Who speaks for thee? (At the U.N.)

By Henry Lamb
web posted May 15, 2000

On May 22, thousands of people will descend on the United Nations in New York, in what is billed as the "Millennium Forum" They are "civil society's" representatives of the "peoples" of the world. Their purpose is to develop a set of recommendations for presentation to the "Millennium Assembly" of the United Nations, which will meet in September.

Who are these people? How were they chosen? What will they recommend?

Are they really speaking for you?

The individuals who will attend this function are members of NGOs (non-government organizations) that have obtained "consultative status" with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. There are currently 1603 such NGOs in the world. To be considered by the U.N. for this esteemed honor, the organization must declare that one its primary purposes is to "promote the aims, objectives, and purpose of the United Nations."

Organizations that oppose the "aims, objectives, and purpose of the United Nations," are automatically excluded from consideration and participation. NGOs that achieve this lofty status are referred to as "accredited" NGOs.

Next week's meeting in New York is a transitional step toward the creation of a new, permanent institution within the United Nations structure - The People's Assembly - first recommended by the U.N.-funded Commission on Global Governance in 1995.

The People's Assembly is supposed to be the voice of the people, in contrast to the General Assembly, which is supposed to be the voice of national governments. To create this new institution, selected individuals from approved NGOs held a series of planning meetings, beginning in 1997. Those who will be attending next week's Forum, are representatives of approved NGOs, who have completed a lengthy application, and have been carefully selected by a special committee of the most highly esteemed.

What will this prestigious assemblage recommend to the U.N. General Assembly? Whatever the U.N. wants recommended, of course. The theme for the Forum is "The United Nations for the 21st Century," (which is also the theme of the U.N. Millennium Assembly in September.) Recommendations will be advanced under six sub-themes:

1. Peace, Security and Disarmament. This translates to a standing army under the command of the Secretary-General, and control by the U.N. of the manufacture, sale, distribution, and licensing of all firearms.

2. The Eradication of Poverty, debt cancellation for poor countries, and social development. Expressed in practical language, this means simply: take money from the rich (using the force of international law) and give it to the poor (in those countries that comply with U.N. requirements), distributed with the assistance of accredited NGOs.

3. Human Rights. This term is so vague that in practice, it means whatever an official says it means in any given situation. The U.S. has been accused as the most serious violator of human rights because we over-consume.

4. Sustainable Development and the Environment. This handy catch-all sub-theme covers everything - literally. The basic recommendation from the Commission on Global Governance which this sub-theme addresses, calls for placing the "global commons" under the control of the U.N. Trusteeship Council. The global commons is defined to be: the atmosphere, outer space, non-territorial seas, and the related environment that supports human life. That's everything.

5. The Challenges of Globalization: Achieving Equity, Justice, and Diversity. This sub-theme seeks to convert the rainbow into a single color. The U.N. should ensure that there are no poor people by making certain that there are no rich people; the U.N. should dispense justice, and diversity will be achieved when the rainbow has only one color - whatever that color may be.

6. Strengthening and Democratizing the United Nations: Strengthening will come from measures such as the standing army, taxing authority, and elimination of the veto in the Security Council, all of which are on the agenda for the Millennium Assembly in September. Democratizing will come from forcing those remaining organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, to open their doors to "accredited" NGOs.

The individuals attending the Millennium Forum will be advancing this agenda. They would not be allowed to attend if they were in disagreement with the "aims, objectives, and purpose of the United Nations." They are supposed to be representing the peoples of the world.

On July 9, there will be another assemblage of NGO representatives in St. Louis. None of the NGOs has declared allegiance to the U.N. Nor has any individual been required to file a lengthy application to be approved by a select committee. These individuals have another agenda: to advance the principles of freedom in the 21st century. Instead of the U.N.-approved six sub-themes, the St. Louis group will seek ways to advance these ideas:

1. People have inherent, natural, unalienable rights to life, liberty property, and the pursuit of happiness - the foundation of sovereignty;

2. Governments exist expressly to protect these rights;

3. Governments derive power to protect these rights from the consent of the governed;

4. Public policies which constrain people's rights, therefore, must be enacted only by representatives elected by the people;

5. Less government is the best government.

6. No foreign government shall be allowed to supercede the authority of the government of the United States of America.

Who speaks for thee at the United Nations? The organizations meeting in St. Louis in July will not have a voice at the U.N. Millennium Assembly next September. The only voices that the U.N. will hear, will come from the Millennium Forum, and from the official government delegates appointed by the President. Appointees of the Clinton/Gore administration are among the strongest supporters of the U.N. agenda.

Those who are working to advance the principles of freedom may speak in a whisper, compared to the pounding propaganda produced by the advocates of global governance and amplified through a sympathetic media. But in the end, the power of the idea will determine the outcome. It was the power in the idea of freedom that inspired a collection of non-accredited, non- government organizations to challenge the overwhelming power of the British redcoats - to eventually prevail and establish this free nation.

It was another collection of non-accredited Senators who rose up in 1920 to reject the League of Nations - despite global pressure to create a world government that its proponents said could provide "peace, security, and global disarmament." When America's sovereignty was invaded in 1941, it was the power in the idea of freedom that mobilized, first a nation, and then the world, to crush the threats of world government under Hitler, or a Japanese emperor..

The idea, and the reality of freedom is again at stake. The idea of freedom has no reality except in those people who exercise it, and defend it. The people who are meeting in St. Louis do so because no one is speaking for them at the U.N., and too few are speaking for them in Washington. Those who wish to advance the principles of freedom want their voices heard.

Who speaks for thee?

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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