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International Socialism, Spring 1967


Editorial 3

A Note of Dissent


From International Socialism (1st series), No.28, Spring 1967, p.3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


A statement from a minority of the members of the IS Editorial Board criticises the above editorial on the following lines:

The political line of the editorial on Europe is only a slight improvement on the policies advocated three years ago in this journal. Then, as some readers will remember, we were told that British entry into Europe reflected an inevitable economic trend; that any opposition to the recruitment of Britain into Cartel Europe must be based on a nationalist philosophy of ‘Socialism in One Country;’ that Trotsky’s old banner of ‘The United Socialist States of Europe’ was the only possible demand that could be pressed against the pro-capitalist Marketeers. The present editorial reflects much the same line, except that ‘links’ between European militants are advocated in parallel with the process of bourgeois cartelisation.

Most unfortunately, General de Gaulle does not read International Socialism. Had he done so, he would have undoubtedly realised how absurd it was to try to prevail against ineluctable economic drives; he would have forthwith welcomed Britain’s admission into the EEC. As it was, the foolish General, in his abysmal ignorance of Marxism, chose to contend against the iron logic of history, and elbowed Britain out. It still seems that he is doing so; will nobody send him a copy of this journal? The defence of the USSE surely cannot be kept waiting indefinitely; lacking any existing workers’ state to wave a flag for, we must at all costs support the one whose actual appearance on the stage of events is delayed only by the unforeseeable quirks of French politicians.

More seriously: the nationalist and Statist arguments against the Market are not the only ones. The editorial chooses to dismiss the effects of entry in facilitating an attack upon wages and living costs; there may be a worse attack, it says, if Britain stays out. A political stand cannot be based on this play with imponderables. We know that Britain’s accession to Cartel Europe will tend to strengthen the ruling class. So ‘international’ is the perspective of the editorial that the whole role of the EEC in erecting barriers against the underdeveloped world is simply ignored. (‘The Rich Man’s Club’ argument was, incidentally, one of the most powerful of those deployed by Lenin in his article attacking the ‘United States of Europe’ slogan.) The writers of IS borrow more and more of the principled case against the Market, but can never bring themselves actually to oppose the fraud. We have, it seems, constantly to look over our shoulder to see if the jingoists of the Left are on our side too. Well, they are, and on quite a number of other issues as well. Some quite dreadful arguments are used to criticise incomes policy: do we declare neutrality on this question because of Cousins or Enoch Powell? The CND case against the Bomb often used to reek with ‘Little England’-ism: did we retreat to the sidelines and leave the nationalists to fight it out? It is sensible to press for contacts among industrial and political militants, across Europe as elsewhere; this does not mean that one has to be neutral, still less sympathetic, on British entry. Some of the most practical links between the British Left and the European movements in recent years have in fact been forged by opponents of the Market in this country.

The fact is that ‘The United States of Europe’ sticks out like a sore thumb among our other demands. It is a bureaucratic-Utopian piety, a typical instance of the pie-in-the-sky ‘blackboard Socialism’ that this journal has. exposed so effectively at other times. Opposition to the Common Market (which in this country implies opposition to British entry) remains the only possible stance for Socialists.

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