Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

No2EU Plumbs Chauvinist Anti-German Depths.

with 22 comments

Peoples Pledge

Anti-German Hysterics. 

No2EU is apparently a ‘left-wing’ British list for next year’s Euro-elections.

Critics allege it a vanity project by Bob Crow, backed by the Communist Party of Britain, and a few other allies, like the Socialist Party.

It now stands accused of virulent chauvinism and near racism towards Germany.

This is why (the latest from its Web site),

Germany backs fascist uprising in Ukraine

Germany is using its de facto empire the European Union to integrate Ukraine into Berlin’s political and economic sphere.

However Germany’s expansion project was brought to a halt at the EU’s eastern partnership summit in Vilnius.

Moscow had brought its own pressure to bear on Kiev, including trade sanctions and other threats in order to keep Ukraine out of Berlin’s new drive to the east.

Yet Germany has continued its efforts to break Ukraine out of the Russian sphere and the German media now speaks of the “battle for the Ukraine” and a “new iron curtain” to be vanquished in the east.

The EU has also warned Ukraine that it faces a financial blockade if it continues to refuse to sign.

Berlin’s puppet EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton even blasted Ukraine for not “becoming a predictable and reliable interlocutor for international markets.”

The IMF has already suspended a credit line worth $15 billion in 2011 because Ukraine refused to stop subsidising household gas bills.

The EU treaty would also allow European monopolies to grab Ukraine’s crucial energy markets.

So who are these “pro-democracy” campaigners that can’t unseat the government made up of president Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions and supported by the Communist Party of Ukraine?

Bluntly it is an unholy alliance of conservatives, fascists and revanchist groups promoting a cult around former nazi collaborators.

Now many people are very wary of the Ukrainian nationalists.

They are also very wary of getting entangled in Ukrainian politics full stop.

But this “German Plot” theory is complete and utter rubbish.

And as for the idea that the EU is a “German Empire”.

This is the very opposite of No2EU’s claim to say “Yes to international solidarity of working peoples”.

Once you start defending the British state against the EU you can go very far indeed….

Hat-Tip John G.

Nick Wrack was right when he said why his group (now part of Left Unity) would not back No2EU.

The opposition was primarily for two reasons. Firstly, the opinion that the election will be marked by a horrible reactionary nationalism and anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric. It was felt that, rather than cutting across this from the left, the title No2EU will reinforce it.

Secondly, it was agreed that we should oppose any name or  slogan that suggests or implies that things would be better simply by withdrawal from the EU.

In the 2009 European elections essentially the same alliance, No2EU Yes to Democracy got 153,236 votes or 1% of the national vote failing to win a seat at the European parliament and finishing in 11th place, behind Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 20, 2013 at 5:11 pm

22 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this to our attention, Andrew. In fact, this is nothing new: anti-German sentiment has always been a major underlying force behind anti-Europe campaigning and propaganda whether by “left” (Stalinist and useful-idiotic reformists and Trots) or right.

    I used to hope that each new nationalist and even racist outrage (eg support for tighter immigration controls) by the anti-Europe Stalinists would bring Trots like the SP and Socialist Resistance, to their senses. But these idiots have no senses to be brought to.

    Jim Denham

    December 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm

  2. My thoughts exactly Jim.

    They tell themselves comforting stories about how a lot of (usually prefaced by ‘working class’ to make it sound good) feeling against the EU is “really” about opposition to the Commission’s neo-liberal policies.

    That this opposition to neo-liberalism is expressed by voting for a neo-liberal hard-line free-market party (and complete nutters to boot) is never explained.

    In an even in some more obscure way they think that they can make it ‘progressive’ by backing lists that contain the author of this tract, who seems to been awakened from the Common Market Safeguards Campaign (founded in 1970).

    Andrew Coates

    December 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm

  3. I forgot to mention “new drive to the east” is a distasteful reference to Hitler’s “Drang nach Osten”.

    Andrew Coates

    December 20, 2013 at 6:21 pm

  4. The soft Stalinists still pray to Moscow. the nonsense that Comecon was so much nicer than the EU. There are real and obvious roots to Ukrainan nationalism It is a legitimate national liberation struggle. There are rrightwingers, even fascists on each side. Would you condemn the Irish struggle because it was supported by Peter King (extreme rightwing USA Republican). John riddell has written a lot on how the gains of October were destroyed and Russian nationalism won out in the USSR. http://johnriddell.wordpress.com/2006/11/01/the-russian-revolution-and-national-freedom/
    The idea that the UK ( still an empire) and France are somewhat oppressed nations in the German EU.

    Jim Monaghan

    December 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

  5. Perhaps someone could give an explanation, from the standpoint of these particular strands of Trotskyism, what exactly is the class nature of the German state, what might be the main direction of its investment and capital export, what is the character of its political and economic relations with the subaltern states on its souther and eastern hinterlands, whether or not it is an imperialist power, what is the significance of its influence over the ECB and the role of that body (and institutions like the IMF and World Bank) and, in passing, give an account generally of German foreign policy.

    And when that minor analytical task is complete try to explain why it is an impermissible breach of proletarian solidarity to characterise its role as imperialist and the decisive utility of the EU in its force projection as anti German or anti European.

    Nick Wright

    December 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

  6. Jim Monaghan, neither Britain nor France are “oppressed” by Germany or by the German EU. The EU is the collective instrument of the big monopolies. It is the mechanism whereby they attempt to resolve their inevitable contradictions. There are substantial differences between them thus Germany is less keen on Middle Eastern imperial adventures than Britain or France ( the traditional imperial powers in the region).
    Conversely sections of British capital has, usually, different strategies in eastern and Central Europe. Thus Douglas Hurd wanted a different policy in relation to the NATO dismantling of Yugoslavia while Mrs Thatcher some times buttressed the GDR as an obstacle to the eastward expansion of German capital.
    It’s complicated, but when you make ideological concessions about one imperialist power you finish up making bigger ones in relation to your own. Example: the AWL’s alignment with NATO’s various enterprises.

    Nick Wright

    December 20, 2013 at 7:45 pm

  7. The article is indeed xenophobic, anti-German, chauvinist. No surprises there from the CPB-Crow-axis.

    At the same time it cannot be denied that the German government – at least the one that finally bowed out a couple of days ago – is/was pushing and actively supporting the Ukrainian opposition, including (while publicly, in Germany at least, ignoring or failing to mention) the far-right elements of it.

    Klitschko *lives* mainly in Germany, was awarded the German order of merit some years ago (he himself seemed confused as to why), his party was founded with the help of the CDU’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and the CDU are fasttracking it to full membership status of the European People’s Party (it currently has observer status). (Though a number of bourgeois observers say Klitschko is not very influential in Ukraine anyway and is only in and out of the Bundeskanzleramt because he speaks German (and yes, lives here))

    That doesn’t mean “Berlin” is pulling the strings, but they’re attempting to do so, and are public about it. But what’s surprising about that? That’s what foreign politics is, even if foreign ministers don’t usually do “revolution tourism” in person and visit the barracades.

    dagmar

    December 21, 2013 at 12:37 am

  8. Nick forgot to mention Croatia. If in doubt, blame the Croats as well. Ask Tony Benn, I’m sure he still agrees.

    dagmar

    December 21, 2013 at 12:38 am

  9. Thanks for clarifying about the CDU and no doubt the CSU Dagmar,

    Unravelling the intentions of the “de facto German Empire” Nick is not a Marxist analysis, however hard you try,

    Andrew Coates

    December 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm

  10. I think the days of the CSU doing its own foreign policy are long gone and died a while after Franz Josef Strauß became little more than the name of Munich airport. The CSU was put well in its place by Kohl and the CDU leadership after the collapse of the GDR and it first set up its own party in the east (in particular in Saxony), the hard-rightist CSU, which then, once the political and financial support from Munich finished became firstly even more right wing and thankfully irrelevant.

    The CSU of old would have seen Klitschko’s “Punch” party (and today’s CDU/CSU as well) as a bunch of “wet” liberals.

    dagmar

    December 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm

  11. (I meant that Kohl/CDU forced the (Bavarian) CSU to abandon their hard-rightist (mainly Saxony-based) DSU (not CSU as I mis-typed above))

    dagmar

    December 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm

  12. My initial introduction to German politics was in the 1970s Dagmar.

    In any case the German position on the Ukraine seems to be led by the SPD’s Mr. Steinmeier.

    Andrew Coates

    December 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

  13. Andrew, you really must do better.
    A Marxist analysis starts with an examination of the real capitalist formation, the one we live and work within. Something which the ‘ultra left’ end of the spectrum is perversely reluctant to carry through. It prefers abstract sentiments to concrete analysis. I repeat my challenge for someone to come up with an analysis of the main features of German imperialism and its relations with British and French imperialism and the functioning of the EU and its related institutions.

    The whole point about NO2EU is that it provides an opportunity – albeit limited by resources, bourgeois and liberal domination of the media and Britain’s intensely undemocratic election system – to construct a political narrative about the EU that challenges the national chauvinist, racist forces at play; allows for a defence of workers rights (especially for migrant workers to be paid the rate for the job); that highlights the liberal and social democratic illusions about ‘social Europe’ and their reliance on the EU legislative framework for austerity and privatisation policies.

    Nick Wright

    December 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm

  14. “A Marxist analysis starts with an examination of the real capitalist formation, the one we live and work within”: OK, Nick: the Working Time Directive, the Agency Workers Directive, TUPE rights, Collective consultation rights, etc, etc, etc…

    …how reformist do you want me to get?

    Jim Denham

    December 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm

  15. As Mr. Steinmeier has only been foreign minister since Wednesday (or was it Thursday), that is hardly the case.

    It was FDP foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, who was still in office until this week, who was in Kiev. The main difference so far on this is that Steinmeier is slightly more standoffish when it comes to actively supporting the opposition (e.g. being – unlike Poland – against Ukraine joining NATO). Klitschko demanded Steinmeier arbitrate between the government and the opposition; Steinmeier refused, saying bascially: go to Ashton, go to the Polish government.

    dagmar

    December 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm

  16. Well I’m sure you’re right Dagmar.

    Nick Wright, I wonder where this comes in a ‘Marxist’ analysis? “Germany is using its de facto empire the European Union to integrate Ukraine into Berlin’s political and economic sphere.”

    I suspect it is a lot easier to interpret the key elements of the sentence, “empire”, “Germany”, and the “European Union” into a nationalist rant against German domination than anything to do with economics, or class structure or indeed a “real capitalist formation”.

    Andrew Coates

    December 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

  17. Andrew
    Is this an exercise in literary criticism? You have still failed to respond to my suggestion that you provide an outline of your distinctive analysis of German capital’s role and position. Instead you try to suggest that the No2EU position derives from anti German chauvinism rather than an evaluation of its actual role in the capitalist formation.

    Let us take Lenin’s classic five categories that define imperialism and see how Germany today matches up:

    (1)the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life;
    (2)(2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy;
    (3)(3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance;
    (4)(4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and
    (5)(5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.”

    What is distinctive about today?
    The EU is the framework within which the capitalist powers regulate their affairs in a common drive to dominate foreign markets (for capital export and goods).
    It is the mechanism whereby German capital (which lost its direct colonial possessions and therefore its market penetration as a result of the First World War and found its thus necessary eastwards expansion thwarted in the Second World War) has been able to recover its position.
    In fact, because it had to rely in higher productivity and capital investment (in contrast to Britain where the finance sector has dominated and capital investment – and thus productivity – has remained relatively low German capital has been successful in maintaining high levels of high value exports.

    One aspect of the domination German capital exercises over the financial and political institutions of the EU has been its drive to lower barriers to its exports. The domestic expression of this is its highly successful drive to lower labour cost (ie wages) in Germany.

    Nick Wright

    December 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm

  18. “The domestic expression of this is its highly successful drive to lower labour cost (ie wages) in Germany.”

    “Its” here clearly refers to “German capital”. But due to the nature of the way wages are set in Germany, it would be fair and correct for “its” to not only mean “German capital” but also “German trade unions” who have no other strategy but “home protectionism”, and claim the “success” of the German economy (=retention of manufacturing through a constant reduction in the real wages and real standards of living of the vast majority of the population, across all sectors) as theirs.

    Germany is in trouble anyway, what with their exports becoming increasingly and swiftly too expensive, despite these efforts, having little domestic sales for manufactured goods (the Germans can’t afford them) and a lack of service industries to replace manufacturing.

    dagmar

    December 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

  19. Nick, I do not begin from the analysis of state monopoly capitalism that your premises are based on.

    1) stamocap theory wrongly implied that the state could somehow overrule inter-capitalist competition, the laws of motion of capitalism and market forces generally, supposedly cancelling out the operation of the law of value.
    2) stamocap theory lacked any sophisticated account of the class basis of the state, and the real linkages between governments and elites. It postulated a monolithic structure of domination which in reality did not exist in that way.
    3) stamocap theory failed to explain the rise of neo-liberal ideology in the business class, which claims precisely that an important social goal should be a reduction of the state’s influence in the economy.
    4) stamocap theory failed to show clearly what the difference was between a socialist state and a bourgeois state, except that in a socialist state, the Communist Party (or, rather, its central committee) played the leading political role. In that case, the class-content of the state itself was defined purely in terms of the policy of the ruling political party (or its central committee).

    Point 2 is crucial in the way we analyse the European Union.

    The EU is both a ” framework within which the capitalist powers regulate their affairs in a common drive to dominate foreign markets” and part of the wider the process of the globalisation of capital.

    On the latter I have written (review article: David Harvey’s The Enigma of Capital and the Politics of the Crisis. https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/david-harvey%E2%80%99s-the-enigma-of-capital-and-the-politics-and-the-crisis/

    And (from the Weekly Worker): Andrew Coates reviews David Harvey’s ‘A companion to Marx’s Capital’ Verso, 2010, pp320, £10.99

    https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/david-harveys-%E2%80%98a-companion-to-marx%E2%80%99s-capital%E2%80%99-a-review/

    The EU is a political framework, in which the democratic element should be expanded.

    The key demand should be for a Social Europe, as backed by groups such as the Front de gauche and the CGT: http://www.cgt.fr/Brochure-8-pages-Pour-une-Europe.html

    Recently a key demand of the PCF: Mobilisation européenne contre l’austérité, pour une Europe vraiment sociale. http://www.pcf.fr/30317

    This is a programme of massive structural reform in the EU, based on unity between different lefts, trade unions, and civil society groups.

    It would mean opposing the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union and the revised Treaty on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

    TO do this is a massive task to reform the EU, perhaps what Mandel used to call a “revolutionary structural reform”, as the PCF puts, to “refound Europe”: http://www.humanite.fr/social-eco/le-pcf-ouvre-le-debat-pour-refonder-l-europe-550552

    The state is a condensation of class relations and not a simple tool of the monopolies.

    A social Europe project is a class struggle way to alter this.

    The alternative No2EU offers is “sovereigntist”.

    That is to break Europe up into separate sovereign states, with economic Autarky.

    To say the least this is not in the slightest bit politically or economically possible.

    Andrew Coates

    December 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm

  20. Andrew
    You cannot copy out a Wikipeadia entry quoting Ernest Mandel as convincing evidence.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_monopoly_capitalism

    Rather you need to proceed from what I argue rather than what you think I might be saying.
    The ghost of Ernest says (according to the Wiki entry) : “stamocap theory wrongly implied that the state could somehow overrule inter-capitalist competition, the laws of motion of capitalism and market forces generally, supposedly cancelling out the operation of the law of value.”

    The present day bourgeois state does not overrule inter-capitalist competition, it regulates it in the interests of the big monopolies and banks both within the nation state and through the mechanisms of institutions like the EU. (Which is why some sections of capital oppose membership of, or operations of, the EU and why sections of the Tory Party and the UKIP get their support).

    Phantom Ernie again: “stamocap theory lacked any sophisticated account of the class basis of the state, and the real linkages between governments and elites. It postulated a monolithic structure of domination which in reality did not exist in that way.


    Err no. The theory of state monopoly capitalism developed Lenin’s insight into the characteristics of imperialism – particularly relating to the fusion of bank and industrial capital and the role of the state. This tendency has developed even further in the era of more developed globalisation and in fact both the class nature of the state and the social composition of the ruling class is conditioned by these factors, most particularly in relation to the interpenetration of US and British capital and the flow of much foreign capital to Britain (i.e. Russian and Greek) and the domicile of these oligarch’s etc in Britain.

    Far from postulating a monolithic structure of domination contemporary marxist leninist theory analyses its changing forms paying particular attention to the ways in which institutions like the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, NAFTA etc strengthen the structures of domination and express interimperialist contradictions; and the ways in which contrary developments to this, the growth of BRIC cooperation, the role of China, Latin American co-operation etc challenge imperialism.

    From the grave we hear : “
stamocap theory failed to explain the rise of neo-liberal ideology in the business class, which claims precisely that an important social goal should be a reduction of the state’s influence in the economy.
”

    It moves. It really does. Neo liberal ideology reflects the need monopoly has to plunder state assets and monetise a myriad of transactions and maintain high revenue streams in order to maintain profit levels. In this process monopoly domination of the state is vital. The state, and its supra state institutions like the EU are vital elements in this process. In fact the peculiarly British domination of bank capital and the coercive operations of the state are expressions of this.

    Do you really think that the role of the state in dismantling the coal industry, of public finance in propping up failing banks, in underpinning PFI deals,in subsidising energy profits represents a diminution of the role of the state?

    Our dearly departed Ernest himself was clear that the nature of the state depended on the relations of production and not on the composition of the central committee. Thus the assertion: “stamocap theory failed to show clearly what the difference was between a socialist state and a bourgeois state, except that in a socialist state, the Communist Party (or, rather, its central committee) played the leading political role. In that case, the class-content of the state itself was defined purely in terms of the policy of the ruling political party (or its central committee)” is nonsense.
    It was the dismantling of socialist relations of production, the privatisation of collective property and the revision of the law on the social ownership of land that effected the decisive change in the socialist countries and the Soviet Union not the personnel composition of the leading bodies of the state.

    For the avoidance of doubt on the subject of the difference between “ a socialist state and a bourgeois state’ ask any passing jobless Bulgarian or Romanian. Or any Russian oligarch with his kids in a posh public school and his looted millions in a Mayfair mansion.

    You argue that the EU is ‘a political framework’ and it will be a massive task to reform it entailing opposing the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union and the revised Treaty on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

    But class power does not reside exclusively in the structures of the EU. We require a more sophisticated account of the class basis of power than this. How is this aim to be achieved. What are the mechanisms that permit working class action to effect a transformatory effect across the countries of the EU?

    Nick Wright

    December 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

  21. The market state is, as you say, Nick, something important.

    It is rare for a CMB supporetr to discuss Mandel but you do it extremely well and your points are so serious I will have to think about a full reply.

    Contemporary marxist-leninist theory may indeed have something to say but I prefer Bob Jessop.

    But you have not replied to the mainstream European left position on a European social republic.

    As you are all too obviously aware the BCP is out on a limb on this, and sound like the sectarian ‘marxist-leninists’ of the PCF opposition.

    Andrew Coates

    December 24, 2013 at 12:37 pm

  22. […] for that matter, NO2EU’s attempts to position themselves as a UKIP of the left – to combine nationalism and socialism, to put it a bit more provocatively – are also quite […]


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