A Disintegrating “New Old World” Between Final Surrender and Necessary Re-foundation

European flag, road perspective, dark clouds, crisis concept

By Tommaso Visone

This article aims to analyse the ongoing disintegration of what Perry Anderson called the “New old world” in order to show how this process could be transformed in a constituent path able to guarantee to democracy a new continental and world breath.

 

“…l’histoire humaine, donc aussi le diverses formes de société que nous connaissons dans cette histoire, est essentiellement définie par la création imaginaire”.

Cornelius Castoriadis, Imaginaire politique grec et moderne, 1990

 

“No. No. No.”. In 1990, with these words, Margaret Thatcher affirmed the firm opposition of UK to the creation of a European Democracy, founded on the division of power.  She resigned a few weeks later and witness, in an apparent defeat, the birth of the EU and the euro. But, while the UK never joined the single currency, the entire EU was more the product of a “no” towards a meta-national democracy than the effect of a yes towards a decisive shift in the relations among the member states. The choice to retain the sovereignty in the hands of the states – stressed by the refusal to share sovereignty in the field of foreign, economic and fiscal policies (on which French government played a decisive role) – created a Union founded on “differentiated decisional regimes”;1 a Union substantially unable to act out of the veto mechanism in several decisive domains: economy, taxation, foreign relations and public sphere. If Maastricht parametres and NATO gave a sort of common frame for the states’ action in economic and defense domains, the true “lords of the treaties”2 remained the member states with their governments. Thus, the EU was realised more as the “European rescue of the Nation State”3 than as the model of a transnational and federal democracy. Margaret Thatcher’s nightmare was not realised. But the following decades showed that there is no possible rescue for the European nation state and the people it has empowered and created. Far from preserving people’s sovereignty inside what Perry Anderson defined as “the New Old World”4 such a strategy lead to what we currently face: the political disintegration of European polities, states and union and the radical crisis of democracy.

 

Paths of disintegration

As Etienne Balibar stressed we are living in a destituent moment.5 Not only has the crisis of EU became irreversible – EU will never return to work as it did from 1992 to 2007 – but it assumes the shape of a multiple disintegration of the old political system, starting from its constituent and “sovereign” actor, the nation-state. In effect we are not just living in a phase of exacerbation of the conflict among EU governments or citizens, but in a phase of conflict inside the same nation-state. These conflicts could lead directly towards separation and/or civil war (cold and hot). While on the one hand there is a multiple crisis context that, beyond Brexit, divided EU along the South-North and East-West axes.6

We can say that the economic crisis that began in 2008 opened the way to this huge disintegrating trend that works on many levels, each feeding the other in a sort of vicious cycle.

On the other, it is possible to see an explicit claim for regional independence and separatism in Catalunia and Scotland, exacerbation of the differences between east and west in Germany (look to the electoral results of AfD in the east) and the south and north in Italy (look to the different results from the last elections in these two halves of the country), the Corse issue in France, along with the insidious struggle around the Macron’s constitutional reformation proposal, and the Northern Ireland conundrum as linked to the Brexit negotiation, etc.7 Furthermore it is necessary to include the rise of racism and xenophobia all around Europe, bringing with it increased violence – both verbal and physical – in relation to “the strangers” and “others” (especially in relation to Islamic communities and migrants). We can easily underline how the ongoing disintegration of political units is just the other and specular face of the splitting up of society. We can say that the economic crisis that began in 2008 opened the way to this huge disintegrating trend that works on many levels, each feeding the other in a sort of vicious cycle. But why? 

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Of course EU crisis plays an important role in all that and it will be relevant to focus on it in order to understand what went wrong. EU was created in the Nineties with its unique differentiated political regime in order to reap the “benefits” of a stricter union – especially on the market side – without creating anything that could be considered a true power able to challenge the will of states in term of the core of political sovereignty: the control of the army, taxation and the public sphere.8 What happened was that the parametres created – via treaties – in order to control deficit and public debt in the Eurozone and the post ’89 NATO framework revealed themselves unable to work or guarantee convergence in the respective fields. Those nations that were strong or smart enough to violate the parametres did so several times (starting with France and Germany), creating a fundamental divergence among the Eurozone economies and putting in place the premises for the explosion of some national cases (Greece beyond all the others). In the field of common defense and common strategy, not only was the NATO framework unable – beginning with the Yugoslavian crisis – to grant unity among the European members of the partnership, but the same coordination of foreign and security policy established in Maastricht among the EU member states was revealed to be totally unfit in order to guarantee any possibility of a single action among the signatories. Thus, this kind of “unity” among the EU members showed its limitations since the very beginning. It was not the case that several attempt were realized in order to modify and integrate the approach of Maastricht. The treaties of Amsterdam and Nice, along with the failed “Constitutional Treaty” and the Lisbon Treaty were just the products of these efforts. But they were too low and too late. The EU, after Lisbon, saw the confirmation and strengthening of its intergovernmental side.9 When the economic world crisis of 2008 impacted on Europe, there was no common government of economy and foreign politics, nor any possibility of having a common public space to debate it.

The “dictatorship of European executives” transformed itself in a regime in which the strongest could impose on the other the shape of a common cage destined to suffocate the legitimacy of any European common rule.

The increasing attacks to the public debts of the less strong Eurozone’s states (Greece in particular) pushed the other states to propose a sort of “iron cage” – the Six pact, the Europlus Pact, the “Fiscal compact” – in order to avoid the collapse of the weakest rings of the Eurozone chain.10 This intergovernmental cage demonstrated the implications of the logic of Maastricht, a logic that can be used in order to obtain the reverse of what was desired at that time. Created to safeguard and enhance the sovereignty of national governments11 – the European rescue of the Nation-State – it forced them to respect rigid austerity measures without giving option of discussion or modification to any parliament, national or European. The “dictatorship of European executives”12 transformed itself in a regime in which the strongest could impose on the other the shape of a common cage destined to suffocate the legitimacy of any European common rule.13 The idea to avoid the creation of a European democracy, able to go beyond the nation state perimeter, ended in the institution of an “international dictatorship” that, in order to save EU from the global crisis, actively contributed to its destruction – and, with it, its member states and people – from within.  

This new kind of European governance produced a huge eurosceptic reaction of two kinds: one on the axis north-south in which, with the consequences of the Greek crisis and the imposition of austerity politics, the northern Europeans considered southerners as parasite who wanted to use their money. While southerners, from their part, consider the northerners as shylocks who wanted to smother their economies and their society.14 What this cleavage has shown in recent years, followed by the huge consensus for eurosceptic parties, is the crisis of mutual trust among Europeans. Fewer people trust other Europeans and fewer believe in a Union that is capable of acting in the common interest. The other – also linked to the growth of migration fluxes due to the effects of the world economic crisis outside Europe and the EU inability to act effectively and with a compulsory and unique strategy beyond its frontiers – was the rupture between eastern and western Europe. Here, cynical politicians, such as Victor Orban, have created an authoritarian regime founded on the nationalist and xenophobic idea of guaranteeing a welfare solely for the countryman (thus excluding migrants and “strangers” from such national services). This model, established within a new constitutional order, also became relevant for other eastern countries, like Poland, that were worried by the excessive relevance of EU governance and focused – for the historical trauma connected with the USSR – on the primacy of national sovereignty. Hence, eastern countries are progressively embracing the attitude of authoritarian regimes, moved by the demand for a national welfare and choosing to exclude migrants and “strangers” from their social and national environment.

The scapegoats of the crisis – a crisis that could not be solved without continental anti-cyclical answers that could not be agreed upon in an increasingly divided and intergovernmental Union – were identified as other communities living in the same territory, the central national government, migrants, Muslims, etc.

The clash with the EU’s western nations, that stress the importance of the rule of law and support a better redistribution of migrants within the common EU frontiers, is thus an open and rude one. Furthermore adding the issue of Brexit, which signaled an epochal turn, it would be possible to conceive the multiple disintegration crises that is dividing and blocking – under the flourishing of national vetoes – the post-Maastricht “New Old World”.

Far from a recovering for national democracy, this ongoing disintegration of the EU feeds the crisis of democracy and social issue at any level. This collapse of mutual trust, due to the new regime imposed during the crisis and the absence of a public sphere able to produce a common narration of shared interests, produced not only a division among states, but also an increasing division within member states and their societies. The scapegoats of the crisis – a crisis that could not be solved without continental anti-cyclical answers that could not be agreed upon in an increasingly divided and intergovernmental Union – were identified as other communities living in the same territory, the central national government, migrants, Muslims, etc. Furthermore, the 2008 crisis impact on a society that, after a lengthy dismantling of national welfare-state in the name of competitiveness and effectiveness,15 was already living in a phase of atomisation and tribalism16 that had its political manifestation in the affirmation of “post-democracy”.17 It should be clear, from this point of view, that the lengthy democratic crisis preceded the one of EU and played a role in avoiding a scenario in which the EU evolved in a democratic European Republic.18 In other words, the disintegration of the Union represents just the last, and decisive, step of the crisis of democracy in Europe.

In other words, the disintegration of the Union represents just the last, and decisive, step of the crisis of democracy in Europe. The incapability to transform the Union in a transnational and federal democracy – due to the crisis of democratic dynamics suffocated into old national borders – entails the impossibility to intervene effectively and legitimately during the 2008’s crisis.

The incapability to transform the Union in a transnational and federal democracy – due to the crisis of democratic dynamics suffocated into old national borders – entails the impossibility to intervene effectively and legitimately during the 2008’s crisis. As a consequence no effective intervention has been possible, and persons and social groups at all levels – already damaged by decades of atomising policies – react by cutting connections with one another, without solving problems but rather obtaining the psychological relief of reacting to an external threat, to an always renewed feeling of danger.19 Such disintegration of the social tissue represents the end of any possible democracy, because the consequent absence of trust leads to the end of the polity (through civil war, un-governability, etc.) or – as an alternative – to an authoritarian dictatorship that forces people to live together beyond any rule of law, dismantling any effective citizens’ possibility to equally participate to political life.20 In both cases it is the definitive end of the “demos”.

 

Paths of re-foundation. The Citizenry’s option.

Is it a destiny? Is it necessary to accept as a fatality this huge vortex of disintegration (and the consequent death of the demos) or it is possible to do something to change the ongoing scenario? What is of relevance to point out in the current situation is that any disintegrating path of an old order, any “destituent moment”, creates the premise for the institution of a new order. What has been going on since 2008 is the transformation of the New Old World or the structural effect of the crisis faced in the last decade. Nowadays it is possible to arrive at a new EU model of “de facto” market integration without rights or common power – except for market and monetary issues – and with a fistful of social policies at national level, depending on the arbitrary power of national authoritarian or post-democratic governments. Or it is possible to imagine the final end of the Union and the dystopic return to impoverished nation states led by national demagogues and particular interests. In both cases in the public debate there are just “bad alternatives” – with no democracy, no guarantee of freedom and few or absent social rights – as direct result of the unsolved contradictions of European integration and international order.21 What is required is to try to show how to give shape to a “good alternative” that could allow us to transform the ongoing path(s) of disintegration in a new process of democratisation – or a new democracy, because democracy does not live without its internal movement – and a new opportunity for what has been called “l’égaliberté”.22 A path that aims to create new demos throughout a constituent process.

What is of relevance to point out in the current situation is that any disintegrating path of an old order, any “destituent moment”, creates the premise for the institution of a new order.

The latter arrives to establish a new common identity, a new institutionalised space of freedoms and social convergence, mixing and empowering the citizens according to a logic of equality and reciprocity. Substantially in order to rekindle democracy in Europe (though not only in Europe) it is necessary to start a constituent struggle for the re-foundation of the European Polity. 

But how to do it? First organising those who – within and outside of Europe – viewed this problem as the main political issue of our epoch. Without a political subject who stands for such a struggle it will be impossible to involve people and expose it to public opinion(s). The correct and new subject to do this would be a transnational party that would be able to act with a single – but federally organised – voice at several level (Local, National, European, International).23 It is fundamental to do this in order to move beyond the sum of impotencies represented by the coalitions of national parties in Brussels and the crisis of national democracy. It is compelling to bring the struggle into a new political and public space (that can be progressively created with a new kind of political action),24 which can influence the national debate without being dominated by it. Second, it is important not to fall into the traps of the past. Several projects aspire to reform the EU using a new international treaty. Some have powerful defenders, such as the French President Emmanuel Macron. In his Sorbonne discourse he spoke of a united European military, a “genuine European asylum office” to harmonise migration policy, common taxes – a financial transaction one, as well as digital business and environmental levies, plus pooled contributions from corporate tax revenues – to fill a common budget that would be run by a Eurozone finance minister. Those proposals were cut to the bare bones by Angela Merkel in June 2018 and it maybe be possible to reason about a European Monetary Found and joint European Refugee Agency after the 2019 European elections. What is important to note is that Macron’s will – true or declared – could not be realised recurring to an international agreement among governments. In fact no contemporary European government will spontaneously renounce its military and fiscal sovereignty (the core of state sovereignty) in order to create a European multilevel, democratic and effective Polity. Further, if they were to do so – by incredible miracle or menace – this fact would open a huge and divisive debate on the end of national sovereignty, which cannot be set by international treaty.25 Of course there exists the method of the Philadelphia Convention or a “Constitutional Convention” which, adapted to the current European context, could be followed by a confirmative Pan-European referendum (or national referendums). However, the original was a genial “coup de main” that is very difficult to reproduce in absence of awareness from national élites and to legitimise in an epoch in which no one accept from its national government a voluntary reduction of national sovereignties. Furthermore, it was not just a virtuous compromise.26

In fact no contemporary European government will spontaneously renounce its military and fiscal sovereignty (the core of state sovereignty) in order to create a European multilevel, democratic and effective Polity.

The effort to “go beyond Westphalia”27 produced a constitutional tension that led to a huge and bloody civil war in a “Union” that, also facing huge social and economic differences (notably between south and north), had none of the linguistic and national differences existing in Europe.28 And, last but not least, the final referendum – on an already written constitutional text – will give to citizens (who have a lower level of trust in their elites compared to XVIIIth century America) just the power to accept or reject an already closed text, with no substantial possibility to participate in its elaboration. For all these reasons if a “good”, democratic, “alternative” for Europe has to be figured and realised it could not pass just from government action and via the international treaty method (or from a “Constitutional Convention” creating a Union that must then be legitimised via a confirmative referendum/s). In fact it is necessary to introduce to the stage a new constituent actor(s), the European citizens and a new constituent method, the one of an elected European Constitutional Assembly. These two options are connected to one another. Indeed only direct intervention by citizens – organised in a new transnational manner – could lead to the election of a constituent assembly, as the only successful constituent action (and meeting) is that produced by the direct engagement of citizens. Thus it is fundamental to state it clearly: the epoch of functionalism is ended. It is impossible to obtain, eleven years after the drafting of the last European Treaty, decisive or revolutionary actions by national governments that can, differently, reduce the space of common sovereignty in Europe, calling for national exceptions and “exit” strategies. If a strong movement of citizens could insert itself in the public debate(s) maybe governments would try to follow. But without it, their action will continue to be substantially regressive (or ineffective) as it is.

Now, how to avoid the song to “remain the same”? How to concretely begin a strategic rupture in this sense? Here the third point: it would be crucial to create a continental campaign – having as a pivot the transnational party quoted above29  – to request the election of a Constituent Assembly. This Campaign could be organised around A) the institution of virtual via the web), local and transnational civic conventions in order to engage citizens in a huge continental debate and B) the self-organisation of a proposing Pan-European referendum (at least in the Eurozone area) to ask citizens about “Do you support the election of a Constituent Assembly for Europe?”.30  If a campaign like this has success it would be possible to ask for and obtain the election of a Constituent Assembly with the European election of 2024. Indeed such a campaign will offer citizens the possibility of direct involvement in the process and becoming an actor within it. It will decisively contribute to introduce a new constituent and unexpected actor in the process of European integration: the European citizenry.

 

Coloniability vs. new Democratic Process.

Why do it? Is it not too dangerous to attempt to involve an electorate that is viewed as always more eurosceptic or euro-indifferent? Yes of course, there is a risk. The problem is that avoiding a radical action, or trying to repeat the old functionalist strategy is even more dangerous.

In other words, a vision that answers to all the fears and needs of ordinary European people, especially on the matter of social security and political control.

The next European elections risk turning EU in the realm of a new right-wing or populist majority that will dismiss any surviving European right and will to integrate. The old XXth century schema – to fight for the partial reformation of the EU – did not interest the majority of the citizens who prefer to vote for radical alternatives (including the truly extreme and disruptive option of conserving things as they are). Thus to call people to vote for the creation of a Finance Minister or the completion of the Banking Union risk being the perfect field for the enemy of European Integration which will respond with the idea of the dismantling of the current Union in the name of national sovereignty, xenophobia, commonsense, and social policies. To avoid this it is necessary to have a continental social plan feasible with the existing Treaties in order to, firstly, reduce the social emergency and collapse of consensus towards the Union.31 With this plan it is, secondly, necessary to spread a clear vision of a new and fully democratic model of Union to be realised in order to overcome the contradictions of the existing version. In other words, a vision that answers to all the fears and needs of ordinary European people, especially on the matter of social security and political control. If this is not undertaken in the sense of a renewed democratic union it will be done in the sense of a right-wing “international of nationalism” that is already conquering the stage in several western contexts.32  This union of nationalists, far from reinforcing Europe, will finally create the perfect ground for the concluding cultural and political triumph of Russian or Chinese contemporary autocracies (or American plutocracy), which will find no resistance in a fragmented and disintegrated continent. Such models and powers could quickly become hegemonic points of reference in case of a European weakening or disintegration.

The highest risk is to remain in a political system/debate that sees a confrontation among the reiteration of the same – functionalist Europeanism that attempts to be in continuity with the history of European integration as it was in XXth century – or the return to national sovereignty as the mythical condition to realise the values of the past. In a system like this there are few possibilities to see creativity and inventive spirit reclaim their place. In other words the danger is to enter definitively in a “coloniability” (Malek Bennabi) condition, or a moral attitude to be ruled culturally and politically from the exterior in absence of any creative action/thought.33  It is important to fight such atrophy of the imaginary with its consequences. Therefore it will be absolutely relevant to establish a new participatory constituent process and democratic praxis in Europe at the height of the time.

As a matter of fact in human history power not always brings to an assumption of responsibility. But it is also true that it would be impossible (or psychologically devastating) to have the latter without the former.

It will offer citizens the chance to use creativity as a regenerate manifestation of their active role in the world and their own society. It will also result in a renewed sense of responsibility. Indeed the latter can arose just with a new empowerment process focused on the involvement of the same European citizens within an arena – the one of European integration – which always saw them as passive actor or just as a national veto player. As a matter of fact in human history power not always brings to an assumption of responsibility. But it is also true that it would be impossible (or psychologically devastating) to have the latter without the former. Thus more than control or reduce democracy – as several exponents of national and European establishment would like to achieve – it is the time to offer her a new chance. Such an effort could contrast and transform the disintegrate trend of the present, giving new life and meaning to a “New Old World” – in its local, national and supranational political levels – which sadly risk being remembered forever more as an “Old New” one.  

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About the Author

Dr. Tommaso Visone is Adjunct Professor in Political Thought for Colonization and Decolonization at Sapienza-Università di Roma and Research Fellow in the History of Economic Thought at Università degli studi di Roma Tre. He is the co-editor of the collection “Teoria e Ricerca Sociale e Politica”, Edizioni Altravista.

 

References

1. Sergio Fabbrini, Sdoppiamento. Una prospettiva nuova per l’Europa, Laterza, Roma,2017, p.32

2. About this see Natalino Irti, Norma e luoghi. Problemi di geo-diritto, Laterza, Roma, 2006, p.71

3. See Alan Milward, The European Rescue of the Nation State, (second edition) Routledge, London, 1999

4. Anderson’s book was built around the awareness to consider – wanting to describe the political history of contemporary Europe – two necessary and intertwined levels of analysis: the union one and the national(s). See Perry Anderson, The New Old World, Verso, London, 2009.

5. Etienne Balibar, Prefazione all’edizione italiana. Momento destituente, momento costituente, in Id, Crisi e fine dell’Europa?, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino, 2017.

6. A good analysis of this disintegration trend is that of Jan Zielonka in Is the EU doomed? Polity Press, Cambridge, 2014.

7. States, as any other thing created by man, could die and disintegrate or dissolve. On this topic see Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms. The history of Half-Forgotten Europe, Penguin, London, 2011, pp. 729-739. 

8. “The power to coin money, to dispose of the estate and persons of infant heirs, to have pre-emption in markets, and all other statute prerogatives may be transferred by the sovereign, and yet the power to protect his subjects be retained. But if he transfer the militia, he retains the judicature in vain, for want of execution of the laws; or if he grant away the power of raising money, the militia is in vain; or if he give away the government of doctrines, men will be frighted into rebellion with the fear of spirits”. Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan, (1651) Ch. XVIII.

9. See Fabbrini, cit., pp. 42-48

10. On the kind of regime that emerges from such a path see also Wolfgang Streeck, Gekaufte Zeit. Die vertagte Krise des demokratischen capitalismus, Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2013.

11. It is important to note that the same discourse of sovereignty, deeply Eurocentric, always worked in a graduated framework in which the few true sovereigns were always able to act at global level. See John M.Hobson, The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics. Western International Theory, 1760-2010, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2012, pp. 331-334.

12. See Giuseppe Allegri e Giuseppe Bronzini, Sogno Europeo o incubo ? Come l’Europa potrà tornare a essere democratica, solidale e capace di difendersi dai mercati finanziari, Fazi Editore, Roma, 2014, p. 23.

13. On the use of time during the crisis in order to affirm the political will of the strongest see Ulrich Beck, German Europe, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2013.

14. See on this the analysis concerning the fall of the pro-European consensus in Spain in José Ignacio Torreblanca, ¿Quién Gobierna en Europa ? Recostruir la democracia, recuperar a la ciudadanía, Catarata, Madrid, 2014, pp. 36-44.

15. See on this Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land, Penguin, New York, 2010.

16. One of the first studies on this complex phenomenon is the one of Michel Maffesoli, La transfiguration du politique. La tribalisation du monde, Grasset, Paris, 1992.

17. See Colin Crouch, Post-Democracy, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2004. The concept of a postdemocratic society – a society without conflict, without any possibility of true politics – was introduced by Jacques Ranciere in his book La Mésentente, Galilée, Paris, 1995.

18. See Stephan Collignon, The European Republic. Reflections on the Political Economy of a Future Constitution, Federal Trust for Education and Research, London, 2003 and Ulrike Guérot, Warum Europa eine Republik werden muss!: Eine Politische Utopie, Dietz Verlag, Bonn, 2016.

19. This is one of the possible manifestations of what has been called “Psyco-Politics”, see Byung-Chul Han, Psychopolitik. Neoliberalismus und die neuen Machttechnicken, Fisher Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2014.

20. Reciprocity as equal and mutual recognition is a fundamental feature of a democratic society. See Pierre Rosanvallon, La societé des egaux, Seuil, Paris, 2013.

21. Lorenzo Marsili and Niccolò Milanese are completely correct affirming that, from this point of view, “the logic of ‘There is no alternative’ seems to have morphed in a depressing ‘There are only bad alternatives’” (Lorenzo Marsili and Niccolò Milanese, Citizens of Nowhere. How Europe Can Be Saved from Itself, Zeed Books, London, 2018, p. 180). It is possible to add that the result is the dialectic consequences of premise, it is still inside the totalizing picture of meaning opened by the first.

22. See Étienne Balibar, La proposition de l’égaliberté: Essais Politiques 1989-2009, PUF, Paris, 2015. 

23. There are some movements like DIEM 25 or Volt that could represent interesting starting prototypes of this new kind of political actor. In particular DIEM 25, with other national subjects (Dema, Libre, Razem, Generation, etc.) launched a transnational list – European Spring – which aspire to transform itself in a true transnational party.

24. On this issue see Tommaso Visone, ‘Towards an European Public Sphere: the case of Talk Real’, in Juliane House and Themis Kaniklidou (edited by), Europe in Discourse: Identity, Diversity, Borders, Hellenic American University, Athens, 2017.

25. National Constitutional Courts, such as the Bundesverfassungsgericht in Germany, have several times affirmed the exigency to establish a limit to the transfer of competences throughout international treaties, declaring the will to oppose to any creation of a “Federation” throughout this method.  E.g. see BVerfG, 2 BvE 2/08 del 30.6.2009. 

26. Some critics to the American Constitution are notoriously contained in Robert A. Dahl, How Democratic is the American Constitution ?, Yale University Press, Yale, 2001.

27. See Fabbrini, cit., p. 128.

28. “The essential nature of the American union was for many decades the subject of passionate disagreement, even more so than that of the European Union is now. Indeed, that disagreement persists in a muted form even today. Was the Constitution a basic law enacted by the sovereign people of a single nation, or a compact between the sovereign peoples of independent states? Or was Madison right in believing that ‘the people’ had succeeded in doing what most political thinkers denied that any sovereign could do, by permanently surrendering a portion of their sovereign power? These rival theories had very practical, as well as theoretical, implications. They determined how the Constitution should be interpreted, and especially the respective powers of the nation and the states. They determined who had ultimate authority to interpret it: for example, whether national courts could over-ride state courts, and whether the states could ‘interpose’ their authority to nullify national measures they deemed unconstitutional. Above all, these theories determined whether the states retained authority to secede from the Union. That question was only finally settled by a terrible civil war, in which over six hundred thousand men perished”. Jeffrey Goldsworthly, The Debate About Sovereignty in the United States: a Historical and Comparative Perspective in Neil Walker (edited by), Sovereignty in Transition, Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2003, p. 424. On the relevance of the Lincon Presidency in terms of the US constitutional shift see also Luigi Marco Bassani, Dalla Rivoluzione alla Guerra Civile. Federalismo e Stato Moderno in America 1776-1865, Rubettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2009, pp. 233-280.

29. Of course no pivot alone could win a game. In order to do it a team composed by different players (other parties, civil society, unions, NGOs, individual citizens, etc.) is needed.

30. E.g. This strategy is the one proposed by the transnational list “European Spring” who will run for the European election of 2019.

31. E.g. see the DIEM 25 proposal https://diem25.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/European-New-Deal-Complete-Policy-Paper.pdf

32. See https://www.independent.co.uk/news/steve-bannon-moving-europe-movement-foundation-far-right-wing-politics-george-soros-a8458641.html

33. See Haoues Seniguer, La civilisation islamique et l’humanisme arabo-musulmane: le regard de Malek Bennabi, in « Confluences Méditeranée», 2, n.89, 2014, p.192.