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New Left Review I/131, January-February 1982

Lucio Magri

The Peace Movement and European Socialism

A movement for peace and disarmament has exploded in Europe in these last months that has stupefied even those—like ourselves—who believed from the start in the possibility of building one, and worked to bring it about. There are many reasons for that stupor. First of all, there is the range and variety of forces that have been mobilized. Bonn and London, Brussels and Rome, have witnessed the largest demonstrations ever seen, on any issue, in the whole post-war period. Quantity has also been quality: there is no way of gathering together hundreds of thousands of people in the streets and squares of our cities without finding side by side different generations, different political forces, different cultural traditions. This diversity alone has put the demonstrations above any suspicion of tactical or partisan calculation, and has multiplied the impact of each on society as a whole. Secondly, there is the geographical spread of the new movement. This is probably the first time that a mass movement has emerged simultaneously, with essentially similar demands and analogous protagonists, in virtually all the countries of Western Europe. Not even the great wave of 1968 had this European scale and this spontaneous kinship of language.

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Lucio Magri, ‘The Peace Movement and European Socialism’, NLR I/131: £3

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