The Third Sector – (YOU) – the fargo kantrowitz’z literary campsite peace project

According to the United Nations, there are three sectors: Government, Business and, the  third sector, The People, YOU! It is time for you to understand just how important you really are.


What Civil Society Can Do to Develop Democracy

 Presentation to NGO Leaders, February 10, 2004,

Convention Center, Baghdad

Larry Diamond – Stanford University



Good afternoon.  I want to speak to you briefly today about the role that civil society plays in building and strengthening democracy.  You are all civil society leaders, who are engaged in this effort in various ways, so I am very pleased to be able to share these ideas with you.


By civil society I mean the entire range of organized groups and institutions that are independent of the state, voluntary, and at least to some extent self-generating and self-reliant. This of course includes non-governmental organizations like the ones in this room, but also independent mass media, think tanks, universities, and social and religious groups.


To be part of civil society, groups must meet some other conditions as well.  In a democracy, civil society groups have respect for the law, for the rights of individuals, and for the rights of other groups to express their interests and opinions.  Part of what the word “civil” implies is tolerance and the accommodation of pluralism and diversity.


Civil society groups may establish ties to political parties and the state, but they must retain their independence, and they do not seek political power for themselves.


Often in transitions, groups arise that seek to monopolize the lives and thinking of their members.  These groups do not tolerate the right of their members to dissent, and they do not respect other groups that disagree with them.  Some of these groups may merely be fronts for political parties or movements that seek to win control of the state.  These groups are not part of civil society and they do not contribute to building a democracy.


What, then, can the independent, voluntary, law-abiding, tolerant and pluralistic organizations of civil society do to build and maintain democracy?


The first and most basic role of civil society is to limit and control the power of the state.  Of course, any democracy needs a well-functioning and authoritative state.  But when a country is emerging from decades of dictatorship, it also needs to find ways to check, monitor, and restrain the power of political leaders and state officials.


Civil society actors should watch how state officials use their powers.  They should raise public concern about any abuse of power.  They should lobby for access to information, including freedom of information laws, and rules and institutions to control corruption.


This constitutes a second important function of civil society:  to expose the corrupt conduct of public officials and lobby for good governance reforms.  Even where anti-corruption laws and bodies exist, they cannot function effectively without the active support and participation of civil society.


A third function of civil society is to promote political participation.  NGOs can do this by educating people about their rights and obligations as democratic citizens, and encouraging them to listen to election campaigns and vote in elections.  NGOs can also help develop citizens’ skills to work with one another to solve common problems, to debate public issues, and express their views.


Fourth, civil society organizations can help to develop the other values of democratic life:  tolerance, moderation, compromise, and respect for opposing points of view.  Without this deeper culture of accommodation, democracy cannot be stable.  These values cannot simply be taught; they must also be experienced through practice.  We have outstanding examples from other countries of NGOs—especially women’s groups—that have cultivated these values in young people and adults through various programs that practice participation and debate.


Fifth, civil society also can help to develop programs for democratic civic education in the schools as well.  After dictatorship, comprehensive reforms are needed to revise the curricula, rewrite the textbooks, and retrain teachers in order to educate young people about the crimes of the past and teach them the principles and values of democracy.  This is too important a task to leave only to officials in the education ministry.  Civil society must be involved as a constructive partner and advocate for democracy and human rights training.


Sixth, civil society is an arena for the expression of diverse interests, and one role for civil society organizations is to lobby for the needs and concerns of their members, as women, students, farmers, environmentalists, trade unionists, lawyers, doctors, and so on.  NGOs and interest groups can present their views to parliament and provincial councils, by contacting individual members and testifying before parliamentary committees.  They can also establish a dialogue with relevant government ministries and agencies to lobby for their interests and concerns.


And it is not only the resourceful and well organized who can have their voices heard.  Over time, groups that have historically been oppressed and confined to the margins of society can organize to assert their rights and defend their interests as well.


A seventh way civil society can strengthen democracy is to provide new forms of interest and solidarity that cut across old forms of tribal, linguistic, religious, and other identity ties.  Democracy cannot be stable if people only associate with others of the same religion or identity.  When people of different religions and ethnic identities come together on the basis of their common interests as women, artists, doctors, students, workers, farmers, lawyers, human rights activists, environmentalists, and so on, civic life becomes richer, more complex, and more tolerant.


Eighth, civil society can provide a training ground for future political leaders.  NGOs and other groups can help to identify and train new types of leaders who have dealt with important public issues and can be recruited to run for political office at all levels and to serve in provincial and national cabinets.  Experience from other countries shows that civil society is a particularly important arena from which to recruit and train future women leaders.


Ninth, civil society can help to inform the public about important public issues.  This is not only the role of the mass media, but of NGOs which can provide forums for debating public policies and disseminating information about issues before parliament that affect the interests of different groups, or of society at large.


Tenth, civil society organizations can play an important role in mediating and helping to resolve conflict.  In other countries, NGOs have developed formal programs and training of trainers to relieve political and ethnic conflict and teach groups to solve their disputes through bargaining and accommodation.


Eleventh, civil society organizations have a vital role to play in monitoring the conduct of elections.  This requires a broad coalition of organizations, unconnected to political parties or candidates, that deploys neutral monitors at all the different polling stations to ensure that the voting and vote counting is entirely free, fair, peaceful, and transparent.  It is very hard to have credible and fair elections in a new democracy unless civil society groups play this role.


Finally, I want to stress that civil society is not simply in tension with the state.  Because civil society is independent of the state doesn’t mean that it must always criticize and oppose the state.  In fact, by making the state at all levels more accountable, responsive, inclusive, effective—and hence more legitimate—a vigorous civil society strengthens citizens’ respect for the state and promotes their positive engagement with it.


A democratic state cannot be stable unless it is effective and legitimate, with the respect and support of its citizens.  Civil society is a check, a monitor, but also a vital partner in the quest for this kind of positive relationship between the democratic state and its citizens.

Published in: on January 26, 2017 at 4:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Letters Never Sent (Albert)

Letters Never Sent (Albert)



The danger of history



The danger in history is thinking that you have to ride it through to victory for your favorite teams, tribes, traditions, religions, sports, smiles, children, community, money, ad infinitum. Life!


And it’s not true.


We don’t have to make sure that our anscestors ultimately won. We won’t be bad children. Sometimes our anscestors were going about things all wrong. Our job is then to stop the madness of the generations doing the same thing over and over and over again. Like Steinbeck said, it’s all about moving along to someplace new. That’s what makes an American great.


Published in: on October 27, 2016 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just Don’t Do It

Here’s the problem

Don’t crook. When people have no money they crook and it upsets the equilibrium. Righties want strong corporations to put a buffer between them and the crook. Anybody would do it if they suffer crookiness. They would seek out an entity to act as a buffer the next time they have to deal with the general public. The general public can then no longer work together. I can’t remember the problem. All I know is that when someone hurts you, you remember it. This destroys trust. So please, don’t destroy trust. It’s easy to avoid crookiness, just don’t do it.

Then maybe someday people will agree that the corporations don’t have to run everything for safety purposes and we might be willing to do things in the public’s good, like employee-owned businesses and the like. The government trusts us so little that it makes it almost impossible to do anything. Makes you want to move to Spain. No, really. Freedom isn’t free, they say, but it’s not freedom either. It’s bureaucratic slavery keeping the honest man down. Only the corporations can run that business the way they want to on that prime corner of community real estate. Have you ever noticed that all of the greatest community spaces have gas stations on them? Why’s this?

Published in: on March 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

The American Way

In general, researchers and listeners are more interested in the answers than the questions (since the answers are usually more varied than the questions, and may go into related topics not directly mentioned in the question). A good rule of thumb is the more detailed and descriptive the indexing is, the better researchers are able to access the tape content. For example, writing “describes fears about not surviving and prayers he wrote in his diary” is more helpful than “fears in battle.” For examples of some excellent logs the Veterans History Project has received from participants, please see sample Audio and Video Recording Logs listed on our forms page.

Published in: on February 20, 2012 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment  

When I was 17 – Joey Kantor

When I was 17 i broke up a fight between two kids I knew. Another kid I knew pushed me hard back, mad that I’d broke up the fight. I could see my friends were just being used so i said enough. I guess I was supposed to turn around and attack my friend who pushed me in hopes of a mass riot which would be a lot of fun for the tough kids, but not for the rest of us. So I didn’t. I didn’t give them the pleasure. But the fight was broken up and all my other friend was was disappointed and not really mad. He wanted to see a good fight. Me too! I love to see a good fight even though I act like I don’t. Love it. But I never instigated them because I could see what kind of ugly things they really were. That’s what people have to realize about any sort of battle, its ugliness. On that thought I present to you an excerpt out of a school textbook from the 60s. It simply consists of important literary documents and speeches over our history. I present one of those here to you today.

Fargo Kantrowitz

John F. Kennedy

Our Disarmament Doctrine

“Mankind must put an end to war – or war will put an end to mankind.”

Partial text of President Kennedy’s address to the United Nations General Assembly Sept. 26 1961.

We meet in an hour of grief and challenge, Dag Hammarskjold is dead. But the United Nations lives on. His tragedy is deep in our hearts, but the task for which he died is at the top of our agenda.

A noble servant of peace is gone. But the quest for peace lies before us.

The problem is not death of one man-the problem is the life of this organization. It will either grow to meet the challenge of our age-or it will be gone with the wind, without influence, without force, without respect.

Were we to let it die-to enfeeble its vigor-to cripple its powers-we would condemn the future.

For in the development of this organization rests the only true alternative to war-and war appeals no longer as a rational alternative.

Unconditional war can no longer lead to unconditional victory. It can no longer serve to settle disputes. It can no longer be of concern to great powers alone.

For a nuclear disaster, spread by winds and waters and fear, would well engulf the great and small, the rich and the poor, the committed and the uncommitted alike. Mankind must put an end to war-or war will put an end to mankind.

So let us here resolve that Dag Hammarskjold did not live-or die-in vain. Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace.

And, as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war.

This will require new strength and new roles for a new United Nations. For disarmament without checks is but a shadow-and a community without law is but a shell.

Already the United Nations has become both the measure and the vehicle of man’s most generous impulses. Already it has provided-in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia-a means of holding violence within bounds.

But the great question which confronted this body in 1945 is still before us-whether man’s cherished hopes for progress and freedom are to be destroyed by tactics of terror and disruption-whether the “foul winds of war” can be tamed in time to free the cooling winds of reason-and whether the pledges of our charter are to be fulfilled or defied: pledges to secure peace, progress, human rights and respect for world law.

In this hall there are not three forces, but only two. One is composed of those wsho are trying to build the kind of world described in Articles I and II of the charter. The other, seeking a different world, would undermine this organization in the process.

Today of all days our dedication to that charter must be strengthened.

It must be strengthened first of all, by the selection of an outstanding civil servant to carry forward the responsibilities of the secretary general-a man endowed with both the wisdom and the power to make meaningful the moral force of the world community.

The late secreatary general nurtured and sharpened the United Nations’ obligations to act. But the did not invent it. It was there in the charter. It is still here in the charter.

The secretary general, in a very real sense, is the servant of this Assembly. Diminish his authority and you diminish the authority of the only body where all nations, regardless of power, are equal and sovereign.

The United Nations protects the weak

Until all the powerful are just, the weak will be secure only in the strength of this Assembly.

Effective and independent executive action is not the same question as balanced representation.

In view of the enormous change in the membership of this body since its founding, the American delegation will join in any effort for the prompt review and revision of the composition of United Nations bodies.

But to give this organization three drivers-to permit each great power in effect to decide its own case-would entrench the Cold War in the headquarters of peace.

Whatever advantages such a plan holds out to my country, as one of the great powers, we reject it. For we prefer world law, in the age of self-determination, to world war, in the age of mass extermination.

Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when it may no longer be habitable.

Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of b eing cut at any moment by accident, miscalculation or madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.

Men no longer debate whether armaments are a symptom or cause of tension.

The mere existence of modern weapons-10,000,000 times more destructive than anything the world has ever known, and only minutes away from any target on earth-is a source of horro, of discord and distrust.

Men no longer maintain that disarmament must await the settlement of all disputes-for disarmament must be a part of any permanent settlement.

And men no longer pretend tht the quest for disarmament is a sign of weakness-for in a spiraling arms race, a nation’s security may well be shrinking even as its arms increase.

A matter of life – or death

For 15 years this organization has sought the reduction and destruction of arms. Now that goal is no longer a dream-it is a practical matter of life or death. The risks inherent in disarmament pale in comparison to the risks inherent in an 8unlimited arms race.

It is in this spirit that the recent Belgrade conference-recognizing that this is no longer a Soviet problem or an American problem, but a human problem-endorsed a program of “general, complete and strictly and internationally controlled disarmament.”

It is in this same spirit that we in the United States have labored this year, with a new urgency, and with a new, now-statutory agency fully endorsed by the Congress, to find an approach to disarmament which would be so far-reaching yet realistic, so mutually balanced and beneficial, that it could be accepted by every nation.

And it is in this spirit that we have presented to the Soviet Union-under the label both nations now accept of “general and complete disarmament.” -a statement of newly agreed principles for negotiation.

But we are well aware that all issues of principle are not settled-and that principles alone are not enough.

Our intention is complete disarmament

It is therefore our intention to challenge the Soviet Union, not to arms race, but to a peace race-to advance with us step by step, stage by stage, until general and complete disarmament has actually been achieved.

We invite them now to go beyond agreement in principle to reach agreement on actual plans.

The program to be presented to this Assembly-for general and complete disarmament under effective international control-moves to bridge the gap between those who insist on a gradual approach and those who talk only of the final and total achievement.

It would create machinery to keep the peace as it destroys the machines of war. It would proceed through balanced and safeguarded stages designed to give no state a military advantage over another.

It would place the final responsibility for verification and control where it belongs-not with the big powers alone, not with one’s adversary or one’s self-but in an international organization within the framework of the United Nations itself.

It would assure that indispensable condition of disarmament organization, a steady reduction in forces, both nuclear and conventional, until it has abolished all armies and all weapons except those needed for internal order and a new United Nations peace force.

And it starts that process now, today, even as the talks begins.

Our disarmament proposals

But to halt the spread of these terrible weapons, to halt the contamination of the air, to halt the spiraling nuclear arms race, we remain ready to seek new avenues of agreement. Our new disarmament program thus includes the following proposals:

-First, signing the test-ban treaty, by all nations, This can be done now. Test ban negotiations need not and should not await general disarmament talks.

-Second, stopping the production of fissionable materials for use in weapons and preventing their transfer to any nation now lacking nuclear weapons.

-Third, prohibiting the transfer of control over nuclear weapons to states that do not now own them.

-Fourth, keeping nuclear weapons from seeding new battlegrounds in outer space.

-Fifth, gradually destroying existing nuclear weapons and converting their materials to peaceful uses; and…

-Finally, halting the unlimited testing and production of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, and gradually destroying them as well.

To destroy arms, however, is not enough, we must create even as we destroy-creating worldwide law and law enforcement as we outlaw worldwide war and weapons.

In the world we seek, United Nations emergency forces which have been hastily assembled, uncertainly supplied and inadequately financed will never be enough.

Therefore, the United States recommends that all member nations earmark special peace-keeping units in their armed forces-to be on call to the United Nations-to be specially trained and quickly available-and with advance provision for financial and logistic support.

In addition, the American delegation will suggest a series of steps to improve the United Nations machinery for the peaceful settlement of disputes-for on-the-spot fact-finding, mediation and adjudication-for extending the rule of international law.

For peace is not solely a military or technical problem-it is primarily a problem of politics and people.

And unless man can match his strides in weaponry and technology with equal strides in social and political development, our great strength, like that of the dinosaur, will become incapable of proper control-and man, like the dinosaur, will decline and disappear.

Man’s new domain: outer space

As we extend the rule of law on earth, so must we also extend it to man’s new domain: outer space.

All of us salute the brave cosmonauts of the Soviet Union. The new horizons of outer space must not be riven by the old bitter concepts of imperialism and sovereign claims. The cold reaches of the universe must not become the new arena of an even colder war.

To this end, we shall urge proposals extending the United Nations charter to the limits of man’s exploration in the universe, reserving outer space for peaceful use, prohibiting weapons of mass destruction in space or on celestial bodies and opening the mysteries and benefits of space to every nation.

We shall propose cooperative efforts in weather prediction and eventually weather control.

We shall propose, finally, a global system of communications satellites linking the whole world in telegraph, telephone, radio and television.

The day need not be far away when such a system will televise the proceedings of this body to every corner of the world.

But the mysteries of outer space must not divert our eyes or our energies from the harsh realities that face our own fellow men.

Political sovereignty is but a mockery without the means to meet poverty, illiteracy and disease. Self-determination is but a slogan if the future holds no hope.

That is why my nation-which has freely shared its capital and its technology to help others help themselves-now proposes officially designating this decade of the 1960s as the UN Decade of Development.

Published in: on December 4, 2010 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Excuse me, but Israel (and America), wake up…

Israel has been a lot in the news lately, my news. I am looking into the Gaza Strip situation  on the internet and am wondering why we as a country are supporting them with arms after learning of what they have been doing to the people of Gaza, treating them like they were prisoners. It is called Mass Punishment, but I call it a shame that we are helping to support it. No wonder the Arab world wants us to wake up and stop supporting the Israelis with arms. Give protection to the Israeli’s from slaughter if need be, always; to Palestinians now and Israeli’s then, in some nebulous then. They do not need to incarcerate an entire population because the mouse at various times attacked the cat.  Innocents killed randomly. Homes destroyed. Families. Go ask your average American family who Senator McConnell is,  they will all stare at you with the same way before going back to hitting each other and screaming from the kitchen. We’re all the same. We, Americans, are helping fund the punishment of children along with their parents who are Innocent! We cannot continue to fund this sort of corporeal punishment. It is inhuman and unAmerican.  Check out some people who are really trying to do something about the horrible conditions being meted out by Israel in the name of safety. There is a peaceful rescue flotilla going into Gaza as we speak. They are doing live updates. There is a chance that the Israelis may shoot them out of the water. Worse things had been done.

Remember, violence only begets violence. Knowledge is never meant to be used to destroy another human being. Vengeance belongs to God alone or no one. All we need here is a little kindness and a little wisdom. The Good Ol’ American Way!  A good start to “fighting” terrorism, too. God bless all of the countries in the world and may their strong keep their others strong until the wise people of the world wake up and move their fingers like a wand and say “enough.”

Peace Not War


Chapter 1

The war is cold. It plays downward. Ever drooping. Embarrassing to your average man, but there, (proud) and fit. War.

Chapter 2

The war is hot. Tempers flare. We will win. We will win. We will Win win we will will when we win war we will win we will win war war war we will win. Win. We. Will. Win. Win. Never say lose. Never say die. Never say die. Never say never. Never. The existentialists predicament. Love. Boring anymore. The commercials are wearing off. The community is too dangerous with those cars hurtling around everywhere. Plastic storefronts to enter and be watched, eyed. Campfires prohibited. The protesters sitting on the curb kicking stones thinking about moving out of the country. Lost dogs still roam oblivious to it all. No war. No war. No war.

Chapter 3

In the beginning Man tried to get along but they failed miserably. They didn’t know what to do. One day man conked another man on the head with the jaw of an ass. The asses jaw, the one doing the conking, fell to the ground as did the man whose noggin had been so brutally accessed. War had begun because the one guy had a brother. So there you have it. The history of war. The brothers of those guys killed in war. A never ending battle. Then we put the word “God” up there and give GOD a bad name. Not what would Jesus do, but what would GOD do. For GOD so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. Jesus too was GOD for he was his son, Allah’s prophet, guiding his people to a destination they all could agree on. Jesus Christ showing his people that love can solve all problems. It was all supposed to work out great until that conk happened and the people forgot about all of that stuff and only started thinking about it when a symbol was needed to charge forth and conk more poor saps on the head whose brother, of course, puts down his workman’s tools and picks up a rifle and a bomb instead. Terrorism. What a concept. Who started it? Well, the terrorist has always started everything. All the time. This does not compute. Blankness of war of who started it can you feel the black? The world is not alright when there is no next step. Hatred blackens your heart. Kill that man? Yeah right, his brother and then the brother of the man the brother just killed. Cut em in half. This type here. That type there. Aren’t we all people first? War doesn’t think so. It has theories on the evil of mankind. War. War sucks.

Chapter 4

Peace or else. The next concept. Of the air peace. Without what? Doing what? What? What? No sound, found. Man must practice goodness to everybody especially his enemies. To a Christian this is a command. Those who practice dubious aggressions are definitely not Christians. An American is more than any of the Europeans had ever quite become. They splintered off and became their own type of people somehow and it is rugged and macho. The Mexican culture is much the same way. Canada is slightly more European. Europe is European. Greece is Grecian. Rome is Roman. Palisreal is a new Palestinian/Israeli configuration that works remarkably well. And bin Laden? Well. Let’s save that for the next chapter.

Chapter 5

bin Laden. What a concept. He has the mistique of a Saladin. He is the modern day Man on the Mountain with his many assassins. What to do? My instinct is to communicate. Communicate at least. Have an argument somehow and come to a conclusion using the context of morality. If his morals convince you that he was right for blowing up the World Trade Center then he and his cause win and can have whatever they want. If he fails to convince you then he must live with that knowledge that his theories may be faulty and you walk away a free man. After that it is a matter of pulling the pockets of the rich inside out to fund peace organizations whose sole purpose is to come up with solutions that promote peace. Make people happy and they will stare down their bulldog. This is what we need.

Chapter 6

But do not import culture. Make these places off limits to American products unless approved by the People of their countries. Give out a rating system for American media that adheres a little more closely to their moral standards. We Americans must remember that we were born from the craw of many industrialists and that our access to television and media has been much greater than some other peoples in the world. Many of our “enemies” I’m sure don’t even own a t.v. at all. Sow seeds that are at least loving. Forgive if you expect to be forgiven. No one culture is really any greater than any other.

Chapter 7

Forgive bin Laden? War. War. War. War. War….(this mantra is what overtakes the American people when the subject of forgiveness comes up. The eternal holding on to the most violent methods (war) because we cannot even forgive enough to look at the villain, to talk to him, is what perpetuates war. We seek only to destroy him, but in fact we could have bin Laden’s trial right now, today if we would only confront him and ask him “Why did you do that?”

Chapter 8

At that point I would think it is a matter of simply looking down the list and see what we agree and what we don’t agree with. Perhaps we need to compromise in this world We too used huge amounts of violence to make our point. Now we are waiting for bin Laden to strike again, then of course we’ll probably end up taking out the Cayman Islands by accident. We’ll be like monkeys with machine guns. After which bin Laden’s brother sets out to kick your ass. Once more. The circle of life and death whenever people have brothers be it familial or friend.

Chapter 9

War. What more is there. We say no don’t do it and then they do it. No war we say. But then they do it. What do we know so far. We know that war is not a Christian concept therefore anybody who begins a war is seeking about for change in a non-Christian matter. The soldiers are innocent. They are not expendable either. Two more soldiers died in Iraq today when a roadside bomb exploded under their vehicle near Tikrit. Well, at least it’s not three. Cest la vie!

Chapter 10

The last chapter to this little soiree on war. My advice is that you give up all of your land to the poor. Raise carrots. Take guns away from monkeys and ask the good lord if there is anything other than salt on his plate that he could give the poor shmoes whose tempers get away from them and hit people over the head with asses jaws who have brothers. War needs meaning and death gives it to it. Suicide is sister to war. She stalks the lonely and seemingly undeserving. Stewing. The inner vision out. Lets make the world a nicer place so those folks, the Attas of the world, realize that he too could be loved in a world ruled by love and not hate. Peace and not War.

Published in: on July 29, 2009 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment