by Dermont Clark
(Former Union Movement Member)
Firstly, let me pay tribute to Sir Oswald Mosley who coined the phrase Europe a Nation, because nearly six decades after the formation of Union Movement back in 1948, and more than 26 years after his death in 1980, we who subscribe to or write articles for European Action are still inspired by his philosophy. Walter Lippman (the American journalist, author and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist) said, “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on”.
Interesting too, that in reviewing the early successes of British Union, Mosley addressing his brother Blackshirts called on them to possess the character of the true revolutionary. They were fighting for nothing less than a revolution in the spirit of the British people and they needed to have within them the character and power to endure, to have loyalty, constancy, manhood and stability of nature.
A previous issue of this publication (number 8, March/April 2007) dealt in much detail with the Conference of Venice in 1962 and the acceptance by those who attended of the need for a National Party of Europe, and how some of the other European parties that had subscribed fully to proposals failed to act and ultimately reverted to their cozy nationalist agenda.
In fact, Mosley had gone further still and called upon members of Union Movement to be European Socialists (he had always denied being of the ‘right’ politically, stating that he was from the ‘left’). In essence then, we have been called revolutionaries and socialists but how does this tie in with our National Party of Europe and the demand to bring about Europe a Nation?
In May 1956, Mosley’s essay ‘European Socialism’ was printed in the German monthly Nation Europa. In that article, European Socialism was defined as “the development by a fully united Europe of all the resources in our continent for the benefit of all the peoples of Europe, with every energy and incentive that the active leadership of European government can give to private enterprise, workers’ ownership or any other method of progress which science and a dynamic system of government find most effective for the enrichment of all our people and the lifting of European civilization to ever higher forms of life”.
Note that both private enterprise and workers’ ownership (syndicalism) are equally acceptable under this plan, Indeed, Mosley’s concept was of private enterprise leading to syndicalism as a natural transition from one to the other. When a private business became too big for individual management or when private enterprise is exhausted, workers’ ownership would be introduced. Today we are used to the idea of a ‘management buy out’ but syndicalism goes much further, vesting the ownership of the business among ALL of the workers in the same way as the John Lewis and Waitrose stores are owned by a partnership of all the staff.
Mosley went on to say that “the state should define the broad boundaries within which industry might operate and should itself only intervene in the event of breakdown. The state should direct not by control but by leadership, not by bureaucracy but by the wage-price mechanism”. In other words, for example, the state says to producers, wholesalers and retailers of foodstuffs that you must only sell people food that is safe to eat and then let them get on with their task. You do not have to define the size and shape of a cucumber and then hire a team of bureaucrats to go around shops and supermarkets to ensure that the cucumbers are not too large or too small or have too big a bend.
On taxation, Mosley said, “The leadership of the state will be exercised by the planned and regulated raising of wages over the whole field of industry as science increases the power to produce”. He then went on to say that wages should reflect a reward for the skill, effort and responsibility taken by the employee.
Mosley saw his concept of European Socialism not as commandments set in stone but as a fluid, changing and developing plan that met the needs of the times.
He said, “We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity because science has broken so many bonds and has so greatly enlarged the horizons of men. If men in an age of new facts are prepared to find new policies to meet them, they are natural companions, provided of course that we hold together that all-important spiritual kinship. We must think again, then act most strenuously, and on a greater scale than ever because we have greater possibilities, First comes the idea.”
Reprinted from “European Action” with all due respect.