In 1995, I received in the mail an issue of the magazine to which I subscribed called In These Times. As a professor of philosophy focusing on the dynamics of human liberation I had long been reading and thinking about how human beings can end war, protect universal human rights, and protect our planetary environment. This issue of the magazine contained a full-page ad from the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA).
The ad confronted me with an entirely new dimension of human liberation, a dimension of which I was then only dimly aware. It said that we could only end war, protect universal rights, and protect the planetary environment by ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. I was stunned because I had long studied World Systems Theory, a scholarly discipline exposing the hidden dynamics of the world system and why it must be changed if we are to ever approach human liberation.
But World Systems Theory was critical only and did not offer any concrete alternatives. For example, the excellent scholarly book by Terry Boswell and Christopher Chase-Dunn called The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism: Toward Global Democracy was deeply critical of the exploitative world economic system and proposed a “global democracy” to replace the world’s present war and domination system. However, their book did not offer any concrete ways to accomplish global democracy. It only claimed that this was needed.
I had long understood that human liberation must be multidimensional. Liberation necessarily includes a spiritual and moral growth component, a component requiring economic transformation, and a component addressing the system of militarized sovereign nation-states that ends war and guarantees peace. I had founded the Peace Studies Program at my university in 1992 and had extensively reviewed the literature and dynamics of many peace studies programs in the USA.
From my university office in Virginia, I called WCPA world headquarters in Denver, Colorado. They told me to come and visit, which I soon did. The world headquarters was a two-story building staffed by six employees. It was full of computers, telephones, and a substantial library of international journals and books on world government. They took me to the basement where they had hundreds of boxes full of forms signed by tens of thousands of people affirming allegiance to the Earth Constitution. They described to me their worldwide outreach that had resulted in the writing of the Constitution through a series of four ‘Constituent Assemblies’ that took place during a period of 23 years from 1968 to 1991.
I took a copy of the Constitution home with me and studied it. It appeared to me a brilliant tool for transforming our broken world system, clearly a key component within human liberation. The Fourth Constituent Assembly in Troia, Portugal had declared the Constitution finished and ready for ratification under the criteria set forth in its Article 17. Since 1991 the WCPA had been promoting ratification of this Constitution worldwide.
They soon invited me to join their WCPA Executive Council and I traveled to the 1996 fourth session of the Provisional World Parliament that took place in Barcelona, Spain, that September. There I met the Co-Presidents of WCPA, Dr. Terence Amerasinghe from Sri Lanka and Dr. Reinhart Ruge from Mexico, just as I had met the WCPA Secretary General, Prof. Philip Isely, in Colorado. Philip and his wife Margaret were founders of WCPA in 1958 and the force behind writing of the Constitution. These were impressive people with not only an advanced spirituality but a deep understanding of the flawed dynamics of our current world system.
One of the brilliant features of the Constitution is Article 19 that gives the people of Earth the mandate to start the Earth Federation government now in the form of ‘Provisional World Government’. In Article 17, the Constitution provides for three progressively complete operative stages, for amendments to the Constitution under Article 18, and for beginning the process now under Article 19. Hence, there is a simple plan of five steps that can provide a truly fundamental and substantial component of human liberation:
- develop Provisional World Government and lay the groundwork for ratification, which is happening now;
- achieve initial ratification within a variable formula relatively easy to accomplish, for example, the First Operative Stage can be initiated when only 25 nations have ratified;
- once begun, there are procedures for amending the Constitution if necessary to conform to changing global conditions and make it as strong a document as possible;
- begin the Second Operative Stage once 50% of nations and persons have ratified;
- begin full global operation once 90% of humanity has ratified.
As a scholar I decided to elaborate the philosophical foundations for democratic world law. I began to study the history of thinkers and movements that had advocated some form of world government or earth federation going back to the ancient Greeks. I became aware of the several other world federalist organizations, most of them founded after the Second World War. As far as I could see, none of them (except for WCPA that supported ratification of the Earth Constitution) had anything to offer except abstract ideals. None had any concrete, truly transformative proposals that could effectively deal with humankind’s present omnicidal problems in the time remaining before we make ourselves extinct as a species.
My 2005 book called Millennium Dawn: The Philosophy of Planetary Crisis and Human Liberation was my first book that attempted to comprehensively include all the dynamics of human liberation, including ratification of the Earth Constitution. Since that time, I have elaborated these dynamics in ten subsequent books and many articles and, as a scholar, have attempted to articulate the philosophical foundations of democratic world law, for example in my 2008 book Ascent to Freedom: Practical and Philosophical Foundations of Democratic World Law. I argue that the very concept of world law is inherently universal, just as the concept of human rights is inherently universal.
My most recent book, called The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet was published in July, 2021. It not only studies our flawed world system that has produced the climate crisis but also explains the multiple ways that the Earth Constitution can effectively address the climate crisis and bring human beings over what one climate scientist calls “the bridge at the edge of the world” (Speth 2008) into a restored and healthy planetary environment. My book also makes clear why the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will necessarily fail. The UN is predicated on the current fragmented and unworkable world system, and you cannot effectively deal with climate change using the very world system that caused the disaster in the first place.
In summary, the discovery of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth not only changed my life and provided my vocation in the service of humanity far beyond that of being a professor of philosophy. It also can change the course of human history — the life of humanity. In spite of the fact that WCPA has thousands of signatories to the Constitution in countries around the world (which now can be done on the Earth Constitution site), the Constitution remains a discovery waiting to happen for most of humanity. It truly offers a way out of our present dysfunctional and omnicidal planetary trajectory.