Sunday, October 23, 2022

A federal future: we must change the world to save the Planet

We live in an increasingly interconnected world, facing existential challenges that succeed one another and are interrelated. When we were leaving a painful global financial crisis, an also global pandemic reminded us about the fragility of our existence (and the potential for government action), just to witness how the aggression of Putin in Ukraine tested our mechanisms of secutirty, protection of human rights, access to energy and cooperation. Meanwhile, the increasing threat of the climate emergency is ever more present and demands urgent and massive action at all levels, making sure to put the welfare of the poor and the most vulnerable at the forefront, and not as an afterthought.

Wars, refugees, and migrations have never stopped, although we have also learned that living in democracy is possible, although fragile.

We have lived through great technological progress in the last two centuries but have also experienced great catastrophes. The European Union has proved a sophisticated and necessary mechanism to prevent wars on its soil, but is insufficient to stop disasters in its neighborhood, such as the Balkan wars or the war in Ukraine.

The new generations grow full of hope but also full of concern for their future and the future of the Planet, and are not shy to express their rage and fear whenever they can.

Addressing the challenges of our times requires unprecedented levels of cooperation. Cooperating, however, is not easy. It requires a social sophistication that nation states are far from reaching. In our hopefully post-pandemic scenario, the climate crisis, increased poverty and inequality will only get worse with additional doses of national populism. It is the time to accelerate the promotion of alternatives, and in particular the promotion of federalism as a set of principles and values, the principles of a multilevel democracy and the values of cooperation and acceptance of diversity and pluralism.

If a small group of illustrated progressive leaders could conceive of a federal Europe in the isle of Ventotene in Italy when the fascists were still in power, now the same visionary ambition should be displayed at the global level. There are people willing to fight for this more cooperative world.

 The EU must evolve towards a more integrated and democratic Union, and at the same time elements of a global federation must emerge. Governments and communities must be stronger at all levels and promote individual freedoms in a context of true equal opportunities.

Tax cooperation among jurisdictions should be promoted and tax havens should be eliminated. A multilevel democracy were no level has the monopoly of sovereignty is crucial precisely to achieve tax justice. Inequalitites must be addressed directly at their source. The Laffer curve (the notion that reducing tax rates will magically increase tax revenues) and “trickle down economics” are zombie neo-liberal ideas that have been discredited by empirical evidence.

Egalitarian ideologies that were born as alternatives to capitalism can today join forces with those that want to promote deep reforms in capitalist economies. In the fight for equality, mistakes have been made over history. One of the most important of these mistakes is the belief that equality is compatible with nationalism.

Peace and diversity are promoted through democracies with equal rights instead of ethnocracies. There is almost no piece of land in our Planet that can be closed in borders and include only members of a pure identity. That can be only the result of ethnic cleansing or a distorted view of collective freedom. All borders are artificial. We should waste no time trying to change them, but we should spend more time trying to promote cooperation and friednship over them.

Federalism is a necessary ingredient to leverage the fight of the new generations to save the Planet and change the world. We must promote the values of solidarity, fraternity and cooperation. A society guided only by the profit motive or by material interests ends up being a poor society in all respects.

Those that take advantage of the problems and exploit identity feelings are powerful and effective in the use of new communication technologies.  Those who want to oppose them cannot remain in their ivory towers, limiting themselves to explore new theories and regretting that the world has changed. No more lives must be wasted fighting for “us against them”, when the fight for the Planet and for solidarity is both the most important and the most urgent of our times.

We must use the green and digital transition to promote a better world, where the standards of living can improve for everybody without destroying the natural resources and without compromising the existence of future generations. More than ever, we must multiply the initiatives (and make them multiplicative) –in the form of virtual exhibitions, videos, web resources, apps…, in a process of trial and error, to promote federalism as a social cause in our complex world.

To promote human dignity for all, we need institutions that bring out the best of human beings, and not the worst. These institutions may evolve from the existing ones, or be the result of social innovation. If continents drifted away from Pangea, they must come together again, at least symbolically, in the fight to save the Planet.

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