The Manifesto of the Dharma - Ethic Party for Decentralisation, World Peace and our Self-Realisation
The Ethic Party is supporting the ethical evolution of humanity. Our self-interested consumer consciousness needs to progress towards conscientious and spiritual humanitarian world-citizen-ethics. This understanding is necessary for a truly decentralised, democratic union of confederated nations, independently of the economic and military power of individual states.
This new UNO will coordinate the fate of the world for the wellbeing of the entire mankind. So that all nations with such a world confederation of states would cooperate, it needs the necessary spiritual consciousness of a world citizen ethics within the humans in all countries and on all social stages.
True world-citizen-ethics does not accept racist discriminations between humans, who were created by human preference due to extended egoism. We should feel obligated towards the beggar in the third world in the same way as to the neighbour directly in front of the house door. The goal of this solidarity is welfare and equal rights with all peoples and all cultures.
True world-citizen-ethics is not to confound with the economic globalization of powerful companies, which swallow the small ones, grow bigger and bigger and destroy all cultural diversities. It is the opposite of it, because it is based on decentralised, democratic understanding of local autonomy, self-determination and self-sufficiency, which all was taught to us by Mahatma Gandhi.
We resist with non-violent resistance (boycott) that the world is governed by those profit-oriented economists (global players). These global players are interested only in their own profit. They are a cause of the condition of the third world by not giving possibilities to these countries to develop, to sell their products at a fair price, or to practise self-reliance. In addition, we, the consumer, carry a large part of the responsibility as well, since we support with our consumption those global players. We are so dazzled by our consumption that we do not resist against them.
The Ethic Party resists the centralistic government bureaucracies and supports local autonomy. What is the technique of non-violent democracy? It is decentralisation. Violence logically leads to centralisation; the essence of non-violence is decentralisation. Gandhi has always been advocating such decentralisation of economic and political power in the form of, more or less, self-sufficient and self-governing communities.
True world-citizen-ethics is also not to confound with the "New World Order" of those, who set up everywhere obelisks, print pyramids on dollar bills and plot bloody revolutions and wars. It is that thought of decentralization, local autonomy and self-sufficiency, which must be spread together with the spiritual values of humanity on world-wide scale. A true world-citizen sees its obligation in helping to create a humanitarian world order. The archaic model of the right of the stronger (Might makes right!) must come to an end.
The economy may not dominate the world, because otherwise humanitarian values are kicked with the feet! We are therefore convinced of the fact that we must remove the global player’s power basis. We give them by our consumption the rule. Renouncement and boycott against certain products is our most powerful weapon in the fight against the global players. If we want peace and justice and do not want terrorism and wars, we must release the world from the hostage of those global Players. Nowadays wars are in truth economic wars and the religions are only used by the different parties, in order to instigate the masses.
We, the members of the Ethic Party have decided to bring an end to today's habit of watered-down sweet speech and superficial cosmetic treatment. We analyse and seize our problems right at the bottom of their roots. According to Mahatma Gandhi, wisdom is in the service of truth. If we are truly objective, we are not to fight against evil but to establish what is good. Goodness drives out evil in the same way that light drives out darkness. Light itself does not cast any shadows. But we need to know what is light and how to establish this goodness.
If we want to overcome our misery and today’s problems faced by humanity we have to change our way of thinking, bring an end to our intellectual corruption and establish a golden "Age of Wisdom". The Term "The Age of Wisdom" has been established by Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) in his new Book "The 8th Habit". He describes the coming transformation of the present Age of Information into the new Age of Wisdom.
The Ethic Party was founded on the 1. August 2003 in Zurich, Switzerland and is our humble contribution for the start of this Age of Wisdom.
The Ethic Party is introducing a timeless and universal scale of ethics which leads us towards activities of all-embracing love. All people and creatures are part of a universal whole and we need to constantly remind ourselves that we are all members of one and the same family, the spiritual family of all living entities.
When we injure our "right" hand, our "left" hand comes to its aid straight away because both hands belong to the same body. In this same sense of unity we must help all of those with whom we live, using our all-embracing love to undertake work which is not simply for our own material benefit.
Mahatma Gandhi was an ethical intellectual who recognised the natural and universally applicable scale of ethics which is outlined in ancient Indian literature. He sought to apply this ethical standard to his own life and to society at large and he has showed us a path towards world peace and our own self-realization.
Mahatma Gandhi describes the perfect and complete stage of all-embracing love in the following words:
"To see the universal and all-pervading spirit of truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And anyone who strives to achieve this cannot afford to keep himself away from worldly life.
My devotional service has therefore taken me to the field of politics. And I can say without the slightest hesitation that anyone who claims spirituality has nothing to do with politics does not know the meaning of spirituality." (My Experiments With Truth)
The Gandhian way of the united democracies
Which way, then shall democracy go? The Ethic Party's answer is: "It must go somewhere the Gandhian Way!" This section fortifies Gandhi's vision of true universal democracy, and which is, in fact, being largely practised in the best democracies of the world such as the Swiss. The Gandhian Way two basic principles: non-violence and decentralisation. Let us explain these principles in some details.
Modern thinkers have suggested various ways in which democracy could possibly tide over its crisis. Prof. Laski expect that the ending of the paradox of poverty in the midst of potential plenty by "the socialisation of vested interests" would make for sound and stable democracy. But is socialism enough? We have already seen how socialised democracy of the Soviet brand has resulted in totalitarianism and regimentation of the people.
Non-Violence is the characteristic of a real democracy
According to Mahatma Gandhi, democracy can only be saved through non-violence because "democracy, so long as it is sustained by violence, cannot provide for or protect the weak". "My notion of democracy is that under it the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest. That can never happen through violence. Western democracy as it functions today," continues Gandhi, "is often diluted Nazism or Fascism". "At best it is merely a cloak to hide the Nazi or fascist tendencies of imperialism". Again: "democracy and violence can ill go together. The states that are today nominally democratic have either to become frankly totalitarian, or, if they are to become democratic, they must become courageously non-violent". Otherwise, constitutional democracy would remain a distant dream.
The capitalist society is exploitation personified, and the essence of all kinds of exploitation is violence. In order to root out exploitation, therefore, a society or state of equal rights has to be established. Such a society, of necessity, must be based on freedom of opinion and economic solidarity, because without economic equity there can exist no real political democracy.
How is this economic equality and freedom to be brought about? One way is Soviet communism which, in practice, means "the dictatorship of the proletariat" or the violent and ruthless suppression of the "rentier" class. Even the life of the proletariat is regulated rigidly to such an extent that freedom and democracy are, more or less, nullified. The remedy, in other words, becomes worse than the disease itself. And totalitarian state is merely the modern name for "tyranny with up-to-date techniques".
Such tyranny inevitably throttles the free and natural development of human personality. As John Stuart Mill observes, we should not forget that in the long run "the worth of a state is the worth of the individuals composing it. A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be mere docile instruments in its hand even for beneficial purposes, will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished". Hence the supreme need for a democracy is the evolving consciousness of non-violence. If we use a positive word for non-violence, then we come to the term of all-embracing love.
Decentralisation is the way towards a society of fairness
What, then, is the technique of non-violent democracy? It is decentralisation!Violence logically leads to centralisation; the essence of non-violence is decentralisation. Gandhi has always been advocating such decentralisation of economic and political power in the form of, more or less, self-sufficient and self-governing village communities. He regards such communities as the models of non-violent organisation.
Gandhi, of course, does not mean that the ancient Indian village republics should be revived exactly in the old form; that is neither possible nor desirable. Necessary changes will have to be introduced in view of modern changed circumstances and needs. Moreover, the old rural communities were not free from all shortcomings. It, must however, be conceded that these village communes contained within them the germs of an ideal economic and political organisation in the form of decentralisation of well-knit and coordinated village communities with their positive and direct democracy, non-violent cottage economy and human contacts.
"That state will be the best," declares Gandhi, "which is governed the least."
And according to Prof. Aldous Huxley, "the political road to a better society is the road of decentralisation and responsible self-government"
It must be made possible for the individual to belong to a variety of small bodies possessing executive powers, dealing both with production and with local administration. As a member of these, he can once again feel that he counts politically, that his will matters, and that his work is really done for society. In this way people can be brought to realise that self-government is a fact, society is malleable to their wills because society is themselves.
Centralisation of power results in curtailment of individual liberties and a progressive regimentation of the people even in countries enjoying a democratic form of government. "Centralisation makes for uniformity; it lacks the genius of time and place." Lewis Mumford, the well-known sociologist, recommends Elucidating the advantages of local self-government in villages and communes.
Dr Beni Prasad states: "The perfect unit of self-government is a familiar environment in which, as Aristotle would say, people can know one another"s character. In villages, townships or communes, autonomy reproduces the advantages of direct democracy, rousing civic patriotism, lifting the individual beyond himself, encouraging habits of cooperation, training the judgement and imparting administrative experience to millions who cannot hope to enter representative assemblies or services at a distance.
Local self-government in towns or districts lightens the burden of central legislatures and administrations. In the big states of the modern world, it has the sovereign merit of preventing the individual from being submerged in huge electorates. These tend to inspire a sort of awe, a sense of individual impotence like that which people feel when they contemplate the majestic and eternal forces of the inanimate world. The resulting fatalism of the multitude is best corrected by local self-government."
Such small communities enjoying a very large measure of local self-government become the proper training grounds of true and vital democracy. They are an invaluable antidote against the bureaucratic spirit and facilitate an informed discussion and appropriate solution of local problems. "It was in small communities," declared Lord Bryce, "that democracy first arose".
Economics of a decentralised democracy
The autonom organisation of decentralised rural commonwealths and small industries is highly conductive to equitable economic distribution. The present capitalist society, in which the means of production are controlled mainly by the bourgeois class, has failed to establish enduring peace and real prosperity in the world.
Socialism, on the other hand, has mercilessly rooted out the rentier class altogether. While it has raised temporarily the standard of living of the masses by capturing the instruments of production Soviet communism was on the end, by no means, an unmixed blessing. Its huge and powerful machinery of central planning has reduced individuals to, more, or less, non-entities and automatons. Moreover, Russia has also begun to spread its "wings" over the neighbouring countries. However high her intentions may be, we cannot afford to view USSR's role in international politics with equanimity.
We cannot favour any type of imperialism, whether capitalist or socialist. Large scale and centralised socialism tends to grow aggressive and "imperialist"; it cannot, therefore, herald a new world order in which peace, welfare and freedom are guaranteed to all countries, big or small.
The golden middle way between capitalism and socialism
The decentralized small industry shows the way, i.e. people must become again independent and those bureaucratic handicaps should be vacated from the way. Start-ups of single and small firms must are promoted, because they are the basis of a genuine democracy.
The Indian village communes had evolved a well-balanced economic system by eschewing the two extremes of laissez faire and totalitarian control. After serious experimentation they had discovered a golden and happy mean between capitalism and socialism. They had developed an ideal form of cooperative agriculture and industry, in which there was scarcely any scope for exploitation of the poor by the rich.
As Gandhi puts it, production was almost simultaneous with consumption and distribution. Commodities manufactured in cottages and domestic factories were for immediate use and not for distant markets. Such small scale and localised production on a self-sufficiency basis automatically eliminated capitalist exploitation. It virtually established economic equality without either ruthlessly curtailing individual liberty or allowing a few individuals to boss over others.
Needless to mention that, according to Gandhian ideals, the decentralised cottage industries should be organised on a cooperative and not capitalistic basis. If a few capitalists are allowed to control the domestic factories as in Japan, the cottage workers will continue to be exploited as mere labourers.
The capitalistic society, with its large-scale and centralised production has so often hurled the world into bloody and devastating wars. Should all this tragic loss of life and money not be included in the costs of large-scale production? This practical consideration renders centralised production very costly and uneconomical, indeed.
The economic security of a decentralised democracy
Decentralisation is imperative for successful defence against natural catastrophes and foreign aggression. The centralised industries provide an easy target for air bombing so that a few bombs can success-fully dislocate the whole national economy. Thus, from a strategic point of view a country with its large-scale industries concentrated in a few big towns which is additionally depended on foreign products highly vulnerable. The remarkable organisation of the industrial cooperatives in China is, perhaps, the chief factor that enabled the Chinese to withstand Japanese aggression for so many years.
In those days all the Chinese villages where self-sufficient in regard to the necessities of daily life since they had a network of cottage industries even in the remotest corners. In a world subject to periodical out-breaks of intense and prolonged war, so far as possible the production of essential requirements like food stuffs and clothing must be available locally; dependence on distant markets might be fatal in times of serious stress.
Is the Gandhian thought of decentralised democracy up to date?
The most hackneyed criticism levelled against Gandhism is that it puts the hands of the clock back and takes us to the medieval times. But such attacks on Gandhi's ideas are founded on gross misapprehensions. Gandhi does not wish that village communities should be isolated units entirely cut off from the rest of the country and the world. This is neither possible nor desirable.
Gandhi wants that the village republics should be basic units of governance, enjoying maximum autonomy in social, economic and political affairs. The villages should be properly coordinated to the district, the province and union with access trough provincial assemblies toward a federal parliament or even a world parlament. In today political system of Switzerland is such a decentralism successfully practised, although it is vanishing in its political system and even more so in its economic system.
Joy of life as the goal of an ethical evolution
It must be clearly understood that Gandhi does not advocate decentralisation only because of its economic and political advantages. To Gandhi decentralisation envisions and upholds the cultural or spiritual ideal of "simple living and high thinking". "The mind is a restless bird," says Gandhi, "The more it gets, the more it wants, and still remains unsatisfied. Happiness is largely an inner mental condition. According to Mahatma Gandhi, non-violence is "the greatest force in the world." It is the supreme law of life. "All society is held together by non-violence even as the earth is held in her position by gravitation". Or, as TH Green would put it, "Will, not force, is the basis of the State". Internationalism v/s universalism and world-citizen-ethics
Do we understand that Gandhi goes much farther than internationalism? He wants not only internationalism but also universalism. He appeals to us to feel one not only with our fellow human beings in the village, province, country and the world, but also to tune ourselves with the infinite universe. But for practising and realising this ideal of universalism it is not at all necessary for us to fly ceaselessly to the ends of the continents; we can feel one with the universe while living quietly in our small cottage.
Universalism, world-citizen-ethics, non-violence and all-embracing love are all states of ones inner spirituality and not creations of time, place and circumstances. According to Gandhi the basis of our material existence should be the community, while the universe ought to be our cultural or spiritual abode. The Gandhian way of democracy is the way towards a new civilisation. Various solutions have been advanced for curing the ills of modern civilisation. But all of them are fundamentally similar in their emphasis on coercion and violence. Gandhi himself explained his conception of the new civilisation, or as he calls it, the Ram Raja: "It can be religiously translated as the Kingdom of God on earth. Politically translated, it is perfect democracy ..."
However, that on one hand, the Gandhian way of democratic decentralisation will not pervert into a corrupt anarchy and on the other hand, that the world-citizen start to boycott the global players with economic sanctions and their restraint in consummation, we have to introduce a new kind of world-citizen-ethics by a new kind of worldwide education system. This education system and its philosophical and spiritual topics we would like to describe in the rest of this manifesto ...
The Ethic Party is grounded on various sources which include Hermann Hesse's Nobel-prize winning novel, "The Glass Bead Game" which describes in detail how this body of ethical intellectuals should look like and what qualities its members must have. The novel is of high political worth and was inspired by the timeless world classic, the ancient Indian "Bhagavad-Gita". The Bhagavad-Gita presents an in-depth look at human psychology and the structures inherent in human society, which influenced Hermann Hesse, Gandhi and many others.
Although Mahatma Gandhi used to say that he read the Bhagavad-Gita on a daily basis and he was for us in many ways its living example, we clearly do not want to create here a blind-faith Gandhi-personality-cult. Hermann Hesse warned us about personality cults in the first chapter of the Glass Bead Game.
However, even though we don’t agree with all of his thoughts and actions, Mahatma Gandhi is still one of the best politicians we could find and he illustrates many of our thoughts and duties and especially what is meant by non-violence and all-embracing love in a very clear way. This all-embracing love will be able to cleanse our consciousness of exploiting passions and we will become fully aware of the universal, effective whole for a better life. All-embracing love IS culture since it contains truth and beauty (Rasa-Tattva, Rasa = taste, beauty, art, music, and poetry, etc., Tattva = truth, knowledge, wisdom, etc.). This all-embracing love will be achieved more and more by spreading all-embracing love.
The Gandhian thought of the Ethic Party is to understand that there is no difference between the macrocosm and the microcosm on a spiritual level or, in other words, between the individual and the society around him. Therefore, the work we undertake for our self-transformation towards liberation and all-embracing love must also engage us in improving society and its education system. This new world-wide education system is necessary to establish and maintain peacefully a spiritual, economically and politically decentralized society.
The Ethic Party is an institution against blind faith and intellectual corruption and fully advocates the ideology behind the Glass Bead Game. We believe in changing today’s education system to solve our global political concerns because a organisation of the ethical intellectuals are the solutions necessary to serve today’s world. We also seek to make clear the difference between institutional ethics and free, personal spirituality. The effects of humanity's negative input to the world are often compared to a cancer which is spreading ever quicker through the planet's resources, and even our fellow human beings are its victims. In order to heal this cancer, a new kind of vaccination is needed. Jiddu Krishnamurti, an Indian philosopher, explains today’s intellectual corruption in a lecture:
"... For this hour at least, free yourself from the background of your upbringing with all its traditions and judgements. This is necessary in order to contemplate, head on and with ease, the numerous human problems which we face today. To be truly critical does not mean to be in opposition. Most of us are brought up to oppose something and yet not to criticise. When a person is simply in opposition, it is normally because he has a personal interest to defend which does not benefit from deeper insight through critical examination.
True criticism is about attempting to fully comprehend the meaning of what is being discussed, without the hindrance of defensive reactions. We can see the extremes of rich and poor in the world (the gap between the rich and poor) by the excess of food in certain areas compared to famine in others. The richest four people are in possession of more money than one billion of the population. We have class differences and racial hatred, the ill effect of nationalism and the devastating barbarity of war. We see fear, confusion, despair and disappointment. We see all of this. It is part of our daily lives, trapped in the circle of suffering.
If you think about such things you must wonder how it could be possible to solve these humanitarian problems. You are either conscious of the chaotic situation in the world, or you are simply helpless, living in a fantasy, in an illusion. If you are conscious of these problems, then they must cause you concern. If there is to be love, peace, understanding and a lasting order in the world, then we need to wake up and free ourselves from the net of illusion, from the many illusions which we have built around ourselves due to fear."
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