Together united, we'll never be divided
To create democratic world governance for finding and enforcing global solutions to global problems, the following is proposed by the General Assembly of the Altlas Movement:
The creation of a Democratic Union with at least the following elements:
- A Union Parliament with a narrowly-limited regulatory competence focused on supranational or global policy areas
- A supranational judiciary whose decisions are binding on all member states.
- Common armed forces of the Union, which includes the individual militaries of the respective member states
Step-by-step implementation of the creation of the Democratic Union:
- First phase: Convincing the masses and business associations in the individual democratic states, with the aim of pushing the respective governments to unite with other democratic states.
- Second phase: Starting the founding process of the Union, where it is important to work with maximum pressure to make the organization democratic and strong. This phase is crucial for the later character and functioning of the Union since omissions and compromises made at this early point are difficult to correct later.
- Third phase: Constant enlargement of the Union through the admission of new members and the ongoing internal strengthening of the Union through the promotion of prosperity, free trade, and the best possible autarky from autocratic regimes.
Our vision is a democratic world governance for finding and enforcing global solutions to global problems that have driven our planet and humanity to the brink of annihilation today so that we leave a peaceful, free and vibrant world to the generations that follow us.
The path to this democratic world governance is through a Democratic Union that unites and protects the world's free societies, supports oppressed societies in their struggle for liberation, overcomes dictatorial systems of power, and expands ever further with a modern, scalable, innovative model of democracy until it encompasses the entire planet. This Democratic Union will itself be built according to the ideals it is called to defend: a Union Parliament elected by the citizens of all member states to regulate overarching issues, a Union Court of Justice, free trade internally, and joint armed forces to ensure perpetual peace internally and the greatest possible strength externally for as long as it is needed.
Context - Why? Current State?
Today, humanity stands at a point where it forms a global community of destiny, facing global challenges without having the necessary political structures to find and implement global solutions. The unresolved threat to our planet posed by climate change and the threat of nuclear war, which has once again been brought to the attention of all of us by the war in Europe, are just two of the many bitter testimonies to this state of affairs. At the same time, the values of freedom, the rule of law, and democracy are coming under massive pressure worldwide in the face of increasingly powerful, influential, and aggressive autocracies and dictatorships, which is likely to intensify in the emerging division of the world into a free and an unfree bloc. Existing democracies are weakened by targeted sabotage, disinformation, and economic dependencies and are, in some cases, openly threatened militarily (e.g., Ukraine or Taiwan); freedom and democracy movements in oppressed states are left alone by the world community in their struggle and fail against the overwhelming power of oppression (e.g., Syria, Belarus, Myanmar, Sudan or Hong Kong). The United Nations, as a global organization, is neither capable of promoting democracy and the interests of democracies worldwide nor of protecting human rights against authoritarian regimes since the UN and its main decision-making bodies are themselves, by their very nature, riddled with authoritarian rulers. In the struggle to defend freedom, the rule of law, and democracy, the free world - the community of free societies - is on its own. But the free world lacks an overarching political structure that is itself structured according to democratic ideals. If the free world is to endure and grow in the struggle against dictatorship and oppression, it must unite in a strong community - a Democratic Union. Recognizing the need for such a union of democracies, various attempts have already been made, notably the European Union, NATO as the defense alliance of North Atlantic democracies, the Community of Democracies (CoD) established in 2000, and the Summit for Democracy launched in 2021. These previous institutions represent precursors of a Democratic Union. However, they are not democratically organized themselves, are regionally limited, and/or designed too weakly.
Goal - How should it be? Ideal State?
Our vision is a democratic world state. Our struggle is the struggle for the liberation of the world. Our path is the unshakable unity of free societies in a Democratic Union spreading across the world.
The Democratic Union will be a supranational organization in which democracies worldwide will unite to represent and defend the political, economic, and social interests of the global democratic front. As such, it will be democratically governed by the citizens of the affiliated member states through a Union Parliament whose regulatory competence is narrowly limited to supranational or global policy areas. This includes only a few but essential issues, such as international trade, environment, climate, human rights, and peace. In addition to the Union Parliament as a legislative body, a supranational judiciary, whose decisions are binding on all member states, is needed to enforce Union law and to settle conflicts based on Union law. Finally, in order to create an indissoluble unity in diversity and security, the individual militaries of the respective member states need to be integrated into the common armed forces of the Union. Only the fusion of the militaries will permanently ensure that conflicts between the members of the Union will never be solved by force but always by law. Only the fusion of the militaries creates such a deep bond and such a deep trust within the Union that it can function and endure as an unshakable unit.
Pathway - How do we get there? Path to the Ideal State?
A few resolute nation-states would be sufficient to establish the democratic union, which would later expand through the accession of additional members. This inclusive approach does not require the largest possible number of member states in the founding phase, so that in this decisive phase, there is also no need for excessive compromises out of consideration for less resolute states - compromises that would weaken the Union from the outset, as happened, for example, with the founding of the League of Nations or the United Nations.
Since governments of nation-states structurally have little self-interest in surrendering supposed sovereign rights (and thus power) to a supranational organization, public pressure from the economy and society is needed. The first phase of establishing a democratic union, therefore, lies in convincing the masses and business associations in the individual democratic states, with the aim of pushing the respective governments to unite with other democratic states. This should be accompanied by the promotion of positive developments, such as the emerging statehood of Europe, in order to gain experience, learn lessons and create positive, vivid, and tangible examples.
The second phase consists of the founding process of the Union, where it is important to work with maximum pressure to make the organization democratic and strong. This phase is crucial for the later character and functioning of the Union since omissions and compromises made at this early point are difficult to correct later. Probably the best-known example of this is the veto power of the five permanent UN Security Council members, which was agreed upon only as a provisional compromise with a later review (cf. Article 109 (3) UN Charter), but this review never took place and the veto power - which paralyzes the UN on the most important issues - still exists.
The third phase involves the constant enlargement of the Union through the admission of new members and the ongoing internal strengthening of the Union through the promotion of prosperity, free trade, and the best possible autarky from autocratic regimes.
The alternative would be to forego a strong alliance of democracies and retain the existing multilateral forms of cooperation, which, however, are regionally limited, do not contain sufficient lawmaking and law enforcement mechanisms, and/or are not democratically structured in themselves. With them, therefore, there is the possibility that originally democratic member states will revert to autocratic conditions, agreements will not be honored or enforced, and member states will be played off against each other from the outside. The past has shown that the existing cooperation mechanisms of democratic states are insufficient to protect democracy and freedom and contribute to their spread adequately (see Freedom House, Democracy Index, according to which the number of democracies worldwide is declining).
An alternative to achieving the ultimate goal would be to further develop the United Nations into a democratically legitimized world government. However, this would require agreement among at least the largest and most influential nation-states on earth, including all members of the UN Security Council. We would, therefore, first have to work towards a single moment in which, at the same time, all these states are democratic within themselves. While this is not impossible, it is unrealistic for the foreseeable future. Given the urgent need for a global lawmaking body and the escalating global conflict between freedom and oppression, we should primarily pursue the step-by-step approach of an inclusive union of free societies that decide supranational issues jointly in a democratic process. However, the two approaches are not mutually exclusive. A democratic reform of the United Nations can be a parallel strategy.
An alternative way to establish a democratic union would be the comprehensive transformation of an already existing association of democratic states, such as NATO or the EU (with the abandonment of the regional limitation). However, since this would mean a massive change in the statutes, the simultaneous approval of the respective member states would be required, which is not to be expected on such a broad scale. Nevertheless, corresponding transformations of existing democratic confederations of states could represent a parallel strategy, or, at any rate, these forums could serve as a platform for attracting potential founding members of the democratic union so that the union arises from the midst of an existing organization.