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Politics? Self-Government

Published: September 17, 2014, Author: Rÿser Rudolph C.

CWIS drafted the Joint Statement of Constitutional and Customary Indigenous Governments that received the endorsement of eleven Fourth World governments in Africa, South and North America and Southeast Asia. The purpose of the Joint Statement was to respond to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues agenda in May of 2014. The topic was “indigenous governance” under Articles 3 – 6 and 46 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Joint Statement is a political statement.  It is designed to promote debate between Fourth World governments and to lay down a marker to states’ governments–that Fourth World nations and states must engage in dialogue and negotiations within a mutually determined government-to-government mechanism. The ultimate purpose is to establish permanent structures between nations and states to peacefully and democratically resolve differences and promote mutually beneficial policies and practices of governance.

CWIS has gone further now to promote the development of a United Nations sponsored Protocol on Intergovernmental Mechanisms to Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We discuss the proposed Protocol in this article. Such a protocol once drafted and issued for formal adoption by Fourth World nations and UN Member states would provide guidance on the development of mechanisms that promote a democratic dialogue and negotiations–and intergovernmental political process.

The essential focus of these efforts is to promote Fourth World nations’ full self-governance as coexisting political equals with states.

(To further advance this effort CWIS offers in its Certificate Program graduate studies in Fourth World Geopolitics that offers learners single seminars or the full Certificate Program.)

It is my view that the relationship between a Fourth World nation and the state must be a “political relationship” formed as a result of a process within a political mechanism. To achieve coexistence between nations and states that is favorable or at least acceptable to each it is necessary to structure that political relationship. To create that structure “parties” (representatives of a nation and of a state) must engage in discussions, dialogue and negotiations to arrive at an acceptable description of the relationship. It is through a mutually determined framework agreed to by the “parties” that a political relationship then becomes formalized.

I take this column to discuss “politics” in part due to the tendency in popular parlance for “politics” to be given a negative connotation. The negative attitude toward politics results mainly from the popular misuse of the art through the practices of corrupt, greedy and often ignorant individuals who want wealth associated with power instead of effective governance. It need not be that way, and in the case of Fourth World nations’ interests it is essential that the tools of “politics” become well understood and used to benefit whole peoples instead of for individual gain.

The term “politics” originated in the Greek and was introduced by Aristotle into language in the title of his tome, “Politics” or “Politika.” Aristotle intended to describe the structures and nature of governance and government in the Greek city. Aristotle depended solely on “observation” as his methodology, and consequently got quite a number of things wrong about the nature of “Politika.” (i.e., It was in his “Politika” that the concept of “natural slave” emerged based on his observation that slaves in Greece bore children who were slaves and the ruling class bore children who were rulers. Therefore, he reasoned, slaves were born instead of forcibly coerced. He saw the objective in governance as the need to persuade and influence the populace on important governing decisions through debate. Aristotle’s view of governance remains the classical meaning of “politics.”

Effective practice of politics is essential for Fourth World nations to achieve and conduct self-government. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples opens the door for international dialogue between nations and states. The CWIS Joint Statement offers details on the formation of nation and state mechanisms for that dialogue. A UN Protocol will provide the binding commitment of all parties to sit down at the table. That is a political process

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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