as democratic manner as possible.

c) That the wealth of the oceans; considered as the common heritage of mankind should contain mechanisms of global redistribution; especially for the development of the poorest; a step toward a more just economic order; on land as well as at sea. 

The “Common Heritage”.

The concept of the oceans as the common heritage of humanity; had been introduced into the U.N. awareness; by a moving speech in the U.N. General Assembly by Arvid Pardo; Ambassador of Malta in November 1967. 

Under traditional international sea law; the resources of the oceans; except those within a narrow territorial sea near the coast line were regarded as “no one’s property” or more positively as “common property.”  The “no one’s property” opened the door to the exploitation of resources by the most powerful; and the most technologically advanced States.

The “common heritage” concept was put forward as a way of saying that “humanity” – at least as represented by the States in the U.N. – should have some say as to the way the resources of the oceans; and seas should be managed.  Thus, began the 1970s Law of the Seas negotiations. 

Arvid Pardo (2022). By User:MSacerdoti, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Elisabeth Mann Borgese.

Perhaps with or without the knowledge of Neptune; lord of the seas; the Maltese voted to change the political party in power; just as the sea negotiations began. Arvid Pardo was replaced as Ambassador to the U.N; by a man; who had neither the vision nor the diplomatic skills of Pardo.  Thus; during the 10 years of negotiations the “common heritage” flame was carried by world citizens; in large part by Elisabeth Mann Borgese; with whom I worked closely during the Geneva sessions of the negotiations. 

Elisabeth Mann Borgese  (1918-2002) whose birth anniversary we mark on 24 April; was a strong-willed woman.  She had to come out from under the shadow of both her father, Thomas Mann; the German writer and Nobel laureate for Literature; and her husband Giuseppe Antonio Borgese (1882-1952); Italian literary critic and political analyst. 

Frankreich, Bandol: Menschen; Elisabeth Mann (1936). By Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Thomas Mann.

From 1938; Thomas Mann lived in Princeton, New Jersey and gave occasional lectures at Princeton University. Thomas Mann; whose novel The Magic Mountain was one of the monuments of world literature between the two World Wars; always felt that he represented the best of German culture against the uncultured mass of the Nazis.  He took himself and his role very seriously; and his family existed basically to facilitate his thinking and writing.

Thomas Mann Picture: Nobel Foundation, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese had a regular professor’s post at the University of Chicago; but often lectured at other universities on the evils of Mussolini.  Borgese; who had been a leading literary critic and university professor in Milan; left Italy for the United States in 1931; when Mussolini announced that an oath of allegiance to the Fascist State; would be required of all Italian professors.

For Borgese; with a vast culture including the classic Greeks, the Renaissance Italians, and the 19th century nationalist writers; Mussolini was an evil caricature; which too few Americans recognized as a destructive force in his own right; and not just as the fifth wheel of Hitler’s armed car.  

The Age of Nations.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese met Elisabeth Mann on a lecture tour at Princeton, and despite being close to Thomas Mann in age; the couple married very quickly shortly after their  meeting. Elisabeth moved to the University of Chicago; and was soon caught up in Borgese’s efforts to help the transition from the Age of Nations to the Age of Humanity.

For Borgese; the world was in a watershed period. The Age of Nations − with its nationalism  which could be a liberating force in the 19th century as with the unification of Italy − had come to a close with the First World War.

The war clearly showed that nationalism was from then on only the symbol of death. However, the Age of Humanity; which was the next step in human evolution; had not yet come into being; in part because too many people were still caught in the shadow play of the Age of Nations.

A World Constitution for The Atomic Age.

Since University of Chicago scientists had played an important role in the coming of the Atomic Age; Giuseppe Antonio Borgese and Richard McKeon; Dean of the University felt that the University should take a major role in drafting; a world constitution for the Atomic Age.

Thus; the Committee to Frame a World Constitution; an interdisciplinary committee under the leadership of Robert Hutchins; head of the University of Chicago, was created in 1946. To re-capture the hopes and fears of the 1946-1948; period when the World Constitutions was being written; it is useful to read the book written by one of the members of the drafting team: Rexford Tugwell. A Chronicle of Jeopardy (University of Chicago Press, 1955). The book is Rex Tugwell’s reflections on the years 1946-1954; written each year in August to mark the A-bombing of Hiroshima.

Elisabeth had become the secretary of the Committee and the editor of its journal Common Cause.   The last issue of Common Cause was in June 1951. G.A. Borgese published a commentary on the Constitution; dealing especially with his ideas on the nature of justice. It was the last thing he wrote; and the book was published shortly after his death: G.A.Borgese. Foundations of the World Republic (University of Chicago Press, 1953).

In 1950; the Korean War started. Hope for a radical transformation of the UN faded.  Borgese and his wife went to live in Florence; where weary and disappointed, he died in 1952.

A Constitution for the World.

The drafters of the World Constitution went on to other tasks.  Robert Hutchins left the University of Chicago to head a “think tank”- Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions – taking some of the drafters; including Elisabeth, with him. She edited a booklet on the Preliminary Draft with a useful introduction A Constitution for the World (1965) However; much of the energy of the Center went into the protection of freedom of thought and expression in the USA; at the time under attack by the primitive anti-communism of then Senator Joe McCarthy.

In the mid-1950s; from world federalists and world citizens came various proposals for UN control of areas not under national control: UN control of the High Seas and the Waterways; especially after the 1956 Suez Canal conflict; and of Outer Space. A good overview of these proposals is contained in James A.  Joyce. Revolution on East River (New York: Ablard-Schuman, 1956).

Law of the Sea.

 After the 1967 proposal of Arvid Pardo; Elisabeth Mann Borgese  turned her attention and energy to the law of the sea. As the UN Law of the Sea Conference continued through the 1970s;   Elisabeth was active in seminars and conferences with the delegates, presenting ideas, showing that a strong treaty on the law of the sea would be a big step forward for humanity.

Many of the issues raised during the negotiations leading to the Convention; especially the concept of the Exclusive Economic Zone; actively battled by Elisabeth; but actively championed by Ambassador Alan Beesley of Canada; are with us today in the China seas tensions.

While the resulting Convention of the Law of the Sea has not revolutionized world politics – as some of us  hoped in the early 1970s – the Convention is an important building block in the development of world law.

We are grateful for the values; and the energy that Elisabeth Mann Borgese embodied especialy at a time; when cooperative action through the United Nations is under attack by some narrow nationalist leaders. World Citizens are still pushing for the concept of the common heritage of humanity.

Arvid Pardo monument at the University of Malta. By Continentaleurope at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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Giuseppe Antonio Borgese Portraits of World Citizens.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese: Common Cause.

Featured Image: Giuseppe Antonio Borgese. Public Domain. By https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Antonio_Borgese#/media/File:G._A._Borgese.jpg

“The era of humanity has not begun, but the age of nations has ended. It ended in 1914 when the world wars began.  Hence, earth and sky be Commonwealth to all, that Man at last may raise must Nations fall.”

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese (1882 -1952) whose birth anniversary we note on 12 November, was an Italian-born professor of literature at the University of Chicago and a leading world citizen in the late 1940s.  In 1931, Borgese was a visiting professor at the University of California when Mussolini announced that an oath of allegiance to the Italian Fascist state would be  required of all Italian professors.  Borgese did not go back and wrote to Mussolini:

“My dwelling place can only be where it is permitted a writer to be truly a writer.” 

Borgese published “Goliath: The March of Fascism” (1937) when few in the United States were following political events in Italy.  He developed further his views as the Second  World War developed in “Common Cause.” (1)

In 1939 he married Elizabeth Mann, youngest daughter of the German writer Thomas Mann, who was living in exile in Princeton, New Jersey. In the mid-1970s, I knew Elizabeth Mann Borgese, who had become a specialist on law of the sea issues.

Thomas Mann

 Thomas Mann, Nobel laureate in Literature 1929. By Nobel Foundation, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

G.A. Borgese was a leading member of the University of Chicago-based Committee to Frame a World Constitution which wrote the “Preliminary Draft of a World Constitution” (1948) (2)  As Borgese wrote: 

“The popular assumption that the present movement toward world unity originates essentially in the technological revolution as applied to ‘ weapons of mass destruction ‘ is a fallacy derived from the superstition of our time, which is the adoration of the tool, the cult of the material causes.  Techniques and tools are the product of spiritual evolution which in successive waves of reactions and actions they become contributing factors.  They are not the first causes.  It was not the Legion that made Rome, not the phalanx that built Macedonia, but conversely.  For the age of nations, after a span of six centuries was as good as dead for reasons far deeper and more complex than any technological change, in 1914 – when uranium was quietly number 92 on the periodic table, and plutonium was nothing and nowhere.”

For Giuseppe Antonio Borgese, we need to change the way we think of ourselves and each other, not as members of separate nations but as citizens of one planet with justice as a core value.  Justice is a timeless and universal idea whose historical appearances and demands are variously and progressively determined by the various configurations of the ages.  At a time when there is injustice in many parts of the world, it is useful to recall the vital efforts of Giuseppe Antonio Borgese.

 

Notes.

1) G.A. Borgese. Common Cause (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1943)
2) G.A. Borgese. The Foundations of the World Republic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953)

 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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

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Jacques Maritain Portraits of World Citizens.

Jacques Maritain: World Citizen Philosopher.

Featured Image: Jacques Maritain, French philosopher and writer. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

By René Wadlow.

Jacques Maritain (18 November 1882 -23 April 1973);  was a French intellectual who spent the years of World War Two in Princeton in the USA. He was a friend of the anti-Nazi German author Thomas Mann;  who also lived in Princeton. Both men were among the active advocates of world citizenship. When Thomas Mann’s daughter, Elizabeth Mann Borgese, was editing the world citizen journal Common Cause from the University of Chicago in the 1947-1950 period; Jacques Maritain wrote a number of articles for the journal along the lines of his thinking set out in his Man and the State.

Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann. By Carl Van Vechten, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

At the time that he was writing for Common Cause, he was the Ambassador of France to the Vatican, having been named ambassador by Charles De Gaulle from 1945 to 1948. Maritain had supported De Gaulle during the war when many French Catholics had sided with the Vichy government or were silent.

 

Jacques Maritain had become a well-known French intellectual in the 1930s for his writings on a wide range of topics but always in a spirit of spirituality in the Roman Catholic tradition. However, he was born into a Protestant family with anticlerical views which were common at the start of the Third Republic in the 1870s.

Maritain was converted to the Roman Catholic faith in his early twenties after a period of depression linked to his search for the meaning of life. He had married young to his wife Raissa, who came from a Jewish Ukrainian family who had come to France due to a persistent anti-Jewish atmosphere in Ukraine. Both Jacques and Raissa converted to the Roman Catholic faith at the same time as a result of intense discussions between the two.

Raissa became well known in her own right as a poet and writer on mystical spirituality, but she also always worked closely on the writings of her husband. Their spiritual Catholicism was always colored by their early friendship with unorthodox Catholic thinkers, in particular Charles Péguy and Leon Bloy. After Raissa’s death in 1960, Jacques Maritain moved back to France from Princeton to live in a monastic community for the last 12 years of his life.

His writing on the spiritual background for creative actions for the benefit of the world community can be an inspiration to us all.

 

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

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

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