Paul Foot (changing imperialisms)

Martin Spellman mspellman at
Thu Feb 13 03:28:14 MST 2003

> The fact is, as I have tried to explain here before, that we are
> not likely to experience any such thing as a Euro superstate
> hegemony. That's a fantasy cooked up by a bizarre coalition of
> punk Thatcherite British nationalists

	Hardly Thatcherite, punk or otherwise. She is remembered for being hostile
to 'Europe' and was a supporter of British imperialism, supporting and
supported by the US. Ingo Schmidt seems to argue this kind of line,
obliquely in Monthly Review (this is all that is on the website, best I can
do for now):

"Europe: On the Rise to Hegemony or Caught in Crisis
Ingo Schmidt
Today, as during the years shortly after the Second World War, it is
commonly assumed that the global economic and political hegemony of the
United States is destined to last forever. But history doesn't stand still.
As other capitalist powers recouped their strength, they became active
economic competitors and made inroads in the dominance of U.S. industry,
trade, and finance. Moreover, the recovered war-torn powers eventually
shattered a key factor of U.S. leadership, forcing the abandonment of the
dollar-as-good-as-gold provision of the Bretton Woods agreement."

> and, on the left, national
> Keynesians of the Wynne Godley variety and ultra-leftists still
> obsessing about a "British road to socialism" whilst content to
> retain Northern Ireland, for example.

	Straw men methinks. Did ultra-leftists ever obsess about the 'British Road
to Socialism'? (programme of the old Communist Party -- only equivalent now
the programme of the CPB, successor of CPGB). To be charitable to that
immemorable document it began as a genuine attempt to sketch a feasible
transition in British conditions but became ever more revisionist and
ludicrous with each draft. I recall a provision that 'under socialism' the
bourgeoisie would be 'allowed to own one newspaper'. Apart from the
difficulties of a privately owned newspaper in a socialist society or even
worse a socially owned one, under capitalist control or advocating bourgeois
policies, the problem is you are talking specifics in a hypothetical future
situation. More surprisingly Ralph Miliband, no less, advocated the same
thing in one of his last books (Socialism for Sceptics?) But I digress.

> Once we realise that a Euro
> superstate is a distant, if not utterly futile dream, we can move
> beyond a false dichotomy of one imperialism versus another.

	It is probably the dominant view of the 'New Realist' labour movement (if
such a thing still exists here). The concept was that under Thatcherite
conditions 'Europe' would do the job the Labour Party and TUC couldn't: the
'Social Chapter' and all that. Similarly to those who foresaw El Dorado
coming when Britain joined the EEC 30 years ago: all those German wages and
Italian holidays we were all going to get just for signing a treaty. Class
struggle not required.

 I have in fact advocated here the
> speedy demise of the British state, a key pillar of any would-be
> future Euro-imperialist superstate.

	An interesting prospect. I'll have to look back over your arguments but it
is not something I'm reckoning on seeing in my lifetime.

Martin Spellman

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