Certainly, to begin describing a global citizen of the United States would require mandatory overseas residency in one to three countries over the course of two years for every citizen of the United States to help them gain a perspective of the world’s stages and not the current views of a portion of native-born citizens when directed at anyone different from them, in speech, in color, in language, as the extremely feared other that a minority utilize physical violence against and a larger minority barely tolerate at all.  I want to disclose here that my prejudice is that the persons described above flash across my visual landscape as the White political majority, but intellectually I understand and know of other populations that have done the same.  And this isn’t new.  New immigrants have constantly suffered from a variety of personal and systemic prejudices since at least this country was organized into a bureaucratically controlled miasma of political elites bent on putting enough fear of the other into the citizens to the best of their ability via successful as well as sloppy and inept xenophobic political propaganda.  Nothing has changed from them to now.

The definitions of a global citizen are nebulous and differ from writer to writer, but should be distinguished from the insidiousness of globalization that is understood to bulldoze its way from the industrialized world to the less industrialized and un-industrialized world to destroy everything in its wake for profit.  A global citizen is not someone who is an official member of a particular state who is recognized officially by that state.  A global citizen (1) operates with the understanding that civically and “glocally” (Tully’s terminology to emphasize local action and global thought) that the grass roots and civic activities of  the people will differ based on the needs of specific locales.  A global citizen (2) is validated in their compassion for others as valid and the concerns of others as valid and is not based upon legal citizenship forced upon by birth, naturalization, or progeny.  A global citizen (3) is praxis within the local, within the glocal (Tully, 2014).  A global citizen (4) is collective interdependence and affirmation of human solidarity across nation-state lines to affirm grassroots activism in international affairs that affect a glocal citizen in one of several locales and in several others internationally (Falk, 2014).  I aspire to this definition, but I know of many who fit the definition in my eyes, personally and through blogs and social media. I will not paint a portrait of a global citizen.  Instead, I will elaborate on these defined characteristics, frequently with examples, and you can paint your own portrait.


Glocal Action

If one is to be a global citizen, while awareness of every single wrong in the world is impossible and would overwhelm each one of us, there must be awareness of individually noticeable inequities and iniquities.  However, individually, one cannot be a global citizen alone, cannot be a population of one.  A global citizen, whether part of an intentional community, a squat, or even a networked group of individuals communicating via (an online anarchist collective social network space and news resource) or any other traditional online social network space, must act collectively.  It is required.  The Arab Spring would be the Arab Winter without it and Occupy Wall Street and its “subsidiaries” would have never materialized.  While the role of media propaganda (Steger, 2013) plays an overpowering role in the “campaign” to McDonaldize or synchronize the world to the heartbeat of the Unite States, additional media propaganda, social and in-the-flesh personal propaganda play their role in confronting mainstream media propaganda with protests, with direct actions, and the efforts of black bloc contingents, nationally and internationally, to dismantle globalization. Glocal.



Compassion, or concern for others, in this context is concern for the other, for the different, for people that are affected by globalization in ways that you and I may not be affected.  It is respect for the culture and differences of the other (Tully, 2014).  While this may be challenging for many, it is helpful to place yourself in the position of those others, to at least consider their position if one is not able to completely understand it.  This understanding is helped via travel outside of one’s country of birth and immersion in a culture not your own.  I mentioned this earlier, but let me emphasize that this is more than going to a world music festival, it is the major difference between travelling and being a tourist.  If this is difficult to see, consider the difference in visiting New York City and staying exclusively in Time Square and visiting local neighborhoods elsewhere in the City.



In this and other essays I have made more than a passing reference to anarchism.  For me, for praxis, for global citizenship, it is almost required. Here, the need and the practical considerations of what it means to be a global citizen become abundantly clear.  It is not the actions of a solo performer as I emphasized above.  Tully (2014) calls this “citizenship as negotiated practices, as praxis – as actors and activities in contexts.”  One works with others as though the collective action of praxis is a well-oiled machine.  If it is to upset, or at least put a kink in globalization, it must be that.  True to anarchist tradition, such praxis does not have a bureaucratic or hierarchal authoritarian structure, and this maddens globalization adherents and their government sycophants.  While Tully emphasizes that this isn’t always successful, a quick observation of mainstream news propaganda will readily reveal that to any of us.  However, what is also abundantly clear is that the continued praxis employed against globalization by collective and isolated groups of global citizens chip away little pieces and sometimes larger pieces of globalization’s attempts to destroy.



Defined thus far, global citizenship and each facet of its definition tend to overlap, but collectively they also clarify the definition.  This is no more abundantly clear than the need for solidarity within global citizenship and its contrast with globalization and its need to feed on technology and its inability to see nothing but personal greed.  It is solidarity in praxis that accomplished the Arab Spring in spite of philosophical differences in desired results that became apparent later and appears to still be an issue in Egypt as well as here in the United States.  To illustrate this a little better, Occupy Wall Street quickly became Wall Street Everywhere though obvious solidarity and obvious perceived need in other communities. More specifically, during this time, there was a call from Occupy in Oakland and the other collectives regionally, nationally, and internationally called for support of Oakland Occupy. In this country, there hasn’t been a general strike in the United States since the 1930s or earlier when corporations and their government supporters quashed the movement.  Oakland called for general strike, a blockade of the Oakland Docks.  In addition to support from other Occupies, there was almost a general support from the dockworkers themselves.



Admittedly, these illustrations are flawed in that they are not perfectly and successfully inhibiting globalization but grass roots, where global citizenry must come from as an anti-authoritarian and anarchist movement that is aware of others and treats everyone with the agency with which they act, treating them with the common courtesy that we want to be treated with.  While we cannot always be aware of what happens in every corner of the globe, what we can know is that we are acting in such a way that when global citizenry see our actions from afar, they recognize it as one that respects their actions and the multicultural heritage of the world.  And to clarify my personal understanding of this subject (or my biases, as the case may be), let me state here that I come from an immigrant father who did not renounce his allegiance to the Italian government until I was two years old that gave me additional Italian citizenship several years later.  I have traveled and I have seen some of the world and I have moved into a variety of diverse cities that allowed me to experience different cultures.  Much of this was fueled by an eclectic curiosity and compassion with an awareness that has gradually given me a viewpoint that is communitarian anarchist.  I am probably not an ideal global citizen but I am an aspect of one.



Steger, M. B. (2013). Globalization: A very short introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Falk, R. (September, 2014). Changing the Political Climate: A Transitional Imperative. Great Transition Initiative. Retrieved from

Tully, J. (2014). On global citizenship. London, UK. Bloomsbury Academic.