‘Unhinged” Leftists Say yes to European Unity.
The Morning Star has published and extraordinary article, EU Referendum: Vote to Get Out, by Brian Denny (No2EU spokesman) in support of the Campaign to vote to withdraw from the European Union.
It is headlined with a sentence containing this, “the EU functions as a cheerleader for unconfined monopoly capitalism.”
Younger readers may not have heard of “monopoly capitalism” which is known partly from Harry Braverman’s Labor and Monopoly Capital (1974) but owed its currency in Orthodox Communist circles under the name of “State Monopoly Capitalism.”
Elaborated by post-war Soviet, Eastern European and Western European Communist party economists ideologues, it is one of the planks of ” Marxist–Leninism”. The thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively. This is a close partnership between big business and government, and it is argued that the aim is to integrate trade-unions completely in that partnership.” (Wikipedia)
State monopoly capitalism formed the foundation of the programme of the 1960s French Parti Communiste Français, and other orthodox Communist Parties. It featured in the Communist Party of Great Britain’s programme, such as Britain’s Road to Socialism (1968).
At present the Communist Party of Britain, CPB (best known for the Morning Star) believes that the emphasis has shifted.
The European Union and Marxist theory and practice. Robert Griffiths, Communist Party of Britain general secretary 2004. (Extracts)
The drive to construct a monopoly capitalist United States of Europe with a common foreign and military policy has the same three-fold purpose identified by Lenin in 1916: to promote monopoly capitalism and suppress socialism at home, to exploit neo-colonies abroad and to compete against rival imperialist powers and in particular the US. At the global level, it should be no surprise that the EU is a champion of privatisation, the free movement of capital, GATS and other archetypal ‘globalisation’ measures aimed at the developing and former socialist countries.
It is the drive to a United States of Europe which threatens, in our assessment, to undermine and circumvent the democratic institutions of EU member states. More specifically, EU laws and treaties have sought to limit the powers of democratic national parliaments – themselves the product of long working class struggle – precisely in those areas where they might limit the power and freedom of capital. Meanwhile, such unelected EU institutions as the European Commission and the European Central Bank acquire powers to initiate and enforce policies of privatisation, deregulation and monetarism enshrined in EU fundamental law.
In the present day, popular sovereignty is the struggle to impose the will of the working class and its allies – the vast majority of the nation – over monopoly capital. In Britain, the campaigns against participation in imperialist wars and in the US Star Wars programme are embryonic expressions of the aspiration for popular – and not just national – sovereignty.
Our party does not see anything progressive in the drive to construct an imperialist military United States of Europe. We do not believe that the creation of a rival imperialist super-power bloc, even if can be achieved despite its internal contradictions, would be a valuable ‘counter-weight’ to US imperialism. The two super-powers would collaborate with one another, and do rotten deals with each other, in their joint interest to suppress the working class movement at home and exploit and oppress other peoples around the world.
In the immediate future, as Communists and internationalists in Britain our responsibility is to ensure that the referendum campaigns against the single European currency and the EU constitution are imbued with the same spirit.
Imbued with this ghost of the call for ‘national sovereignty’, not to mention the phantom of the old Soviet Union, as ramparts against international monopoly capitalism, Brain Denny launches into a tirade.
After an all too brief critique of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Brian Denny follows it up by this:
The EU has also been openly financing a junta that has violently grabbed power in Ukraine and which is led by fascists and revanchist groups promoting a cult around former Nazi collaborators.
This cult focuses particularly on Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, which joined forces with the nazis during the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.
Numerous monuments to Bandera have been erected, particularly in western Ukraine, including a statue in the city of Lviv, site of one of the largest anti-Jewish pogroms in WWII.
The Kiev regime even saw fit to pass a law under which wartime nazi collaborators, who carried out these mass murders, are officially recognised as “fighters for the freedom of Ukraine.”
At the same time it banned communist symbols and socialist thought across Ukraine.
This repressive, anti-democratic far-right regime is enthusiastically backed by its EU allies. Meanwhile Dmitry Yarosh, the neonazi leader of the Right Sector fascist party, has just been appointed as advisor to the chief of general staff of the armed forces.
This is how the EU projects its power externally on the international scene.
There is more in the same vein about the EU’s crimes, ranging from youth unemployment, privatisation, ” and so-called “free-market competition,” which is actually institutionalised monopoly capitalism”, to the, inevitable issue of fish.
Ultimately, the EU is a Tory project. The Tories took us in, campaigned to stay in, virtually wrote the 1986 Single European Act and supported the Maastricht Treaty and every right-wing, neoliberal treaty ever since.
Europhile Tory leader David Cameron claims that he wants to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership before holding an in-out referendum, probably next year.
But after a private meeting with the prime minister, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Cameron wants to use the upcoming EU referendum to “dock” Britain permanently to Brussels.
Cameron has no intention of fundamentally changing Britain’s relationship with the EU, mainly because finance capital does not want it altered.
There is no sign that he will end the supremacy of EU law over British law or even that he will keep Britain out of the eurozone in the long run.
Denny then evokes the spectre of ‘Trotskyism’ and its alliance with the Conservatives – perhaps an improvement on previous Stalinist claims about links between Trotskyists and much less pleasant political forces.
Cameron is already building an alliance for his strategy which stretches from the CBI to the more unhinged parts of British Trotskyism.
But, ultimately, by campaigning for a Yes vote you are effectively endorsing all of the above crimes inflicted on Europe and further afield by fundamentally anti-democratic EU institutions.
It is without doubt that this does not refer to the SWP or the Socialist Party, both of which intend, like the CPB, to mark their ballots in the same way as UKIP, the Tory ‘Eurosceptics’ and their big business supporters.
The “unhinged” left is without doubt here:
Campaign for a workers’ Europe!
This letter will be circulated to gather support for left opposition to UK withdrawal from Europe.
With the formation of “Conservatives for Britain”, the right-wing campaign to exit the EU has begun. Unfortunately, it is likely to be mirrored on the left.
A number of Labour MPs and trade unionists and the Morning Star newspaper will group themselves behind the banner of “Labour for Britain”, saying life will be better for British workers outside the EU.
Far-left groups are likely to dissociate from the nationalist name and from Labour. They say they will organise an internationalist anti-EU campaign, one that defends the rights of migrants.
They are all setting themselves an impossible task: the automatic right of EU workers to migrate to the UK, and of UK workers to migrate to EU countries, will be ended by UK exit. Those that do arrive after a UK exit are likely to come on worse terms than workers currently do, and they will arrive to a climate poisoned by the xenophobia of the referendum campaign, an atmosphere in which the left itself cannot thrive.
A UK outside the EU will offer worse prospects for fighting for workers’ rights than we have staying in. The nationalist right, no friends to workers, will have the political upper-hand in a post-exit UK, and UK workers will lose the possibility of organising a common struggle for better rights by workers across Europe.
The left cannot be anti-EU without being dragged behind the right-wing and anti-migrant backlash. It will raise a tiny voice, inaudible against the right-wing anti-EU campaign which has money, press backing, and establishment support, a campaign that is all about putting up borders and actively restricting migrants coming to the UK. The left-wing voice will be drowned out in the growing nationalist gale.
The concessions Cameron is seeking from the EU also threaten workers’ rights: in the first place, migrant workers’ rights to in-work benefits. He is also likely to seek further opt-outs from those European regulations that benefit workers. Many other EU governments will be sympathetic to Cameron’s vision of the EU: less regulated, more ruthlessly neo-liberal.
The Tories that want to get out and the Tories that want to stay in offer no choice for workers. But we should not be indifferent to the question posed in the referendum. The integration of capitalism results naturally from the process of outgrowing national boundaries, and workers do not have any interest in seeking to turn back the clock of history or re-erect national barriers. We oppose UK exit from the EU.
At the same time, we recognise that the EU, like its constituent member states, is organised primarily in the interests of capital, an increasingly pressured capital, forced to compete with growing industrial powers such as China and India, and therefore looking to liquidate those elements of “Social Europe” that still remain. We should not join any cross-class alliance with pro-EU Tories or business leaders: we do not positively support bosses’ Europe.
Instead, voices on the left are discussing a campaign for a workers’ Europe in the coming referendum. We will:
• defend migrants’ rights and oppose racism;
• vote against UK withdrawal from the EU;
• campaign for a workers’ Europe, based on solidarity between working people.
A reply to Denny by Jim can be seen on Shiraz.
The Tendance has signed the Campaign for a Workers’ Europe declaration.
Yes to a United Social Europe!
Against the chauvinist anti-EU left!
Update: a serious discussion of the problems of the EU, Britain and Europe after the general election: An interview with John Palmer.
Party of the European Left:
…..the Left, if it wants to channel its resistance against the demolition of the social state and of democracy into political alternatives, has to express itself as united at the European level and develop necessary concrete and alternative proposals for a different EU, and a different Europe together.
Why should it not find and determine the common political denominator – not the smallest, but in face of neo-liberal social destruction the largest – in order to successfully exist as an independent political force, and, at the same time, as a partner to social movements, in order to be recognised as an actor capable of influencing and changing European politics?
In the light of the strength and tradition as well as the expectations of the feminist, ecological, and peace movements, it is high time for the political Left to live up to its responsibility. We want to contribute to the creation and realisation of new political strategies.
This is, without any doubt, the central challenge to left parties in the EU and in Europe, in a situation where neo-liberal thought is occupying ever more space in the minds of the people, a situation of apparent absence of alternatives to capitalist market logic, cost reductions, rigid and outrageous social demolition, and even the economic market sale of the whole society.
The Party of the European Left demands another Europe:
- a Europe that says no to war and militarization. The European Left is an anti-war Left;
- a Europe that defends the social states, and renews it, as well as redistributes wealth, power, and influence;
- a Europe of diverse cultures, of freedom of spirit, and open to the world. The European Left is a cultural Left, which refuses historical revisionism, because it is capable of dealing with its own history critically and respectfully;
- a Europe open to a world that resists capitalist globalisation. The European Left is critical of capitalism: It is anti-capitalist and aims at a transformation of societies beyond the rule of capitalism;
- a democratic Europe. The European Left wants to get politics out of the backrooms of power and back into society, onto the squares and streets, into the debates of citizens, men and women of all ages. Politics is a part of movements and it forms parties; the parties act in parliaments and in governments, in initiatives and in extra-parliamentary protests; it is counter-power and a designing force. It is ready to be held accountable, which is what distinguishes parties in the broad social discourse.
We have to work seriously and honestly with all of the people who want to walk this path with us. In the sense of “Carpe diem!” we say: The social, peaceful and solidarity-based Europe needs our intervention! It is just the beginning!