Part 2: Chapter 10: The Electroshock of the Atomic Bomb on Activism
Updated: Mar 13, 2022
How to check "Save the World" off your bucket list?
Welcome to Chapter 10 of Planet Republyk!
History of the Planetarian Movement, Part 5:
Because this history is also ours.
Because it is unknown.
Because it should be taught in our schools as well as national history.
The Electroshock of the Atomic Bomb on Activism
The first battle is to do everything to build a world order that takes into account the needs of the most disadvantaged.
I was quite surprised, during my research, to find out how numerous and strong the voices defending the idea of a world government were, in the middle of the last century, during the five years following the creation of the UN, and that these facts, even for those interested in universal history, are relatively unknown.
Humanity has probably never been so close to democratic planetary governance as in the period 1945-1950. Here is an eloquent example that may seem surreal from our contemporary perspective: on November 23, 1945, some months after Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, made a fiery speech in the British Parliament on the need for a directly elected World Assembly.
Harold Macmillan, his successor in the same position, made similar remarks[i] in the same House of Commons exactly a decade later, stating that :
to achieve the objective of peace and disarmament, a supranational authority with real power must be established. This would, according to some members, elevate the United Nations or any other authority to be created to the level of world government. So be it! That would be far from the worst case scenario! In the long run, it is even the only viable avenue for humanity!
Turning points in history sometimes see atypical characters emerge in the public space. This was the case in the United States shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. Through his charisma, Wendell Willkie, a political neophyte, was propelled to become the iconoclastic candidate of the Republican Party in the American presidential election of 1940, despite the opposition of the Republican establishment. He was defeated, but still heated the father of the "New Deal" with the highest score ever obtained by a Republican candidate.
Roosevelt, impressed by Willkie's campaign, commissioned him in 1943 to travel the world as an ambassador of American goodwill. From his travels and meetings in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the USSR and China, he wrote a book in praise of globalism: One World, which sold over two million copies. From this book the "One Worlders" movement was born.
We find in it this reflection of Willkie: ''Political internationalism without economic internationalism is a house built on sand. We can say today, now that economic internationalism is almost complete, that the reverse is also true.''[ii]
In 1945, the journalist Emery Reves published The Anatomy of Peace in the United States, which defended the idea of a world government as the only way to prevent war. The book, which was highly critical of the nascent UN, became a beacon for the emerging globalist movement.
Only in a world order based on the separation of sovereignties can individual freedom be a reality.
( A little aside here; if you don't mind. You may have noticed that I use the terms planetarist (ism) and universalist (ism) more readily than internationalist (ism), mondialist(ism) or globalist (ism). However, they refer to similar or even synonymous concepts.
The reason is that ''internationalist(ism)'' refers as well to a union of human beings but with as substratum the belonging to the nation, which as we have seen, is the source of many problems.
As for the terms "mondialist(ism)" and "globalist(ism)" evoked "as early as 1916, in a work by the Belgian jurist Paul Otlet, who underlines the necessity of a fair distribution of natural wealth[iii]", if they have a positive connotation and are quite often used by the planetarist militancy during the first decades of the 20th century, change their meaning at the end of the 20th century by evoking the harmful effects of neo-liberalism such as tax havens, cultural standardization, corporate relocation, practices that are deleterious to workers, unions, communities and the environment, and/or the competition between nations by multinationals.
In this perspective, the use of the terms ''planetarist(ism)'' and ''universalist(ism)'', less loaded with a pejorative meaning, seems to me more appropriate).
Even before the official birth of the UN, therefore, critical voices were already being raised against it. About fifty American notables, having met at Grenville Clark's farm in Dublin, New Hampshire, stated in the Dublin Declaration[iv], in October 1945, a few days before the UN charter came into force, that it would not be able to fulfill its mission of preventing war again.
They demanded the establishment of a real world government. They believe that peace cannot be achieved by treaties signed by nations that think and act like nations.
Clark is well aware of the limitations of the Charter. He was one of the many contributors to its drafting. An advisor to four American presidents, he published numerous works on peace and disarmament during his lifetime, including A Plan for Peace in 1950, in which he defended, among other things, the ideas of a revision of the UN Charter in which the weight of the vote of nations in the General Assembly would be proportional to their demographic weight; to replace the security council by a board of directors where the right of veto would no longer exist; and to create a world peacekeeping force; the only authorized army on the planet. His best-known work, however, is Peace by World Law, published in 1958. Clark and the Dublin signatories were active in the American movement for world federalism.
In 1946, a hero of the French resistance, Robert Sarrazac, of whom we will speak again later, founded with Jeanne Allemand-Martin and Paul Montuclard, the Centre de Recherches et d'Expression Mondialiste as well as the Front Humain des Citoyens du Monde. For the members of these collectives, the unification of the world is already realized by the technique, by the economy. But as the threats are now global, politics must also be global.
Also in 1946, a few months after the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, scientists who had participated in the advent of atomic energy published One World or None, a manifesto denouncing the risks that this technology posed to the survival of humanity if it were ever misused. Among them was the physicist and tireless militant for peace and globalism, Albert Einstein.
On the same subject, a few days before his death in 1955, Einstein co-signed the Russel-Einstein manifesto with a dozen world-renowned scientists, including Bertrand Russel. Here is an excerpt, which, if applied to the threat that climate change and biodiversity loss represent for humans in 2020, is still as relevant as ever:
Almost everyone with a political conscience reacts strongly to one or another of these problems; but we ask you, if possible, to put aside your feelings and consider yourselves henceforth only as members of a biological species that has lived a remarkable history and whose disappearance none of us can desire.
But perhaps the biggest obstacle to understanding the situation is that the word "humanity" is perceived as vague and abstract. People have difficulty realizing that the danger is not to a vague humanity, but to themselves, their children and their grandchildren. They have difficulty understanding that they, individually, and those they love, are in imminent danger of a terrible death.
We have before us, if we choose, a continuous progression towards happiness, knowledge and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death because we do not want to forget our quarrels? We appeal, as human beings, to human beings: remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can, the way is open to a new Paradise; if not, you face the risk of universal death[v].
Einstein was, in the last years of his life, also very critical of the nascent UN. He denounced the weakness of its charter. He publicly declared that the maintenance of the absolute sovereignty of rival nation-states precluded the creation of an effective system; that a federal constitution of the world was the only guarantee of universal peace.
Einstein had been saying this for a long time, along with his friend, the mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russel, and he was even one of the pioneers of globalist activism. Already in 1914, a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War, he co-signed a letter denouncing the exacerbation of Germanic chauvinism where the formula "universal world civilization" appeared.
The path to international security requires states to unconditionally give up some of their freedom of action, in other words their sovereignty.
In the West, the publication of One World or None provoked a massive citizen mobilization.
Demonstrations against nuclear power were held throughout the following decade. It was for one of these demonstrations that British artist Gerald Holthom designed a logo in 1958 that would become an internationally recognized symbol of peace, non-violence and pacifism.
Originally, however, it was intended to be the emblem of the activists of the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, instigated by Bertrand Russel. Holthom was inspired by the semaphore code of the British military to create the logo. The two branches pointing to the left and right refer to the "N" and the central bar to the "D", for "Nuclear Disarmament".
In 1946, British MP Henry Usborne (with the support of 130 Westminster colleagues from all parties who shared his rejection of the inevitability of a third world war) founded the British Parliamentary Group for World Federalism.
In 1951, wishing to take this movement out of the United Kingdom parliament and appealing to the mundialist fibre of their colleagues in other parliaments of the world, they created the World Association of Parliamentarians for World Government, which brought together up to 800 parliamentarians from 10 countries in 1967.
In the same year 98% of the Danish MPs officially declared themselves globalists. That same year, the One World Trust was created. Its purpose is to contribute to research and the dissemination of knowledge on global governance.
The two organizations, British and global, are still working today, the latter under the name of the Global Association of Parliamentarians for Global Action.
In support of the parliamentarians' efforts, an international grassroots movement called the Crusade for Global Government is gaining momentum. At its first congress in Luxembourg in October 1946, its activists renamed it the Movement for a Federal World Government.
That's it for chapter 10 .
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[i] Lord Boyd Orr, « The British Parliamentary Group for World Government », Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 12:1,21-22, Issue 1, 1956, Published online: 15 Sep 2015. DOI: 10.1080/00963402.1956.11453677
[ii] Wendell L. Willkie, One World, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1943, p. 17.
[iii] Michel Auvray, Histoire des citoyens du monde, Imago, Paris, 2020, p.11.
[iv] Dublin's declararation : http://www.worldservice.org/issues/decjan97/dublin.html
[v] Russell-Einstein Manifesto: https://pugwashgroup.ca/fr/le-manifeste-russell-einstein/