Grandparents and grandchildren unite the world


By DONNA PARK

I am a grandmother and I dream of grandparents working with their grandchildren to unite the world and build a better future.

But first we must have a vision of how the world could be improved.

The world faces many problems today, including war and the threat of nuclear destruction, climate change, human rights abuses, hunger, extreme poverty, growing income inequality and global pandemics. One of the central sources of our global problems is that we have placed nations above people. People belong first. National sovereignty and security should not be more important than individual sovereignty and security. Governments should protect the rights and freedoms of their people, not sacrifice them.

War is a means by which nations sacrifice their people rather than protect them. War kills and injures people. War destroys the environment. War deprives us of our financial and natural resources War does not bring peace, although it brings a lot of money to some while impoverishing many.

It is certainly time to think creatively about eliminating war. Here in the United States, we can look to our own history to find a way to do that. When the Americans decided to transform the confederation of 13 colonies into a federation of states, they agreed to resolve their differences in court rather than on the battlefield. The original 13 states were able to eliminate or transform their militias. No longer needing to fight, they could rely on the rule of law to settle disputes. Although the rule of law is not perfect, it is the best method we have found. And it’s better than war.

We need a similar transformation globally. Why not transform the confederation of nations known as the United Nations into a United Nations Federation? Under this strengthened United Nations system, all nations could agree to resolve their differences using the rule of law rather than weapons of destruction. Nations could be required to disarm and transform their armed forces into peacekeeping forces that would respond to natural disasters and other domestic crises.

To implement this agenda, we could start by creating a World Parliament at the United Nations to give a voice to the peoples of the world, rather than just their governments. We also need a world constitution to define a democratic federation of nations with a universal declaration of human rights and the ability to create and enforce world law that prohibits war and nuclear weapons. Additionally, we will need international courts (like the International Criminal Court) and international police to arrest those who break the law. Fortunately, a lot of work has been done to define these components over the past 75 years.

All of these components will cost far less than the huge sums spent on current warfare systems. Additionally, a United Nations Federation could be used to effectively address other global issues, such as climate change.

This vision is shared by Young World Federalists. Their slogan is “Unite the World”. As their website explains, they are “a global movement to unite humanity through the creation of a democratic world federation”. They believe that the current system of competitive sovereign countries is failing to address the global challenges that affect us all. Accordingly, they advocate a new form of global governance, one in which people cooperate to secure their common interest through a democratic global federation. They envision a sustainable, just and peaceful world through a democratic world federation. It would be a world run by humanity, for humanity, with equal opportunities for all on a prosperous planet.

The Young World Federalists (YWF) builds on the work of well-established organizations such as Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS). CGS was founded 75 years ago, and many of its supporters, like me, are grandparents of the Young World Federalists generation. We are thrilled to work with these young people and, in fact, we have a lot to learn from them in this modern age of social media and technology. We also have a lot to share with them, including our knowledge, experience and funding. One of their programs that we co-sponsor is World Parliament Week, which includes an event in New York on October 22-23.

By working together, young and old, we are committed to building a united world and a better future for all.

Donna Park is a grandmother of four, chair of the board of directors of the Citizens for Global Solutions Education Fund, advisor to the Young World Federalists and president of the Congress of the World Federalist Movement.

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