One of the proposals coming out of the European Convention now in session is to rename the expanded European Union, which in a few years' time will number 25 member states, as the United States of Europe.
The United States of Europe is what is in fact taking shape, and it would be good to call it that. Solidarity is emphatically for a United States of Europe. The united Europe we want is a Socialist United States of Europe, but even a bourgeois United States of Europe is better than the available (bourgeois) alternative: a Europe in which the conflicts between states such as France and Britain and Germany are fought out not with words, bureaucratic manoeuvring, and inter-state politicking, but with trade sanctions and wars.
The slow knitting together of European capitalism over the last 50 years has made possible and necessary an unprecedented unity of the workers all across Europe. It can and must be more than a unity of sentiment and vague solidarity - a unity of policy and common projects, a unity that allows the knitting together of the national working-class movements into one mighty movement able to take on the concentrated strength of the European bourgeoisie.
Given the fact of European semi-unity and of Britain's involvement in the almost-in-existence European state, a purely British working-class policy is now an impossibility. For the labour movement to resist the moves towards a United States of Europe would be a piece of reactionary nonsense.
The future of the British working-class movement and of socialism in Britain is inextricably bound up with Europe, the European working class, and a united working-class fight against the European bourgeoisie.
The left in Britain has for decades opposed European unity. On this issue most of the left has chosen to link itself symbiotically with the nationalist or US-oriented right wing. It continues to do so. Opposition to the euro is now the focus of this prolonged self-immersion in chauvinism, but its basic content is the old opposition to European unity. The decision of the Socialist Alliance special conference to campaign for a "no" vote in a referendum on the euro is business as usual for most of the left.
To this, internationalist socialists counterpose what we also counterpose to the "internationalism" of the European bourgeoisie: international working-class unity.
Yes to the United States of Europe! Yes to European working-class unity! Forward to the Socialist United States of Europe!