The Class Action to Rectify Global Injustice (CARGI) was a phenomenon that defined global politics in the mid-21st century.
It led to disastrous consequences for the United States' position in the world and – most tragically – for the people of Columbus, Ohio.
It had all begun with the Elgin marbles. That is, when the International Court of Justice directed the United Kingdom to give back to Greece the sculptured walls of the Parthenon that had been stolen by Lord Elgin between 1801 and 1811.
They never thought that would lead to the greatest class action lawsuit in history, which became known as the Class Action to Rectify Global Injustice, or simply CARGI. A Tennessee law firm, Arbuckle, Stinson and Hargreaves, realized that a precedent had been made. If the taking of the Elgin marbles was now considered theft, then how many other actions since the rise of European colonialism could now be viewed as theft? And how much money would be at stake? Untold billions.
CLASS ACTION WITH A BILLION PLAINTIFFS
Arbuckle filed complaints against the nations of Western Europe on behalf of India, Pakistan, South Africa, Kenya, Brazil and dozens of other countries. Within a few years, over a billion people in the developing world were represented.
The people of the Congo sought reparations from Belgium for the atrocities carried out a hundred and fifty years earlier, when Belgian soldiers would cut off the hands of Congolese natives who hadn't produced enough rubber. The Masai filed to get their land back which had been stolen from them by the British. The few remaining indigenous people of Nicaragua filed suit for the extermination of their ancestors, ninety-nine percent of whom had died in the first seventy years after the Spanish conquest.
CARGI OUT OF CONTROL
Things really got going with a new series of lawsuits against the United States and European nations for allowing their multinational corporations to commit crimes against the less developed people of the world. The oil industry was sued for leaving lakes of black oil where there had once been arable land. The bottled water industry was sued for buying up all the fresh water rights, drying up reservoirs and leaving local people without water to drink.
Meanwhile, the United States would have none of it. They threatened to pull out of the United Nations, the World Bank and just about every other global institution unless all charges against their multinationals were dismissed. Americans could no longer travel to developing countries without armed guards. The Europeans tried to broker a middle ground but failed.
That was when disaster struck. In October 2063, as Columbus Day was being celebrated and the people of Columbus, Ohio enjoyed their long weekend, digging into their brunch or settling down to watch the sports on TV, a nuclear bomb exploded in their downtown.
Over fifty thousand people were instantly killed. A hundred thousand others wounded and devastated by radiation sickness. The shining towers and proud skyscrapers of downtown Columbus were incinerated into a red-hot, radioactive crater containing two square miles of melted steel and pulverized concrete.
The Citizens Seeking Global Justice, a group nobody had heard of before or since, claimed responsibility along with an awful threat: if the United States didn't recognize and participate in the CARGI lawsuit, an even bigger nuclear explosion would take place in a major city exactly one year later.
THE U.S. BLINKS
The Department of Homeland Security did everything imaginable to find the perpetrators. Everyone in the U.S. had to register with the Department and wear a tag so they could be monitored by satellite wherever they went. Every financial transaction, no matter how small, was registered and analyzed. But they were never found.
In solidarity with the United States, the International Court of Justice suspended all CARGI hearings for a year. Terror gripped the people of the United States as the anniversary of Columbus drew near.
A week before the year was up, the United States announced they would no longer boycott the International Court of Justice. They had re-joined the global community. The United States had blinked. They never held the same power in the world from that day on.