Mario Albertini: Nationalism, federalism and European integration

A collection of 22 essays of Mario Albertini – edited by Guido Montani – available for free download

Twenty years after the death of Mario Albertini (1919-1997), we have to acknowledge that his political ideas are still largely unknown to scholars in social sciences, particularly in the international debate that takes place mainly in English. Publishing his writings in English is therefore one of the aims of this collection of essays, in collaboration with the review Il federalista/The Federalist founded by Albertini in 1959, and the review Il Politico, published by the Faculty (now Department) of Political and Social Sciences of Pavia University where Albertini taught from the 1950s onwards.

Yet there is another, perhaps more important reason for publishing this anthology, and that is to call the attention of young people active in the fields of federali

sm, social sciences and philosophy to an author who brought key innovations to the humanities, introducing concepts and analyses that offer vital insights into the issues of the twenty-first century. In fact, as we will attempt to show, on the horizon there are key challenges for the survival of mankind, challenges which could only be guessed at during the last century. Since the end of World War II humanity has been in possession of the power to destroy our own planet with nuclear power, as denounced by Einstein in his writings and campaigning efforts for a peaceful world government1. The twenty-first century has seen the advent of other technologies with the potential to destroy life on Earth, including biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology, and this destructive power, or mega-terror, is no longer the monopoly of states: it is now gradually becoming accessible to small groups or even individuals. Lastly, the greatest threat facing the human species, and the most difficult to combat because it calls for drastic changes in international politics and people’s lifestyles, is the problem of climate change, and the ecological collapse of the biosphere caused by the sixth extinction. Must we resign ourselves to this tragic fate? What point can our lives have if we accept that the end of all animal species, including homo sapiens, is in sight? The answer Albertini gave to these questions is clear: the political unity of the human species. The creation of an international political order based on federalism and democracy is possible if we overcome the dogma of the national sovereign state, entrenched in its stubborn refusal to hand over the powers required by a supranational authority to tackle issues that regard all of us. In Europe, after the tragic end of World War II, a group of countries decided to initiate a process of supranational unification. Although the European Union is now being severely challenged, what was possible in Europe can also be possible on a global scale. This is the political and cultural horizon that we wish to explore with the help of Albertini’s ideas.

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Presentation at the University of Pavia (in Italian)