Dr. Glen T. Martin of Radford University in the U.S. state of Virginia, recently visited Costa Rica to speak about an old idea – promoting peace through an international federation. The notion of uniting countries through a federation goes back to the 1600s, when German states got together to sign a treaty. Social philosophers Baruch Spinoza, Immanuel Kant and others recognized the need to unite the world against the constant state of war.
Martin, speaking for thinkers and planners from around the world, said that a World Parliament, democratic and non-military, can solve the problems that the world faces today.
The thought of a world government is scary to many people who believe it would override national laws or take away their rights. Attempts were made with the League of Nations in the 1920s and the United Nations which was founded in 1948, and also through a host of international treaties and agreements. But the problems did not go away.
According to Martin, this is because none of these bodies have mechanisms for enforcement. One example is the International Declaration of Human Rights written in 1948 and subscribed to by most of the world’s countries. Yet today, almost all members commit human rights violations. Martin cited Saudi Arabia as an example of a country that denies basic rights to women. Torture is practiced in several countries, and 50 percent of the world goes hungry.
The International Labor Organization, a U.N. agency, sets safety standards for labor. But in many countries, workers’ lives are endangered and children work in factories, mines and other high-risk jobs. “The International Criminal Court is a failure. It does not deal with agression. The United States will not allow its citizens to be prosecuted. At present there is no international rule of law. Governments can reject or ignore international treaties. What could stop the United States from bombing Syria?” he asks.
“All countries have disputes with other countries,” Martin said, referencing fights over territory and markets. “As a result, they militarize for security. This creates fear and hate. The military separates people. The Chinese worry about what the United States is doing, is one example. Even the United Nations sends in a ‘militarized’ peacekeeping force.”
“We need to see the problems of our separation, seeing where the world has failed,” he said.
The largest of these problems are militarization and human rights violations, he said, which include hunger, disappearing natural resouces and climatic problems causing disasters. “We need a new spirituality,” he said, and he defines that as a personal commitment.
A World Parliament would create laws for the whole Earth. It would prevent wars and unemployment. It would create jobs and issue its own money without creating debt as in the Federal Reserve system and the Central European Bank. It would also be democratic, as people within countries could vote on representatives to the world parliament.
The World Parliament would consist of three branches: nations, the people and advisers to formulate government.
The World Parliament already has a long list of supporters since it was founded in 1958 and a Constitution for the Federation of Earth has been accepted by the many groups. But so far, no country has endorsed it. The preamble of the constitution points to worldwide interdependence and cooperation rather than militarized fragmentation with the goal to prevent war, protect human rights, provide conditions for social and economic development and regulate world trade. An international conference will be held in India in November.
“We can’t wait for governments to change. We people have to make the change,” Martin said.
Dr. Glen T. Martin has written and lectured on humanitarian issues, and was invited to speak here by the Centro para la Educación para la Paz. For more info, visit www.worldparliament-gov.org.