Dawn of the Cosmopolitan - The Hope of a Global Citizens Movement

From the website post: The Great Transition Initiative is a collective endeavor by scholars and activists who share a broad commitment to addressing the major problems confronting humanity: poverty, security, and the environment. Its mission is to imagine, assess, and advance a great transition to a global future of enriched lives, equity, solidarity and a healthy planet. It takes seriously the slogan of progressives everywhere that another world is possible, but proposes that such a world must first be imagined creatively as a plausible human project.

This report encompasses the great weight and gravity of the possibility of solving the sociological and political issues of our Global Society through the emergence of a single moral community, a Cosmopolitan Group if you will, or citizens of the cosmos. The unprecedented growth in GCMs (Global Citizens Movements) seen in the last half of the 20th century is proposed to be merely the tip of the iceberg regarding a deep shift in public engagement and awareness, and is the major influence for the rise of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) world wide.

Kriegman points out that the threats to our existence are very real. When contemplating the possibilities of ecocide, nuclear proliferation, global terror networks, new military technologies and the threat of pandemics, we are reminded of the statement made by Bertrand Russell its coexistence or no existence.

The strength of global civil society is weakened by its organizational and philosophical fragmentation. Each of the threats mentioned above, and a slew of others, tackled separately, constitute the all too dispersed, diffused and small scale of societies efforts in the shadow of powerful governments and transnational corporations. Only greater degrees of international cooperation can possibly resolve these complex dilemmas.

In developing countries, the hope for the rapid growth of civil society is expressed by communities devising new development paradigms seeking sustainable livelihoods and pursuing various avenues that enhance local empowerment. The hope of improved lives lived in a just and caring world is the most empowering psychological response to the turbulence of our times. Lessons from Social Movements: Hurdles for a Systemic Global Movement

Many social movements, evidenced by those that arose during the 1960s and 1970s, are protest oriented and appear reactive to many individuals. Their proponents often embrace a fragmented type of identity politics, avoiding people with coherent and universalized visions.

Although there are many important issues represented by the Global Justice Movement and the World Social Forum (WSF) today, their ability to capture global media attention has been usurped by the US-led invasion of Iraq, various political victories in Latin America, and the Global War on Terror, and such incidents continue to shape their goals. In addition to the media hurdles, those seeking to ally with the Global Justice Movement often differ over strategies and tactics, and are further hampered due to competing personalities, language differences, racism, organizational turf wars and divergent priorities. Again we see the need to overcome fragmentation and cohere as a movement. Expansion, without systemic linkages, is not sufficient for the type of deep changes necessary for a truly just and sustainable society.

Lessons for a GCM: The ends of a just and equitable world filled with cultural diversity and freedoms must be alive in the means the movement utilizes to organize itself.

A politics of trust necessitates that all aspects of the movement recognize that they are addressing different aspects of a unitary challenge of building a just and sustainable global future and their success is interdependent and requires a systemic shift, as well as a balance of coherence and pluralism as the basis for a global movement.

This report expresses the need for transparency and accountable leadership, which would facilitate the efforts of diverse peoples and ensure the participation of everyone involved.

I was greatly encouraged to see the author distinguish between leadership and authority, acknowledging the evolving definition of leadership in the world today and noting the questionability of the effectiveness of models of steep hierarchy and command and control. Making the case that real leaders are those who empower and inspire groups to engage unpleasant realities, work through conflicts, and generate new insights that increase effectiveness, regardless of what rank they may hold, he provided us with a model by which we may all choose to live our daily lives.

I believe he made a good example of George W. Bush as an individual who lacks leadership capabilities and/or willingness, choosing to respond to the demands of his constituency rather than mobilizing people to deal with problematic realities on behalf of improving the human condition and generating progress. As is true of most people with authority, so it is true that our current President responds to the demands of his constituents and favors his limited personal goals over those broader goals of his fellow countrymen.

Here I feel the need to, once again, quote the author: A sustainable world is one of biodiversity and diverse, healthy ecosystems. Likewise, a just world is one of human liberation, filled with cultural diversity and creative expression and exploration. Thus the means by which a GCM is organized must honor the diversity of voices that give rise to its creation. The tension between unity and plurality, like many of the paradoxes in life, is not to be overcome, instead a GCM must somehow hold both truths simultaneously. This ultimately means more space is needed for dialogue, analysis, and visioning, which will be required for mobilizing the numbers of people needed for a truly global movement. Many of us see mountainous efforts that do not seem to be solving the problems, thus we wait to join a movement until we can find one we believe in.

A GCM will have internal conflicts, it will contain its own politics, however like a seed crystal, our newly formed GCM contains within it the means it will use to organize itself to move toward a just and sustainable world through a politics of trust. With the seed neatly in place, in the face of emerging global crisis it is likely that the vision of the GCM could spread rapidly to inspire humanity's efforts toward renewal and hope.

Constructing a Shared Vision

Here the author shares great detail of thought and contemplation regarding what it would take to create a GCM where the ethical foundations would be based on individual and collective responsibility for the well being of others, the wider community of life, and future generations. The value foundations would be quality of life, human solidarity, and ecological sensibility, A culture of peace, reconciliation, and non-violence would infuse the new global movement. He postulates the development of a new form of Leadership, possibly movement diplomats made up of visionaries, philanthropists and organizers from all walks of life who would be charged with complementing other necessary types of leadership, helping to maintain the balance between coherence and diversity within a GCM. Movement diplomats could be a key to developing coherence while avoiding the evolution of stultifying movement hierarchies.

Conclusion and Hope

It does seem possible that a vision that describes a hopeful image of the future and a plausible pathway for getting there could inspire more people to believe in the possibility of a sustainable global civilization, and thus to personally assume the challenge of global citizenship. The combination of a shared vision with clear victories expands the frontiers of the possible, hope is contagious and change happens quickly. An authentic GCM needs a shared vision emerging from a process of engaged dialogue effectively coordinated through new forms of leadership.

The future is not someplace we are going, it is something we are creating.

Ultimately, the exact shape and form of a Global Citizens Movement is not to be predicted, but to be lived. An AMAZING statement that leads to the obvious conclusion that A GCM must be able to contest power and shape the global future, without this there is no movement, just a lot of chaotic activity. The fact that A Great Transition is a vision of plural solutions is evidenced by the need for both local and regional approaches, compatible with global goals. Such a shift in consciousness would be animated by concern for all aspects of the human condition, including the well-being of the whole human family, with the fate of future generations, and with the sustainability of the broader web of life. This is the hope of a global citizens movement. Summary of: Dawn of the Cosmopolitan; The Hope of a Global Citizens Movement (Orion Kriegman, organizer and manager of The Great Transition Initiative): The Great Transition, the promise and lure of the times ahead

Perhaps my favorite statement in this report, as it speaks to the necessity for the preservation and embrace of the richness and energy in the diversity of the forces for a just and sustainable future, and for a movement rooted in a politics of trust. Although historically pitted against each other, a GCM needs both the strength of unity and the strength of diversity. (Unity speaks to the causes and methodologies of the movement, diversity speaks to cultural richness and the wants and needs of people as numerous as grains of sand on our worlds beaches.).

As we learn to identify ourselves as part of the human family, with responsibility for ones brothers and sisters, we approach a transformation of consciousness that challenges our identities, moving us, as global citizens, toward a shared identity with the ability to hold empathy for the struggles of others within ourselves. However, if grand new identities are to emerge, there must be the internal motivation of a shared dream of unity in addition to the fear of external threat. We all share one world, this is the objective case for global identity. We are now perfectly poised for the emergence of global citizens sharing broad values and principals that would propel us toward a transition to human rights, democracy, environmental protection, and freedom world-wide.

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