political revue

Year LXIII, 2021, Single Issue, Page 14



The Ventotene Manifesto
and the Birth of the
Movimento Federalista Europeo
within the Italian Resistance*





The Italian Resistance, like the resistance movements in Europe generally, stemmed from broad and thorough internal debate on the question of European unity.[1] As their programmes showed, all the anti-fascist political forces (with the exception of the communists) supported the objective of European federation. But the most significant development in this sense was the birth in Italy of the European Federalist Movement (MFE in Italian),[2] which became the most important of the various movements for European unity that were established in that period. During the Resistance and post-war years, the MFE played a key role, both in Italy and in Europe, in the struggle for European federation, and its contribution to this objective has continued to be crucial to this day. Here, I look back on the essential aspects of the MFE’s establishment and activity during WWII and, in particular, outline its guiding principles.

Our starting point is the drafting, completed in August 1941, of the Ventotene Manifesto, which was the founding document of these movements’ struggle for Europe’s federal unification. The Schuman Declaration of May 9, 1950, on the other hand, was the founding document of the process of European unification that evolved on the basis of the European Communities.[3]

The Ventotene Manifesto, whose full title was For a Free and United Europe. Project for a Manifesto, was drafted on the Italian island of Ventotene, where around a thousand anti-fascists were detained during the war. Its main author was Altiero Spinelli.[4] Born in 1907, Spinelli started his political life in the ranks of the Communist Party of Italy. Because of his position as secretary of the youth branch of this party, in 1927 he found himself sentenced to ten years in prison; this was followed by a further period of confinement (first on the island of Ponza and then on Ventotene). He was finally freed in August 1943 after the fall of the fascist regime. After his resignation from the Communist Party in 1937, which followed much tormented reflection on the Soviet state experience, he found himself drawn to European federalism through the writings of Alexander Hamilton[5] (the most important of the founding fathers of the American federal constitution of 1787) and of contemporary federalists (mainly Luigi Einaudi[6] and Lionel Robbins[7]), in addition to the works of modern theorists of raison d’état,[8] in particular Hegel, Ranke, Treitschke, Seeley, Max Weber, Meinecke and Fueter). He remained wholly committed to this idea until his death in 1986, when he had been a member of the European Parliament for ten years.

Another important contributor to the Manifesto was Ernesto Rossi,[9] a founder and leading campaigner of the Giustizia e Libertà (Justice and Freedom) movement and later of the Partito d’Azione (Action Party); in 1937 he, too, had already begun reflecting in depth on the idea of a United States of Europe. The text of the Manifesto is also the result of an extensive, months-long debate with Eugenio Colorni[10] and his wife Ursula Hirschmann, which also saw the participation of a small group of other captives who went on to sign up to the Manifesto, namely Dino Roberto, Enrico Giussani, Giorgio Braccialarghe, Arturo Buleghin and a Slovenian student named Lakar.

Immediately after the drafting of the Manifesto, its authors began their efforts to disseminate its ideas in the circles of the European Resistance, thus laying the foundations for the establishment of the MFE, which was seen as the indispensable political tool in the battle for European federation.

The text of the Manifesto, written by Rossi on cigarette papers, was smuggled out of Ventotene (hidden in a roast chicken) by Ursula Hirschmann, Ada Rossi (Ernesto’s wife) and Spinelli’s sisters Fiorella and Gigliola, who all had access to the island. In July 1941, a typed version began to circulate in Rome and Milan. Before long, the text had travelled much further afield. By early 1942, it had reached both Switzerland and France, where it was brought to the attention of Silvio Trentin,[11] and by 1943 Germany, where a translation by Ursula Hirschmann was distributed in anti-Nazi circles.

The political work carried out in the two years following the drafting of the Manifesto, which from May 1943 was facilitated by the publication of a clandestine review named LUnità Europea (European Unity),[12] resulted in the formal foundation of the MFE movement. This event, which coincided with the forty-five days of Badoglio’s government during which Spinelli and Rossi were freed, took place during a clandestine conference held on August 27–28, 1943, at the home of Mario Alberto Rollier in Milan. This conference was attended by Spinelli, Rossi, Colorni, Leone Ginzburg, Ursula Hirschmann, Ada Rossi, Mario Alberto Rollier, Rita Rollier, Gigliola Spinelli, Fiorella Spinelli, Franco Venturi, Guglielmo Jervis, Vindice Cavallera, Manlio Rossi Doria, Vittorio Foa, Enrico Giussani, Dino Roberto, Giorgio Braccialarghe, Arturo Buleghin, Arialdo Banfi, Giangio Banfi, Luisa Usellini, and the architect Ludovico Belgioioso. Two notable absentees were Guglielmo Usellini and Cerilo Spinelli (who, together with Colorni, managed the clandestine printing of L’Unità Europea); between the end of July and the beginning of August, the pair had been arrested while distributing flyers urging the people to prepare for war against the Nazis.[13] The conference ended with the approval of a document that translated the ideas and objectives contained in the Manifesto, and in other federalist writings of the period, into programmatic and organisational directives. Moreover, in an important section of the document, which finally closed a debate among federalists that had followed the drafting of the Manifesto, it was clearly stated that the MFE was not to be a party, but a movement open to members of all democratic political currents, and strictly independent of the political parties. It is on these foundations that the MFE has always based and developed its political action, from the period of armed Resistance after September 8, 1943, which cost the lives of three of its founders (Eugenio Colorni, Leone Ginzburg and Guglielmo Jervis), right through to the present day. Under the leadership first of Spinelli, until the early 1960s, and then of Mario Albertini, until his death in 1997, the MFE became the most important movement for European unity, making a decisive contribution to the founding (in 1946) and subsequent activity of the Union of European Federalists, the supranational movement that unites all European federalists, and then to the establishment (in 1948) and activity of the European Movement.[14] With unshakeable constancy, the MFE has in fact always pursued the creation of a true European federal state (which should gradually include the whole of Europe) and the convening of a democratically representative European constituent assembly as the irreplaceable means of actually achieving irreversible unification of Europe. Furthermore, thanks to its theoretical contribution to analysis of the problem of European unification, and its ability to mobilise public opinion and the political, economic and social forces interested in European unity, it has also played an undisputed leadership role at supranational level, highlighting the importance of building European unity from the bottom up.

To really appreciate the nature this role, it is now necessary to get right to the core of the MFE’s guiding principles, which are enshrined in the Manifesto and in the other federalist writings of the Italian Resistance.[15] To summarise the innovative aspect of the MFE’s message, I would underline, as Norberto Bobbio did very effectively,[16] that thanks to Spinelli’s input the idea of European federation was transformed, for the first time, into a concrete political agenda. In other words, an organic link was established between, on the one hand, an extremely lucid and far-reaching theoretical clarification of the reasons why a European federation had to be achieved and, on the other, the precise strategic and organisational directives that were to guide the action of a political movement whose sole objective was, and is, supranational federalism. The solidity of this approach allowed the MFE and the European partners reached by its influence to stand apart from traditional political organisations and exercise real influence on the process of European unification after the war. To grasp this approach adequately, it is necessary to analytically distinguish the theoretical from the strategic-organisational dimension of the ideas contained in the Manifesto.

On a theoretical level, the Manifesto’s originality lies in its authors’ conviction that the creation of a European federation, as the first and irreplaceable historical step on the path to world federation, must be the key political objective of our times, as it is the precondition for avoiding the end of civilisation and a return to barbarism. This conviction was based on three arguments, which are outlined below.

First, this view embraces the fundamental elements of Carlo Rosselli’s liberal socialism,[17] which seeks a synthesis between the liberal-democratic system (most significantly embodied by the United States of America) and the needs of solidarity and social justice expressed by the various currents of socialism. In essence, it is argued that the best way to make the general interest prevail as a lasting alternative to the unleashing of conflicts between corporative interests (defined “sectional” in the terminology of the time), and therefore to stem the tendency by large masses of people to settle for the apparent stability offered by a totalitarian regime, is to integrate an advanced (especially in the sense of popular participation and local autonomies) liberal-democratic regime with a mixed-economy one. This means attributing to the state and to other public bodies the economic functions necessary to create equal opportunities for all (through the socialisation of monopolies, redistribution of land ownership, creation of a higher education system accessible to the most capable and not just to the wealthiest, compulsory social insurance, etc.), while allowing free competition and the spirit of individual initiative to operate — indeed flourish — in every other field. Obviously, this implies rejection not only of fascist totalitarianism, but also of the communist totalitarian alternative, which sacrifices freedom in the name of social justice. Leaving aside the concrete modalities proposed as means of reconciling freedom and social justice, which of course need to be constantly reviewed in the light of actual historical experience, it is worth noting that this discourse continues to be relevant today. We need only consider that efforts to advance Europe’s integration to a condition of full political­democratic unity are often justified on the basis of the need to preserve and strengthen, in the present context of neoliberal globalisation, the originality of the European social model, aimed at reconciling competitiveness, efficiency and solidarity.[18]

The second argument, masterfully explained in Colorni’s introduction to Problems of the European Federation, is that the federalist vision, by overcoming internationalism, supplements the liberal-socialist model. Internationalism[19] is an attitude embedded in the great ideologies that, from the late eighteenth century on (i.e., from the time of the French Revolution), triggered processes leading to profound structural changes in the modern state. All these ideologies — liberalism, democracy and socialism (in both the social-democratic and the communist versions) — stem, both directly and indirectly, from the emancipatory and universalistic thrust of the Enlightenment. The internationalist component of these ideologies is expressed in their cosmopolitical vision — that is, in their conception of the values of freedom, equality and social justice as universal principles that should be valid for the whole world —, coupled with their espousal of the theory of the primacy of domestic politics. The latter is, essentially, a conception of international relations, of the root causes of war and of the means of achieving peace according to which war depends essentially on certain internal structures of the states. Therefore, it follows that the elimination of war and the establishment of a system of lasting peaceful relations between states can only come from overcoming these internal structures.

The liberal, democratic and socialist ideologies diverge sharply in the internal structures they consider to be at the root of power politics. In concrete terms, liberal thought attributes wars to aristocratic-absolutist political structures and to mercantilist-protectionist economic ones; it thus considers that overcoming such structures through, in the first case, the affirmation of representative governments (on the basis of, then limited, suffrage) and the separation of powers, and, in the second, the development of international trade, is the way to put an end to states’ warmongering tendencies. Democratic thought, on the other hand, points the finger at government authoritarianism, and therefore sees peace as the automatic consequence of the establishment of popular sovereignty. Finally, socialist thought regards the exploitation of workers by modern capitalism as the ultimate cause of imperialism and wars, and therefore considers the struggle for social justice as the means of overcoming antagonism between classes, and, at the same time, of establishing peace. These differences aside, the common thread running through all these expressions of the internationalist approach is the belief that a world of liberal, democratic or socialist states, guided by liberal, democratic or socialist ideas, will ultimately eliminate the phenomena driving power politics, which are believed to stem from the still incomplete or non-universal realisation of the principles of internal organisation of the state promoted by the said ideologies.

The federalist criticism of internationalism is based on Kant’s discourse on perpetual peace,[20] which combines lessons of political realism with an element of cosmopolitanism. Kant underlines the existence of an indissoluble link between power politics and the anarchic structure of the society of states that is caused by states’ absolute sovereignty, and underlines that international anarchy, by imposing the primacy of security (i.e., the law of raison d’état) over any other requirement or consideration, constitutes an obstacle to the full implementation of the principles proclaimed by the great emancipatory ideologies. Hence the federalists’ conviction that struggles driven by internationalist ideologies, which fundamentally strive to bring about internal changes, are not sufficient for the purposes of peace building. There exist some international associations — a few at the level of civil society and a few at government level (such as, at one time, the League of Nations, and now the UN) — that federalists consider to be organisational and institutional embodiments of these struggles. The real problem, however, is that the internationalist approach, as a whole, fails to address the real need, which is to pursue the overcoming of international anarchy through federal ties that eliminate absolute state sovereignty.

The third argument concerns the historical topicality of the construction of the European federation, seen as the central problem of the times. In essence, Spinelli, Rossi and Colorni developed the analysis, started by Einaudi in 1918 and taken up by the British federalists in the 1930s, of the crisis of the nation state as the root cause of the evils of their times, and of European federation building as the only way of putting humanity back on a progressive historical course; the conclusions they reached were rigorous and, for the time, highly advanced. The concept of the crisis of the nation state, which is as central to federalist theory as the concept of the crisis of capitalism is to socialist and communist theory, is the common thread underpinning the formulation, with regard to the era of world wars and totalitarianism (and thus ultimately global contemporary history), of an original and autonomous interpretation, different from those proposed by the dominant ideologies — an interpretation that overcomes the limits that make the latter unable to grasp the centrality of the question of the European federation.[21] In simple terms, this concept, in Europe, refers to the contradiction — exacerbated by the protectionism rooted in absolute state sovereignty — between the historically outdated dimensions of the sovereign nation states and, on the other hand, the evolution of the industrial mode of production, which, promoting growing transnational interdependence, is creating momentum for the creation of state entities of continental dimensions (and a trend towards the unification of humankind). This contradiction was the root cause of the world wars and of fascist totalitarianism. If, in Kantian terms, wars are, in general, the consequence of international anarchy, then the world wars of the 20th century can be seen, in concrete historical terms, as attempts by the continent’s greatest power to impose an imperial, hegemonic solution to the need to overcome, through European unification, the problem of the inadequate size of the nation states, which condemns them to inexorable decline. In this context, fascist totalitarianism constituted the right-wing, anti-democratic response — its left­wing counterpart, communist totalitarianism, failed in advanced Europe and this objectively helped to strengthen fascism — to the situation of economic and social chaos that emerged in those countries in which the general phenomenon of the crisis of the nation state manifested itself most acutely (due in part to the absence of life belts such as the possession of vast and rich colonial empires). Fascist totalitarianism emerged as the indispensable tool for a foreign policy of extreme expansionism, and racism as the ideology that best lent itself to one nation’s attempt to establish permanent dominance over the other European nations. The disastrous consequences of the system of absolute national sovereignties showed the federalists that a structural incompatibility now existed between the choices of maintaining that system or developing in the direction of freedom, democracy and social justice. Hence their clear and forceful assertion that the foundation of a European federation was the key political objective, an event that had to take precedence over the struggles for internal renewal of the national state. Hence, too, the belief that failure to start the construction of the European federation in the wake of the defeat of fascism would inevitably allow protectionist nationalisms and endemic conflicts between the nation states to prevail once again, leaving liberal, democratic and socialist conquests structurally precarious and indeed at risk of being erased once and for all by totalitarianism. On the basis of these considerations, the federalists identified — and this constitutes the fundamental message of the Ventotene Manifesto — a new dividing line between the forces of progress and those of conservation. And this was no longer the traditional line between greater or lesser democracy, or greater or lesser social justice to be realised, that is drawn within states; it was the line dividing the defenders of absolute national sovereignty from those who would overcome this concept through the creation of a European federation.

These theoretical ideas on the priority of the objective of the European federation over those indicated by the internationalist ideologies were accompanied, as previously mentioned, by strategic and organisational reflections that endeavoured to clarify the conditions in which the European federation objective might realistically be pursued, and have a real chance of influencing historical events. On this point, reference must be made to Machiavelli’s teaching on the tendency of power to self-preserve.[22] Building a European federation means transferring a substantial amount of power from national to supranational institutions. It is therefore natural that the classes holding national political power, even if they belong to internationalist ideological currents, will strive to conserve that power, preferring to move towards international cooperation on confederal bases rather than towards federalism, which implies transfers of sovereignty.

Awareness of this obstacle led to the development of indications for the federalist struggle, which were gradually clarified during the course of the war and in the immediate post-war period. The authors of the writings that we are considering here insist above all on the need to establish an autonomous federalist political force, independent of the national governments and parties, and capable of pushing them to do what they would not do spontaneously. And they clearly state that the federalist force must have the creation of a European federation as its sole purpose and must bring together all those who accept this objective as a priority, regardless of their ideological orientations; it must also have a supranational structure, so as to be able to impose a single programme and the same discipline on all federalists in Europe; and finally, it must be capable of mobilising public opinion.

It is also made clear that national resistance to the creation of the European federation can be overcome only in situations of acute crisis of the structures of national power, and providing a federalist political force proves able to step in and exploit the impasse at the level of national politics, imposing support for the federal objective as the key choice needing to be made. On the basis of these general indications, the Manifesto also makes it clear that when, after the war, the moment finally comes for a concrete struggle for European federation, the federalists’ action must exploit the contradictions that will confront the national governments due to the inadequacy of a European unification policy that fails to tackle the crucial issue of the transfer of sovereignty. In this context, the European Constituent Assembly, as opposed to diplomatic conferences, will emerge as a permanent and unshakeable claim.[23]

* To mark the 80th anniversary of the Ventotene Manifesto, we here publish the text of a lecture given by Sergio Pistone at the Visions of Europe in the Resistance conference held in Genoa last year, whose proceedings will be published later this year.

[1] See: W. Lipgens, (ed.), Europa-Föderationspläne der Widerstandsbewegungen 1940-1945, Munich, Oldenbourg, 1968; Id., Documents on the History of European Integration, Volume 1, Continental Plans for European Union 1939-1945, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin - New York, 1985; S. Pistone, (ed.), L’idea dell’unificazione europea dalla prima alla seconda guerra mondiale, Turin, Fondazione Luigi Einaudi, 1975; Id., L’Italia e l’unità europea, Turin, Loescher, 1982; Federazione Italiana Associazioni Partigiane, L’idea di Europa nel movimento di liberazione 1940-1945, Rome, Bonacci,  1986; R. Cinquanta, “Partigiani di tutta Europa, unitevi!”– L’ideale dell’Europa unita nelle riviste clandestine della Resistenza italiana, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2020.

[2] In January 1945, in a freshly liberated Florence, the Associazione Federalisti Europei (European Federalists’ Association) was established on the initiative of Paride Baccarini. It was joined by, among others, Piero Calamandrei, Giacomo Devoto and Enzo Enriquez Agnoletti. Just after the end of the war, the AFE was incorporated into the MFE. See: P. Graglia, Altiero Spinelli, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2008, pp. 284-293.

[3] See: S. Pistone, La prospettiva federale della Dichiarazione Schuman, L’Unità Europea, 35 n. 3 (2010).

[4] On Altiero Spinelli in general and on the genesis of the Ventotene Manifesto, see the following works by Spinelli: Come ho tentato di diventare saggio, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2006; Discorsi al Parlamento europeo 1976-1986, edited by P.V. Dastoli, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1981; Diario europeo, 1948-1969, Diario europeo, 1970-76, Diario europeo, 1976-1986, edited by E. Paolini, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1989, 1991, 1992; Il progetto europeo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1985; Una strategia per gli Stati Uniti d’Europa, edited by S. Pistone, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1989; L’Europa tra Ovest e Est, edited by C. Merlini, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1990; La crisi degli stati nazionali, edited by L. Levi, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1991; Il Manifesto di Ventotene, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1991; Machiavelli nel secolo XX – Scritti del confino e della clandestinità. 1941-1944, edited by P. Graglia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1993; La rivoluzione federalista. Scritti 1944-1947, edited by P. Graglia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1996; Europa terza forza. Scritti 1947-1954, edited by P. Graglia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2000. See in addition: E. Paolini, Altiero Spinelli. Appunti per una biografia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1988; Id. Altiero Spinelli. Dalla lotta antifascista alla battaglia per la Federazione europea, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1996; L. Levi, (ed.), Altiero Spinelli and federalism in Europe and in the world, Milan, F. Angeli, 1990; L. Angelino, Le forme dell’Europa. Spinelli o della federazione, with an introduction by T. Padoa-Schioppa, Genoa, Il Melangolo, 2003; P. Graglia, Altiero Spinelli, op. cit.; U. Morelli, (ed.), Altiero Spinelli: il pensiero e l’azione per la federazione europea, Milan, Giuffrè, 2010; C. Rognoni Vercelli, P.C. Fontana and D. Preda, (eds.), Altiero Spinelli, il federalismo europeo e la Resistenza, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2012.

[5] See: Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, The Federalist,

[6] Spinelli could only read two articles by Einaudi presenting a federalist criticism of the Society of Nations, both written in 1918 in Il Corriere della Sera. These articles were later collected in L. Einaudi, La guerra e l’unità europea, Milan, Comunità, 1948. See also: S. Pistone, Le critiche di Einaudi e di Agnelli e Cabiati alla Società delle Nazioni nel 1918, in S. Pistone, (ed.), L’idea dell’unificazione europea dalla prima alla seconda guerra mondiale, op. cit., and U. Morelli, Contro il mito dello stato sovrano. Luigi Einaudi e l’unità europea, Milan, F. Angeli, 1990.

[7] See: L. Robbins, The Economic Causes of War, London, Jonathan Cape, 1939; see also: Id. Economic Planning and International Order, London, MacMillan, 1937; Id. The Economic Basis of Class Conflict and Other Essays in Political Economy, London, MacMillan, 1939; Id., Economic Aspects of Federation, in M. Chaning-Pearce, (ed.), Federal Union. A Symposium, London, Jonathan Cape, 1940; F. Rossolillo, La scuola federalista inglese, in S. Pistone, (ed.), L’idea dell’unificazione europea dalla prima alla seconda guerra mondiale, op. cit..

[8] See: S. Pistone, F. Meinecke e la crisi dello stato nazionale tedesco, Turin, Giappichelli, 1969; Id., (ed.), Politica di potenza e imperialismo. L’analisi dell’imperialismo alla luce della dottrina della ragion di stato, Milan, F. Angeli, l973; Id., Ragion di Stato, relazioni internazionali, imperialismo, Turin, Celid, 1984; Id., Political Realism, Federalism and the Crisis of World Order, The Federalist, 58 n. 1 (2016); M. Albertini and S. Pistone, Federalism, Raison d’Etat and Peace, Pavia, The Altiero Spinelli Institute for Federalist Studies, 2001.

[9] See: E. Rossi, Miserie e splendori del confino di polizia. Lettere da Ventotene, 1939-1943, edited by M. Magini, Milan, Feltrinelli, 1981; G. Armani, Ernesto Rossi, un democratico ribelle, Parma, Guanda, 1973; G. Fiori, Una storia italiana. Vita di Ernesto Rossi, Turin, Einaudi, 1997; L. Strik Lievers (ed.), Ernesto Rossi. Economista, federalista, radicale, Venice, Marsilio, 2001; E. Rossi, Gli Stati Uniti d’Europa (1944), anastatic edition edited by S. Pistone, published by Consulta Europea del Consiglio regionale del Piemonte, Turin, Celid, 2004; A Braga, Un federalista Giacobino. Ernesto Rossi pioniere degli Stati Uniti d’Europa, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2001; A. Braga and S. Michelotti, (eds.), Ernesto Rossi. Un democratico europeo, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2009.

[10] On Eugenio Colorni, who was killed by fascists in May 1944, see: L. Solari, Eugenio Colorni, ieri e sempre, Venice, Marsilio, 1980 and F. Zucca (ed.), Eugenio Colorni federalista, Manduria, Lacaita, 2011.

[11] On Trentin see: C. Malandrino, Critica dello stato-nazione ed Europa nel pensiero federalista di Silvio Trentin, in C. Rognoni Vercelli, P.G. Fontana and D. Preda, (eds.), Altiero Spinelli, il federalismo europeo e la Resistenza, op.cit..

[12] See S. Pistone, L’Unità Europea, giornale del Movimento Federalista Europeo, in D. Preda, D. Pasquinucci, L. Tosi, (eds.), Le riviste e l’integrazione europea, Padua, Cedam, 2016. The 1943-1954 collection of L’Unità Europea was re-published in 2000, in an anastatic edition edited by S. Pistone, by Consulta Europea del Consiglio Regionale del Piemonte, Turin, Celid.

[13] On the foundation and history of the MFE, see in particular: M. Albertini, A. Chiti-Batelli, G. Petrilli, Storia del federalismo europeo, edited by E. Paolini, Turin, ERI, 1973; L. Levi and S. Pistone, Trent’anni di vita del MFE, Milan, F. Angeli, 1973; S. Pistone (ed.), I movimenti per l’unità europea. 1945-1954, Milan, Jaca Book, 1992; Id., (ed.), I movimenti per l’unità europea. 1954-1969, Pavia, University di Pavia, 1996; Id. Europeismo, in L’eredità del Novecento, Rome, Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, 2000; L. Levi and U. Morelli, L’unificazione europea, Turin, Celid, 1994; A. Landuyt and D. Preda, (eds.) I movimenti per l’unità europea. 1970-1986, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2000; C. Rognoni Vercelli, Mario Alberto Rollier. Un valdese federalista, Milan, Jaca Book, 1991; S. Pistone, Seventy Years of the European Federalist Movement (1943-2013), The Federalist, 55, n. 1 (2013); S. Pistone, The Union of European Federalists, Milan, Giuffrè, 2008; D. Preda (ed.), Altiero Spinelli e i movimenti per l’unità europea, Padua, Cedam, 2010.

[14] See P. Caraffini, Costruire l’Europa dal basso. Il ruolo del Consiglio Italiano del Movimento Europeo (l948-1985), Bologna, Il Mulino, 2008.

[15] The text of the Manifesto referred to here was published clandestinely in Rome in January 1944, together with another two notable writings by Spinelli, The United States of Europe and the Various Political Currents (written in the second half of 1942), and Marxist Politics and Federalist Politics (written between 1942 and 1943). The volume entitled Problems of the European Federation bears the initials A.S. and E.R., and was edited by Eugenio Colorni, who also wrote a quite insightful introduction, but his name does not appear for reasons linked to the clandestine struggle. Spinelli’s two writings and Colorni’s introduction, quite apart from their intrinsic value, allow us to better understand the originality of the theses contained in the Manifesto in relation to the prevailing political ideologies of the time. An anastatic copy of the 1944 volume, published by the Consulta Europea del Consiglio regionale del Piemonte (Turin, Celid, 2000), also contains the speech given by Norberto Bobbio in Milan on October 21, 1973, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the MFE. The latter text provides an exceptionally clear framing of the theses worked out by the MFE within the political and cultural setting of the Italian Resistance. The 1944 volume was also published in 2006 in an Oscar Mondadori (Milan) series entitled Il Manifesto di Ventotene, with a foreword by Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa and an accompanying article by Lucio Levi.

[16] See note 15.

[17] See: C. Rosselli, Socialismo liberale, edited by J. Rosselli, with a preface by A. Garosci, Turin, Einaudi, 1973; G. Calogero, Difesa del liberalsocialismo ed altri saggi, edited by M. Schiavone and D. Cofrancesco, Milan, Marzorati, 1972; P. Graglia, Unità europea e federalismo. Da “Giustizia e Libertà” ad Altiero Spinelli, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1996.

[18] See in particular Jacques Delors’ White Paper Growth, Competitiveness, Employment, Publications Office of the EU,, and G. Borgna, (ed.), Il modello sociale nella Costituzione europea, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2004.

[19] On federalist criticism of internationalism see in particular: L. Levi, L’internationalisme ne suffit pas. Internationalisme marxiste et fédéralisme, Lyon, Fédérop, 1984; Id., Internazionalismo, in Enciclopedia delle Scienze Sociali, Rome, Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, 1996; C. Malandrino, Federalismo. Storia, idee, modelli, Rome, Carocci, 1998.

[20] See: I. Kant, La pace, la ragione, la storia, M. Albertini (ed.), Bologna, Il Mulino, 1985.

[21] See: M. Albertini, Il federalismo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1995; Id., Nazionalismo e federalismo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1999; Id., Una rivoluzione pacifica. Dalle nazioni all’Europa, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1999.

[22] See: S. Pistone, Raison d’Etat, Peace and the Federalist Strategy, The Federalist, 43, n. 1 (2001).

[23] See: A. Spinelli, Una strategia per gli Stati Uniti d’Europa, op. cit., and S. Pistone, La strategia per la federazione europea, Piemonteuropa, n. 1-2 (2011).


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