Earth Community Organization (ECO)
the Global Community
James T. Ranney
Subject: "Global Constitution Forum" idea
Date: Sat, 05 Feb 2005 16:18:50 -0500
From: "James T. Ranney"
Dear Mr. Dufour:
A friend, Susan Curry, introduced me to your website. Am somewhat inexpert at computers and whatnot, so am wondering how to post my interests (numbers 10, 15, 17, 23, 30, 31, 34, & 57) on your list. Also, would like to submit something as short as the two attached documents (have many others which I could submit, but this is crux for now).
Yours in haste, Jim Ranney
1. GLOBAL CONSTITUTION FORUM
2. WORLD FEDERALISM
for Discussion Roundtables 10, 15, 17, 23, 30, 31, 34, and 57
Listed as a Leader for all of the issues: http://globalcommunitywebnet.com/gdufour/leaders.htm
Participating in Global Dialogue 2005 issues with the theme being The Global Constitution.
Charter of the Global Community http://globalcommunitywebnet.com/GlobalConstitution/egcharterofthegc.htm
Participating in the development of the Global Constitution. The first draft of the Global Constitution is found at:
Table of Contents|
1.0 GLOBAL CONSTITUTION FORUM
GLOBAL CONSTITUTION FORUM, INC.
We are hoping to hold a four-day conference focused on the eventual creation of a Constitution for Earth. The first annual gathering would be in Philadelphia, the birthplace of federalist government, where the U.S. Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787.
But more than creating any particular document at this stage, our focus is rather upon two main goalsfostering what Gandhi called the two essentials for the peace movement"both depth and breadth."
By depth we intend that there be ample opportunity for full participation in deep dialogue with all other attendees, so that each afternoon and even part of each morning is devoted to face-to-face discussions of key substantive issues, such as (1) the desirability of world federalism, and might lesser alternatives suffice; (2) whether it can be structured to assure respect for individual freedom, local autonomy, and participatory democracy; (3) its appropriate scope (minimalist vs. maximalist vs. something-in-between) and values; and (4) strategies for implementation (practical ratifiability issue; short-term goals worth pursuing). Over the years in annual conferences, delegates (merely ordinary citizens from throughout the world, not necessarily representing any given nation but rather humanity) will get to know one another well, which will in itself be valuable.
By breadth we mean outreach to a general public which is mostly totally unaware of our goals and ideas. We intend to find ways to involve youth, especially the many college students in this area (there are 90 colleges in this region). We plan to do presentations to college and law school classes preparatory to this conference.
Our approach will be both very substantive (with top flight speakers, and in-depth analysis sessions) and, frankly, somewhat sensationalistic (using movie stars and celebrities, nationally known musicians and talented local artists, all in an effort to unashamedly attract publicity). We hope to be able to make use of a new software program called "World Lingo" (or new Google version) which allows simultaneous translation into 137 languages. We also want to do videoconferencing (maybe internet-based version thereof) with sites worldwide.
We are recruiting an Advisory Board of high credibility, starting with: Susan Curry (Pres., Earth Charter); Prof. Ashok Gangadean (Exec. Dir., Global Dialogue Institute); Don Harrington (Romania); Tom Hudgens (Denver); Myron Kronisch (New Jersey); Alan MacDiarmid (Nobel Laureate, Chemistry); Joel Mynders (Philadelphia); Bob Stuart (Florida); Keith Suter (Australia); and Lucy Law Webster (New York City).
For more information, contact: James T. Ranney, President, Global Constitution Forum, Inc., 1018 West Cliveden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19119; 215-849-9165; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.globalconstitutionforum.org.
WORLD FEDERALISM: A SYNOPSIS
A few introductory quotes:
"In the long run, an all-destroying conflict can be avoided only by the setting up of a world federation of nations." Albert Einstein (1951).
"Unless we establish some form of world government, it will not be possible for us to avert a World War III in the future." Winston Churchill (1945).
"The world no longer has a choice between force and law. If civilization is to survive, it must choose the rule of law." Dwight D. Eisenhower (1965).
"There is an increasing awareness of the need for some form of global government Our ideal is a world community of states which is based on the rule of law." Mikhail Gorbachev (1987, 1988).
"Peace requires Justice; Justice requires Law; Law requires Government, not only within Nations but equally between Nations." William Penn (1693).
"Who can limit the extent to which the federative principle may operate?" Thomas Jefferson
"It will be just as easy for nations to get along in a republic of the world as it is for you to get along in a republic of the United States." Harry S. Truman
"The best mechanism for democracy, whether at the level of the multinational state or that of the planet as a whole, is not an all-powerful Leviathan or centralized superstate, but a federation, a union of separate states that allocate certain powers to a central government while retaining many others for themselves." Strobe Talbott, President Brookings Institute (1992).
What is world federalism? Although definitions may vary, the basic concept is simple: as indicated by the quotations above, a world federation would NOT replace national or state or local governments, but would substitute the rule of law (enforceable world law) for war as a means of resolving international conflict.
Is world federalism necessary? In a way, this is the hardest question to answer with absolute certainty. Some peace activists argue that abolition of nuclear weapons or even general and complete disarmament would suffice, combined with the de facto observance of international rules and norms. The problem with this argument is severalfold: (1) nations will not relinquish their arms without an adequate alternative security system in place; (2) even if they did, such a system would be dangerously unstable (with a distinct danger of "breakout" and resultant recourse to war to enforce any such "collective security" arrangement); and (3) in order to obtain a genuinely adequate alternative security system, you will inevitably need to create some kind of world federalist structure, if only to resolve the key question of how and when international police forces would be committed. See M. Habicht, The Abolition of War, at 255-60 (1987).
What are the advantages? In addition to the abolition of war (a rather significant advantage, since nuclear war, with its nuclear winter, threatens the extinction of at least our entire species), world federalism would free nations of the ONE TRILLION DOLLARS spent each year on the military. Such money could be better spent, and energies now focused on hate and destruction and futile rivalry would be diverted into creative channels, creating the prospect of a whole new world. See generally T. Hudgens, Lets Abolish War (1986) and B. Ferencz & K. Keyes, Planethood (1991).
Are there any dangers? As with any human institution, there are distinct risks. Those most often noted by critics of world federalism are: danger of military tyranny; possibility of civil war; danger of an overly centralized remote bureaucracy; and risk of loss of personal freedoms. These are serious risks. World federalists believe that these risks are quite capable of being adequately addressed and have been vastly overstated. See R. Glossop, World Federation? A Critical Analysis of Federal World Government (1993)(thorough discussion of all the pros and cons). In any event, the risks of not having world federalism are quite simply greater. We need to carefully research how to have the type of world federalism we really want, one that is not overly intrusive (into national affairs or into private lives), one that assures local autonomy (maybe even increases it, without the need for constantly increasing powers for the military security state), allows diversity to flourish, and sustains individual freedom.
What type of world federalism do we need? In addition to the issues addressed above, world federalists have debated whether it should entail only a "minimalist" approach ("merely" abolishing war) or maximalist (addressing social and economic and environmental justice concerns) or something in between. This topic needs to be addressed by further research and discussion.
How might this happen? The most common way suggested is UN charter revision (a UN 2.0). Another way would be citizen conventions of various kinds. Still other ideas have been suggested. People differ over how long it might take. Most concede that it will not happen overnight. More likely, it will happen (even if planned out in advance) over several stages over a period of years.
How can I help? The key to all social and political change is attitudinal change. Attitudinal change requires education. So, if you are truly interested in helping out on the most critical issue facing humanity, you can: (1) educate yourself (cf. attached reading list); and (2) then educate others. It is that simple. Cf. M. Meade: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
James T. Ranney, President, Global Constitution Forum, Inc. and Chair, Citizens for Global Solutions, 1018 W. Cliveden St., Phila., PA 19119; 215-849-9165; email@example.com; www.globalconstitutionforum.org.
By James T. Ranney
Download full WORD document of this Research Paper
Most world federalists over the years have repeatedly split into two warring camps : (1) those who believe (with Emery Reeves) that "[t]here is no first step to world federalism," that "[w]orld government is the first step." and (2) those who believe that there are short-term goals and functionalist and neo-functionalist approaches (including UN reform) which are worth pursuing on the way to world federalism. If one wanted to attach unfairly one-sided labels to the two groups, one could say that there are "World Federalist Fundamentalists" and "Thoughtful World Federalists." It should be obvious on which side the authors sentiments lie. I have in fact taken to describing myself, at times, as a "thoughtful world federalist." And I would indeed submit that if one engages in a bit of "thought" about precisely how world federalism might someday come about, one realizes that it will almost certainly not be some kind of millennial moment of instantaneous creation of a global government (ala the U.S. Constitution), but will instead come about, if at all, more gradually.)
If one takes a calm look at (a) the world as it is; and (b) how social change occurs, one almost inevitably reaches the above conclusion. The chances of world federalism occurring at one stroke seem to be pretty close to zero. For those of us who have long thrilled to the messages in the classic world federalist tracts, that is the bad news.
The good news is that if one takes a long view of where we are already heading, and merely projects that a decade or so (or even less time) into the future, one can envision a gradually accreting global constitution, piece by piece, brick by brick, international agreement by international agreement. What I am saying is this: Imagine, if you will, a future in which the United States returns to its "glory years," when we created the Marshall Plan (rebuilding our former enemies) and started the United Nations (as defective as it is), and, in short, began to act with some little semblance of maturity on the international stage. And what if, then, we finally adopted the ICC (International Criminal Court) Treaty, and the Law of the Sea Treaty, and all the other treaties which only the United States and a few other renegade (if not rogue) nations have refused to sign? What if, finally, we agreed to create, as representatives of the United States and the Soviet Union at one time (1961) agreed to create, what could be called a new International Disarmament and Peacekeeping Agency? Now it is true that in order to create any such agency we would need at a minimum to reform dramatically the United Nations (or bypass it altogether), such that the P-5 (Permanent Five nations) would no longer have their veto power in the Security Council. And it is also no doubt true that eventually (or sooner) we would want to address not only needed institutional reforms (such as the "democracy deficit" in international institutions) but also a whole host of global problems currently being neglected (including the usual list, global warming, poverty, etc.), via a variety of possible reforms to existing institutions or, again, via a completely new superstructure, or, more likely, via structures modeled after those created by the Law of the Sea.
This, I would submit, is how viable worthwhile changes are likely to occur. And if I am right about this, then we might actually end up almost sliding unthinkingly into what could be considered a world federalist structure, or at least something roughly analogous to Great Britains unwritten constitution (a trend toward "global constitutionalism" that some scholars already detect ), even though it would consist in part of numerous subsets of writings. But its entirety would consist of not only such written treaties, but also a host of global institutions, working practices, and norms.
As difficult as it is to predict the future (it is axiomatic that only fools try doing so), if one has to make a calm probabilistic assessment of how world federalism might come into existence, then I believe this is how it will happen.
But if I am wrong in this guesstimate, will I be upset and get my nose out of joint because the "World Federalist Fundamentalists" are right after all? Of course not. As stated by my favorite author on world federalism, Professor Christopher Hamer:
"The direction we want to go is clear. Increased international cooperation, leading to an eventual world federation, will bring peace and prosperity for all. In time it will allow the abolition of nuclear weapons, and even the eradication of war itself. It will allow a joint attack on the problems of environmental degradation, over-population, disease and poverty. It will establish new standards of human rights and democracy worldwide, and it will open a great new era of progress and harmony in human affairs, as energies are released from the unprofitable business of preparing for war. The principles of association are also fairly clear. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law would be taken for granted as founding principles. Important principles established by the European experiment include subsidiarity, to preserve national autonomy wherever possible, and solidarity, to promote economic and social cohesion within the community. The ideas of participation, flexibility and equity have also been discussed. The route by which we shall achieve these goals is much less clear, but the important thing to recognize is that everyone is pulling in the same direction. World federalists, UN reformers, functionalists, neofunctionalists, regionalists or Atlantic Unionists, all are working towards increased international collaboration and integration as the answer to the worlds problems. We can see the new Jerusalem shining on the hill, and though it may take decades or even centuries to arrive there, the struggle will be well worthwhile in the end."
Moreover, even though there is inevitably a need for peace activists and world federalists to choose which goal or goals they will pursue, it may not be all that abrupt or severe a choice. We may find that what is an action priority will change over time, or that we may want to pursue short-term goals and long-term goals more or less simultaneously, and what we are best able to do depends upon what suits us individually. And collectively we may find, all of uspeaceniks and punk-rockers, military leaders and Mayors for Peace, Softballers for Social Responsibility [a group I "formed" instantaneously when asked for the name of an informal group wanting to reserve a baseball field] and scientists, Abolition-Now-ers and aborigines, and just all kinds of ordinary peoplethat each of us has a role to play in this great mystery we call life. Many years ago, I sat next to a ponytailed peacenik at a mid-winter peace conference held up in the mountains of Montana at a temporarily abandoned resort, and he said something that I have always remembered: he said his group believed in what they called "total tactics," by which they meant that you (both collectively and individually) push on this front and that front, changing tactics as circumstances change, and just keep plugging away until somehow or other we all come out right. Something very like this was said at the conclusion of another of my favorite books on the peace issue, by Professor Larry Wittner:
"Working together, citizens movements (on the grassroots level) and a strengthened United Nations (on the global level) could rein in war-making states until, like New Jersey and New York, these semi-sovereign jurisdictions would never think of resolving their disputes through war, much less nuclear war. Adopting a long-term strategy of taming the war-making nation-state through the creation of an international security system does not eliminate the need for pursuing a short-term strategy of fostering nuclear arms control and disarmament. Indeed, the two are complementary. Without a program that goes "deeper" than the weaponsone that addresses their underlying basis in the nation-state systemwe seem likely to be left, at best, with the present kind of unsatisfactory, unstable compromises between arms races and disarmament. Conversely, without an arms control and disarmament strategy, we are likely to be obliterated in a nuclear holocaust long before our arrival in that new world of international peace and security. But by pursuing both strategies simultaneously, we have the possibility of turning back the threat of nuclear annihilation and, along the way, transcending the disgraceful international violence that has accompanied so much of the human experience. We live at a potential turning point in human history, for the latest advances in the "art" of warnuclear weaponshave forced upon us a momentous choice. If nations continue to follow the traditional "national security" paradigm, thensooner or latertheir leaders will resort to nuclear war, thus unleashing unspeakable horror upon the world. Conversely, this unprecedented danger could be overcome through arms control, disarmament, and transformation of the nation-state system. Are the people of the world capable of altering their traditional institutions of governance to meet this challenge? If one looked solely at their long record of war, plunder, and other human folly, one might conclude that they are not. But an examination of the history of the nuclear disarmament movement inspires a greater respect for human potential. Indeed, defying the national barriers and the murderous traditions of the past, millions of people have joined hands to build a safer, saner world. Perhaps, after all, they will reach it."
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