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Council of Washington

Report on WFM-IGP Council meeting, Washington, Oct 21-23, 2011

I attended the annual Council meeting of the World Federalist Movement in Washington, just a couple of blocks from the White House. It was a very enjoyable and informative meeting for me, with a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere, involving about 40 councillors from all over the world. I learnt a great deal about what the WFM are doing, and how they go about it. They are a very professional organization, with a total budget of about $4 million per annum, up from about $150,000 15 years ago, I gather.

The WFM have lowered their sights for the moment, and are concentrating on reforms to the UN which can be achieved without requiring a change to the UN Charter. They have two main ongoing campaigns, a Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC), and a Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). Australia provides about $500,000 to help the RtoP campaign, around 10% of the total funding of the organization, courtesy presumably of Gareth Evans. Quite some time was spent discussing developments in these campaigns, which have really had astonishing success, I would argue. In the recent Libyan conflict, the RtoP concept was taken to surprising lengths by the NATO forces. No doubt that was because it suited the NATO partners, but still .. It was noted that we can't expect consistent application of the principle until we do finally have a functioning world federation. The US is very reluctant to intervene in Syria, for instance, because a reference to the ICC would bring up the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, and transfer of population there, which is apparently a war crime.

Some discussion was also held of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) campaign, headed by Andreas Bummel, who was present at the meeting, and was co-opted as a Councillor. He is quite a young guy, but is running a surprisingly effective campaign on an absolutely shoestring budget, about 10,000 euros per annum at the moment! The WFM have no spare resources for this campaign either, it seems. We should gear up our support of his campaign.

I presented a resolution for support of my ideas for a World Community of Democratic Nations, based upon NATO and the OECD, which attracted some negative comments. Many in the WFM, as in the peace community generally, are uncomfortable with dealings with NATO or any military organization. But it surely must be recognized that security is the first duty of any government, even a world federation, and military forces are generally necessary to maintain peace and security.

I only had 5 minutes or so to present my ideas, and further discussion was deferred to the next WFM Congress in July next year, which will set strategies and priorities for the next 4-5 years. I certainly hope to attend the Congress, and resume the discussion then.

Chris Hamer

Chris Hamer : Thanks for that, Liliane. I think the Registry/Congress should join up with WFM as an Associated Organization ..

Daniel Durand : 1/11/11

Francisco Plancarte 1/11/11 : Excellent Report of Chris Hamer,supported by Liliane and intersting and proposals of both Chris and Daniel. Let's find the way to work together Citoyens du Monde,Congres des Peuples and WFM and many other "mundialistas"

Rob Wheeler : 1/11/11

First thank you Chris for attending the WFM Council meeting and our report on it.

Second, thank you Daniel for this interesting listing and history of the relationship of the People's Congress and its delegates and the WFM. This is very informative and useful indeed. I think it would be good to post this history prominently on our websites if it is not already there.

Thank you also for your note about my interest and participation in the Occupy Movement and other people's action campaigns as well. While my involvement in such things means I have less time to spend on global organizing and governance issues, I think it is important - particularly because I live in the US where decisions that are made can have a very strong impact on the rest of the world - for either good or bad.

Now regarding your history, I would like to mention that Lucy Webster is also and has long been an officer of WFM and very active in the US World Federalist organization. Francisco Plancarte is on the International Council of WFM and chairs the Mexican World Federalist organizing effort. And I have been a member of the US World Federalist Organization for more than ten years. I participated in the International Congresses of WFM in London and Geneva/Montreux; and in many national congresses of the World Federalists too.

I am only a quasi federalist however as I think we would be better off if we could shift away from a system of national representation in whatever system of global governance can evolve and emerge. Still, I am also a realist and understand that a world federation of countries would be much better than what we have now. But I am much more favorable towards the idea that we need to develop a system of global governance that is much more participatory in nature and where the primary decisions are made through a directly elected/selected world parliament.

In any case I very much appreciate knowing of this history that Daniel has provided for us; and I very much support the proposal he has made.

Rolf Haegler : 1/11/11


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