I met Gary Davis in Washington, D.C. sometime in the 1990s, introduced by my friend Carol Rosin as she and I wandered through the throngs crowding the Mall during some kind of peace action. As I recall, Gary was dressed in some sort of clown suit that promoted world citizenship. I look back on that day, and wonder just how extraordinary this one man is, to have taken on the whole world for basically, his entire conscious life.
Born in 1921, Gary has been following his heart’s longing for 65 years. His mission, to erase all national boundaries for human earthlings, once considered quixotic, has become, at this point, necessary, if we are to stop the vicious cycle of continuous war.
“A former Broadway actor, after serving in the U.S. Army during the Second World War as a B-17 bomber pilot, Davis took such a negative view of his own actions in the conflict that he gave up his American citizenship in Paris in 1948, in order to become a “citizen of the world”. He mentions Henry Martyn Noel, who had renounced a few months earlier, as one of his inspirations. Desperate to prevent what he considered to be the impending World War III, Davis utilized his thespian skills as Danny Kaye’s understudy to interrupt a session of the United Nations General Assembly on 22 November 1948, calling for “one government for one world”. He rallied 20,000 people at the velodrome in Paris to demand that the UN recognize the rights of Humanity. The very next day, on December 10, 1948, the Soviet bloc abstained, allowing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be passed unanimously. Five days later, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in her My Day Column that the UN wasn’t set up to govern. “How very much better it would be,” she wrote, “if Mr. Davis would set up then and there a world-wide international government.”  Davis founded the International Registry of World Citizens in Paris in January 1949 which registered over 750,000 individuals. On 4 September 1953 Davis declared the World Government of World Citizens from the city hall of Ellsworth, Maine, based on fundamental human rights. He then formed the World Service Authority in 1954 as the government’s executive and administrative agency, which now issues the passports – along with birth and other certificates – to applicants. Davis first used his “world passport” on a trip to India in 1956, and has been admitted into some countries using his world passport. Over 180 countries have accepted the world passport at one time or another.“
This determined, resilient, and highly creative man, Earth’s first self-declared “world citizen,” recognizes that we must cross out false boundaries to create “Peace between individuals in a global framework. We, as world citizens, have become real world peacemakers.”
And he’s not talking about a global fascist state, not about any so-called New World Order. Instead, as he reminds us, the power of any government derives from the people.
Here Gary, crossing a border.
To see Gary explain the technicalities of “world citizenship,” go here:
Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do.