political revue


Year LXV, 2023, Single Issue, Page 58



The global strengthening of interdependence in extension,[1] a process frequently referred to simply as globalisation, has fuelled a broad debate, both in the academic world and within federalist organisations, on concepts such as interdependence, global governance, cosmopolitan democracy and world federalism. This debate has often thrown up more questions than it has managed to answer, and the present essay is no exception, aiming as it does to trace an agenda for research and reflection on the type of theoretical contribution that the European Federalist Movement (MFE) and the Italian federalist tradition might try to make to world federalism, starting from the reflections of Spinelli and Albertini. Basically, I will try to outline what the MFE could add to the debate on world federalism, in the light of the contributions it has already made to European federalism.[2]

The theoretical consciousness that runs through the corpus of European federalism stems from the MFE’s development of a theory of federalism understood as active political thought[3] (Albertini uses the expression ideology even though, in the social sciences, utopia would be the more correct term, considering that Mannheim and Ricoeur define utopias as political philosophies that aim to modify the existing order, whereas ideologies are political philosophies intended to legitimise and thus consolidate the existing order).[4] The MFE’s theory is split into two parallel strands: a normative/prescriptive theory on European federation and an analytical/descriptive one on the process of European unification. The purpose of the latter was to identify the scope for action and, on this basis, the federalists’ role (of initiative) and the strategy (constitutional gradualism) needed to achieve the European federation. Over the years, this has made it possible to reflect specifically upon the organisational models best suited to the role of initiative and the pursuit of the European federation, while at the same time encouraging specific analysis of the organisational forms best suited to the type of role and type of action of organised federalism.

Before attempting to make a similar contribution in relation to world federalism, we must first consider a series of questions, specifically: the institutional model of the future world federation; the characteristics of the process of global unification, as well as the conditions that might allow it to advance and the best strategy to further this objective; and the federalists’ role, looking at what needs to be (and can be) done to move in this direction starting from the current situation, and ultimately therefore, at how we might organise ourselves to this end.

Debate on European unification is now extremely widespread, and support for the federalist position is increasing also among scholars outside the MFE, who are even becoming a point of reference for the Movement. For this reason, the MFE, finding that its contribution in terms of theoretical elaboration is becoming progressively less innovative and more mainstream, is now focusing, at European level, on re-affirming the key aspects of the federalist tradition. At global level, on the other hand, there is still scope for theoretical elaboration by the MFE. Indeed, considering that the concepts of world federalism and global democracy have, to date, been the focus of relatively little theoretical debate, and also that world federalism has a poorly developed theoretical consciousness and lacks adequate analytical and normative theories, the MFE, by developing such theories, could make a major contribution. In parallel, it could also contribute to defining the future foreign policy of the EU and to reshaping and updating the federalist arguments for the completion of European unification as part of a process destined to culminate, eventually, in global unification, in line with the “uniting Europe to unite the world” objective that the MFE has espoused ever since the Bari Congress of 1980.

1. World Federalism as Active Political Thought. 

In working out his definition of federalism, Albertini suggested that it corresponds to a theory of active political thought based on three different components: a core value around which to mobilise efforts to change the existing order; an institutional structure designed to afford this core value structural protection, by introducing new institutional elements that do indeed modify the existing order; and a historical-social perspective that identifies the macro-conditions in which all this becomes possible, and that can thus drive mobilisation by showing that the process of change can already already be moved forward in the desired direction.[5]

Albertini identified peace as the core value of federalism, making it clear that federalism, by definition therefore, can only be global; he identified the federation as the institutional structure, and the overcoming of the world’s division into antagonistic nations and classes as the historical-social perspective. The fact that the latter is, in different respects, the least theoretically developed of these components has implications for the debate on world federalism.

Although peace is undoubtedly the value that kickstarted the process of European integration, a theory of world federalism today would also have to take into account various aspects of the management of global interdependence, and include solutions to the other global problems on which humankind’s survival depends. Accordingly, it would have to combine peace with additional values: environmental protection, the fight against climate change, and the proper management of the raw materials, energy sources, water and food resources essential for the survival both of humankind and of the Earth’s other species.[6]

Above all, it is the institutional structure and historical-social aspects that still need to be adequately theorised in world federalism terms. This could possibly be because we lack the conditions necessary for federative processes at world level — to establish this we would first need to have an analysis of the nature of these conditions —, or it could simply be due to a theoretical gap needing to be filled. Indeed, until the institutional model for the future world federation is adequately theorised, it remains impossible even just to identify a viable strategy, be this a gradual approach or constitutional gradualism. After all, there are different ways to reach a goal, but you first need to know exactly what the goal is! Moreover, the structural aspect of world federalism, meaning the regulatory framework, is still not completely defined.

What should/could the institutional model of the world federation be? The federal construct rests on the concept of dual representation: of the citizens and of the member states. With the global population distributed as it is today, China and India alone would have a huge role in a hypothetical world parliament, holding over 35% of the seats in the chamber representing the citizens of the world federation. To most of the world’s states and citizens, this prospect would be unacceptable, also because China is not a democracy. To an extent, similar considerations might apply to other regional integrations or other federations, such as those in the ex-Soviet area and some parts of Asia and Africa, for example, in which there are some geographically limited regional entities with an even greater level of integration than the Organisation of African Unity.

From this point of view, then, even the creation of regional integrations as an intermediate institutional step towards world federation would not be, in the short term, an adequate solution. In fact, with the sense of belonging to and/or of political identification with the new entities bound to take some time to develop — assuming this to be desirable —, and for as long as the national identities continue to be the dominant ones, any perceived disparities will continue to derive from comparisons made between states, such as China compared with Italy (or some other nation state), rather than between states and regional integrations, such as China and the EU or the African Union. On the other hand, the abandonment of dual representation and/or the introduction of forms of weighted voting based on exclusively or predominantly economic factors, such as GDP, would obviously be a serious backward step for democratic theory, for recognition of the moral value of individuals, and for human emancipation. It could be that the federal unification of humankind needs to assume forms that diverge markedly from the traditional federal state model, and will lead us ever closer to a radical revision of the concepts of state and sovereignty.[7]

Evaluation of the form of government possible in a world federation, whose heterogeneity will be a multiple of that attained in any of the current federations, including the continental ones, is a process still in its early stages.

At EU level, too, this is the aspect that has been least explored, and also the one on which there is least convergence of views, given the existence of at least three possible solutions: parliamentary, achievable by transforming the Commission into a proper government accountable to the European Parliament; presidential, achievable by merging the Commission and Council presidencies into a single presidency of the Union, directly elected by the European citizens; and semi-presidential-associative, achievable by installing the Commission as the parliamentary government responsible for the economy, and, after first abolishing unanimity voting, assigning the European Council the collegiate presidency of the EU with responsibility for foreign and defence policy.[8]

Moreover, all this brings into play the question of sovereignty, which is not a material object but a concept, an abstraction, a social idea — in other words, whatever people believe it to be. Specifically, it is a utopia/ideology,[9] more accurately an ideology, hastily created in order to replace religion as the necessary justification for the existence of absolutist states. In other words, it is an idea that has been translated into institutional terms. Over time, however, both the institutions and the idea have changed, and they could do so again. What this means is that sovereignty is a polysemous concept that must be broken down in order to establish what we still need and what we do not, and which elements we feel would be worth enhancing and which should be dropped in order to facilitate the creation of a European, and then a global, federation.

Sovereignty has been assigned different meanings, for example: a monopoly on legitimate force (Elias, let us recall, highlighted the indissoluble link between military and fiscal monopoly);[10] actual decision-making power ultimately recognised as legitimate; the kompetenz-kompetenz principle in federal states; the espousal, vis-à-vis other entities, of the superiorem non recognoscens principle. These four are, of course, very different meanings, and some of them have clearly been superseded by actual political processes.

The EU, although not yet a federation, has changed the concept of sovereignty for its member states.[11] This is reflected in some of its federal characteristics: the prevalence and direct applicability of Community law — how can we forget the importance attached by Hamilton to this aspect? —, the supremacy of the Court of Justice when it comes to interpreting the provisions of the Treaties including those relating to competences, as shown by the doctrine of implied powers; and the ultimate decision-making power within the fields, today mainly the economic and monetary ones, in which the EU has exclusive competence. Actually, at least two of the four meanings previously listed are de facto already superseded in the European Union.

But what idea of sovereignty is, or should be, espoused by federalists? In this regard, there are at least three positions to consider. For federalists belonging to the Anglo-Saxon tradition, sovereignty is neither necessary for, nor useful to, federalism. Wheare, in fact, does not use the term “sovereignty” in his classic treatise On Federal Government. Even The Federalist rarely uses the concept. Federalism is a theory that hinges on the existence of multiple levels of government and multiple independent and coordinated legal systems, and it is therefore against both the monism of the nation state and the very idea of sovereignty. Italian federalist tradition, on the other hand, has generally looked to an absolutely monist conception of sovereignty drawn from continental European political philosophy, seeking formulas that might allow it to be adapted to a federalist theoretical framework. Lucio Levi suggests that sovereignty in a federation should be attributed neither to the federal government nor to the federated governments, but rather to the federation as a whole, which includes both levels of government.[12] This is an expedient based on the attribution of a monistic concept to a subject, the federation, that, being a pluralistic structure, is only apparently unitary. Similarly, Francesco Rossolillo uses a monist conception of sovereignty, which he neutralises by applying it to the world federal people; yet even this solution, to be workable, demands a plurality of levels of government.[13] It is striking that Albertini never devoted any essay specifically to the question of sovereignty, even though this fact alone is certainly not sufficient to set him in the “Anglo-Saxon” current.

Finally, an international scientific debate is now unfolding around the new contours of sovereignty, in the context of which old ideas centred on the monism of the state and sovereignty are returning to the fore,[14] clearly as alternatives to federalism and the idea of a state of states.[15] These ideas seem to imply a new and different conception both of the state and of sovereignty within a new federalist paradigm.[16] Some remark that sovereignty has been reduced to a “bargaining resource”, with sovereignty sharing through supranational institutions, as in the case of the process of European integration, used as a negotiating tool to influence the behaviour of others.[17] The fact remains that this very process has highlighted the monistic nature of decisions regarding certain issues, which explains why economic integration was achieved only gradually, and why forms of cooperation in the monetary and military spheres have led to integration only in the monetary field but not in that of defence.

As regards the question of the historical-social perspective and the application of an analytical/descriptive approach to world federalism, the situation is even less advanced. There is no common theory regarding the general conditions in which federative processes at world level might be considered possible, even though such a theory is indispensable in order to be able to evaluate events and political choices. Moreover, in the absence of the conditions for a federative process, it should be deemed desirable at least, as an alternative to conflict, to pursue deeper and more structured cooperation, notwithstanding all the limits of international cooperation (criticism of which constitutes the very basis of federalist thought).

It is a question of considering the framework in which a process of world unification based on true sharing of sovereignty, which is therefore structurally different from international cooperation, can be carried forward, and also of evaluating the specific topics that need to be explored in order to develop a new transition theory (similar to the constitutional gradualism developed, through the creation of partially federal institutions, for European unification). This theory must also be applicable to settings not yet presenting all the conditions necessary for a federative process, in which, therefore, the transition will be longer and more laborious, to the point that it may even be necessary to work out a strategy for creating them. It will also be necessary to identify the subjects that will be involved in the world unification process and the dynamics of the same, so as to establish what federalist strategy to implement in order to proceed towards the world federation. This will mean identifying the link or the links in the chain leading to the global federalist revolution on which we can apply leverage today, regardless of how long this chain may be.

Evaluation of world federalism from the historical-social perspective should seek to identify the general conditions making federation and federative processes possible at world level. Ever since the MFE’s inception, the action of the Movement has rested on the assumption, implicitly shared but never theoretically developed, that in Europe, or in a part of it that can easily be identified by any observer, there exist the conditions for starting and carrying though a federative process. Some of the subsequent divisions and disagreements over strategy centred precisely on this assumption and on the lack of a shared theory regarding the general conditions in which it might be considered possible to start and carry through this process. The Alternativa Europea group believed that the frameworks of the European Union and of the EU member states in which the process of European unification had thus far developed and expanded no longer offered the conditions that would allow a federative process to be completed. This argument was not supported by any specific identification of these conditions or any explanation of how this change had come about, although reference was made, in general terms, to the increase in the number of member states with the EU’s enlargement. And it was also weakened by the initial identification of the six founding member states as the only suitable framework, which obviously implied that conditions for completing the unification process had been absent since the time of the first enlargement in 1973! In other words, since before the realisation of the fundamental stages envisaged by the constitutional gradualism approach adopted by the MFE as a fundamental strategic line towards the end of the 1960s. Nor did this argument make use of any of the interpretative categories traditionally used by Italian federalists to analyse historical-political processes — the raison d’état theory, the revised version of historical materialism, and the ideological paradigm shift[18] — that might explain the change (so great as to necessitate a radical revision of the reference framework of federalist action in Europe) that had occurred. None of this invalidates the widely shared view that the eventual creation of the European federation will probably require a breakaway moment, given that not all the member states will simultaneously be ready to make the federal leap; and this, in turn, does not affect the general acknowledgment of the EU as the only framework in which the unification process can reach a federal outlet, by extending the ordinary legislative procedure — Commission proposal, decision by the Parliament, and Council voting by qualified majority — to all competences and by strengthening the EU’s powers of government in the fiscal, economic, energy and environmental fields, as well as in those of foreign, security and defence policy.

Obviously, the fact that there has not really been any proper theoretical reflection on the conditions allowing the initiation and conclusion of federative processes has significant implications also from the perspective of world federation. In this regard, too, MFE has been divided in the past, failing to reach common conclusions, which actually were perhaps not even needed, considering that the European federation is still in the making. At global level, we have developed the idea that the evolution of the mode of production will generate global interdependence, a phenomenon often encapsulated by the term globalisation, and thus put the unity of humankind on the agenda. But in what way? Lucio Levi argued that the scientific revolution of the mode of production, reflected in the globalisation process, opens the way, or creates the material conditions, for the political unification of humankind, and therefore makes concrete political action to this end possible.[19] Francesco Rossolillo, on the other hand, maintained that the transition from the European to the new world system of states would mark the start of a historical cycle capable of culminating in a world federation, but only after the consumption and subsequent crisis of the new world system, of which regional integration processes, by creating political subjects of the necessary size, should be seen as reinforcements, rather like national unifications with regard to the European system. This view implicitly identifies regional integrations, and therefore the consolidation of regional poles whose existence would make it impossible for any single one of them to harbour global hegemonic aspirations, as the historical-social basis of world federalism.[20] I myself have argued that until we have a European federation, we lack a subject capable of providing occasional world leadership, and therefore that political action aimed at increasing awareness of problems and solutions is possible, but not yet strategic, i.e., aimed at achieving concrete institutional objectives, which may even be partial but can nevertheless be set within a strategic vision similar to constitutional gradualism.[21]

Today, this analysis warrants partial revision, at least with regard to the monetary sphere, in which Europe has acquired an effective capacity for action, as have other subjects, such as China, albeit in China’s case in a context weakened by the absence of internal democracy and the non-convertibility of its currency. The debate is open and the recent reform of the International Monetary Fund could be used to support all three of the positions referred to above.

The need to identify the conditions in which federative processes are possible — in the absence of these conditions, cooperation is desirable and could constitute an initial intermediate objective towards the start of true processes of this kind — should be at the heart of globalist theoretical reflection. It is a question of identifying the framework in which it is possible to develop a process of federal unification at world level. And to do this, we first have to consider a series of questions: Can a global unification process be started without the establishment of a number of regional federations? Are the two processes superimposable, and to what extent? Before regional integrations are complete, is it a good thing for their member states to become part of global institutions of a supranational character, or would this instead slow down the development of these integrations? If the conditions for starting a federative process at a regional and/or global level are lacking, what forms of international cooperation or what other objectives or favourable conditions need to be promoted in order to then be able to start such a process? These are connected issues concerning the conditions in which it is possible to start and/or complete federative processes. At global level, though, the questions are more complex, and also related to the regional processes already under way.

Does the First Definitive Article for Perpetual Peace still apply? In other words, is it only democratic states that can agree to share sovereignty? If this is the case, the UN clearly cannot be the framework of the world unification process: while it might illustrate the need for this process, it is not an institutional element fundamental to it. And if this is the case, it also puts the UN in a position similar to that of the Council of Europe during what Albertini termed the “psychological phase” of the process of European unification.[22] Accordingly, should the institutional framework be sought in another existing international organisation (if so, which?), or in the creation of a new one, such as a world environment organisation (already proposed by John Pinder around twenty years ago) that, however, would be open only to democratic states, which would mean excluding numerous countries and a large proportion of the world's population? Or, instead, would it be a case of accepting that the UN, with its internal agencies and the galaxy of international organisations with which it is linked and has structured relationships, constitutes the only possible framework, and therefore of identifying and implementing a strategy aimed at radically transforming its institutional essence, together with policies aimed at favouring the democratic transformation of all its member states?

Echoing Kelsen, Levi argued that state building starts from the judiciary, and thus that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could be a starting point from which to move in this direction, within a framework of global constitutional gradualism. Could this really be the answer? And if so, what would the next steps be? And how important is the fact that some of the world’s powers, like the USA, China, India, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines, which alone account for over 40% of the world’s population and an even higher percentage of global GDP, are not ICC member states? Basically, a shared theory on the structural and historical-social aspects of world federalism still needs to be developed, from scratch.

2. Global Federalism: Strategy and Organisation. 

As far as the process of European unification is concerned, the MFE recognised that, against all logic, it did not start from political union and institutions. This is indeed why we have had to develop a series of specific theories and concepts, distinguishing, for example, between integration (transfer of competences) and construction (construction of institutions and the transfer of powers); between the historical crisis of the nation-state and the specific crises of national powers, which open windows of opportunity for the advancement of the process and determine the nature and sector of initiatives that might successfully be pursued; and between the federalist initiative and the concept of occasional leadership. In the course of its life, the MFE has moved from a single-stage transition theory (the constituent moment theory) to a concept of transition involving multiple stages (the constitutional gradualism theory). When it comes to the goal of world federation, on the other hand, we basically have no transition theory concerning either the intermediate stages, institutional or geographical, or the overlapping of federative processes at regional and world level. Is it possible to theorise some form of constitutional gradualism on a global level? What would it look like? If the UN is not the right framework, and if we also consider that many of its key member states are not democratic, does it really make sense to fight for a UN parliamentary assembly, and possibly for its direct election?

And who, at global level, are the actors and potential occasional leaders that should be targeted by federalist initiatives? Or are we, instead, still in a phase in which any strengthening of international cooperation, even in the absence of any real sharing of sovereignty, is still to be welcomed, on the basis that it strengthens the ability to provide global public goods, albeit in inefficient and undemocratic ways?

All this also has implications for the question of which are the most suitable organisational methods for conducting effective action. The MFE’s approach in this regard is based on Albertini’s very profound reflections on the form of organisation that has to be in place in order to guarantee the political, cultural and financial autonomy of a federalist movement capable of fulfilling the role of initiative.[23] His reflections are, however, the product of what was a very specific historical time as regards the political-cultural setting in which the Movement was acting; the economic-social condition of European society; the organisation of work and the consequent constraints on individual action; the organisation of the other political and social forces and therefore of the instruments able to guarantee effective political exchanges; and the technological tools available for political action.

In some ways, the richness of Albertini’s reflections has restricted the MFE’s ability to innovate its organisation in the face of technological and societal change. Indeed, the MFE, probably more than any other political or civil society organisation in Italy today, has retained an organisational structure similar to the one it had 30 years ago.

At the MFE’s organisational conference in Lugo, I endeavoured to develop an analysis of this topic, aimed at preserving the fundamental principles of the Movement’s cultural, political and financial autonomy, while at the same time identifying ways to seize new opportunities and address the new difficulties and critical issues faced by federalist action in the current setting.

Some of my ideas were then put into practice with the help of other militants who shared them, leading to the creation of the International Centre for European and Global Governance (Centro studi, Formazione, comunicazione e progettazione sull’Unione Europea e la global governance, CesUE) and, through this study centre, to the creation of Euractiv Italia. These organisations have made it possible to share federalist positions in settings that are resistant, if not completely impervious, to the action of the Movement, and deepen the penetration of the federalist message both in the Italian media and in public and political debate; they have also helped the Movement to obtain explicit support — we may cite the appeal by European intellectuals ahead of the March for Europe, the projections on the Colosseum created thanks to the expertise gained by CesUE through the European Awareness Days, and the conference held at the University of Roma Tre the day before the March and attended by Estonian premier Ratas, Italian ex-premiers Letta and Monti, the French ex-minister Alphandery, the president of the Committee of the Regions Markkula, and many other prominent figures in European political and cultural circles —, for its efforts to play a role of political initiative at European level, as shown by the appeal for a European response to the pandemic (launched at a time when there was still no sign of one). The content produced has become a significant resource for the pro-European agenda. Initiatives at national level include the memo on the energy and defence union whose contents were extensively taken up in Italian parliamentary debate following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and also emerged in the position of the Spinelli Group and the subsequent motion of the European Parliament. Over time, however, numerous other organisations, far more prominent than CesUE, have evolved on the initiative of federalists, ranging from the Turin-based Centro Studi sul Federalismo (CSF), to the Paride Beccarini Study Center of Emilia Romagna, and of course the Spinelli Institute, the Bolis Foundation and the Albertini Foundation. We need to reflect upon how to exploit the synergies made possible by this evolution.

In the complete absence of an analysis of the organisational models needed in order to be able to reflect on a globalist level (indispensable for cultural autonomy), we also completely lack a capacity for global action based on a shared culture. Despite this, we are witnessing, also at global level, a proliferation of organisations, political and otherwise, that are reflecting on world issues, and now find ourselves faced with the challenge of how to best exploit the latest technologies in order to strengthen the federalist capacity for debate, theoretical elaboration and action, and how create a network and synergy between the World Federalist Movement and the multitude of players (associations, study centres, foundations, etc.) that, in various ways, deal with the process of world unification, cosmopolitan democracy, and the definition of global policies for global problems, such as environmental protection, etc..


Spinelli and Albertini developed European federalism as an autonomous body of political thought, which they also gave a global dimension. However, the development of federalism as a global political philosophy is a task that remains to be completed and that we must tackle if we are to be worthy of the tradition that inspires us.[24]

In this brief and schematic essay, I have endeavoured to reflect upon some of the most striking gaps in our theoretical reflection. In so doing, I have set out a series of questions that together form a sort of research agenda for the future, both for me and, I hope, for others who, like me, consider federalism as a political doctrine that, starting from the extraordinary heritage left to us, deserves to be developed and updated, so that it might better respond to the evolution of the world and allow us, increasingly, to understand, interpret and command the ongoing processes, in order to try and channel them towards federal outcomes. All this in pursuit of the emancipation of humankind and progressive civilisation that at present are as uncertain as they are desirable.

Roberto Castaldi

* This essay is a reworking of the reports held at the meetings of the MFE Debate Office in Genoa in 2022 and in Palermo in 2009.

[1] On the distinction between interdependence in depth and in extension, cf. M. Albertini, L’«utopia» by Adriano Olivetti, Comunità, 19 n. 131 (1965), now also available in Id. (N. Mosconi ed.), Tutti gli scritti, V 1965-1970, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2008, p.116,'utopia%20di%20Olivetti.pdf; and in French in, L’«utopie» d’Olivetti, Le Fédéraliste, 7, n. 2 (1965),

[2] Also important in this regard, in addition to the action and writings of Altiero Spinelli, is the history of the political review The Federalist and the works of Mario Albertini, entirely available in M. Albertini (N. Mosconi ed.), Tutti gli scritti, voll. I-IX, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2006-2010, For a reconstruction, cf. R. Castaldi, A federalist framework theory of European integration, Turin, Centro Studi sul Federalismo, 2005, now available at

[3] Cf., in particular, M. Albertini, Il Federalismo, Milan, Giuffrè 1963, now also available in Id. (N. Mosconi ed), Tutti gli scritti, IV 1962-1964, Bologna, Il Mulino,, and, on the basis of this fundamental work, the subsequent theoretical development of the Italian federalist tradition, including L. Levi, Il federalismo, Milan, Angeli, 1987, and Id., Il pensiero federalista, Rome-Bari, Laterza, 2002; G. Montani, Il federalismo, l’Europa e il mondo, Manduria, Lacaita, 1999.

[4] For an analysis of this perspective with reference to federalism, cf. R. Castaldi, Federalism and Material Interdependence, Milan, Giuffrè, 2008, chapter 1, and G. Montani, Ideologia, economia e politica. Il federalismo sovranazionale come pensiero emergente, Pavia, Pavia University Press, 2019, especially chapter 1.

[5] Cf. M. Albertini, Il Federalismo, op. cit. and, for an analysis, R. Castaldi, Federalism and Material Interdependence, op. cit., chapter 1.

[6] For a reflection in this sense, cf. G. Montani, Ecologia e federalismo: la politica, la natura e il futuro della specie umana, Ventotene, Istituto di studi federalisti Altiero Spinelli, 2004, available at

[7] Cf. R. Marchetti, Democrazia globale, Milan, Vita e pensiero, 2008.

[8] Cf. in this regard, L. Levi, Which Form of Government for the European Union?, Ventotene, Altiero Spinelli Institute, 2010,

[9]  In the social sciences, utopia is a political philosophy that seeks to modify the existing order by exposing its defects and proposing an alternative order. Ideology is a political philosophy that fundamentally legitimises the existing order, while hoping for marginal improvements (for a classic treatment of the topic, see K. Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, London, Routledge & Kegan, 1953; and P. Ricour, Lectures on Ideology and Utopia, New York, Columbia University Press,1986 (Italian translation, Conferenze su ideologia e utopia, Milan, Jaca Book, 1994.). Almost all political philosophies have had a utopian phase and, having reached their essential institutional objectives, have entered an ideological phase: R. Castaldi, Federalism and Material Interdependence, op. cit..

[10] Cf. N. Elias, Potere e civiltà. Il processo di civilizzazione, vol. II, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1983.

[11] Cf. R. Keohane, Hobbes's Dilemma and Institutional Change in World Politics: Sovereignty in International Society (1995), today in Power and Governance in a Partially Globalized World, London and New York, Routledge, 2002, p. 72 ff..

[12] Cf. L. Levi, La federazione: costituzionalismo e democrazia oltre i confini nazionali, introduction to A. Hamilton, J. Madison and J. Jay (L. Levi ed.), Il Federalista, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1997.

[13] Cf. in particular F. Rossolillo, Popular Sovereignty and the World Federal People as its Subject, The Federalist, 37 n. 3 (1995),

[14] Cf. K. Waltz, Theory of International Politics, Reading (Ma), Addison-Wesley, 1979.

[15] Cf. R. Castaldi, Preface to I. Kant, The Federalist, 40 n. 1 (1998), p. 89,; see also M. Albertini, La pace, la ragione, la storia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1985.

[16] Cf. D. Elazar, Exploring Federalism, Tuscaloosa (Al), University of Alabama Press, 1987.

[17] Cf. R. Keohane, Hobbes's Dilemma and Institutional Change…, op. cit., p. 74, author’s italics.

[18] Cf. L. Levi, Crisi dello Stato e governo del mondo, Turin, Giappichelli, 2005, and R. Castaldi, A Contribution to a Theory of International Systems Change, Turin, Centro Studi sul Federalismo, 2002,, and Id., Federalism and Material Intedependence, op. cit..

[19] Cf. L. Levi, The Unification of the World as a Project and as a Process. The Role of Europe, The Federalist, 41, n.3 (1999), p.150,

[20] Cf. F. Rossolillo, The Long Path Towards the World Federation, The Federalist, 38 n. 3 (1996), p. 145.

[21] Cf. R. Castaldi, The Political Phase and Strategic Phase of Unification Processes, The Federalist, 43 n. 1 (2001), p. 69,

[22] Cf. M. Albertini, L’integrazione europea, elementi per un inquadramento storico (1965), in Id. (N. Mosconi ed), Tutti gli scritti, V 1975-1970, op. cit.,'integrazione%20europea,%20elementi%20ecc.pdf.; available in French: Id., L’intégration européenne, Le Fédéraliste, 7 n. 3-4 (1965),

[23] Albertini's most important writings on the subject have been collected in Part Eight of the anthology M. Albertini, Una rivoluzione pacifica, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1999, and are also available in Tutti gli scritti, op. cit..

[24] In recent years, important contributions are those of G. Montani, Ecologia e federalismo: la politica, la natura e il futuro della specie umana, op. cit.; Id., Il governo della globalizzazione: economia e politica dell'integrazione sovranazionale, Manduria, Lacaita, 2001; D. Grace, G. Montani, J. Pinder. Cambiamento climatico e federalismo, Ventotene, Istituto di studi federalisti Altiero Spinelli, 2008,; D. Archibugi, G. Montani. European Democracy and Cosmopolitan Democracy, Ventotene, Istituto di studi federalisti Altiero Spinelli, 2011,


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