Nil by Mouth

The United Nations is far from perfect, but it’s real and suggests an embryonic solution to most of the planet’s worst problems.

Mainly rooted in the grounds of its predecessor, the League of Nations, which was established shortly after the First World War with the supposed intention of ensuring war never happens again, the UN is an attempt to provide reasonable global governance. Today it’s a very sickly patient indeed; in fact, it’s on life-support in the intensive care unit. There’s a reasonable argument for switching-off its life-support and simply letting it expire in peace; but on the other hand there’s still a slight flicker of hope which could perhaps yet revive the patient.

That flicker of hope lies in the main founding documents of the UN, its Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In spite of the desperate condition of the rest of the patient these documents are in a fine and healthy state. So although they’re about the only part that is fine and healthy, they are an exceedingly important part which could, in theory, be used to help bring about a full recovery.

For example clause one of article one in chapter one of the Charter, the Purposes and Principles of the UN, states its purpose is,

“To maintain international peace and security”.

That sounds pretty good – but could, a cynic might argue, be interpreted to suggest it’s O.K. to keep people locked-up in solitary confinement; after all, that would ensure peace and security. However, the Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) makes clear that that is not the intended interpretation; for that states, in article one of the Preamble, that,

“All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights.”

And further, in Article two that,

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

Furthermore we learn that,

“[A]rmed force shall not be used, save in the common interest.”

And that international machinery will be used for,

“[T]he promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.”

When we look at the state of the human condition all around the planet it’s blindingly obvious that the fine values of the United Nations have not yet come into effect. The main reason for this is that the fine values of the UN come into direct conflict with the selfish interests of the kleptocrats who are the de facto rulers of the world, the dreaded 1%.

The 1% have ignored the UN from the earliest days of its existence – except when it can be manipulated to serve the nefarious purposes of the 1%. Even before the ink was dry on the UN Charter the so-called “great” powers were continuing business as usual. Oblivious to their own new creation they immediately assumed it’s fine principles did not apply to them and carried on provoking their wars wherever they could – profiting very handsomely from doing so, just as they’ve always done.

However, in spite of all the practical ineffectiveness of the UN it nevertheless serves a real and vitally important function: its Charter and UDHR provide a moral compass; they suggest a model for how things should be; and they provide evidence in black and white for why the daily actions of our great trusted leaders are so obviously criminal.

The fact that the UN is not able to bring powerful international criminals such as Blair and Bush and Netanyahu to account is not the fault of the UN. Whilst it has the legal and moral authority to act it doesn’t have the practical means to enforce that authority. Law without an honest policeman is almost useless; almost, but not quite.

For what a law does is to provide a statement of what is legally right or wrong. Our laws are often far from perfect – because of the all-pervasive and insidious power of the 1% to corrupt or destroy anything that might interfere with their interests, including the legal system – but the principle of law is reasonable. In other words, a law should provide a simple and basic guide which can be used by the 99% to recognise the difference between acceptable behaviour and unacceptable behaviour. Given the corrupt state of existing global governance, it has to be said that this is of course a theoretical position more than a statement of support for most of what we actually have. Because most of what we actually have is a massive multitude of oppressive statutes whose purpose is to reinforce the interests of the 1% at the expense of the rights of the 99%. In theory it’s supposed to be the other way around: the rights of the 99% should have precedence over the interests of the 1% – which is what makes the founding documents of the UN quite special and very important because not only is that clearly what they’re intended to do, they’re intended to do it on a global basis.

Article two of the UDHR, for example, makes it very clear that every individual anywhere in the world is entitled to the same basic human rights irrespective of any differentiating qualifications. In other words, as far as human rights are concerned exemptions and exceptionalism are not provided for: each and every human being should be treated the same.

The United Nations could and should become a focal point for activists everywhere. It’s potential as an administrative centre for global order and justice is very considerable. The fact that it’s currently powerless to reign-in the worst of the planet’s gangster governments is not the fault of the UN, it’s the fault of the ordinary people who live in the countries ruled by gangster governments for failing to demand their trusted leaders conform to international laws, such as the UN Charter.

The leaders of gangster governments publicly justify their international crimes by saying they’re only protecting the interests of their countries. Like almost everything else they say it’s a lie: they’re not protecting the interests of their countries, they’re harming them; what they’re really doing is protecting the interests of the 1% which are not now, and never have been, the same as the interests of the 99%.

If the endless cycle of empire-building and Permanent War is ever to be stopped it will be through the establishment of some kind of effective global governance. The United Nations has the potential to do that, BUT… so long as individual nations are allowed to become so powerful they can ignore international law, as they do, the dream of real international peace and justice will never be more than an idle dream.

The history of empire shows that the main tool used in empire growth is unstoppable military might. That much is obvious. However, there’s another equally powerful tool of empire that isn’t quite so well recognised and that’s economic control, or more specifically monetary control. The nation that owns the planet’s main currency unit is also the de facto owner of the planet’s economy. Today the main global currency is the US dollar. Prior to that it was the British pound. The dollar assumed its global supremacy over the pound at about the same time as the US took over control of the global empire from Britain i.e. just after WW2.

The UN is allowed to pretend it has an effective police force, and providing that police force doesn’t interfere with the business of empire the UN is permitted to send its “peace-keepers” to certain conflict zones to play at being real policemen. However, the UN is not allowed any significant influence at all in how the global economy works; only adults are allowed to play that game. It therefore goes without saying that this is an area that’s ripe for development.

The UN could and should control the planet’s main currency unit using a fiat-based model. The ability of any one country to dominate the global monetary system is as obstructive to the eventual goal of global peace and justice as letting any one country have global military dominance.

The importance of campaigning for acceptance of the UN – or something very like it – as the rightful administrator of global peace and justice is very much in the interests of the 99%. The mighty leaders of the powerful nations will never tolerate such a situation and will therefore never instigate it; but the powerful nations are dependent on the support (or at least the acquiescence) of their own people. If a sizeable number of those people start demanding those powerful governments conform to international law the UN might be safely taken off its life-support and allowed to begin the long process of recovery. Our great trusted leaders will never voluntarily subordinate themselves to the authority of the UN, it’s up to the 99% to demand they do so. The 99% could and should support any indictments for war crimes and or crimes against humanity prepared for the likes of Tony Blair, George W Bush or Benjamin Netanyahu, for example, together with any similar indictment for any soldier above the rank of colonel who has been involved in such crimes, together with any similar indictment against the editors and owners of any media outlet that might have supported these crimes. The 99% could and should demand that the 1% and their lackeys be held accountable for any breach of international law.

The relevance of a properly empowered UN – or something very like it – to the ultimate goal of real international peace cannot be underestimated. A number of countries have tried in the past to throw-off the chains of oppression that bound them to the 1%. For the most part they always fail; not so much because of their own shortcomings but because of the interference of the powerful nations who see the domestic turmoil of others as an opportunity to be exploited, and because they want to ensure that their own people are not similarly inspired to overthrow their 1%. Perhaps the best well-known examples of this were the French and Russian revolutions, which were ultimately unsuccessful not because of any failure of new revolutionary governments but because of the relentless opposition of great foreign powers seeking to profit from the upheaval, and anxious to ensure that no example of successful rebellion be allowed to inspire their own oppressed masses.

In other words, whenever the 99% of some country eventually manage to rid themselves of their tyrants and attempt to create real freedom and justice for themselves their struggle is only just beginning; because from the moment their own 1% are crushed the global 1% immediately begin their counterattack. Only the UN – or something very like it – could overcome this ancient obstacle to the creation of real global peace and justice. It already has the legal authority to demand that fledgling revolutions be left alone to develop naturally and how people want them to develop. If the UN also had control of the global currency unit it could then actively assist those new nations to develop themselves by ensuring they were immediately able to trade with other nations. It isn’t enough for the 99% of any particular country to remove their own tyrannical 1%, they must also be protected from the attentions of the global 1%. Only a properly empowered UN – or something very like it – could do that; and only we, the 99%, can provide that empowerment. The patient can be resuscitated, but only we, the 99%, can do it.

A UN-type body should be the only organisation in the world with access to a militarised force, should it ever be needed; and it should also be able to control a global currency unit that could be used to finance its own activities and to ensure that every country is able to supply itself with essential goods and services. However, just like any other organ of public administration should, the UN must itself be directly answerable to the 99%. That’s the only way it could ever be really successful. Its functions and decision-making process must all be inclusive, open and transparent; and its administrators made personally accountable to the 99% for their actions. These things are not of themselves difficult to do, they just require the will of the 99% to do them.

John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.