Year XLV, 2003, Number 3, Page 138
The Battle for Europe.
The Example and Ideas of Mario Albertini
Many men come up against events, issues and situations during their lifetime that drive them to denounce the scandal of war, oppression and injustice. But few go beyond experiencing moral outrage or declaring solidarity, and fewer still actually strive to eradicate those scandals by becoming political militants.
Militants need to be cool-headed and rationally aware that high and mighty goals are nothing but hot air unless the means for achieving them has been identified. However, becoming a federalist militant also requires a sort of “conversion”. It means relinquishing support for culture and politics at the national level, which in the long run clouds judgement, and consequently pursuing the gradual widespread acceptance of federalism.
This is precisely the path followed by Albertini, whose tireless down-to-earth commitment and deep thirst for knowledge have made him a landmark figure for federalism.
He began his career as a federalist militant proper in 1953, in the midst of the battle for the European Defence Community. His experience was nothing like Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, however. Rather, it came at the end of a long and painful process. Like many young men of his generation, Albertini had endured difficult times, first under a fascist dictatorship then in the vain search for a national pathway towards Italy’s regeneration. During the war he had realized that victory for Italy would have meant the triumph of fascism, and as an anti-fascist he later commented: “I wished for Italy’s defeat, and this was a terrible sentiment for a young man to have”. In his decision, that was both political and moral, Albertini was supported by numerous distinguished personalities: “A number of intellectuals, and even Croce himself”, stated Albertini in an interview, “say they hope Italy will be defeated. However, it was actually Croce… who later recommended rejecting ratification of the peace treaty because it would have jeopardized Italy’s image. This is just one example, but in general, what happened was that few, if any, really broke the pact with Italy that tacitly derives from being born in this country. For me, this hatred of Italy meant freedom from the bonds that tie a person to a country only by virtue of being born there.”
Having distanced himself at such an early stage from nationalism, Albertini was able to judge his political experiences in the immediate wake of the second world war more fairly. His supra-national leanings allowed him to clearly perceive Italy’s limitations, but he could not yet see Europe as a viable political alternative. In this regard, his respectful disagreement with Benedetto Croce was significant: “The ideal of Italy and its national dignity”, he wrote in 1947, “is dead; we view it as respectable in an old man who shared that ideal during his lifetime; however, it is a dead letter, entirely devoid of historic relevance, when recalled now, to fight today’s battle”.
But somewhat contradictorily, Albertini was still committed to restoring democracy in Italy through the renewal of its national parties.
It took further deep introspection to get through this period, and above all, a few major disappointments from Italy’s national politics. Some time later, recalling the turmoil of those years and especially the deadlock that Italy was gripped in, Albertini wrote: “Things were going nowhere. Thus I began to realize that this plan was… structurally flawed. If Italy was to be fully democratized, the approach could not be organizational (i.e. the transformation and unification of the country’s left wing parties). What was needed was a compelling political event of such proportions as to turn ideas and stances upside down, and bring about, as a consequence, a complete renewal of the parties. That was when I realized that the major event that Italy was waiting for was the unification of Europe. Europe as a starting point, and not, as most people saw it, as the culmination of the renewal process.”
Albertini had joined the European Federalist Movement back in 1945, but as he later recounted, he considered it to be more of a cultural organization than a political one. In 1953 the European Federalist Movement - MFE struck him for the first time as being “the only political organization of strategic significance”. Having finally come to this conclusion, Albertini had no more time to waste. He wrote to Spinelli, went to visit him and thus embarked on a career as a federalist militant. That same year, the Movement was in a frenzy over the European Defence Community. There were hundreds of chapters and fifty thousand members all pushing for the creation of the EDC and its inevitable corollary, political community. Success appeared to be within reach, but in early 1954 the first complications started to emerge and on 30 August, the French national assembly voted against the ratification of the Treaty, and thus all hopes for a European Federation within the space of a few years were shattered. The EDC’s collapse was not just a temporary setback on the road towards European unity; the tide had turned and the mood that had allowed federalists to come so close to success had soured.
After the havoc wrought by the war, Europe’s national states had got their economies back on their feet and restored a modicum of solidity to their institutions. With the ECSC, the seeds were sown for lasting cooperation. Nothing else seemed to be needed to ensure the prosperity of Europe’s citizens, much less a European Federation. Another chapter in Europe’s history had ended and if federalists wanted to pursue their battle, it would have to be in harmony with the new political climate. In an article that appeared in Europa federata in October 1954, Spinelli set out the conclusions he had reached after the fall of the EDC: “We do not know if federal European unity will ever materialize, but we know for sure that it will never materialize unless we admit that the national political horizon is ruinous. Favourable conditions may develop in six months, perhaps a year, or ten years: it is not up to us to decide. But if we are to make the most of those conditions and at last break the spell of national sovereignty, then there have to be among us those who will tirelessly denounce this evil, and reveal the deceitfulness of each and every political party in accepting the national arena as the normal arena for their activities, and making promises that they cannot keep if they remain in this arena.”
Such a role could only be played by a revolutionary movement which would persevere despite momentary defeats, and remain in the battlefield, ready to resume the fight where it had left off. Thus began what in the federalist tradition is known as the “new path”.
What needed leveraging, Spinelli explained, was no longer Europe’s national governments, who had by their actions, if not by their words, relinquished federalism, but rather Europe’s citizens. Once mobilized, people would pressure their governments into giving up sovereignty in areas in which they were no longer able to exercise it effectively. These considerations did not challenge the political motives and ideals that informed Spinelli’s decisions in 1943, but forced the Movement to reconsider its role and its relationship with power. At the time of the EDC, it was able to act as everything from an “advisor to the prince” to a lobby group. After the collapse of the EDC, the MFE knew it had to embark on a different journey but no one as yet knew when the journey would end.
This was a time for patience and meditation: patience, because the conditions no longer existed — as they did at the time of the EDC — to engage the enemy in a decisive battle; now the way had to be paved for popular mobilization once the time had come for shifting the balance from separate nations to a united Europe. And meditation, because the political and cultural horizons of the Movement had to be broadened so it could more effectively fight against the forces of reaction that were ensconced within society, political parties, trade unions, the press, among the intelligentsia and above all, in governments. Having overcome the trauma of the EDC failing, governments had immediately made short shrift of the feeble federalist aims they had all too briefly entertained.
Mario Albertini was the right person to take up the challenge.
The “new path” demanded an exhausting degree of commitment from federalist militants. Their task was to try and patch up the sections that had survived the collapse of the EDC; prepare and organize the European People’s Congress (an action that would involve European citizens directly by asking them to vote for candidates to the Congress in a sort of primary election); devise new plans for recruiting and training militants who could no longer be party-members or national politicians, but rather “a group of free men who, flying in the face of a natural tendency to accept and adapt to the status quo for to obtain success and further their career, were instead determined to fight for the federal unification of Europe”. A new generation of militants had to be formed, and the right conditions created for fostering the birth of this group.
Spinelli openly tackled the issue in a paper he wrote in 1956. “Federalists”, he observed, “have not created a hardcore group of militants in their midst. I’m not referring to the modern usage of the term as it refers to low-ranking envelope-stuffing propagandists. The militants that any organization needs it if is to become a real political force, are men driven by political passion, with the ambition to mean something important to their contemporaries, and who have decided to merge their passion and ambition with aims of the organization they belong to.
Not all members of a movement are militants and if political organizations were made up exclusively of militants they would rapidly turn into sects. However, the members who are totally committed and are gambling their political future on the success of their action — those militants form the backbone of every organization”.
Spinelli realized that for federalists the road was going to be uphill all the way; he believed that the new generation of militants needed to be fulltime politicians, living for politics naturally, but also off politics (i.e. making a living from politics); they needed to gain a sense of fulfilment from dedicating themselves heart and soul to the cause of European unity. Only thus could enough determination be drummed up to stay in the field until the final victory. Instead, Albertini had a different idea of the figure and commitment of the militant. Recalling his clash with Spinelli, he wrote: “I wanted… men who could see the contradiction that exists today between values and actions as a personal issue. Militants who are professional politicians, but are occupied only part-time, and without pay; people who have enough income to live off regardless of whether or not they have power.”
Having defined the profile of the federalist militant, the next step was to highlight and leverage the motives that were leading certain people to look beyond the confines of nationalism. For Albertini, there were several pathways towards European unification: one was moral outrage, over national states denying the values of democracy and equality and “forcing one to consider the men of other states as foreigners, if necessary to be killed”; intellectual dissent was another, stemming from the realization that national states were no longer able to solve the great problems of our society; and finally political will, in a determination to focus not just on the issues at hand but also the strategy for solving them. To Albertini’s way of thinking, the European cause needed militants capable of combining all three characteristics: moral outrage, intellectual dissent and political will.
But society does not steer men naturally towards federalism. “No one becomes a federalist alone, spontaneously, because federalism — like all new things at their first appearance — does not exist in the world of the established culture. The normal channels for disseminating culture (schools, the press, etc.) invariably adopt the national viewpoint, and consider the world as comprised of liberals, democrats, socialists, communists, christian-socialists, fascists, and so on… In this context, one becomes a federalist only if the circumstances of one’s life bring about a sort of conversion.” Proselytism involved two tasks for the federalist militant the first to recruit, the second to train. Recruitment was in some ways the harder of the two because it required reversing the way people regarded not just the politics but also the history of their country, the very fabric of their identity. “The current state and recent history of our countries”, wrote Albertini in 1959, “are leading many individuals to consider the issue of European unity. But they remain militants in name only, or continue to support the national state because the national perspective has been imprinted upon them since infancy in the form of sentiments and images, and most of the stimuli and incentives of today tend to reinforce that perspective. As a result, even when torn by the desire for European unity, national sentiment tends to prevail until it is eventually uprooted by prolonged contact with federalist environments. Therefore our recruitment policy must entail continuously attracting new people, and giving them the opportunity to gain meaningful new experiences.”
The second task, training, required uncommon effort on the part of both veteran militants and newcomers to militancy. Militants are not born, they are trained through political struggle embedded in study and discussion. “It might seem strange”, Albertini wrote in 1959, “that to succeed in any political enterprise it is necessary to build the struggle upon a foundation of serious study, with rules and structures that bear a closer resemblance to those of schools of philosophy than political associations. Yet, in all revolutionary enterprises something of this nature has always existed, because the hardest challenge for the revolutionary is precisely that of making the best use of rationality to direct the struggle towards a new objective in a world in which habit, conventional wisdom and clichés steer men towards old objectives.” Only men who have developed unusual strength of character and powers of reason will develop the skills of the pilot, and indicate the way ahead knowing that for long stretches of time their work will remain unacknowledged, but also realizing that if they can speak up when crucial decisions have to be made, their role can be a decisive one.
The activist’s work “behind the scenes” can only be carried out by people who do not depend on others for their survival, and within an organization whose independence is ensured by the self-financing of its members. If militants wanted to maintain independent judgments and actions, they should not have to accept compromises of any sort. Niccolò Machiavelli effectively explained the fundamental reason for this behaviour in Chapter 6 of The Prince. After stressing that “there is nothing more difficult to execute, nor more dubious of success, no more dangerous to administer than to introduce a new order of things”, Machiavelli concluded by saying: “It is necessary, however, if we desire to examine this subject thoroughly, to observe whether these innovators act on their own or are dependent on others; that is, if they are forced to beg or are able to use power in conducting their affairs. In the first case, they always come to a bad end and never accomplish anything; but when they depend on their own resources and can use power, then only seldom do they find themselves in peril.” Such stalwart militants would ensure not only the survival of the Federalist Movement, but that it would play a significant role in European unification, and safeguard the federalist ideology until the goal of a world federal government is attained.
Militant federalism is a revolutionary experience aiming to change the course of human history. It is not always easy to live up to this challenge. Many fall into the trap of confusing wishes with reality. Others mistake “the possible for the real, in other words they define policies based on situations that do not yet exist, only because they might materialize some time in the imagined future”. To escape these perils, reference must be made constantly to the prevailing political situation, i.e. it is the situation of power of a state that determines whether a political strategy is feasible and has some chance of success or not. Albertini lived by this rule, which spared the Federalist Movement from embarking on utopian or ill-judged campaigns.
In the early Sixties all the hopes that had been placed in the European Peoples’ Congress and its ability to call a Constituent assembly under mounting popular pressures, had been dashed. Now what? For Spinelli the unification process could only be revived by engaging in a national political struggle. Albertini believed otherwise. If the aim was to call a Constituent assembly, then first it had to be decided “in which situation of power is it possible to decide to call the assembly”. In a concise analysis of the issue, he wrote: “The European constituent assembly implies not just a change of government, not just a shifting of powers within a state, but the fall of many states and the birth of a new state in a new area… We are already living in a European confederation, in a European unity based on the eclipse of national sovereignties and the need for European states to cooperate closely in the political and economic fields. This is grounds enough to claim that a real basis already exists for the struggle to achieve institutional unity.”
The situation of power thus lent itself to a struggle for European Federation. But what concrete action could federalists undertake to grasp all the opportunities offered by the process?
This was not an easy question to answer because it was not a make-or-break situation, as it was for the EDC, where it was a matter of fighting, not deciding. After the early success of the Common Market, Europeans were looking forward to a long period of prosperity. In many countries, primarily Italy and Germany, economic integration had brought about a veritable “economic miracle”. Critical views received very bad press and the MFE’s unyielding stance was regarded as extremism not only by governments and national political parties, but even by Spinelli himself, who was by now moving in quite a different direction.
In 1962 Albertini had become the unofficial leader of the Movement; together with the federalists who had chosen to follow him, he was preparing to embark on a new campaign, the voluntary Census of the European federal population. At the Lyon Congress in the month of February of that same year, Albertini ended his report by proposing “a ten-year campaign to collect signatures in favour of ‘a majority for the Constituent assembly of the European people’, for the practical aim of using a means of action within everyone’s reach, and as such able to be developed everywhere”.
This was a campaign that demanded the fierce determination of chapters and individual militants alike, and consisted in mobilizing organized Europeanism in the shape of the pro-European and Federalist movements, plus potential advocates — people aware that the national state had breathed its last — and Europeanists at large, i.e. those who realized the impact European unity had had on individual citizens.
Europe’s unification process had now developed to the point that an enterprise could be undertaken to raise popular consensus for Europe and pave the way for the final crucial decisions. It was still early days though: first public opinion had to be taught how to make its influence felt, once the time came. “Once Europe has a real government, every citizen will be able, by voting, to strengthen this or that European party, to support the European policy that best corresponds to their ideals and interests. But in today’s Europe, which does not yet exist as a democratic organization, all people can do is state their support for European unity. So for the time being, this is the only way Europe’s real power can emerge (in politics, strength lies in votes and attitudes): i.e. through people declaring they are for Europe, and the sum total of these declarations.”
In Albertini’s mind, the Census represented the only opportunity to reach the aims that the European People’s Congress had failed to achieve. In 1966 he wrote: “Once we are closer to handing over power from the national states to the European Federation, and the need arises for a European partner for this constituent operation, the fact of having already established an organic link between federalists on the one side and the population, the parties, the trade unions and so forth on the other, will facilitate the organization of the European People’s Congress based on the Census”.
Despite hopes that it would “spread like wildfire”, the Census turned out to be a great disappointment. Like the EPC before it, what was lacking was the support of a close-knit network of local organizations. But both ventures played a significant role within and outside the MFE: internally, the EPC and the Census provided a invaluable training ground for a new generation of militants determined to undertake or continue federalism’s long journey through the wilderness. And externally, they provided proof that it was in fact possible to maintain direct contact with the local population and nurture the principle that economic integration alone would not automatically lead Europe to political union.
There has always been a very clear understanding in the MFE that the economy is not a strong enough driver to create a new state: it also takes a constituent act. Federalists were always and are still well aware that to fully succeed, economic unity also requires political unity. The first opportunity enter the fray and place Europe on the road towards political unity came at the end of the transition period of the Common Market, when everything came to a head and the political leadership was forced to take a stance. “Europe”, writes Albertini in 1967, “is no longer the mere historic design that it was at the beginning of our struggle. It has become an economic reality with a complex administration, and a growing political necessity. But alongside this powerful European reality there is a European parliament still devoid of a constituency. In asking for it to be elected, we are demanding something that everyone but the enemies of Europe welcome. Now we must maximize this sentiment… Of course it is not just a question of demanding the direct election of the European parliament, but rather of embarking on a slow and difficult process that will eventually lead to this goal… In practice, it means singling out individual objectives that are within reach along the pathway toward electing a European parliament, so as to bring about concrete decisions and not just Sunday sermons.”
With this decision the MFE abandoned the extremist approach (which would have meant calling the Constituent assembly at the start of the process) and instead opted for a strategy of constitutional gradualism. Neither the EPC nor the Census had been able to oblige governments to call a constituent Assembly — not because the idea behind the strategy was mistaken, but due to “the extreme difficulty of calling a Constituent assembly at the start of the process, with the parties still so closely bound to national powers”. To prepare for the decision, it was thus necessary to set in motion a process where successive constituent acts would force governments to hand over part of their sovereignty to Europe.
At the “Congress of Europe” organized by the European Movement in February 1976, Willy Brandt stated that the European Parliament that would be elected in three years’ time would have to become Europe’s permanent constituent Assembly. The image conjured up by Brandt was very appealing but it suggested a process of indefinite duration, and as such received a lukewarm reception. Conversely, Albertini’s idea of constitutional gradualism set definite goals based on the existing situation of power in Europe, for which a clear strategy could be defined.
The rationale inspiring constitutional gradualism was not unlike the thinking that had driven Jean Monnet to draft the Memorandum addressed to Robert Schuman proposing the creation of the ECSC. After realizing that nothing but blind alleys were being met across the full spectrum of the political front, Monnet went on to comment that: “There is only way out of such a situation: a concrete and resolute action on a limited but decisive point, that will bring about a fundamental change in relation to that point and help to modify the very terms of the problems as a whole”. In Albertini’s view, the point that would change the whole scenario was the direct election of a European parliament, because it would plant the first seeds of democracy in the unification process and shift the political scene from the national to the European stage.
However, opposition from several countries had to be overcome. But nothing would prevent nations that had at least verbally stated their agreement, from electing their members of the European parliament by universal suffrage. And this had to be the starting point. On 11 June 1969, a voter initiative went to the Italian Senate calling for the direct election of Italian delegates to the European parliament. Two similar proposals had been presented the previous year to the French national assembly. These initiatives put the problem of European elections in the spotlight, and influenced the decision of the French President, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who on 13 May 1974 announced he wanted to “adopt or have the Community adopt an initiative to unshackle Europe and stop its dismemberment”. In October of the same year, the French Foreign Minister proposed the election by universal suffrage of the European parliament, which was adopted at the Rome Summit of 1-2 December 1975. This would go down in history as the MFE’s first strategic victory.
The initiative of the French government had arrived at a particularly sensitive time for European life. The collapse of the international monetary system and the oil shocks were causing increasing economic turmoil, and the very existence of the Community was threatened. The direct election of the European parliament would strengthen ties between Europe and her citizens, but this would not suffice alone. Only the creation of a European government could solve the serious problems that had emerged. However, even when faced with such traumatic events, Europe’s national governments still failed to go the full nine yards. The fabric of constitutional gradualism still needed to be patiently woven by mobilizing efforts to sharpen the contradictions in the process and inject greater courage into national governments. Monetary union seemed to be the most promising place to resume the battle.
As early as the day after the first monetary storm, Albertini had emphasized that currency could represent the slipperiest spot on the slope leading to Europe. “However irrational it may seem, there must be acceptance and support”, he wrote in 1973, “for gradual monetary unification before, rather than after, the creation of a European political power, because those leading the process of implementation… are not behaving rationally… If someone can be prevailed upon to become committed to something (monetary union) that implies a certain requirement (political power), then perhaps that someone will end up having to create it whether they want to or not.”
Having endorsed this gradual approach, the MFE first supported the creation of the European monetary system, to prevent the Community crisis from turning into a total debacle that would have obstructed further progress. Then it encouraged Spinelli’s action in convincing the European parliament to vote on a treaty-cum-constitution that envisaged the creation of a “partial” federal government with competence only for economic matters; and lastly, after the heads of state and government rejected the treaty, the MFE backed the single market that would be a prelude to the single European currency. On 15 February 1992, Europe’s heads of state and government met in Maastricht to decide on the single currency. This was another strategic victory for federalism.
After striving for decades to bring in the election by universal suffrage of the European parliament and the single currency, at last the foundations were laid for the last decisive step. The European union now had an elected parliament: it was not much more than symbolic, since a parliament without a state has no effective power, but it was a compelling symbol nonetheless, because it strengthened people’s ties with Europe. After Maastricht, there would be a single currency and a European central bank, which represented another two crucial steps towards the future federal state.
The process of creating a single currency was accelerated by the upheaval generated by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the bipolarism that had prevailed after the second world war. Events on a scale such as this could not help but affect the fate of Europe. Wouldn’t European governments — reeling from events that were reshaping the world balance and underlining more forcefully than ever before “the destructiveness of any policy on a national horizon” — feel an urgent need to unite and decide, once and for all, to take the federal bull by the horns. Instead, their response was half-hearted: some saw ties strengthening thanks to the single currency, but none had the courage to tackle the twin problems of defence and foreign policy, in other words, the creation of a European state. “Political union”, wrote Albertini in 1990, “is still largely viewed not only as something distinct from economic union (for the sectors actually affected), but also as an enterprise bound to be slow moving and gradual, like the process that led us to the threshold of the single currency. However, this concept is entirely misguided. In the field of economics it is perfectly possible to move by degrees from a national situation towards an increasingly less national and more European situation, with a government and currency needing to be put in place only at the end of the process. On the other hand, in the area of foreign policy — i.e. primarily defence and the armed forces — particularly if separate from the economic domain, such a gradual process is impossible. Whatever combinations have been adopted, there is simply no getting away from forming alliances, be they looser or more formally structured. In short, invariably within a national framework, but never in a European situation that might be consolidated and ultimately materialize into a European political power. With this approach there can be no way out of the national context, as all those who recognize the difference between federation and confederation readily understand.”
In point of fact, the heads of state and government did acknowledge that it would take more than a single currency to solve the problem of European unity. The Maastricht Treaty does not only refer to the euro, but also citizenship, foreign policy, defence and justice. “Currency, citizenship, sociality, foreign policy, defence”, observed Albertini, “are all parts of a plan for creating a European state. The question is now whether the outcome will be successful or not; whether economic and political contrasts will generate problems; but there is definitely a plan, put together by Europe’s governments, to create European unity by 1999.”
However, the existence of a plan does not mean success is necessarily around the corner. The intergovernmental Conferences staged to iron out the problems that Maastricht left pending did little more than give the Union’s structures a minor touch-up. The recent Convention on the future of Europe did little more. But federalists shouldn’t be surprised: they’ve always known that governments would try to put off that fateful last step for as long as humanly possible and yield only under unendurable pressure.
As repeatedly demonstrated, the overwhelming majority of European citizens are in favour of European unity. It is — or should be — obvious that the national state as such has reached crisis point, and it is just as obvious that there is “a need to unify Europe” because “the problem is not one of choosing between independence or union, but between joining together and surviving or staying apart and disappearing”. The challenges of history demand a federal response; governments are instead racking their brains to come up with ever more imaginative ways to avoid the one move that would solve every problem: the creation of a European federal state.
It is in this very situation that the federalist vanguard can play a decisive role in indicating the only avenue that can lead to a solution to the problem, decrying without hesitation all false alternatives, highlighting the political framework in which the constituent strategy is truly feasible and, lastly, calling upon the decision makers i.e. governments, to cross the line separating federation from confederation. These are the tasks to be tackled, despite the difficulties and opposition that have always stood in the way and will continue to do so.
In the early days of his career as a militant Albertini thus addressed his fellow federalists: “Our difficulties… are no different to those faced by all new things, whether in politics or life in general. The old saying that patience is a revolutionary virtue applies to us, too.” But patience is not the same as simply sitting back and waiting for something to happen. It must be viewed as total dedication to the cause for which one has decided to fight. Friedrich Schiller once wrote: “What matters most is perseverance: it not only provides a livelihood but also gives life its unique value”. Overlooking Schiller’s reference to livelihood, the words of the German poet provide the perfect portrait of the lifestyle and work of Mario Albertini.
 Mario Albertini, L’Europa secondo me (collection of interviews on Europe with pro-European politicians, academics and associations, compiled by the Lions Club, Lombardy Region), s.l. 1979.
 “Nazionalismo e alternativa europea. Intervista a Mario Albertini”, in Il Dibattito Federalista, X (1994), p. 37.
 Mario Albertini, “L’amore dell’Italia nell’Europa”, in Lo Stato Moderno, IV (1947), p. 411.
 The political commitment of Mario Albertini between 1945 and 1953 has been briefly illustrated by Daniela Preda in “All’avanguardia dell’Europa. I primi vent’anni del Movimento Federalista a Pavia”, in Bollettino della Società Pavese di Storia Patria, LXXXV (1985), pp. 153-215 and, more recently, by Flavio Terranova in Il federalismo di Mario Albertini, Milan, Giuffré, 2003, pp. 2-6. Albertini emphasized this viewpoint in the preface to his essay entitled Il Risorgimento e l’unità europea, Naples, Guida, 1979, pp. 7-10.
 Mario Albertini, “Un eroe della ragione e della politica”, in L’Europa di Altiero Spinelli, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1994, p. 18.
 Mario Albertini, “Un eroe della ragione”, cit., p. 18.
 Ibidem, p. 18. According to Daniela Preda (op. cit., p. 160), Albertini was already active in the Pavia chapter of the MFE during the previous year. A letter dated 1 July 1952 and addressed to Aurelio Bernardi was written on MFE letterhead.
 Altiero Spinelli, “Nuovo corso”, in Europa federata, October 1954, reprinted in Altiero Spinelli, Una strategia per gli Stati Uniti d’Europa, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1989, pp. 152-3.
 Francesco Rossolillo, “The Role of Federalists”, in The Federalist, XLIV (2002), p. 184.
 Altiero Spinelli, “Le ragioni ideali del Congresso del popolo europeo”, in Id., L’Europa non cade dal cielo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1960, p. 254.
 Mario Albertini, “Il federalismo militante. Vecchio e nuovo modo di fare politica”, in Il Dibattito Federalista, I (1985), pp. 1-3, reprinted in Mario Albertini, Una rivoluzione pacifica. Dalle nazioni all’Europa, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1999, p. 442. Commenting on these differences of opinion Albertini wrote: “It might seem that Spinelli refused to come to terms with this decision — and thus the significance of the MFE’s and GFE’s actions after 1960 — perhaps because he never actually cast off his illusions of the time.” (ibidem).
 Mario Albertini, “I tre gradi dei militanti”, in Europa federata, VIII (1956), reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 367.
 Mario Albertini, “Il reclutamento e la formazione dei militanti per le nuove lotte del federalismo”, in L’Unità Europea, November 1979 (supplement), reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., pp. 419-20.
 Mario Albertini, “Esame tecnico della lotta per l’Europa”, in Il Federalista, I (1959), reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 385. The short chapters making up this text had been published earlier separately in Popolo europeo as reflections on the work of militants.
 Ibidem, p. 398.
 This principle did not rule out ad hoc funding for specific actions. Advertising campaigns that had to be run in the press due to the silence surrounding the undertakings of the Federalist Movement even when they involved crucial decisions such as the elections by universal suffrage of the European Parliament or the single currency, were financed partly by militants and partly by voluntary contributions from sympathizers who were not card-holding members of the MFE but who supported its decisions. The same goes for the major events promoted by the MFE during summit meetings between heads of state and government.
 Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. by Peter Bondanella, Oxford-New York, Oxford University Press, 1984, pp. 21-2.
 Mario Albertini, “Pregare o forzare”, in Europa federata, X (1957), reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 94.
 On 24 September 1961, in a letter to the Lombardy Regional Committee of the MFE, Spinelli acknowledged that organized federalism was going through a serious crisis. In the same letter he expressed his intention to go to the Lyon Congress in the following February with a proposal for an alliance with the forces of democratic progress to participate in national political elections in three suitably chosen cities (D. Preda, op. cit., p. 210).
 Mario Albertini, “La crisi di orientamento politico del federalismo europeo”, in Il Federalista, III (1961), reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 111.
 Mario Albertini, “Rapporto al Congresso di Lione”, in Le Fédéraliste, IV (1962), reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 129.
 Mario Albertini, Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 128.
 Mario Albertini, “Il Censimento volontario del popolo federale europeo”, in Giornale del Censimento, II (1966), No. 3, reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., pp. 147-8.
 Mario Albertini, “Rapporto al MFE”, in Giornale del Censimento, I (1965), No.1, reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 143.
 Mario Albertini, “Il Censimento volontario del popolo federale europeo”, cit., p. 150.
 Mario Albertini, “Un piano d’azione a medio termine”, in Federalismo Europeo, I (1967), No. 7-8, reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., pp. 156-7.
 Mario Albertini, “Tesi per il XIV Congresso nazionale MFE”, in Movimento federalista europeo, Atti del XIV Congresso. Roma 2-5 marzo 1989, Pavia, EDIF, s.d., reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 303.
 Luigi Vittorio Majocchi, Francesco Rossolillo, Il Parlamento europeo. Significato storico di un’elezione, Naples, Guida, 1979, p. 105.
 “Il ‘Memorandum Monnet’ del 3 maggio 1950”, in Mario Albertini, Il federalismo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1993, p. 273.
 Luigi Vittorio Majocchi, Francesco Rossolillo, op. cit., pp. 92-3.
 On 27 August 1974 French citizens received a very significant message from Valéry Giscard d’ Estaing: “Europe must not count on no one other than itself to organize itself, and the modern world will never be truly modern until the map ceases to show Europe as a lacerated area. This is the reason why over the coming months France will undertake initiatives towards the political organization of Europe. There are — I know — all manner of alibis for not forging a political Europe, but there will be no alibi for those who have been called to this appointment with history, as our generation has been called, and who have returned empty-handed. Over the coming weeks France will propose a series of measures regarding the re-launching of the economic-monetary Union of Europe; however, it is my intention to address the Heads of state and government of European countries, our partners and our friends, to propose coming together to reflect, during France’s presidency of the Community, on the timing and methods for realizing the political union of Europe”. (cf. Luigi Vittorio Majocchi, Francesco Rossolillo, op. cit. pp. 100-1). It is unsettling to see how the perceived gravity of the events was not matched by any concrete initiative to achieve political union.
 Mario Albertini, “Il problema monetario e il problema politico europeo”, in Studi in onore di Carlo Emilio Ferri, Milan, Giuffré, 1973, reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 174.
 Mario Albertini, “Moneta europea e unione politica”, in L’Unità Europea, September 1990, reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 322.
 Mario Albertini, “L’Europa dopo Maastricht: gli aspetti politici”, in L’Europa dopo Maastricht. Problemi e prospettive, Milan, Giuffré, 1994, reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., pp. 337-8.
 Luigi Einaudi, “Sul tempo della ratifica della CED” in Lo scrittoio del presidente (1948-1955), Turin, Einaudi, 1956, p. 89.
 Mario Albertini, “La formula del Movimento”, in Europa federata, VIII (1955), reprinted in Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit., p. 351.
 Thomas Mann, “Saggio su Schiller”, in Nobiltà dello spirito e altri saggi, Milan, Mondadori, 1997, p. 461.