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

Submitted by dalcassian on 6 January, 2017 - 10:52

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 Parties, the Independent Labor Party, the Commonwealth and Fabian Societies, as well as several unions and
pence organizations, produced a series of resolutions which are of importance to the world socialist movement.

The resolution on "Political Relations Between Europe, Britain, the Commonwealth and Empire" point up the independent and democratic program for the unification of Europe as opposed to the "integration" scheme proposed by Economic Cooperation Administrator Paul Hoffman, now under 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 advocate "free competition" which has long since led to monopoly. And, according 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.


The British Center resolution couples with political unity and the power 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, association and action, within social conduct.
(b) Complete independence from the two power blocs.
(c) The public ownership of the essential industries and services, and public control of finance and exportsand imports on a European basis.
(d) The liberation of the colonial territories of all the European powers. The dominions of the British Commonwealth, as well as representatives of all the colonial peoples within the European armies, would be invited to send representatives to a joint council in order to establish political and economic partnershipwith 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 ACTION in advocating an Independent
Western Union. The final aim of this union, according to the resolution, should be to encourage the establishment of a World Socialist Federation by providing a powerful example, stimulating the acceptance of socialism in the U 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 economicand 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 end to dismantling, are called for. Rather than an isolated internationalization of the Ruhr, the resolution asks that the Ruhr statute be used "as the first step in the Europeanization of the coal, mineral, steel and electrical-power industries 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 administration are democratically controlled by the workers of all grades in each industry, including workers oh the land and in the services."


The resolution calls for the establishment of industrial democracy as part of a general policy of decentralization of political, economic and social power, such a policy alone being compatible with the principles of democratic socialism. It condemns both private capitalism and nationalization as at present conducted.

Lower - income groups, pensioners, small salary and wage earners will suffer most from devaluation, according to the resolution on that subject.

The unilateral action by the British, which forced some 25 other countries to devalue their currency, is deplored. 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 dependence, as to other problems, is foreseen internally by the transfer of the ownership of the means of production and distribution to the community, accompanied by industrial democracy and (externally) by long-term socialist planning of Europe and the liberated colonies. While recognizing that the success of such a program might lead to American economic isolation, they feel that their solidarity with the American working class will be not weakened but

Labor Action, New York, 5 December 1949

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