The political movement to unite the world is nearly one hundred years old. Most identify the Campaign for World Government founded in 1937 by Lola Maverick Lloyd and Rosika Schwimmer as the genesis of the movement. Since then the world has transformed in ways unimaginable.
Today, humanity is grappling with a growing pile of existential global challenges. Twentieth-century holdovers like poverty, inequality, human rights abuses, corruption, and the threat of nuclear war are now being complemented with an array of new challenges like the climate crisis, misinformation, and of course — the pandemic.
Our species is at a crossroads. We must choose between the two paths before us. The first path is to attempt to solve these global challenges within the current framework; to use the Westphalian nation-state to chip away at the symptoms of a systemic problem. The second path is to transform the system. To create an inclusive and accountable system of global governance in which humanity can come together and solve global challenges as one united political unit.
Yet, despite all of this globalization, we are politically divided.
Uniting the world has of course already happened in many respects. This is why we have so many global problems. We have one global economy, one heating climate, one global public health, and (mostly) one internet. Yet, despite all of this globalization, we are politically divided. Divided by boundaries drawn by old men who — in many cases — died hundreds of years ago. It is time to overcome this political division and unify the species. Just as the economy, the climate, the public health, and the internet have been unified.
With a democratic world federation, humanity would have the tools to address global problems. I’m not saying the solutions would fall from the sky or that democracy on this scale is anyway an easy task. Exactly the opposite actually, world federation is of course the more difficult pathway than simply letting the nation-states do their best to solve problems out of their control.
We are the unfortunate generation that has to get off the couch and into the trenches.
Of course, as world federalists, we know all too well how difficult an endeavor this is. And we choose to fight for it not in spite of its difficulty, but because of it. Because we know that we are living in an era where the hardest option is the only one that’s going to work. Humanity has been taking the easy path for far too long and we are the unfortunate generation that has to get off the couch and into the trenches.
This is why young people around the world are joining the Young World Federalists, and why you all here today are members of UN-aligned. Because we know it’s up to us. It’s up to us to build a movement to transform the globe. It’s up to us to speak to our friends, family, and neighbors about the need for human unity. It’s up to us to write articles, make memes, plan events, and lobby our local leaders to speak out in favor of global democracy.
As world federalists, we know that it’s up to us to lead humanity away from destruction and towards a peaceful, sustainable, and equitable future for all creatures on Earth. I’m so incredibly proud of our young volunteers, many of them high school students, who believe in themselves enough to join this movement. I’m inspired by our local organizers around the world who localize this grand vision and build communities of world federalists. I’m inspired by our partners and supporters who donate, collaborate, and promote this idea to others.
You all, the members of UN-aligned, are key players in this movement. Your work, writing and disseminating articles, producing audio and visual content, starting parishes, and recruiting others to the cause is essential. Just as Lola Maverick Lloyd and Rosika Schwimmer were fighting to save humanity from mass destruction in 1937, you fight because you know that a better world is not only possible but necessary.
As world federalists, we are driven by an intense mixture of fear, hope, and love for humanity that can only be described as grit: an unstopped and prolonged persistence towards a goal. We have grit because we know this is a big idea because we know that in spite of its necessity today, we may not live to see a world federation. We have grit because world federalists, since the beginning of the movement at the dawn of the second world war, have always fought against the grain.
We have always pushed upstream and fought to change things that most people understand to be permanent.
Your involvement in this movement proves that you have grit, proves that you believe in something larger than yourself and that you are prepared to fight for it. It proves that you believe that people have more in common than difference and that you know overcoming ancient boundaries is necessary to secure our common future.
I’m honored to have the chance to speak to you all today and I’m very much looking forward to getting to know you all better. The Young World Federalists have several online communities which I invite you all to join and share what brought you to the movement.
Thank you once again to Ariana and Adrian from UN-aligned for organizing this meeting. If you’d like to learn more about the Young World Federalists you can go to our website at YWF.WORLD
- Eston McKeague is the President of the Young World Federalists, a global youth movement building support for world federalism and global democracy.
- The following speech was given at UN-aligned’s first Annual General Meeting conference.