Strategies for World Federal Government: Early Debate Revisited

Strategies for World Federal Government: Early Debate Revisited

"Strategies for World Federal Government: The Early Debate Revisited"

Finn Laursen

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

[Preliminary draft]

Paper prepared for delivery at workshop "Present Futures and Future Presents - World State Scenarios for the 21st Century" at Klitgaarden, Skagen, Denmark, 23-25 June, 2010


The World Movement for World Federal Government was formed in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1947. In the following years a wide-ranging debate took place inside this International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO). Was UN Charter revision necessarily the best approach to world federal government? Or should a more radical approach be chosen, such as the calling of a Peoples' World Convention? How would regional federations fit in with a global federal structure? What contributions could come from World Citizens' movements? Part of the debate also concerned the powers of a future world federal authority. Minimalists wanted these powers limited to security issues; maximalists wanted a world federal government that could also deal with socio-economic issues.

The focus of this paper will be the debates that took place at the annual congresses of the WMWFG from the beginning to the 1953 Congress in Copenhagen, where the UN approach gained the upper hand. It will briefly sketch the developments after the mid 1950s, where for some years World Peace through World Law by Grenville Clark and Louis B. Sohn (Harvard University Press, 1958) dominated the thinking. The paper will also mention the contributions of World Federalist Youth in the 1960s and 1970s, when the author was actively involved. The conclusions will briefly refer to some IR and regional integration literature.

Dr. Finn Laursen