June 24, 2009 by cgsstlouischapter

     by Joe Schwartzberg, national CGS Board Member from Minneapolis

      (reprinted from the May 2009 newsletter of CGS of Minnesota)


   I’m struck by the many changes for the better–some subtle, others obvious– that the past year has brought. The biggest, of course, is the sense of hope generated by the election of President Barack Obama, in regard to international affairs in general and our relationship with the United Nations in particular. It looks as if the United States will, at last, ratify the UN Comprehensive Law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS), likely pay up its arrears in UN dues, and try to address the economic chasm separating the global North from the global South.

   Change is also evident in non-governmental circles. Last month I took part in an excellent conference on United Nations reform at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC organized by the UN Nations Association, with the co-sponsorship of a number of other prestigious NGOs. Previously, the UNA steered clear of serious discussions of UN reform because (in my view) it had all it could do muster support for the UN in its present highly imperfect form.

   Equally encouraging was Thomas Weiss’ 2009 Presidential address this February before the International Studies Association titled “What Happened to the Idea of World Government?”  Until recently, speaking approvingly of the prospect of world government in the political science and international relations communities of academia was a sure way of getting oneself labeled as “hopelessly naïve;” but Weiss bravely cited much of the literature on the subject that animated the World Federalist movement prior to its being undermined by the likes off Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. Weiss reminded his audience that the worldwide movement until then was led by the United States. He noted that in 1949 111 members of Congress, including future presidents John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford and a host of other eminent political leaders, put forward a “sense of Congress” resolution that stated that “a fundamental objective of the foreign policy of the United States [is] to support and strengthen the United Nations and to seek its development into a world federation.” Additionally, resolutions were passed in 30 of 48 state legislatures supporting the “pooling of American sovereignty with that of other countries.”

   We have a long way to go before we recapture the exciting spirit of the early World Federalist movement; but we are, at last, moving in the right direction.


Coming Events

Saturday, March 24, 7:00 p.m. - WILPF Fundraiser at The Chapel Sanctuary for the Arts, 6238 Alexander Drive, St. Louis MO 63105 (one block south of Wydown just west of Skinker Boulevard). The main stage entertainment will be Mississippi Crossing, a blues/jazz folk band which includes Dan Hellinger and Joann Eng-Hellinger. There will be a silent auction with many artistic offerings and the opportunity to have artists paint a significant design on any woven material (not knit) you want painted such as a jacket or pillow.

Saturday, May 12, 10:15 a.m. - CGS/STL Board of Officers & Directors meets at World Community Center, 438 No. Skinner Boulevard, 63130. The meeting is open to all. Note that the meeting date is back to the second Saturday of the month in accord with the usual schedule of the second Saturdays of odd-numbered months. Sunday, May 20, 3:00 p.m. - CGS/STL Annual meeting at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, 63117. David Gallup, President and Chief Counsel of the World Service Authority, will be speaking on “What Are the Two Most Important Questions of the 21st Century?” The annual business meeting will include the election of officers and board members for the coming year and will be followed by the usual optional buffet turkey or vegetarian dinner.

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