Workers Vanguard No. 992

9 December 2011


For a Workers Europe!

(Quote of the Week)

The crisis racking the EU shows that a united Europe under capitalism is a chimera. In a February 1926 speech, one of his last addresses to Soviet workers before his expulsion from the Communist Party by Stalin in November 1927, Leon Trotsky stressed that only the proletarian overthrow of capitalist rule could achieve the genuine unification and economic integration of Europe. Trotsky projected that a Europe under workers rule, allied with the Soviet Union and a liberated Asia, would be a bulwark against capitalist America, which had become the world’s dominant imperialist force, while also serving as a springboard for workers rule in the U.S.

The proletarian revolution signifies the unification of Europe. Bourgeois economists, pacifists, business sharpers, day-dreamers and mere bourgeois babblers are not averse nowadays to talk about a United States of Europe. But that task is beyond the strength of the European bourgeoisie which is utterly corroded by contradictions. Europe can be unified only by the victorious European proletariat. No matter where the revolution may first break out, and no matter what the tempo of its development may be, the economic unification of Europe is the first indispensable condition for its socialist reconstruction. Back in 1923 the Communist International proclaimed that it is necessary to drive out those who have partitioned Europe, take power in partitioned Europe in order to unify it, in order to create the Socialist United States of Europe.

Revolutionary Europe will clear a road for herself to raw materials, to food products; she will know how to get help from the peasantry. We ourselves have grown sufficiently strong to be able to extend some help to revolutionary Europe during the most difficult months. Over and above this, we will provide for Europe an excellent bridge to Asia. Proletarian England, shoulder to shoulder with the peoples of India, will insure the independence of that country. But this does not mean that England will lose the possibility of a close economic collaboration with India. Free India will have need of European technology and culture; Europe will have need of the products of India. The Soviet United States of Europe, together with our Soviet Union, will serve as the mightiest of magnets for the peoples of Asia, who will gravitate toward the establishment of the closest economic and political ties with proletarian Europe.

—Leon Trotsky, “Europe and America” (Fourth International, May 1943)