Introducing the World Revolution

Origins: Our World

The World Revolution is conceived as a response to our current global crisis and to the whole array of critical problems and issues, throughout various parts of the planet, facing human beings and facing the natural environment.

The problems are serious. But they should be no new news to anyone who reads the newspapers or has the courage to look at the world with candid and honest eyes. For a majority of the world's people, these problems and the consequent hardships are self-evident facts of life and lie within the domain of immediate personal experience. For review, common examples of our world's major problems and crises include the following: human rights violations, war, civil and ethnic strife, the oppression of women, widespread poverty, pollution, global warming, deforestation, ozone depletion, discrimination and exploitation, hunger, overpopulation, crime, urban violence, illiteracy, the corruption of politicians and power-wielders, cultural malaise, spiritual emptiness and anxiety, ethical unconcern, mechanized schooling.

This is not to say that our world has no goodness or beauty in it. Not at all -- and quite the contrary. Our world is full of beauty and good things. In every part of the world, there are natural wonders of immense beauty: wildernesses, mountains, ocean shores, landscapes, lakes -- and from most places, one can view the sunset, the sunrise, or the full moon. Human-made wonders of beauty and testaments to goodness and positive achievements abound also. City parks. Museums. Arguably, man on the moon. The worlds of art, crafts and music. Cultural celebrations and festivals. An increased knowledge and understanding of the nature and workings of various aspects of our world. The Olympic games. And in many parts of the world, people live in relative social harmony and demonstrate a basic level of benevolence and respect towards their neighbors. And most of us either know or have heard tales of noble or compassionate individuals who have performed good deeds, or performed extraordinary tasks, individuals whose lives counter the notion that human nature is innately and forever corrupt.

And it is also not accurate to say that civilization and the human condition is completely degenerating and worse than any previous period of human history. Compared to past historical periods, both ancient and recent, our present day world demonstrates many improvements that have been made in various arenas of human life.

Nevertheless, in our present day world, there are problems. They are serious, and they demand attention and response. Some of these are unprecedented in human history and occur on a scale also unprecedented in the past.

Objectives: 4 World Order Values

Richard Falk, along with others of the World Order Models Project, have classified the various different social problems of our planet into four basic categories -- it is a classification scheme that serves the very helpful purpose of facilitating conceptualiztion, understanding, and discussion of the world situation. These four basic world problems are: war, social injustice, poverty, and environmental destruction.

In response to these four major problem areas, Falk and his associates derived four positive "world order values" or goals, the converse of the above:

1. Peace
2. Social justice
3. Economic well-being
4. Ecological balance

Borrowing, then, from Falk's theoretical scheme, these four goals comprise the foundational objectives of the world revolution:

The purpose and goal of the world revolution, as initially conceived, is to achieve the four "world order" values/objectives of: peace, social justice, economic well-being, and ecological balance.

The Unitary Objective: Social Well-Being

The aims of the world revolution can actually be simplified, for conceptual purposes, into one single goal, namely: social well-being.

This single and simple-to-use term, if defined and understood properly, provides a comprehensive, all-encompassing, synthetic ideal for the world revolution.
For futher clarification, the aim can be more accurately, less ambiguously, stated as: "transnational, ecological, social well-being." This expanded phrasing helps to make it clear that the term "social well-being" is not confined to the level of a single domestic society (but rather that it is global in intent) and that "social well-being" does not exclude ecological concerns (but rather that the natural environment is a central factor to human society and social well-being). The term "social," then, is used to designate the totality of aspects of human society, including political, economic, cultural, sociological, and ecological.

At present, "social well-being" appears to me to be the best, most convenient and expedient, most easily-accessible term that comes to mind to denote the unitary objective of the world revolution. Other possible equivalent terms might include the following: "the good society" (a term used by the Institute for Policy Studies), "quality of life" (a generic term most frequently used by social statisticians to measure and monitor the social well-being level of nations), "world order" or "global civic society" (terms both used by Richard Falk). Perhaps "global well-being" or "world well-being" (my own terms) may also have some plausibility.

"Social well-being" as the unitary objective of the world revolution, though it has yet to be fully defined, can be seen to include the following elements, which should accord with an intuitive derivation of the meaning of "well-being":

First, the basics of "social well-being" consist of the 4 world order values:
1. Peace
2. Social Justice
3. Economic well-being
4. Ecological balance

Second, "social well-being" can be delineated to include some of the following sub-elements:
a. just governance
b. basic physical needs fulfilled
c. economic security
d. quality education for all
e. ecologically sustainable
f. preservation of freedoms and rights
g. ethical culture
h. equality of opportunity
i. social harmony
j. justice in the workplace
k. life-affirming culture
l. healthy, esthetic environment
m. opportunity & encouragement for the fulfillment of "personal well-being"

The Nature of the Revolution

With the basic objectives now defined, I will discuss at this point three aspects to the nature and qualitative characteristics of the "world revolution," in order to clarify further the meaning of this rather grandiose and provocative title.

First, the world revolution is and will be nonviolent. Most of the major revolutions in world history have been physically violent in nature, involving militancy and the organized use of arms -- hence "world revolution" may ring of violent, armed social upheaval. This revolution, however, will be categorically nonviolent in nature. It will not be necessary to be a pure pacifist in one's personal ideological orientation. World revolutionaries will not have to believe in the absolute immorality or illigitimacy of violence as a means to achieve perceived moral ends, in either domain of personal affairs or social change. But they will commit, in the arena of actual action and activity, to the renunciation of physical force, coercion or violence as a weapon or tactic in any activity connected to the world revolution. The world revolution aims to achieve a nonviolent, peaceful world -- and it will not use or advocate violence as a means to this end. The world revolution has been inspired at its origins by the spirits and moral examples of M. K. Gandhi and M. L. King, Jr., and, for one thing, it would be a gross disrespect to them, the foremost advocates of nonviolence in modern history, to diverge from this cardinal value which they lived, fought and died for.

Second, the world revolution is intended to be a large-scale movement, global in its scale and holistic or comprehensive in its scope. "Large-scale," "global," "holistic," and "comprehensive" are some of the basic qualities which distinguish the world revolution as a unique force in the world arena, in relation to the more limited levels and scopes of activity of the already existing movements, organizations and programs for social change. Though the world revolution will not be a separate or distinct entity from existing programs and movements, it will lend a new quality to their activities: a larger supporting background infrastructure of activism and a global context within which they might see themselves.

W. Warren Wagar, who first sounded the call for a world revolution in his book Building the City of Man: Outlines of a World Civilization, explained the need for a large-scale movement in his chapter entitled "The Policy of the Whole Hog." I quote here this essential chapter:

"Unfortunately master strategists of world revolution are in chronically short supply. It is easier to attend to selected small problems ready at hand. The general public, and most intellectuals as well, dither from one issue to another. Now it is Korea, now Algeria, now Vietnam. Petitions for world government are followed by civil-rights demonstrations, which in turn give way to bomb-shelter building and emigration to New Zealand. Everyone rallies around the Common Market; next the Peace Corps; then campus revolution. Every year brings its new approved activity: marches on nuclear installations, silent vigils, ghetto riots, draft-card burnings, ecology crusades. The current persuasion or obsession of every man, woman, and child over the age of nine is readily identifiable by his dress, hair, ornamentation, and insignia, which undergo complete stylistic metamorphoses at least wice a decade. But nothing every really changes. We do not give one hour or one dollar in a thousand to the solving of world problems, and only one of every thousand that we do give is not dissipated in haphazard, uncoordinated, miscellaneous philanthropy.

All the movements taken to task in this chapter have something to contribute to the search for a new world. I lament only their lack of broader visions and more versatile strategies. We must pull ourselves together, in spite of everything. Developing a master strategy for world revolution means a drastic simplification of purpose, and at the same time a drastic complexification of effort.

Our goal must be, quite simply, a new organic world civilization, a new sociocultural, economic, and political environment for the species Homo sapiens, with a new organic relationship to the larger environment of earth and cosmos. Such a goal simplifies our world view, but it does not make our task any easier or smaller. Just the opposite. The search for social justice, personal freedom, truth and meaning, peace, well-being, and the good life are not superseded by the search for a new civilization, but are assimilated directly into it. Civilization building requires disciplined attention to all the needs of progressive mankind. In coming chapters, therefore, we shall have to discuss politics, law, religion, philosophy, culture, human rights, economics, education, ecology, the universe itself--all in relationship to our vision of the desirable future of mankind.

Nothing can be left out, because everything is collapsing. Proposals to repair the old civilizations, or replace them piece by piece, are madness in reason's mask. H. G. Wells relates an appropriate parable in one of his last books on world order. The survivors of a vessel lost at sea have found refuge on a desert island, where the most likely source of food is a wild pig. The pig, of course, objects. Despite their great hunger, the survivors put forward reasonable suggestions for satisfying their needs without causing too much discomfort to the pig. One man will be content with a loin chop, another with the left ham, a third will settle for chitterlings. The cabin boy, however, points out that the animal is unlikely to agree to any diminution of himself whatsoever. In such a situation, the only policy that makes sense is to kill the whole hog and be done with it."

Third, the world revolution is intended to be definitive in its efficacy and urgent in its time-frame. That is, it intends to translate its objectives into actual facts of social reality and to achieve these objectives (on a global scale) within the relatively short time period of 100 years ("short" considering the magnitude of the task and the normal historical pace of civilizational changes). To actually achieve global "social well-being" and the four "world order" objectives, especially within the period of a century, will require a social transformation of such enormous breadth and depth that it will have to be considered a "revolution" by any social or historical standard.

Methods & Means: How It's Going to Work

Betty Reardon, in one of her books on peace education, delineated three levels of social change activity:

1. Reform: changing existing practices within existing structures and institutions
2. Reconstruction: changing and redesigning the social structures and institutions themselves
3. Transformation: multi-level change, including the domain of human values, attitudes, and beliefs

The world revolution is intended to effect progressive social change at all three levels: reform, reconstruction, and transformation.

How will it do this? The basic plan is this. The world revolution will build upon the work of already existing movements, programs, organizations and institutions throughout the world that are involved in progressive social change efforts (at all three levels of the Reardon scheme). The role of the world revolution in relation to the existing projects will be multifold. Listed here are some of the basics, as initially conceived:

a. Attempt to unify, consolidate and coordinate the various existing programs into a larger collective movement of much greater social, political and cultural force.

b. Consolidate an initial world revolutionary constituency -- with sufficient numbers of people so as to be able to influence the values of the rest of the populace as well as to effect national opinion and policy.

c. Enhance the efficacy of existing programs by (a) providing a vast, efficient
communication network and activist infrastructure for the sharing of information, ideas, and tactics, and by (b) monitoring the most effective strategies and social change methods/programs and disseminating this information to others in the same field.

d. Bring the work of researchers and scholars together with the work of activists,
together with the work of policy-advocates and policy-makers, together with the work of educators, together with the work of writers and authors, etc. -- so that the power and efficacy of each is considerably enhanced.

e. Provide a holistic, comprehensive conceptual framework and context for various
programs of social activism.

In addition to this basic methodology, the world revolution will also consist of newly devised approaches, programs and strategies for progressive social change. Two examples of possibilities include the following:

a. Developing a "world party," perhaps akin to the existing Eurpean-based "green party," that advocates the world order objectives in the national-governmental arena.

b. Developing and promoting a new conceptual worldview to serve as a new
philosophical and value framework to guide the normative aspects of global

In particular, there are two special, major projects which will be related, and perhaps integral, to the world revolution: (1) Earth State and (2) the United People's Organization. I will introduce these here, only briefly, as further examples of world revolution plans and activity.

a. Earth State is a vision/plan for a future "global civic society" or "organic world
civilization," conceived as a replacement to the nation-state system, organized as a single political entity, manifesting in its structural and institutional organization
the "world order" values, and fully realizing in its civilization the goal of "social well-being."

b. The United People's Organization is conceived as an equivalent to the United
Nations, but representing the world's people rather than the world's
governments. Its purposes would include the management of global human affairs,
issues and problems (including ecological), being a true representative of
the world's peoples in the face of governmental power and the nation-state
system, providing a global forum for the discussion of social trans-national affairs
(global 'town-meeting'), make policy recommendations and demands, and, possibly, to facilitate transition from the nation-state system to Earth State.

Closing Words

In actuality, the world revolution already exists. There are already large numbers of extraordinary, as well as ordinary, people actively involved in progressive social change efforts, who are doing excellent work, and whose activities can certainly be called "revolutionary" in their nature. A progressive social and global consciousness is growing among the world's people, most strikingly perhaps in regards to the natural environment.

The idea, then, is to give this existing fire more fuel -- and to give it a new title: "the world revolution." The title, it is hoped, shall lend an inspiring sense of grandiosity to the cause of building a better world.


(Spring, 1994 / Seattle, USA)