A World Federation

We live at a critical time for human civilization, a time of crisis. Each of us must accept his or her individual responsibility for solving the problems that are facing the world today. 

by John Scales Avery
( December 10, 2018, Boston, Sri Lanka Guardian)

A “With law shall our land be built up, butwith lawlessness laid waste.” ~  Njal’s Saga, Iceland, c 1270 AD

The present United Nations Charter

After the unspeakable horrors of World War II, delegates from 50 Allied nations met in San Francisco California. The purpose of the conference, which took place between 25 April and 26 June, 1945, was to set up an international organization that would be able to abolish the institution of war. However, the Charter which the delegates produced was too weak to achieve this goal.

In many respects the United Nations has been
highly successful. During the 73 years that have passed since its establishment, a world war has
been avoided. The
agencies of the United Nations, such as the World Health Organization, the Food
and Agricultural Organization, UNESCO and the IPCC,
have provided urgently-needed services to the
international community. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Millennium Development Goals have set up norms towards which
we can and should aim. Further-more, the UN has provided a place where
representatives from many nations can meet for informal diplomacy, through which many dangerous conflicts
have been avoided.

Nevertheless, the United Nations, with itspresent Charter, has proved to be too weak to achieve the purpose for which itwas established – the completeabolition of the institution of war. If civil wars are included, there are, on any given day, an average of12 wars somewhere in the world. The task of abolishing war has become extremely urgent since the advent ofthermonuclear weapons. The danger that these weapons will be used, through accident, technical or human error, orthrough uncontrollable escalation of a war with conventional weapons, poses an existential threat to humancivi-lization and the biosphere.

The Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955
described our present
situation in the following words:

“Here then is the
problem that we present to you, stark and dreadful
and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race, or
shall mankind renounce war?...
There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in
happiness, knowledge and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose
death becauswe cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal as human beings to human
beings: Remember your
humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot,
there lies before you the risk of universal death.”

Why call war an “institution”?

Because the world spends almost two thousand
billion dollars each year on armaments, it follows that very many people make their living from war. This is the reason why it is correct
to speak of war as a social institution, and also the reason why war persists, although everyone realizes that
it is

the cause of much of the suffering that
inflicts humanity. We know that war is madness, but it persists. We know that it threatens the future
survival of our species, but
it persists, entrenched in the attitudes of historians, newspaper editors and television
producers, entrenched in the methods by which
politicians finance their campaigns, and entrenched in the
financial power of arms
manufacturers, entrenched also in the ponderous and costly hardware of war, the fleets of warships,
bombers, tanks, nuclear missiles and so on.

Military-industrial complexes, throughout the
world, drive and perpetuate the institution of war. Each military-industrial
complex involves a circular flow of money. The money flows like the electrical
current in a dynamo, driving a
diabolical machine. Money from immensely rich corporate oligarchs buys the
votes of politicians and the propaganda of the mainstream
media. Numbed by the propaganda, citizens allow the
politicians to vote for obscenely
bloated military budgets, which further enrich the corporate oligarchs, and the circular flow

A World Federation

In order to save the world from destruction in
a thermonuclear World War III, the United Nations Charter must be reformed and strengthened. At present, the UN is a confederation of
absolutely sovereign nation-states. But in a world of all-destroying modern weapons, instantaneous global
communi-cation, and economic interdependence, the absolutely sovereign
nation-state has become a
dangerous anachronism.

Furthermore, history has shown confederations
to be fatally weak. For example, the original United States Constitution was a confederation;
but it soon became
apparent that this form of governance was too weak. Instead, a federation was needed. In his
Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton wrote: “To coerce the states is one of the maddest projects that was ever
devised... Can any
reasonable man be well disposed towards a government which makes war and carnage the only means of
supporting itself, a government that can exist only by the sword? Every such war must involve the innocent with the guilty. The single
consideration should be enough to dispose every

peaceable citizen against such government...
What is the cure for this great evil? Nothing, but to enable the... laws to operate on individuals, in
the same manner as
those of states do.”

George Mason, one of the drafters of the
Federal Constitution, believed that “such a government was necessary as could directly operate on
individuals, and would punish those only whose guilt required it”, while
another drafter, James
Madison, wrote that the more he reflected on the use of force, the more he doubted “the practicality,
the justice and the efficacy of it when applied to people collectively, and not individually.”

At present, the United Nations attempts to
coerce states through sanctions; but sanctions are a form of collective
punishment, and collective punishment is expressly forbidden by the Geneva
Conventions. The worst effects of sanctions are usually felt by the weakest and least guilty of the
citizens, while the guilty
leaders are usually unaffected. Besides being a violation of the Geneva Conventions, sanctions are
ineffective, their only effect being to unite the people of a country behind its guilty leaders.

The success of federations

A federation is a union of organizations to
which specific powers are granted, all other powers being retained by the subunits. Historically,
federations have proved to be
highly successful and durable.

Besides political federations, many other
kinds exist, examples being Universal Postal Union, established by the Treaty
of Bern in 1874, and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), founded in

Examples of political federations include the
European Union, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Swiss Federation, the Russian Federation, the Federal Government of the United
States, and the governments of Australia and Brazil.

Laws binding on individuals

In general, political federations have the
power to make laws which are binding on individuals, thus avoiding the need to
coerce their member states. An effective World Federation would need to have the power to make laws that act on individuals. The
International Criminal Court is an important
step towards the establishment of a system of
international law that acts on individuals rather than on states, and the ICC deserves our
wholehearted support.

Greatly increased financial support for the UN

A very important step towards strengthening
the United Nations would be to give it at least 50 times the financial support that it has
today. At present the
entire yearly budget of the UN is only 2.7 billion US dollars, a ridiculously low figure, considering
the organization’s duty to ensure peace, law. human rights, social justice, respect
for the environment, human health, and a safe food supply for the entire world. If the financial support
of the United Nations
could be greatly increased, its agencies could perform their vitally important duties much more
effectively. This would give the UN increased prestige and authority, and the UN would thus be better able
to resolve political disputes.

Various method for increasing the money
available to the UN have been proposed. For example, James Tobin, who was Sterling Professor of
Eco-nomics at Yale University, and Nobel Laureate in Economics, proposed that international currency transactions be
taxed at a small fraction of a percent. He believed that even this extremely small tax would make exchange
rates  much more stable. When asked what should be done with the proceeds of the tax, Tobin added, almost as an
afterthought, “Give it to the United Nations”. In fact, the volume of international currency transactions is
so enormous that
even the tiny tax proposed by Tobin would be sufficient to
solve all the UN’s financial problems.

A standing UN Emergency Force

The United Nations is often called on to act
quickly in emergency situations, an example being the call for the UN to stop the Rwandan genocide. It would be helpful if the UN had a standing
armed force which could act quickly in such emergency situations. The force could consist of
volunteers from around the world, pledged to loyalty to humanity as a whole,
rather than loyalty to
any nation.

A reformed voting system

In the present UN General Assembly, each
nation is given one vote regardless of size. This means that Monaco, Liechtenstein, Malta and Andorra have
as much voting power
as China, India, the United States and Russia combined.
For this reason, UN resolutions are often ignored.

The voting system of the General Assembly
should be reformed. One possible plan would be for final votes to be cast by regional blocks,
each block having one
vote. The blocks might be. 1) Latin America 2) Africa 3)
Europe 4) North America 5) Russia and Central Asia 6)
China 7) India and Southeast Asia 8)
The Middle East and 9) Japan, Korea and Oceania.

In a reformed, democratized and possibly
renamed Security Council, the veto power would be absent, and final votes would be taken between
regions of roughly equal

Hope for the future

Can we abolish the institution of war? Can wehope and work for a time when the terrible suffering inflicted by wars will exist only as a darkmemory fading into thepast? I believe that this is really possible. The problem of achieving internal peace over a largegeographical area is not insoluble. It has already been solved. There exist today
many nations or regions within each of which there is internal peace, and some of these are so large
that they are almost
worlds in themselves. One thinks of China, India, Brazil,
the Russian Federation, the United States, and the
European Union. Many of these enormous societies contain a variety of ethnic
groups, a variety of religions and a
variety of languages, as well as striking contrasts between wealth and poverty. If these great
land areas have been forged into peaceful and cooperative societies, cannot the same methods of government be
applied globally?

Today, there is a pressing need to enlarge the
size of the political unit from the nation-state to the entire world. The need to do so results
from the terrible
dangers of modern weapons and from global economic interdependence. The
progress of science has created this need, but science has
also given us the means to enlarge the political unit: Our
almost miraculous modern
communications media, if properly used, have the power to weld all of humankind into a single supportive
and cooperative society.

We live at a critical time for human
civilization, a time of crisis. Each of us must accept his or her individual responsibility for solving the
problems that are facing
the world today. We cannot leave this to the politicians. That is what we have been doing until now,
and the results have been disastrous. Nor can we trust the mass media to give
us adequate public discussion of the challenges that we are facing. We have a responsibility towards
future generations to
take matters into our own hands, to join hands and make our own alternative media, to work
actively and fearlessly for better government
and for a better society.

We, the people of the world, not only have the
facts on our side; we also have numbers on our side. The vast majority of the worlds peoples long
for peace. The vast
majority long for abolition of nuclear weapons, and for a
world of kindness and cooperation, a world of respect for
the environment.

No one can make these changes alone, but
together we can do it. Together, we have
the power to choose a future where international anar-chy, chronic war and institutionalized
injustice will be replaced by democratic and humane global governance, a future where the madness and immorality
of war will be replaced by the rule of law.

We need a sense of the unity of all mankind to
save the future, a new global ethic for a united world. We need politeness and kindness to save the
future, politeness and
kindness not only within nations but also between nations.

To save the future, we need a just and
democratic system of international law; for with law shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid

A freely downloadable book

A new 418-page book entitled “A WorldFederation” may be downloaded here

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