From Full Spectrum Dominance to Earth Rights Democracy

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Delivered at Harrisburg Peace Rally 3/20/04 (Pennsylvania, USA)
by Alanna Hartzok, Co-Director, Earth Rights Institute
Contact info:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 717-264-0957.

'Full Spectrum Dominance' is the key term in Joint Vision 2020, the blueprint the United States Department of Defence will follow in the future, from which these extracts are taken.

'The ultimate goal of our military force is to accomplish the objectives directed by the National Command Authorities. For the joint force of the future, this goal will be achieved through full spectrum dominance - the ability of US forces, operating unilaterally or in combination with multinational and interagency partners, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the full range of military operations.


The full range of operations includes maintaining a posture of strategic deterrence. It includes theatre engagement and presence activities. It includes conflict involving employment of strategic forces and weapons of mass destruction, major theatre wars, regional conflicts and smaller-scale contingencies. It also includes those ambiguous situations residing between peace and war, such as peace-keeping and peace enforcement operations, as well as non-combat humanitarian relief operations and support to domestic authorities.

The label full spectrum dominance implies that US forces are able to conduct prompt, sustained, and synchronised operations with combinations of forces tailored to specific situations, and with access to and freedom to operate in all domains - space, sea, land, air and information. Additionally, given the global nature of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain its overseas presence forces and the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance.

Who made the decision that Full Spectrum Dominance would be the goal of US Foreign Policy? Would not Full Spectrum Cooperation to build a world of peace and justice be what the world needs most as the stance of United States? But you and I do not make these decisions, do we?

Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark tells us that we are not a democracy. We are a plutocracy - rule by the rich. The rich rule this country and the rich make the rules.

The current situation has nothing to do with saving the people of Iraq from a malevolent dictator, eliminating a source of terrorism in the world, or providing for the security of the United States. The current situation has everything to do with a small clique of cunning and super wealthy men with afocused group intent to grab geopolitical control of Eurasia and Full Spectrum Dominance of the globe. This clique of men are not the true representatives of an enlightened democracy - rather they are truly the representatives of the military-industrial complex and of several multi-national corporations. Their intention is to seize rule of the world in a crescendo of voracious desire for wealth and power.

One two, three four, what are we fighting for? Five, six, seven, eight, land and resources to take.

The unjust and inequitable ownership and control of vast amounts of the land and natural resource wealth of our planet is a root cause of the great majority of local-to-global conflicts and wars.

Most every war throughout all the ages has been fought over land and natural resources. During the past one hundred years, governments have been destabilized and wars have been fought over land and natural resources in Indonesia, Viet Nam, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and many other small countries including the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. We have seen oil conflicts in the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea Basin, Nigeria and the South China Sea and water conflicts in the Nile Basin, the Jordan, Tigris-Euphrates and Indus River Basins. Internal wars have been or are being fought over minerals and timber in Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Congo, and Bougainville/Papua New Guinea, Borneo, Brazil and Indonesia. Hostilities over valuable gems, minerals and timber are under way in Angola, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Columbia, Congo, Indonesia, Liberia and the Philippines.

Michael Klare astutely observes in his bookResource Wars: "What we are seeing is the emergence of a new geography of conflict - a global landscape in which competition over vital resources is becoming the governing principle behind the disposition and use of military power.... the result is a new strategic geography in which resource concentrations rather than political boundaries are the major defining features."

Who owns the earth?

  • In countries worldwide only 5% of the population owns 60 - 95% of the land.
  • At best, a generous interpretation would suggest that about 3% of the population owns 95% of the privately held land in the United States.
  • 568 companies control 22% of our private land, a land mass the size of Spain. Those same companies land interests worldwide comprise a total area larger than that of Europe - almost 2 billion acres.

John Mohawkfully grasped the problem of our land tenure system. He said, "When land became a Œcommodity¹ and lost its status as provider and sustainer of life, Western civilization began its history of subjugation and exploitation of the earth and earth based cultures.

Eli Siegelonce said, "How the earth should be owned is the major economic question of this time; as it is the oldest.... The world should be owned by the people living in it."

We are on the threshold of the second American revolution. We need to proceed with the non-violent approach taught by Thoreau, Gandhi and King. We need to build an economic democracy based firmly on this most basic principle - the earth belongs equally to everyone as a birthright.Thomas Jeffersongave us a first principle ethic when he said, "The earth is given as a common stock for men to labor and live on."Abraham Lincolntold us, "The land, the earth God gave to man for his home, sustenance, and support, should never be the possession of any man, corporation, society, or unfriendly government, any more than the air or water, if as much. An individual, company, or enterprise should hold no more than is required for their home and sustenance. All that is not used should be held for the free use of every family to make homesteads, and to hold them as long as they are so occupied."

We need to take a giant step forward to a new form of democracy. We, the people of the world, must now direct the wealth of the world towards the building of local-to-global economic democracies in order to meet the needs for food, shelter, healthcare, and education for all. This is not a pale, pallid plea for charitable contributions to the begging bowls of the poor. This is a pronouncement upon a criminally unjust system of global exploitation and a prescription for the curing of the worldwide crisis of person/planet pain.

The task before us is that of building a global order based on the full honoring of our common humanity with profound recognition and respect for the dignity of each and every child, woman and man.

A new democratic mandate, which we might callearth rights democracy, recognizes that the gifts of nature - the land, oil, minerals, other natural resources and a substantial amount of the monetary value accruing to their use - rightly belong to the people of the world as a whole. The earth is our birthright and our common heritage. What we make from our mental and physical labor can rightfully be held as individual property but the profit of the earth should be shared by all and for all.

O say can you see, our common humanity, sprung from the earth our mother and seeded from the sun, we are in truth, children of the universe, and no less than the trees and the stars, you and I have the equal right to be here now and to claim this planet and its land and resources as our full, fair and natural birthright.

The current crisis is now the time to pledge allegiance to the earth, and all the life which it supports, One Planet, in our care, irreplaceable, with sustenance and respect for all.

About Earth Rights Institute

The Earth is the birthright of all people

Earth Rights Institute (ERI) is designed to be an equilateral knowledge platform, where local people collaborate with academics and development professionals, both local and foreign, by exchanging skills, experiences, and knowledge to solve crucial development issues such as widespread poverty, land right disputes and environmental degradation.

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