World Federalist Movement

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World Federalist Movement
WFM Logo.png
Formation1930s
TypeCivil Society Movement
PurposeInternational relations, Federalism International Democracy

The World Federalist Movement is a global citizens movement that advocates for strengthened and democratic world institutions subjected to the federalist principles of subsidiarity, solidarity and democracy.[1] Famous advocates of world federalism include Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosika Schwimmer, Albert Camus, Winston Churchill, Garry Davis, Emery Reves, Wendell Willkie, Jawaharlal Nehru, E. B. White and Lola Maverick Lloyd. The movement formed in the 1930s and 1940s by citizens groups concerned that the structure of the new United Nations was too similar to the League of Nations which had failed to prevent World War II, both being loosely structured associations of sovereign nation-states, gridlocked by the veto/unanimity principle, dominated by the executive branch and with little direct representation for citizens.

Notably active world federalist organizations, as of 2019, exist in Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The movement currently counts 30,000 to 50,000 supporters. The World Federalist Congress, in which active members from around the world meet every two years, is tasked with supporting the creation of new organizations where these do not yet exist. The World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy serves as a New York hub and secretariat for many of the world federalist organizations.

History[edit]

In the aftermath of World Wars I and II, activists around the world were forming organizations bent on creating a new international system that could prevent another global war.

The first world federalist organization was founded in 1937 by two famous feminists, pacifists, and female suffragists: Rosika Schwimmer and Lola Maverick Lloyd. In 1938, the Federal Union was organized in the United Kingdom.[2] In the U.S., Federal Union (now: Association to Unite the Democracies) was established in 1939 calling for a federation of the Atlantic democracies. The Swiss Internationale Bewegung der Weltföderalisten-Schweiz was created in Geneva in 1940. During World War II, anti-fascist resistance movements shared clandestinely circulated copies of Altiero Spinelli's plan for European federation and global federation. Spinelli later became one of the founding fathers of the European Union. In 1945, the Committee to Frame a World Constitution convened at the University of Chicago and drafted a Constitution for the World.[3] In 1947, five small world federalist organizations came together in Asheville, North Carolina and agreed to merge as the United World Federalists.

These five groups had, in the previous year, met with representatives of fifteen others in Montreux to discuss creating a worldwide federalist organization. It was one year later, in August 1947, also in Montreux, that more than 51 organizations from 24 countries came together at the Conference of the World Movement for World Federal Government. The Conference concluded with the Montreux Declaration.

By its second congress in 1948 in Luxembourg, the Movement consisted of 150,000 members of 19 nationalities and 50 member and affiliated organizations. The 350 participants in the Congress laid the groundwork for an association of parliamentarians for world government, which came into being in 1951.

Federalists had hoped that the anticipated UN review conference (under Article 109 of the UN Charter) in 1955 would move the UN further in the direction of a world federal system. Unfortunately, the lack of political will dissipated any interest in such a conference. Around 1965 however, the Movement had established offices near the United Nations, with American federalist Marion McVitty as the Movement's UN observer and advocate.

Some federalists in this period focused on amendments to the United Nations Charter as a way forward. Most involved reforms to institutions such as a more representative Security Council, a World Court with compulsory jurisdiction and judicial review authority and a democratically elected General Assembly (or a world parliament). Federalists proposed a number of new institutions such as a commission on sustainable development, an international development authority, a standing peacekeeping corps and an international criminal court.

Serving many of the existing world federalist organizations, an International Secretariat and a research oriented Institute for Global Policy, the World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy was established in the 1990s in New York City, across from the headquarters of the United Nations. It hosts the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect and serves as an steering committee member in the 1 For 7 Billion coalition. It has had Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1970 and is affiliated with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and a current board member of the Conference of NGOs (CONGO). The Institute for Global Policy (IGP), founded in 1983 as its research arm is a research and policy institute dedicated to the promotion of human security, international justice, the prevention of armed conflict and the protection of civilians. The Institute emphasizes the democratization of international and regional organizations and the development and global application of international law. Most recently, WFM-IGP has been at the forefront of advocating for NGO access to international conferences and meetings.

Member organizations[edit]

World Federalist Movement is composed of autonomous national and regional organizations organized by individual supporters in their respective countries. In applying to the governing Council for membership, organizations are asked to endorse the WFM Statement of Purpose and to demonstrate a "capacity to contribute to the enhancement of public and political support" for the Movement's goals.

The World Federalist Organizations exist around the world, including Citizens for Global Solutions, Union of European Federalists, World Federalist Movement-Canada, The Universal Party, and the World Federalist Movement of Japan. Others include Democratic World Federalists, One World Trust, Committee for a Democratic UN, and the Ugandan World Federalists.[4] The WFM umbrella organization also includes the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect.

Members[edit]

Historically, members have included:

In 2017, the WFM-IPC's executive committee included[5]:

  • Keith Best (Chair)
  • Bente Nielsen (Treasurer)
  • Fernando Iglesias (Council Chair)
  • Kjartan Almenning (Chair of CNSC)
  • Fergus Watt (Chair of PRC)
  • Karen Hamilton (WFM Secretary)
  • Joan Marc Simon (Member)
  • Becky Luff (Member)
  • W. James Arputharaj (Member)
  • William R. Pace (WFM Executive Director)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.wfm-igp.org/our-movement/history
  2. ^ "History of Federal Union". Federal Union. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Guide to the Committee to Frame a World Constitution Records 1945-1951". The University of Chicago. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Our Members Around The World". World Federalist Movement. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  5. ^ "WFM-IGP Executive Committee". WFM-IPC. Retrieved 18 November 2017.

External links[edit]