According to the UN’s chief, the world is in a state of emergency due to numerous intertwined crises and a failure of global governance. A new book titled Global Democracy: The Key to Global Justice, authored by Oded Gilad and Dena Freeman, provides an answer to the question why humanity is failing to solve the climate crisis, to deal effectively with pandemics or to curb the power of multinational corporations and the influence of the super-rich.
Speaking to a general audience, in view of global challenges the authors highlight the “nonsensical political division of humanity into some 200 nation states”. They argue that the current international system is “simply out-dated, unjust and unsustainable” and that a “radical re-organisation” is required towards global democracy. The “most simple and straightforward way” of achieving this in their opinion is organizing the world as “a democratic political federation”. The book thus makes the case for adding “a small, democratic, layer of federal government at the global level” and outlines why this is necessary to achieve global action that is not only effective but also democratically legitimate.
Organizing the world as a democratic political federation
The first section of the book provides a new framework for looking at the world, one that is global, rather than international. It explains the concept of federalism, elaborates on the history and future of democracy, and provides a critique of the widespread notions of global and multi-stakeholder governance, among other things. The second section looks at specific subject-issues such as inequality, human rights or the climate crisis and why they need to be addressed in the framework a global democratic system. In the third section, the authors tell the stories of six historic personalities who advocated world federalism, among them Albert Einstein and Jawahlarlal Nehru, and give an overview of the movement. Finally, the fourth section debunks common objections to global democracy and adds further arguments. One chapter is devoted to the idea of a world parliament, which occupies a central position in concepts of world federalism, as it does in this book.
Each of the 25 chapters of the book, which was published by Democracy Without Borders, corresponds with a video lecture which the authors released on YouTube. The book can be ordered as a paperback or ebook edition at retail and online bookstores around the world. More information and the table of contents is available here.
The book is recommended by a number of experts and activists who had an opportunity to read it in advance of publication. The former UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Gulnara Shahinian, for instance, who is also a globally recognized advocate for democracy, notes that it is “a most timely publication as the world experiences a huge reverse in democracy and fragmentation.” According to Joseph Baratta, a leading scholar on the history of world federalism, the book represents a “resolute and polished advocacy of global democracy” not seen in decades. The co-convenor of the World Government Research Network, Luis Cabrera, finds that it is “thorough and carefully argued, while also crisply written and accessible, excellent for classroom or reading group use.” In the book’s preface, Democracy Without Borders’ Executive Director Andreas Bummel writes that “there is no question that this book will be one of the most important resources on the subject for some time to come.”
The authors Oded Gilad and Dena Freeman are both affiliated with One World: Movement for Global Democracy, as director and deputy director respectively.