EXTRACT: Frankly, the left in Britain has a dismal record when it comes to Europe. Yes, the International Socialist tradition which spawned the Socialist Workers Party briefly flirted with the idea of a united Europe. ‘Official communism’, on the other hand, can do little better when it comes to ‘theory’ than cite Lenin’s 1916 polemic against Karl Kautsky’s ‘united states of Europe’ slogan. Not unreasonably, viewing the horrors of imperialist carnage, Lenin argued that to advance such a slogan at that time was either ridiculous or utopian. But it is worth reminding ourselves that the Communist International had no problems adopting Trotsky’s slogan of a ‘united socialist states of Europe’ in 1921 - only abandoned by the Soviet bureaucracy as it increasingly embraced national socialism.
The bulk of the British left notionally reject the ‘Stalinist’ doctrine of socialism in one country, but actually advocate it on an operative level. Therefore most left groups, Trotskyist or otherwise, look around the world and think the solution is to be found in a left or workers’ government coming to power in one country or another - whether through elections or a spontaneous upsurge by the masses - and implementing a left Keynesian programme. One idiotic expression of this left nationalist outlook is the slogan, ‘Take the power!’ - directed towards Syriza in Greece. Luckily, Syriza did not win the election.
For orthodox Marxists, as opposed to ‘official communists’ and many supposed followers of Leon Trotsky, the problem remains the same - capital exists on a global level and has to be superseded at its most advanced point. Meaning that we need a revolutionary strategy that takes into account history, political consciousness and also the reality of material/economic wealth. Without such a perspective, we are doomed to failure.