Socialist Appeal - British section of the International Marxist Tendency: the Marxist voice of labour and youth.

We publish here two pieces written by Leon Trotsky - in 1917 and 1923 respectively - on the question of the "United States of Europe". As Trotsky stresses, the only way forward for the working class of Europe is along the lines of a European-wide socialist revolution. As the capitalist European project unravels today, Trotsky's analysis remains as relevant as ever.

We publish here two pieces written by Leon Trotsky - in 1917 and 1923 respectively - on the question of the "United States of Europe". Trotsky raised this slogan in the context of a European continent that found itself in the midst of the chaos and turbulence of war and economic crises.

Trotsky's key point was that there would be no way out for the people of Europe on the basis of the narrow nation state, and that only a "United States of Europe" could provide the basis for peace and progress.

Furthermore, Trotsky stressed that the slogan for a "United States of Europe" was a transitional one, which must be linked to the question of European-wide socialist revolution. On a capitalist basis, Trotsky highlights, a genuine unification of Europe in the interests of the working class would not be possible. The final two paragraphs are particularly important:

The imperialist half-unification of Europe might be achieved, as we tried to show, as a result of a decisive victory of one group of the great powers as well as a consequence of an inconclusive outcome of the war. In either instance, the unification of Europe would signify the complete trampling underfoot of the principle of self-determination with respect to all weak nations and the preservation and centralization of all the forces and weapons of European reaction: monarchies, standing armies and secret diplomacy.

The democratic republican unification of Europe, a union really capable of guaranteeing the freedom of national development, is possible only on the road of a revolutionary struggle against militarist, imperialist, dynastic centralism, by means of uprisings in individual countries, with the subsequent merger of these upheavals into a general European revolution. The victorious European revolution, however, no matter how its course in isolated countries may be fashioned, can, in consequence of the absence of other revolutionary classes, transfer the power only to the proletariat. Consequently the United States of Europe represents the form—the only conceivable form—of the dictatorship of the European proletariat.

The enormous capitalist upswing of the post-war boom, which Trotsky never predicted, provided the economic foundations for the development of the Common Market and later the European Union. Now, with the re-emergence of capitalist crisis, all the old national tensions and antagonisms have re-emerged also. The Schengen agreement lies in tatters, as each government erects barriers to keep out migrants, and the eurozone is collapsing under a weight of debt. The European Project faces an existential crisis.

It has once again become clear, therefore, that the idea of European unity on a capitalist basis is a utopia - a reactionary utopia at that, which can only be achieved on the basis of the subjugation of the weaker economies (such as Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland) by the stronger nations, primarily German capitalism.

At the same time, under capitalism, there is clearly no future outside of the EU either. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America: the capitalists of Europe must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly they shall all hang separately.

The only way forward now for the workers and youth of Europe is along the lines outlined by Trotsky above: "on the road of a revolutionary means of uprisings in individual countries, with the subsequent merger of these upheavals into a general European revolution." Our slogan today, therefore, is for the Socialist United States of Europe!

europecrisis slideshowIs the time ripe for the slogan "the United States of Europe"?

The motor force driving to war was this, that the capitalist forces of production had outgrown the framework of European national states. Germany had set herself the task of “organizing” Europe, i.e., of uniting economically the European continent under her own control, in order then seriously to set about contending with Britain for world power. France’s aim was to dismember Germany. The small population of France, her predominantly agricultural character and her economic conservatism, make it impossible for the French bourgeoisie even to consider the problem of organising Europe, which indeed proved to be beyond the powers of German capitalism, backed though it was by the military machine of the Hohenzollerns. Victorious France is now maintaining her mastery only by Balkanising Europe. Great Britain is inciting and backing the French policy of dismembering and exhausting Europe, all the time concealing her work. In connection with the slogan of “A Workers’, and Peasants’ Government”, the time is appropriate, in my opinion, for issuing the slogan of “The United States of Europe”. Only by coupling these two slogans shall we get a definite systematic and progressive response to the most burning problems of European development.

The last imperialist war was at bottom a European war. The episodic participation of America and Japan did not alter its European character.

Having secured what she required, America withdrew her hands from the European bonfire and returned home.

Britain’s traditional mask of hypocrisy. As a result, our unfortunate continent is cut up, divided, exhausted, disorganised and Balkanised – transformed into a madhouse. The invasion of the Ruhr is a piece of violent insanity accompanied by far-sighted calculation (the final ruination of Germany), a combination not unfamiliar to psychiatrists.

At bottom of the war lay the need of the productive forces for a broader arena of development, unhampered by tariff walls. Similarly, in the occupation of the Ruhr so fatal to Europe and to mankind, we find a distorted expression of the need for uniting the coal of the Ruhr with the iron of Lorraine. Europe cannot develop economically within the state and customs frontiers imposed at Versailles. Europe is compelled either to remove these frontiers, or to face the threat of complete economic decay. But the methods adopted by the ruling bourgeoisie to overcome the frontiers it itself had created are only increasing the existing chaos and accelerating the disintegration.

To the toiling masses of Europe it is becoming ever clearer that the bourgeoisie is incapable of solving the basic problems of restoring Europe’s economic life. The slogan: “A Workers’, and Peasants’, Government” is designed to meet the growing attempts of the workers to find a way out by, their own efforts. It has now become necessary to point out this avenue of salvation more concretely, namely, to assert that only in the closest economic co-operation of the peoples of Europe lies the avenue of salvation for our continent from economic decay and from enslavement to mighty American capitalism.

America’s standing aloof from Europe, tranquilly biding her time until Europe’s economic agony has reached such a pitch as will make it easy to step in and buy up Europe – as Austria was bought up for a mere pittance. But France cannot stand aloof from Germany, nor can Germany stand aloof from France. Therein lies the crux, and therein lies the solution, of the European problem. Everything else is incidental. Long before the imperialist war we recognised that the Balkan states are incapable of existing and of developing except within a federation. The same is true of the various fragments of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and of the western portions of tsarist Russia now living outside the Soviet Union. The Apennines, the Pyrenees and Scandinavia are limbs of the European body stretching out toward the seas. They are incapable of an independent existence. The European continent in the present state of development of its productive forces is an economic unit – not a shut-in unit, of course, but one possessing profound internal ties – as was proved in the terrible catastrophe of the world war, and again revealed by the mad paroxysm of the Ruhr occupation. Europe is not a geographical term; Europe is an economic term, something incomparably more concrete especially in the present post-war conditions – than the world market. Just as federation was long ago recognised as essential for the Balkan peninsula, so now the time has arrived for stating definitely and clearly that federation is essential for Balkanised Europe.

There remain to be considered the question of the Soviet Union, on the one hand, and that of Great Britain, on the other. It goes without saying that the Soviet Union will not be opposed either to the federative union of Europe, or to its own adhesion to such a federation. Thereby, too, a reliable bridge will be secured between Europe and Asia.

The question of Great Britain is far more conditional; it depends on the tempo at which her revolutionary development proceeds. Should the “Government of Workers and Peasants” triumph on the European mainland before British imperialism is overthrown – which is quite probable – then the European Federation of Workers and Peasants will of necessity be directed against British capitalism. And, naturally, the moment British capitalism is overthrown the British Isles will enter as a welcome member into the European Federation.

It might be asked: Why a European Federation and not a World Federation? But this manner of posing the question is much too abstract. Of course, the world economic and political development tends to gravitate toward a unified world economy, with its degree of centralisation dependent upon the existing technological level. But we are now concerned not with the future socialist economy of the world, but with finding a way out of the present European impasse. We have to offer a solution to the workers and peasants of torn and ruined Europe, quite independently of how the revolution develops in America, Australia, Asia or Africa. Looked at from this point of view, the slogan of “The United States of Europe” has its place on the same historical plane with the slogan “A Workers’, and Peasants’ Government”; it is a transitional slogan, indicating a way out, a prospect of salvation, and furnishing at the same time a revolutionary impulse for the future.

It would be a mistake to measure the entire process of the world revolution with the same footrule. America came out of the war not enfeebled, but strengthened. The internal stability of the American bourgeoisie is still quite considerable. The American bourgeoisie is reducing its dependence upon the European market to a minimum. The revolution in America – considered apart from Europe – may thus be a matter of decades. Does that mean that the European revolution must align itself with the American revolutions? Certainly not. If backward Russia did not (and could not) await the revolution in Europe, all the less can and will Europe await the revolution in America. Workers’, and Peasants’ Europe, blockaded by capitalist America (and at first, perhaps even by Great Britain), will be able to maintain itself and develop as a closely consolidated military and economic union.

It must not be overlooked that the very danger arising from the United States of America (which is spurring the destruction of Europe, and is ready to step in subsequently as Europe’s master) furnishes a very substantial bond for uniting the peoples of Europe who are ruining one another into a “European United States of Workers and Peasants”. This opposition between Europe and the United States stems organically from the differences in the objective situations of the European countries and of the mighty transatlantic republic, and is not in any way directed against the international solidarity of the proletariat, or against the interests of the revolution in America. One of the reasons for the retarded development of the revolution throughout the world is the degrading European dependence on the rich American uncle (Wilsonism, the charitable feeding of the worst famine districts of Europe, American “loans”, etc., etc.). The sooner the popular masses of Europe regain the confidence in their own strength which was sapped by the war, and the more closely they rally around the slogan of “United Workers’, and Peasants’, Republics of Europe”, the more rapidly will the revolution develop on both sides of the Atlantic. For just as the triumph of the proletariat in Russia gave a mighty impetus to the development of the Communist parties of Europe so, and even to an incomparably greater degree, will the triumph of the revolution in Europe give an impetus to the revolution in America and in all parts of the world. Although, when we abstract ourselves from Europe, we are obliged to peer into the mists of decades to perceive the American revolution, yet we may safely assert that by the natural sequence of historical events the triumphant revolution in Europe will serve in a very few years to shatter the power of the American bourgeoisie.

Not merely the question of the Ruhr, i.e., of European fuel and iron, but also the question of reparations fits into the pattern of “The United States of Europe”. The question of reparations is a purely European question, and it can and will be solved in the period immediately ahead only by European means. The Europe of Workers and Peasants will have its own reparations budget – as it will have its own war budget – so long as it is menaced by dangers from without. This budget will be based upon a graduated income tax, upon levies on capital, upon the confiscation of wealth plundered during wartime, etc. Its allotments will be regulated by the appropriate bodies of the European Federation of Workers and Peasants.

We shall not here indulge in speculations as to the speed at which the unification of the European republics will proceed, in what economic and constitutional forms it will express itself, and what degree of centralisation will be obtained in the first period of the workers’, and peasants’, regime. All these considerations we may safely leave to the future, remembering the experience already gained by the Soviet Union, constructed on the soil of former Tsarist Russia. What is perfectly obvious is that the customs barriers must be thrown down. The peoples of Europe must regard Europe as a field for a unified and increasingly planned economic life.

It might be argued that we are in reality speaking of a European Socialist Federation as an integral part of the future World Federation, and that such a regime can be brought about only by the dictatorship of the proletariat. We shall not, however, pause to answer this argument, since it has been refuted by the international analysis made during the consideration of the question of a “Workers’, Government”. “The United States of Europe”, is a slogan in every respect corresponding with the slogan “A Workers’, (or Workers’, and Peasants’, Government”. Is the realisation of a “Workers’, Government”, possible without the dictatorship of the proletariat? Only a conditional reply can be given to this question. In any case, we regard the “Workers’, Government”, as a stage toward the dictatorship of the proletariat. Therein lies the great value of this slogan for us. But the slogan “The United States of Europe”, has an exactly similar and parallel significance. Without this supplementary slogan the fundamental problems of Europe must remain suspended in mid-air.

But will not this slogan play into the hands of the pacifists? I do not believe that there exists such “lefts” nowadays as would consider this danger sufficient grounds for rejecting the slogan. After all, we are living in 1923, and have learned a little from the past. There are the same reasons, or absence of reasons, for fearing a pacifist interpretation of “The United States of Europe” as there are for fearing a democratic-SR-ist interpretation of the slogan “A Workers’, and Peasants’, Government”. Of course, if we advance “The United States of Europe”, as an independent programme, as a panacea for achieving pacification and reconstruction, and if we isolate this slogan from slogans of “A Workers’, Government”, of the united front, and from the class struggle, we shall certainly end in democratised Wilsonism, i.e., in Kautskyism, and even in something more degrading (assuming there is anything more degrading than Kautskyism). But I repeat, we live in the year 1923 and have learned a little from the past. The Communist International is now a reality, and it will not be Kautsky, who will initiate and control the struggle associated with our slogans. Our method of posing the problem is diametrically opposed to Kautsky’s method. Pacifism is an academic programme, whose object is to avoid the necessity of revolutionary action. Our formulation, on the contrary, is an incentive to struggle. To the workers of Germany, not the Communists (it is not necessary to convince them), but to the workers in general, and in the first place to the Social-Democratic workers, who fear the economic consequences of a fight for a workers’, government; to the workers of France, whose minds ire still obsessed by the questions of reparations and of the national debt; to the workers of Germany, France and of all Europe, who fear lest the establishment of the workers’, regime lead to the isolation and economic ruin of their countries, we say: Even if temporarily isolated (and with such a great bridge to the East as the Soviet Union, Europe will not be easily isolated), Europe will be able not only to maintain herself, but to consolidate and build herself up, once she has broken down the customs barriers and his united herself economically to the inexhaustible natural riches of Russia. “The United States of Europe” – a purely revolutionary perspective – is the next stage in our generally revolutionary perspective. It arises from the profound difference in the situations of Europe and America. Whoever ignores this difference, will willy-nilly, drown the true revolutionary perspective in mere historical abstractions. Naturally, the Workers’, and Peasants’, Federation will not stop in its European phase. As we have said, our Soviet Union affords Europe an outlet into Asia, and from Asia into Europe. We are therefore, here envisaging only a stage, but a stage of great historical importance, through which we must first pass.

trotsky copenhagenThe United States of Europe

Extract from "The Programme of Peace"

We tried to prove in the foregoing that the economic and political unification of Europe is the necessary prerequisite for the very possibility of national self-determination. Just as the slogan of national independence of Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks and others remains an empty abstraction without the supplementary slogan Federative Balkan Republic, which played such an important role in the whole policy of the Balkan Social Democracy; so, on the all-European scale, the principle of the “right” to self-determination can he invested with flesh and blood only under the conditions of a European Federative Republic.

But if on the Balkan peninsula the slogan of a democratic federation has become purely proletarian, then this applies all the more to Europe with her incomparably deeper capitalist antagonisms.

To bourgeois politics the destruction of “internal” European customs houses is an insurmountable difficulty; but without this the inter-state courts of arbitration and international law codes will have no firmer duration than, for instance, Belgian neutrality. The urge toward unifying the European market which like the effort towards the acquisition of non-European backward lands, is caused by the development of capitalism, runs up against the powerful opposition of the landed and capitalist classes, in whose hands the tariff apparatus joined with that of militarism (without which the former means nothing) constitutes an indispensable weapon for exploitation and enrichment.

The Hungarian financial and industrial bourgeoisie is hostile to economic unification with capitalistically more developed Austria. The Austro-Hungarian bourgeoisie is hostile to the idea of a tariff union with more powerful Germany. On the other hand, the German landowners will never willingly consent to the cancellation of grain duties. Furthermore, the economic interests of the propertied classes of the Central Empires cannot be so easily made to coincide with the interests of the English, French, Russian capitalists and landed gentry. The present war, speaks eloquently enough on this score. Lastly, the disharmony and irreconcilability of capitalist interests between the Allies themselves is more visible than in the Central States. Under these circumstances, a halfway complete and consistent economic unification of Europe coming from the top by means of an agreement of the capitalist governments is sheer utopia. Here, the matter can go no further than partial compromises and half-measures. Hence it is that the economic unification of Europe, which offers colossal advantages to producer and consumer alike, and in general to the whole cultural development, becomes the revolutionary task of the European proletariat in its struggle against imperialist protectionism and its instrument—militarism.

The United States of Europe—without monarchies, standing armies and secret diplomacy—is therefore the most important integral part of the proletarian peace programme.

The ideologists and politicians of German imperialism frequently came forward, especially at the beginning of the war, with their programme of a European or at least a Central European ‘United States” (without France and England on the one side and Russia on the other). The programme of a violent unification of Europe is just as characteristic of the tendencies of German imperialism as is the tendency of French imperialism whose programme is the forcible dismemberment of Germany.

If the German armies achieved the decisive victory reckoned upon in Germany during the first phase of the war, the German imperialism would have doubtless made the gigantic attempt of realizing a compulsory military-tariff union of European states, which would be constructed completely of exemptions, compromises, etc., which would reduce to a minimum the progressive meaning of the unification of the European market. Needless to say, under such circumstances no talk would be possible of an autonomy of the nations, thus forcibly joined together as the caricature of the European United States. Certain opponents of the programme of the United States of Europe have used precisely this perspective as an argument that this idea can, under certain conditions, acquire a “reactionary" monarchist-imperialist content. Yet it is precisely this perspective that provides the most graphic testimony in favour of the revolutionary viability of the slogan of the United States of Europe. Let us for a moment grant that German militarism succeeds in actually carrying out the compulsory half-union of Europe, just as Prussian militarism once achieved the half-union of Germany, what would then be the central slogan of the European proletariat? Would it be the dissolution of the forced European coalition and the return of all peoples under the roof of isolated national states? Or the restoration of “autonomous” tariffs, “national” currencies, “national” social legislation, and so forth? Certainly not. The programme of the European revolutionary movement would then be: The destruction of the compulsory anti-democratic form of the coalition, with the preservation and furtherance of its foundations, in the form of compete annihilation of tariff barriers, the unification of legislation, above all of labour laws, etc. In other words, the slogan of the United States of Europe—without monarchies and standing armies—would under the indicated circumstances become the unifying and guiding slogan of the European revolution.

Let us assume the second possibility namely, an “undecided” issue of the war. At the very beginning of the war, the well-known professor Liszt, an advocate of “United Europe", argued that should the Germans fail to conquer their opponents, the European unification would nevertheless be accomplished, and in Liszt’s opinion it would be even more complete than in the case of a German victory. By the ever growing need of expansion, the European states, hostile to one another but unable to cope with one another, would continue to hinder each other in the execution of their “mission” in the Near East, Africa and Asia, and they would everywhere be forced back by the United States of North America, and by Japan. Precisely in case of a stalemate in the war, in Liszt’s opinion, the indispensability of an economic and military agreement among the European great powers would come to the fore against weak and backward peoples, but above all of course, against their own working masses. We pointed out above the colossal obstacles that lie in the way of realizing this programme. Even a partial overcoming of these obstacles would mean the establishment of an imperialist trust of European states, a predatory share-holding association. And this perspective is on occasion adduced unjustifiably as proof of the “danger” of the slogan of The United States of Europe, whereas in reality this is the most graphic proof of its realistic and revolutionary significance. If the capitalist states of Europe succeeded in merging into an imperialist trust, this would be a step forward as compared with the existing situation, for it would first of all create a unified, all-European material base for the working class movement. The proletariat would in this case have to fight not for the return to “autonomous” national states, but for the conversion of the imperialist state trust into a European Republican Federation.

However, the further the war progresses and reveals the absolute incapacity of militarism to cope with the questions brought forward by the war, the less is spoken about these great plans for the uniting of Europe at the top. The plan of the imperialist ‘United States of Europe” has given way to the plans, on the one side, of an economic union of Austria-Germany and on the other side of the quadruple alliance with its war tariffs and duties supplemented with militarism directed against one another. After the foregoing it is needless to enlarge on the great importance which, in the execution of these plans, the policy of the proletariat of both state “trusts” will assume in fighting against the established tariff and military-diplomatic fortifications and for the economic union of Europe.

Now, after the so very promising beginning of the Russian revolution, we have every reason to hope that during the course of this present war a powerful revolutionary movement will be launched all over Europe. It is clear that such a movement can succeed and develop and gain victory only as a general European one. Isolated within national borders, it would he doomed to disaster. Our social-patriots point to the danger which threatens the Russian revolution from the side of German militarism. This danger is indubitable, but it is not the only one. English, French, Italian militarism is no less a dreadful enemy of the Russian revolution than the Holienzollern war machine. The salvation of the Russian revolution lies in its propagation all over Europe. Should the revolutionary movement unfold in Germany; the German proletariat would look for and find a revolutionary echo in the “hostile” countries of the West, and if in one of the European countries the proletariat should snatch the power out of the hands of the bourgeoisie, it would be bound, be it only to retain the power, to place it at once at the service of the revolutionary movement in other countries. In other words, the founding of a stable régime of proletarian dictatorship would be conceivable only if it extended throughout Europe, and consequently in the form of a European Republican Federation. The state-unification of Europe, to be achieved neither by force of arms nor by industrial and diplomatic agreements, would in such a case become the unpostponable task of the triumphant revolutionary proletariat.

The United States of Europe is the slogan of the revolutionary epoch into which we have entered. Whatever turn the war operations may take later on, whatever balance sheet diplomacy may draw out of the present war, and at whatever tempo the revolutionary movement will progress in the near future, the slogan of the United States of Europe will in all cases retain a colossal meaning as the political formula of the struggle of the European proletariat for power. In this programme is expressed the fact that the national state has outlived itself—as a framework for the development of the productive forces, as a basis for the class struggle, and thereby also as a state form of proletarian dictatorship. Our denial of “national defence", as an outlived political programme for the proletariat, ceases to be a purely negative act of ideological-political self-defence, and acquires all its revolutionary content only in the event that over against the conservative defence of the antiquated national fatherland we place the progressive task, namely the creation of a new, higher “fatherland” of the revolution, of republican Europe, whence the proletariat alone will he enabled to revolutionize and to reorganize the whole world.

Herein, incidentally, lies the answer to those who ask dogmatically. "Why the unification of Europe and not of the whole world?" Europe is not only a geographic term, but a certain economic and cultural—historic community. The European revolution does not have to wait for the revolutions in Asia and Africa nor even in Australia and America. And yet completely victorious revolution in Russia or England is unthinkable without a revolution in Germany, and vice-versa. The present war is called a world war, but even after the intervention of the United States, it is Europe that is the arena of war. And the revolutionary problems confront first of all the European proletariat.

Of course, the United States of Europe will be only one of the two axes of the world organization of economy. The United States of America will constitute the other.

The only concrete historical consideration against the slogan of the United States of Europe was formulated by the Swiss Sotsial Demokrat as follows: ‘The unevenness of economic and political development is the unconditional law of capitalism'. From this the Sotsial-Demokrat draws the conclusion that the victory of socialism is possible in one country and that it is needless therefore to make the dictatorship of the proletariat in each isolated state conditional upon the creation of the United States of Europe. That the capitalist development of various countries is uneven is quite incontestable. But this unevenness is itself extremely uneven. The capitalist levels of England, Austria, Germany or France are not the same. But as compared with Africa and Asia all these countries represent capitalist “Europe", which has matured for the socialist revolution. It is profitable and necessary to reiterate the elementary thought that no single country in its struggle has to “wait” for the others, lest the idea of parallel international action be supplanted by the idea of procrastinating international inaction. Without waiting for the others, we begin and we continue the struggle on our own national soil in complete certainty that our initiative will provide the impulse for the struggle in other countries; and if this were not so, then it would be hopeless to think—as is borne out both by historical experience and theoretical considerations—that revolutionary Russia, for example, would be able to maintain herself in the face of conservative Europe, or that Socialist Germany could remain isolated in a capitalist world.

To view the perspectives of the social revolution within a national framework is to succumb to the same national narrowness that forms the content of “social patriotism”. Vaillant, until the close of his life, regarded France as the chosen country of the social revolution, and precisely in this sense he insisted upon its defence to the end. Lensch and others, some hypocritically, others sincerely, believed that the defeat of Germany means above all the destruction of the very foundation of the social revolution. Lastly, our Tseretelis and Chernovs who, in our national conditions, have repeated that sorry experiment of French ministerialism, swear that their policy serves the cause of the revolution and therefore has nothing in common with the policy of Guesde and Sembat.

Generally speaking it must not be forgotten that in social patriotism there is active, in addition to the most vulgar reformism, a national revolutionary messianism, which regards its national state as chosen for introducing to humanity “socialism” or “democracy", be it on the ground of its industrial development or of its democratic form and revolutionary conquests. (If a completely triumphant revolution were actually conceivable within the limits of a single, better prepared nation, this messianism, bound up with the programme of national defence, would have its relative historical justification. But in reality, it does not have it.) Defending the national basis of the revolution which such methods as undermine the international connections of the proletariat, really amounts to undermining the revolution, which cannot begin otherwise than on the national basis, but which cannot be completed on that basis in view of the present economic and military-political interdependence of the European states, which has never been so forcefully revealed as in this war. The slogan, the United States of Europe, gives expression to this interdependence, which will directly and immediately set the conditions for the concerted action of the European proletariat in the revolution.

Social-patriotism which is in principle, if not always in fact, the execution of social-reformism to the utmost extent and its adaptation to the imperialist epoch, proposes to us in the present world catastrophe to direct the policy of the proletariat along the lines of the ‘lesser evil” by joining one of the warring groups. We reject this method. We say that the European war, prepared by the entire preceding course of development has placed point-blank the fundamental problems of modern capitalist development as a whole; furthermore, that the line of direction to be followed by the international proletariat and its national detachments must not be determined by secondary political and national features nor by problematical advantages of military preponderance of either side (whereby these problematical advantages must he paid for in advance with absolute renunciation of the independent policy of the proletariat), but by the fundamental antagonism existing between the international proletariat and the capitalist r4gime as a whole.

This is the only principled formulation of the question and, by its very essence, it is revolutionary socialist in character. It alone provides a theoretical and historical justification for the tactic of revolutionary internationalism.

Denying support to the state—not in the name of a propaganda circle but in the name of the most important class in society—in the period of the greatest catastrophe, internationalism does not simply eschew “sin” passively, but affirms that the fate of world development is no longer linked for us with the fate of the national state; more than this, that the latter has become a vise for development and must be overcome, that is, replaced by a higher economic-cultural organization on a broader foundation. If the problem of socialism were compatible with the framework of the national state, then it would thereby become compatible with national defence. But the problem of socialism confronts us on the imperialist foundation, that is, under conditions in which capitalism itself is forced violently to destroy the national-state framework it has itself established.

The imperialist half-unification of Europe might be achieved, as we tried to show, as a result of a decisive victory of one group of the great powers as well as a consequence of an inconclusive outcome of the war. In either instance, the unification of Europe would signify the complete trampling underfoot of the principle of self-determination with respect to all weak nations and the preservation and centralization of all the forces and weapons of European reaction: monarchies, standing armies and secret diplomacy.

The democratic republican unification of Europe, a union really capable of guaranteeing the freedom of national development, is possible only on the road of a revolutionary struggle against militarist, imperialist, dynastic centralism, by means of uprisings in individual countries, with the subsequent merger of these upheavals into a general European revolution. The victorious European revolution, however, no matter how its course in isolated countries may be fashioned, can, in consequence of the absence of other revolutionary classes, transfer the power only to the proletariat. Consequently the United States of Europe represents the form—the only conceivable form—of the dictatorship of the European proletariat.


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Nations have not always existed, nor will they always exist in the future. Marxists are internationalists, fighting for world socialist revolution as the only way forward for humanity and our planet. Read More

Imperialism and War

Wars represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s impasse. Imperialism, Lenin said, was the "highest stage of capitalism". As long as the profit system exists, there will be wars over markets and spheres of influence. Read More

Revolutionary History

All written history, Marx stated, is the history of class struggle. Our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future. Read More

Revolutionary Strategy

Our aim is to spread the ideas of Marxism, in an organised fashion, amongst workers and youth. In order to do this, we must study the history and traditions of the working class. Read More
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