"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever does."The World Syntegrity Project (WSP) presents opportunities for democratization unlike any other in the world today. Through the WSP, every individual, anywhere in the world, can have a voice in the creation of a democratic world constitution. Indeed, the project is universal suffrage in practice, and each Infoset is like a voting booth wherein participants have the opportunity to register their ideas about how we, as sovereign world citizens, can govern our world.
As national politics becomes increasingly alienating, average citizens can now, through the WSP, reclaim the governance of their world. No matter where one lives or under what conditions one lives-regardless of social status, economic standing, age, gender, cultural edicts, etc.-she or he can contribute a unique point of view. Refugees, women, children, absolutely anyone who has an opinion can participate!
Although the World Citizen Referendum currently requires access to a computer in order to register votes, the WSP requires only commitment, creativity, and collaboration-making it more accessible to the ordinary world citizen.
Syntegration is egalitarian and non-hierarchical. For any uninitiated readers, the Syntegrity (synergy + integrity) process, invented by cybernetician Stafford Beer and based on the mathematical theories of Buckminster Fuller, is modeled upon the design of a twenty-sided geometric figure called an icosahedron. Because of its interconnected properties, the icosahedron is considered to be one of the most resilient structures in the world, and its use in the syntegrity process allows the equal participation of each person involved, ensures maximum creativity of the group, and yields unified results.
The Syntegration process reveals where law comes from and how it evolves: through an interconnecting set of decisions and actions taken by humans in relation to other humans. People enunciate the principles upon which they intend to act and upon which they will judge others' actions. Fundamental and natural human rights are integrated into the agreements and institutions of law that humans devise for their mutual benefit. The World Syntegrity Project is simply a tool to accelerate the process of law-creation and acceptance, a tool that does not require users to possess an extensive education or training.
Since 1993, Infosetters have developed hundreds of "Statements of Importance." Taken as a whole, these statements formulate codes of conduct among world citizens, serving as the organizational principles for a newly forming world law. The statements also represent the constituent force behind world law. By claiming sovereignty and by choosing to govern themselves through the Syntegration process, world citizens are building a body of positive rights that are the foundation of world law. Besides lending legitimacy to a regime of law at the global level, world citizens are providing irrefutable proof of its broad acceptance.
Infosetters' results have an impact because they are made public. They are sent directly to heads of state, public-policy makers, organizations, and individuals worldwide, as well as being posted on the World Citizen Web site on the Internet. Eventually, the compiled statements from all the Infosets held around the world will form the basis of an actual citizen-created world constitution.
One human being is the basic unit of sovereignty, and this project is the manifestation of that fact. Individuals worldwide are exercising their right of political choice and joining with other world citizens to work toward solving global problems through world law.
Because national constitutions affirm that the power of government belongs to the people, world citizen Infosetters, as the "sovereign people," are conforming to codes of conduct that humans have already established at the local level. They are, however, using the WSP to go beyond the local codes-to the protection of the earth and humanity as a whole. That, in turn, will protect the local order.
Participating in a local Infoset of the World Syntegrity Project allows one not only to become acquainted with one's neighbors but also to work with them to make a positive impact on future global affairs. In the process, participants come to understand better the issues affecting them locally and can address those issues with greater awareness and insight.
Perhaps the greatest appeal of the project is how empowering it is-not just symbolically, but intellectually and emotionally-to the participants, especially to the disenfranchised, who have the greatest need for empowerment and representation. Although the world's destitute have more to overcome in order to hold an Infoset, they also have a greater incentive to do so; they have little to lose and a great deal to gain.
Ultimately, as the World Government of World Citizens continues to grow-with every newly declared world citizen, every Infoset, each new idea, each evolutionary step toward our goal of one world in harmony-those struggling with basic survival will acquire the tools to better manage their material difficulties and empower themselves as citizens of the world.
Because national boundaries have been drawn, in most cases, arbitrarily-with some historically feuding ethnic groups having been placed together in one country and others of the same ethnic group having been separated by country borders-there are countless individuals around the world who do not feel any allegiance to a particular nation. Many do not vote because they feel betrayed or alienated by their own country. Others may even be denied suffrage, as we have seen in South Africa's recent history under apartheid, and many so-called democracies are often less than democratic. But the WSP transcends national politics and allows people to have a say regarding their own lives. Currently, the WSP is the only avenue that protects and represents personal sovereignty. And at some point in the future, the World Referendum will move beyond cyberspace and, through paper ballets, will also be accessible to everyone.
In the words of World Coordinator Garry Davis, "As the nation-state system proves increasingly dysfunctional, the political will of ordinary citizens everywhere must become dominant and legitimized. This project is a historic breakthrough to that end."
To date, there have been 18 confirmed Infosets held globally. In Ethiopia, Infosets were scheduled in Nazerait, Debre-Markos, and Shashemane, for Sept. 26-28, Sept. 18-20, and Sept. 12-14, respectively; and more are in the works in several other Ethiopian towns. Other Infosets still being planned are in Wukari and Onitsha, Nigeria; and Khemisset, Morocco.
As more and more people participate in the Syntegration process, the power to change existing law and to develop world law will increase exponentially. An expanding world law will begin to replace any national law that contradicts human and environmental rights. Eventually, through the WSP, world citizens will develop the mechanisms and the unified will to codify world law into a flexible global constitutional framework. And they will simultaneously build structures to organize, regulate and evolve human activities and relationships.
Dianne tangel-Cate is director of hte World Sytegrity Project. David Gallup is the General Counsel of the World Service Authority.