Another Day: British Socialists Meet For European Unification (1949)

Author: 

Labor Action

The British Center of the Socialist
Movement for the United States of
Europe, in its London conference,
October 22-23, attended by delegates
or observers from local Labor Par-
ties, the Independent Labor Party,
the Commonwealth and Fabian So-
cieties, as well as several unions and
pence organizations, produced a series
of resolutions which are of import-
ance to the world socialist movement.
The resolution on "Political Rela-
tions Between Europe, Britain, the
Commonwealth and Empire" point up
the independent and democratic pro-
gram for the unification of Europe as
opposed to the "integration" scheme
proposed by Economic Cooperation
Administrator Paul Hoffman, now un-
der discussion in Europe.
; The British Center calls upon the
socialist members of the European
Assembly to insist "as a condition for
participation in Western Union, upon
a constitution giving full powers to
the central political Authority to
build a planned economy for Europe
and lo acquire ownership of the key
industries concerned in that plan.*'
The United States integrators advo-
cate "free competition" which has
long since led to monopoly. And, ac-
cording to the latest reports, spurred
on by Hoffman's proposals, cartel
agreements among big industries in
Western Europe are growing apace,
to beat the proposed elimination of
tariff barriers.
FOR INDEPENDENT UNION
The British Center resolution cou-
ples with political unity and the pow-
er to nationalize the economy:
(a) Provision for the countries of
Eastern Europe to participate as soon
as they accept the basis of democracy,
i.e.. liberty of thought, speech, asso-
ciation and action, within social con-
duct.
(bi Complete independence from
the two power blocs.
(c) The public ownership OX the
essential industries and services, and
public control of finance and exports
and imports on a European basis.
The liberation of the colonial
territories of all the European powers.
The dominions of the British Com-
monwealth, as well as representa-
tives of all the colonial peoples with-
in the European armies, would be in-
vited to send representatives to a
joint council in order to establish
political and economic partnership
with the European Union.
Such a union of Europe is proposed
by the authors of the resolution as a
really effective bulwark against war.
since it would be independent of both
Russia and the United States, the
two major contenders. In this respect
It shares the view of LABOR AC-
TION' in advocating an Independent
Western Union. The final aim of this
union, according to the resolution,
should be to encourage the establish-
ment of a World Socialist Federation
by providing a powerful example,
stimulating the acceptance of social-
ism in the I S. and of democratic
controls through revolution in Russia.
The resolution on "Germany and
Europe," while recognizing that the
recovery of Germany is the key to
European recovery and quintessential
if Europe is to gain her economic
and political* independence, has one
glaring omission. It fails to ask for
the elementary demand—if Germany
is to become democratic, let alone a
part of a European union based upon
socialist planning—that the occupying
powers get their troops out.
A seat in the Council of Europe,
abolition of restrictions on German
manufacture, an encl to dismantling,
are called for. Rather than an iso-
lated internationalization of tfce Ruhr,
the resolution asks that the Ruhr
statute be used "as the first step in
the Europeanization of the coal, min-
eral, steel and electrical-power indus-
tries of Western Europe, based on the
principle of common ownership and
democratic control.
The main thesis of the "resolution
on industrial democracy" highlights
another point which is stressed by the
Independent Socialist League. This is
the view that nationalization of the
means of production is not socialism
"unless policy formation and admin-
istration are democratically con-
trolled by the workers of all grades
in each industry, including workers
oh the land and in the services."
HITS DEVALUATION POLICY
The resolution calls for the estab-
lishment of industrial democracy as
part of a general policy of decentral-
ization of political, economic and so-
cial power, such a policy alone being
compatible with the principles of
democratic socialism. It condemns
both private capitalism and national-
ization as at present conducted.
Lower - income groups, pensioners,
small salary and wage earners will
suffer most from devaluation, accord-
ing to the resolution on that subject.
The unilateral action by the British,
which forced some 25 other countries
to devalue their currency, is de-
plored. While economic dependence
upon the United States by Britain is
recognized, the resolution makes note
of the results of the present foreign
policy: an 800-million-pound per year
expenditure on armaments, the loss
of over a million workers engaged in
war production and a more likely
possibility of war than of peace.
The solution to the problem of de-
pendence, as to other problems, is
foreseen internally by the transfer of
the ownership of the means of pro-
duction and distribution to the com-
munity, accompanied by industrial
democracy and (externally) by long-
term socialist planning of Europe and
the liberated colonies. While recog-
nizing that the success of such a pro-
gram might lead to American eco-
nomic isolation, they feel that their
solidarity with the American work-
ing class will be not weakened but
itrengthened.

Labor Action, New York, 5 Dec 1949