CORNER: BLAGO AND
Surely we can be confident that by now there is not a single one of our
readers, regardless of
where they may be living, who has not heard at least a little bit about
the troubles of the beloved governor of the state of Illinois, Rod
Blagojevich, affectionately known as
"Blago." For those who may not know the
story, briefly it is this: The election of Illinois Sen. Barak Obama as
President of the United States means that his senate seat is now
vacant. By law, Illinois' Governor has the right to appoint
someone to take over that seat until the next election.
Governor Blagojevich, who has been under
investigation for corruption for quite some time, was taped on the
telephone offering to "sell" the appointment to the
highest bidder--i.e. to whoever could provide him with the
biggest contributions to his campaign fund. Federal
prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been trying to "get
the goods" on Blagojevich throughout his term of office, sent
FBI agents to the governor's home to arrest him on corruption
charges. The governor now is facing not only a criminal
indictment, but impeachment proceedings before the Illinois
What possible connection could there be
between this mess and democratic world government? The Governor of the
State of Illinois is the commander of the Illinois National Guard, a
military force of approximately 13,000 troops, armed with artillery,
tanks, helicopters and fighter aircraft. In addition he also has at his
disposal approximately 3,000 Illinois state troopers, who are
specifically empowered to protect the person of the governor. He was
the elected head of a government with thousands of employees and
multi-billion dollar budgets. And yet, Mr. Fitzgerald and a small group
of FBI agents, armed with nothing more than handcuffs and a federal
warrant, was able to walk into Governor Blagojevich's home
and arrest him. How could that be possible?
The easiest answer is one simple word:
law. The governor had broken the law, and by law, the
prosecutor had the power to arrest him. Any resistance upon the part of
the governor would be illegal. It was respect for the force of law that
enabled the arrest to take place.
Perhaps that is too simple an answer. A
cynic could point out that, although Mr. Fitzpatrick and his assistants
personally represented no great threat of force, they had behind them
the considerable power of the United States government. Had the
governor used his military assets to resist arrest, then the United
States could call upon its far greater military power to utterly crush
Yet that also is too simple an
answer. People break the law all the time, and people use
force to resist far stronger powers even when there is little if any
chance of winning. Apparently, in this case no one even contemplated
using military force to resist the rule of law. Governor Blagojevich is
reputed to be a very arrogant man, yet even he did not feel able to
tell the federal prosecutor to go to (expletive deleted)!
Had the governor tried to tell the state
police to protect him, or called out the national guard to surround his
home, they would have refused, for no other reason that it would have
violated the expected social norms. Since 1865, state troops simply do
not attack troops of the United States government, nor the troops of
other states. In the tribal region of Pakistan, for example, the norms
are different, and government troops must tread warily around the
prerogatives of the tribal militias. But in the United States, there is
an expectation that disputes will be resolved peacefully, using the
courts and the legal system.
That is what we are aiming toward. That
is our goal. We must establish a global social norm, a culture in which
everyone is expected to abide by the rule of law, no matter how rich or
powerful they may be. If we can do that, then the world government will
not need to have overwhelming military power sufficient to defeat any
national army. It will not need to have nuclear weapons, or an air
force, or heavy armaments or any military force at all. It will have
police, and police do not use those kinds of things.
It is not an easy task. But it is
doable, perhaps even inevitable. The day will come when a federal world
marshal armed with nothing but an arrest warrant and a pair of
handcuffs, can walk into the White House in Washington D.C. and say,
"Mr President, you are under arrest." Then he will be able to
out with the President in tow, and no one
will even attempt to stop him. When that day comes, we will know we
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Happy Thanksgiving! Sorry to be a bit
late in getting back to you after your thoughtful messages of Oct. 27
and Nov. 14. We were busy putting together the Autumn 2008 issue of
World Federation at the time of your earlier message, and my "IN" box
kept piling up.
I realize you are not fond of the term "federal(ist)." Nor is World
Davis. However, I find it difficult to envision a system of
governing the world without several levels of polities. The two
revolutionary countries at the end of the 18th century were the U.S.
and the French Republic. The former changed from a number of separate
colonies that because a league of autonomous states and then
joined into an American federation. The latter did away with
the particularistic duties, marquis-doms, etc., many of which were
based on feudal ethnicity. Forming new "departments" of roughly equal
size helped break
down the sub-national polities and presumably contributed to a more
"French" national union in a unitary--rather than a federal--republic.
So how do you visualize your unitary
world government to operate over the people in the various continents?
In a unitary system, the central government appoints the governments at
lesser levels. In a democratic federation, the citizens elect
their legislatures at each level and eventually at the world level.
I gather that you feel the nation-state
system should be done away with. However, I am not sure of your
rationale. If some of the present nation-states are dysfunctional,
would you suggest making new districts that would be represented in the
global parliament? As you know, in many American states the
Congressional districts have been greatly gerrymandered. Fortunately,
this year the citizens of California have approved a process whereby
more equitable districts can be formed. In a global polity districts
from which the citizens would elect members of the global parliament
could be formed and re-formed so that all the people of the world would
be represented, unlike now where the minorities in many countries do
not have the franchise.
I still have some faith in Emery
Reves' statement that the people are the basis of sovereignty
and they have the ultimate authority to govern themselves by
transferring powers to governments at higher and higher levels and
ultimately the Earth. The trend is some countries like the U.K. and
Indonesia is toward a devolution of powers of government to the
provinces, in a somewhat federal system.
But it's getting late.
Enclosed is my donation of $50 to help you carry on your fine
publication. However, at your convenience I would appreciate learning
more of how your unitary state would work.
100 Thornsdale, Dr. #250
San Rafael, CA 94903-4564
(Editor's Note: Obviously the debate between federal and
unitary systems is too big to take up here. However, simply put, the
major problem with federalism is that it attempts to maintain the
current nation-state system and superimpose a global system on top of
it, which is not practical. It is not individual nation-states that are
dysfunctional, just as it was not individual slave-owners that were
unjust. The entire nation-state system is dysfunctional, just as the
entire system of slavery was unjust. The size and shape of
nation-states is arbitrary, largely based on past wars. No amount of
gerrymandering could come up with districts as disproportionate as the
Peoples Republic of China and the island of Nauru. One way to empower
minorities, by the way, would be to have a bicameral legislature with
one house representing geographic districts, and the other representing
ethnic groups, regardless of their location. As far as Emery
Reves' quote goes, in that regard we are in complete
I thought I could offer the following
comments for publication in this issue if there is still time:
To Mr. Roberts: I agree that "bitter experiences" are coming, and that
shift popular opinions. The point for me is to be ready for that shift,
by building the political infrastructure necessary to allow for the
transformation of that bitter experience, into a rational mass movement
for democratic world federalism.
To Mr. Kazdan: World
Federalists have lived with incrementalism for a very long time. A
physically collapsing world at war with itself, with nothing but a UNPA
"symbol" to rely on for its repair, tells me that
60 years of it is enough. We don't need any more symbols, we
[foundationletters at yahoo dot com]
GLOBAL CITIZENS IN A TIME OF TURMOIL NEXT STEPS TO JUSTICE,
SUSTAINABILITY AND PEACE
Citizens for Global Solutions will hold
its annual meeting on March 19-21, 2009 at the Kellogg Conference
Center at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. Members, partners and
activists, please join us for our annual meeting and
conference. We will spend a day training and lobbying on
Capitol Hill, another day hearing from prominent speakers on "next
steps to justice, sustainability and peace,"
and a final day conducting Citizens for Global Solutions planning and
business. In a time like this, when swelling hope meets the
grim reality of today's tumultuous world, you won't
want to miss this opportunity to meet many more global citizens and
public officials, and to come together and learn how to make a
difference on the issues that matter most.
On day two of the conference, you will
have the option to attend several break-out sessions of your choice.
Likely topics will include:
"Know your Opposition
– identifying roadblocks and how to circumvent
"Energize your Chapter! Ideas
to increase activism and recruitment."
"Fundraising 101: Best
practices to Boost membership and donations."
"Next Steps to Peace:
Priorities from nuclear disarmament to effective
"Next Steps to Sustainability:
Can we cap carbon and sign the next Kyoto?"
"Next Steps to Justice: Ending
Torture and Supporting the ICC."
Day two will also include a forum
debating a U.N. Parliamentary Assembly, as well as a chance to meet the
2008 Citizens for Global Solutions Multimedia Contest winners. Official
keynote speakers are still being confirmed and will be added to the
website as plans are finalized.
To learn more about the schedule,
speakers, and other conference details, please visit our annual meeting
web page at globalsolutions.org.
In order to receive the early bird
discount of conference registration and hotel fees, please register by
We hope you will join us in our work to
bring forth a future in which nations work together to abolish war,
protect our rights and freedoms, and solve the problems facing humanity
that no nation can solve alone.
GLOBAL DEMOCRACY: THE CASE FOR WORLD GOVERNMENT
BY TORBJORN TANNSJO
A Review by David Christensen
Torbjorn Tannsjo's 154-page Global
Democracy, The Case for a World Government,
2008), was written "in relation with a research project and supported
by the Swedish Research Council.....The book has grown out of
a short paper on global democracy...(that was) later published in
2006." Tannsjo is Professor of Practical
Philosophy at Stockholm University and has published several books on
conservatism, democracy, utilitarianism and ethics.
The Preface to Tannsjo's Global
Democracy reviews briefly
writings on world government
since World Wars
I and II. He mentions H. G. Wells, philosopher A. C. Ewing, Gary Davis,
the World Federalist movement and a half dozen others since the year
2000. However, I find it remarkable that Tannsjo, a European, makes no
mention of Emery Reves' The
Anatomy of Peace, a book that
so influential in the world government movements in the UK and the U.S.
after World War II. He also takes no note of recent books about world
government by Carl Coon, Jerry Tetalman & Byron Belitsos, Ron
Glossop, Ross Smyth, Jim Stark, or my two books.
Tannsjo's book contains eight chapters.
Chapter 1 sets the problem which, very simply, is humankind's need for
a world government to replace the anarchy among nations. He dismisses
proposals for regional groups of nations as being unable to stem
rivalries that would remain and lead to war. In response to the fear
that a world government that started as a democracy might be
manipulated into a tyranny Tannsjo says "...in the final analysis,
there are no good reasons to fear a global democracy (shifting to a
tyranny) any more than there are good reasons to fear democracy on the
national level (doing the same)" (p. 5).
Chapters 2, 3 and 4 consider arguments
favoring world government "arising from peace; justice; and the
environment." His general line of reasoning is that there are global
problems concerning war, injustices and the environment that can be
dealt with satisfactorily only if a sovereign world government is
Tannsjo believes an opportunity is open
in our time to establish a world government by peaceful means. He
roughly equates the U.S. position as global leader in our time with
that of Rome 2000 years ago, and he believes the U.S. must lead the
world's people and nations toward world government.
As a philosopher, Tannsjo examines the
writings and theories of philosophers Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham
in regard to peace and stability among nations. In the world's quest
for peace the abolition of colonies, the establishment of democracy and
the formation of UN-like leagues of nations are explored.
In his Chapter 2, "The argument arising
from peace," Tannsjo cites at length statistics from the Human Security
Report, (Oxford University
Press, 2005), that suggest
have declined since 1816. Since 1980 (largely through the abandonment
colonies) civil wars also have declined. Further, Tannsjo cites reports
that suggest positive results from preventive diplomacy, peacemaking
activities, and economic sanctions since the 1990s, but he also
acknowledges that these may be ineffectual in dealing with future
resource-related conflicts. The bottom line in Tannsjo's chapter on
peace is: the causes of conflict between and among nations and
injustices to the people cannot be overcome and peace may not be
achievable without a world government.
In Chapter 3, "The argument arising from
(the need for) global justice," Tannsjo again takes the role of a
philosopher and examines the
injustice of poverty from three points of view: utilitarianism,
egalitarianism and moral. His conclusion is that a world government is
needed to overcome the injustice of poverty. But there is a
qualification and possible contradiction: At least twice he makes the
suggestion that poorer nations must take the initiative for their own
economic development. And he repeats that he does not accept as a goal
of a world government that it should be involved with a
"redistribution" of the world's wealth.
Despite his concern for the injustice of
poverty, Tannsjo sees the possibility of the development of world
government taking a long time, and he accepts the unequal opportunities
and economic advantages among the world 's nations and people (as they
are today) as long as there is political stability (p.121). I disagree
with him on this because I believe the widening gap between the "haves"
and "have-nots" among the world's people and nations is one of the
bases of unrest and terrorism.
In Chapter 4, "The environment," Tannsjo
focuses on three special topics: Global Warming, Scarce Natural
Resources and Endangered Species. In his
treatment of global warming (climate change) he goes into some detail
about the Montreal (CFC) Protocol and the Kyoto Protocol as positive
examples of nations working together to overcome a global issue. He
also states (p. 54) that with climate change "Food production will rise
in some regions, especially in the high northern latitudes...." I
disagree on this point because, even with a longer growing season that
is likely to come with climate change, these northern regions have not
developed soils that could sustain food production.
Readers of United
may be familiar
with my strong beliefs that overpopulation and the world's limited and
diminishing endowment of arable land are central to the human family's
predicament in our time, but Tannsjo mentions neither. He does mention
(p. 121) that by 2050 the world's population should stabilize, but with
no explanation or caveat. He does not examine the bases of the world's
food supply or the damage that will be done to the world's environments
in the next several decades as world population continues to increase.
On page 62 he does mention "sustainable environment" but does not take
up the critical and current need to establish a sustainable
relationship between world population and the Earth's carrying capacity
for humans at a reasonable level of living.
Tannsjo's suggestions for establishment
of a world government all hinge on reforming the UN, including
retention of extra powers by the world's largest nations. He suggests
that voting in the "People's Assembly" should be based on population,
with smallest nations joining together and being represented in groups.
He makes no mention of Hudson's more fair "Binding Triad" mode of
voting in a restructured General Assembly, a method of triple-voting
that would acknowledge nationhood, population and economic power.
Tannsjo makes no particular suggestion for funding a world government,
but implies that a world government might have to be supported by the
people being willing to pay "heavy taxes" (p. 118), with which I
disagree. A world government can be supported by revenue streams that
do not compete with those of nations.
He proposes two houses in a People's
Parliament (one of nation's and the other representing the world's
people) and a "world government," without explaining what the "world
government" would be. Would it be the executive branch? A revised
Security Council? He does mention a permanent small world government
military force but with no explanation about its size, make-up,
independence, funding, etc. He does not discuss disarmament of the
world's arsenals but acknowledges that (because of its overwhelming
size) the U.S.'s military establishment could remain until the U.S. was
willing to dismantle it and leave policing the globe to the world
government peace force. Tannsjo assumes that English is becoming the
functional global language.
Much of Tannsjo's writing and
argument is heavy and not easy to follow, especially in chapters 3, 5
("Democracy") and 6 ("A road map to global democracy"). He frequently
sets forth questions and then proceeds to answer them in legalistic and
philosophic forays that make one wonder if he is using analyses,
arguments and perhaps paragraphs and sections from earlier writings
without tying them closely to his purpose in writing this particular
A final and very important (and
negative) point, in contrast to the many others analyzing and writing
about world government and the crises being faced by the human family,
Torbjorn Tannsjo's Global Democracy carries no message of real urgency.
Although this book includes much interesting information, it is not a
book to excite the public to become advocates of some kind of limited
world government to deal with crises that are very real, are here or
CALL TO THE ELEVENTH SESSION OF THE PROVISIONAL WORLD PARLIAMENT
The World Constitution and Parliament
Association (WCPA), organizing agent for the Provisional World
Parliament, has arranged the Eleventh Session of the Parliament for
Nainital, India, July 2 -8, 2009 in conjunction with the International
Philosophers for Peace (IPPNO) 12th International Conference hosted by
the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi branch, at Nainital, in the Himalayas
north of Delhi.
We issue this call in conformance with
Article 19 of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, that grants
the people of Earth the legal right to begin Provisional World
Government until such time as the Earth Constitution has been fully
ratified under the provisions set forth in Article 17.
Both observes t the parliament and
delegates are welcome. Both may participate actively in the
proceedings. The developing Earth Federation Movement (EFM) is
expressed in these historic parliaments held in Brighton, England
(1982), New Delhi, India (1985), Miami Beach, USA (1987), Barcelona,
Spain (1996), Malta (2001), Bangkok, Thailand (March 2003), Chennai,
India (December 2003), Lucknow, India (2004), Tripoli, Libya (2006),
Lome, Togo (2007). The Eleventh Session in Nainital will be
such an historic event; we are building a truly new order within the
shell of the old.
Today's world situation calls
for a World Parliament to continually build the body of world law,
modeling for the rest of the world the way human problems are properly
addressed. It also demands immediate action to establish
democratic world government in accordance with the Constitution for the
Federation of Earth. Global climate change continues to create disaster
for peoples everywhere and is getting worse every day. Global
weapons of mass destruction continue to threaten the existence of life
on earth. Depleted uranium weapons used massively in Iraq and
Afghanistan continue to poison our planetary environment
forever. Global tyranny under the world's
superpower increases daily. The resources of the Earth (land,
forests, fisheries, clean water) disappear at astonishing rates.
Pollution and toxic wastes contaminate ever large portions of the
Earth. We must act now!
Reserve the dates. Begin planning now!
Details of registration will be posted on the www.worldproblems.net
Registration includes the 11th Session
of the Provisional World Parliament and the International Philosophers
for Peace Conference at the Sri Aurobindo ashram in the Utarakhand
Himalayas. Registration fee includes room, vegetarian meals, materials
and organization for five days and six nights. Participants will need
to cover their own transportation costs to and from Nainital.
Registration will be $400 for hard
currency countries (Yen, Euros, Pounds or Dollars), and $63 (3,000
Indian Rupees) for non-hard currency countries. Send checks
international money orders, or Western Union payments to Dr. Glen T.
Martin, WCPA treasurer, 313 Seventh Ave., Radford VA 24141, USA
(e-mail: [gmartin at radford dot edu])
The broad IPPNO conference theme is "Freedom, Harmony, Citizenship, and
word abstracts for IPPNO Conference papers should also be submitted to
Dr. Martin. Completed papers are due by June 1.
TESTS FOR FEDERALISM
Certain professing federalists have the
bad habit from time to time of stopping the express train in which we
are all riding to enable them to pick daisies along the
track. It is suggested this malaise is due to the inability
of federalists to agree on a definition of federalism.
I cannot see why there cannot be a
consensus on Prof. K.C. Wheare's definition, as adopted by
the British Federal Union Movement, the originator of the World
Federalist Movement. I quoted this on page 15 of my book, The
Parliament of Man.
In a federal government there is a
division of governmental functions between one authority, usually
called the Federal Government, which has
power to regulate certain matters for
the whole territory; and a collection of authorities,
usually called State governments, which have
power to regulate certain other matters for the component
parts of the territory. The allocation of
functions between Federal and State
Governments cannot be altered either by the Federal Government
acting alone, or by the State Governments
acting alone, and the exercise by the Federal Government of
its allotted functions cannot be controlled by
the State Governments, or vice
versa. Federal government means a division of
functions between authorities which in
no way are subordinate to each other, either in the extent or
in the exercise of their
If we cannot agree on a common
definition that is not a mere verbose description, we can surely agree
on the acid tests that decide whether an organization is or
is not a federation. For example, it must:
a. Have a common government for at least
some common affairs (essentially defense and foreign policy); a
government that is capable of 1) financing itself, 2) reaching
decisions in the sphere allotted to it by the constitution, and
reaching them so rapidly that no litigant is tempted to resort to
violence as a more speedy means of settling the dispute, and 3)
enforcing its decision, e.g. through Federal Courts of law, including a
b. Have a parliament that is a true
legislature, i.e. a representative body capable, without outside
influence, of initiating and enacting laws in the sphere allotted to it.
c. There must be no hegemony of any
Government, either Federal or State, over any of the others. All are
colleagues of equal stature and status.
Modern federalists believe that no
organization, federal or otherwise, will survive for long unless it is
democratic. The legislature should therefore so far as
practicable be popularly elected. The system would thus be
based on the rule of law, in which the law is made stronger than any
litigant who might seek to oppose it.
Obviously, the old League of Nations and
its mirror image the UN fail to meet these criteria. So does the
present European Union, and the British Commonwealth.
Professing "federalists" who (paradoxically) also
support the UN type of league of sovereign nations ought to apply these
acid tests and modify their arguments, Alternatively, they should cease
to call themselves federalists.