Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category

The Global Right and Left and Immanuel Wallerstein

By Johan Galtung

Immanuel Wallerstein is unique. Nobody else has presented such a coherent theory of what he calls the modern world-system, from “the long 16th century” up till today; essentially capitalist. There are ups and downs during those four centuries. He is very much at home in the economic Kondratiev cycles–A for up, B for down, but not that much down–and in the political-military hegemonic cycles of the would-be hegemons in the same period.

Read Immanuel Wallerstein and become wiser.

He warns against the Global Right “Lampedusa tactic” of “changing things so that they remain the same”. And insists on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity for the Global Left–but sees the French Revolution more as normalizing change than as people’s sovereignty. Like faith in the middle classes: they are actually helping the Global Right, when in minority they are enlarged by the majority working classes, when in majority they neglect the working class minority left behind.

Right now Wallerstein sees capitalism in crisis with no remedy – of which I am not so sure – and the US hegemony also in a crisis with no remedy – a view I share – as the fall of an empire with local elites killing for them; now they have to do most of the killing themselves.

The Global Right, in power for a long time, is now faltering. Time for the Global Left?

Or, does Zizek’s brilliant formula “the left never misses a chance to miss a chance” apply?

Wallerstein offers six Global Left proposals: Read the rest of this entry »

Russia and China right now

By Johan Galtung

The background is the two major communist parties in the world. Russia Communist Party-Bolshevik made the November 1917 revolution; from 1922 the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, CPSU(b). CPC, the Communist Party of China, now celebrating its 95th anniversary, made the 1 October 1949 revolution. World-shaking events; in the world’s biggest state in area and in the world’s biggest state in population.

The revolutions cut into the modernity contradictions in the State-Capital-People triangle by conquering State-military and police. Two lasting achievements of CPSU(b): State Planning of the economy – maybe five years at the time, pjatiletka – now found in most countries; and lifting some bottom up to meet basic needs, surprisingly quickly. But CPSU(b) exercised gross structural violence in the countryside. And CPC, imitating CPSU(b), made the same mistake to start with.

Then they became different. Russia got stuck with the Party on top of the State, for some people, but not by the people. CPC, like CPSU, did not – and still does not – permit FAFE, fair and free elections at the national level. But China gave People a voice in the 70,000 People’s Communes, helping them lift themselves up when in misery.

China did not see State and Capital as either-or; like Bolshevik Russia opting for State through expropriation, and neo-liberal USA for Capital through privatization, manipulating and spying on the People. China opened for the neither-nor local level, for the compromise of some welfare state, and for the both-and of their capi-communism.

This intellectual-political flexibility, rooted in daoist holism and an unending force-counter-force dialectic, not in Western faith in a final state, Endzustand, opened for two very different “communisms”.

How are they doing these days, those two communist parties?

The Russian party is out for the time being; and in came capitalism. But over and above that discourse looms the history of a huge Russian Orthodox empire attacked by Vikings, Mongols-Tatars, Turks, Napoleon and Hitler, Catholic Christianity, and Cold Wars with extremist US evangelism, now over Ukraine too.

Yeltsin – hated by Gorbachev (INYT, 3 Jun 2016) – gave the West what they wanted.

Popular Putin tries to build autonomous Russia without Western-capitalist imperialism, probably successful in the longer run. However, in Russia the long run is very long. Read the rest of this entry »

Human Rights – A permanent challenge

By Johan Galtung

Concluding Remarks, Colloque, Université Catholique Lyon, 5-6 Feb 2016

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948 – the two Conventions of 16 November 1966 are international law – was edited by a committee of Men; Older, White, Bourgeois, Lawyers, French: MOWBLF!

Nothing about women’s and children’s rights; wait till the 1980s.

The perspective focuses on individuals, not collectives, peoples.

There are no rights to access to toilet, nor to sexuality: well-mannered bourgeois do such things but do not talk or write about it. Art. 27.2 even protects remuneration for professionals like themselves.

The “human rights=legal claims” discourse defines underdog goals but is silent on topdog goals: status quo. Their justification: “If they rise, they will treat us the way we treated them”. Revenge. In a conflict discourse, all parties have to be heard, for solutions.

But the legal discourse is DMA–Dualist-Manichean-Armageddon; two parties, rights vs wrongs, final battle in the Supreme Court. No accommodation to legitimate concerns of the losing side. The winner takes all.

And they were French. What does, or did, that mean? Read the rest of this entry »

Religious Fundamentalism-Extremism-Violence

By Johan Galtung

To navigate these difficult conceptual waters we need some rules. Here are three suggestions (the violence can be direct – as sometimes prescribed by the Abrahamic religions – or structural as by Hinduism):

1. Anchor “religious fundamentalism” in religious scriptures taken literally according to the fundamentalists, not as “interpreted”;
2. Anchor “extremism” in violent action, verbal or physical;
3. Anchor “religious extremism” in violent action justified-legitimized by religious scriptures, by fundamentalists or not.

Fundamentalism has to do with inner faith, belief. Extremism has to do with outer violence against Other, and against Self (like flagellation for being a sinner). Keep them separate. And be careful.

We can have fundamentalism without extremism. The fundamentalist may believe much, beyond the beliefs of others, yet not cross the border to violence. We may say: let him-her do so; it is not obvious that fundamentalists are more violent than non-fundamentalists.

We can have extremism without fundamentalism. Most people exercising violence believe in nothing, beyond “doing their job”.

There are two criteria for “religious extremism”: Read the rest of this entry »

PressInfo # 347 – The world beyond global disorder

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung turns 85 on UN Day 2015

The global nation-state based system is in deep crisis. The West’s relative decline is obvious, except to the West itself. This multi-dimensional crisis will, of course, give way to something new – but what?

Lack of vision – sometimes even of knowledge and empathy – among those in power seems a defining characteristics of our times.

Individually as well as nationally, we are living in iTimes, not weTimes. Add to that blowbacks from history and Western knee-jerk militarist responses – and the next few years will be tough.

The creativity and innovation we find in commercial and social entrepreneurship and in the arts, seem frighteningly absent in the world of politics.

Who would get elected anywhere on having an exciting vision for the the world the next 25 or 40 years? No, you must know about national affairs and economy – while, by the way, national economy doesn’t exist anymore.

Few young people, including students or young scholars, find it attractive to join party politics.

But can humanity survive with only criticism, negative energy, bad news and no vision?

Will we work for a better world if we can’t see it?

Dr. Johan Galtung has devoted his life to the vision of a less violent, more peaceful world – from the local to the civilisational level – implementing the norm of the Charter of the UN – turning 70 on October 24, 2015 – that peace shall be established by peaceful means.

Galtung – one of a handful of peace visionaries with a macro perspective – himself turns 85 on UN Day. He has mediated in more than 100 conflicts since 1957 and published 164 books. And he still travels the world speaking and writing. More about him here by Antonio. C. S. Rosa.

He is one of the youngest and most innovative minds in world affairs, always asking the essential, healing question: What can be done?

That’s what the good doctor does – helps conflicting parties address their problems, reduce their violence and develop a vision of a better future – together or side-by-side with respect.

Making the seemingly incompatible more compatible through creativity, dialogue, vision.

Here is his latest column – which TFF publishes every week. It synthesizes where we stand and ought to go.

As humanity.

And with humanity.

- Jan Oberg

And now Galtung himself…

Keynote, 13th Session World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” – Rhodes, Greece, 9 Oct 2015

The strength of this forum is its civilization focus; let us use it for analysis and remedies. Major forms of disorder use violence; war is state organized violence. The most belligerent states are the United States of America and Israel, both with civilization roots.

National Evangelism, the US Protestant Christian civilization – more national than evangelical – justifies US warfare as exceptionalism of a people chosen by God, with a manifest destiny to run the world. Orthodox Judaism justifies Israeli warfare to conquer and expand from Nile to Euphrates as a religious right and duty to the Eternal One.

The third most belligerent country, the UK, no longer believes it is God-chosen but chosen by the USA; not quite the same but something.

The root causes – and soften the ideas

But the root cause of global disorder lies in the Occident – with Islam – seeing itself as the single, universal civilization valid for all at all times, all others being mistakes. Missionary activity, slavery, colonialism, exploitative trade, robbery capitalism, follow.

The USA got from Judaism the idea of Chosen People-Promised Land. Yet Israel is Read the rest of this entry »

The Korean peninsula: A view of the future

By Johan Galtung

Seoul

There was a big conference in 1972 in Kyoto, well over 40 years ago; that was my first effort, with thousands, millions of others. On the agendas for these countless encounters the U-word, “unification”, loomed high.

In Kyoto, I made a distinction between unifying the Korean nation by opening the border for projects beyond unifying families, and unifying the two states. Which one are we talking about?

The second is problematic if it means one state–and one president!–less. Could wait; from a human point of view unifying the nation has priority. Building on that a Korean Community with two states could emerge; building on that a Korean Federation with capital neither in Seoul nor in Pyongyang; building on that, maybe one day a unitary state.

I rejected any idea of one collapsing and the other taking over – “the German model”. Unification is symmetric, neutral, a nuclear-free UN-monitored Korean peninsula with non-provocative, defensive defense.

As such ideas emerged, about forty concrete cooperation projects were elaborated. One of them was a Peace Railroad running through the Koreas, connecting my wife’s Japan and my own Norway, in Western Europe. Could have happened but did not. China did it: the Silk Railroad to Madrid.

An important point became increasingly clear. The real conflict was not between North and South Korea, but between the USA and North Korea: the USA denying North Korea a peace treaty and normalization, hating the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea-DPRK for not having capitulated; working 60+ years for its collapse. Read the rest of this entry »

The year 2015: First third report

By Johan Galtung

In my columns, “The Year 2015-What Are We in For?”, I identified four unfolding, dramatic processes: the West will continue fighting unsuccessfully and violently to keep their world grip; Eurasia will expand and consolidate successfully and nonviolently; Islam will expand and consolidate partly violently; Latin America and Africa will expand and consolidate, spearheaded by Brazil, South Africa, BRICS.

A third of the year 2015 has now passed; let us take stock.

Headlines in the International New York Times tell the story:

18-19 April 2015: “U.S. is said to risk losing economic leadership”; “–a divided nation shedding hard-won clout”, “We’re withdrawing from the central place we had on the world stage”.

And for the UK: 29 April: “Britain’s drift from the world stage looms over the vote”.

These are statements about leadership, about being the center as a model to emulate; controlling world stage politics; not about economic growth. Losing leadership and drifting away may actually increase growth: control is a costly, non-productive endeavor for most businesses. Sensing that may accelerate the decline as world power. Read the rest of this entry »

Calling for an early Japan-China-South Korea summit

By Daisaku Ikeda

SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN TIMES
MAR 5, 2015

As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, I believe that Japan should take this as an opportunity to renew its pledge to build lasting peace and step up its efforts to contribute to stability and development throughout Asia. Strengthening of cooperation to address environmental problems and disaster risk reduction is a particularly urgent priority.

In November last year… continued here >

An Octagon world: Conflict or cooperation. What can we learn from each other?

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

“They can choose to focus on the worst in others, criticizing, building on paranoia and worst case analysis, “security”. Or choose to focus on the best, with cooperation as dominant mode, conflict as recessive. They can cooperate for mutual and equal benefit like in good trade, exploring each others’ comparative political-cultural advantages. They can do it.”

Read this unusual global analysis here.

A quick glance at Indonesia-Malaysia

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

Muhammadiyah University – Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Coming from Malaysia, the two neighbors are incredibly different. Indonesia, richer in ancient cultures, larger in territory, an archipelago of thousands of islands, has GDP/capita 3,500 and Malaysia 11,500; three times+ more. Products of brutal Western colonialism, Dutch for Indonesia, English for Malaya, which became Malaysia. Exploited, robbed, impoverished. Both hoped that World War II, fought for democracy-human rights, would end that in 1945, but got wars to keep colonialism instead–till 1949 and 1957, respectively.

Both had been occupied for 3 1/2 years by Japan going south to beat the US-imposed boycott, heading for oil resources in Indonesia (Malaysian oil not yet discovered). There was a difference: Indonesia’s future leader, Soekarno and his no. 2 Mohammad Hatta had lived in Japan, made friends and met the Dutch returning to “their” colony fighting as a free country – no such freedom in Malaya.

So, why the difference? It is almost like a social experiment.

The key is the local Chinese minority, in Malaysia used by the English against the Malay majority, as exploited workers in the tin mines, and as capitalists with their gangs in Penang and Singapore; in Indonesia also in the army and in the PKI, Indonesian Communist Party, the largest outside the Soviet bloc. Hard working, well organized, clever with money, they attracted much of the same hatred and violence as Jews in Germany and Armenians in Turkey – both ending with genocides.

So also in Indonesia, the massacre of 1965-66; planned by US think tanks and the CIA with the Indonesian government. Standard CIA tactic: rumors of imminent coup from the left, perhaps organizing some–the coup against Gorbachev 1991–and then a massive, well prepared, coup from the right. Half a million or so killed, General Suharto in power for three decades, giving USA the free access to the economy they wanted. Pillaging started and lasted; like under Yeltsin in Russia.

Riots came in 1969 to Malaysia, but the reaction was totally different: the New Economic Policy. Forty percent of Muslim Malays lived in misery, 35 percent of the economy was in English, and 20 percent in local Chinese hands. Majority Chinese from Singapore had left in 1965 and now Malaysia has a GDP/cap 55,200 by far no. 1 in ASEAN – some are still in the 1,000s.

The Malaysian government did not turn on the Chinese but lifted the bottom Malays up by positive discrimination – like across race and gender faultlines elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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