A brief history of the world federation movement
The movement for world federation began as a social movement among world citizens during and after the First World War. Some leaders in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom realized that WW I was not about so-called good guys verses bad guys. It was the result of a world-system built upon the idea of the world as a collection of militarized sovereign territories recognizing no effective laws over themselves.
The movement grew between the World Wars with the publication of a number of well-read books and articles concerned to unite the nations into a world federation. After the Second World War, the movement perhaps reached its zenith about 1947 to 1950. Hundreds of world federalists met in Montreux, Switzerland in 1947 and proclaimed the famous “Montreux Declaration” that began:
“We world federalists are convinced that the establishment of a world federal government is the crucial problem of our time.” The document states that “We world federalists meeting in Montreux [Switzerland] at the first international congress of the ‘World Movement for World Federal Government,’ call upon the peoples of the world to join us in our work.”
Widely read books, such as The Anatomy of Peace (1945) by Emory Reves were translated into many languages. Reves correctly states that “War takes place whenever and wherever non-integrated social units of equal sovereignty come into contact” (p. 121). This means that all so-called sovereign nation-states are “non-integrated social units of equal sovereignty.” They recognize no enforceable laws above themselves. Each must militarize itself in case of threats to its security. Each nation must be ready for war at any time. World federalists from the time of the First World War to the present, understand that the world-system of sovereign nation-states is inherently a war-system, whether there is fighting going on at any one time or not.
In his famous essay, “Neither Victims nor Executioners” (1946), French writer Albert Camus declared that this horrific Second World War meant that people had to move to an entirely new way of thinking. They had to repudiate partisan loyalty to militarized nation-states and commit their loyalty to humanity and the human project. They could do this only thorough establishing a world parliament. He wrote:
“We know, then, without shadow of a doubt, that the new order we seek cannot be merely national…. It must be universal…. The only way of extricating ourselves is to create a world parliament through elections in which all peoples will participate, which will enact legislation which will exercise authority over national governments” (pp. 47-49)
As World War II was about to end, nations were in ruins, representatives of 50 countries gathered at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, California, from 25 April to 26 June 1945. For the next two months, they proceeded to draft and then sign the UN Charter, which created a new international organization, the United Nations, which, it was hoped, would prevent another world war like the one they had just lived through.
The UN Charter was signed by all the victor nations in WW II, including the big five of China, Russia, Britain, France, and the USA. These five installed themselves as permanent members of the Security Council, the body that had final say over all UN resolutions passed by the General Assembly. Each of the five had a veto power over all proposals. The agreement in San Francisco (placed in Article 109 of the Charter) was that a review conference would be held after 10 years to possibly alter and improve the UN Charter (today, this is known as “the San Francisco Promise). To date, no such review conference has been held. The San Francisco promise has not been kept.
The UN Charter creates the UN as a forum of discussion (only) in its General Assembly and commits the organization to protect “the sovereign integrity” of its member nations. All resolutions of the Assembly can be vetoed by any of the permanent members of the Security Council. The UN is therefore a merely treaty of sovereign nations, not a government and without any law-making authority. Under the UN Charter the Security Council alone has the authority to authorize war or sanctions against any nation it deems threatening to the global peace. Needless to say, the five permanent members of the Security Council have themselves been free to invade, manipulate, blockade, or undermine other nations as they see fit, since they possess the power to veto any attempt by the UN to stop these practices.
Meanwhile, the United States and the Soviet Union were busy producing ever more nuclear weapons and delivery systems, that, if ever used in a major war, could destroy the entire ecosystem of the planet and lead to human extinction. For this reason, world famous scientist Albert Einstein declared, “There is no salvation for civilization, or even the human race, other than the creation of world government.” This was true in 1950 and it is even more true today when nuclear weapons are now possessed by many nations and are many more times as deadly and destructive then they were at that time.
The high point of the early world federalist movement may have been the large “World Peoples’ Convention that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1950. These meetings did not produce any significant document although there was much talk about needing a Constitution for the Earth. After this convention the movement went in various directions and atomized into several smaller groups.
The world federalist movement splintered after 1950 into various groups and factions some of which are described above. Today, there are a number of organizations and movements for world governance of some sort, from Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS) to the World Service Authority (WSA) to various national segments of the World Federalist Movement (WFM). However, none of them have managed to create a Constitution for the Federation of Earth. The only organization successful in doing this was the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA).
Development of the Earth Constitution
WCPA was founded in 1958 by Phillip Isely and his wife Margaret. Philip had been in federal prison in the US during World War Two because he thought that wars were a product of the world system and not a matter of “good guys” fighting with the “bad guys.” In other words, he had a world federalist understanding of the world’s war-system. After the war, Philip and Margaret joined the Campaign for World Government at its Chicago offices, and they soon formed a “World Committee for a World Constitutional Convention” which then changed its name to the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA). Today, both WCPA and the Earth Constitution Institute (ECI) promote the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.
Philip and Margaret Isely used the money from their successful business in Denver, Colorado, to work with like-minded world federalists from many countries on the project of writing a constitution for the Earth. By 1968, they organized the first large international meeting dedicated to this purpose that took place in Interlaken, Switzerland, and nearby Wolfach, Germany. At this meeting (today called the First Constituent Assembly), they elected a drafting committee of 25 persons chaired by Dr. Reinhart Ruge from Mexico.
The core of this team met in Denver, Colorado for several months during 1972 to work on a draft for the Constitution. There were five main drafters: Philip Isely, who largely financed the project; Dr. Terence Amerasinghe, an international lawyer from Colombo, Sri Lanka; S. M. Hussain from Dhaka, Bangladesh, who later became a justice on the Supreme Court of Bangladesh; D. M Spenser, a professor of law from Mumbai, India, and Dr. Max Habicht, an international lawyer and leader of world federalism from Switzerland.
Their drafted constitution was circulated worldwide among world federalists from WCPA headquarters in Denver, Colorado, with feedback and responses from participants around the world. In 1977, the second “World Constituent Assembly” was held in Innsbruck, Austria. People from many countries came together to examine and discuss the draft paragraph by paragraph. The draft was approved by the assembly, and the document was then sent out to the nations of the world and all ambassadors to the United Nations. There was no response, only a few polite acknowledgements, but no nations embraced the Constitution and took up the cause of world federation.
A third Constituent Assembly was therefore scheduled for 1979 at the Hotel Ranmuthu in Columbo, Sri Lanka at which people from many countries who were dedicated to this project assembled to discuss the situation. The result was not modifications of the Constitution but a statement to the world that the people of Earth must take the lead in creating a decent world system on behalf of all people and future generations. Nations were locked into their militarized situation of inaction and mutual suspicion. The Assembly issued a declaration affirming that the people of Earth have the right and the duty to ratify a Constitution for the well-being of themselves and future generations.
Under the newly drafted Constitution, WCPA, with Philip Isely as Secretary General, with Dr. Reinhart Ruge and Dr. Terence Amerasinghe as Co-Presidents, began to hold sessions of the Provisional World Parliament as mandated under Article 19 of the Earth Constitution. The first session of the Parliament was held at the famous Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England in 1982. The Parliament was inaugurated by Sir Chaudry Mohammed Zafrullah Khan of Pakistan, who was former President of the UN General Assembly and former Foreign Minister for his country. Officers at the Parliament included Lucile Green (later President of the World Citizens Assembly), Max Habicht, leading international lawyer, and A.B. Patel, then General Secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Movement and World Union, headquartered in Pondicherry, India.
The Second Session of the Parliament was inaugurated before a packed house in the famous Constitution Club of New Delhi, India (where the Constitution of India had been signed). It was opened by the then President of India, Zail Singh, and chaired by the then Speaker of the Lock Sabha (the lower house in India’s Parliament), the Hon Bal Ram Jakhar. The Third Session met at the huge Fontainebleau Hilton Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, for eleven days of intense work during June 1987.
From the many discussions of the Earth Constitution taking place during the 1980s, it appeared that the Constitution could be further improved through changes in wording. A fourth Constituent Assembly has called for Troia, Portugal, in 1991, during which a number of wording changes were made to the document. At the conclusion of this Assembly, the group voted that the Constitution was finished and ready for ratification by the people and nations of Earth. From that point forward WCPA has promoted the Constitution as a finished document.
WCPA continued to hold sessions of the Provisional World Parliament with the Fourth Session in Barcelona, Spain, in September 1996. Since then, there have been 10 more sessions, the last of which took place in New Delhi, India, in December 1996. The 16th session is now being planned for Pondicherry, India during 2023. Legislative acts of the Provisional World Parliament to date can be found on the www.oneworldrenaissance.com website.
The Earth Constitution compared with the UN System
Passed on December 10,1948, the “UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights” begins with the ringing words: “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” Human rights and human dignity are universal, it declares, yet the UN is a treaty of sovereign nations. This means that the enforcement (or not) for human rights is up to each nation. The Declaration of Human Rights is “merely symbolic” within the UN system and human rights cannot be enforced by the UN but only by nation-states, many of which are not democracies and do not respect human rights.
Similarly, though war except in self-defense or as sanctioned by the Security Council is prohibited under the UN System, there are no barriers to nations arming themselves to the teeth with defensive and offensive weapons, missiles, warships, and the rest. The result is a war-system, always on the verge of breaking into lethal conflicts. Under the UN system of sovereign nation-states, the only way for the Security Council to maintain peace is by punishing an entire country and its people through hurting them economically or, if this does not work, by going to war. This is described in Articles 41 and 42 of the Charter:
Article 41 (UN Charter)
The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.
Article 42 (UN Charter)
Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.
In other words: How does the UN keep the peace? By going to war. Repeat this fact until it sinks in: How does the UN keep the peace? By going to war. In fact this is the only way that order can be maintained in a world of militarized sovereign nation-states where there is no world law enforceable over individual persons. International law is nearly always about relations between nations. It does not hold persons responsible.
And the International Criminal Court (ICC) that opened its doors in 2002 to hold individuals responsible is hopelessly hamstrung both by the nation-states that support the court and by the nations (like the USA) that oppose the court. In a world seething with violators of human rights everywhere, it has only managed to prosecute a few individuals. The world clearly needs democratically legislated world laws over all individual persons and enforceable for everyone. Every human being has the right to have their human rights and dignity protected by law. This is precisely what is impossible to do under the UN system. Here is what the Earth Constitution declares:
Article 10 (Earth Constitution)
10.1.1 The enforcement of world law and world legislation shall apply directly to individuals, and individuals shall be held responsible for compliance with world law and world legislation regardless of whether the individuals are acting in their own capacity or as agents or officials of governments at any level or of the institutions of governments, or as agents or officials of corporations, organizations, associations or groups of any kind.
Third, under the UN system there is no way to protect the global environment except though attempting to convince each nation to tighten its belt and sacrifice for the good of all. However, each nation sees that other nations are not so sacrificing. The result is that the voluntary pursuit of environmental protections never happens and cannot happen. The Earth Constitution places the essential resources and ecological features of the planetary ecosystem under the protection of the Earth Federation government led by the democratic World Parliament. Hence, the oceans, the atmosphere of Earth, the polar caps, and the rain forests are now under the protection of the Earth Federation government and no longer free to be exploited by corporations or national governments.
That is because the Earth Constitution recognizes the people of Earth as sovereign. It limits the sovereignty of nation governments to control over their internal affairs insofar as their actions conform to the human rights protections afforded by the Earth Constitution to everyone. To main absolute sovereignty for nations is to enforce a war-system for the Earth. To recognize the sovereignty of the people of Earth is to create a peace-system for the Earth, as well as a justice-system, a sustainability-system, and a freedom-system.
The UN is a paper tiger unable to end war, protect human rights, diminish social differences or protect the environment. This is because the UN Charter is merely a treaty of militarized sovereign nation-states recognizing no effective laws about themselves. It does not represent the peoples of Earth but only the sovereign nation-states of the Earth. It is not a democracy and does not run on democratic principles.
In the UN General assembly, for example, a tiny island nation has one vote and the huge country India with a billion people has only one vote. Nations like Saudi Arabia are free to violate the rights of all its women citizens and there is nothing the UN can do. Nations like Myanmar are free to persecute and murder the population of Rohingya peoples living there and there is nothing the UN can do. The USA is free to blockade Cuba and Venezuela (in violation of international law) and there is nothing the UN can do.
On the other hand, the Earth Constitution is designed to accomplish each of these goals precisely because it unites humanity to work through institutionalized measures for the common good of the whole world, not just individual nations, corporations, or rich persons. Dr. Glen T. Martin’s books show how and why this is so. The Earth Constitution makes all individual persons responsible to obey world law and human rights subject to arrest and prosecution by the World Police and Attorney Generals. The Agency of the World Ombudsmus serves as a watchdog on government, corporations, and any other organizations that might violate human rights. Weapons of war are not necessary if individuals are subject to law enforced by civilian World Police.
It is the same for human rights and ending war. The laws made by the World Parliament are enforceable over all individual persons anywhere on Earth. The manufacture of all weapons of war has been made illegal by the Provisional World Parliament and can also easily be made illegal by the World Parliament once the Constitution is ratified. It is enforceable world law that make possible the survival and flourishing of humankind. This cannot be done through voluntary cooperation of sovereign-nation-states nor by profit-directed multinational corporations.
The Earth Constitution calls for incorporating all viable agencies of the UN into the Earth Federation government. Democratically legislated world laws will be enforced over everyone by civilian World Police and Attorneys General. War is outlawed and individuals worldwide held accountable for obeying the laws. World legislation outlaws weapons of war as well as incitement to war. Human rights, including diminishing social differences, become a priority of the World Ombudsmus. Protecting the environment will be spearheaded by agencies within the Integrative Complex. All in all, the Constitution is designed to accomplish these goals. The UN Charter is not a constitution, nor is it democratic, nor can it keep the peace.
If the world is one family, as the Upanishads of India declare, then we need to govern ourselves as one family, not as some 200 separate militarized competing entities. This is the key to world peace with justice, sustainability, and freedom and what the Constitution for the Federation of Earth offers to the world.