1940s >> 1940 >> no-432-august-1940

Editorial: Federal Europe or Internationalism

One direction in which change is likely after the war is in the relationship of the small and big Powers in Europe—and indeed in the whole world. While the American Federal Union propagandists are urging the immediate Union of U.S.A. and the British Empire, another group favour the idea of Anglo-French Union (already offered to France by the British Government just before the French collapse), and still a third group are attracted by the old idea of a United States of Europe. Last of all it is stated by the Manchester Guardian (July 19th) that Nazi propaganda in France is popularising the idea of a Continental Union under German domination on the plea that “Europe is too small to be divided into small nations.”
The argument behind such a plea is a specious one, for the problem is not fundamentally one of size. Size counts if we are contemplating a world in which four or five big Powers stand armed and powerful, waging economic war in peace time, and ready for war of armaments at any moment; but in a world of a different kind size is not the issue. Indeed it is possible to say that even “from the point of view of peacetime trading relationships in a capitalist world the arguments about the alleged necessity for bigger aggregations of territory have been carried to false extremes. On the one hand it is not necessary, for example, that Europe should be under one central domination in order to organise industry and transport as well as they can be organised on a capitalist basis—Czechoslovakia was at least as practicable a unit as some of its larger neighbours—and on the other hand modern routes of trade are increasingly international. Even if industry inside Europe were to be integrated on some plan or other the forces of international trade and competition would be at work with ever increasing force, and would show such integration to be no more stable and self-contained than the Europe of the post-war days. Consequently all such solutions would be only partial and temporary, and would be subject to just the same international disturbing influences as in the past.
The true line of development is the international one, on a Socialist basis. Then there would no longer be the choice, blandly placed before us by Mussolini’s mouthpiece in a recent article, of the vanquished being “reduced to the state of Chinese coolies compelled to toil for others ” (Observer, July 21st). Socialists intend to build a world in which there will be neither exploiters nor exploited. Like Signor Ansaldo, we are interested in the “resources of the whole world,” but unlike him, we want them to be used for the benefit of all mankind “without distinction of race.”

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