History’s Long War for Liberation: Reclaiming the Life Rights which have been Won Part XIII ~ by Prof. John McMurtry
HISTORY’S LONG WAR FOR LIBERATION:
RECLAIMING THE LIFE RIGHTS WHICH HAVE BEEN WON
Life-value understanding sees through the lenses of the long history of corporate money-sequence rights – from the private East India Company over 250 years ago with sovereign rights of life and death over native peoples to global corporations today granted rights to be competitively indifferent to their destruction of human and natural life at all levels.
As always in the corporate-rights disorder, only maximally more money for money investors counts. And as always, the horrors of the system are projected onto the ever-changing designated ‘Enemy’ to justify eradicating it. Life-value understanding nonetheless recognises something deeper at work underneath the rule of the mutating system – the human vocation, the ever evolving civil commons, and the codified life standards of real civilisation.
Analysis recognises, for principal example, the universal life-protective norms that have been instituted since the 1939-45 World War. These are advanced civil commons developments at the global level, but are of no account to the corporate world order which ignores and overrides them at will. To be reclaimed, they must be recalled and understood. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Rights (1948) is the best-known standard bearer. It moves from where Roosevelt left off. It recognizes the underlying value ground of universal life goods for human beings, but at a world level. Moreover, one unifying principle inaccessible to market consciousness governs each and all of these human rights – to protect and enable human life in all domains. No such codified development of human consciousness has before existed.
This body of Declarations, Covenants and Conventions is simultaneously directed against one real enemy across the world – that which violates or prevents these universal life goods. The ultimate tragedy, however, has not yet been recognised. This global historical turn out of the most systematically dehumanizing and mass-homicidal period in world history has been step by step subverted by the covert corporate-rights counter-revolution. The instituted norms for ‘the 99%’ codifying how society must live to evolve beyond continuous mass sacrifice have been reversed. Underneath the public eye, the absolutist rapacity, technology and command of system fascism have bridged to the present through the U.S. fanatic right and the transnational money party. Nonetheless the social justice turn beyond its hold has long ago been decided from the crucible of a hundred million lives and social infrastructures in ruin. This momentous turn out of system fascism has been exactly codified in a body of law governing the community of nations which has been lawlessly usurped since by the corporate-rights axes – often in its very name.
An internationally covenanted moral conclusion of the world’s nations has, in short, already chosen a human versus inhuman life of peoples by universal rights of life built into social orders as mutually obligatory and binding. Yet all have been violated root and branch by the corporate-rights system that is hidden from public view, in fact the covert fascist turn backwards the world has been subjected to for 30 years with worse cumulative results than Nazism. Still this entire body of international law and life standards stands today as the only codified and legitimate “human rights and international norms” that exist – however pervasively this concept is mendaciously invoked by corporate-state puppets. It reveals step by step as we now see the illegal global rule now taking world humanity, fellow life and life support systems into the abyss.
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an icon that is under theorised as well as little heeded in the global culture of absolute corporate rights. But its universal rights and standards are worth citing in full to recognize their inner life-value logic: the rights to “freedom of speech and belief”, “freedom from want”, “dignity and worth of the human person”, “not to be subjected to – – inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment”, “equal access to public service”, “universal and equal suffrage”, “social security – – and [the resources required for] the free development of personality”, “work [and]- – just and favourable conditions of work”, “rest and leisure”, “standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his [sic] family, including food, clothing housing and medical care”, and “education – – and equally accessible higher education”. The underpinning principle of all of these rights, the one onto-ethical ground of which each is another and complementary aspect of an implied moral whole, is to enable human life against its many-sided oppression.
The U.N. Declaration of Rights can thus be understood – although this meaning has so far eluded philosophy, law and economics– to be a universal statement of life-value morality and social justice which has already been agreed to by states across cultures. Revealingly the Universal Declaration of Rights has been criticized from both the left and the right. The Marxist conceives it as a “merely ideological mask” of capitalist reality, while the Reaganite denounces it as “dangerous nonsense” and “communism in disguise”. But in fact the problem is that common life support systems are what really matters, and they are not funded to enable these human rights. This is the missing life-ground and civil commons across contending positions.
Societies’ Life Rights Against Corporate Fascism Across Borders
There has also been a United Nations’ Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States since 1974 which spells out the economic conditions required for human life standards to govern more effectively than in the past. This codified global agreement was passed by the United Nations General Assembly by a 120-6 vote just after the U.S.-supported and murderous military coup of the democratically elected government of Chile.
While this U.N. Charter of Economic Rights was cooperatively written and near-unanimously supported by national representatives to the U.N. from across the world to lead another kind of globalization than the one unveiled by the U.S.-managed Pinochet coup in Chile, it was annulled by extra-parliamentary passage of the transnational corporate rights edicts explained above. Under this new world order, the terms of the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States were silently overridden in their entirety – in particular the “sovereign and inalienable right of every state to choose its economic system”, and its “permanent sovereignty, including possession, use and disposal over all its wealth, natural resources and economic activities”. The political rights of states “to regulate and exercise authority over foreign investment within its national jurisdiction” and “to regulate and supervise the activities of transnational corporations” were erased by the new global corporate-rights system.
Ensuring that this reversal was as inconspicuous as possible, the new transnational corporate-rights system was undiscussed in legislatures, unread by legislators, and formed, adjudicated and enforced outside of electoral processes and democratic accountability. David Rockefeller, a leader of ‘the new world order’ and founder of the transnational Bildersberg meetings behind it, frankly described its meaning to the 1991 gathering of world leaders in a leaked transcription: “A supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries”.
Private corporate rights were thus given the force of supreme world law without recognition of the fact that the “plan for world rule” had long been ascribed to the “World Communist Plot”. Predictably across time, the corporate-rights dictatorship by conglomerate-money sequencing projects its own properties onto what opposes it. But what it wars upon in fact is always people in community seeking their common life security against it.
Thus just as the life-protective rights of the 1948 U.N. Declaration were earlier decoupled from the economic conditions required for their realization, and just as the collective rights of national economies to develop in control of their own natural resources and markets under the protection of the U.N. Charter of Economic Rights were overridden, so also further life-protective rights formed by the United Nations were ignored or vilified – and warred upon as they became real economies for the common life interest. The profile of what the community of nations has agreed upon as the basic life-protective norms of world civilisation exactly reveals what the corporate-rights system in fact wars upon as against (its) “freedom”.
Examples include, but are not confined to, the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1951), United Nations Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1986). Binding international criminal law existing in some form since the Nazi war leaders were tried under the Nuremburg Charter to protect the lives of people against the “supreme crime” of a war of aggression and “all the crimes following from it” – “war crimes”, the “crime of genocide” and “crimes against humanity” – has also stayed unenforced since. Its final institutional formation as the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in 2002 has been restricted to prosecution of unallied third-world leaders, or – in Guantanamo style – young Muslims resisting U.S.-led NATO occupation of Afghanistan charged with “war crimes”. The “supreme crime of a war of aggression” by the major states has at the same time been kept beyond the Court’s jurisdiction. As in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and corporate privatization of its economy and oil extraction, the ruling corporate rights system proceeds across borders and above the law as did the prior fascism, but more long-lastingly by money-led occupation of electoral processes, government ministries, and transnational treaty processes and procedures.
Today we may observe life-enabling and protective rights receiving little or no enforcement while globalizing money-capital rights of corporations backed by transnational U.S.-led armed force systematically violate them.
Resolving Confusions of Meaning to See the Historical Pattern Across Generational Time
While there is thus widespread confusion and cynicism about “human rights”, and corporate-person rights continue to expand under the mask of “national interests” or “world security” enforced by dominant military establishments, life-protective norms continue to evolve.
One need only look at the unprecedented world charters and covenants cited above to see a 70-year-long swing towards global life-security norms before unimagined.
The problem is in implementation. Legal scholars widely agree that the problem with even the legally binding covenants on life-protective rights is the problem of enforceability across borders. Few or none see is that if the same regulatory instruments were applied as now in the enforcement of private corporate rights across borders, the problem of enforceability would be solved. Such enforcement of universal life-protective rights, however, is so effectively blocked that not even learned advocates of human rights recognize the possibility.
Yet all that is required is the inclusion in international trade treaties of those life standards which are already formed and agreed upon across nations. The United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), for mainspring example, is both legally binding and global in jurisdiction. It is an established global legal and life-value ground from which to enforce life-protective rights against unaccountable global corporate money-rights. Yet its existence and its articles are not recognized by over 99% of the population in a world whose public media and journals are overwhelmingly occupied by a few private transnational corporations seeking only apical profit and continuance of the ignorance.
The terms of the International Covenant are nonetheless of great significance. For they are legally binding and their unifying meaning is to guarantee universal access to universal human life goods. They provide for what is obliged of every government, but is nowhere mentioned by any. The signature proof of the corporate occupation of the world’s governments is that the covenant they have solemnly signed is now effectively pretended not to exist as an obligation. A signature proof that the world’s mass media are only the mouthpiece of their corporate owners is that none has once reported this ultimate covenant of nations. Likewise, the signature proof that all political parties on record are but system reflexes of the private global corporate money-sequence occupation is that none ever mentions the ultimate Covenant among nations.
The United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is all that 100 years of labour across nations has achieved in setting the minimal and universal moral parameters of how to live as societies in the contemporary world. Its articles specifically require as binding all “state parties” or states to ensure (with developing standards and monitoring):
- “just and favorable conditions of work”,
- “a decent living for citizens and their families”,
- “safe and healthy working conditions”.
- “the right of everyone to form trade unions”
- “[the right of all] to social security including social insurance”.
- “the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living”,
- “[the right of all] to an equitable “environmental and industrial hygiene”.
The covenant is not only for one’s own nation. On the global level, all state parties are to work for:
- “distribution of world food supplies in relation to need”,
- “primary education compulsory and free to all”
- “equally accessible” and “progressively free” provision of “higher education”.
Obviously these terms of the Covenant are honoured more in the breach than the observance, and increasingly so – a measure of the reversal of humanity’s life rights and economic evolution under the global corporate-rights system. Yet the legally binding Covenant nonetheless expresses the ultimate life-value system that humanity progressively stands for in the face of the life-blind top-down absolutism. In perfect opposition to it, the unifying principle of the Covenant is to protect and enable human life by provision of universal life goods. Although a reporting mechanism is still instituted to observe and monitor the progress of the signatory states, there is no mechanism to motivate compliance of states with the Covenant articles – that is, unless these long established and signed articles are included in trade-and-investment treaties where non-compliance triggers strict trade penalties.
This operationalization of universally life-protective law is perfectly viable – as the 1989 Montreal Ozone Protocol has shown by its inclusion in NAFTA. Yet long proved implementation of life-protective law has been ignored since within governing international policy circles, the public media and even academic circles. These are all signs of the lawless corporate occupation internalized by its creatures.
Each and all the Covenant articles fulfil the life-value test. In onto-axiological terms, they more or less express the underlying life-value onto-axiology, life-coherence principle and civil commons meaning in international law.
What can stop the fulfilment of what the world’s peoples and nations have put into solemn covenant with one another? What can stop it when the resources required in money-demand terms are less than one resource-seizing war from a poorer country? Why when we already have long demonstration of societies’ achieving these basic life standards do not the peoples of the world reclaim rise and their life rights from the global corporate occupation?
Analysis has already shown how the Great Reversal has been imposed beneath popular recognition in institutional coup d’etat. That recognition is what is now arising in the Occupy Wall Street movement. The essentially cognitive problem remaining is courageous intuition without principled understanding of the known nature of the disorder and its resolution.
Reclaiming and Moving Beyond the Human Life Rights That Have Already Been Won.
It is as if the principled grounds of life-value understanding have been long at work as a higher value syntax evolving beneath the global corporate invasion and despoliation of human and natural life systems. The United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights makes these life standards more explicit as a binding order of life-protective and enabling law, just as the earlier Universal Declaration of Human Rights did after the military defeat of European fascism.
While this resistance struggle and life-value advance struggles on beneath the ruling absolutism and corporate looting of the world, it still misses the connection of life-value rights to life-value obligations – not only to fellow human but to ecological requirements. This is what the human vocation and deeper civil commons movement bridges towards in the next steps of humanity’s social evolution. How to live – critical philosophy’s oldest question – is not only an individual issue, but more ultimately a social one. A life-coherent rule system has already been largely achieved in international law and the most developed communities. It is not impossible to agree upon across diverse cultures because in fact the defining terms have already been widely signed as solemn covenant across nations. All of the life standards named in the U.N. Declaration and the International Covenant are governed by one underlying and unifying principle governing advanced societies – protection and provision of that without which human life capacity is always reduced. Together the life goods and standards required have been agreed on in the basics. How humanity, however different, must live to survive and flourish is an already instituted moral code across cultures.
Yet, as we have seen, the private money-sequencing system and corporate-right rule have warred upon these universal life standards in every way possible. Thus no article of the human Covenant has been permitted into the solely effective mode of transnational law that humanity knows – its economic treaties. Yet operationalisation of life-protective law in this treaty system is already known to work – as, again, the 1989 Montreal Ozone Protocol has proved by its explicit inclusion in the NAFTA prototype of the WTO and general adhesion to it.
In far more evolved form, the European Union has long made corporate rights accountable to human life rights across borders by its Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights. Its underlying principle of governance is principally livelihood rights: to equitable remuneration; a maximum number of hours per working week; free association in trade unions and collective bargaining; professional training; sex equality; minimum health and security provision; employer-employee consultation and participation; a minimum working age of 16; minimum pension rights; protection for disabled workers; and prohibition of slavery, forced labour and the use of the human body or body parts for financial gain.
Predictably, no level of the European Union’s social organization has not been attacked by European big business and transnational media like the Economist in every issue. This is the rightist reaction of the transnational money party whose sequences run through elected heads of state and politicians themselves – the Great Reversal still in motion. The financial crisis of the European Union following upon and caused by Wall Street’s greatest fraud in history still ongoing has had a perhaps strategically planned outcome – the turning back of Europe’s post-1945 civilisation which has built a legal-political firewall against predation of working people and citizens by any fascism. It has showed the life standards that can work over time as opposed to the “race to the bottom” of life standards defining global corporate fascism. The only way to undermine them given their civil habit, support and popularity is by financial means – and this unravelling began with the mechanisms analysed in prior sections.
Nonetheless the integrated moral-economic European model has already evolved over half a century regulated by life standards, and has worked far better than any other international paradigm over 60 years in protecting the lives and freedoms of citizens. Of course, it is everywhere denigrated by the corporate politicians and media for restrictions on “globally competitive” practices with no life standards at all, and stripped back where possible so that the life security and freedoms of the great majority are being ridden under even as I write. This is the post-1945 fascist bid for world-rule power under cover. More gravely, it is a corporate-rights system engineering to annihilate life standards across the world. Yet it only succeeds so far as what it is remains unpursued – corporate rights usurpation of humanity’s social evolution, and the cumulative destruction of the life-carrying capacities of humanity and the planet itself.
John McMurtry is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by John McMurtry