Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25) is very welcome, and so is Thomas Fazi's critique, but both seem to leave the question of a potential democratized Europe's role in the world–its foreign policy and so called security policy–out of sight. Just remember that our problems are 'overdetermined' (to use a word that was fashionable in the 1970s) by global issues such as nuclear armaments/disarmament(s), plus the inherent 'incompatibility' (to use a term from software slang) of democracy and weapons of mass destruction. This means that the present nuclear states cannot really be democratic; firstly, because hitherto, at least, no people, no demos, did consciously chose nuclear (or chemical, biological, nanotechnological, robotical etc) weapons; the statesmen who decided to build such machines never had any explicit electoral mandate to do so; secondly, as pres. Eisenhower said, after WWII (and precisely because of the Manhattan project, etc.) the democracy in America threatened to be crushed by a 'military-industrial complex'. Unfortunately, the democracy in America was then crushed by the military-industrial complex.

In the 1980s, there rose in Europe a very popular and intellectually vibrant political movement against the Cold War, and in favour of liberating the geographical space from the Atlantic to the Urals from nuclear weapons. That movement has to be continued now, otherwise Europe cannot and will never be democratized. Thus one truly European author and thinker who needs to be remembered and re-read today is the late historian and peace activist Edward P. Thompson. Another is, of course, Altiero Spinelli. It is unfortunate that Spinelli is as unknown as he is in the Anglo-Saxon world, and, in general, outside his home country, Italy. Not even the brilliant autobiography of this constitutional theoretician has been translated from the Italian!

For reflection:

In the preface to the second (unfinished) part of his autobiography, dated March 1986 (only weeks before his death), Altiero Spinelli summed up the periods of his own postwar political action (in my ad hoc translation):

"My life can be articulated in six actions cycles each founded on a different hypothesis.

I. Between 1943 and 1945 I worked on the hypothesis of an impetuous democratic renaissance that would grow from the destruction that had taken place not only of the European order of the past, but also inside almost all the nation-states of Europe.

II. Between 1947 and 1954 I worked on the assumption that the large European moderate ministers, encouraged by the democratic missionary spirit which then animated the US foreign policy, and frightened by what was happening in Eastern Europe, would have listened to us and set about to begin with the federal construction.

III. Between 1954 and 1960(?) I worked on the assumption that it would have been possible to mobilize Europeanism, now widespread, into a growing popular protest - a Congress of the European People - directed against the very legitimacy of the nation states.

IV. Between 1960 and 1970 , withdrawing almost completely from political action, I meditated on the meaning of the European Economic Community, on the new aspects of introduced to the military defense by the nuclear weapon, on the possibility of a revival of Federalist action.

V. Between 1970 and 1976 I worked on the assumption that the EEC Commission might take on the role of political leadership in restarting the building of political union.

VI. Between 1976 and 1986 I worked on the assumption that the European Parliament would have to play a constituent role in European integration.

Each of these adventures ended with a defeat of the adventure itself and of me. Every time I had suffered greatly, because I had not only moved forward a reality, but also, and, above all, in vain chased a dream."

For the above quotation, see Altiero Spinelli: Come ho tentato di diventare saggio (Società editrice il Mulino: Bologna 1999 p. 348; no doubt my translation needs to be revised and amended by a native English speaker.)

(I have also posted the above comments in OpenDemocracy in reply to Thomas Fazi's critique of the DIEM25 Manifesto.)