Christopher Hamer’s A Global Parliament is the outgrowth of his university-level general education course on the topic of world federalism. Hamer is retired professor of physics at the University of New South Wales. Like Albert Einstein, he is convinced that a world with nuclear weapons requires a world federation to survive. In addition to his research work in physics, he is an activist doing what he can to educate and motivate others to understand the principles of world federalism and to act to implement them.
This book can serve as a “Bible” for any world federalist. In the first chapter he argues persuasively that nuclear weapons mean that we must have peace and disarmament to survive, that the peaceful settlement of disputes requires a system of international law, and that that is possible only with a world federation. Many global problems other than war and nukes also need to be addressed, and the UN, not being a world government, can’t guarantee peace or the effective action which these other global problems require.
The second chapter gives “Some Snippets of History” on the beginnings and progress of the world federalist movement. The third chapter explains the UN & its shortcomings, how efforts to reform it have failed, and why they will continue to fail. The fourth chapter focuses on the development of the European Union while noting the problems here that will face the creation of a world federation such as giving up some national sovereignty. He explains strengths and weakneses of different theoretical approaches to integration such as “the functionalist approach,” “the federalist approach,” and “the neofunctionalist approach.” He then summarizes the lessons to be learned from the European effort.
In the fifth chapter Hamer summarizes and explains the basic principles of any world federation: democracy, universality, rule of law, subsidiarity, human rights, solidarity, participation, equity, and fliexibility. On the important issue of the priority of the first two principles Hamer argues that the principle of democracy should take priority over the principle of universality. He says that the UN’s “greatest defect, and its greatest source of weakness” is that it gives universality (include all nations) priority over democracy.
Probably Hamer’s sixth chapter “Problems and Objections” will be most useful for world federalists. He insighfully and in great detail discusses the challenges facing advocates of world federation. He provides the reader with specific references to where these challenges are stated and to where good responses can be found. Hamer optimistically points to the increasing integration of the world since the end of the Cold War while also noting that the successful creation of the European Union provides world federalists with two important tactical lessons to follow, that international integration should be gradual and evolutionary and that membership in the projected integrated organization should be limited to democratic nation-states.
In the seventh chapter titled “How Do We Get There From Here?” Hamer addresses one of the most challenging issues for world federalists today. He masterfully discusses the options of reforming the UN, enlarging the European Union, the functional approach, the regional approach, the evolutionary approach, a World Peace-Keeping Association, and lastly the NATO option (which he favors). Besides arguing persuasively for this NATO (plus OECD) option, Hamer is also actively involved in efforts to implement it.
This book is thoroughly referenced and has an excellent bibliography and index. Every serious world federalist should possess a copy of this very informative “Bible.”