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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/14/15

Trans-Pacific Partnership versus National Sovereignty: A False Dilemma

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Message Dr. Glen T. Martin
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Our conceptual problem is that we lack a truly global perspective on the world system as organized in the service of economic and political domination. And we lack a corresponding insight into its possibilities for transformation in the service of human liberation. As Chase-Dunn puts this, we lack "a 'utopian' goal against which to organize criticism and more importantly, to direct progress." This has led "erstwhile progressives and leftish intellectuals into nihilism and endless relativism" [9].

Such a goal, which is both practical and "utopian," is provided by the Constitution for the Federation of Earth [10]. It alone recognizes the people of Earth as sovereign. Human rights and dignity, after all, are universal and not predicated on arbitrary territorial boundaries. As Emery Reves pointed out in 1946, this is the only legitimate sovereignty. False territorial sovereignty pretends that the people of some particular nation are sovereign to the exclusion of the rest of humanity, their rights and dignity [11]. It is human beings who are sovereign and who have the right to flourish in equality, dignity, and security, not the people of this or that territorial segment.

It is, of course, correct to fight against passage of the TPP, but it is foolish to think that defending the sovereignty of one's nation will ultimately win the battle against the capitalist system, or that it can end war, or protect our planetary environment. This is a battle that cannot be won through the sovereign nation-state system since that very system is at the heart of capitalism, war, and environmental degradation.

The only route to democracy and freedom for humankind is for the people of Earth to use their legitimate authority through an Earth Constitution and a World Parliament that legislates a decent system of property rights laws and ensures genuine public banking on behalf of every citizen of the Earth. These features are built into the Earth Constitution from the very beginning. It posits a system of reasonable economic equality, global environmental protection, disarmament, and fundamental democratic freedoms for everyone. This document can and should serve as the "utopian goal" for progressives: making possible both a standard of criticism of the current system and a vision of how things could genuinely be different.

Both globalization, as represented by the TPP, AND the system of sovereign nation-states constitute our problem. It is not one versus the other. It is a matter of having the courage and vision to realize that the entire world system is broken through the inseparable interface of the system of competitive territorial nation-states and the emerging global ruling class. The 1% need this fragmented system of nations to keep humanity disunited and divided in order to continue consolidation of their power over the entire globe.

They can only be defeated by a legitimate global power bigger than they are: the united sovereign authority of the people of Earth. Let's put the 1% in jail where they belong, along with the heads of sovereign nation-states who are their lackey's and spokespersons. Let us use the Earth Constitution as our conceptual weapon, our ideal standard, and our ultimate goal.


[1] Boswell, Terry and Chase-Dunn, Christopher, The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism: Toward Global Democracy. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000, p. 33.

[2] Capital, Vol. I, Part I, sect. 4.

[3] Empire with Imperialism: The Globalizing Dynamics of Neo-liberal Capitalism. Zed Books, 2005, p. 14.


[5] The Globalization of Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms. Zed Books, 1999, p. 25.

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Glen T. Martin is professor of philosophy and chair of the Peace Studies Program at Radford University in Virginia. President of the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA), the Institute on World Problems (IOWP), and International (more...)

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