A Holistic Process of Planetary Transformation: The Constitution for the Federation of Earth

Glen T. Martin


One of the most basic problems encountered by people trying to envision an Earth Federation is the problem of transition.  How do militarized countries move from a state of fragmentation, fear, and mistrust to a transformed condition of trust and confidence embraced by a principle of unity in diversity? Another way of asking the same question is to ask how can we transform an international “war-system” to a federated peace-system?

Related to these thoughts is the psychological question: how do human beings move from a state of hate, fear, and distrust to a condition of love, compassion, mutual security, and trust?  A planetary civilization of peace, justice, and sustainability under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, of course, is our goal  (Martin 2010). But how do we get there?

If we want to survive and flourish on our precious planet Earth we will have to actualize our harmony and coherence with one another (Laszlo 2021). We need a planetary civilization of harmony, justice, peace, freedom, and love. This alone with give us the synergy to deal with the climate disasters that will continue to descend upon us. It will give us the synergy to overcome militarism and weapons of mass destruction, to cooperate rather than compete, to love rather than hate.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth as a whole signifies a tool for this transition. It also sets up a process for this transition, most notably in its Articles, 17, 18, and 19. No process into an unknown future is, of course, fool-proof or entirely without risk. We in the Earth Constitution Movement, after all, are the vanguard and catalyst for the most fundamental and important transformation in human history (Martin 2018).

We are attempting nothing less than to bring human beings from barbarism and perdition to civilization and redemption before it is too late. In doing this, the process integral to the Earth Constitution is utterly fundamental, deeply wise, and concretely practical. It is very likely our best hope for a redeemed and decent future for humanity and the world’s other living creatures (of which we are the custodians).

I describe this process set up by the Earth Constitution as a five-phase process, with each stage adding crucial transformative elements.  The five phases together constitute the most practical and commonsense transition process for what may be the most difficult and demanding of all transitions the world has ever known. It begins from a divided and fractured war-system threatening to wipe-out humanity.  The process ends in a world united within a peace, justice, and sustainability system. Here I will name the five phases of the conversion process and then proceed to discuss each one in turn.

  1. Provisional World Government: jump starting, laying foundations, spreading awareness.
  2. First Operative Stage: legitimizing and activating the transformational infrastructure.
  3. Progressive Constitutional Amendments: refining the transformational instrument.
  4. Second Operative Stage: demilitarization and planetary conversion.
  5. Final Operative Stage: actualizing the new world system premised on Peace, Justice, and Sustainability.

Phase 1: Provisional World Government: jumpstarting the transformational infrastructure (Article 19)

Philosophers of law have long pointed out the paradox of beginnings. Where does the sovereign authority of government originate?  There must be a beginning somewhere (a revolution of one sort or another) in which what was previously not legally legitimate becomes recognized as legitimate (Ingram 2006, Chap. 3).  At present what is recognized as legitimate is a fragmented world order consisting of militarized sovereign nation-states acknowledging no binding authority above themselves (Harris 2008, Chap. 7).

If the transition from this morally and conceptually illegitimate war-system to a morally and legally legitimate peace-system requires democratic decision-making by some power or group recognized to make these decisions, there is simply no such legitimate democratic framework existing to make this transition legitimate and binding. Indeed, if there were such a framework, then the transition itself would likely be unnecessary. The necessary global democratic framework would already be in place.

Article 19 empowers concerned world citizens to act now to jumpstart the Earth Federation through establishing provisional World Government.  Under the paradox of beginnings, there is no way to move beyond the limiting framework of what is now considered legitimately sovereign to a new level of sovereignty without some people just doing it. All possible beginnings are arbitrary beginnings, at least in some senses. Of course, the for the Earth Constitution to become fully operative requires democratic ratification by the people of Earth under Article 17. Indeed, but setting up the mechanisms for this ratification process again must be “arbitrary” in some senses.

After the Fourth Constituent Assembly approved the finalized version of the Earth Constitution in Troia, Portugal in 1991, they initiated a campaign for ratification (see Martin 2010). They understood the deep crises that humanity was and is experiencing with regard to pollution, climate destruction, diminishing resources, endless wars, threat of nuclear holocaust, political corruption among the politicians of many nations, and diminishing human prospects for the future. Whether the planet had a “legitimate” government to address these problems yet or not, the present collection of global NGOs (so-called “global civil society”) could not possibly give us a solution. The urgency of the problems required initiating Provisional World Government to deal with the problems from as an authoritative position as possible given these circumstances.

At the same time, the mandate of the Provisional World Government, most specifically the Provisional World Parliament, was to accelerate the democratic ratification process of the Earth Constitution, for this was clearly the only coherent system from which the multiplicity of lethal world problems could be effectively addressed. Hence, the clear duty of Provisional World Government centering on the Provisional World Parliament was first, to jumpstart the process in full awareness of the paradox of beginnings. Second, to begin dealing with the nexus of lethal planetary problems as effectively as possible. Third, to serve as model and paradigm for humanity to recognize and follow. Fourth to set up the World Electoral Districts (WEDs) and direct voting procedures for the citizens of Earth.

In line with this strategy, and sponsored by the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA), the Provisional World Parliament has met some 14 times to date and has produced some 67 World Legislative Acts covering a broad range of topics that (1) elaborate the spirit and letter of the Earth Constitution, (2) address crucial global problems with comprehensive and targeted legislation, and (3) for both the Parliament itself and its quality legislation to serve as models and paradigms for the beginnings of the actualized World Parliament in the first operative stage of the emerging Earth Federation (see https://oneworldrenaissance.com/world-legislative-acts-to-date/).

These features are concretely illustrated in the steps specified in Article 19 of the Constitution, the very first of which is: “issue a call to the nations, communities and people of Earth to ratify this Constitution. Second, to set up “preparatory commissions” on key issues such as ratification, organizing elections, world disarmament, world problems, financing, and peace education. Third, Article 19 outlines the setting up of the Provisional World Parliament itself, and from this electing a “Provisional World Executive” to spearhead and focus the process. Finally, Article 19 outlines the “first actions” of the Provisional World Government to deal with the range of lethal “world problems” confronting humanity.

Phase 2. First Operative Stage: legitimizing and activating the transformational infrastructure (Article 17.3)

Article 17 outlines a progression of “three operative stages” in the ratification and implementation of democratic world government.  Each stage allows for a range of three possible democratic legitimating options. For the first operative stage to commence: (1) 25 or more nations can initially ratify and then confirm this through a referendum of their citizens; or (2) 10 or more nations can so ratify in combination with elections held in 50 World Electoral Districts; or (3) people can ratify directly from some 100 WEDs. (The Constitution, as is well-known, organizes several central governance features of the Earth Federation around some 1000 WEDs, roughly equal by population. These WEDs are organized independently of the nation-states, during Phase 1, while still conforming with national borders as much as possible.)

Upon activating the first operative stage, the Constitution specifies an action agenda to deal with the range of lethal global problems facing humanity (Article 17.3). It specifies reduction and elimination of weapons of mass destruction, setting up the key agencies specified by the Constitution for dealing with these problems and initiating the action agenda to address them: founding the “Emergency Earth Rescue Administration,” creating a legitimate finance system for the Earth, expediting a global energy system, regenerative agricultural production, establishing free and fair trade, promoting a global moratorium on nuclear weapons development, expediting clean water for the planet, protecting the resources of the planet, and bringing planetary population growth under control.

Note how legitimacy and action go together here. Not only is the initial Earth Federation government legitimated by democratic referendum, but its actions are not partial to the 25 or more nations or WEDs comprising the Federation.  It is not another power-block like the European Union or the federation called the USA. All its actions are addressing global problems and the initial Earth Federation will therefore function as a global transformative catalyst. Article 17.3.12 specifically reads that the First Operative Stage “in particular will take certain decisive actions for the welfare of all people on earth, applicable throughout the world.”

It will function, therefore, as radiant energy to the rest of the world to wake-up to the seriousness of the lethal global problems that we all face and a communicative force leading the way in eliminating nuclear weapons everywhere, establishing global public banking everywhere, controlling the population crisis everywhere, integrating global clean energy everywhere, promoting clean water and air everywhere, preserving the Earth’s resources, and rescuing the endangered agricultural capacity of our planet as a whole. This precious core of a redeemed humanity will radiate the transformative synergy spoken of by Buckminster Fuller (1972; 1981) and others. They will rapidly awaken the rest of humanity to the dignity, sacredness, and beauty of human beings living together within peaceful, just, and sustainable world system.

Rather than a new power-block, the Constitution mandates a transformative core of humanity in the form of the initial Earth Federation energizing planetary transformation regarding our immense global problems. The entire planet will likely be energized and inspired by this beacon announcing and leading the way toward a transformed world system that can alone effectively deal with our problems. The first operative stage of the Earth Federation does not separate humanity into yet another fragmentated unit but represents cohesiveness, cooperation, synergy, and love in action for all of humanity.

The world is already globalized, integrated and interdependent to such a degree that the portion of humanity comprising the initial Earth Federation will necessarily be transforming not only of their internal system but the world system simultaneously. Even the global public banking system alone (set up under Article 8.7) will have this transformative effect. Once people see banking as the global public infrastructure that it rightfully is, premised on the common good rather than private wealth and domination of the bankers, they will very likely clammar to become participants worldwide.

Critics sometimes point out that the first operative stage does not require the nations to demilitarize but only to decommission their weapons of mass destruction. However, we see now that the action agenda of the initial Earth Federation will be reaching out globally regarding the problems of war and weapons. The “World Disarmament Commission” initiated under the first phase becomes the “World Disarmament Agency” in the second phase, working with all nations worldwide to set up the proper protocols to continue this process. The first operative stage will be speaking to humankind from a truly global, universal, and coherent point of view, thereby appealing to what is highest and noblest in the rest of humanity and inspiring them to transformative action by becoming part of the emerging Earth Federation community.

Phase 3: Progressive Constitutional Amendments: refining the transformational instrument (Article 18)

This is where Article 18 enters both the legitimation and transformational processes. Today those who believe that this or that provision of the Earth Constitution might be better worded, or that this or that provision should be eliminated or improved, or those who claim that we need a consortium of thinkers to put together many good ideas and create a more excellent model constitution for the Earth, are fundamentally missing the legitimacy, brilliance, and transformative vision behind the Earth Constitution. 

The Earth Constitution is already in substance a powerfully appropriate tool for planetary transformation to a harmonious and synergistic global civilization. Whatever small flaws or secondary passages it might contain that should be changed are minimal in importance in comparison with its crucial function as a tool for human survival and flourishing. That is where Article 18 comes in.  The initial Earth Federation is required to do a complete constitutional review within its first 10 years and at least every 20 years after that in perpetuity.

Humanity is facing truly lethal problems that become worse with every day that we do not take effective action. Even well-meaning ideas emphasizing the need to “wait” and write a “better” constitution serve as a reactionary drag on a coherent human future. It is madness to quibble over this or that secondary provision when we have an effective tool for making a coherent transition happen. Article 17.3.10 reads “The World Parliament and the World Executive shall continue to develop the organs, departments, agencies, and activities originated under the Provisional World Government with such amendments as deemed necessary.”

If there are procedures of the PWP, or clauses in the Constitution that need to be changed or strengthened, that is the time to do it.  The tool of the Earth Constitution needs to be used now, and once there is a legitimate World Parliament operating under Article 17.3, changes to the Constitution can be made as necessary to carry forward the process of bringing the world to coherence, synergy, peace, justice, and sustainability.  The Earth Constitution is designed as a living document able to provide a stable and continuous legitimate government for the human community while at the same time providing for reasonable, nonviolent change as needed to fulfill this transformative mission.

The World Parliament in the first operative stage will undoubtedly make changes to the Constitution as needed to empower its integrative function and to bring the rest of humanity into the transformative process itself. Article 18, therefore, supplies a crucial and necessary phase of this process. The tool, brilliant as it is, will be able to adapt to changing historical circumstances and critical examination without changing its mission of providing humanity and future generations with a world-system based on genuine peace, justice, freedom, and sustainability. If we start the process under Article 19, this can happen quite rapidly. If we remain paralyzed at the theoretical stage by the paradox of beginnings, unable to act under Article 19 to make it happen now, we are not being helpful, only contributing to the potential demise of the human project and extinction of all higher forms of life (Harris 2014, 170-71).

Phase 4: Second Operative Stage: demilitarization and planetary conversion

All the way back in Phase One we saw that the Provisional World Government is required to have a “World Disarmament Commission.”  The framers of the Constitution understood that war and the world’s current “war-system” constitute a blight and scourge upon our common humanity and common human dignity.  In Phase Two, that is, in the first operative stage of the Earth Federation Government, the World Disarmament Commission is not abandoned but is developed and strengthened as the “World Disarmament Agency” (17.3.7). Its work under Article 17 does indeed bring forward the emphasis on eliminating nuclear weapons (because these, of course, could terminate our entire human civilization at any moment), but at the same time the infrastructure is being developed to progressively and carefully reduce, then eliminate, all weapons of war within a worldwide program.

The first operative stage establishes the World Supreme Court as well as World Enforcement, World Ombudsmus, World Civil Service, etc. Please note again that these are for the world, not only for the 25 or so nations in the initial Earth Federation. It is the “World Ombudsmus” working to protect human rights for the world, etc., and will undoubtedly have global influence. This again indicates the transformative trajectory of the Earth Constitution. It is laying the infrastructure for universal protections of human rights, universal enforcement, and universal disarmament. It will clearly be working with non-federation nations and non-federation World Electoral Districts to bring these global institutions to reality.

In the same spirit, the World Parliament, as well as the organs of the initial Earth Federation will be empowering agencies and institutions such as: the “Emergency Earth Rescue Administration,” the “Integrated Global Energy System,” and a “World Oceans and Seabeds Authority.”  The entire planet will be benefiting from these transformative initiatives and the people in the non-federation countries will rapidly see that a way out of the war, injustice, and climate destruction nightmare is actually happening. Again, for the Second Operative Stage, the Constitution says in Article 17.4.11 that the World Parliament and World Executive: “in particular shall take certain decisive actions for the welfare of all people on Earth.”

It is difficult to conceive of the people of Earth not flocking to join the Earth Federation. One beauty of the Earth Constitution is that it makes possible ratification of the Constitution by people directly through its World Electoral Districts, hence not contingent on the cooperation of national governments. People in non-federation countries will be able to directly vote from their electoral districts by secure, digital voting established for all citizens by the emerging Earth Federation. Human beings (currently disempowered at the global level by their fragmented system of militarized sovereign nations) are, by the Earth Constitution, empowered  to take control of their own planetary destiny.

The second operative stage begins when 50% of the people and/or nations of the Earth have ratified. As with the first operative stage this can happen by nations alone ratifying, or a combination of nations and WEDs, or from WEDs alone as long as the total in each case is 50% of the Earth’s population. The disarmament process and disarmament protocols will have been highly developed by this stage and it will be most likely a simple matter of completing the process and bringing both the federated half of humanity and the as yet un-federated half together in a global process of demilitarization.

The Constitution is about the “unity in diversity” of humanity, as it states in its Preamble.  There is no whole without parts, there is no true unity without diversity. In fact, only true unity can protect diversity because in a fragmented non-system the core principle is not democracy or justice, but power—the bigger and more powerful dominate the weaker and thereby diminish respect for diversity. The Earth Constitution affirms the legitimate power of nations over their internal affairs but removes the illegitimate power relations between militarized sovereign fragments. In the transformative process summarized by these five phases, the power of today’s economic and political domination systems will be transmuted into the legitimate democratic authority of the people of Earth premised on human dignity and the common good of all.

Phase 4 is when the whole of the UN will be widely understood as no longer necessary and will be integrated into the Earth Federation government (Article 17.4.8). It is here that the truly global scope of the transitional movement will become a reality for the entire Earth. Article 17.4.9 and 10 asserts:

Near the beginning of the second operative stage, the Presidium in consultation with the Executive Cabinet, shall formulate and put forward a proposed program for solving the most urgent world problems currently confronting the people of Earth. The World Parliament shall proceed with legislation necessary for implementing a complete program for solving the current urgent world problems.

The oceans of the Earth and its polar caps now become the global commons of the people of Earth no longer subject to uncontrolled exploitation as they are today under the failed UN “Convention on the Law of the Seas” and other toothless treaties. Legislation and programs of disarmament and regeneration must be clearly planetary in scope. 

Phase 5. Final Operative Stage: Actualizing the new world system premised on Peace, Justice, and Sustainability

It is highly probable that the 50% of humanity remaining outside the emergent Earth Federation will want to immediately become part of this peace, justice, and sustainability system. People everywhere today are waking up to a globalized planetary consciousness. It is very unlikely that the second stage will be anything but a passing moment on the way to the full operative stage.   From the first operative stage on, it will become clear to people that the entire world system is being transformed from within, and the full operative stage will likely come about very rapidly.

Article 17.5 on the full operative stage (that is reached when 80% of the world’s nations comprising 90% of its population have ratified) is primarily directed to adjusting the numbers and arrangements of elected officials to conform to the full operation of the Parliament and Agencies in the Earth Federation.  It repeats the directive about the UN from the second operative stage and it reaffirms the work of the World Disarmament Agency to complete the process of converting or dismantling all military weapons.

As we have seen, the process of disarmament will have been developing and formalizing from the very beginnings under Provisional World Government and, by the time the full operative stage is reached, there may be little left to accomplish.  It is not a matter of 50% of humanity suddenly demilitarizing itself and being at the mercy of the other 50%.  To think this way is to miss the entire transformative process envisioned by the Constitution.

Science has revealed a universe founded on the principles of coherence, holism, and unity in diversity.  All forms of life are part of evermore encompassing ecosystems founded on these same principles. Similarly, to survive and flourish on this planet requires that human beings become coherent, holistic, and unified under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.  Our political and economic systems must achieve coherence and harmony, just as our consciousness must become global and holistic. These two growth movements are interrelated. By ratifying the Earth Constitution, we strongly promote consciousness transformation and, as our consciousness becomes more holistic, we evermore strongly affirm the unity in diversity of the Earth Constitution.

This Constitution is the best tool for making this possible and practical that we possess. We can start it now, and, in fact phase one has already long since begun. The 15th session of the Provisional World Parliament is scheduled for New Delhi, India, in December 2021. (The first session took place in Brighton, England in 1982.)  The Provisional World Parliament has a permanent office in New Delhi that will be working hard to activate Phase Two of turning the Provisional World Parliament into the first operative stage of the emergent World Parliament. 

We are working today on defining the 1000 World Electoral Districts and establishing secure digital voting IDs for the people of Earth, the necessary prerequisites for initiating Phase Two. It is happening, but it needs to happen rapidly as the framers of the Earth Constitution were so well aware. Now is not the time to try to edit the Earth Constitution, as we have seen, because that editing is part of the transformative process itself.  Now is not the time to be paralyzed by the paradox of beginnings, because the more we hesitate the more catastrophic climate crisis will become.

Let us enter into the process—all together, modeling the coherence and harmony envisioned by the Earth Constitution.  The process transforms the world from within, as we have seen; it does not falter on the issue of demilitarizing the world as some critics have imagined. Rather, it breaks the famous (horrific) “cycle of violence” through the progressive transformational process itself.

The entire process through its five phases is itself complete and holistic and models the holism that will be the result. Ends and means are in harmony and allows people to “be the change they want to see in the world.” When we see Articles 17, 18 and 19 of the Earth Constitution as the transformational process that they truly represent, then both our hope and our duty become clear. Let us join as one human family in the joyful project of ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth andbringing the dream of a transformed world system into being.

Works Cited

Fuller, R. Buckminster (1972). Operating Manuel for Spaceship Earth. New York: Pocket Books.

Fuller, R. Buckminster (1981). Critical Path. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Harris, Errol E. (2008). Twenty-first Century Democratic Renaissance. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Harris, Errol E. (2014). Earth Federation Now! Tomorrow is Too Late. Second Edition. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Ingram, David (2006). Law: Key Concepts in Philosophy. London: Continuum Publishing Group.

Laszlo, Ervin (2021). The Immutable Laws of the Akashic Field. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2010). Constitution for the Federation of Earth. With Historical Introduction, Commentary and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2018). Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence. The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.