THE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE AND OF AMERICA Removing barriers throughout the world to the individual’s right to freedom and democracy


Introduction


Dear friends,

Let us agree on one fact, possibly modest but – in its own way – certain: these “United States of Europe and of America” are not an easy “object” to handle. Nor is it easy to solve the enigma of what is really meant by this expression – even amongst ourselves.
For myself, for example, four things come immediately to mind.

Firstly, - surely – we are talking of a political-electoral slogan (and of a slogan with potential, with practical efficacy, in my opinion) launched a few semesters ago by Marco Pannella.
A slogan must first of all encompass a maximum extent of thought in a minimum number of words: otherwise – obviously – it wouldn’t be a “slogan”. However, most of all it must be “evocative”: that is, it must express things, concepts, and indications that are able to touch people’s “experience”.
As I’ve already said on other occasions, a signal worth taking into consideration – against expectations – has come from Young & Rubicam, who have carried out a survey among young Europeans, according to their marketing criteria, regarding the “Europe” brand name and the “America” brand name, on a par with other logos, such as Coca-Cola, Nike or Microsoft. It was found that the brand name, the evocation of “America” is very popular, despite what has happened in recent months, to a large extent even more so than the “Europe” brand name. Everyone found this incredible, except us.

Secondly, leaving aside slogans, the “United States of Europe and of America” can also mean the “American reform” of Europe. And there are many of us who believe that one of the features of our time is actually represented – starting from institutional mechanisms – specifically by the contrast between the “Anglo-Saxon model” (or, more correctly: the Anglo-Saxon models) and the Continental European model, the latter being characterised by a historical predominance of the Party-State concept over the Person-Territory concept.

Thirdly, the “United States of Europe and of America” can also signify “new transatlantic relations”. It’s an objective fact – I refer to it in non-evaluative terms, that is, leaving aside my own personal considerations – that, if we proceed on the one hand with the brusque considerations of Rumsfeld on the “old Europe”, and on the other hand, with a Europe totally dedicated to criminalising true or presumed American wickedness, not much progress will be made.
There is, instead, a great need for an America able to resist unilateral temptations, and for a Europe able to resist the temptations of Munich 1938 (which are – in my opinion- exactly the same as those of Srebrenica 1995 or Baghdad 2003).

Finally, in fourth place, the “United States of Europe and of America” could also be a means, an instrument. For example, from the point of view of the great campaign launched by the Transnational Radical Party for a “World Democracy Organisation”, it wouldn’t be out of place to say that the WDO is the goal, the objective, while the “United States of Europe and of America” would assume the nature of the means of the new alliance (of like-minded” or of “willing” partners, according to preference, not only linguistic – of each one of us) directed towards that goal.

Realistically, it seems to me that there is something true in each one of these four points, and that, nevertheless – none of them fully deals with the topic.
Even more realistically, we could say that the “United States of Europe and of America” encompasses these four points as a whole, uniting them into a “direction to take”, a “trajectory”, a “political line”.

The problem is that – as we well know – there is no “cold fusion” in politics, and this kind of thesis risks becoming a little academic. New facts in politics are – instead – “hot”, occurring in the heat of the moment, in the middle of a great clash of opinions.
From this point of view, I feel very disappointed. First of all because – in another context – the “Free Iraq” campaign, as it was conceived and launched on 20 January, had all the features to initiate a process of this kind. What was it, after all? It was a campaign to remove a dictator, and at the same time, to underline even more clearly the prospect of liberty and democracy as a reason, I would say almost as a “motive” for the initiative (it should be pointed out by myself, who cannot be suspected of disinterest or antipathy towards the Americans and this administration, that the splendid speech by Bush to the American Enterprise Institute – which was, in my opinion his most “radical”, on the right/duty to intervention – was made on 28 February, 40 days after Pannella: before this, only the discovery of weapons of mass destruction were spoken of); moreover, “Free Iraq” was useful for stirring the UN, in some ways even to pin it down with regards to its obligations, to remind it of its founding Charter, we would say – in Italian terms – to “bring it back to its Statutes”; and in a final analysis, in order to lay down the basis for a new alliance of democrats, (United States and Europe first in line), which – through the aims and means chosen to tackle and resolve the Iraq “case” – prefigures the goal of a Community of democracies, and thereafter the real and proper WDO.
We well know that this has not been possible, in the first place (a consequence, both chronological and logical) due to the Italian “context”, of what we call the “Italian case”, which - against everything: even against an absolute majority of Members of Parliament – has prevented a real debate from taking place (confrontation: precisely what is necessary for “hot fusion”), and has prevented the same signatories from knowing whether they are able or not to take an active role in the “fusion”.
And another thing; Tony Blair, while having to face up to public opinion and an extremely agitated press (and also Parliament!), has been able to count on the circulation of ideas (his and others’), and, in the end, has even overturned negative opinion polls, precisely because there has been “discourse”, and the “expression” of ideas has become “flesh”, and entered into people’s lives, into their heads and into the houses of every citizen, of every resident of that “polis”.
On the other hand, our problem – and this is always the point, but it wouldn’t make sense for us to hide the fact – is that the same old argument also applies to the “United States of Europe and of America”: an idea survives if it’s made known, if someone can make it their own (and explain the reasons for making it their own), if someone else can oppose it (and explain the reasons for which they oppose it), if another person again is able to modify it or enhance it (and explain the reasons for which they modify or enhance it).

Otherwise, we are left with the “cold fusions”, or attempts, forays, which we try to make from time to time. But it’s necessary to know that we are dealing with problematic terrain, on which we can get hurt, and from which others can soon pull out, if they understand where they risk ending up, for the simple fact, for the simple “blame” of having supported us… I’ll explain with an example: a small number of illustrious neo-conservative exponents with whom I’ve been having some communication problems for the past few days, are today in Lucca, invited by the President of the Senate, Pera, and by Gaetano Quagliariello, who - Pera and Quagliariello – had though that the “right” interlocutors were, among others, Massimo Teodori and Giorgio La Malfa, not – certainly - any of us, as far as I know.

But I’ll get back to the point. So: the “United States of Europe and of America” are, first of all, a political line, a direction to take, as I’ve said so far. They are a political idea that someone – Emma, Marco, all of us – wants to propose to someone else. I’ll set out then – to outline the features that this proposal should have, in my opinion, but - I repeat – knowing full well that a proposal can only be defined as such if it is communicable. And today, this proposal – even this one – is not so.

The “United States of Europe and of America”, then, for me means reflecting on a number of points, which refer to corresponding passages in this document:
1. WDO and self-monitoring of western democracies
2. The current oligarchic tendencies of western societies
3. National states against individual rights and freedoms
4. Anglo-Saxon models compared to Continental ones
5. Freedom of movement of people: open societies (also) because they are multiracial
6. The secularity of regulations (also) for religious freedom and freedom of conscience.


1. WDO and self-monitoring of western democracies

During the course of an interesting speech at the last Italian radical Congress, Angiolo Bandinelli – as often occurs – said something important with a vivid, strong image. He said (and I hope I’m summarising not too incorrectly): “Let’s be clear about this: the idea of the “United States of Europe and of America” makes sense for me, a European, with the prospect of having a vote in Washington, including for the election of the President”.
I would say straight away that I agree, and that Angiolo’s comments seem to be effectively a “provocation”, but in the sense that it leads to serious reflection: yes, the way forward should lead us precisely to something of the kind.
On the other hand, it’s also true – and I think Angiolo would agree – that none of this belongs to the present nor to the near future: not only – let’s say – due to the unwillingness of “this” America with respect to “this” Europe, but also due to a fundamental lack of reciprocity. In other words, even if we wanted to, what would we make an American vote for in Europe? And it’s a real dilemma – I’ll come back to this later – that can be summed up in the unfortunate (and how revealing!) comment made some months ago by Giulio Tremonti: “No to Brussels like Washington”. What these people don’t want is not the mythical European “Super-state” (whatever that is), but a true federal government on the lines of the American model.

But rather than digressing, I’ll come back to today. It seems to me that, if the “United States of Europe and of America” is a political proposal which we make to certain interlocutors (to the other European political forces we will be contacting, for example, on the basis of what we have said – and not only – at the Italian radical Congress), the main force of this proposal must be that those who are “with us” can (or must) also take on board the World Democracy Organisation and self-monitoring of western democracies as a dual project.

I’ve had to underline this point on a number of occasions. I don’t know how much we today are able to appreciate the importance and the substance of the Radical initiative on the WDO: I see it as a historic event (which is, let’s say, an uncomfortable category not necessarily acceptable to our tradition), which leads to a “synthesis” and thereafter to an “establishment” of Radical thought-action in the last few decades.
This battle encompasses everything: there’s the appeal made by Nobel prize-winners regarding starvation in the world; there’s the right-duty to intervene; there “our” ex- Yugoslavia; there’s – as a permanent basis – the construction together with the defence of the rule of law. There’s even (if it’s permitted) Thucydides’s government of the “many” and not of the “few”.
Just as the freedom-democracy binomial is going through a critical time (that is, literally of opinion, of decision: it could grow, or instead be thought of as inconvenient to the West, favouring short-cuts of another kind – and I understand Prof. Ainis is about to publish an important book precisely on this “krisis”-); just as a significant proportion of the planet risks not knowing of its existence, even before of its possible workings; and just as the other part (our advanced West, practically without exceptions) is already experiencing or is incubating a serious oligarchic undemocratic risk; just as all this is happening, the Radicals decide to take the initiative, to stick their necks out.
After all (with all the mechanistic risks involved, and which I think I’m well aware of), we aren’t too far from the approach and from the fundamental choices of a liberal-free trader with regards to the economy: their first principle, their first choice is always to “introduce more freedom into the system”. The same is true, on a more general level, for our project: to “introduce more freedom and more democracy into the global system”, which represents – according to Marco’s apt image – little more or little less than a “whimpering of history”, or the “blink of an eye” in the millennia of human history.

From this point of view, I think it’s essential to refer to the wonderful essay by Amartya Sen on the “roots of democracy” recently published by “The New Republic”, subsequently commented upon in Italy – according to his own point of view – by Adriano Sofri. Once more, it’s appropriate to say that a radical is “on home ground”, he discerns a common language.
Sen disputes on the one hand the presumed exclusive ownership of democracy on the part of the West (and therefore its nature as an “asset to be exported”), and on the other hand, the reduction of everything down to the pure and simple holding of elections, which is fundamental nevertheless, as it is obvious.
We are fairly close to our own considerations, bearing in mind in particular how Marco and Emma continue to expound on the “removal of the obstacles to the individual’s right to freedom and democracy”. And, let’s be clear, we are a long way from the approach of the Italian Prime Minister, which is a bit “pasta with clams or maybe with four cheeses” – if I’m allowed to say –, who (for the fourth time in a row, in the New York Times the other day, subsequently correcting himself yesterday by badly “copying and pasting” other ideas of ours) not only talked of a “Community of democracies” without citing the source, let’s put it that way, but reducing it to the mechanism by which, if there’s a dictator, first you threaten him, then you hit him (or rather, he’s hit by your American brother, who’s bigger, because we’re too feeble). We’ve arrived at the transposition of the “I’ll wait for you outside” onto an international scale, which is all very well – maybe – for fights in primary school, but works less well – I fear – in more sophisticated and complex contexts …
And we are also a long way, and I say this quoting a person dear to me, from the way in which Luigi De Marchi (or the Berlusconi of yesterday contradicting the NYT), talks with regards to an idea that we may have in common, that is, the global use of the media, of “information bombs”. The problem is not of having a radio where De Marchi and Berlusconi can talk to the Arabs (with the devastating effects that we can all imagine …), but that of developing the instruments available to the democratic forces that exist practically everywhere, and that only ask to be supported and given the opportunity - for them! - to speak and act. Not (and I repeat again) that there should be western “propaganda” broadcasts, as claims our Prime Minister.

However, as I have said, the campaign for the World Democracy Organisation has a logical companion, which is represented by the self-monitoring of the western democracies: on the one hand, therefore, the global promotion of democracy; and on the other hand, its maintenance where it is assumed it already exists. Italian Radicals are working on allowing the first Committee in January, which is soon to be convened, to take what I hope will be appropriate steps, also considering the forthcoming elections; but, more generally, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if those “democracy caucuses”, those democratic groups that we would like to form within the UN, could also deal with this aspect: to work, that is, on the fixing of principles, of standards that the “club members” undertake to comply with. This could be the means of self-protection which the western democracies have increasing need of.


2. The current oligarchic tendencies of western societies


In this sense, whoever today wants to take a critical or even ruthless photograph of western societies cannot avoid considering an oligarchic risk, a tendency – which already exists: this is unquestionable – to narrow the field in which “decisions are taken”.
It is – and this is true for the entire advanced world – the posthumous victory of Sparta over Athens, of a more “closed” system compared to the “integral democratic” ideal. And it is – on a different level – a residue of Jacobinism (so adept at feeding the Leninist revolutionary current, but also the rise of the seed of State Control). Bearing in mind that the characteristic feature of Jacobinism is certainly the reference to popular sovereignty, but above all the faith in an elite called to govern others almost pedagogically, and thereby to mould their own time and their own society.

Now situations are very different, but perhaps they can be tackled together, because they reveal a common vice, admittedly with what seem to be different levels of gravity.
I am thinking of the role of the “dynasties”, which, equally from a Democratic as from a Republican point of view, seem to have such importance in American democracy. Again referring to the United States, I am thinking of a real and proper “television disappearance” of the “third candidates” at the last presidential elections. On the other hand – in compensation – it’s undeniable that, from Soros to Gore Vidal, passing through the abundant intellectual or cinematographic production, the USA demonstrates its capacity to produce and develop “different”, dissonant voices: no small thing.

With regards to Europe, the oligarchic disease seems to me to be much more than a risk: it’s a belief based on experience. I have already spoken many times of the way in which the European Convention worked, that is, completely excluding any possibility – I would say – of “democratic interference”. For pity’s sake, also with respect to our internal debate, in the light of the latest painful declarations by Giscard d’Estaing and by Franco Frattini, I won’t go into the question.
However, these days, also leaving aside its constitutional little monster, Europe is used to living according to criteria that are technically undemocratic. The European parliament, the only body chosen directly by citizens, is lacking real authority, and all the most important decisions (starting with the realisation of the principal regulative decrees) are taken without any democratic control, being assigned in general to choices made by ministerial representatives in meetings – reserved, not public meetings – of the Council of the European Union. As a result, the only seat of political debate is virtual, while the corridors of power are extraneous and inaccessible to any possibility of control – or, I repeat, of citizens’ interference. In addition there is the paradox, as has been authoritatively pointed out, that if the European Union requested entry into the European Union, it would lack precisely the essential prerequisites that it expects from candidate countries to be allowed to take advantage of the so-called “enlargement”. And, in effect, the European “window” is becoming the point of entry for passing measures that could not get through the “door” of national political systems, and which, on the contrary, if adopted in that form in each member country, would literally be considered as subversive: there are therefore forms of police and legal co-operation which are developing, which are without any democratic ratification or control, before or after implementation. And at this point we could add, on another level again, the recent (French-German-Belgian) re-launch of a “European armed forces” project (in itself a positive idea perhaps, even if seriously overdue) outside of any framework of full political unity, and the picture is complete: a non-democratic and a no-rights Europe of police, attorneys and generals is taking shape.

In Italy, moreover, grey even turns to black. I’ll leave aside all that is or should be well known, starting from the impossibility of any political communication worthy of this name.
In order to stay on the topic of “oligarchic tendencies”, however, you just need to think of the perverse effects of a debased law such as the “Mattarellum”. According to figures published by Censis after the 2001 elections, 90% of the electors were ignorant of the name of the candidate elected in their single-member constituency. The mechanism is such that (exactly the opposite of the English system), candidate Joe Bloggs is not obliged to “look after” the constituency, but must ”look after” the Secretary of his party, so that he’s assigned a “good” constituency again next time: whether this is Trento or Lecce makes little difference.
Even in this field, moreover, there are the occasional perfectionists, the virtuous. I invite you to reflect, for example, on the remark with which Silvio Berlusconi proposed the abolition of preferences for the forthcoming European elections. “If not, with the preferences, the electors choose…” I’ll refrain from any comments.

It’s difficult to understand what could be the antidotes to this oligarchic closure. I can see another two alternatives, besides the fundamental self-monitoring of democracies, about which I’ve already spoken.
One way, and it’s something which Marco Cappato will be dealing with, is our proposal of an e-democracy (and not of e-government): it’s no coincidence that it has been consistently presented by us in terms of the recovery of the essence of the Athens Agorà, or –if you prefer- of the overturning of the negative myth of Big Brother, transforming citizens into heavily-equipped Small Brothers able to control public decisions.
In another way, it’s necessary to go back to a discussion of the “rules”, of the parties’ statutes, of the new forms in which organisation can be a promoter of freedom (in world politics no one does this any more: the latest debates, even theoretical, date back to the first half, maybe even the first quarter of the last century).
As I tend to point out from time to time, an approach that we could define as “anarchic” or even in some way “giusnaturalistica”, in which “organisation” signifies that freedom or at least some freedom, is denied, has to be confronted and defeated. The organisation would represent, in other terms, the price, the cost in terms of the freedom necessary to obtain other benefits: the unity of an organised body, common security, etc. And this is the concept with which most European texts on public law begin; in addition, there are entire volumes of continental social-democratic history on the question; and even Nietzsche, on another level, is touched on by this idea.
The person writing this paper is convinced of the contrary: I believe that such a way of thinking risks taking us straight towards a technically fascist conception: that in which first you organise authority, and then the rest follows. Everything becomes in some way public law, that is, organised within the State’s control: the party, the trade union, and so on.
But let’s not digress, let’s get back to the point: I don’t believe that the organisation represents a “reduction”, a sacrifice, but it can represent a factor of development, a way to allow freedom to live and thrive.
Finally, whatever you think, it’s necessary to discuss this question urgently (that is, of a new era of organised political bodies); otherwise we shall continue to assign too many decisions to too few, in a South American logic which will see the link between the technocrats and the crowd, just a mass to be manoeuvred, as increasingly predominant.


3. National States versus the rights and freedoms of the individual


Our progress is certainly hampered by the carcasses of the National States, responsible in centuries past for a horrendous number of long and bloody conflicts.
And this is precisely where the most innovative intuition is to be found –in my opinion- of Colorni, Rossi and Spinelli, in their Manifesto: that is in the statement that “Nation-States” are incapable of containing –and therefore producing and promoting- freedom and democracy.

To be fair, hope flourished in some way, amidst difficulty and contradiction, for a few decades, that the power of national States would be increasingly eroded: “upwards”, that is in favour of super-national institutions; “downwards”, that is in favour of more consistent local autonomies; and towards the market, that is through more or less timid attempts to privatise. Today, however, this process is going through a period of deep crisis, with a very real risk of proving to be irreversible: either because the path towards federalism is being slowed down; or because –when it moves forward, in Europe- it follows paths which have little in common with the direction to be taken by freedom or democracy; or because –in either case- everything seems marred or conditioned by clear-cut and equally sterile anti-American hostility.

As I mentioned at the outset, one of the scarecrows most frequently banded about by the anti-federalists is that of the European Super-State. “What do you mean –they say to the federalists- you are against the power of individual States and instead you want to set up a bureaucratic giant which is even more terrifying?”
One objection springs to mind immediately: and that is whenever the history of modern and contemporary Europe is examined, the growth in levels of bureaucracy and public interference in people’s lives has always been directly proportional precisely to the strengthening of the Nation-States, and therefore the expropriation of the involvement of the “lower” levels in decision-making and government.
However this is not the most important point. What counts is that what really matters, at least to us Radicals, certainly isn’t the creation of a Super-State, but rather a true and proper federal Government (precisely along the lines of the American model: and precisely with the USA, therefore, we should seek to coordinate, with regard to the logics of the United States of Europe and of America).
Let me explain. The United States have no Super-State: they are 50 States with a federal Government, entrusted with certain general matters (that is, federal matters). Then (and this is common knowledge to anyone who watches films, including therefore a large part of Italian politicians) the entire system consists of balances, weights and counterweights, and conflicts too, perhaps: to stay on a simple level, films therefore, just imagine for example the “conflicts” between FBI agents and local sheriffs.
The real problem is that too many people do not want this debate, this setup. As I mentioned earlier, a comment made by Giulio Tremonti a few months ago was very revealing (I repeat: “No to Brussels like Washington”), which is to be put in context together with repeated statements in defence of the Nation-State concept, with a long and convinced proportionist and anti-majoritarian militancy, and with a particularly questionable remark on the necessity of a season of “neo-colbertism”, that is the renewed public presence in the economy. Everything is kept under control, we could say: with neo-nationalist and anti-American instincts overflowing into anti-liberalism and anti-free trade.

And this is where, as can readily be seen, the dichotomy between the United States and Europe starts to gain strength. It is not by chance that the American model centres on the individual (with the “Bill of Rights”), whereas here it is the concept of understanding between national States which continues to prevail (think once more about the European Constitution). And not by chance, as Angiolo once more points out, is there no right to European citizenship, just as (and Nicola Dell’Arciprete explains this to us) there isn’t even any possibility of European association. Neither the individual, nor the person therefore, understood as the centre of relationships and connections, can –for the moment- hope to find room within the European dimension and – still less- to find room for a European dimension.

Is there any way out? It seems to me that Milton Friedman is right again: “The middle paths – he said last week to Mario Platero of “Il Sole 24 ore” – are no use at all: if Europe is what you want, you must go right to the end, including political union; otherwise each individual nation would be better off running its own affairs”.


4. Anglo-Saxon models versus Continental models


There is no doubt about it: we have reached one of the crucial points. We are faced –in other words- with the confrontation between the Anglo-Saxon model (or models) and the Continental model.

It is not just a question of electoral and institutional systems (extremely relevant as they are). There is much, much more to it. Starting with the abyss which separates the American revolution from the French one: on the one hand, a decisive event for liberal public philosophy, all hinged on freedom as the founding value for human life and what it builds on; on the other hand, a Jacobin revolution, entirely centred on the myths of equality and the State.
Two personalities, quite different from each other like Francois Furet and Gianni Baget Bozzo agree on questions which to me seem extremely acute, and not only –or not necessarily- polemical: are we sure that the two Revolutions can be listed in the same category? Doesn’t the fact that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was presented as the development, the consequence, of the French Revolution of 1789 cause us to reflect a little? Can we really consider as “revolutionary” in the same way and in the same sense the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the first Constitution? I don’t think so.

Let’s go down one level, and move from the great events of history to the political chronicles of today. It seems to me that Silvio Berlusconi without doubt deserves the merit for moving the axis of Italian international politics from Paris and Berlin towards London and Washington.
But –having said this-, amongst all this “Dear George and dear Tony” (and I must confess that all this show of familiarity reminds me how Leonardo Sciascia reconstructed the meeting between Voltaire and Casanova: with the latter thinking he had impressed the Frenchman, while Voltaire noted in his memoirs that a funny Italian had passed by …), why is there never a mention of the British or American electoral or institutional models? Why are we told that those are our friends, our allies, our point of reference, without even the slightest intention of following their example in terms of their forms of state and government?

I believe a lot of reflection is required, and in retrospect too. There is a thread in the history of Europe which links proportionalist choices to democratic concessions and “slackening off”; there is –once again- a tendency for the anti-American Europe of the Thirties to consider the United Kingdom as a despicable (because “treacherous”) extension of the United States, a tendency which seems to be coming back today, when Blair is described as Bush’s puppy. And –concerning us more closely- there is a deep continuity between the determination with which the Radicals proposed the adoption of the Anglo-Saxon model, after the events of 1989, to the former Soviet bloc Countries, and the criticism we are directing at our American friends today for having –in the new Iraq Council- allowed the logic of “representation” for ethnic groups and factions to prevail.

On another level again, on the one hand a lot of what Emma has maintained, and on the other a fine “survey” in the Financial Times have, for example, thrown light on the definite achievement of progress for some African realities (Emma has located, here and there, some –albeit shy- signs of “spring”). On these bases, what Nicola Dell’Arciprete said the other day seems a welcome observation, when he remarked on the outcome of those countries which had felt the British presence, compared with the decidedly worse conditions of those who had seen Belgian or French colonisation and subsequently experienced a certain –and I say consequent- form of “liberation”.

Mutatis mutandis, the adventure of Gandhi certainly has a meaning, in this sense (with his English years, among other things, as well as his being a lawyer): having a democratic adversary allows you to have –more easily I would say- a democratic purpose and – to achieve that aim –allows you to choose non-violent means.

For all these reasons, our political proposal for the “United States of Europe and of America” cannot avoid pointing out -to the people we come across who are ready to discuss- that the “Anglo-Saxon” option is literally decisive. In Italy, for example, many people reason on the proportional election system –in terms of what you get- as the best method for getting into the institutions or staying there more easily once you are in: what they fail to realise is that this consideration involves so much more. It involves the building (or otherwise) of a society which is different from the one we know in Continental Europe, which –on the level of creating individuals and communities which are free, responsible and creative- has provided proof which is incomparably better.


5. The free movement of individuals: open societies (also) by being multi-racial


One qualifying point in the political work on the “United States of Europe and of America” project should, in my opinion, be represented by making this alliance between “willing”, “like minded” individuals, and also a geographical and political area which is open for individuals to move around freely.

Antonio Martino often recalls how, roughly half way through the nineteenth century, America and Australia were not that unalike, either in terms of wealth or population. Then, however, the United States, unlike Australia, decided to open their frontiers to a large extent and this then lead to an extraordinary growth in the number of inhabitants and also in the wealth which was produced.

Today history continues, and the USA represent an extraordinary, spectacular laboratory, which can best be illustrated using figures rather than words.
In the last census in 2002 there were more than 6 million US citizens who stated they were descendants of “more than one race”, and essays are beginning to be written on the “m-generation”, that is the “multi-racial generation”. In all there are 123 different ethnic groups in America. There will be three times as many children coming from different ethnic groups in 2050, according to the National Council of Research, and, in 100 years, they will represent more than half (some estimates speak of two thirds) of the entire population. In the meantime, since 1967 when the Supreme Court decriminalised mixed marriages in the few States which still prohibited them, the number of mixed marriages has increased 1000%.

As can be seen, we are a long way from the dissertations of a Minister of the Italian Republic on “Bingo Bongo”: I believe –on the contrary- that the distance between this trivial remark made by Umberto Bossi and reality gives some idea of the pitiful state of our unfortunate Country.

The fact is that, while we are discussing this matter here (or also, if I may be allowed, the cunning and useless proposal of Fini on the right for immigrants to vote in administrative elections: raise your hand anyone who knows a single immigrant who, instead of wanting to become a citizen soon, like the others, is anxious to be able to vote for town and provincial Councils…), there they are light years ahead.
In the last elections in California (when Schwarzenegger won: that is; it is worth remembering, someone known today as “Terminator”, but who arrived thirty years ago as an immigrant, with no more than twenty dollars in his pocket), the voting cards were printed in 7 languages, whereas, for those who still don’t know it, the official website of the White House, www.whitehouse.gov, is already bilingual, English and Spanish. Without mentioning a Foreign Minister like Colin Powell, also the son of immigrants.

And things can never be taken for granted, even in politics. Where Hispanics are concerned, for example, they once represented “safe” votes for the Democrats; today, whether it’s California (with Schwarzenegger beating, among others, a Democratic candidate with Hispanic origins) or Jeb Bush’s Florida, massive swings towards the Republicans have been recorded.

It’s high time, in my opinion, for us to measure up to problems –and opportunities- of this kind.


6. Secular orders (also) for religious freedom and conscientious objection


Another qualifying profile in our call to gather energies and availability for the “United States of Europe and of America” project is represented by the battle for secular juridical orders (and therefore for the juridical tools for the possible new institutional “entity” we have in mind as well).

Precisely as I was saying on Democracy earlier (its promotion, and at the same time defence, where it is presumed to exist already, on a global scale), the struggle must be a dual one on this level too.
On the one hand there is commitment against what Michael Ledeen rightly insists on calling “mullahcracies”; but on the other hand –although in ways and methods which are certainly very different- the question is to be raised concerning the western societies as well. It is necessary for States not to interfere with the choice of confession, but it is necessary for the Churches, at the same time, not to interfere with the decisions States make concerning their laws and norms: secular orders, the distinction between “sin” and “crime”, between “moral norm” and “judicial norm”, represent the best possible defence for religious freedom as well.
In particular, the Catholic Church has full right to spread its messages, its word: this right should be defended, and to the end. However, on the one hand, it is necessary for politicians in charge not to permit the legitimate moral convictions of some to be transformed into impositions or prohibitions for all the rest; and, on the other hand, there is the right of the lay, the liberals, the anti-fundamentalists to denounce that the concrete result of some of the policies put forward by the Vatican hierarchy would be that of prohibiting therapy and imposing suffering, founding death and not life, for the sake of eternal Salvation. This is a right to be claimed.
The moment has come –with respect, but respect requires the spirit of truth- to honour the entirely political nature of the proposals put forward by the Catholic Church right to the end. Their legitimacy is obviously beyond discussion, but the opportunity of a loyal contest on open ground is equally beyond discussion.

In this new battle, which has to contend with the insidious nature of those proposing concordat methods (that is, at the same time, the state-control of churches and the clericalisation of States), solutions contrary to “cuius regio, eius religio” should be put forward, and some people seem to want to return to this situation. Religious freedom is not a matter for sovereigns or States, it is a question which concerns the conscience of the individual, which as such should be dealt with by judicial orders, irrespective of religious beliefs (or otherwise).

In this case as well a reference can be offered by the United States. In a recent, significant essay by professor Laurence Moore (“Touchdown Jesus. The mixing of sacred and secular in American History”), light is thrown on the fine contradiction of a system which is entirely secular, and which –therefore- does not suffer from the fact that any American President has ever dared not to place himself under the protection of God. To give just one example, the phrase: “I could not be the President of the United States, nor even continue to grow as a person without my faith in God.” was not pronounced by George W. Bush, but by the “dissolute“ Bill Clinton. In other words, it may be written all over the place (banknotes included) “In God we trust”, but no-one would ever think of questioning the separation between State and Churches. And so religion can also be (for those who believe) one of the factors of civil unity, and not, as happens on the other hand in these latitudes, both for believers and the lay, a factor of division and suffocation.


Conclusions


In conclusion, it seems to me that the road –the road of “what’s to be done”- has been clearly mapped out.

It is necessary –on these and other bases- to look for people to talk to, at political and institutional level, in the hope of finding interesting answers, that is, interesting for the project. We must remain conscious of the fact, as I said at the outset, that we are denied the essential element of the communicability of this thesis of ours, and therefore “hot fusion”.

It is however necessary to try, and surprises may come –in my opinion- not only from Europeans and Americans we speak to, but also from places like Canada, Israel, Turkey, to quote three examples far from hostile to the “United States of Europe and of America” project.

We are certainly aware, as André Glucksmann never tires of writing, that we live in difficult times, obscure, invisible unexpected times. Basically, the Cold War decades made it easy and “static” to identify the enemy: an opportunity which, after 11 September, has tragically been denied us. And, as Glucksmann warns us again, with the courage he has to sting us, these are without doubt times of war. “Many of those who say you shouldn’t make war want, at most, to make a cup of tea. They think it is enough to say ‘no war’ to protect themselves from it. Europeans don’t want to speak about it, but war is there, it has never left our horizon, and we must know how to look it squarely in the eye”.

Even knowing all this, our challenge is –just in a time like this described by Glucksmann- to encourage a different kind of response, even a non-violent one.
The “United States of Europe and of America” for a “World Democracy Organisation” are an important part of this attempt. It is up to us to continue the research, following an empirical process, falsifiable in the manner of Popper, coinciding with the radical saying of “a millimetre a day in the right direction”.

Basically, while many people in Italy are talking about “rhythmic pauses” and “discontinuity” and “leaving your family home”, that is, about new possessions, new “homes” (not built illegally, let’s hope…), what suits us is something which has more to do with “being” and “continuity”, not a “home” as such but a path, a way to follow.

This, in my opinion, is the meaning of the years we have left behind us and –hopefully- the years in store for us ahead.