Has the 'sovereign Covid virus' brought the current paradigm to its knees? Even the smallest of creatures can dethrone it. (Donatella Di Cesare)

Written by schuftan@gmai.com   
Saturday, 05 June 2021 15:18

Human rights: Food for dethroning a thought ‘HR in the new needed paradigm’


Human Rights Reader 580

[TLDR (too long didn’t read): This Reader is about the role human rights must play in replacing the increasingly obsolete development paradigm. For a quick overview, just read the bolded text].


[The pandemic has brought the issue of an urgent paradigm replacement to the forefront; this time, human rights (HR) will not/cannot be left out in the tectonic shift called for. Here are some pertinent reflections].


-The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and of reality, and wiser people so full of doubts. (Bertrand Russell) Yes, but s/he who has no doubts, will have no certainties. (Uypress)


1. Let me start with the tough part, namely the conceptual characterization of the concept of ‘paradigm’:



2. It is thus not the theory that is mistaken in the current development paradigm; it is reality that is being mis-taken. (J. Stigler) …and words being what make up realities, nobody possesses the truth (Humberto Maturana).* So, having doubts means for us that we must discover the truth by questioning the mistaken reality being portrayed by the powers-that-be relying on our principles and values. (adapted from George Soros) …HR, therefore, very much at center stage here.

*: The truth will be constructed from the facts on the ground especially as seen by claim holders (!).


Theory and reality in academia: How do they affect the paradigm?


3. Each academic discipline has certain words, certain technical vocabulary that quickly become stereotypes and clichés. (M.L. King) …and paradigms are built around them, so, questioning this vocabulary becomes paramount(!).


4. But the guardians of the paradigm in reactionary regimes (and other) have, as one objective, to avoid public universities continue producing critical, free, plural and independent thought. They use the financial crisis of these universities to downgrade education to only teach courses supposedly ‘free of ideology’ and ‘more useful’ to the market. Many of the so-called ideological courses were, at best, made optional/elective. Whole departments are closed down supposedly for financial reasons. Given this situation, the future of public universities will depend on us successfully democratizing, de-mercantilizing, decolonizing and depatriarchalizing these universities. (Boaventura de Sousa Santos) …one more issue to challenge here, then, as we address all trampled collective freedom(s) and engage claim holders (including faculty and students) in a substantive empowerment as the way out of the unfair paradigm. (Amandine Garde)


To determinedly dethrone the prevailing paradigm we need nuance and finesse, not dogma and fireworks (Dan Brown)


-When a certain limit is trespassed, when the ‘humanitarian and human rights barrier’ is breached, should claim holders not demand and bring about a rupture that will replace the unfair paradigm? (adapted from R. Panikkar)


5. Our tolerance should not be the result of an extreme indifference though. Tolerance should rather be the product of engaging in often conflictive and difficult coexistence talks** with those that think and act differently in defending the paradigm. (Beatriz Sarlo) We discover our strong points when we discover those of somebody else (Jean Charpentier), and this can be a starting point to refute the latter.

**: Our eyes cannot close, only our eyelids should. Many times, we on-purpose close our eyes postponing decisions we need to take. But we do not have unlimited time to act! Is it, therefore, fair to close our eyelids with the only intention to sleep …and not close our eyes to strategize for a better world for all? (Maria A. Vidal B.)


In closing

6. I would not describe myself as an optimist, because we are talking about a future for which we still have to struggle. But if we look in the direction of those moments of history where great changes have happened, they are moments like the one we are living now. (Naomi Klein) It is a ‘generator generation’ that must now make the needed breakthroughs; only then will ‘translators’ be able to apply them. (Alberto Pradilla) Are we grooming the generators?


7. Resistance and resilience are ultimately needed to impose a new social, cultural, economic, political and spiritually reconstructed paradigm. Only thus can we confront existing social inequalities, hunger, poverty and discrimination, as well as relaunch the rights of women, of first peoples and others, as well as of the environment. We cannot remain in a state of existential anguish. People have the capacity to rebel against the injustices so as to make the imposition of a new paradigm possible --this implying a profound change in the prevailing mentality of these times.


8. The struggle for a new paradigm will challenge us to look for new reasons that will prove that we have the capacity to impose new ethical behaviors and a new praxis that clearly distinguishes liberty from tyranny. If we want to reach the objective of building a new society-of-equals, a fairer and more fraternal society, we have to lean to row against the current to reach our desired destination without losing direction in our path. Paraphrasing Paulo Freire: “The opposite to love is not hate, but the fear of loving --and the fear of loving is the fear of being free”. (Adolfo Perez Esquivel)


Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City

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All Readers are available at www.claudioschuftan.com



-Banks are caught with their paradigm down! Their monetary policies*** are still based on the old-time religion of deficit and inflation worries. (Hazel Henderson)

***: Today, the public in most countries sees their currencies being printed on TV shows! They learn of the trillions of the new fiscal and monetary stimulae, and now realize the truth: there is no shortage of money! Money is just one form of information, a metric (like inches, feet, centimeters, or hectares), tokens of our trust --whether in the physical form of paper notes, coins, or electronically in our credit cards or digital wallets.  Money is seen at last, not as wealth, but merely as an agreed way of tracking and scoring real time wealth. Sovereign governments do not run out of money, they issue it, as needed to allow their citizens, investors and companies and all other users to trade and do business with each other, beyond barter. Have you thought how this helps human rights? I have: little if any.



Just to repeat: Are these Readers sometimes repetitive?  Yes and No.

No, in the sense that they look at the many aspects of HR work, some new, some old, but the latter always from different perspectives and angles. Yes, in the sense that they always reinforce key concepts of the HR framework.

This deliberate duality is considered indispensable for the readers to progressively internalize the concepts in such a way that they can then comfortably use them in debates and in teaching HR. In that sense, this is no apology. [Moreover, all the good and wise in these Readers has come from others; that of lesser importance has been mine].


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