AW: States as actors.

Fri, 11 Apr 1997 21:19:33 +-200
barendse (

On friday 11 april Stephen Sherman writes

Not only are nation states being reorganized for economic reasons
described below--they are being torn apart or superceded from forces =
and below. Ask Margaret Thatcher about the former. f=20
Nation states depend on people idenitifying themselves as part of the =
nation in question--this never really happened in a number of African =
'nation states' and is happening less in places like the US, where, I =
would add, the people who don't
closely identify themselves with the fate of the 'American nation', but
instead with smaller groups living within the territory of the US are
well represented among the intelligentsia. As far as I can tell the
opposite is true of Europe--there, regardless of the actual popularity =
the EEC among the 'masses' it has a great deal of credibility among the
intellectual elites throughout Europe.

I doubt that very much - Thatcher's deposition from office had in my =
view more to do with opposition within her cabinet - which feared a new =
reshuffle and her increasing disregard for the `machinery' of the =
Conservative party than with her supposed troubles with the EEC - which =
are fairly common in the British conservative party - that was merely a =
fig-leaf to conceal personal conflicts within the cabinet.

As to the attitude towards the EEC even in Holland -considered a =
`Euroenthusiastic' country- the attitude of the `masses' towards the EEC =
scuttles between indifference -witness the abysmally low turn-up during =
elections for the European parliament 30% normally with 80% for national =
elections- and hostility -with the treaty of Maastricht being the normal =
pretext for cut-backs on wages and government expenditures.

The only real `Euroenthusiasts' here are, I think, politicians looking =
for a better paid job and, indeed, some academicians, angling for =
subsidies from the European Science Federation. If that is the attitude =
in Holland, you may imagine what it's like in England (I'm not saying UK =
here ...) or in crisis-struck Germany.

As A.Milward has briliantly demonstrated (The European Rescue of the =
Nation State London 1993) the prime aim of the EEC was not (and is not) =
the `negation' of the nation-state but rather strengthening the grip of =
the nation-state on its citizens. Take the zealous efforts of the Dutch =
government, for example, to introduce an ID card, said to be necessary =
since the other Shengen-countries have one, in spite of the resistance =
of practically the entire Dutch population as the Germans first =
introduced an ID-card here in WWII and used it to trace down the Jews. =
This association is not entirely coincidental.


Dr. R.J. Barendse
Leiden University