In postwar France, two men had a bold, even utopian idea: a peace-loving network of ‘world cities’. Is it time to give mondialism another chance?
In 1948, a dashing American actor and wartime hero surrendered his passport at the US embassy in Paris. He would go on to live the rest of his 92 years without any ID besides a passport he had printed himself, declaring him to be a “citizen of the world”. It had no other function than a symbolic one. Unsurprisingly, he was often arrested at borders.
His name was Garry Davis, a former Broadway actor and dancer, turned bomber pilot, turned pacifist. The depredations of two world wars – one that he witnessed close up – had convinced Davis that nation states were obsolete at best, and dangerous at worst. Only a global citizenship, he believed, could save people from their nationalist impulses.