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Europe, Italy

Colonialism is alive and kicking

IN THE RADICAL PRESS / IL MANIFESTO

The EU’s foreign policy continues to be guided by the principle that what is granted to Europeans it is not to be allowed for other peoples, as Kosovo and Ukraine show, says Luciana Castellina.

The Europe born in 1957 is not the one dreamed by antifascists imprisoned by Mussolini’s regime in the island of Ventotene In their manifesto the goal of unity among the countries which were then for the second time in a few decades engaged in a bloody war, was peace. But the first embryo of the future EU was the EEC, and when it was formed Europe was divided. Indeed, it was designed primarily as an instrument of the Cold War: an outpost of the West behind the Iron Curtain, and which was closely linked to NATO. Few remember but the first act in favour of the new institutional creature did not take place in European but the American parliaments. It was voted in 1947, on March 10 in the Senate, and in the Congress on March 23, under the patronage of the powerful Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, brother of the equally powerful Allen, head of the CIA.

This bastard birth has marked Europe and it did not get better even when the Berlin wall came down. Just think of its foreign policy: rather than seek a cooperative relationship with the great Eurasian neighbourn that could have given the continent the opportunity to secure an independent role in the world, it followed the line from Washington, which wanted to maintain in control : Europe accepted all possible missiles on its territory at the time of Brezhnev and Andropov, when what was needed was to help escape the fatal spiral of rearmament; and today with the extension of NATO to Russia’s borders, as if we were reviving the Cold War, a line that acts as a cover for only the most sinister of American oil interests (collectively, a nice gift to the hateful Putin, who because of Western behaviour has regain popularity in his country).

The colonialist footprint, as well as Western arrogance, remains the characteristic that determines the orientation of the EU in international politics: what we do in Europe is not granted to others. For example, the hasty unilateral recognition of independence from Belgrade of the republics of Slovenia and Croatia in ’93 in the name of the right of peoples to self-determination but the violent denunciation of those in Ukraine claiming the same right (it is significant that today nobody remembers that Yugoslavia was torn to pieces in the name of that right while the EU did not even try to open a forum for discussion between the parties in conflict, as provided by the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe in which it was determined that no boundary can be touched without an agreement. The European Union even applauded the bombing of Belgrade in defense of self-determination of Kosovo).

On European incongruence one could continue, citing the cases of Western Sahara, East Timor, Cyprus, and of course Palestine. Not to mention the silence on the atomic bomb owned by Israel, which refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. As well as the violent punishment of those who do not obey the decisions of the UN, and the absolution of the many military adventures that did not have that coverage. In this case, once again, Israel, and those overseas interventions where Europe was the protagonist.

And then, perhaps most serious of all, the policy toward the southern Mediterranean. With much fanfare the Barcelona Declaration, which was supposed to be a friendly partnership, capable of launching a far-reaching compromise for a co-development of their respective economies and was instead only a launch pad for free trade that deepened the historic colonial huge differences between the North African economies and Europe.

Today the gigantic drama of illegal immigration should lead to a serious rethink on the international politics of Europe, which does not simply end in just a little aid to Italy for the reception of the survivors of the shipwrecks. We should rethink the world, understanding that we are facing a historic upheaval that you cannot cope with using with weapons or with a short-sighted policy that thinks Europe can remain a closed garden.

Some signs of repentance? No, the opposite, the main effort of the executive of the Union is now launch a transatlantic free trade treaty that, if it goes through, will erase everything that has been achieved in the twentieth century in Europe by the labor movement and democratic struggles. Nobody, except the lists backing left winger Alex Tsipras for EU President spoke in this campaign. It is no coincidence: this problem should be sufficient to determine the vote of May 25, if people were aware of what it is.

This agreement will see Europe lose the specificity of its social model, which after the war, and thanks to great social struggles, represented the highest social compromise. If this comes to pass the European Union would become just a piece of the global market and would cease to have a raison d’être, to be the expression of a different model. The most dangerous anti-Europeans are certainly those who want to make Europe lose all her identity, to blend with the worst in the world.

Translation by Revolting Europe

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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