Year XLI, 1999, Number 2, Page 76
European Federation and World Federation*
Premises and Terms of the Debate.
In the ambit of the Federalist movement, a debate is under way which centres on the relationship between the process of European unification and the process of globalisation and, more specifically, on the strategic relevance for federalists of the objective of world federation in relation to that of European federation. It is a delicate debate, as it concerns the very core of our strategy and involves some of the most important concepts on which the federalist doctrine has, until now, been based. The objective of our struggle, and the nature of the historical process within whose orbit it lies, are under discussion, as therefore is our identity, and thus the essential condition of our very survival. For this reason, the debate must be conducted with candour; every effort must be made to express ideas clearly, without arrogance, and with a constant awareness of the provisional nature of our affirmations.
Clearly the debate presupposes the existence of a common ground, in other words, of several convictions that are shared by all: the conviction that federalism is realised fully only on a world scale, both institutionally and as regards the affirmation of its values, as well as the conviction, and here we come to the philosophical-historical concept underlying federalism, that history is a process by which peace is built through the progressive political unification of the human race. As a result of their general adherence to such doctrinal principles, all federalists are world federalists. Indeed, reference to the ultimate objective of world federation and to the universal values that it will instil is universally considered essential in the recruitment and training of federalist activists. Acknowledgment of the existence of this common ground is essential for the continuation of the debate because it serves as a guarantee that each of us recognises the good faith of our interlocutors. Should anyone to pass off efforts to consider the timing and the nature of the process of world unification as the rejection of a vision which is, in fact, central to the definition of our very identity, then this guarantee would crumble.
At the start of the 1980s, Albertini sought to develop and accentuate the theme of world federalism (which, moreover, has always been a part of the federalist vision). His concern was that the very source of commitment to federalism would run dry as the Second World War gradually receded into the pages of history, and as those with a direct memory of it became progressively fewer. He felt that there was a need to inject fresh life-blood into the values which underlay that commitment — to replace the huge motivating force constituted by the memory of a terrible catastrophe with a vision of the future that would allow, through the application of reason, the emergence of an inspirational ideal no longer founded on memory. This vision could never be anything other than the Kantian vision of perpetual peace achieved through the renunciation by all states of their sovereignty, in the framework of a cosmopolitan federation.
The first thing to do, therefore, was to place the struggle for European federation in the context of a historical perspective that would allow it to be infused with the universal values that are linked to the idea of the unification of mankind; in this way, the motives for the struggle would be strengthened. The intention behind the adoption of this world vision was, in a sense, instrumental vis-à-vis the European commitment: the implication was that the federal unification of Europe (which would be the first of a series of regional unifications) was a necessary condition for the construction of a world federation, and thus that the battle to achieve it constituted the real battle on which all those who were committed to this objective should be focusing.
The presence of the European Federalist Movement (MFE) within the World Federalist Movement was deemed crucial, its role being to seek to convince people who share our fundamental values that the building of a European federation (and, subsequently, of other great regional federations) was the only way in which the pro-world federation position could be rendered real and concrete (otherwise it would have been bound to remain an abstraction or, seeking to become more than mere theory, it would have had to fall back on minimalist objectives and on vague pacifist struggles).
Emerging in the Movement today, however, there is a growing inclination to turn world federation into a strategic objective in its own right. But were it to be accepted as such, it would undermine the effort to achieve European federation instead of lending strength to it, as it would direct energy away from the European objective.
This is the point at which the debate begins. Its central question concerns the topicality of the question of world federation. Some of us maintain that the struggle to achieve this objective can begin now, and thus that political espousal of it already makes sense. Those same friends maintain that world federation is, in any case, the end towards which federalists will have to begin working in the immediate wake of the establishment of a European federation and, thus, that it is the objective that they should already be preparing to pursue. Certainly, it must be made clear that when it comes to defining concrete actions, it is not world federation as such that is being presented as an immediate strategic objective, but rather certain functionalist or partial reforms, such as the establishment of an International Criminal Court or the modification of the structure of the UN Security Council. Others, on the other hand, are convinced that the foundation of a world federation, seen as a strategic objective, is not on the immediate agenda, even though it must always be kept on the horizon as an ideal objective in order to preserve the awareness of the historical sense of our struggle; and hence believe that the partial objectives which are proposed are reforms in the purely intergovernmental mould rather than constituting stages in a process destined to lead, in a relatively short space of time, to the achievement of the ultimate objective. The only way to speed on the advent of a world federation is thus to continue and, if we prove capable of doing it, to intensify the struggle to achieve the foundation of a European federation which, in the historical journey towards world federation, will represent the first, indispensable step.
World Federation as a Strategic Objective.
This desire to define immediately a strategy for a world federation has the effect of turning the establishment of a world federation into an objective in competition with that of the establishment of a European federation, rather than one for which the advent of a European federation represents an indispensable precondition. There is a real danger that this change in perspective could provoke a sort of strategic strabismus within the Movement that would effectively prevent it from acting. The capacity of any revolutionary movement — which, almost by definition, is lacking in men and in means — to act and to mobilise support can only be guaranteed if it has a single objective in which to invest all of its energies (this does not mean, of course, that the movement should be restricted to a single action, rather that all its actions must be performed in pursuit of a single objective). The definition of two objectives, therefore, splits the energies of the movement and generates confusion over its priorities; it distracts attention and has the effect of weakening, and even extinguishing, the commitment of its activists. In the European Federalist Movement there is a considerable risk that all this will happen paradoxically at what is a key point in the process of European unification, a period in which politicians are starting to show an increasingly frequent and more acute awareness of the need to furnish the Union with a constitution; a period, therefore, in which our presence and our determination to fight is more vital than ever.
In what appears an affirmation of a quite different nature, some, while acknowledging that the European objective remains the strategic priority, maintain that federalists also have a duty to start defining, as from now, the strategy that they will adopt after the foundation of the European federation.
Before examining this affirmation more closely, it is worth pointing out that this need to define the strategy that will be implemented at a later date implies, according to those who acknowledge it, the need to make provision for it. And making provision for it means engaging, as from now, in struggles which later it will merely be a question of intensifying. In fact, therefore, there is no difference between this view and the one outlined earlier.
This ambiguity is actually inherent in the manner in which the problem is posed. The strategy for realising a political design is defined on the basis of an analysis of the current historical circumstances, and it is then modified in accordance with the evolution of these circumstances. In view of this, it would appear almost impossible to justify any claim to define the strategy that a movement should adopt in a historical phase which is yet to begin and whose course will depend on the outcome of a historical phase which has still not drawn to its close. The strategy adopted by the European Federalist Movement in its struggle to achieve the political union of Europe has evolved through a number of different stages: the mobilisation of public opinion through the campaign for a Pact on European Federal Union, the struggle to establish a European Defence Community and a European Political Community, the Congress of the European People, the Voluntary Census of the European Federal People, and the campaigns to promote the direct election of the European Parliament, the single currency and a European constitution. None of these phases, with the exception of the last one, were specifically in the minds of the Movement’s founding fathers from the very outset; they evolved as the process advanced. For this reason, the view that the Movement should be working out, right now, the strategy it intends to apply in a later stage simply masks the belief, on the part of those who hold it, that this later stage has already begun.
However, let us leave aside this difficulty and suppose instead that it is indeed a question of developing a strategy that regards exclusively this later stage. At this point we come up against the question of when, exactly, the European federation can be said to have been founded. There are strong arguments which support the theory that national sovereignty cannot be considered to have been transferred to a European entity until the process that will lead to the realisation on the part of all, or most, European citizens that they are in fact members of a single political community (a process which began with the direct election of the European Parliament and advanced with the arrival of the single currency) has been completed. In other words, until a new European people’s identity has been created and consolidated. While this is an identity which doubtless already exists in an embryonic form, it is something which will not be fully formed even with the formal ratification, by the national parliaments, of a European federal constitution, hugely significant though this act would be. The new institutional order cannot, in fact, regard itself as irreversibly established until such time as it has, through the people’s daily dealings with it, been lent life and substance; in other words, until the citizens have had the chance to experience the new form of co-habitation made possible by the new institutions. It cannot be deemed irreversibly established until a real civic sense, or to put it another way, a sort of European “constitutional patriotism” has been generated among the people of Europe through their contact with a new political reality, through their assumption, as citizens, of new duties and through the development of a much broader and more far-reaching sense of solidarity. This process will be hindered, even after the foundation of the European federation, by opposition from nationalist factions which will keep the new order, for as long as it continues to be rendered fragile by the novelty of the political formula which it incarnates, under the constant threat of disintegration. And until this process has reached its conclusion, federalists must continue on the objective of European federation.
It is true, however, that federalists, like all activists of revolutionary movements, must be able to envisage the future. Certainly, all our action is guided by a vision of the future. We are striving for a European federation because we believe that it will guarantee Europeans their security, improve their quality of life and make a decisive contribution to the establishment of a more stable world equilibrium and to the spread of the culture of peace. That these will indeed be the positive effects of the political unification of Europe is something that is verified by the opposite effects that are being produced and the grave damage that is being wrought by the current situation: that of a divided Europe. Describing these positive effects is an essential part of our struggle. If we were unable to appreciate fully the nature of this change for the better, and thus were devoid of the capacity to predict the effects of the realisation of our objective, then our commitment to it would be meaningless and our ability to mobilise public opinion and influence politicians quite simply nil. We must therefore be able to envisage the future, without, however, losing sight of the fact that the further into the future our predictions extend, the more uncertain and conjectural they will be, and the more general any predictions we may feel able to make regarding the lines along which the historical process will develop. This is why, looking beyond both the strategic objective that is the establishment of a European federation, and the immediate consequences of the same, we can certainly formulate hypotheses regarding the different paths which the course of history might follow, but we cannot make predictions sufficiently precise to form the basis of a strategy as such.
The fact remains that federalists can quite legitimately ask themselves whether they (and those destined to follow in their wake) will have a task to fulfil in the historical phase that will separate the advent of a European federation from that of a world federation. Indeed, it is something that no one who truly espouses the federalist cause can fail to wonder. Federalism must not be allowed to die out in the wake of the establishment of a European federation, but must continue to be active; and if it is indeed true that the foundation of a European federation will serve as the trigger launching the federalist phase of world history it will, in fact, be a much more active force than it is now. Federalists must keep alive the awareness that the state that they are helping to create will, being a first step towards the creation of a world federation, inevitably be a provisional entity destined to be rendered obsolete by the growth of interdependence; and also that, serving as a model, it will have a crucial part to play in the spread of both federalism and the culture of peace throughout the world. There is, however, one thing of which we can, at the current stage, be sure: that this awareness will become an active awareness whenever it is presented by the historical circumstances with the opportunity to do so. But no one can predict at the current time how exactly this will come about, through what concrete struggles, in how long a time or what the sequence of events will be. Having said that, consideration of problems of this kind and contemplation of the lines along which the historical process may develop certainly have a natural place in cultural debate.
The Degree of Maturation of the Process.
However long we think it will take to come about, the advent of a world federation will be the culmination of a process (made up of different stages) that will, just like the process of European unification (the direct election of the European Parliament, the single currency) be characterised by the creation of partial institutions. Might it not be expected, therefore, that a process similar to that which federalists have already experienced at European level will, in the wake of the establishment of a European federation, begin on a world level (if it has not, in fact, begun already)? And since this process will once again raise the problem of creating institutions which, while admittedly still imperfect and contradictory (a parliament without a government, a currency without a state), nevertheless serve to draw us closer to the final objective, should not federalists play a central role in the struggle to achieve their realisation?
In this regard, however, it is important to recall that federalists have actually adopted different positions with regard to the various stages in the process of European integration. The Common Market, in particular, was bitterly criticised in federalist quarters where it was viewed as an attempt to solve solely through the instruments of intergovernmental collaboration problems which cannot truly be solved without the uniting of Europeans in a federation. It is also important to recall that it was in this phase of opposition to the Common Market that the Movement achieved its independence, breaking free from the tutelage of political parties and consciously assuming the identity of a movement opposed to the existing polity. Yet in the case of the attempt (failed) to found a European Defence Community and the struggles (successful) to achieve the direct election of the European Parliament and the introduction of a single currency, the Movement, instead, pressed for the realisation of partial reforms. Here, however, their actions were based on the assumption that some of the very foundations on which sovereignty is built: the armed forces, democratic consensus and currency, would be called into question by the problems raised by the evolution of historical circumstances (a line of thinking inspired by what Albertini had termed “constitutional gradualism”). Federalists have never, therefore, been true supporters of campaigns of a functionalist or sectorial nature, such as those currently being conducted at world level to set up an International Criminal Court or to bring about a modification of the structure of the UN Security Council.
In the present context, however, the problem must be viewed in more general terms. In other words, as a question of understanding whether, in the wake of the foundation of a European federation, it will be possible — or even whether it is already possible — to compare the of integration reached at world level to that achieved in Europe at the end of the Second World War. Whether the achievement of a partial objective should be considered the acquisition of an important strategic position or, alternatively, should assume the significance of an action of propaganda, or even of mystification, depends exclusively on the degree of maturation that the process has reached. The contradictions raised any battle to achieve a partial objective — however it is defined — highlight and render even more compelling the need to go further, when going further is possible (in other words, when the end of the process is in sight and allows its every intermediate step to be seen within the framework of a design that is both realistic and progressive). When the end of the process is not in sight, however, these contradictions may have one of several effects: historically premature battles either are not waged at all (because they are perceived as unrealistic) or, if they are waged, they are exploited as propaganda instruments or used as a cover-up for a hegemonic power; alternatively, these contradictions may even threaten to upset the balance of civil cohabitation by introducing an element of uncertainty into the existing legal and institutional order without setting against it a credible alternative.
A historical evaluation of how far the process of world unification will have advanced by the time a European federation can be deemed irreversibly established (a process of maturation in which the birth of the European federation will represent a crucial contributory factor) is not something that can be delivered with the certainty of a mathematically demonstrated fact because it will depend on the type of contact which each individual has with the political, social and cultural reality of his times.
The fact remains that it is not at all easy to compare the situation in which the world will find itself in the wake of the birth of a European federation (providing this occurs within a historically short space of time) to that in which Europe found itself at the end of the Second World War, largely because of the sheer depth of the economic, social, political and cultural differences which, despite the spread of globalisation, still separate the major regions of the world, and the disorder, tensions and crises to which, daily, these differences give rise. It was in a context of great homogeneity, in the aftermath of a tragedy that had shaken dramatically the collective conscience, that Western Europe began its process of unification, a process that has taken fifty years and is still far from reaching its conclusion. As Europeans were made aware, by the horrors of the Second World War, of their membership of a single community of destiny, they also became conscious of the incapacity of the nation-states both to promote the values of civil cohabitation and to guarantee the security and wellbeing of their citizens, and of the need to establish a new statehood, federal in character and of continental dimensions, in order to meet these primary needs. Furthermore, the movement towards unification was strongly favoured by an international setting (characterised by America’s leadership and by the threat posed by the Soviet Union) that allowed it to advance even in the absence of political unity. At world level, however, all these factors are missing, even though there is the need to ensure some form of global governance able to deal somehow or other with problems of a global dimension such as, first and foremost, that of guaranteeing, at international level, the establishment and the durability of a reasonably stable economic and political balance.
Furthermore, we cannot fail at this juncture to highlight the existence of another problem. It appears to be universally accepted within the Movement that the birth of a world federation can come about only through the merging of large continental federations, and that these federations will have to be republics in the Kantian sense of the word, i.e., founded on the values of freedom, equality and justice. At the present time, however, there exists only one continental federation that fulfils these criteria: the United States of America. In the other world regions, one or more of these conditions is lacking: either the state has yet to assume continental dimensions, or power is not structured along federal lines; maybe there is yet to be an affirmation of liberal-democratic values and the establishment of a welfare state, or not even one of these standards has been met. Thus, the consensus seems to be that the road leading to the federal unification of mankind will necessarily pass through the progressive creation of these continental federal republics and that, in the meantime, we can expect a reformation and strengthening of the institutions of global governance. But until continental federal republics constitute the political basis of these institutions, their character will inevitably remain hegemonic and authoritarian, as they will continue to be the expression of the dominion exercised by strong states over weak states and by totalitarian governments over their peoples. A dialectical relationship will thus inevitably exist between the two lines along which the process will develop: on the one hand these two courses will strengthen each another, as every hegemony also involves the exercise of responsibility and thus indirectly favours the economic development and the civil evolution of those states obliged to submit to the dominion of the major powers; but on the other they will clash as the emergence of new active subjects within the world equilibrium will modify the balance of world power, thus provoking tensions and conflicts. Some thought must be given to this point before venturing to define a plan of action for international institutional reform.
The Foreign Policy of the European Federation.
Within the context of the debate on European and world federation, the issue of the topicality of the latter is sometimes seen not as a direct question of federalist strategy, but rather as a question of the foreign policy of the future European Federation, whose political choices need already to be prefigured. In this regard, the rather weighty affirmation has been made that the new dividing line between progress and that will replace the one sketched out by the Ventotene manifesto, will depend on the positions that are adopted on this issue. Here, as with many other issues that represent points of focus for the current debate, the initial statements are formulated ambiguously, and this ambiguity arises from the fact that prediction (a judgment based on fact) is confused with the assumption of a stance or the expression of a hope (a judgment based on values).
To further understanding of this problem, a clear distinction needs to be drawn between these two levels of judgment. In the first case (judgment based on fact) it is, as indicated, a question of predicting what type of world equilibrium the birth of the European federation will help to create, and what new forces it will help to unleash. We are all federalists because of our conviction that the founding of a European federation will be an important step forwards on the road towards the creation of a world federation, that it will allow the establishment of more stable, peaceful and open relations between peoples, that it will give the United Nations a more solid basis for action, that it will, through the example which its own birth will set the world, favour the development of new trends towards regional unification and give considerable impulse to the diffusion of the culture of the unity of mankind. And it will do all this by virtue of its mere existence, and regardless of its governments’ inclinations over foreign policy.
If, however, we fail to remain strictly on this level, we will inevitably fall into the trap (which has been at the root of many a blunder within the Movement in the past) of asking the question, “What kind of Europe?”. In other words, of regarding the value of the European federation as dependent not on the mere fact of its existence, but on the choices which its electorate or its governments may freely make or not make. In truth, future European governments will undoubtedly be required to make choices over foreign policy, but it must be appreciated that these will be choices made within the confines of quite restricted limits defined by the objective power relations which the birth of the European federation will help to create. And it must also be appreciated that even the most hegemonic or, to go to the other extreme, the most isolationist of these possible choices will, in any case, be immeasurably more advanced than all the non-choices which the member states of the European Union are currently forced, by their division and by the consequent lack of any form of foreign policy, to make.
No mistake could be greater, therefore, than that of “deciding”, right now, what kind of government the European federation should have, thereby forgetting, first, the fact that the European federation will be, above all, a democratic state subject to an alternation of governments with different political tendencies, and second, the unitary nature of the European struggle and the priority that should guide the action of all federalists: that of gathering consensus and forming alliances across the full breadth of the political spectrum (excluding only forces which are openly authoritarian and nationalist). In doing this, federalists must beware of the temptation to qualify their objectives, thereby creating divisions among potential supporters and alienating forces which might otherwise be sympathetic to the European cause. As far as foreign policy is concerned, therefore, our model of Europe must be defined in such a way that it allows us to win the support of a spectrum of opinion that extends from realist pacifists to those who look to Europe to provide a guarantee of security, even military security. Having said that, all this is no more than what we are already doing day to day through our political action.
At this point, it is worth considering briefly the opinion that cooperation with the United States should represent the axis supporting European foreign policy, and that this orientation should even have constitutional, or quasi-constitutional, import. This, too, is an affirmation that needs to be clarified. Does it mean that the foundation of the European federation would be followed immediately by the start of a new the construction of a Euro-Atlantic federation that would be ushered in through the institution of a community along the lines of the European Community? Given that it is the realisation of their common weakness in the face of serious and dramatic problems, problems that require a new dimension, that prompts states to unite, this would appear a rather unlikely project. In the scenario described above, the United States and Europe would actually form the pivots of a new international equilibrium and would thus enjoy the capacity, through the application of intergovernmental methods alone, to guarantee a reasonable degree of stability for a reasonably long period of time. Alternatively, this affirmation could express a desire to see very concrete cooperation between the two governments: a relationship highly desirable and one which might be anchored in treaties whose validity, like that of all treaties, would depend on the clause rebus sic stantibus, i.e., on the condition that such treaties continue to respond to the vital interests of the contracting parties, but without constituting the object of a unilateral undertaking of constitutional, or quasi-constitutional, value. Cooperation between two international subjects is born of the will of both of these subjects, not of the will of only one of them, unless it is a case of forced cooperation, which is merely a mask for the hegemony of one state over the other ( in the case in point, the hypothesis is of a weakened Europe which, neither federal nor confederal, is obliged to remain within the sphere of influence of the United States).
The Nature of the Process of Globalisation.
The demand to define, right now, the strategy that will lead to the federal unification of mankind is coupled with a conception of globalisation as a radically new phenomenon in the history of mankind, as an exclusively uniting force, and at the same time, as an unstoppable and increasingly rapidly-moving process destined to sweep away, like a river in full flow, the institutional structures through which politics controls the economic and social realities and to create rapidly and painlessly new institutions adapted to the evolution of those realities.
While that which is set forth here is certainly not an attempt to deny the reality of the process of globalisation, it is appropriate to clarify precisely, in three points, the nature of it:
1) The growth of interdependence in human relations has, over the last ten years or so, clearly advanced at an incredible rate. But, if it is true that the computer revolution can, at least in some sectors, be considered responsible for prompting a sharp acceleration of this spread of interdependence, it is also true that, in some ways, the world market in fact existed prior to this revolution and, in others, it is yet to come into being. The current evolution of the process is in fact more quantitative than qualitative. The whole course of the history of mankind can be equated with the movement towards the formation of a single world people. The process of globalisation certainly did not begin with the introduction of the term into political and economic jargon; rather, it dates back to the very dawn of history. The process was already under way when the civilisation of the Greeks and Romans prevailed in the Mediterranean and Europe, and in the era of the great geographical discoveries; it was advancing when Marx spoke of a world market, and when Norman Angell in his best seller, The Great Illusion, published three years prior to the outbreak of the First World War, affirmed that the intensification of trade relations and the interweaving of interests to which it gave rise had reached levels so considerable as to render war impossible.
What we are witnessing now in fact, and it is this which constitutes the truly new element characterising the historical era in which we live, is the start of the federalist phase of world history. In other words, we are being brought face to face with the fact that the federal form of state is, objectively, the only one which now has the capacity to control the process of the growth of interdependence. The turning point can be argued to have come at different moments in history, depending on whether it is traced back to the explosion of the very real contradictions which lay at the root of the process (fascism and the two world wars), or whether it is linked to the development of an awareness of the nature of the process and to the manifestation of the will to carry it through to its logical political conclusion (here we may think of Einaudi, of the Federal Union group, of Spinelli or, in more general terms, of the start of the journey towards European unification). Either way, it cannot be traced back to any point in time more recent than the end of the Second World War. Thus, there can be no justifying the affirmation that globalisation is a new development that is so radical that it renders necessary a complete revision of the conceptual framework within which the political process must now be interpreted.
2) The growth of interdependence in human relations not only creates networks of complementary interests and opportunities and mutual enrichment between cultures. It also triggers conflicts, the spread of diseases and global financial crises; it promotes the spread of crime and of arms dealing on an international scale, and prompts mass migrations. Furthermore, it is leading to the impoverishment and outcasting of growing sections of the population in advanced countries, and of the whole of society in a large number of developing countries (let us not forget that while some tens of millions of people exchange messages via the Internet, a further eight hundred million or so are wrestling with terrible problems of malnutrition). It is certainly true that the negative aspects of the process prompt, in turn, the emergence of the positive ones. The Second World War, which was itself a consequence of the growth of interdependence, also proved to be a necessary condition for the start of the process of European unification. But acknowledging all this means acknowledging that the process of world unification is conflictory in nature, that its ultimate end is not imminent, and that there will inevitably be many, often bloody, setbacks on the road leading to that end. And anyone intending to make a meaningful contribution to its achievement must be aware of this.
3) The fundamental reason for the contradictory nature of the process of world unification is the fact that politics is, to an extent, independent of the evolution of the economic and social spheres. While it is true that, sooner or later, politics adapts to the nature of the problems which arise as a result of the growth of interdependence, this adaptation is neither automatic, nor immediate. Politics and the growth of interdependence are thus two processes which are out of step with one another, and it is this lack of synchronisation which, on the one hand, is the cause of institutional crises and conflicts, but on the other, creates the space needed to allow a measure of freedom for the conscious actions of men. The need to unite Europe politically was already patently clear in the immediate wake of the Second World War. Now, fifty-four years on, the continent is still politically divided. In Europe, the growth of interdependence, striking, and incessant though it is — it is an evolution that involves not only the financial markets, but also the very roots of society, and implies the sharing of political values, the harmonisation of ways of life, cultural exchange and closer contact between the young people of the different nations — has not yet managed to heighten and push to the point of explosion the contradiction that exists between the nature of the problems and the organisation of power. This evolution which we have all experienced, and which we continue to experience directly, provides, once more, confirmation of the assumption that a long process, fraught with difficulties and punctuated with crises, must unfold before we can talk in strategic terms of world unification. And this process must include the democratisation of China, the introduction of at least a degree of social justice in India, the political unification of Latin America and South East Asia, the overcoming of Islamic fundamentalism and the bringing of Africa into the modern world. All these are problems that will give rise to tensions and conflicts. The creation of the European federation will be crucial in directing each of them towards a positive solution, but on its own it will not be enough to solve them, and certainly not in a short space of time.
Evolution of the Mode of Production and raison d’Etat.
This last point deserves closer examination. The fact, mentioned above, that the political process lags behind the growth of interdependence is the result of the conflict between two factors: evolution of the mode of production and raison d’état.
The evolution of the mode of production is the process by which, through technological innovation and the introduction of new ways of organising the division of labour, men continually transform the quality of their lives. It is the engine which drives the historical process and it is the ambit of creativity. It renders increasingly dense the network of human relations and lengthens the chains of interdependence to such an extent that, in certain critical phases, the main ways in which society operates become incompatible with the existing organisation of power and with the institutions that are the expression of that organisation. Raison d’état, on the other hand, denotes the sphere of the rigid and immutable laws that govern politics — politics as the struggle for, and management of, power: a power which, due to its extreme inertia, tends to perpetuate the existing state of affairs and to condition the very way in which men perceive and interpret their own interests (thereby generating the consensus that sanctions its own conservation).
There exist two radically flawed ways of interpreting the times in which one lives. One involves failure to appreciate the of the historical process and the other, failure to appreciate the of the inertia of power, and of the laws which govern its equilibria. Those blessed with a certain enlightened optimism bracket as irrelevant the question of raison d’état, and see the historical process as a sort of triumphant march of humanity towards the full realisation of its potentialities. Political realists, meanwhile, ignoring the historical process, are able to see only the eternal supremacy of the laws of politics, the constant repetition of power situations which while differing in appearance are, in substance, always the same.
Only through an approach which embraces both of these factors is it possible to understand the real nature of the course of the historical process: a succession of phases of equilibrium, or of slow movement, in which there is an evolution of civil society (but in which the existing organisation of power remains substantially unchanged and able to control that evolution); and of phases of crisis, or of rapid movement, in which the existing organisation of power is no longer able to control the evolution of civil society, and is overturned (often in the wake of attempts to perpetuate its own existence through the use of force). These are the phases in which old equilibria are overcome and give way to the succeeding ones, and in the course of this passage the laws of raison d’état are temporarily suspended because the subjects whose behaviour they regulate are disappearing, starting to make way for new emerging subjects. And it is in phases such as these that a space opens up in for the eruption of reason tout court.
There does not appear to be unanimous consensus within the Movement today concerning the truth of these statements. It is a fact, however, that as the debate evolves from day to day, and as concrete problems are discussed, affirmations are sometimes made which seem to be incompatible with such a consensus, affirmations to the effect that the nature of international law and the role and power of the international organisations are, as a result of the process of globalisation, undergoing radical change, or others still according to which there is a need to overcome the very concept of raison d’état. On the basis of these indications, it might be feared that there is growing support within the Movement for the idea that the increase in interdependence has rendered the logic of power obsolete and ushered in an era in which states, correctly appreciating where their interests lie, will be induced to behave more reasonably with one another and to cooperate more closely until the time comes in which, since there are no reasons left to justify it, all the governments of the world will decide to overcome their division through the foundation of the world federation.
Certainly, efforts have been made to reconcile this conclusion with acknowledgment of the permanency of the laws of raison d’état. It has been affirmed that the process of globalisation may not lead to the evaporation, but rather to the convergence of the raisons d’état of all, or at least of the most important, of the world’s states, and thus to a general awareness that the world constitutes a single community of destiny. It is a hypothesis inspired by Albertini’ s theory of the inclined plane, or of the eclipse, or convergence of the raisons d’état of the EEC member states. But Albertini’s theory referred to a limited period of time and to a process which was advancing in a context of international stability (that of the Cold War). Indeed, throughout the whole of his political militancy, Albertini continued to hark back, with an insistence bordering on the obsessive, to page 89 of Einaudi’s “Scrittoio del Presidente” in which the latter warned of the danger that the European states might, just like the Italian states of the Renaissance, miss their fleeting opportunity, or fail to exploit a propitious time. Albertini, therefore, viewed the convergence of the raisons d’état of the EEC member countries as a fragile and transitory reality. In the version currently upheld within the Movement, meanwhile, the hypothesis of the convergence of the raisons d’état is no longer placed within a specific context but is seen, rather, as a structural phenomenon destined to move forward smoothly, uninterrupted by crises, until the point at which the world federation, of which it is a precondition, is founded. This means that from now until the foundation of the world federation, which will abolish the very concept of raison d’état, the states will be induced by their own raison d’état to behave as if no raison d’état existed — which is the same as saying that the raison d’état has, in fact, already been abolished.
This is a decisive point. For the older ones among us — and for many young people too — our commitment to federalism began, thanks to the teachings of Albertini and our reading of the great founding texts by Kant and Hamilton, when we realised that politics is based on power relations and that its logic is one of self-preservation and of the accumulation of power to the detriment of the power of others. And this is the reason why peace and the pursuit of the common good of a number of states cannot come about through international collaboration, but only through the creation of a supranational state. It is opportune, at this point, to recall the words of Hamilton which feature on the front cover of this review: “To look for a continuation of harmony between a number of independent unconnected sovereignties situated in the same neighbourhood, would be to disregard the uniform course of human events and to set at defiance the accumulated experience of ages”. Of course, this does not exclude that in certain circumstances, characterised by equilibrium, by a shared external danger or by submission to a common hegemony, some states might prove able to achieve peaceful cohabitation, and to manage their reciprocal relations through collaboration, but it does mean that this could only occur in a partial and imperfect way and for periods of time that are, in historical terms, brief. This is the reason why Einaudi was such a harsh critic of the League of Nations, why federalists criticised the Common Market and why they fought, and continue to fight, for the federal unification of Europe. The idea of the overcoming, or of the structural convergence, of the various raisons d’état thus throws into question some of the ideas that underpin our political engagement. Politics, understood as the struggle for power, disappears from view and is replaced by the peaceful coming together of reasonable men seeking to establish an ever greater level of collaboration among peoples, to promote widespread economic wellbeing and to increase intercultural exchange and understanding. In this scenario, reason takes the place, in history, of raison d’état, and with international collaboration alone sufficing to guarantee the realisation of the values which it embodies, world federation becomes, paradoxically, unnecessary.
Similar considerations apply to the questions of international law and the international organisations. Our position was developed on the basis of the Kantian view that law exists only where there is a state, and that where there is no state, the law of force prevails. Today, many no longer seem to take this doctrine for granted: some maintain that there needs to be a re-evaluation both of international law (believing that it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the dividing line that separates international from domestic law) and of the international organisations (as the differences between these and the states are becoming, in their view, less and less marked). At this point the question might quite justifiably be asked whether federalists are, after reflecting for decades on the nature of power, throwing their entire culture to the wind and turning into followers of Kelsen, or internationalists, or pacifists, so that they might base their evaluation of the progress made man on his long journey towards peace no longer on of the evolution of power situations, but on analysis of the texts of treaties and UN resolutions (ignoring the fact that the outbreak of the Second World War came only eleven years after the signing of the Kellogg Pact which outlawed war).
Clearly, all this does not mean that international law and the international organisations are mere illusions. The birth of international law coincided with the birth of the modern State. It was, and still is, an important instrument employed by responsible political subjects to ensure that each is guaranteed the capacity to predict, to an adequate extent, the behaviour of the others. For four centuries, international cohabitation has depended on compliance — rebus sic stantibus — with the principle “pacta sunt servanda”. Neither is it my intent to deny that civilisation has advanced by giant strides since the sixteenth century, or that the same is also true of international relations (even though it has to be said that an absolute monarch, not being required to bow to the pressure of public opinion, could, in certain circumstances, actually have more freedom than a democratic government to respect the terms of a given agreement). But this does not mean that international law can be considered true law. If anything, international law is the hope of a law, the prefigurement of the content of some future cosmopolitan law which can only become such when it is supported by the coercive power of a world federal state. Indeed, international law has never (either in the current era or in the past) proved able to prevent war from raging, periodically, in every part of the world.
The same goes for the international organisations. With the partial exception of the European Union, which is the product of a phase of revolutionary transition, these organisations are merely reflections of the power relations between the states of which they are composed. This is not to say that they do not fulfil an important function in the management of international relations, or that their proliferation and evolution is not a manifestation of the growing interdependence among peoples. Having said that, however, it is still only as instruments of diplomacy that their value can be measured, and they still have no capacity at all to erode the sovereignty of their member states.
These considerations, which underpin our commitment to the foundation of a European federation, in other words, to the foundation of a European supranational power, are every bit as apposite today as they were forty years ago. Just as they did then, pacifism and internationalism still today represent the antithesis of federalism. And it is the commitment to supersede them that represents the specific feature by which federalism can be identified. To question this is to question our very identity.
What is more, it is a fact that, for all of us, the idea of history as a journey towards world federation is based on the assumption that, in a certain phase of the process, a final crisis will come that is destined to culminate in the birth of the world federal people. Thus, it is possible to reconcile the foundations of our political culture with the idea of the topicality of world federation by advancing the hypothesis that this final crisis has already begun (and by passing off as mere ripples on the surface of an otherwise profoundly and definitively calm sea current situations such as ethnic conflicts and acts of genocide, the dramatic Russian crisis, the conditions of underdevelopment in which three-fifths of the world’s population now exist, and the financial difficulties that are rocking one after the other, all the world’s economies). Alternatively, the hypothesis might be advanced that the final crisis is beginning now, and that it will prove to be so terrible, and so profound, that it will stir up, in the whole of mankind, the same feelings that the Second World War provoked among the peoples of Europe and which constituted the real foundation for the start of the process of the continent’s unification. If one of these two hypotheses were true, in other words, if the whole world were in, or about to enter, a phase of revolutionary transition towards its political unity, then it would be possible to regard international law in the same way as Community law is currently regarded in Europe, as something more than the mere hope of a law, and the international institutions (like the Community institutions) as something more than a mere reflection of the power relations between states. It is clearly impossible to demonstrate with the precision of a theorem that neither of these situations prevails, but it is important that the different aspects of the problem are made clear so that those who assume a position, or react to the positions assumed by others, do so in full awareness of all the implications attached.
The European Federation as a New Model of State.
It is, in my view, unrealistic to think that Europe is destined, in the wake of its political unification, to be overwhelmed by the process of globalisation or that this process will quickly induce the continent to transfer, progressively and until such time as a world federation is founded, its sovereignty to the United Nations. Having said that, Europe (by virtue of its mere existence and by providing an example of how opposing states, each with a power system rooted in centuries of mutual antagonism, can freely join together in a federation) will nevertheless do much to speed up the process. But given that the unification of mankind will presumably be a difficult process, unpredictable in terms of the course it will take and punctuated by numerous crises and contradictions, it is imperative that Europe, once it is politically united, is made to last. Furthermore, it must make sure it is equipped to continue its mission to extend the sphere of solidarity using political instruments instead of relying only upon the strength of its own example; it must ensure that it is furnished, most importantly, with the internal solidity and strength that will enable it to withstand every danger of disintegration and secession, but also with the capacity to act which it will have to have if it is to shoulder the burden of its responsibilities within the new world order and to promote federalist values and the institutional model of federalism throughout the world.
The debate that is currently being conducted within the Movement raises, among other things, the question of the institutional profile of the Europe that we are seeking to create. In this regard, it must be pointed out that the opinion of those who tend to play down the importance of processes of regional unification, particularly that which is going on in Europe, and to highlight, instead, the global scale of the growth in interdependence, runs the risk of converging with the views held by pro-European moderates who are irritated by what they see as the “dogmatic” presentation of federation as opposed to confederation, preferring instead to think of the future political union of the continent as something ambiguous (“new”) that will be neither one nor the other of these things (an “unidentified political object” to use the expression of Jacques Delors). Both of these groups in fact, implicitly or explicitly, set little store by the objective of a European federal State, the former because it does not go far enough for their liking, the latter because it goes too far. Both dislike the idea of State: the moderates because their primary concern is not to frighten anyone — themselves primarily — with the traumatic prospect of the renunciation of sovereignty; the others because the establishment of solid federal states of continental dimensions would necessarily imply the inauguration of a phase of relative stability in the relations between these continental federal states, a phase whose length would be undetermined and which would precede the start of the battle for world federation. As a result of their mutual distrust of the idea of State, both groups end up tending dangerously towards the ultraliberalism of those who regard with favour globalisation as nothing more than a gradual surrender, by politics, to market forces.
In this way, federalists run the risk of leaving the field of political-cultural debate wide open for the clash between those who maintain that globalisation has already rendered the nation-state obsolete, but who can propose no alternative vision to fill the gap (if not that of a second Medieval era in which the state, as such, has ceased to exist and in which the ideas of sovereignty, legitimacy and citizenship are replaced the inevitable advent of a world society dominated by interacting and opposing private interests, regulated in a haphazard manner by functionalistic organisations and contradictory legal systems, chaotically superimposed one upon the other); and those who, wishing to preserve the ideals democracy and solidarity, see the state as a primordial necessity, but whose view is restricted to the only model of state which currently exists: that of the nation-state. In this clash, nationalism will tend to come out on top because while State as a concept can be sidestepped in the sphere of abstract thought, the reality of State in that of daily life is not so easy to dismiss. This is why nationalism can be overcome only through a federalist project whose scope is continental, a project which recognises that the values of civil cohabitation must be founded on the state, but which at the same time rejects the national dimension of the same.
Our struggle to overcome the nation-state is founded on the realisation that the problem of “statehood” in Europe (and elsewhere) has reached a crisis point. Our most immediate aim, therefore, is to establish a new “statehood” in Europe that might provide the framework within which the process of the civil advancement of the people of Europe (and subsequently of the whole of mankind) might be relaunched. From this point of view, then, it is wrong to start from the presupposition that the European Federation will, as soon as it comes into being, find itself in a state of crisis. On the contrary, it will do much to restore nobility to politics, and to reinforce both the sense of civic duty and the democratic consensus of its citizens. After all, as we have pointed out elsewhere, the transfer of sovereignty at European level — which, if it ever does take place will be the event that loads the process of the political unification of Europe with revolutionary historical significance — will occur only once a deep-rooted and solid sense of European “constitutional patriotism” has been established. Admittedly, it is only within the framework of the world federation that all these values can be fully realised and it is true, too, that the European federation will be an imperfect state, destined after a period of time to be replaced by a greater reality. Initially, however, it will be vital, and if it is, as we believe, to become the vehicle of federalist ideology in the world, it will continue to be vital for a long phase in its historical course.
At this point, we must ask ourselves whether it makes sense to think that anyone who, in the wake of the birth of the European federation, intends to go on calling himself a federalist (and here we are assuming that following the start of the federalist phase of world history every moral politician, whatever his inclinations, will be bound to reflect on the values of federalism) will have to eschew any political involvement in the new order which has been established, devoting all his energies instead to the struggle to achieve world federation, or rather, to achieve certain functionalist (“intermediate”) objectives. Because, while it is true that day-to-day solidarity and the concrete commitment to the pursuit of the good of one’s own community in normal political life must, when statehood is in its deepest moments of crisis, be replaced by a revolutionary commitment to and striving for the creation of a new institutional framework that might once more make it possible to achieve these values, albeit partially, it is not realistic to expect such a renunciation to last until the end of history.
It is also important to underline here that the support of the citizens for the new political community will not, at least while the life of the federation is still in its ascending phase, clash in any way with the values of cosmopolitanism. What Europe will stand for in this phase will be the overcoming of national sovereignty, and thus the breaking down of a historical barrier, a rejection of nations as units which are closed to the rest of the world. The birth of Europe will thus be an event which embodies the very values which make world federation the ultimate federalist goal. And in this context, the symbolic value of the internal frontiers that the new state will have wiped out will far outweigh that of the external frontiers established by its creation. Of course, the time will come in which, as a result of the further growth of interdependence, Europe, too, will represent too restricted a framework, its frontiers signifying, just as national frontiers do today, closure to the rest of the world. And when that time comes, the objective of world federation will become topical.
But it is essential not to confuse the abstract with the concrete. In abstract terms, the concept of the sovereignty of a state can never be reconciled with the value of the good of mankind as a whole, even though, having said that, the instruments of politics always manage, somehow or another, to provide solutions to the problems posed by this contradiction, to restore the balances it upsets. This, after all, is what they are designed to do. In concrete terms, meanwhile, when the contradiction between the growth of economic and social interdependence and the political process becomes so deep that it places in grave and immediate danger the prospects for the development of a region of the world, the wellbeing of its citizens and the survival of its democratic institutions, then the way out of the crisis is to replace one form of state with another, more advanced form.
The “Intermediate” Steps on the Road towards World Federation.
It is opportune at this point to look briefly, and singly, at what have been identified in the debate as intermediate strategic objectives in the process that will lead to the construction of a world federation. These objectives, in some contexts collectively referred to with the expression “partial world government”, are, in substance, the idea of a new Bretton Woods (or a world version of the European monetary system), the establishment of an International Criminal Court and various reforms of the United Nations.
The New Bretton Woods. The creation of the European Federation will give rise (after a period of possible initial unsteadiness as the ground settles) to a greater degree of stability in international relations than that which they currently enjoy. There is thus every reason to believe that it will (again following possible initial unsteadiness as the ground settles) make a decisive contribution to the birth of a world monetary system that will be more stable than the present one. After all, monetary stability is in the interests of the entire world. It is up to monetary economists, however, to say to what extent and in what form this new system can, and must, be institutionalised, and to make the relative proposals. While a valid proposal originating from a qualified individual who also happened to be a member of the Movement could only increase the and standing of the MFE, battles to achieve purely technical objectives do not fall within the province of the Movement as such. There are, however, two considerations which, being of a political rather than a technical nature, I do feel entitled to bring to the attention of the Movement. First of all, the dollar must not be allowed to become the dominant currency in any new international monetary system that is created; instead, such a system must revolve around the dollar and the euro (and possibly the yen and other currencies too, if the right conditions emerge). The United States must forfeit the freedom it currently enjoys to create money without creating domestic inflation (making others pay its debts) and Europe must no longer be allowed the possibility to grow richer without bearing any of the responsibilities attendant upon the management of a world currency. The second point I wish to raise, which stems from all the arguments put forward in this document, is that a new international monetary system is not destined to be the prelude to the creation of a world currency (unlike the EMS vis-à-vis the European currency), but only an instrument of international collaboration which, while undoubtedly important, will last only as long as the power situation which makes it possible.
The Regionalisation of the Security Council and the Participation of the European Union. According to this proposal, all the world’s major regions should be represented, either directly or indirectly, on the UN Security Council. Regions which are already unified would be represented directly while those which are not would be represented by one of their most important states. It has also been proposed, in particular, that the European Union should have a seat on the Council.
The proposal to enlarge the Council to embrace new states, in particular several Third World states, as permanent members holding the power of veto is, while desirable, destined to remain an unlikely prospect until there is a radical change in power relations at world level. Moreover, in view of the strictly and clearly intergovernmental nature of this objective, it can be considered neither the duty nor the responsibility of federalists to pursue it.
The proposal to ensure the presence of a representative of the European Union among the permanent members of the UN Security Council — assuming the proposal refers to the European Union in its current form and not to the future European federation, in which case the problem would not exist — is another matter. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine — at least until the transformation of the European Union into a federation equipped with the capacity to decide (among other things) its own foreign and security policy — the present European members of the Security Council, Great Britain and France, being prepared to relinquish their seats in favour of an entity which does not, in fact, exist and whose representative would be required to act on the basis of instructions imparted to it, unanimously, by the governments of fifteen sovereign states. At this point, it is important, too, to consider another problem: since decisions taken by the European Union in the ambit of foreign policy must be based on the unanimous consensus of all the members, the Union’s representative would not know what stance to adopt on the many occasions on which unanimous agreement could not be reached (to say nothing of the enormous complexity of the consultation procedures whenever consensus were possible). If, instead, a European Union representative were to be included as a permanent member alongside the British and French representatives, then its presence would have nothing more than purely symbolic value: the EU representative would be subordinate to the other two European members of the Council, requiring their agreement, together with that of the other thirteen members of the Union, in order to act.
The International Criminal Court. This is an institution which, if it is created, will exist in an international setting shaped the balance of power between sovereign states — states on which it will depend for the handing over of accused persons and for the execution of its sentences. And this prompts two considerations of different kinds.
The first is that it would, inevitably, be a court that judges only the crimes committed by the defeated and never by the victors, or in any case, those committed by the weak and never those committed the strong. Often, the authors of the same deeds are considered heroes within their own countries and criminals without, and their fate would thus depend on the position of their country in the international arena. Thus, rather than imposing respect for the law, the International Criminal Court would, in fact, do nothing more than endorse the existing balance of power. Under the rule of law, norms are enforced (albeit not always and not perfectly) regardless of the power relations between the parties in conflict; this is possible thanks to the irresistible power of the State which cancels out the power differences between its citizens. In the relations between sovereign states, the prevention of conflicts and the limitation of their destructive capacity depend solely on the instruments of politics. And politics, in certain situations, means being required to get your hands dirty, to operate in the shadows, to reach compromises with despicable individuals, or sometimes with out and out criminals, often even encouraging and assisting them. And the greater the responsibility shouldered by those whose actions are conditioned by this need, the more pressing, and frequent, it becomes. In many of these cases, strictly legal intervention (i.e., conducted in the open and leaving no room for compromise) would, if it were allowed any real influence, place very real obstacles in the path of politics and threaten to ruin any attempt at mediation. Thus, instead of serving to prevent, or to lessen, the effects of wars and dictatorships, it would render them more likely, more drawn out and more destructive. And this is what makes American opposition to this proposal — the United States is currently the only world power which bears any real burden of responsibility for limiting conflicts in the world — understandable. There can also be no denying that an International Criminal Court would, in some cases, actually save those members of vanquished or weaker sides in a conflict who are guilty, or thought to be guilty, of acts of genocide, of war crimes or of crimes against humanity from the blind and fierce revenge of extremist factions on the side of the victors, guaranteeing them a fair trial and a humane punishment. Thus, far from representing a threat to these criminals, it would, instead, offer them a guarantee. It would, therefore, be misleading to present, before public opinion, the establishment of an International Criminal Court as a step on the road towards the introduction of a legal framework within which to conduct international relations.
The Democratic Reform of the United Nations General Assembly. This is an objective which has entered the sphere of federalist debate as a result of certain similarities it presents with the direct election of the European Parliament. It is an ambitious project as it would involve both modification of the composition of the national delegations (in order to render them, roughly at least, proportional to the size of the population of the states they represent) and the democratisation of all the member states (unless some of the states were to proceed with unilateral elections). It is, furthermore, an objective which can only be considered meaningful and credible if it is part of a project (like that envisaged by the treaties of Rome) which makes provision for the evolution of the organisation towards an institutional reality that is federal in character. The truth is that the difference between the direct election of the European Parliament which, despite the considerable weakness of the institution, has played an important role in the process of European unification, and the hypothetical election by universal suffrage of the General Assembly of the United Nations lies in the fact that the European Economic Community had, in 1979, achieved a degree of economic integration and developed a collective consciousness sufficient to render credible the idea that the election of a parliament as yet devoid of any powers might represent the first step in the constituent phase of the process of European integration. The same cannot, however, be said of the world today. And, in turn, the lack of any real prospect for further evolution strips of all meaning, and thus of all credibility, the proposal to elect democratically the representatives of one hundred and eighty states — over half of which are not, or at least not entirely, endowed with democratic structures — to a body which wields absolutely no power.
Partial World Government. This is not meant in the Einsteinian sense of federal union (a nucleus of countries whose power is sufficient to render them a magnet in the formation of a cosmopolitan federation), but rather in terms of a quasi-federal reformation of the United Nations. As well as reforming the UN Security Council and General Assembly in the ways outlined earlier, this objective would involve endowing the first of these two bodies with a permanent peace-keeping and peace-enforcing military force (which would be independent of the states supplying the relative contingents), and with independent financial resources. At this point it should be underlined that unless this handing over to the Council of control of the armed forces and of the budget is nothing more than an outward appearance, and unless the dimensions of both are so modest as to render the reform purely symbolic, then the ratification of a proposal of this kind on the part of the member states would a true relinquishment by them of their sovereignty: this would turn the Security Council, and in particular its permanent members who are elected by no one and who, by exercising their power of veto, condition all the decisions reached by the Council, into a sort of world dictatorship (albeit a dictatorship tempered by the discord among its component parts). But, whatever form it takes, this proposal must be seen as further evidence of the belief in the idea that the foundation of the European federation will mark the passage of the world into its own constituent phase. The soundness of the proposal depends therefore upon the extent to which this view is shared. And yet, it cannot be very clear, even to those who maintain that the time is ripe for a reform as radical as this, why it should be necessary to propose an objective of this kind. When and if it eventually does arrive, the constituent phase in the process of world unification will begin with a single, partial reform (just like the direct election of the European Parliament in relation to what we believe to be Europe’s constituent phase). By exposing a series of contradictions, this reform will generate the need for even more reforms, and thus the pattern will be established that will continue until the achievement of the final objective. Those who believe in this objective should therefore seek to identify both the first step in the process, and the point that will mark its culmination. It is, in fact, unclear to me why some should consider it necessary right now to define what amounts to the penultimate step on the road towards world federation (which constitutes neither a concrete target nor a mobilising final goal) as the strategic objective which federalists must pursue in the wake of the foundation of the European federation.
At first glance, the considerations set forth in this document may seem purely theoretical in character and, as such, capable of having only a limited impact on our action. This is not the case. The reality is that the fundamental principles underlying our political engagement are at stake. I am well aware that those of our number whose positions I do not share are fine militants who have devoted their lives to the Movement. It would be ungenerous of me to accuse them of wanting to undermine these principles, just as it would be ungenerous of them to accuse me, and those whose opinions are similar to mine, of failing to share the values and vision of world federalism. But the fact remains that certain views often make their own way regardless of the intentions of those who profess them, and can wreak havoc, particularly among the young.
I thus wish to end these considerations by summarising my concerns:
1) Attributing the Movement with two strategic objectives creates confusion, weakens the commitment of its activists and prevents it from acting.
2) By shifting the emphasis away from the objective role that the European federation will, by virtue of its mere existence, play in the world, placing it instead on the foreign policies that it will pursue, the foundation of the European federation will be turned per se into a neutral event, one which only the choices made subsequently will have the capacity to invest with any positive or negative significance. And it is difficult to see why anyone should decide to devote their life to a difficult and unfulfilling struggle to achieve an objective that is not, in itself, an expression of positive and momentous values.
3) The concern that a united Europe should not initially be too strong (so as not to jeopardise the continuation of the process of world unification), pushes to the background the questions of statehood, of the transfer of sovereignty and of the distinction between federation and confederation. In this way, our strategic objective and its importance as a critical event in the process of the unification of mankind tends to be overshadowed, and weight is given to the view that the solution to the world’s problems can only be reached through the strengthening of international institutions. And this opens the way for the rise of internationalism.
4) If the process of globalisation is, whatever happens, destined to bring about in a short space of time the unification of mankind, then the foundation, or otherwise, of a European federation is a circumstance of limited importance. In such a scenario, the intrinsic value of this event as an example to the rest of the world is quite irrelevant and the foundation of the European federation need not be seen as an indispensable step forward on the road towards the unification of the world. And if all this is true, why bother struggling to achieve it at all?
5) The same question might be asked if politics is not as having any autonomy. Our political engagement is rooted in a series of convictions: that the growth of interdependence is not, on its own, enough to bring about the unification of mankind, that the political process behind it, creating a gap that can only be bridged by political will, and that political will cannot, in turn, be generated without the initiative of a revolutionary movement. But if it is true that politics does not enjoy a measure of autonomy, then the Movement serves no useful purpose.
6) If it is true that the concept of raison d’état is obsolete, that the raisons d’état of all the world’s nations are converging (as a result of the merging of interests prompted by the process of globalisation), then politics is no longer a struggle for power, having become, instead, the coming together of reasonable people who have the capacity to comprehend correctly the medium and long-term interests of their respective communities and to act harmoniously in pursuit of the common good. This is, basically, a variation on the old theory that trade is incompatible with war. European federation — and incidentally the same will apply to world federation — will be a reality which emerges by itself, or its emergence could even become irrelevant as Europe’s governing classes prove able, by virtue of their reasonableness, to resolve through the existing institutional structures the problems that they face. In a setting such as this, our presence is thus, once again, entirely pointless.
I do not think that voicing these concerns implies a rejection of the values of world federalism, or even an inclination towards European nationalism. In fact, I think the opposite is true. It is only through the unification of Europe that the seed of federalism can be sown in the world today, and the process of world unification launched. It will certainly be a long a difficult process, but without the unification of Europe, it is one that will not even begin. Confronting the obstacles that it will encounter in its path is still the only effective way of equipping federalist culture to overcome them.
*For some time now, a debate has been running in the ambit of the European Federalist Movement on globalisation and its consequences, a topic that has been considered in depth in Il Dibattito federalista. In this issue of The Federalist, and in the forthcoming one, we have decided to publish two articles, by Francesco Rossolillo and Lucio Levi respectively, which fit into the framework of this debate and which we feel, given the theoretical problems they touch on, will be of interest to our readers.