With the Euro in such difficulties now seems a good time to look at the whole European Union project, which of course started off as a community for coal and steel and later developed into the Common Market and then the European Union.
The Eurozone is experiencing huge problems because there is no central control. Each member state has its own financial policies or lack of them. Imagine the chaos in the USA if each individual state was allowed to run up huge debt and the rest had to bail them out to save the dollar.
There are really only two options for Europe. One is to disband the whole European Union project, get rid of the Euro and go back to individual nation states with their own separate currencies. In my view this would be disastrous, and seriously risk another war in Europe which could escalate into a Third World War. The other two World Wars started on our troubled continent. When the Soviet Union and the Yugoslav federation broke up, disastrous wars, terrorist attacks and genocide took place – Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Chechnya, South Georgia, etc. These great Socialist unions should never have broken up.
The other option is for the European Union to move towards a federal union, a united republic (monarchies have to go) or United States of Europe. A capital needs to be established in a Federal Zone (similar to the District of Columbia or Australian Capital Territory), the Euro introduced into all member states, and a new Constitution drawn up similar to the one which established the USA, but incorporating European values.
This would at one sweep make the European Union fully democratic, and give member states considerable powers and autonomy. Each state in the USA has its own legislature or state parliament, and the same would be true in Europe. Each member state would have considerable control over its own affairs, and be free to leave the Union at any time.
Devolution would be automatic in a truly federal union, allowing much diversity but insuring central control of matters like finance. This would also insure a level playing field, as a minimum wage would need to be established across the Union. This would stop floods of immigrants from one part of Europe to another. Freedom of movement in the Union would be a much more even affair. With such disparity in prices/wages, etc. at the moment the poorer countries suffer as their labor power emigrates to the richer countries. East Germany solved the problem by building a Wall and barrier between it and the richer West Germany, Europe should solve the problem by tearing down barriers and uniting as a single federation where the standard of living is made much more even by, for example, introducing a uniform minimum wage across the Union, and central control of taxation, banking, finances, etc.
As to the existing monarchies in Europe, I feel these are anachronisms and if not swept away entirely they should be kept only as token tourist attractions in mini-kingdoms along the lines of the Principality of Monaco. The British one (or rather English one, as I envisage Wales and Scotland becoming separate member states of the European Union, and Ireland joining as a single, united member state) could be centered on Windsor/Slough area, where the Windsor clan of royals could parade around for the tourists, within easy reach of the English state capital, London. These mini-kingdoms and principalities could be associate members of the Union, something like Puerto Rico is to the USA.
As a Socialist many would question why I would support a capitalist United States of Europe. First of all, it may not remain capitalist. Italy, France, Greece, Cyprus and all the Central and Eastern nations of Europe had very strong Communist and Socialist parties at one time, so it is entirely possible that a fully democratic European Union would one day vote in a Socialist federal government.
The other possibility, of course, is that a number of member states which voted in Socialist state legislatures or parliaments could opt to collectively leave the United States of Europe and form their own European Socialist Union.
The big mistake previous federations have made is not to allow individual member states to seccede from the Union. This policy caused the acrimonious break-up of the USSR and the Yugoslav federation, and in USA caused the terrible war between the States of the 19th Century (the American Civil War). The Southern Dixie states should, of course, have been free to break away from the Union and form the Confederate States of America. Abraham Lincoln had no right to try to stop them or legislate against practices such as slavery which the North encompassed for many years. It was up to the CSA to decide on this issue, and anyone who believes had they been allowed to separate from the Union that they would still be enforcing slavery or even segretation is not learning from history. Even South Africa, for years under a white apartheid regime, eventually had to abandon this policy.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of policies in individual states or groups of states, autonomy must always be guaranteed. This is the secret to a successful, free union of states. The right to seccede from the Union must always be guaranteed.
Ultimately, to secure world peace and guarantees against dictatorships and genocide, etc., the nations of the world must come together in a world-wide confederation with a world security force replacing national armies. The United Nations General Assembly could be the embryo of such a world parliament if the undemocratic Security Council with its permanent member states and their vetoes were abolished.
So first Europe, then the world, in a federation/confederation with considerable autonomy for all member states is, in my view, the only way forward to insure world security and peace.
Ultimately, there must be a world-wide Socialist federation or confederation of states to insure a fair distrubution of the fruits of the workers’ labor, free from exploitation. This means there must be a fully democratic, multi-party system in place in all member states world-wide to insure no corrupt bureaucracy can maintain a monopoly of power anywhere.
Karl Marx and others saw a further stage of world-wide Communism; a completely self-governing society where the State and all its paraphernalia (armies, police, money) had withered away and where there was an abundance of goods and services – ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.’ This seems to me hopelessly utopian, and if it ever came about on planet Earth we would need to be far more spiritually advanced than we are at present.
However a worldwide Socialist federation or confederation is perfectly feasible, but after the collapse of Socialist experiments in the 20th Century due to corruption, bureaucracy, dictatorship and plain inefficiency, this will take some time to come about. Eventually, however, the crumbling capitalist system which deliberately causes wars to prop it up, has to be replaced by a fairer system.
Meanwhile, uniting in a federal Europe is the best way we can preserve peace and relative prosperity on our Continent. Yes, we speak different languages, and these must be preserved. Even in the USA Spanish, French and many native American languages survive. The Soviet Union had many different languages among its Soviet Socialist republics. There is no reason why a United States of Europe should not exist with member states retaining their various languages and cultures, though probably French, German, Spanish and English would be the main languages used for Europe-wide official documents etc.
Unite or plunge Europe into further conflicts, this seems to me to be the stark choice we and future generations face.