On the Historical Context
Understanding the History of a Long Struggle
Because of the way it is taught in most national curricula; history is a relatively boring subject which the vast majority of people would avoid. A memorization ritual of nationalist trivia. It solidifies some basic dates and concepts, some major wars and helps you imagine an identity.
History, the past is always open for interpretation. In many ways, lacking video and audio recordings, lacking multiple reliable witnesses, we have to trust one or two or three narrators to inform us. Compare those records with excavations, carbon dated digs.
History, helps us create a narrative. It draws us into a larger picture, a legacy of cumulative human action.
‘The past is controlled by the needs of the present which then shapes the future’, that is a re-arrangement of an old 1984 George Orwell quote. To that end we must be realistic with what has happened in history, what we can accept as a valid truth, what is a half truth and what is mythology.
Abdullah Ocalan draws us into a history of civilization through realization that we have three over lapping paradigms; we have positivist science, we have religion and we have mythology. The immediate past, the history of modernity is around 350 year old; it is only in this time that records and narrative can be compared; that scientific means can be utilized to verify truth. But before scientific method, and certainly the ability of nearly every human to record, film, photo and transmit every moment of waking life from the smart phone; well; there was religion.
So when men claimed the voice of a God-head spoke to them in the wastelands; it was taken for granted. It was not medicated or called “mental illness”. Religion was of course a mixture of the mystical and the practical needs of politics; and certainly in the cases of Islam and Christianity; anti-system movements became twisted into the imperial creeds unimaginable to their founding prophets. The era of Religious truth extends back to Abraham, Zoroaster, Krishna and Buddha. Before there was religion as such, there was mythology and magic a world where the spirits, the Gods and all kinds of natural magic all existed.
History today is a great deal of unknown unknowns; there is great deal of speculation involved in studying it. We know it was very bloody, we know that for most of human kind life was “nasty, brutal and short”. You were born, you worked very hard or were worked very had, then came death. That is not very different than the lot of the vast majority of people alive today.
After the 1989 defeat of the Soviet Union a triumphant capitalist historian declared the “end of history”, but perhaps that was premature and unfounded. History is long story. A story that has no real objective interpretation, except perhaps in modern times thanks to technology; but is still easily manipulated. Until some time in the 18th century we were told to rely on one or two official narrative, generally commissioned by the winners of a grand struggle or war. Until the last 100 years the majority of people could not even read or write.
In many ways, 1989 marked the beginning of history not the end. One of the lasting things Retrograde Socialism certainly accomplished was extending literacy to million of people world wide.
History is bloody and unknowable, going back to Foucault it is almost like before the 17th century it did not even happen with great record or clarity. We know about large migrations and events often by one source or two. But we are highly aware that history is a history of struggle. A minority and their army attempting to to repress and exploit. A majority accepting that state until another minority leads it to rebellion. So as Karl Marx stated; “the history of all prior civilization is a history of class struggle.”
The Ceaseless Struggle
For all of human existence or as long as dominant and repressive state systems have asserted their hegemony over the lives of women and men; there has been ceaseless resistance.
When in 1500 Common Era a world system began consolidation and there emerged a distinct division of the world’s territories into hegemon Core Nations, Semi-peripheral powers and Peripheral subject populations the violence accelerated markedly. This was facilitated initially by ethno-nationalism, accelerated by religion and made systematic via colonization. Humans were then divided into economic harvest zones called “Nation States”.
Arbitrary and divisive castes called classes hardened around powerful families and the consolidated wealth of political and priestly factions. Religious orders, ethnic national-isms, and imagined ethnic or racial identities were socialized upon humanity to accept the divisions necessary to divide the human species to more easily control us. The most distinctive of this constructed division was that between men and women as an entire half of the species by gender was subjugated to domestic labor, rape and general subservient exploitation. There had since time of the Sumerians been City States and expansionist imperialist empires. However, even the Romans, Islamic Caliphates, Chinese Dynasties and Mongol Hordes had been unable to completely conquer and impose an economic order on every human nation. The World System first under Spanish conquests of Latin America, then the Netherlands naval expansion, then Great Britain. It unleashed via the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade, wide spread colonialism and global worldwide warfare, a level of atrocity, endless slaughter and merciless colonial repression that had never previously been thought imaginable.
That World System supervised between 1492 and 1914 the collective murder and impoverishment of vast swaths of our common human people. Millions upon millions simply worked to death, extermination in endless war or perished from poverty and disease.
Continents were emptied of their inhabitants. Massacres and Genocides were carried out with centralized planning. Our people interpreted as the whole human race were divided and exploited systematically. In addition, the physical environment of the human biosphere was altered in a perhaps irreversible climate change. The religious orders worked to deny human belief in achievable equity in the world of the living. The political factions of Kings and Aristocrats consolidated wealth via their power and launched war without end. The merchants and robber barons devised an increasingly brutal framework for increasing profit no matter what the cost in life.
There had always been reactionary uprisings to throw off foreign yoke or check a particularly brutal ruling class. But for over 6,000 years from Babylon to the rise of the European World Empires; “the Resistance” was neither Universalized nor capable of taking and holding ground.
“The Resistance” began in intermittent a series of grisly failed revolts as reaction to brutal universal oppression. It is assumed that as long as there have been slaves and subjugation there was been reactionary resistance. Some of the largest and most notable revolts include the Israelite Slave Exodus from Egypt, the Kurdish Mede Confederation against the Assyrians, the Spartacus Slave rebellion against Rome, the Jewish Revolts against Rome between 60-137 CE, the Mohammedan Revolt and birth of Islam in 570 CE, and many varying small scale mostly unknowable uprisings. Many of these revolts were led by religiously motivated, self declared prophets. Almost all of them were defeated or subverted back to the dominant power relationship of the time. The for the most part were not driven by any ideological challenge to the order of their times, only a desperate bid for freedom.
By the 17th century two concurrent schools of though began to develop challenging and critiquing European Monarchy, the dominion of the Church, the rights of the aristocracy and merciless mercantile conquest and full exploitation of the non-white world.
These were the ideas of the “Enlightenment”, philosophers such as Voltaire, Locke, Roseau, Kant, Montesquieu which formed the ideological basis for constitutional government, secular rule and accountable state systems.
In 1775-1776 the United States of America became of the very first nation state to form a “Republic” around Enlightenment theories; though slavery was continued, women had no vote and the revolution became little more than a New World White Settler state.
In 1789 in France, a revolution began against King, Church and aristocracy. The Monarch was beheaded, the aristocracy killed of exiled and the Church property expropriated. A new constitution was enacted upholding “The Rights of Man”; women were given a vote and all slaves were emancipated.
Spreading immediately to the most exploited colonial subject population in the system at the time; St. Domingue (Haiti) a new form of uprising began.
It was wholly unique in that it sought to fully emancipate women, non-Europeans and slaves. It was unique in that in articulated a codified program of freedom, equality, comradeship and a new secular concept called “universal human rights”.
After series of dramatic interconnected struggles, rebellions and successful revolutions and insurgencies took place in nearly every population center on earth the emergence of revolutionary theory and framework took hold. After the bloody terror of Jacobin France and Napoleon subsided and the Haitians were completely quarantined in 1804. The revolutionary movement found its next phase when Simon Bolivar invaded Latin America with Haitian soldiers and arms in 1806. The Spanish were removed from the New World via Bolivar’s revolutionary armies and their new South American successor states. The cost of France’s many Revolutionary wars allowed the American purchase of Louisiana and the rise of America as the hegemon of the New World. Spain was slowly driven out of the Americas by combined Bolivarian and American wars. In 1861 France was fully driven out of Mexico. American and Cuban patriotic soldiers dislodged Spain from Cuban between 1895-1898.
In 1847 Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels codified an even more radical revolutionary theory called “Communism”. Their basic ideological critique was not limited to the structures of governance, but more specifically on the transformation of the “Mode of Production”.
The new, “left” wave of revolutionary activity was not only interest in seizing political power, it was obsessed with transforming the relationship of the individual worker to the means of production.
Although numerous “ideological tendencies/ justifications” emerged in the 19th and 20th century around Marxist theory; you could divide them into varying streams of reasoning on how fast the capitalist state, under what conditions can be transformed into a “a classless, stateless society.” Anarchist thinkers such as Bakunin, Proudhon and Goldman argued for an immediate rapid dismantling of all states, while Marxist-Leninist-Maoist tendencies focused on transformation of largely non-industrial feudal states into People’s Republics lead by Vanguard Parties.
The ideological tendency to form secular, two-Party Capitalist states is a product of Enlightenment Liberal and Conservative theory. The tendency to form secular one-party Vanguard Socialist states, most of which were toppled or became “State-Capitalist” by 1989 were a product of Left-Wing Revolutionist theory. No serious anarchist project survived this period except very, very briefly in Barcelona (1936) and Ukraine (1918).
Four major revolutionary theocratic Islamist regimes were established in Saudi Arabia (1932), Iran (1979), Afghanistan (1996) the Islamic State Rebellion in 2012. Only Saudi Arabia survives as Sunni Theocracy and the Islamic Republic of Iran as the sole Shiite State Theocracy, though it posses many Democratic elements.
In the past 300 years “Enlightenment” and “Left-Wing” revolts have manifested an increasingly bloody tendency toward revolutionary ideology and wide scale anti-system violence which has toppled governments all over the world. Only in the 20th century under the Russian and Chinese Communist Parties did as much as 1/3 of humanity break at least in concept from the Capitalist World System. In in Anarchism and Socialism of the 17th and 18th century the ideology of the left crystallized around a methodology of armed resistance to the nation state system. Unlike the staged economic development predicted by Marx and Engels; the so-called Communist Revolutions erupted not in advanced bourgeoisie societies like America, England and Germany; but instead in Feudal, agrarian peasant dominated Russia (1917) and China (1950). These two massive anti-capitalist experiments ultimately resulted in the the Retrograde “Socialist” &”Communist” World where Russian and Chinese revolutionizes developed Utopian social engineering which subsequently cost the lives of many millions to purges, population transfers, disastrous economic policy and out right democide.
“Retrograde” in that they applied the Marxist economic theory, by force to societies that had not achieved the three primary criteria Marx declared essential:
- Full Industrialization
- A Capitalist Bourgeoisie dominance of the System
- A developed Working Class Consciousness
In 1917 the Bolshevik Party toppled the Romanov Monarchy and the Soviet Union was born. Country after country became a battle field between these competing political and economic regimes of Capitalist Liberal Democracy, Fascism and varying incarnations of retrograde Socialism. At the height of this resistance effort which peaked in 1968 roughly one third of the world’s territory had been brought outside the control centers and intuitions of the world System at that time lead by the United States of America. But these revolutions were imperfect and highly bloody. Millions perished in the Third World War, called the Cold War via constant carnage of warfare and disastrous social programs. By 1986 the Communist Party of China effectively embraced State Capitalism. By 1989 the Soviet Union was defeated and crumbled into a vast mafia state empire. By 2001 virtually all of these uprisings had been defeated, corrupted or contained. The brief dawn of the Pax-American was ushered in in 1990 but largely defeated after the debacles of the “War on Terror” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Syria by 2020. Although with the rise of China, the United States will in time lose some of its hegemony to a multipolar world; the U.S.A. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (N.A.T.O)/ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (O.E.C.D.) Block remains the dominant economic/military force on the earth.
Most of the Retrograde Socialist regimes have collapsed and virtually all of the semi-peripheral powers now slowly rising (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will not immediately or effectively unite to contain American power, or are even slightly “Anti-Capitalist”.
During the 1945-1989 Third World War/Cold War virtually all non-aligned, post-colonial and revolutionary movements were defeated an/or tarnished their ideological credentials with failed social policy.
The only small exceptions holding physical territory are the “Communist” Republic of Cuba, which is in the process of liberalizing its economy slowly to varying degrees of state capitalism.
A small and and mostly isolated indigenous peasant uprising in Chiapas, Mexico called the Zapatista Movement, which is largely unarmed and contained. The Naxalite Maoist Movement in India has liberated a small area. The Kurdish guerrilla movement in Turkey, once Stalinist now “Democratic Confederalist”has been driven into mountainous North Iraq and Rojava, Syria has survived the Third War and maintained itself without devolution into criminal opportunism or unmitigated terrorism; the Kurdistan Worker Party (P.K.K.). This group has been designated a “terrorist organization” by both Turkey, Europe and the United States.
In every single other nation on earth the factions of the resistance were rooted out an exterminated, turned to indiscriminate terrorism, embraced capitalism or went underground. An entire generation of leadership had been liquidated in the Cold War. Rebel movements in the colonies (the Periphery) were mostly isolated (Haiti, Mexico, Tibet, Myanmar, and Palestine). Opposition political movements in the Semi-Periphery (Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Iraq and Syria) had largely devolved into dictatorship. And an entire generation growing up in the global Core and cities of privilege in the colonies were being taught that all opposition ideologies were manifest failures and the new epoch of Globalization would make war and poverty come to end.
However, as war continued and poverty appeared to expand to the majority of the human race there were few historic examples for the new generation of revolutionists and change makers to remember. But it was impossible for the spies and military’s of the Oligarchy to murder an idea. The idea that we as a species have been enslaved to a system that exploits us and pits us against each other in an endless of cycle of theft and murder. And whether the state system was dominated by factions committed to So-called “Democracy”, Retrograde Socialism “Free Market Capitalism”, Monarchy, a “Theocratic Order” or “Pure Totalitarian Dictatorship” the results were historically the same. A coercive nationalism, an economic caste system, and the hierarchy and corruptibility of power by the state system.
The idea sustained itself because of the violence and grievances generated by the administrative powers of the world system and the idealism of the youth. But with so few organized factions of the resistance remaining viable a dread set in among those who survived the Cold War existentially as well as philosophically. The idea of Universal Human Rights, equality and freedom was co-opted by the European powers who controlled the world by 1995; the gospel of the free market, democracy and technological innovations promised changes on the terms of the victors. The theories of the revolutionaries survived but with little proof that armed struggle could win. In fact, with the exception of the three hold outs, small underground discredited parties and several Islamic movements; most people lost hope. The opposition to the world system had taken the form of desecrated rouge states such as Libya, Iran and North Korea that were hardly models of the world anyone wished to live in. The oligarchs in America and Europe long planned to topple these last hold outs one by one.
The Cubans, the P.K.K. Militants in the mountains of northern Iraq, the Indian Naxalites and the Mexican Zapatista all dug in each now more focused on survival than any real expansion. In 2018 the allegedly Communist FARC in Colombia disarmed and were massacred in civilian clothing.
In the year 2000 a diffuse, evolving and highly decentralized movement emerged in the Cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and New York City. The central thesis of the young Palestinian, Israeli, Kurdish and American leaderships that formed and sustained this Clandestine Movement was:
Firstly; that the American Empire was a dangerous and expansive force in the world predatory to its own citizens and made rich off the backs of the rest of the world’s exploited subjects pursuing a sanitized version of the imperialism utilized to dominate the world’s non-white populations over 500 years.
Second, that armed struggle had largely failed expansively in the past 300 years to liberate humanity from exploitation if anything triggering generations of inter-communal bloodshed and atrocity.
Thirdly, that any revolution limiting itself to the nation state unit was destined to become isolated, easily quarantined and ultimately fail reduced in economic attrition and siege.
This movement that began, as many do, with young students has blossomed into a decentralized global network of seasoned organizers, embedded on all continents within unions, NGOs, political parties and social movements that we refer to today as “the Resistance”. A tiny part of a far larger trend in anti-system rebellion personified by far leftist ideology, Islamic radicalism, libertine survivalist discourse and of course globalized access to information.
Disconnected as the movement was from any of the surviving revolutionary societies that survived the Cold War ideas are part of a collective evolution of lived human experience. In 1999 as Cuba embraced medical internationalism to survive the special period and the Zapatistas attempted to take anarchist and indigenous theories into a modal for horizontal organization, as student movements and radicals attempted to formulate a strategy to counter the rising Globalization of capital; in Kurdistan the liberation movement lost its central founder Abdullah Ocalan to the security services of Turkey, Israel and Europe. Tortured and sentenced to death Ocalan was confined in isolation to a cell on Imrili Island.
It was here that a new synthesis of theoretical and practical currents emerged from his prison writings. As the whole world watched the Euro-American Pax American role out; Ocalan devised a new way to imagine the revolution and how to continue the fight. This theory which was embraced early the Kurdish Liberation movement officially in 2005 during their paradigm shift was the result of collective consciousness. “Democratic Confederalism” was to become the unifying thesis of the Kurdish Resistance as well as a movement in America and its Military Colony Israel-Palestine that was a product of the brutal occupation of the Palestinians as much as the many sub-tern ethnic classes of Israel and an underground in the United States.
This is not to assume that this faction was alone in arriving at these ideas or that far before and long after others would not come to them on their own. This is simply a book, subject to amendment and evolution, that will attempt to identify the principles of one small band of partisans and activists who struggled independently of the P.K.K. and only in 2015 embraced the majority of Abdullah Ocalan’s theoretical framework officially after the Revolution in Rojava in 2011. Unique in that they emerged from the Empire’s richest principle city and its outermost military colony base; occupied Israel and Palestine.
Unique in proof that the ideas of Democratic Confederalism formed by Murray Bookchin in his Social Ecology and Communalism writings, articulated and implemented by the Kurdistan Workers Party are to be the organic framework of resistance in the 21st century and the rallying point for the victory of all long oppressed people’s outside the state system.
This has been written for all those progressives, leftists, ethnic nationalists and Islamic resistance questioning the particular-ism of the Kurdish Revolution. It has more importantly been written for the non-politicized youth which are the future and a statement on behalf of those of us in the movement who believe in our victory over the manifest evils of human life under the World System.
The story of the Kurdish liberation movement and the armed struggle of the P.K.K. which began in 1984 will of course be addressed and discussed, and is the inspiration ideologically speaking but certainly not the primary subject of this manuscript.
A GREAT CRIME
“What if a crime of enormous magnitude was being carried out in the most sanctimonious and white washed paradigm imaginable?”
Perhaps in the name of “Social Justice”, gender equity, human rights and democracy. A great and unnatural pillage of humanity and planetary resources being carried out as a civilizing, modernizing mission. Preceding at such an alarming rate that 5 in 7 of all humans were as of 2020ce reduced to varying degrees of miserable serfdom and the climate itself was being altered, rendering the ecosystem hostile to life. What if an international web of small clustered elites were via their accumulation of wealth concentrated in several developed nations. And these elites we able to not only shape the dominant socio-political discourse; they were able to carry out their expropriation by calling it “development.”
The Development Enterprise as we understand it began after the Second World War with the 1948 implementation of the Marshal Plan. The intention of this far-reaching U.S. Aid investment was to keep war-ravaged Western Europe from being absorbed into the Soviet sphere. Development subsequently evolved into a far more expansive international architecture. Its newly stated intention within the Cold War context was to modernize & industrialize the former colonial, third world and later the Post-Soviet nations. Packages of civilian and military aid were coupled with technical assistance. Non-governmental organizations proliferated generally around poverty alleviation and cause specific programs. The United Nations ratified a wide range of human rights instruments as rapidly escalating armed conflicts accelerated in almost every nation in the developing world.
By 2020, there have been 19 confirmed acts of Genocide by International Law since 1945, 37 total if you include acts of democide (Rummel, 1998).
Environmental degradation has resulted in expanding disastrous climate change (Nordhaus, 2013).
There are over three billion human beings living at or below $2.50 a family a day that are worth as much in their collective assets as the top 83 richest people on earth (Oxfam, 2014).
It is believed that over 29.8 million people still live in chattel slavery (Global Slavery Index, 2013). That number might expand tenfold were we to incorporate low paid, race to the bottom type assembly plants and bonded labor. That number is larger than at any period in known history.
While the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals have supposedly ‘halved global extreme poverty’, ‘doubled human access to clean water’ and ‘halted new infection with HIV-AIDS’ divested of all the many political, economic and religious superstructures the results of the development enterprise are highly underwhelming. Largely unmeasured, unaccountable and top down in implementation; if not an outright architecture to maintain former colonial relationships between states referred to as dependencies (Rist, 2002); development lacks to a growing body of humanity whatever moral imperative it once enjoyed.
Development today is a highly subjective and amorphous field that lacks measurement or even an agreed to verifiable definition (Rist, 2007).
Within the ranks of this vast and ambitious undertaking are bright eyed idealists; ego maniacs; missionaries, spies; colonialists, national patriots and aspiring revolutionaries. Economic opportunists are everywhere. As well as wolves in sheep’s clothing who in pursuit of bare national & self-interest leave not a scrap for the future. This global enterprise of unprecedented scale relies upon various competing theories of change and remedy, constantly in antagonism. That the needs of the present generation do not outstrip the prosperity or availability of future generation’s needs; juxtaposed to a Kuznets Curve positing that rising inequality precedes equity. Concentration on Sen’s maximization of agency & capability; or breaking physical and mental dependency via Paulo Freire’s pedagogy of the oppressed. Does one glorify the United Nations and multilateral big-push theory and Sachs’ Millennium Villages or endorse Easterly’s social entrepreneurial searchers and the Monterrey Consensus. Does the future look to John Smith via ‘Free Market Fundamentalism’ or to the ghost of Karl Marx? Human Rights or human needs; the ‘ease of doing business’ or the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. Capacity or capability? Do developing nations borrow from the World Bank or B.R.I.C.S.; is the worldview of the practitioners shaped by World Economic Forum or World Social Forum. Where do we ultimately place priority and resource mobilization; within the social, the economic or environmental sphere? Does work actually set people free? No one knows, or can know, the answer to any of those questions. Largely due to a total lack of objective and transparent data.
We must refuse to accept the validity of government statistics being produced by governments that cannot meet the most basic social services such as feeding, housing and providing health care and education for their people.
We must also reject systems of Monitoring & Evaluating any data that are carried out by the same institutions that the data reflects performance upon.
The World Bank in 2001 conducted a massive participatory study of poverty where tens of thousands of people living below $1.25 a day were asked what could be done. When the UNDP in 2014 asked similar questions to over 1 million people about the ‘world they wanted’ it was still obvious; the interests of the powerful few, the narrow interests of the oligarchic elites persist in smothering the voices of the poor, silencing all calls for change and imposing upon us all the vision of acceptable development, modernization and social progress (Piketty, 2014).
Underlying all this chaos and urgency is the objective reality that over 4 billion human beings are living in varying degrees of wretched deprivation, dying miserably before their time (World Bank Data/UNDP 2015). There is a very harmful dual untruth being perpetuated by majoritarian development actors in the United States and Europe. It is based on a Dual Illusion that has been furthered by big media apparatuses and financed by the corporate, business & banking sectors which also fund the various political parties in high office with direct bribes, indirect bribes and campaign financing.
Later we will introduce a cruel and insidious “Dual Illusion”; part and parcel is the dual un-truth contained implicitly.
- The first part of this great un-truth is that human progress is a proven fact upon the ground; that the world is gradually getting freer, safer and more equitable; exemplified by indicators such as trade statistics, GDP and the Millennium Development Goals. This is the world view offered by TED Talks pundits, the Neoliberal theories of economist Jeffrey Sachs and revisionist academics such exemplified Steven Pinker. That poverty is ending and violence is ever decreasing.
- The second part of the untruth is that capitalism and globalization are the drivers of this equitable progress and that market forces are ultimately good for the poor. The so-called ‘hard data’ that we have on hand does not well substantiate either highly muddy illusion. Both of which are paradigm hallmarks of a North Western development consensus which has for too long been operating unaccountable to all those it claims to serve, while attempting to maintain a monopoly on development and its discourse. We cannot reasonably prove in a scientific and objective way that Walt Rostow’s “Modernization Theory” is actually even occurring. We cannot prove that global violence, war and conflict is markedly decreased from in-established, and largely un-kept statistical base lines from all the ages before 1848 (most of world history); and most importantly; we are being intellectually coerced (and coddled) by Western academics, politicians and economists to embrace a growth-obsessed, econometric free market fundamentalism simply on the basis of the competing ideologies battle field defeat.
The famines, gulags, atrocities and repressions used to chronicle the civil warfare transitions from backwards feudal and peasant societies to 20th century socialist incarnations are direct exacerbation of top down socioeconomic transformations in a state of perpetual cold and hot proxy war with the Western capitalist system.
Russia and China have without a doubt gone in the course of less than one hundred years from being defeated, long victimized semi-feudal peripheral powers to super power hegemons and serious core contenders (Wallerstein, 2004)(Amin, 2006). But the human cost was hundreds of millions of lives.
There can be no clear and absolute measurement of the data being generated to verify progress in the Human condition despite what various experts attempt to claim. The numbers on hand at the United Nations and World Bank are supplied by statistical ministries in a variety of highly non-transparent [if not overtly corrupt and incompetent] national governments aggregated to produce results that do not tell full or even partial truths.
Despite what is being claimed at global conferences; we do not actually have much valid comparative data on the human condition before 1848 (Foucault, 1988).
At the 2013 Interaction Forum, the broadest confederation of American development NGOs and Humanitarian actors, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres admitted, “We are not entirely prepared”. More conflicts, deeply entrenched poverty, coupled with the targeting of aid workers will occur alongside decreases in funds and the impacts of global climate change. Yet, across the western development enterprise, almost all of the Western and white-washed academia and technocracy seem to agree that the very worst of human civilization is behind us (Pinker, 2013).
Climate change and gender equity are to subsume talk of structural human rights achievement and class warfare as the acceptable development discourse.
There still is massive disagreement regarding the hierarchy of immediate needs for those 5 billion human souls that live on less than USD 10 a day; 4 billion at below $4 per family per day. 3 billion of which live on less than USD 2.50 a day; and 1.2 billion on less than USD 1.25 the number of which living in Sub-Saharan Africa which may in fact have in the last decade doubled (World Bank, 2015). The economist Thomas Piketty argues in his 2014 book Capital in the 21st Century that not only has there never been such wealth & income inequality ever in recorded history; but that at present rates oligarchic wealth accumulations are increasing and ultimately highly destabilizing to both markets and democracy.
The question remains one of enlisting actual participation and empowerment, not governance. Will listening to the ‘voices of the poor’ be a meaningless slogan or a set of specific instructions to those invested in actually achieving equality? Will development amount to economic enrichment of existing elites, corrupt governments and be the political aid carrot to the military stick; or will development mean emancipation from poverty and a tool kit to achieve freedom from long running structural violence (Goulet, 1971).
Development economist Amyarta Sen believes that development is a means to achieve freedom and freedom is achieved by enabling human capability. Jeffery Sachs believes poverty can be eliminated though coordinated action via a big push style global Marshal Plan. Banerjee & Duflo argue that not until randomized control trials drive interventions are we truly transparent and accountable. Many denounce development itself as a neo-colonialist scheme (Amir, 1973) and regardless of your political tendency one must admit the same actors of the North West dominate. OECD countries are theoretically bound to be giving 0.7% of GDP in direct foreign aid, to be matched by 0.3% via private sector charitable giving. However all rich, high HDI nations seem to prefer the 2002 Monterrey Consensus; to invest in trade related infrastructure. A regular buzzword in the enterprise is ‘Capacity building’, but this is often limited to technocracy and management training going directly to the government/public sector. Throughout the development and humanitarian sector coordination is irregular, local participation is largely dictated top down, and dependency is fostered beholden to national political directives, or just simple failure to meaningfully empower the so-called beneficiaries.
Development cannot easily be grouped by proponent origin geography, but a grouping of tendencies in methodology can be identified from their sources. It is important to remember that Development is not purely about donor and beneficiary nations; there is a clear linkage between internal national developments of a governments own population and external projection of its development paradigm. Development fosters dependency inherently; citizens dependent on government services and developing nations dependent on developed ones; their economies wide open their resources and cheap labor reserves ripe for picking.
There has emerged in the developing world a variety of effective means to break that dependency and unleash the human capability Amyarta Sen was referring to Southern Development (Bangladesh, India, Cuba and Tanzania) is often categorized by utilization of micro-finance as credit base for social programs, encouraging self-reliance, directing investment internally and promoting massive capacity investment via vocational training in vital services. In the experience of Eastern Development (emanating from Russia, China, Israel and Iran); development focuses on construction of fixed infrastructure, long term investment in education & health, large scale/ long term cultivation of local leadership capacity and highly replicatable localized mass training.
As opposed to Northern Development (Advanced Welfare States) largely concerned and successful with their own citizens development; and “Western Development” (emanating from the European Union and the United States via the OECD) that focuses predominantly on excess asset dumping, promoting market deregulation and free trade policy, augmenting perceived comparative advantage, supporting widespread privatization; and in the era of Gates philanthropy pushing disease surveillance, availability of inexpensive pharmaceuticals, women’s literacy [and inclusion in the work force] as well as advancing shallow policy changes in socio-political culture and asserting entrepreneurship when and where ever it can be advanced.
Within local Non-Governmental Organizations (N.G.O.s), Social Movement Organizations (S.M.O.s), trade unions, religious intuitions/ foundations and Community Based Organizations (C.B.Os) of the so-called Global South, but in actuality economic dependent periphery; maximized human resources are often the primary asset they have to work with. Cut off from mega donors, domestically or abroad and often from services typically provided by government; innovation has been the key to community survival, which has superseded international external development strategies rarely aligned with political realities. A result of that innovation is the understanding that development is best implemented through indigenous knowledge, through local control of the means of development; and through investments in skills and training called “Mass Capacity Development” (MCD).
Our movement is being driven by development programs initiated in the Global South/Periphery, but the theoretical construct is Eastern in origin (Rist, 2011). The world is divided into 216 economic, quasi-national zones. While it would be largely accurate to state that the core of the world system lies in the global North and West; it would be wildly inaccurate to think this is a static reality. There are multipolar challenges coming from the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation and India. There are a myriad of shifting paradigms in development methodology.
Particularly those activities occurring in Cuba, Bangladesh, but also in New York, India, Israel and Iran. While this may seem a highly irregular data set the following findings are emerging that will revolutionize the system of Development Capacity Building. To transform the enterprise completely from one, which focuses on barely meeting human needs to one that generates human rights achievement via mass capacity.
From Communist Cuba we have seen some of the largest medical deployments in human history; an estimated 65,000 medical workers and comparable number of teachers and construction workers (Feinsilver, 1993). A full 40-60% of Cuba’s GDP is generated providing health care, education and construction of infrastructure to the developing world. Its population is 99% literate and has better health indicators than the United States.
Bangladesh has facilitated the birth of the world’s largest N.G.O. BRAC. Over 105,281 people (BRAC, 2020) employed in a massive hybrid system that cover 70-80% of its own operational needs though social industries. That runs major businesses, micro creditors, schools, health services and paraprofessional training.
The Acumen Fund in New York has set up over 82 major social enterprises in the global south through their implementation of patient capital.
Israel has developed sophisticated training systems in health and agriculture to generate functional cohorts. Its state formation itself was a demonstration of parallel state development. Introducing from abroad the piecemeal part of an unrecognized or supported state.
Iran has made incredible progress through an innovative system of community health workers called the Behvarzan; it has also demonstrated via Hezbollah in Lebanon its ability to rapidly introduce Para–State functionality and security in a war zone.
Beginning in 2008 India via the Indian Skills Development Corporation has set out to provide vocational training to millions of it is citizens via a vast public-private partnership.
The true “economic miracles” of the last twenty years were not those countries which followed the advice of Washington Consensus; they were not the captive Asian Tigers; they were China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Ethiopia who generally ignored the basic elements of the Washington Consensus completely (Rodrik, 2002).
There should be no mistake that development is highly complex, perhaps the most ambitious undertaking of human civilization; an organized and sustained campaign to alleviate massive human suffering and injustice. However, whether we in the North West wish to admit it or not; most of the leading causes of underdevelopment were & are the direct result of social, military and economic polices initiated by developed nation governments (Blum, 2003).
We must operate in the realm of Realpolitik, but we must also draw definitive lines between what is in the interests of the long suffering masses of humanity verses what is done in our own so-called national interests, to secure the lifestyles and wants of the developed world at the expense of the majority of the species. Mass Capacity Development is not adversarial. It does not pit nation against nation or posit a new Utopian political order. Instead, modular vocational development is the great leveler that allows all who are willing to engage in productive social enterprises to have doors open to their advancement. It places development back in the hands of the community while engaging the recommendation that development and aid are best directed not at state systems but towards striving masses yearning to acquire a means to fish. Dependency is not broken with a ‘leaky begging bowl’ but with the skills and training to invest in ones future (Escobar, 1995).
The Development Enterprise has regularly circumvented the local populations of the developing world by focusing aid into the opportunistic private sector, often corrupt public sector or via foreign dominated and culturally hostile N.G.O.s. Development too often ignores the capacity of local people and focuses on the capacity of increasingly Failing States (Collier, 2007).
Throughout the history of development since 1948 the politics, economic needs and priorities of the North West have not only shaped the way we are taught to view human progress, but also tethered more than half the human race to the most wretched and deplorable living conditions imaginable.
The concept of Multi-disciplinary vocational/ technical paraprofessional training coupled with the formation of civil service enterprises (CSE) is seemingly anathema to North-Western development, but remains at the fore front of South-Eastern/ South-South development exemplified by Russia, Cuba, Israel, Iran, Bangladesh and the People’s Republic of China. Responsible elements within the global development enterprise must become not only “accountable to those they serve” but work actively to break all forms of foreign dependency; especially in this a new era of unstable Multipolarity.
The future of development must assume a marked departure from the imperatives of the former colonial powers as well as those emerging hegemons that are effecting core shift from ‘West to Rest’ via the BRICS. The gross human rights violations and structural injustices that have been perpetrated via the world system have resulted in 3.5 billion humans living below $3 per day, 45 active low, medium and high intensity armed conflicts (Kaldor, 1999) (Uppsala, 2015), vast deterioration of our climate via CO2 emission and unprecedented wealth concentrating the worth of half the human race in the hands of just 83 individuals (Oxfam, 2015). The perversity of this reality bears it being repeated.
This thesis via its interpretation of several eastern theoretical frameworks; organizational case studies and direct RCT field implementation of the suggested approach recommends that the blue print to emancipatory development via human rights and justice lies no longer in hands of the North-Western powers that have for 500 years demonstrated both their tendencies toward proliferation of both conflict and exploitation (Wallerstein, 1974). Nor does it fall evenly into the three sectors (private, public and NGO) that so far have failed to meaningfully deliver development to more than half of the species.
The micro-problem is the wholesale refusal to admit ‘development as a political act’, the inverse of interstate warfare. A system of theory, technology and praxis carried out upon a targeted population group. The macro-problem is that those that designed the architecture of the development enterprise had no intention of relinquishing their power differentials or their own hyper-development.
We will build upon these Eastern and Southern case studies and demonstrated praxis to outline a bold new methodology of development called “Mass Capacity Approach (MCA)”. We will then illustrate the applicability of this modal for proliferation in all four sectors of the enterprise. It will draw on historic as well as contemporary examples to demonstrate the validity of development efforts to achieve equitable societies and human rights security through “Parallel State Theory (PST)”; the demonstrated development paradigm that allows communities to fully control the terms, planning and implementation of their own development. This transitional emancipatory development will be explained in line with Apoist/ Bookchin conceptual understanding of the Democratic Autonomy/ Municipal Confederalism found in the “theory of Democratic Confederalism”.
The solution to this series of overlapping, multidimensional problems which have yielded the contemporary tapestry of mass human rights violation is a massive investment in fourth sector human capacity via the trades and professions most needed to alleviate this highly systemic injustice. To wean humans off unnecessary dependency; political subservience to local elites often directly linked to the economic domination by foreigners.
ON SOCIAL MOVEMENT ORGANIZATIONS
Before our party adopted Democratic Confederalism formally at the 8th Congress in the Mountains of Western Massachusetts in 2015 the leadership explored and researched a wide range of the social movements and ideologies that came from the last several hundred years of the struggle.
Beginning in 2001 without any prolonged period of doctrinal satisfaction, we devoted our political education to examining what had come before us we were instilled early with the full magnitude of the undertaking to make a revolution in the United States and its colonies. Although it would take nearly 15 years to arrive at some degree of tactical and philosophical unity amid the cadre, moving between the texts of Anarchism, Socialism, Communism, Liberation Theology, Popular Nationalism and enlightenment thought we arrived over time and periodic Congresses a process to examine the actions and ideas of the revolutionary martyrs we admired and devise appropriate strategies to our own national context.
We would like to take this opportunity to summarize the primary tactical and philosophical lessons being drawn from our study of Social Movement Organizations (SMO).
It is vital to us as activists, revolutionaries, peace builders, development practitioners and humanitarian agents who view the Universal Human Rights as a mere baseline and hold the desire for real change coupled with full emancipation in our hearts; that we help dispel some mythologies and embrace a program fully in line with “Emancipatory Development”.
- Emancipatory Development is the collective tactical blueprint by which the masses render the sources of their dependency obsolete, the violence of their oppressors is neutralized and they emerge with full human capability as well as the agency to uplift their fellow humans. There are four primary tactical sets of an Emancipatory Development framework for mobilizing the resistance into a true movement for international liberation.
- First, are the “Mastery of Development Technologies”; the aspects and technocracy of infrastructure to both sustain life in austere environments but more importantly to achieve baseline control of the Maslow hierarchy of Needs.
- Second, post immediate needs of survival comes “Mass Capacity Modules”; this is didactic & practical expansion on lifesaving humanitarianism to begin cultivating vocation skills and livelihoods with dignity out of a recently oppressed, traumatized and impoverished populace.
- The third aspect, is “Militant Nonviolence or Peacefare”; the 198+ tactics codified by Gene Sharpe and the Albert Einstein Intuition coupled with every advance in non-lethal warfare coupled strategically to dislodge the iron heel of the oligarchy off our collective neck. That is to say, active and passive resistance maneuvers that refuse to take human life except in the case of legitimate self-defense.
- Fourth, “Democratic Autonomy via the Parallel State” which is the subject at the core of these pamphlets is the ongoing effort to break apart the global plantation system into communities of choice and free association. The implementation of stateless democracy and it correlated Democratic Confederalist governance structures. Not by smashing the existing state architecture or engaging the agents of repression in the forests, hills and streets, instead by taking responsibility for our own development, our own social services and our own self-reliance. We will achieve self-determination by dispelling the fallacy that we must pay government taxes to survive or that these governments act in our interest. Then we will defend it with arms.
We will prove the legitimacy of solidarity, mutual aid and human agency.
The most nefarious victory of the “global elites” over the human masses was to remove the legitimacy of our vocabulary to speak of real change. To keep billions on the precipice of survival (3 billion plus living under $2.50 a family a day) requires a vast campaign of de-legitimization and historical revisionism as well as vile and periodic atrocity. “Neo-Liberalism” and Globalization itself are an exploitative construct to force an intellectual and tactical break between those fighting for freedom and those attending to the immediate Maslowian needs of billions of our poor. As if to disconnect acceptable from unacceptable change and sanitize the strategic action field of actors with a means to provide as they engage to resist. The poor are poor because of overt political decisions made to Pre-determine their non-development. Hiding behind the veil of Human Rights is their open and acknowledged widespread violation. Behind the wool; the smoke screen of development is but a complex, vaguely sanitized version of colonialism. But Neo-liberalism is only one school of thought in development. There are dozens of both drivel of crude reductive economists or Utopian fallacies hiding the purpose of the architecture.
The purpose of the global Westphalian State System is not mere extractive servitude from periphery to center. It is also not purely about economics. It is not just about an elite group of ‘capitalists’ and ‘robber barons’ raping the earth and its people for a profit. It is not just about control over finite resources. Or some imagined a clash of civilizations. It has everything to do with psychology. The social, economic and environmental dominance rests upon a False Consciousness deeply rooted in dividing man against woman, individual against community, race against race, religion against religion, nation against nation so the dominance of the Oligarchy is not only not questioned, it is fully accepted as a necessity of human form and function. We have been taught from birth to accept capitalist exploitation as a hyper-normalized value and the nation state system as a so-called manifest of our “progress”.
Three billion poor are victims of an organized structural violence perpetrated by the economic elites of the traditional hegemon powers and each nation’s cabal of local oligarchs. But, as we prepare to wage wide scale Peacefare; as we prepare to organize and train for our total liberation we must attempt to articulate a Social Movement “ideology” that incorporates the lessons of the historic freedom struggle with the most cutting edge arsenal of anti-poverty development capabilities. But, that wouldn’t be enough to get “free”. It would likely only unleash further holocaust.
“Emancipatory Development” is both an ideology and a tactical framework in the service and liberation of the poor. Those of us who are fighting for baseline Universal Human Rights and speak of real socio-political freedom must now embrace the tools of development cautiously as a supplemental mechanism to the tactics of nonviolent resistance.
Development means nothing unless it is emancipatory, egalitarian, and led by the people it serves. It must also rely on and invest in the capacity of the masses to be their own agents of delivery, progress, and victory over oppression. We must fully break from neo-colonialist controls, “poverty entrepreneurship”, and measure all our work by its value in national struggles for human liberation.
We have to question our own evolution. Our own awareness of the so-called “human condition”. Because we cannot see the soul in a normative sense and perhaps should call to question a deity that has so many prophets and so few “deliverables”; that is why development itself becomes for a now an issue of psychology; of waking up the dying and asleep.
The poor are so poor because they are victims of a global economic system. A system which breeds technocratic dependency on “aid”, whose structural adjustments gut social systems and place control of national resources in the hands of multinational corporations. It is easy to identify our primary targets. There is not a government on earth without some varying degree of culpability. “Development” however means absolutely nothing unless it is completely rooted in tangible victories of the poor over the sources of their poverty, the external and internal. We stake our legitimacy as a social movement on our ability to wed resistance fully with development.
To hit the nail on the head; we must utilize tactics that model the world we see in our hearts as well as the conduct. The parallel state is not built on the ashes of a burned out revolution. It is the piece meal adaptation of a new world’s values into incremental liberation. Territory has been shown to be worth far less than opened minds.
It should be a radical notion in light of thousands of years of carnage that we are actually capable of being rewired to collective care. That we are capable of achieving the rights and beyond without implementation form above.
Any overview of social movements begins with theory. Why they form and theories on their success or failure. Drawing from this we bring attention to the “Resource Mobilization Theory” which states that movements take preexisting organizations able to marshal resources of various types and their synergy yields movement success.
Social Movements are “sustained campaigns that make collective claims aimed at authorities” “collective challenges based on common purposes and social solidarities, in sustained interaction with elites, opponents and authorities.” What is clear from the recent mobilizations of Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, in Brazil, in Bulgaria, in Thailand and in the Ukraine is that mass mobilizations are most successful at resisting government repression when they can:
- Clearly Articulate demands and
- Mobilize the resources of Pre-organized associations to sustain the movements operations and
- Supplant the corrupt government as the primary agent of delivery of services i.e.; “CONTROLL THE MEANS OF DEVELOPMENT”.
That failure of all of these movements so far, even ones that have brought down highly repressive governments in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Ukraine is to have incorporated any development component that makes their confederation of S.M.O.s, viable alternatives to the states they dismantle or assail.
The main reason the Black Panther Party and Nation Islam were the two greatest recent threats to racial Apartheid and the Oligarchy of the United States was that they embraced bootstrap social services. Referring to Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach; Mass Capacity is a social movement led development methodology that declares “human capability” most liberated via education on the skills and technologies human’s need to survive.
The defection of economic elites is one of the most critical aspects to the success or failure of a social movement to seize power. They cite the Marcos regime in the Philippines in 1986 and the Somoza Regime in Nicaragua in 1979. There is a correlation between expanded social movement activity and expansion of state strategic action fields. Modern states are stronger by separating from economic and social bases, then forming alliances with the vital players of the major non-state fields. “Development” via the third (NGO) Sector and government aid is itself a strategic field to conquer. Social Movements for Emancipatory Development must in fact make mastery of development and delivery of services more of priority than resistance to regimes they oppose.
In fact we can clearly see that every single group of partisans that have taken up arms and challenged a violation of rights is either crushed in time; unleashes such utter carnage that their claims to be liberating anyone are suspect; and or take power and become exactly the as their oppressor. As has been the case is most of the existing Parallel State.
In our case studies, we learn the obvious moral strength of non-violent resistance, economic boycott, and mobilization out of intuitions of cultural relevance. In both the cases of the American Civil Rights Movement and the Indian Independence Movement, we see the moral superiority and tactical relevance of non-violence. We read in these cases the necessity of harnessing economic buying power away from assets owned by your oppressors. We see that militarily it would have been disastrous for the Indian people to take up arms against England or the American Negro to fight the Federal government with arms (as the Black Panthers learned in 1968). Instead, both movements achieved considerable constitutional victory without arms. Yet looks at the millions of oppressed Dalit (untouchables) in India or the state of blacks in America. In modern day Syria we can see just how quickly a non-violent pro-democracy movement can devolve into a protracted war with over 600,000 dead and a new Caliphate (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria systematically raping and exterminating all non-believers on their territory; a perversion of parallel state theory as we shall examine later in the pamphlet, albeit a type of one.
Never underestimate the violence unleashed combing greed, grievance and imagined identity. Never forget how many generations are later affected by the traumas of war.
In our studies of “Liberation Theology”, we examined the power of subverting traditional mechanism of reaction and repression into new social gospels for change. We identify the power seen in Latin America via the “little Church” and in Political Islam in the recent 2011 uprisings across the Middle East. Clearly, Zionism is profound example of utilizing a religious framework coupled with development technology for geo-political ends. As was the Islamic Revolution in Tehran in 1979; Revolutionary Shi’ism, and Hezbollah. It was used to topple the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. We fully advocate that the Movement continue to embrace the universal messages of justice found in the world’s religions as long as no aspect of the movement will seek to impose a singular religious norm over communities not of that religion. Liberation Theology is so subversive because it conquers one of the elites’ traditional main fields of social control. In the case studies a large chunk of the parallel state was liberated via various liberation theologian movements.
In our examination of Paulo Freire we analyze humanization/ dehumanization; internalization of oppression; and understanding of the elite as divided, uncompleted human beings. Isolation of the mind, dis-empowerment, and mental slavery was his diagnosis of the oppressed. He spoke of the “false generosity” of philanthropy. And of how the poor live in an “ahistorical world”; a completely deterministic world that they cannot escape of total resignation about their plight. He states that “liberation is painful like childbirth” and that only via the direct empowerment of the people can we achieve political rights or social freedom. In agreement with this philosophy and that of Amartya Sen in “Development as Freedom” Mass Capacity is different from “State Capacity”. The most vital tool of a movement for Emancipatory Development is direct investment in the education and technical training of the masses to develop their own communities as they collectively determine.
The concept of “Mass Capacity” is vital to the success of our movement because only by achieving self-determination can a people enjoy real rights, real development and actual freedom.
In our readings on the anti-caste movements, we see the emancipatory power of abandoning imposed identity. We read about mass conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism. Forced to “act out one’s oppression” via the caste rituals millions are enslaved. Stopping the belief that you are inherently a slave goes back to Paulo Freire. Breaking ones “psychological isolation in an ahistorical world.” It would not be a strategic social movement position to oppose Hinduism, which is the foundation of the Indian State. The conversion of millions to Buddhism is profound example to the rejection of outsider imposed identities that allow class and ethnic exploitation. There is no cultural relativism to be respect to universal human rights, simply cultural paradigms that either can be understood and adopted (liberation theology) or rejected out of hand as the invention of an oppressor.
In our cases on land reform of course we go back to the most fundamental question of movement; what is your turf? What is your territory? What is yours as people? To what extent do 206 governments built nearly all by historic rapes and expropriations have legitimacy to declare some land yours? I would argue that not one nation-state on earth has a legitimacy the masses should respect. This movement cannot be defeated if it is universal in demands and universal in expectations. It cannot regard one last repressive regime standing to be acceptable. It cannot abide one single person living in starvation as an acceptable norm. It cannot have national aims. The reality of nation state experiment is that in the guise of security, it usurped control and it build a global system where most of the species would be subjugated to the minority.
In our cases on resistance to Apartheid, we see that just because a social movement can take state power does not in any way make it able to wield political power to the end of economic empowerment for its poor. We think it should be clear to us that violent revolutions and non-violent revolutions do not improve the economic situation of countries poorest citizens, in fact protracted widespread violence via civil war comes after every violent revolution. The aim is not to improve the existing state system. We would argue that the primary aim of emancipatory development is to completely circumvent the state system and place tools directly in the hands of the people. It is historically clear that taking control of an instrument of mass coercion, i.e. the state; is not a successful means to use its power on the behalf of its citizens. It has historically only fostered a “new predatory elite”.
We are often confronted with the “apolitical Northern generation” raised post-Cold War that do not have an “ideological” paradigm to view world events. It is quite likely that due to historical revisionism and the previously discussed sanitization of political vocabulary for change many young people in the West may actually believe that globalization is the face of progress. I would say frankly that little has changed since the days of colonialism except that direct rule has been replaced with proxy rule.
We would go so far as to say that 3 billion poor and extreme poor, also means 3 or 4 million more pliable workers that can be utilized in the global supply chain. Except right now it is not necessary to mobilize 6 or 7 billion workers, half will suffice and the other may hover on the brink or ruin as a reserve.
This is not about economics as much as it is about control because even in the hegemon and metropolitan Core Nations there are percentages starving, percentages working nearly cradle to grave, and a tiny controlling elite. The fallacy of our entire “Development Enterprise” thus so far is to pretend, to trick ourselves in that the governments were acting in good faith. If Development is not an instrument of political power then it is simple charity. The poor do not need our manipulative carrots and their governments’ sticks. They are not empowered via your charity. We reject that dichotomy that aid is either politics or charity. It’s always politics. It’s got to stop being charity. We have to divest our development from states and put it squarely into people.
The slogan of our entire movement is not simply to “teach a person to fish.” It is to transmit in a pedagogical manner useful to local communities and political actors how to train their people reducing and breaking outside dependency. To take control of the means of development prior to armed struggle to seize the means of production.
With one arm of the movement we strike back at the violators of human rights and with the other we build up the global capacity, the ‘Mass Capacity’ of the people to secure their universal rights and more. This will not come from mobs in streets, from civil disobedience or rifles. We will bring our oppressors to their knees by illustrating their functional irrelevance. A free people can teach their children to read, tend to their people’s health, and operate the means of development needed by a community. Let it be clear. The liberation of a people comes not from the barrel of a gun but in via control of the means of development; the schools, the hospitals, the civil service, sanitation, and all other trades that by their nature promote self-determination and the public good. And any development practitioner that is not working to build that mass capacity; they are “poverty profiteer”, a “bright eyed idiot”, or worse a “dirty collaborator” perpetuating the system that keeps so many destitute.
We came here to unite a movement hiding in the shadows and fighting for survival in the streets. We know that in every slum, in every city, in the mountains, deserts, woods and rural interior are partisans holding out, fighting disconnected in the darkness. We know in every N.G.O. and C.B.O., even in elected office are those who still believe in real change but are shackled by politics.
We must connect the underground, to the partisans to the sympathizers; to the change makers in the halls of power.
Above all else we will rely on Indigenous Knowledge and empower the people. It is our goal to open the lines of communication. It is time that the international resistance movement begin working in much tighter coordination. You and your comrades may be isolated and surrounded but you are never fighting alone.
DEFINING OUR OWN DEVELOPMENT
“Things are really not so clear that we can state that the world is developing or even radically degenerating. We just do not know.”
The atrocities of the last 500 years went mostly undocumented and barometers of progress; our beloved indicators are not yet even fully calibrated to the aspirations of freedom and capability possible a midst the over 5 billion human souls that are surviving on ten dollars a day (or much less). Survival and the other basic Maslowian needs are not the sole imperative to this field’s triumph. What developments humanity might be capable of (Sen, p.31) are what attracts the just and noble to this amorphous enterprise. Otherwise, yes, development is joke and a total failure.
The development enterprise; a global giving system which combines the regular hybridization of welfare-aid carrots, interventionist sticks and a banal meddling technocracy has succeeded completely in preserving an economic order that enriches the Global North while placing the human and material resources of the South in perpetual subjugation and harvest (Hettne, p10).
Poverty is not the corollary result of underdevelopment; it is a calculated effect of an imposed economic order that masquerading for now in the language of “human rights” and “social justice” has perpetuated all of the previous (colonial) epoch’s worst means of social-global control.
An enduring “humiliation” is being propagated through the nation state system and its controlling corporate oligarchies (Narayan/Patel, pp.97-99). Cemented in place via both the governments and religious authorities that claim jurisdiction over the global 3 billion poor (living at $2.50 a day and below); there remain still teeming masses that even in the hinterlands of the North face dis-empowerment, hardship, and regular victimization (Sen, p.23).The Northern obsession with measurement and the generation of statistics made that cluster of civilizations quite attuned at plantation management, resource extraction and a domineering collective hegemony.
“The North” imposed its economic order in the 16th century on the “Global South” via slavery, colonialism and war.
In the 20th century, within the Cold War context, competing models were offered to “the South” (Potter, p.61) but each placed these nations within some global supply chain for the ultimate benefit of the Capitalist or Retrograde Communist Blocs (Potter, p.62). It should now be a standard notion that when measurements of development would then be proscribed upon these long subjugated peoples that they would be allowing their oppressors to dictate to them the terms of their future empowerment. What remains fascinating about the development enterprise is that couched behind the rhetoric of “Sustainability”, “Humanitarian Imperative” and “Human Equity” lies the same cluster of national interests and great power politics that bear such direct responsibility for the current denigration of the human condition.
“Northern Development” has clearly failed at achieving sustainability, emancipation and self-determinism. Northern values are a blithe and simple hypocrisy that take on apolitical pathways to avoid the awfulness of responsibility (Sidaway, p.17).
For those that might erase five hundred years of Northern interaction with the South with some banal and soulless (and non-binding) United Nations treaties we have this to say; dare you who so made so great a blight on three quarters of humanity in the name of your material self-enrichment ever ask of us why we are not yet developed?
A WORLD SYSTEM
The World System Analysis as conceived by the Sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein consists of a core, semi periphery and periphery; shifting zones that are defined by their economic relationships to each other. As stated in his volumes of analysis Wallerstein outlines a muti-disciplinary model that tracks the formation of the world system between 1500ce and the present day (Wallerstein, 1974).
While previous major empires such as the Romans, Persians, Islamic Caliphates, Mongols, Aztecs and Chinese Han dynasties had been trans-regional powers capable of expansive influence and trade; none had, until the construction of the world system, been able to fully project hegemony upon the full mass of the species living in all continents. Advanced weapons, epidemiological resistance and industrialization allowed the Europeans a competitive advantage in outward conquest (Diamond, 2005). The epochs of conquest, slavery and colonialism allowed an unprecedented capital accumulation to take place in Europe. The Industrial Revolution had modernized these societies and subsequently organized their social hierarchy into that of global power administrators. This is not to say class and race and gender were not thoroughly established in internal hierarchies. The conquest of the rest of the world was an outward disposal of the mediocre into pursuits of war and profiteering. Inevitably according to this analysis the hegemonic power passed from Spain, to the Netherlands, to England and after a series of World Wars ultimately between Germany and the United States to a bipolar world of the U.S.-N.AT.O. Block against the U.S.S.R and the Warsaw Pact. While the 1989-1991 implosion of the Soviet Union defeated retrograde authoritarian Communism. The Russian Federation, with the world’s second most powerful military, a comparable stockpile of nuclear weapons and the largest reserves of natural gas and oil on the planet is checked but not defeated. As stated the People’s Republic of China was only a minor antagonist within this struggle for core control, but is emerging as the most serious contender.
We always wish to make revolutionary theory and development theory accessible to regular people otherwise we will fail, that is inherent. If you cannot make theory applicable to the tangible, actionable gains in rights it is irrelevant.
Thus before we can expand on the concept of Emancipatory Development, development in service of rights we should attempt to make understandable the lectures and work of Sociologist Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein, a historical social scientist and creator of the “World Systems Theory”. But first a little re-introduction of Plato, the popular Greek philosopher.
Perhaps you are familiar with the Allegory of Plato’s Cave where by humanity was enchained in darkness not even knowing the image of its’ own self, only a shadow and upon release was so horrified of the reality of their own reflection they preferred the mental and physical slavery of “the cave” to the emancipation of a “brave new world”.
Ultimately the protagonists of the allegory, the rendition of the long enslaved human race, freed from the chained oppression of the cave, living a life of only knowing ones shadow as from; when freed are horrified by the reflection and beg to return to their chains in the cave. Liberation and the achievement of mass consciousness is a traumatic and horrifying process. Our slavery has of course gone on with little interruption for perhaps 8,000 years.
We would go so far as to say that in our current reality our bondage is more like a mountain.
One in which while perhaps you are fully aware of the security and riches present in other zones, districts or nations of the earth we are unable physically and mentally to advance to the comforts of the precipice heights bound not by chains, although such slaveries exist; more of us are bound by survival obligations to self and family that prevent mobility. And perhaps most striking about this social arrangement is that we spend most our existence fighting for survival and when capability allows; working long hours enriching others (Marx, 1887). We work ourselves to the bones to send up the mountain the riches of the earth, the wealth of nations such that faceless oligarchs and their progeny may have complete abundance.
Let us for analysis remove the national borders of the Peter’s Projection World map the one where all elements are represented at their actual presumed size. Let us examine it inverted.
Let us look at it East on top West, then South on top of North.
Note the arbitrary placement of not only national borders but also spatial demarcations and hemispheric directions.
As if the sun still was thought to revolve around the earth or that the earth was clearly flat.
Let us again for analysis abolish those markings too.
Let us turn it from a two dimensional boundary marker into a three dimensional sphere, then pull up like a hand on a cloth the developed northern nations as if into a the shape of a mountain, a mountain where the O.E.C.D. countries are the core on top and down the mountain are arrayed the middle income than low income town the bottom of this precipice.
We all live on this vast mountain and the along with the 8 billion other humans we share its heights, valleys and miserable war torn crevices with; we are bound to that mountain by a system which is orchestrated via competing rulers we call the Oligarchs (Winters, 2011).
To maintain that system in its place requires a systematic dehumanization and segregation of all inhabitants such that we are all so disunited that convincing us to work our whole lives and pay for the right to die in varying degrees of seemingly enlightened serfdom, is a privilege.
As of now (though this number will grow as artificial nation states continue to implode) this mountain is divided into 206 countries (193 acknowledged by the United Nations as officially being sovereign states) and into 5 dependency relationship zones.
To fully understand the terrifying “chaotic uncertainty” of the Modern World System beyond the allegory of the mountain we must break apart the zones Wallerstein and dependency development theorists categorized to establish what is it is these ceaseless proxy wars, all this diplomacy, defense and development spending seeks to acquire.
A false construct such as nationalism or ideology is a superstructure disguise for it means to acquire core control. As stated, the Oligarchical collectives have a limited range of coordination and span of control. While an oligarch in the core may in fact collude with an oligarchy in the semi-periphery or periphery; the closer asset control and resources allocation is exerted to a core political and economic process; the richer and more powerful the fruits of the gain.
It is, because of the nature of sustained predation fostered in the world system since 1500 CE an inherently highly unstable environment, aggravated almost ceaselessly by warfare, deprivation, famine and poverty (Wallerstein, 2011). Following a series of World and Cold Wars from 1914-1989 the elite consensus shifted from ideological confrontation to shared illusion. The nature of the world system is referred to in political science as an “inverse consociationalist relationship” (Lustick, 1979); a political order where elites of every nation, with loyalty only to the ones in which their assets are deposited collude and complete via proxy from dominance of the Core; the legal, military and economic mobilization of state architecture to secure capital, and via hyper-influence and full enjoyment of the material world and use its inhabitants.
The governance of the mountain which became so wildly unstable in the 20th century has taken form around the growing Multipolarity of the Globalized 21st century (Kupchan, 1998).
The basis of an “Inverse Consociationalist Framework” is that the Oligarchs in each state, via social and business groups referred to as elite clusters and arch-oligarchs, hyper-enriched via wealth accumulation at the core have imposed a relationship upon us.
Via a dual needed illusion they keeps us not only from dissolving our national dependencies; they divide us, co-opt us, and prevent a global uprising by disguising the nature of their access to capital. They lower our consciousness, they force half the species into existential deprivation, and they utilize their intelligence agencies their spies and informants to encourage destabilizing violence. They have done so not with mere words (Orwell, 1949). Even linguistically they deprive us of a discourse.
They have turned plantations into nations. Resistance into accusations of “terrorism”. They made democracy into a white noise. They have made greed into celebrated virtue. They have turned your life of servitude into “hard, satisfying work”. They have turned rights into phrases, freedom into slavery. They have turned raw Colonialism into some nonsense called “Sustainable Development.”
The Development Enterprise as we understand it began after the Second World War with the 1948 implementation of the Marshal Plan. The intention of this far-reaching US aid investment was to keep war-ravaged Western Europe from being absorbed into the Soviet sphere. Development subsequently evolved into an international architecture. Its newly stated intention within the Cold War context was to modernize and industrialize former colonial nations. Packages of civilian and military aid were coupled with technical assistance. Non-governmental organizations proliferated generally around poverty alleviation and cause specific programs. The United Nations ratified a wide range of human rights instruments as rapidly escalating armed conflicts accelerated in almost every nation in the developing world.
It is expected that the cost of water will soon overtake the price of oil after peak oil in 2030 (Deffeyes, 2006). If usage and climate change continues unabated 1.8 billion people will be living with severe water scarcity by 2025 and 2/3 of the species will be subjected to water stress (Brown, 2009).
There are over three billion human beings living under $3.00 a day that are worth as much in assets as the top 85 richest people on earth (Oxfam, 2014). It is believed that over 29.8 million people still live in chattel slavery (Global Slavery Index, 2013). While the United Nations made goals to “eradicate global extreme poverty’, ‘doubling human access to clean water’ and ‘halting new infection with HIV-AIDS’ divested of all the many political, economic and religious superstructures the results of the development enterprise are highly underwhelming.
There can be no clear measure of data being generated in a variety of highly non-transparent countries. At the 2013 Interaction Forum, the broadest confederation of American development NGOs and Humanitarian actors, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres admitted, “We are not entirely prepared”. More conflicts, deeply entrenched poverty, coupled with the targeting of aid workers will occur alongside decreases in funds and the impacts of global climate change. Yet, across the development enterprise, almost all of the academia and technocracy agree that the very worst of human civilization is behind us. There is still massive disagreement regarding the hierarchy of needs for those 5 billion human souls that live on less than USD 10 a day; 3 billion of which live on less than USD 2.50 a day; and 1.2 billion on less than USD 1.25 (World Bank 2014). The question remains one of participation and empowerment.
Will listening to the voices of the poor remain a completely meaningless slogan or a set of specific instructions to those invested in equality?
Amyarta Sen believes that development is a means to achieve freedom and freedom is achieved by enabling Human Capability. Jeffrey Sachs believes poverty can be eliminated through coordinated action of a “Big Push” Global Marshall Plan. William Easterly and Paul Collier advocate basis of the Monterrey Consensus of 2002 forgoing aid in favor of improving trade. A regular buzzword in the enterprise is ‘Capacity Building’, but this is often limited to technocracy and management training going directly to widely corrupted governments. Throughout the development and humanitarian sectors coordination is irregular, local participation is dictated top down, and dependency is fostered (Escobar, 1995).
We must often remind ourselves about whose reality we are living in here at the top of the mountain, at the Global Core; here in the relative privilege and security of the so called “the North”; “the Developed World” spanning North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand in short the winners and losers of the World Wars excluding Russia. We must remember that the number one killer of citizens in the United States of America is heart disease from over consumption, poor nutrition choices and general gluttony (American Heart Association, 2014). While the leading killer of those 3.5 million living below $3 USD a day is multidimensional poverty, preventable disease and exposure to disastrous climate change.
The Westphalian State System was implemented to break humanity into more manageable units for economic exploitation. All 206 recognized states are pure inventions that have little historical basis, ethnic or religious homogeneity. They were established not to preserve an imagined order but to quantify human and resource capital.
Therefore, our indictment is not around a policy, a procedure or a political or economic methodology. We are leveling our counter attack, we are bolstering our defenses against an entire World System. A system which sense conceived has divided us into categorizations and work exploitation units called nations; disposed of abundance through the perpetual act of war and in the name of humanitarian imperative and now development practice fostered our dependency to a hand full of Oligarchic elite clusters that control the shifting Core. It is can no longer be said that what is happening is a phenomena. Poverty is genocide. Our duty and your duty to strike now against the profiteering and atrocity so integral to the World System’s economic order is based on needs, rights and ethics.
On the basis of needs, the modern Oligarchic Collective is killing our human species in raw numbers so far not encountered except during the Mongol Expansion, Middle Ages, Spanish Conquest of Latin America, Epoch of Slavery and Colonialism or the grisly World Wars and Cold Wars.
It is vital to again remember that we do not even have any consistent system of historical record keeping available until 1848 (Foucault).
That is to say most of history has been constructed for your pedagogic consumption. To enable you to believe that the world in which you live and your nature itself is fundamentally imperfect, yet improving, most likely after you die. An important paradigm set, because you must arrive at level of conscious thinking or should we say frequency adjustment to process this incendiary macro briefing; here are three important starting points to realign yourself into the reality of your species. When and if you believe these things then “Resistance is fertile”. If not you will spend your entire life working and they will continue to exploit you from your cradle to your grave.
THE DUAL ILLUSION
The belief that we are progressing and advancing as a human civilization is a highly cultivated lie, an intellectual illusion; a highly cultivated enforced paradigm.
Your “consent” in your governance, your indifference to affairs of those in other nations, your belief in the development enterprise, your willingness to pay your taxes and acquiesce to your government’s’ policies at home and abroad are based on a ‘manufactured consent’ built on two very specific fundamental untruths.
a. The Illusion of Development; the World System is not actually improving under stewardship of capitalist economists, neoliberal trade policies and expanding globalization. Wealth is being highly concentrated into the hands of untouchable, nearly omnipotent oligarchies in every state and this extreme mounting inequality is not only highly unstable, but the rational economic outcome of capital accumulation in the 21st century.
b. The Illusion of Coexistence; war is not actually decreasing and poverty is not actually diminishing, it is simply being counted as different things and manipulated statistically to manufacture the illusion of stability, progress and control. Reduction of instances of developed nation warfare masks the proliferation of developing nation state collapse and non-state actor conflicts.
On the basis of rights a non-enforceable legal code and subsequent series of treaty instruments were signed repeatedly in New York at the United Nations by all state parties. Human Rights are however trampled on in practice by government conduct in 206 states. On the basis of ethics, divorced from a personal or legal responsibility, divorced from the existential nature of the dialectic phase; all people have “a duty to act.”
“A direct referral to the sense of collectivism of the entitlements. No one can have any rights until all have a means to establish and secure rights.”
Regardless of what fostered disunity they cultivated amongst our ancestors; all humans are intrinsically bound to a mountain. That mountain is divided loosely in 206 plantations called countries; shifting along the mountain slope tectonically from the peak called the Core (Netherlands, England, and U.S.A.) since 1500; down that steep slope the Core Contenders (China & Russia supported by India, Brazil, South Africa); followed by the Semi-peripheral dependents (Israel, Argentina, Colombia, South Korea, Taiwan) and the Semi-peripheral outliers (Ethiopia, Vietnam, Iran & Cuba); below them the periphery in their full dependency (Egypt, Angola, Nigeria, Thailand Bangladesh); and at the bottom of this mountain we perceive as a planetary globe; the 59 Failing states (Sub-Saharan Africa & Former Soviet Central Asia); and the Failed states (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Haiti and Somalia) and worst the atrocities spreading now into 35 national zones at the base of this wretched mountain; the killing fields (Sudan & South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria). Welcome to the ethical dilemma of what will you do, how far will you go and how much will you risk in a full blown “Global State of Emergency”.
The answer is that most people are so caught up in Survival obligations and their divisive False Consciousness that until the manufactured consent of the nation state is shattered they are mentally still enslaved (Freire, 1970).