June 19, 2008

Which candidate for US President will respect the sovereignty of the people?

If the support for the candidates to be President of the United States of America is as finely balanced between John McCain and Barack Obama as the opinion polls suggest, the situation is perfect for US citizens to reclaim their sovereign right to govern themselves. The easiest action to take is to send a message to the candidates via the Simpol page at:

In theory in a democracy the government is of the people, by the people and for the people. But in a globalized world the will of the people is too often neglected.

When formulating policy on addressing global issues, be it climate change, trade, access to resources or anything else at this level, every leader puts the national economy in first place. They are warned by business leaders that too extreme measures could see investment and jobs draining away to other countries. The movement of either fills politicians with genuine fear. These are not idle threats.

In international meeting after international meeting, necessary action is compromised by this economic imperative. Politicians may argue that protecting the national economy is the same as protecting the interests of the people. If this approach had delivered a way of living on the planet that is sustainable and stable, they might have a point. If people were satisfied with the choices offered to them, then perhaps all is fine.

But is the way our leaders are tackling global problems really the way we, the people, want them to be tackled?

The way to answer this question is surely by asking it.

This is what is happening in the Simultaneous Policy (SP) campaign, promoted by Simpol, an international network of national organisations. People around the world are invited to propose, discuss, develop and ultimately approve the policies they would like to see implemented.

There is no charge to take part, simply sign up as an SP Adopter, which also involves calling on politicians to pledge to implement the Simultaneous Policy alongside other governments. Everyone is welcome. If you do not like any of the policies already under discussion you can vote against them and put forward alternatives if you wish. Give your views in the Simpol discussion forum at:

This process is immensely empoweriing for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Simultaneous Policy is to be implemented by all, or sufficient, governments acting together. This changes the context. For example, at present if voters in the US election are asked whether they want the US to open its borders to trade to a greater extent or follow a more protectionist approach, they will answer based on their assessment of what it will mean for their jobs and income, considering competition with other countries. It is a very different question to ask, would you like the international system of trade to operate differently, for their to be different rules?

Proposals for encouraging greater trade - or alternatively encouraging more local production and consumption - would be based on a consensus between Adopters across the world. Policies will be linked to make a coherent package, so, for example, an ending of barriers to trade could be combined with ensuring the pollution and climate change costs of transportation are not ignored, but included in the cost of products. Transnational corporations could be expected to respect minimum standards wherever they operate, making it impossible to cut costs by moving to a country run by a dictatorship that does not protect the rights of its citizens. And so on, as the people decide.

SP aims to solve the big international problems only. It does not include perhaps 95% or more of politics, which is local and national. SP is not a way to enforce policies or ideologies on other countries, but a way to empower people in each country to decide how to address global problems considering their own best interests and in a way that is acceptable to people in other countries.

Although global in its scope and to be implemented by all, or sufficient, countries acting together, the Simultaneous Policy is not one size fits all. Countries are at different starting points, which can be taken into account. It is for SP Adopters to decide.

The Simultaneous Policy approach allows Americans and citizens of every country to reclaim their sovereign right to govern themselves, a right undermined by powerful vested interests that currently dictate or constrain global policy setting.

Once the content of the Simultaneous Policy is determined by those who choose to take part and sufficient pledges to implement it have been made by governments - prompted by their citizens - voters in each country will be asked to approve it. Implementation will only go ahead with the approval of the people of the country as a whole.

Candidates in the US Presidential election are being asked to make a pledge to implement the Simultaneous Policy alongside other governments when all, or sufficient, governments have made the same pledge. It is a statement of intent that indicates to voters whether the candidate believes in the sovereign right of citizens to have their voices heard and respected.

Until there are sufficient governments, the President will have little choice but to operate in competition with other nations, under the threat that jobs and investment will be lost if he upsets business and financial interests, so support for SP will be just one factor voters will look to in deciding how to vote. SP Adopters are asked to encourage their preferred candidate to make the SP pledge. Adopters without a preference can call on all candidates to make the pledge and vote for the one who does.

A Presidential pledge to implement SP alongside other governments will have more than symbolic value. It will bring the world one step closer to implementation of the policies chosen by the people. Politicians in much of the English-speaking world have already signed the SP pledge, including in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as well as in developing countries such as Brazil, East Timor and India. There are SP Adopters in many more industrialized and developing nations.

In the US Presidential in 2000 a few hundred votes eventually decided who won. With the election this year also finely balanced, the candidate who supports SP could find it propels him into a winning position.

The candidates can make the pledge to implement SP in the knowledge that when implementation is triggered the global policies will have the support of the citizens of the US. It is only on that basis he would be expected to deliver on the pledge.

So the fundamental question is, which of the candidates - John McCain, Barack Obama or others - believes in the sovereign right of US citizens to have their voices heard and respected over those of vested interests?

Find out by sending a message to your preferred candidate or to all candidates calling for support for the Simultaneous Policy by going to:

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