Socialism, nationalism and European integration : the development of theory and practice
The late twentieth century has seen a triple crisis on the left: a crisis of socialism in all its mainstream expressions, a crisis of the state, but also a reaffirmation of the appeals of nationalism. The thesis is an attempt to examine the relationship between these developments in the context of the process of European integration. It starts with the difficult relation between socialism and nationalism, from the founding fathers of scientific socialism, through to their followers in the so-called golden age of socialism, and the practice of the Internationals, It looks briefly at the way the German SPD and the French Socialists reacted to the process of European integration, showing the predominance of national interests, which combined with the internal party problems and socialist beliefs, resulted m a confusion manifested in their rhetoric and vocabulary. An account is offered of some socialist thinkers who paid attention to European integration in the 1970s. The French Rocardians, Ernest Mandel and Johan Galtung are shown to have failed to understand the importance of nationalism and remained preoccupied with statism. The exception is Altiero Spinelli, who, as both thinker and practitioner, developed a unique non-doctrinaire vision of socialism, coupled with an understanding of national differences. His federalism and his pro-European stance incorporated notions and ideas that were to dominate the socialist discourse of today. Finally there is an examination of issues that currently dominate the discussion about the future of socialism. These can be divided into arguments about the state, the working class and the new radicalism, and democracy and the ideas of choice, rights, autonomy and the market. Spinelli had touched upon all these issues with a particular reference to European integration and opened up for socialists the European horizon. In conclusion, it is argued that while European integration is not a socialist enterprise, it might be used to further its aims.