Thursday, June 30, 2005

If you go carrying...

Currently, I'm reading Mao : the untold story / by Jung Chang and John Halliday - which I will review, hopefully, in the August Socialist Standard.

I won't, therefore, go into here, quite what I will say in that review (I wait until I finish books to critique them) - what I will say, though, is that it is forceably reminding me of one thing.

I have for some time lamented the impact the Bolshevik coup had on the workers movement, making socialism harder to explain or propagate - I still experience ubiquitous claims at Hyde Park that we'll (even without wanting to now) end up having to send everyone to Gulags.

But even skimming this slice of history, in conjunction with The Spanish Civil War / Hugh Thomas - it becomes clear what an absolute cancer on humanity emerged from that stroke. While the yanklander frothing at the mouth right may well froth at the mouth, surely, with the experience of Soviet foriegn interventions, there was a clear pattern of the promotion of murder and torture in the world.

This is not to say, though, that socialists or anyone else should have sided with Yankland in the cold war; but that a clear, and explicit repudiation backed by understanding of the monstrosity of the Soviet regime was an is necessary.

Put another way, I believe the left needs a revolution, as the precondition for any genuine advance. Tolerance of the fans of psychopaths and mass murderers is not on. Any acolyte of Mao, or Stalin, or Lenin is an enemy of the working class - pure and simple. The lesson needs to be learnt.

Mao killed more people than Hitler. Mao killed more people than Hitler. Mao killed more people than Hitler. Mao killed more people than Hitler.

Repeat, rinse, and spit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Oooh, senator...

Well, the US Senate has declined to vote on appointing John Bolton as UN Ambassador, again. The deal with ambsaadorial appointments is that the President nominates/appoints and then the Senate (the undemocratic house, that wasn't directly elected until the 1890's) approves. Since their active assent is required, simply leaving the matter to languish without voting directly on the appointment will suffice to block.

It's worth noting, some of the yankander blogs I've on this seem very keen to defend the independence of the senate, and also the qualified majority for anti-fillibuster motions.

This isn't, though, what moves me to write about the senate. Apparently, the DeLeonist New Union Party are going to contest for a Senatorial Seat in Minnesotta (they also have a website here and this is the Wikipedia write-up).

The draft programme made clever use of a new term Working Democracy which encompases both functionality as well as class/workplace connotations (i.e. as opposed to workers democracy, or workers power, working class democracy, workplace democracy, you see the trend).

The main thing with the New Union Party, aside from a DeLeonist programme for one big union of the workers backed by the political sheild of the party making a revolution, is to moderate the language - their programme doesn't name itself socialist, dosn't talk about the eliminatioon of the market (indeed, it sounds more like co-operativist capiatalism, as some worker's councillists sometimes end up advocating).

Sadly, also, they seem to have picked up a Christian who inserts religious comments into the text - e.g. the Bible says Money is the root of all evil, etc. The DeLeonists take a liberal stance on religion, saying it is a personal matter, and allowing the religious to join. Inserting religious epithets into political tracts, though, is capitulating to the christian political movement in America, and going without secularism - the last issue of their journal even included a Christian case for Socialism.

I wish them luck, but it does strike me that in trying to escape bureucratism of the the Socialist Labor Party and dogmatism, they have made the mistakes of losing clarity and position.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Good news

Turns out the Italian Librarian has been acquitted...

Every little victory...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Shawly not again

Enough with the Shaw already, this will be the last one - but it touches on the SPGB.

Or rather, it is Shaw discussing the SDF, but his discussion, I would affirm, puts the SPGB case elegently:
...[T]he Fabian society is a society for helping to bring about the Socialization of the industrial resources of the country. The Social Democratic Federation is a society for enlisting the entire proletariat of the country in its own ranks and itself Socializing the national industry. The Federation persistently claims to be the only genuinely representative of the working class interests in England. It counts no man a socialist until he has joined it, and supports no candidate who is not a member. If one of its speakers supports an outside candidate, he is disowned. Only the other day the Executive Council of the Federation proposed that no member should even vote for a candidate not enrolled within its ranks. The Federation chooses its own candidates without consulting its neighbours, and sends them to the poll, when it has the money, without the slightest regard to the possibilities of such a course making a present of the seat to the least Socialistic candidate in the field. This implacably sectarian policy depends for its success on the recruiting powers of the society that adopts it.
Shaw's sole refutation is that such a mass recruitment is not plausible - fair enough, but since we have seen Fabianism fail -and hoist by its own Petard by Tony Blair's permeation of the Labour Party with Christian Democrat Fabians - it really does remain the only socialist game in town.

If the majority can be persuaded, the SDF/SPGB course is valid, if not, then the only option is indeed the Fabian tactic - after all, so long as people aren't anti-Socialist it may bring improvements.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Naughty Librarians.

OK, in the spirit of my criticisms of the Israel boycott, some defence of Libraries from around the world.

Two stories, first, from America :
One book for preschoolers called "King & King" is about a prince who falls in love with another prince.
One parent was alarmed when her child brought home a copy of "King & King" from the local library. Her husband complained to her state legislator, State Rep. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, who wrote a resolution to urge librarians to keep books with gay content away from kids.
The idea that it may be up to the parents to monitor their childs usage of the library seems to have escaped them - Libraries supply what is available, people choose what to take from Libraries (and yes, I would hand over a copy of Mein Kampf if someone wanted one of our library's five editions).

This is the worrying part though:
Last month, the U.S. Congress got involved. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., proposed legislation that would require states to form local parental advisory boards to weigh in on all new library books and non-textbook school books or risk losing federal funding.
None of this is quoite as worrying as this story from Italy:
An Italian librarian has lent a legally published book to a minor of 14 and is at risk of a sentence. The book entitled Scopami (Fuck me) by Virginie Despentes is generally available in libraries and is not classified as pornography. The book appears on a list of recommended books for teenagers issued by the Italian Ministry of Work and Welfare as part of anti-drug campaign. However, the librarian has been accused under art. 528 of the Italian Criminal Code which penalises anyone who keeps or distributes an obscene written document; with the term 'obscene' defined in the following paragraph (art. 529) as anything that is an offence against decency. The next hearing is scheduled for 17th June in the Court of Pavullo (Modena).
This is plainly absurd, and strikes at the heart of the profession and concept of libraries. I'll try and find out what happens next.

Finally, we have a heart warming story, from America:
The House handed President Bush the first defeat in his effort to preserve the broad powers of the USA Patriot Act, voting yesterday to curtail the FBI's ability to seize library and bookstore records for terrorism investigations.

Now, my library does stock materials which may be of use to terrorists, especially the explosives shelf over the way from my desk. Terrorists may well look at them, but so will counter terrorists. You can't lock knowledge away, nor can you accuse someone because they know something.

Information wants to be free.

Nothing serious

Something slightly more sensible later, but first, a bit of fun.

I've been given the web-lurgi, by the Despairadoes...

1. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I'd have to go for limited prescience - normally I game mechanic that as having the initiative in every combat round (yep, I've RPG'ed Supers). Full prescience sucks,m ask Paul Atreides.

2. Which, if any, 'existing' superhero(es) do you fancy, and why?

Obviously Death (from Sandman) doesn't count, she isn't exactly a Superhero. So I'll leave my fervid rantings about her alone. I have recently reckoned Jenny Sparks from The Authority was alright, coz she's nails.

3. Which, if any, 'existing' superhero(es) do you hate?

I've always had a real down on Guy Gardner, for lowering the tone of the Majestic Green Lantern Corps.

4. What would your superhero name be?

The Librarian (Level four, for all those who remember Warhammer 40K).

5. Is there an 'existing' superhero with whom you identify/whom you would like to be?

I wouldn't say identify, but Green Lantern has attractions, specifically, that it can be anyone who has and wnats to have a Ring of power...hmmm that sounds familiar.

Anyway, I'll add that I don't identify with any of this, Super Dickery

6. Pass it on. Three people please, and why...

Well, I took this up to show I read Stuart's blog, and he's already tagged most of the people I'd try, so I'll try as an experiment for Kevin Carson, Ken MacLeod and Loonie, on the off chance they come by and want to pick up the theme (although I think Loonie may have already been done, I can;'t recall. I think more radical superheroes are needed.

Normal service will resume later with a story about a book called Fuck Me and gay Kings in a Louisiana Library.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Getting involved.

Noam Chomsky, passim, sets up as a general principle that first and foremost, people should get involved. Go out, be a part of political discussion, agitation and action. The mere presence of people in the political discourse changes it: the aim of the elite and the right is to minimise involvement, or destroy its independence (a la the mobilised totalitarian states with mandatory involvement - Germany, USSR, China, Cuba, etc.).

It is the independent involvement of the broadest sections of the community that provides for the prospect of progress. In the UK, political democracy has destroyed the Conservative party - not as a vote grabbing bureaucracy, but as it's former incarnation of a gentleman’s club filled with natural rulers - whither the High Tories now? The difficulty of the British state in fighting the Iraq war was due in no small part to the need to get the population on board - as the growing tide of the Downing Street memo scandel attests.

In South America - particularly at the moment in Bolivia, Ecuador and even Venezuela (The link is to certain critical voices complaining about the top-down approach of Chavez - my opinion, incidentally, is that he should resign to show that the revolution there is a movement not a man, that would be interesting, and commendable). Are all undergoing popular protests and struggles.

Not just there, obviously, in Yurp we had the referendums, and clearly, the results went against what the political elite in cosy consultation had agreed among themselves.

None of this goes against my own impossiblism. Obviously, I would prefer the banner of conscious socialism to be unfurled. I would prefer a working class armed with concise political science negotiating under terms of a clear understanding of the class struggle. But failing that, I understand the class struggle is there, is being fought, being waged, whether people know or want it.

The effect of people being involved in politics is to affirm and advance their own interests - and they're going to do this merely by breathing and eating. They have no need for leaders to get them into struggle, nor of followers urging them on to glorious battle.

The strength of the Socialist Party case is that the Party clearly and unambiguously does not want to get into and control these types of struggle - housing association struggles are for housing associations. Union struggles are for unions. The Party isn't mother isn't father, to misquote Babylon 5. I am a trade unionist, an activist (of sorts), I don't see, say, our struggle to stop the privatisation of the College Cafeteria as being incompatible with socialism (I couldn't care less about ownership titles, but these deals are an attack on the union and on working conditions).

Impossiblism is not standing on the sidelines, it's getting involved and getting dirty, practically, not out of some vain glorious Romanticism that sees leftists cheering any strike and all strikes rather than weighing them up tactically. The organisation for the capture and conversion of political machinery into an agent of emancipation is also involvement.

We are living in an age of revolutions, the idea of revolt in the streets is spreading, the boring work of dealing with life after the street battles is becoming part of the accumulated wisdom of the human species.

The late Maurice Brinton even managed to find positive aspects of the Ulster General Strike back in the ‘70s. Nice try, but occaisionally the popular is reactionary, viz the referendums in US states that have constitutionally banned Gay rights legislation.

Demanding the impossible means raising the standard of hope, and affirming your own principles, not slavishly looking for yet another battle to join.

Monday, June 13, 2005

How the news gets reported.

Interesting article on South African News:
Tollgate workers embark on strike
June 13, 2005, 10:45

Tollgate workers are on strike today, following a wage dispute between the union SATAWU and five tollgate operators. One of the operators, Trans-Africa Consortium, is using scab labour at its toll gates on the N1 and N4 between Pretoria and Rustenburg, known as the Bakwena Highway.

Joe Campanella, a company spokesperson, says a temporary arrangement was introduced after booth controllers embarked on a strike. Campanella says traffic flow has improved since the start of the strike.

We are anticipating that we will make the necessary arrangements to have staff in place so that routes are properly staffed. But everything is calm, everything is peaceful. There were some earlier delays this morning with the traffic but those have been sorted out," said Campanella.

The workers are demanding a 12% wage increase, while the tollgate companies are offering 6%.

SCAB LABOUR - could you imagine a BBC website using that term, ever? It's a funny old world. Good luck to the brothers and sisters in SATAWU.

Reason and action

Well, following this advert I went along to this debate on the failed AUT Israel boycott proposal. Largely, I have to say, for the star quality of the Blogosphere's own Norman Geras.

The quality of the debate was quite high - but there were only 19 people in the audience.

The pro-boycott team put forward, more or less these points.

1) Israel is a racist state.

2) Racism is a particular ill, requiring particular treatment.

3) Israeli academe is complicit, passively and actively in the racist activities of that state

4) Israeli academics are relatively privileged.

5) Because of their relative freedom they are more culpable and susceptable to pressure from without.

6) That 'we' should at the least avoid complicity in legitimising Israel's activities.

I didn't have a pencil with me to make notes, so that's an impressionistic review of how I remember their arguments. The anti-camp were:

1) This is a blacklist, contrary to academic freedom.

2) The pro-arguments are hopelessly impractical.

3) The boycott case is not analgous to solidarity in a strike (a la London Met.)

4) The pro-case is arbitrarily selective, and other - perhaps worse regimes - are not targeted thus.

5) Where does it end? Should UK academics with misliked opinions, e.g. Norm's over Iraq, be subject to similar blacklisting.

6) The pro argument rests on appeals to aurthority, by analogy with South Africa.

The debate was principled, lucid, a marked difference with the usual fare of professional politicians in the media. The pro camp disliked the term blacklist, but did own to their boycott operating a whitelist (as the antis said, everyone not on the whitelist is thus implicitly blacklisted).

Norm was good, understated, didn't get into the minutia of the argument, but rested on general, universal opinions, and the assumption of certain academic values such as freedom of thought and universalism. He also delivered a few well aimed kickings towards the pro side's ad populum argumentations by listing the crimes of Israel at great length.

I made three points from the floor:

1) As a librarian I find the idea impractical - we buy lots of stock from Israel and it would harm Archaeology and Jewish studies to perform such a boycott. (I forgot to mention, also, that we grant the privilege of overseas academics free reference acess to our library, would we be called upon to boycott Israeli academics from Haifa?).

2) That the latter of those two subjects is important. If the essence of the university is truth (as the first pro speaker said) then it seems to be incompatable with silencing truth, and discourse, and examination - and only through studying the culture and history of the area can criticism and assistance be acheived. (This was taken up by another contributor who asked if the pro-boycotters felt their arguments were so weak they couldn't persuade Israeli academics of their moral case).

3) That the nation state is inherently racist, all states (to my knowledge) are based on some sort of ethnic cleansing - should British universities be condemned for the annihilation of the Cornish culture?

As you can see, I remember my own arguments best.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Nuclear Evolution

Evolution was once part of the ideology of progress - creatures evolving along a chain of perfection, successively adapting in new and better ways - are not men better than dogs? Are not Sheep better than bacteria?

Such a view, was, of course, nonsense. Natural selection through deescent with modification does not imply improvement or hierarchy, merely adaptation and suitability to an ecology. Everyone knows this now, except creationist numbskulls and their religious nutjob assistants.

Now, so far as I know, zoologists define altruism as not attacking first. Giving the opponent the opportunity to attack puts any creature at a disadvantage - ask any bareknuckle street fighter. In any ecology, therefore, there will be a drive to have suitable defensive capacities, i.e. the ability to land the first blow.

Where am I going with all this? North Korea claims it has nukes. Arse. Another tinpot dictatorship with epic level destructive weapons. We shouldn't be surprised, really - the science is out there, it wouldn't take too long to develop a means of making cheap nuclear weapons a vile totalitarian regime could, say, chuck at Japan. Oh, no no no no no.

This brings the current list of nuke wielders to:
North Korea
United Kingdom
United States
With Israel and Iran both likely to be near or actual but undeclared nuclear states. The list is growing, so much for non-proliferation.

The actual logic, though, is clear: nukes bring respect. They bring offensive capacity to the table, they bring evolutionary advantage in the international ecology. The technology exists and is relatively simple, given a few caveats such as access to uranium. If even North Korea has them, anyone could have them.

Somewhile ago, Phil at Actually Existing published a post about Just War which I thunked was reaonably insightful. The main point is this:
Which brings us, indirectly, back to the 'last resort'. Suppose that people and nations determine one another's actions; suppose that some of these 'determinations' are acceptable and others not. The 'last resort' is then the point at which 'unneeded, unwanted and oppressive' determinations cannot be removed or alleviated, other than by force or the threat of force.
A worthile point on Just War theory (although self defence is actually a problematic area I've dealt with on this blog before). My point in citing it though, is the idea that interactive determinations lie behind war, the compulsion to go to war in order to remain in existence - it isn't about blame or who gets the first shot in, it's about the situation where two actors are placed in a situation where they need to forget altruism - the hallmark of human polity - and go to war.

If that inter-actor context promotes war, it promotes securing the means to acheive and win war, in a world where nukes are possible, that means getting nukes, as most of Asia has (over half the world's population lives in nuclear states now, unless I miss my mark).

Opposing nukes won't get rid of them, only opposing the situational logic that creates them.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Well, last night I went to see Guerilla: the taking of Patty Hearst - a cinema documentary about the Symbionese Liberation Army's notorious capture and conversion of a wealthy heiress in the 1970's.

The main theme of the film is that it was basically rich kids behind the stunt - you can almost feel that in the feed the poor motifs the come out of the demands of the kidnappers - a dole for the toiling masses. I'd think that goes some way to explaining how Hearst could have been seduced by them - beyond mere Stockholm syndrome, she was of their age and culture, ripe for identification.

There did seem to be a rash of terrorism at the time, Weathermen, SLA, Bader-Meinhoff - it's almost certain that in any political upheaval such groups will come into being - I'm sure in Spain or Russia almost every village had something like this sort of band, but in the massive tumult these things become swept up in a forwards movement -the tiny but famous terrorist cells are the symptoms of the ebbing of the ide.

Obviously, the averge Leninist can have little room for complaint - after all, the master himself organised the bolsheviks as a small gang of bank robbers, so really the SLA weren't that far off beam. Indeed, they started from the wholly reasonable position of What are we prepared to do? - given the military state, the
racist prisons, etc. etc. if we believe our rhetoric, shouldn't we act?

Also, their slogan is worth remembering, for it's overblown posturing and because it sounds cool - Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the people!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Tommy this and Tommy that....

A political scheme that cannot be carried out except by soldiers will not be a permenant one. The soldier is an anacchronism of which we must get rid. Among people who are proof against the suggestions of romantic fiction there can no longer be any question of the fact that military service produces moral imebecility, ferocity, and cowardice, and that the defence of nations must be undertaken by the civil enterprise of men enjoying all the rights and liberties of citizenship and trained by the exacting discipline of democratic freedom and responsibility.
For all George Bush's blather about freedom, I doubt he could mach George Bernard Shaw's comment above - the whole passage is a blast against military ideology: soldiers are robbed of their freedom, infatilised by military discipline, stripped of responsibility. Why should officers require lynch law court marshals when railway companies can survive without them? Are they that incompetant to command?.
...soldiers pay the penalty of their slavery and outlawry by becoming relatively to free citizens, destructive, cruel, dishonest, tyranical, hysterical, mendacious, alarmists at home and terrorists abroad, politically reactionary and professionally incapable.
Of course, say that on a platform at the park, and people will look at you like a flat Earther. The very idea that a standing peacetime army was seen as the acme of political tyranny goes unnknown today - a standing army is the natural order (though this is a historical anachronism, much like the eternal presence of police, which, I discovered in a book yesterday, Rome lacked).

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bully for Ireland

Shaw's writing is illuminating in a useful way. Far back in history enough now to be quite alien in terms of affiliation and concern, but filled with suffice parrallels to be instructive.

On nationalism, Shaw isn't an ardent nationalist. His metaphor is organic - a man with an arm will be quite content that it is there, but remove his arm and he'll miss it bitterly, and long for it's return. i.e. nationalism is an ailment, a sickness of loss - but a natural one. It is, also, an impediment, people cannot get on with proper politics as long as they are wound up by nationalism. To put it in post-modernist terms, you have to go through nationalism to get beyond it. To be post-nationalist.

There can be no doubt of his anti-Imperialism - the passages describing what can best be called the Deshawai massacre by the British in Egypt are particularly moving, and a stinging indictment of colonial brutality. But as the play John Bull's Other Ireland shows, he was far from a sentimental third worldist of the sort that finds the oppressed people's inherently noble. In common with the left of his day, his solution to the colonial problem was to propose a free federation of the former Empire (a dream that lasted until the Wilson government tried it with the Commonwealth - which failed).

As the end of the play indicates, Shaw was aware that the economic backwardness of Ireland would be it's undoing. Despite his many failed predictions on the future of Ireland, he was right on that - in the end Irish prosperity has come because a rich neighbour (America, rather than britain) has poured money into developing it. National boundaries give way to economic realities.

I'll return to this subject again, but I think this passage is worth quoting:
Thus by fire and bullet, murder and torture and devastation, a situation was produced in which the British Government either had to capitulate at the cost of of a far more complete concession of self-govenment to Ireland than that decreed by the repudiated Home Rule Act, or to let loose military strength of England in a Cromwellian reconquest, massacre and replantation which it knew that public opinion in England and America would not tolerate; for some of the most conspicuous English champions of Ulster warned the Government they would stand no more of Black and Tan terrorism. [My emphasis - BM] And so we settled the Irish question, not as civilized and reasonable men should have settled it, but as dog settle a dispute over a bone.

Future historians will probably see in these catastrophes a ritual of human sacrifice without which the savages of the twentieth entury could not effect any redistribution of power or wealth.
Shades of Iraq? to many shades, too many by far, and all too true.

Next, a quote on militarism.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Shaw thing...

A good while ago now, Ken wrote a piece about reading Bernard Shaw - I meant at the time to reply, but had to wait until I could do some reading up. Namely, I wanted to respond to this comment:Shaw contributed next to nothing to the one revolution to which he could have given much. - by which I assume Ken means Ireland.

As it was, Shaw was a Home Ruler - as befitted everyone of progressive persuation at the time. He wrote a play, at the request of WB Yeats, in which he put forward his view of the matter - in 1904 - John Bull's Other Ireland.

Essentially, the story revolves around two Civil Engineers embarked to Ireland on a corporate development project. One - Broadbent - and English Liberal. the other - Doyle - an Irish ex-pat.

The crux of the story is Broadbent's Romantic view of Ireland, a laned which only exists as a dream and a fantasy for him. Doyle doesn't like Ireland, having had enough of dreams. As the story progresses Broadbent, acting the colonial buffoon, inveigles his way into Roscullen society - succeeding in becoming their Parliamentary member (or as good as when the play ends) and securing for himself a wife, in the form of Nora Reilly - the woman who has patiently and besottedly waited for Doyle for 18 years.

The play brings out the reactionary results of reforms - the Irish small hodlers wanting to protect their land and property from the Irish without land, the all powerful role of the Catholic clergy (and Broadbents effective sucking up to it in the name of freedom of conscience). The end, though, is Broadbent and Doyle revealing their plans for Roscullen, which will sweep these landholders (whom broadbent shall represent in Parliament) away in a huge business plan for a hotel and Golf-course. The buffonery shed, the realities of practical business taking over from the man who lost control of his car to a pig.

In essence, Shaw casts doubt upon the irish project, whilst simultaneously supporting it, engaging in his usual contrarian heterodxy. Although he has strayed out of his usual territory - the British Middle class drawing room, and so loses his edge of being an insider talking to the privileged.

I won't reamble on too long, I'm setting the scene to discuss his theoretical essay that accompanies it - specifically with reference to recent events in Europe. I'll stop for now with one observation on Art. Ken's Fall Revolution series was based on a hell-on-Earth premise, with characters (in some parts) adapting to a hopeless end of history. To show literature repeats itself, it's worth noting that the character in Shaw's play of the de-frocked priest Keegan holds just that view - based on sound empirical evidence of eternal torment and endless suffering, we must be in hell right now. More next week.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Yurpean constitution

Well, I suppose i should comment on the two recent referendums.

The first thing to note is that a truly intelligible debate on that constitution is impossible - we've had copies come into the library where I work, and it is an epic monster of a document - ok, it holds hidden snacks like citizens initiative petitions, but overwhelmingly, it is just too dense.

All that could be and was voted on was the principle - the values of the peice, as it were. Hence the French and Dutch rejections - both stemming from essentially a nationalistic base about control by people over their own lives.

The sounds are that the powers that be may consider renegotiating, and may come back with a pared down constitution, that does less - kind of a lowest common denominator.

The real problem is, that unlike in national constitutions, this is still a treaty between states, a needed technical document, whereas national constitutions have other things to bind them, culture, history economic cohesion.

The history of constitutions is littered with peices of high sounding principle being subtly eroded by 'organic laws' supposed to supplement their general provision. Just look at America (where, incidentally, IIRC, two of the original 13 states did not ratify the constitution - even that one wasn't unimously accepted). A Europe that goes down that route ceases to be a union of states and becomes a single national entity. Hence the highly entrenched nature of the constitution and some unusual (i.e. economic) clauses.

As an internationalist and a democrat, I am in favour of increasingly dismantling nationa states and states' rights. What I'd want to see, though, is a movement to that end, and, I believe, taht movement must be socialist. If we do have a referendum here, that's how I will vote, socialism.

That is the split in Europe, between a Europe of states, operating at several removes from the people, and a Europe of the people.

Loony continues celebrating the no vote, with some instances of giving leftish reasons why - none of which, to my mind, are very strong. Paul Anderson says why it puts the case for a democratic federal Europe.