STRING - World Politics for Individuals





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Wolfgang Behr
The "Anti-*itler"




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STRING

Individual and World Politics - Political Programme

by Wolfgang Behr


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STRING is a project whose aim is to put politics in our epoch where all frontiers are transcended on a new, lasting footing. As such it is not least a question of doing justice to this era's significance in the history of mankind as the culminating point of worldwide social integration. None of the existing collective institutions possess the qualities and/or consent to extend across the world and there are none such in sight. Therefore it is crucial to the draft presented here of a political format for mankind that the initiative for it emanates from an individual, in this case the author, and that its institutional structure remains determined by its individualistic origins.

STRING wants to surmount the problem of the overly ideal and abstract principles of modern politics (parliamentary democracy, a state governed by the rule of law, a proclamation of human rights), by reformulating them and taking their basic constant, the individual, as a starting point. The goal will be for them to be entirely embodied in the individual. Politics will thereby be rendered culturally flexible, emancipated from the domain of the elite, and made directly accessible to the great majority of mankind. This effort is only imaginable in the long term and is essentially dependent upon modern civilisation in the course of its development rendering it possible for humanity throughout the world to have an extensively self-sufficient material livelihood and the necessary education. In this sense STRING is restoring the ideals of Progress and enlightenment. With its application on the level of the individual, STRING does indeed seem in contrast to the existing States and other old or new large organisations, but because of the inevitability in the long run of a lasting, intelligent, peaceful world development, it is in the position of being a pointer to the future. For this powder keg of a world is crucially dependent upon the individual and his capability for peaceful coexistence and voluntary self-control.

The core features of the programme presented here are the STRING world event, the status of political autonomy for the individual and initiation as a chance and the path to becoming an independent personality.

The Programme:

1. People have the chance to politically constitute their world community which is arising in this epoch through a world event called STRING. Through this event mankind will by itself find its identity, stature and a communal expression. It may take place in the near future (e.g. in the year 2002). The event is to flow into a great world festival at which this historical moment will be appropriately celebrated.

2. STRING's core program or main aim has a collective and particularised component which belong inseparably together in accordance with the modern concept of a constitution. First, it is a matter of establishing a concrete social format for the community of all mankind, comparable to a constituent assembly. Secondly, a status of political autonomy for the individual will be introduced and will form the foundation for the global community. This status goes beyond all familiar models of political participation such as that of the citizen in a state governed by the rule of law, and is a project whose completion demands one's willingness and a special, individual maturity.

3. The STRING world event is to be the sole institution for the whole of mankind. It is set up for a limited duration and does not establish any lasting bureaucracy. In other words STRING will only exist as a collective institution for a short time, which fundamentally distinguishes it from conventional political institutions (and from the concept of a global State). The task of this institution is to empower the individual with political autonomy. And even after it has ended it will remain a symbol and spiritual authority of this constitutional principle with a claim to worldwide validity. Furthermore, STRING furnishes the status of the individual, vis a vis other institutions, e.g. the national State, with its own priority derived from the significance of representing all mankind.

4. Everyone who has adopted this status for himself carries the STRING institution along further. This status is consequently institutionally bound by the event but is free in its realisation from fixed collective structures. The status's verification following on from the world event needs to be in the public arena and a sort of general consent is required. This can only change when it has become a cultural norm.

5. We can acquire the personal maturity and autonomy needed for such a step to political responsibility through new initiations to be defined. By this are meant decisive steps in development which release the individual person from the associations of his upbringing and let him become comprehensively autonomous. Since many people alive today are for various reasons no longer in a position to effect a fundamental reorientation of their lives, the individual part of STRING is only thinkable in a long term perspective.

6. The nature of and path to such an initiation is not subject to any universally fixed rules, but should be sought by each person themselves. However, a crucial part of an initiation is an encounter with the fact of death. An initiatory passage through death brings about an awareness of one's own mortality. Initiation will to the greatest extent be an individual act and let us recognise the irrevocability but also the restrictions upon this individuality.

7. Thirdly, the STRING program has the aim of instituting an initiation delving into the deep seated levels of existence as an element of modern, human life. This concerns mental and spiritual independence as a complement to political autonomy. Thus it is crucial that this act of personality formation should take place without direct social pressure. With the fresh integration of an initiation in our lives we can join in the competence of adult men and women in so-called traditional cultures, albeit on a new, individualised level. Since in many cultural circles initiations are part of peoples tradition, this may give them a small advantage over many from the "Old World" who live under an uninterruptedly rationalistic, materialistic world perspective.

8. The initiation can be due special significance for the development of the world community if, through it, the frontier experience becomes a familiar element in the life of the modern man. It should lead to a revision of his view of the world in such a manner that this no longer has to attach itself dogmatically to classical modern institutions and modern rationality. World civilisation needs such a new quality of individual existence to find a way out of its suicidal conformity - a civilisation which although "high tech" and frontierless has remained ever warlike and power orientated in its basic motivations.

9. I believe that the only way promising success in combating this central discrepancy in our epoch, which is at its most dangerous point the inclination to death and destruction, is firstly to entrust it to the individual. That is to say the fountain of knowledge acting as a criterion for each individual's life is the global dimension of his behaviour as related to the whole. However this must secondly be enabled by the innovative development of a general cultural status whereby the practical course of life is less enforced and hazardous to mankind. Both of these are essential prerequisites of being able to dismantle the immense arsenals of weapons.

10. In this connection we must overcome Man's obsession with one collective body, leader or creed which is forced on him from his earliest youth and finds its external expression in kamikaze acts. One must visualise STRING as a cultural value from which scarcely anyone can shut himself off, at least during the world event, and whose gospel of individuality in the period that follows is clearly and unmistakably received and remains effective. Acknowledgement of the inalienable value of the life of each individual is the prerequisite of being able to grasp how horribly close our whole civilisation is to death. All traditional schools of thought, which include the act of killing in political calculations are trapped in their own particularity and in their antagonism to other peoples or groups, and fail the grasp the global menace.

11. The best way of preparing man and women in large numbers for political autonomy and individual initiation is to install these values and these tasks in future generations during infancy in a totally natural manner. Also, our successors cannot be perfect human beings and hate, aggression or criminal drives will not disappear from the world. But perhaps such generations will abide by minimum standards in order to ensure a future for mankind.

12. The trinity of the autonomous, mutually complementary elements of the world event, the status of political independence for the individual and individual initiations opens up a global perspective of order. STRING stands both in name and concept for all three elements. Not least, this new political structure should help to overcome the counter-productive struggle for political and economic hegemony in which capitalist organisations on the planet seem ever more entangled since, until now, there has been no original world policy, i.e. no politics whose subject is the world community itself.

13. Freedom from power struggles will enable technical and economic progress and let this progress, in a very precarious phase of its development, address its real task of improving and easing human living conditions. It is a question of nothing less than producing a healthy and ecologically compatible prosperity throughout the entire world and which is accessible to all without great effort. This will be an essential element of the individual's autonomy. STRING's challenging implications and demands should give wings to the required innovatory impulse. The nature and way in which that can happen, even in the jaws of over-population, the destabilisation of the natural conditions of life, etc., will have to be left to Man's spirit of discovery and also a little to luck. STRING can only shift this goal into the centre of attention and point to the formidable achievements which have been accomplished, particularly in the last two centuries.

14. By means of STRING I want to raise history onto the plane of the individual through succeeding in achieving his described political status and by furnishing him with a fundamental precedence over all collective authorities. More and more individual persons can proclaim political autonomy in the course of the world event. The future world order will paradigmatically be made visible and its dissemination accelerated. Conflicts between individual, politically autonomous persons and the positions of existing political powers such as the nation state, for example, can always only be resolved in each particular case on the spot. Here the practical necessity of personal responsibility and freedom should materialize in an innovative fashion and be supported step by step by the authority of STRING.

15. A person's ties to his fellow men, to his national, religious or other origins but also his involvement in society, e.g. through the law or obligations, are not immediately affected by STRING. But STRING's clearly articulated goal is to emancipate people from these collective structures. These will indeed survive in their emotional or esoteric importance for the individual and in their function of assisting the organisation of life, but on the other hand will lose their power and dominance.

16. As a result of the world event and peoples' political autonomy, a separate, constituted world order will become superfluous. Taking a long term view, coexistence under these premises will supersede the concept of the nation state, which cannot produce any enduringly peaceful world order. However this does not mean that there will be no more collective structures at all. In the future too, complex coexistence will require differentiated rules and to be sure, certain types of sanctions which will still have to be developed amongst individuals.

17. STRING is the continuation of politically establishing the individual in the new European age, which process began with the Act of Habeas Corpus and continued with the Bill of Rights and the American and French constitution, up to today's position of the citizen in a liberal, democratic, social state governed by the rule of law. This tradition should build a new foundation on a global scale which should also give it a way out of its crisis of meaning.

18. Economics, as a central area of society, stands almost completely outside of democratic principles and transparency. Thus it also puts into question the independence of democratic states in the course of world integration. An individual's independence of the economic process is indeed a powerful goal, and with resources being scarce, perhaps never achievable. But a certain degree of material self-sufficiency already allows the individual the freedom to decide whether or not to work for a particular company. This leads to a kind of democratic choice and competition amongst businesses for the worker's favours. However, if the civilizing goal of material self-sufficiency is to be achieved, it will only be with the help of economic forces, output, creativity, communications, investment, etc.. It is, for instance, a question of redeveloping the possibility of subsistence economics using the most modern resources. Thus it could be once more attractive to live in the countryside and not just to crowd into the metropolises.

19. A large information and advertising campaign will have to be organised on various levels in order to make STRING known and to set it rolling. Here it is very important to take sensitive account of the various cultures. The roots of this programme lie in the West European cultural area and modern Western civilisation. Consequently individual elements as described in the programme are unsuited to other cultures. For example, death has a particular significance in the Hindu world which must be given consideration. However the importance of the development process leading to an individual's political autonomy and lifestyle determined by himself remains unavoidable.

20. The event itself can be imagined as a sea of public events throughout the world accompanied by a central political program broadcast over the TV and data networks. In it, the vision of a politically independent existence for the individual will be comprehensively accentuated and presented in the greatest variety of ways, including the medium of the Arts. There are scarcely any bounds set on the manner of its presentation. After a certain time the event will pass over into a world festival which will celebrate the unity won for mankind and which can follow local traditions everywhere. It should give boundless joy without losing sight of the suffering and the then as now indefensible situation of many people.

21. There is no easy answer to the most pressing question in the context presented here, namely how such a gigantic project will be realised. An individual person's (in this case my own) unequivocal output is essential. STRING should obey the criteria of a work of art, i.e. it should not lay claim to any universally valid truths, or expound any theories, but create a personal work whose truth is a result of its materialisation. Thus there is no other way than to continuously seek the means and manner in which to make STRING a reality. It is important that the organisation required to bring about the STRING world event should be in the form of an association under private law, be professionally managed, financially successful and dissolved at the end of the world event.

22. World societies and events exist already although they still need to find more convincing formats. And even political autonomy for the individual exists to a certain degree in the civil state. Seen thus the utopian character dedicated to the STRING programme is not so much a result of its basic elements but rather its dependence on future developments since these are anyway unforeseeable and thus utopian. At the point in our history at which we find ourselves it is almost a necessity to conceive new measures for further growth. Our historical overview, the problems surrounding our activities, the plane of the latter, the status of the world community's integration and not least a sound understanding of mankind compel this. Thus with STRING it is no more a question of If there will be a Utopia - we do not know what the world will look like a hundred years on! It is primarily a question of How to fashion a Utopia! This must be concrete enough but also left open. It should not anticipate anything and yet hold fast to fundamental and unrenouncable elements. Freedom and the capability for self determination are such elements.

23. STRING is governed by the intention to engage in politics without having a conventional power base, that is to say without collective resources. I thereby want to do justice to the modern spirit that everyone and everything has to be questioned and reflected upon, including its own drive to such reflection. For in order to put dry land under one's feet again in this whirlpool, we must free ourselves from all the roots of tradition. Social power is a part of that. It never quite manages without the precultural principle of "Might is Right", and remains tied to it. Politics freed from the compulsion for power can dedicate itself fully to the "play of the signs", and from the position of freedom, can reintegrate the biological conditions framing human existence, which, under the prevailing circumstances are being disregarded in a life threatening manner.

24. Seen philosophically it is a question of integrating the world community which strides on inexorably to free itself from the fetters of exoteric "material" constraints such as territory, bureaucracy, social systems, infrastructures etc. (and maybe glass fibre and satellite links). For a living global community cannot arise on the plane of minority consensus and shallow accessibility. It depends far more on the freedom and greatness of the human spirit. Astonishingly, human identity can only be founded on this level, whereas technology and capitalism, although they deal with content, are by their nature based solely on abstract transactions devoid of content. Naturally, a spiritual relationship only exists if it is represented in a communicable and i.e. material form. But the community of all mankind which has been brought into physical reach is, according to my interpretation, a new historical category which also requires a new form on account of its extraordinary nature. This form must in turn first be built ("invented") spiritually before it can be realised "materially". That is primarily an individual act which is what this programme stands for.

25. The probability or improbability of putting STRING into effect is not a mathematical concept since its desire is to engage in a living, changing process. A long and difficult development period was required to enable this program to come into being with all its uncommon aspects, together with the belief that it will materialise. One could think of the story of David and Goliath where, as an individual, I want to compete against the forces of the world. But in this case not for the state of ungovernability to which the world is communally steering and which makes it increasingly difficult for the forces which work openly and enjoy Man's trust to hold onto the reins.

In publishing this text on the WWW the question of making a reality of STRING, which should at any rate be a communal undertaking, is also posed to the new basic-democratical public, which is established by the Internet. Naturally the concept can still be modified and is herewith laid open to debate. But the central importance of the individual in the world of the future is, I am sure an unalterable fact and regard must be accorded to this role.




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