The Federalist Manifesto.
The way things stand
Mankind’s very existence is at risk. Human civilisation is destroying its natural environment. The way things are going, the Anthropocene epoch will last but a brief moment in time.
Researchers at the world’s leading institutes report the same ominous findings: glaciers are melting, deserts are expanding, arable soils are increasingly being toxified, our waterways denatured, oceans polluted and the air contaminated. Raw materials obtained from mining are being transformed into trace elements or environmental toxins. Animal and plant life is thus being annihilated to an extent now deemed very critical.
There is no doubt about what and who is to blame. Quite evidentially, the interests or the wishes of the individual are given scant consideration in this regard, while most people aware of what is happening are becoming increasingly concerned.
Whatever transpires in the world is ultimately determined by states
. It is the decisions and the will of states that come to pass, and it is accordingly the system of the nation state that is currently determining the fate of mankind.
But this system has by now gambled away it ethnical/social justification. It has completely failed in terms of justice and security, it is dependent on an increasingly damaging growth concept and can survive only by continuing massive borrowing. It has reached its limits philosophically and materially.
It is unclear which collapse will come first; the earth’s biosphere or the political system. Many nation states have already completely broken down – seven according to the Fund for Peace.
The failure of a state gives its citizens the unintended gift of freedom
, even if most of those affected cannot yet recognise this benefit. The few who do grasp at the opportunity and welcome a new independence are soon bombed back into place with the full force of state largess.
There are nevertheless some free communities within states. They call themselves gated, intentional or lifeboat communities. Some of the more famous are Christiania in Copenhagen, the Foundry project in Winterthur, Switzerland, Marinaleda by Sevilla, Spain and the Dharavi slum in Mumbai.
The collapse of the global finance system is imminent. In the disorder we shall experience in its aftermath, those affected are advised to keep well clear of all disputes regarding an improved state form. They are urgently recommended to show a cold shoulder to all those making enticing promises, all self-appointed benefactors, all prophets of doom, and instead simply to fall back on their own resources and declare their own independence, whether in community with neighbours or even alone.
Basic concepts of federalism.
Law and order are necessary.
Man is, by his very nature, not a helpless and hopeless zombie.
The dominant state philosophy nevertheless continues to assume that he is. It declares succinctly that immature, potentially evil people require spoon-feeding and the guidance of a benevolent authority.
This patronising, and the resulting pressure it exerts on the individual, ironically sustain precisely what they were supposed to remove. Nowhere is more greed and more cruelty to be found than in the frenetically regulating nation states of today.
Future structures must be tailor-made to suit the needs of people
, people who are not reduced by degradation, but rather an individual who trusts in himself and can develop himself and his own resources.
People have basic requirements. According to the prevailing view today, their primary interests lie quite rationally in securing work and bread. The more psychological needs, on the other hand, are being seriously neglected: the need for self-respect, the desire for social recognition, man’s insistence on a prior investment of trust, his wish for security and his longing for protection and shelter.
When left to his own devices, man tends to associate with others to form some kind of community; he does this because he is aware that only in this way can he best satisfy his basic needs.
Freedom therefore leads to independent communities. This has been shown time and again throughout our history, and is also evident in the present. Autonomy thus calls for direct democracy.
If freedom takes hold, independent communities will sooner or later wish to enter into association with neighbouring communities. This guarantees more security and creates space for trade and development. An organic bottom-up structure will thus automatically emerge.
Peace is necessary, complete and permanent peace.
States are naturally of different size and have different resources. They also naturally don’t have the same opportunities. This precludes the chance of real peace ever existing between them.
Violent disputes between independent communities obviously also can’t be completely ruled out. Such disputes will, however, only be resolved with the use of fists at most. The notion of one free person forcing his will onto other free people, to the point of using armed force, will be very much out of favour in such communities.
A dispute can at any rate never lead to the destruction of a community. Every free man and women will be aware that, if he or she ever had such an intention, the existence of his own community would no longer be worth a penny candle. The aggressor would be putting his own life at risk. Free people have always been conscious of this fact.
Extirpation of an entire group of “enemies” is a notion known to the world only since there have been nation states.
Free people despise violence. This was shown by the Vikings on Iceland and the Eidgenossen confederates in Switzerland. A free person will deal with dissidence and cross thinkers exclusively through argument.
Free communities will protect themselves from the encroachments of those wishing to restrict their freedom by appointing a social defence system. This is moreover also more effective in the long term than any kind of self-defence through force.
Moderation is called for.
The state as an institution is geared towards growth. It cannot abstain from continuing rapacious use and exploitation of our resources.
The independent community is responsible for everything that happens in its surroundings. Generally, its members take this responsibly very seriously, primarily because they are naturally interested in keeping their group and environment intact. This attitude will have a positive effect on the natural environment everywhere.
Moderation is possible only with the cooperation of each individual.
Moderation soon turns off the tap for rapacious industrialisation and megalomania.
The elimination of hunger is a top priority.
States destroy sustainable agriculture. Our food cannot, however, be produced by industrial means without serious risks.
Freedom challenges each individual to be efficient and productive. Wherever true independence was allowed develop in the past, it managed to create a situation where nobody suffered from hunger – unless at times of natural catastrophy. Proper protection of the environment, if undertaken intensively, will, however, prevent such disasters.
Wherever freedom prevails there will no longer be cause for mass flight or migration.
An end to unbridled population growth is necessary.
At the moment there are too many children being born precisely in regions suffering from poverty and tumult. These two phenomena will be terminated permanently once proper freedom arrives.
The members of free communities will ensure that neither too many nor too few children are born in their community.
No community can continue to export its surplus population to other communities.
Quality of life has to be improved.
States promote digitation, as the digital age facilitates the administration and observation of populations.
Whether robotics and artificial “intelligence” will serve mankind well in the long run remains to be seen. It is at any rate already clear today that they also entail several disadvantages and dangers.
People who prefer to define their own existence themselves will soon realise what they really need and deserve and will also recognise what is damaging.
Principles of federalism.
Federalism cancels all onerous stipulations and does not tolerate the emergence of any new ones.
Everything is a matter for the free decision taken by the individual concerned.
Most free people will come together to form communities. They will be eager to enjoy the advantages that living in community brings.
Certain individuals with a special love for solitude and seperateness will, however, prefer to live as a recluse. Cells or refuges can therefore emerge within and between communities.
A community is what its members wish it to be.
There are naturally no rules and regulations on, for example, the size of a community’s territory or the number of members it has. Unordered and dissonant structures naturally fall apart by themselves. There will in any case always be departures, divisions and new mergers from and between individuals and communities. The concept of freedom is irreconcilable with immutability.
The autonomous community will insist on its right to find a solution in its own way to all problems confronting its members. It can if it wishes draw up its own code of conduct or laws for this purpose. Or perhaps prefer to do without such a book or rules, and let the law of nature and reason come hold sway. It can avoid the burden of regulations from above or from outside.
The community can configure itself according to its lights – whether hetero or homosexual or both, capitalist or communist, religious or secular. Diversity in its highest form will emerge.
The community can also, whenever the necessity arises, form a bond or even merge with one or more others. In all agreements that it reaches, however, it is well advised to follow the principle of subsidiarity
. It should therefore transfer to its association only powers that it cannot exercise itself. It should, for example, not grant any legislative competence to any higher body, unless subject to fixed restrictions. It should therefore always ensure that any agreements that it concludes can be easily cancelled.
Once freedom establishes itself, it can nevertheless be assumed that federations of different sizes and types will be formed until ultimately a global association of free communities is achieved.
Human rights in a liberal democracy.
Freedom removes all limits to human will. A person can set himself up as a hermit or find his place in a community. He will, however, demand from this human group that it neither restricts his freedom nor impairs him in any way.
It is to be assumed that every member requires from his community the freedom to leave it at any time – unless some investigation is pending against him due to some wrongdoing.
A community that prohibits its members from breaking out of its confines will never have the support it needs to survive. The member wishing to leave will have to assert his right. In this, he will receive support from his fellow members.
Similarly, almost every member will be interested in securing safeguards against involuntary expulsion from the community into which he is born or in which he lives. No individual, once expelled, would be guaranteed acceptance by and a place in some other community, and would inevitably become a vagrant.
The majority of our companions and fellow members will certainly make every effort to encourage communities to tolerate in whatever way any dissenting or unpopular members within their group. A healthy community will in any case look after its problem children with affection and treat even its enfant terrible with dignity and respect.
The right to free movement
and strictures on banishment, the right to a homeland
– if we succeed in securing global recognition for these two standards, then each individual will retain full freedom and at the same time be protected from arbitrary repression from his fellow citizens and from the injustice of expulsion.
These two rights are so fundamental and clear that they do not require any written formulation, and a coded stipulation is therefore also to be avoided.
The right to a fair hearing following some breach of regulations will not be necessary when everyone participates in the law that is binding on him.
In developed regions, a right to property
is often cited. Insofar as this relates only to the unrestricted control and souvereignty over one’s own body and the unrestricted right to use objects that the party in question manufactured himself, there will probably be no community with a majority not favouring such a right.
The situation is more critical when it relates to rights to use animals and property that can be acquired or transferred from one person to another. Each community will possibly have to come to its own arrangement in this regard.
The market in a freedom-based order.
A free people will also be keen to ensure the market also remains free. They will accordingly prevent any regional bodies or federations from intervening in the market whether in a positive or restrictive sense. A free market among free communities will have the following features:
The free market is characterised by individual responsibility
. Compatibility is the other side of the coin of freedom. Autonomy is a blessing only when bound by liability. An individual decision, if it is feasible, must be linked to the risk of failure – and to the risk of discoversy and investigation of any irregularities carried out. If on the other hand full accountability is guaranteed, it will have a salutary effect that cannot be underestimated. It stimulates circumspection and prudence in all dealings.
In a free community, nobody and nothing is obliged to intervene with support and aid in the case of a fellow member’s sickness, emergencies or old age, or cases of negligence or error. Each individual should therefore take his or her own precautions for such an eventuality. Enterprises will be available to provide this service.
applies without any restriction. Competition prevents any party from acquiring unreasonable power in the market.
Nobody can have a monopoly in the free market, since, as soon as a seller obtains a dominant position, a competitor will inevitably emerge alongside him. Every dictated price inescapably gives rise to a strong demand for a counteroffer. And every demand finds a supplier in a free market.
Sometimes the fear is expressed that a wealthy member will bring or employ dependents or agents, whether for his personal protection or to assist him in his efforts to secure a private advantage. The formation of clans is widespread in nation states. The wealthy member of a community will, however, find little tolerance for such conduct among his companions. And a wealthy newcomer will certain not find much willingness to accept servitude among a free people.
Free individuals tend to secure the necessary materials and resources for themselves. They will, insofar as is possible, also generate their own power themselves. They will naturally prefer their immediate environment as a location for sourcing their requirements. This leads to decentralisation, reduces the exploitation of natural resources, limits transport and traffic and lowers the volume of hazardous wastes.
Trade is free. Customs duties and other obstacles to commerce will soon be recognised as being detrimental.
disappears. It is replaced by private monetary systems. In a market operated by automatic processing, the number of such systems will be of no importance.
are valid and applicable. These are natural characteristics of the market, the effect of which is that anyone violating them soon strongly feels their force.
The efforts currently being made in nation states to give these principles a definitive legal form inevitably leads to them being broken. For instance, the measures taken by various countries to consolidate the lofty certitude “Anyone cheating will soon get one on the nose” within a statutory framework has led only to a situation where there is now more fraud than ever before.
If any additional rules are required, the parties concerned will reach the relevant agreements. The provisions of these agreements, decided by the parties themselves, will also be observed. Any party in breach of the agreed regulations will soon be shut out by the market.
Criminality in relation to the state will scarcely arise. There will no longer be any basis for terrorism, corruption, drug abuse, financial manipulation or tax fraud.
will have a new position. A large majority of market participants are members of a community. They are therefore subject to its moral strictures. The social units most important for cooperation and coexistence will differ only marginally from each other from community to community. It can therefore be assumed that among free people, common decency, individual conscience and empathy will be much stronger and more widespread than is currently the case among citizens of nation states.
The free market is characterised by the integrity of those who participate in it. Whosoever strays from the path of commercial honest and good faith will learn to fear the consequences. Safety is to be found only in honesty. In the free market, only integrity has a chance of success in the long run.
The federal global community.
Once a significant number of free associations have been formed, it can be assumed that their administrative bodies will want to set up a kind of parliament.
To avoid the pitfalls of general elections, one suggestion would be to have deputies appointed by the next lower chamber to the next higher administrative level.
According to this pattern, the community council would elect from among its members one or two delegates to represent its interests in the district assembly, and the district assembly would in turn select from among its members two deputies to act on its behalf in the state assembly, etc. This procedure would incidentially also automatically ensure that the higher parliaments are each made up of the most suitable members, as a lower body would be only shooting itself in the foot if it did not insist on the best possible representation for the next higher stage.
In any case, the most likely outcome would be that there would be no governing authority exercised at the higher levels. There is no reason to constitute an executive here, nor any kind of overarching administration. If administrative bodies are set up, their leaders should not have any authority to make decisions with external effect, unless perhaps in certain extreme emergencies. Their duties would be restricted to submitting proposals for action to their parliaments and carrying out their orders.
The delegates in the regional assemblies would therefore probably have to meet no more than once or twice each year and for only a few days each time. Its members could perform their duties as a secondary occupation, so to speak. The political caste would become extinct.
Communities are furthermore advised to refrain from funding their various administrative bodies up to the global association; there will be no taxes, duties, charges or other funding. Funds give the holder power. The communities and the groups they form should accordingly provide to their associations only contributions to cover the funding required.
The procedure could be organised as follows: at the highest level, the global council could set up three bodies, one for observing space, one for safeguarding the earth’s surface as a natural habitat and one for an equitable division of common resources. These global bodies report their financial requirements for the following year to the global council at its spring conference. The council would examine the entitlement of these applications and, if approved, would then assign to the federations, according to their needs and capacities, the applicable share. It should be noted in this regard that in the procedure proposed here the members of the global council are after all delegated from the federation parliaments. They would represent the interests of their home bodies.
The federation parliaments register their requirements through their representative bodies and spread their overall needs (own requirements and part for the global association) onto the states and regions, while in turn also giving due consideration to their different capacity and resources. The states and regions also proceed accordingly.
What ultimately the communities would have to provide would be very little, and also quite different, depending on their assets and resources. It would be at any rate insignificant compared to the amounts that citizens of nation states are obliged to pay today.
How the different communities fill their coffers is up to them. They could tax wages and/or collect fines or use any other form of financing that they choose.
If the communities do decide to take the path described above, the power situation at the top of the global association could transpire as follows: a farmer from some place or other is delegated by his community council to represent it at the district assembly. This assembly then elects him to represent it in the regional assembly, by which body he is in turn chosen as delegate to the state assembly, which later delegates him to the federation council, and then on to the global council. The global council finally decides to appoint him its chairman.
The world would then have a president. This leader would, however, exercise his power only during the fourteen-day spring congress and the seven-day autumn congress. For the rest of the time he would be a farmer and simply work his fields.
A world capital city is not required. Each meeting of the world council can be held at a different venue. Global bodies are in any case established and operate at different locations.
Fundamentals of federalism.
According to the prevailing view today, people can be managed best in herds.
But as early as the ancient Greek statesman Solon
we find the realisation that degradation or debasement of an individual not only reduces his capacity for empathy and tolerance but also negatively affects the situation and environment in which he lives.
In the Middle Ages, the concept of personal independence is impressively manifest in the Federal Charters issued by the Eidgenossen confederates
Somewhat later, Johannes Althusius
proposed the subsidiarity principle to promote the success of federalisation.
laid out the framework of the free market. His proposals were confirmed by many subsequent economic observers. One deserving special mention is Gustave de Molinari, and, today, many members of the “Austrian School of Economics” find him views vindicated. Libertarian thinkers, including first and foremost Murray Newton Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Hans-Wolff Graf, are chiefly responsible for the current growing acceptance of the basics of a free economy.
takes up arms against the contemporary view of man as a – morally and intellectually – feckless and inadequate creature. For Kant, any fecklessness and inadequacy was all on the part of his fellow thinkers, but that a man prepared to rely on his own strengths and resources is displaying the height of maturity.
is generally credited with the description of “federalism” as the system calling for the autonomy of the smallest possible social group. According to Frantz, “federalism is in itself the principle of socialisation, continuing from the smallest groups to the largest associations; from marriage and the bonds of friendship to the community of nations. Federalism is the 'synthesis of synthesis', it is the principle of non-violent expansion.”
This point was taken up by Emil Brunner
, who stated “federalism is the just structuring of order, namely a structure from the bottom up. That is the order of creation
Freedom is a must, the whole, the true