CHANGING GLOBAL PARADIGMS IS DAUNTING, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE: HOPE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (AliciaYamin)

1. It was Thomas Kuhn who noted in his famous analysis of how revolutions in the physical sciences happen, that when the dominant paradigm that organizes our thinking and actions increasingly clashes with the reality most of us experience, that specific paradigm is ripe for change.(i)

(i): Reality does not forgive theory a single error… (Lev D. Trotsky)

2. Now, to achieve a world in which millions of people are ‘left behind,’ let alone systematically crushed, we urgently need a paradigm shift, as opposed to just a gap-filler for the ubiquitous market failures.(ii) (Beware though that there is always a danger that the powers-that-be block such a progressive shift –and that there is an equally significant danger that they coopt the shift). (A.Yamin)

(ii): Being a good consumer does not equal being a good human, despite what the current dominant paradigm would have us believe.



3. From the point of view of their genesis, the universal European principles and values (more recently also said Western) are a contradiction in terms because, if they are European, they cannot be considered universal and, if they are universal, they are not European. What distinguishes European principles is the political, economic and cultural dominance of all countries that, since the XV-XVI century, have seized the right to claim these principles as their own and impose them on others under the pretext of being universal. (Note that since the end of the First World War this claim has been Euro-American).

4. All values are universal, but some are more important than others. With John Locke (1632-1704), at the dawn of capitalism, the right to individual property preceded all others. Since then (or before) it has been legitimate to violate other of the universal principles and values, because the legitimate interpretation given to universal values is that which is set by the hegemonic power of the moment that, among other, authorizes and justifies the repression of citizens’ freedoms.

5. When it is not possible to silence the violations of universal values by the allies of the hegemonic power, such violations are trivialized or justified referencing them to other supposedly superior values. Long live the prevailing hypocrisy and duplicity!

6. Universal values are found in a catalog that can be consulted by all, but only the hegemonic powers decide what goes into these values. On the one hand, values and principles of some non-European in origin are considered Western, but non-Western contributions are not admitted into the catalog of universal values. It is appropriate to ask how long the catalog of universal values will be under Western domination and with what consequences for human rights. Will there be a transition from Eurocentrism to sinocentrism? Or can we finally aspire to a world without cardinal points or hierarchical centers where cultural and political diversity is possible, under the protection of emancipatory values that ought not be violated according to the convenience of those who have more power? (Boaventura de Sousa and Santos).

7. So, as relates to the power of domination, there are three main forms in which the paradigm establishes power over us:

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Governments approve proposal for International Tax Cooperation at UN

Civil society organizations across the world welcome the approval of the Africa Group’s proposal for inclusive and effective tax cooperation at the United Nations. The resolution was approved by consensus at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today and is a first step towards an inclusive, democratic and transparent process to reform global tax architecture.

For over two decades, developing countries have been calling for an intergovernmental tax negotiation process at the UN, which would allow all countries to participate in discussions and decision-making related to tax on an equal footing. “This is a historic win for the tax justice and the broader economic justice movement and a big step forward to combat illicit financial flows and tax abuse,” said Dereje Alemayehu, Executive Coordinator of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ). “Africa Group’s leadership has paved the way for starting an inclusive process at the UN to build a fair and effective international tax system. This resolution heralds a great opportunity for all UN Member States to move beyond words to action for the much-needed reforms of the global financial architecture,” explained Chenai Mukumba, Policy Research and Advocacy Manager at the Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA). 

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Open Veins of Africa Bleeding Heavily

The plunder of Africa’s natural resources drained by capital flight is holding it back yet again. Africa faces protracted recessions, debt distress, rubbing salt into deep wounds from the past.

Read the article by Ndongo Samba Sylla and Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Billionaires are far from harmless

Fuelling the climate crisis, they’re among the most dangerous people on Earth

The best hope of averting climate disaster may well be wealth taxes that significantly reduce the wealth and power of the superrich

Billionaires are far from harmless. Fuelling the climate crisis, they’re among the most dangerous people on Earth | The Star

ITUC’s Freedom Report

This Freedom Report and its case studies remind us of the critical role unions play in opposing conflict, authoritarianism, oppression and exclusion.

The report includes case studies from:

  • In Colombia, unions have been at the forefront of decades of struggle for peace and social justice.
  • In Northern Ireland, the trade union movement has long been a motor for peace and overcoming division and sectarianism.
  • In Myanmar, the unions continue their longstanding peace and democracy struggle in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances under a ruthless military dictatorship.
  • In Tunisia, the UGTT and others were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to build a post-dictatorship country with a new constitution. A commitment that remains just as strong as the country faces new challenges.

Freedom Report 2022: Unions Building Peace – International Trade Union Confederation (ituc-csi.org)

ITUC World Congress

ITUC, the International Trade Union Confederation, holds its 5th Congress in Australia this week. ITUC represents over 200 million workers in over 1230 countries. This congress can be seen as the workers’ parliament.

The role of trade unions for avoiding and solving conflicts is put into focus, as well as the need for a new social contract.

Said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary: “Right now, too many political leaders and institutions just don’t seem to get it. The vulnerability of many economies has never been greater. But again, they’re letting working people down and lurching to their ‘orthodox’ macroeconomic responses, proven time and time again to only deepen global inequalities and destroy lives and prospects all over the world.

“We need a new economic model with new business models that are based on full employment, decent work and shared prosperity. That means a new social contract with shared prosperity and just transitions that will help stabilise communities and economies, generating a common security of peaceful coexistence that simultaneously addresses poverty and exclusion, creating the opportunity for investing in the care economy to create high quality jobs that support societies. This is about nothing less than creating the conditions for peace, social justice and survival.”

ITUC 5th World Congress opens in Melbourne, Australia – International Trade Union Confederation (ituc-csi.org)

Least Developed Countries and their Graduation

In 1971, there were 25 ‘Least Developed Countries’, considered as being particularly poor. In 1991, there were already 52. Today, they are 46, or still twice as many as half a century ago.

How do countries graduate? What are the criteria? How and when do they change?

An interesting research by Global Policy Forum and Social Watch!

Richest nations spend 30 times as much on military as on climate finance

This TNI report – co-researched with StopWapenhandel and Tipping Point North South – delves into the impact of the global arms race on climate change and finds that:

  • Richest nations (known as Annex 2 countries in climate negotiations) are spending 30 times as much on military as on climate finance
  • The military of NATO countries like US and UK are keen to say they are tackling emissions but in practice there is no evidence the military can reduce emissions while increasing its ‘bootprint’
  • Rather than providing climate finance, the richest countries are selling arms to the 40 most climate-vulnerable nations fueling conflict and instability as extreme weather worsens
  • Egypt is a disturbing case-study of a nation supported by arms deals rather than climate finance which aids a military regime in repressing its peoples

There has been silence on the impact of militarism on climate change for too long, but there are signs of growing awareness including at the UN climate talks (COP27). Alongside our research, there was an official event at the UNFCCC that looked at the Ukraine government’s calculations of war-time emissions. There was also a release of this report on 10 November that estimated the global military carbon footprint as making up 5.5% of global emissions (if it were a country it would be the fourth biggest in terms of emissions in the world).

The Super Rich are Funding Climate Devastation

A report based on the analysis of investments by 125 of the world’s richest billionaires …

The super-rich are funding climate devastation, report shows – The Boston Globe

For a Just Transition: a message for COP27

A Red Carpet Towards a Just Transition: Don’t Forget Social Justice! Not with preaching less and less and less but instead more wellbeing and more welfare. And global commons!

Leave no one behind: the red carpet back to the future! | Meer

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