The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be ... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We join together to build peace by changing hearts and policies from a paradigm and strategies of Domination to a paradigm and strategies Generosity and Caring for Others.
We recognize that Western countries have developed market societies that cultivate and enshrine competition, individualism, materialism and selfishness, thereby undermining the foundations for societies and international relationships of peace, justice and love.
We in the Network of Spiritual Progressives believe that the U. S. can take a very different role, one that can be a cornerstone of a peaceful world.
To that end, we call on the United States to:
- Take leadership in getting all the advanced industrial societies to participate in a Global Marshall Plan that would dedicate hundreds of billions of dollars each year for the next thirty years to the cause of eliminating hunger, homelessness, inadequate education, and inadequate health care in under-developed countries. (This money could come from various revenue streams such as a 1% tax on international financial transactions over $1million. The supervision of these expenditures can be done by a newly formed and internationally recognized body of spiritual leaders, academics, health care workers, educators, and community organizers to ensure that the monies are not siphoned off by selfish national leaders but instead are used in creative ways to achieve the goals cited.)
- Immediately eliminate the multilateral debt of the world’s poorest countries. (Currently the world’s poorest countries spend more on debt repayments than they do on health care.)
- Initiate a program of global ecological repair to undo the damage done by 150 years of environmental irresponsibility by the advanced industrial societies (including both capitalist and socialist societies), and become a leader in creating policies and technologies that minimize pollution and address Global Climate Change.
- Require that every citizen give at least two years of national service to be spent in delivering services, providing training, education or otherwise assisting in the implementation of the Global Marshall plan.
- Use the full weight of its resources and power to push Israel to end the Occupation of the West Bank and to then fund the development of a Palestinian state that is economically and politically viable, while providing leadership in the creation of an international cartel committed to providing compensation to Palestinian refugees for their years of refugee-hood (on a sliding fee scale according to current need), and providing military security for Israel.
- Develop new guidelines for international trade which promote and reward ecological safety and sustainability, workers’ rights, respect for indigenous peoples and for the world’s multicultural realities, and a clear commitment to promote the well-being of the least powerful people on the planet.
- Adopt the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the US Constitution, an extend its concerns to supervise the impact of US corporations on all other countries in which they operate, sell goods or services, or otherwise impact life and the environment. Meanwhile, let communities around the world develop the questions and categories for an Ethical Impact Report to be used by juries in determining what issues to assess and how to assess them when engaged in their deliberations about whether a given company should be allowed to continue to operate.
- Demonstrate in word and deed that it is not trying to “buy influence” but to genuinely respond to a new set of priorities, embodying a New Bottom Line of generosity and kindness. Implement this strategy in a new spirit, with a willingness to atone for past misdeeds, to approach other countries in a spirit of cooperation and repentance, and to commit to learning from the histories and traditions of these countries lessons that might be valuable for us as we attempt to build a society based on generosity and open-heartedness. Without this kind of a spirit, all the rest will be perceived as little more than bribery and will not work.
Sounds visionary? Well, yes. But it often turns out that the visionary approach is far more practical than the approaches of the pragmatists who led us into the world in which terrorists struck on 9/11.
We recognize that the United States needs to make a sea change in our orientation to the world. That’s what we did when we transcended the isolationism of the early twentieth century in order to fight the war against Hitler, and that is what is needed if we are to effectively fight the war on terror. This sea change is a change toward taking seriously our highest values, and seeking to embody them in our actual activities in the world.
We recognize that true American self-interest lies with the well-being of the entire human race and the planet. The best way to accomplish our self-interest is to give equal attention to providing for the best interests of the other. To get that message to be taken seriously by others, it must be taken seriously by us. Which is why the call for A New Bottom Line in American is actually the key to our foreign policy.
Ultimately, we are calling for a fundamental change of culture and a change of heart. If we can approach the world with this new spirit of love, generosity and humility, we will achieve precisely what the anti-terror warriors have not been able to achieve — genuine homeland security that is sustainable and effective, and the kind of world in which people everywhere enjoy societies shaped by peace, justice and love.
Our major focus is to spread these ideas, using our Campaign for a Global Marshall Plan as the vehicle through which we can raise the deeper questions that provoke a fundamental rethinking of US strategy and policy.
We hope you will join us!