Socialists and the EU Elections 2019
Against all imperialist states – both EU as well as national states! Open borders for migrants! For the United Socialist States of Europe!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 11 April 2019, www.thecommunists.net
- The upcoming elections in the European Union take place in a climate of crisis and decay. The looming next Great Recession has already resulted in the decline of industrial production in Germany and Italy. The never-ending Brexit crisis is a direct expression of the conflict between warring camps of the ruling classes of Europe. The majority of big capital supports the imperialist EU and advocates a further deepening of European integration. These forces are politically represented by conservative and liberal parties (e.g. the German CDU, Macron’s list in France, Italy’s PD). They have also found support among a number of social democratic parties of the Blair-ite type (e.g. the German SPD or the Swedish SAP).
- In contrast, other sectors of the bourgeoisie want to weaken the EU integration and strengthen the nation state. These class forces are represented by mostly right-wing conservative and populist parties (e.g. the French FN, the German AfD, Salvini’s Lega, Orban’s FIDESZ, the Polish PiS, Austria’s FPÖ, etc.).
- These two camps differ in their strategies of how to: strengthen the position of European corporations on the world market, intensify the exploitation of the working class, and formulate an ideology that advances and consolidates their domination. The imperialist pro-EU camp advocates stronger political and economic pan-European institutions as well as a pan-European liberal ideology. They understand that the political and economic interests of monopoly capital can only be promoted globally if imperialist Europe stands united against its rivals in the US, China, Russia, and Japan. They also advocate the expansion of the police state in order to surveil citizens and suppress migrants (in particular Muslim migrants) as well as rebellious domestic elements (e.g. the Yellow Vests in France or the Catalan independence movement). Likewise, they want to reinforce the imperialist Fortress Europe against migration from the poor countries in order to more ably control who is allowed to enter the EU (preferably young, skilled and low-wage labor forces) and who is not. The right-wing nationalist camp advocates a similar policy but wants to prioritize its implementation at the national level. They also advocate a more rabid national chauvinism. However, both camps fundamentally agree on the necessity of implementing austerity policies and the deployment of troops for operations abroad (e.g. in Africa, Afghanistan) in order to safeguard imperialist interests.
- A focus of this strategic antagonism with European imperialism is the agony of Britain’s Brexit. This tragical-comical process demonstrating the utter impotence of the country’s bourgeois leadership reflects the dead end the ruling class finds itself in. On one hand the majority of the capitalist class, the Liberals as well as the Blair-ite wing of Labour (plus some pseudo-left wing campaigns financed by George Soros) have strongly favored Britain remaining inside the EU. On the other hand, an anti-EU faction of the bourgeoisie represented by the majority of the Tories who – with the tacit support of the Corbyn wing (plus centrist forces like the SPEW/CWI and the SWP) – want to implement the result of the 2016 referendum for Britain to leave the EU.
- The workers and oppressed of Europe must defend their political independence. They must not be used as servants for the interests of either the pro-EU or pro-nation state capitalists. Neither the imperialist European Union nor an “independent” imperialist nation state serves the interests of the working class. They are the Scylla and Charybdis of austerity policies and the suppression of democratic rights. The only way forward for workers and the oppressed is to fight against the capitalist governments (both within and outside of the EU) and to unite in struggle across national borders.
- The working class in Europe is faced with a tremendous crisis of leadership. The social democratic parties and trade union bureaucracies are strongly committed to the project of creating a powerful imperialist Europe. They are willing partners in governments that implement austerity policies, expand the racist Fortress Europe, and launch military operations around the globe. Examples of this include German SPD support for the Bundeswehr intervention in Mali and Afghanistan and the French PSF support for the dispatch of troops to Mali, Iraq and Syria. Authentic socialists must fight against the betrayals of social democracy while simultaneously embracing the application of the united front tactic where and when appropriate.
- The more militant and progressive sectors of the working class and youth have been dominated by left-reformist and petty-bourgeois left-populist forces such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s “La France insoumise” in France, Podemos-IU in Spain, the German Linkspartei, the Bloco de Esquerda in Portugal or the Danish Enhedslisten. In Britain the Labour Party has moved in a left-reformist direction with Jeremy Corbyn overcoming the Blair-ite party establishment. Despite their radical rhetoric (“citizen’s revolution” etc.), however, these reformist forces have followed a bourgeois-parliamentarian strategy. Whenever the ruling class has allowed them to participate in government they have proven themselves more than willing accomplices in the pursuit of profit and imperialist power. This was demonstrated when the French Communist Party participated in a government that joined the imperialist war against Serbia in 1999 and against Afghanistan in 2001. Further examples were the support of Fausto Bertinotti’s Rifondazione Comunista for the neoliberal Prodi government and the implementation of harsh austerity policies by SYRIZA in Greece (which has been in a ruling alliance with the right-wing nationalist ANEL since 2015). In Britain the Labour Party experienced the aggressive campaign of the Blair-ite and pro-Zionist wing that resulted in the expulsion of pro-Palestine activists under the false pretext of “Anti-Semitism”. This shameful assault, however, faced no real resistance by the Corbyn leadership. In numerous instances such left-reformist and left-populist parties have postured as “radical opposition parties” supporting protest. This has been the role of Mélenchon’s LFI in the Yellow Vests movement and, equally, of Podemos in the popular protests.
- The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) has continuously emphasized that any illusions in such left-reformist and left-populist parties are completely misplaced. These forces will inevitably betray workers and the oppressed and serve the direct interests of the ruling class. SYRIZA is only the latest example of this phenomenon. The strategic goal must be the construction of a political alternative to these reformist forces, i.e. revolutionary parties nationally and internationally. Such parties will advocate a program of uncompromising class struggle against austerity, racism, and imperialist war. They will additionally combine such a program with the goal of a socialist revolution aimed at the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and the unification of Europe on a socialist basis.
- However, building such parties does not take place in a vacuum. It can only succeed by direct intervention in the struggles of the working class on the basis of an unambiguous socialist program. Since many progressive workers and youth will use the EU election as a vehicle to express their protest, socialists would be mistaken to ignore this. Quite the opposite, revolutionaries must advocate a socialist program and patiently explain their criticism of those left-reformist and left-populist parties to which these progressive workers and youth presently address their desire for change. Socialists must combine this with calling for a critical vote for such parties in the EU elections. Such a tactic applies for example to the Mélenchon’s LFI, Podemos, the Linkspartei, Labour in Britain, the Bloco de Esquerda or the Enhedslisten. It does not apply to SYRIZA, the executor of a barbaric austerity program for the past four years in Greece.
- The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) calls on socialists to unite in the struggle to build a revolutionary party – nationally as well as internationally. Join the RCIT!
* Stop the austerity policy! For mass demonstrations and strikes up to an indefinite general strike! Build action committees in the workplaces, schools and neighborhoods to organize the struggle! Build a rank and file movement in the trade unions in order to advance the fight against the bureaucracy and drive them out of the workers movement!
* Defend democratic rights! No police state! Down with all repressive laws!
* Stop the harassment of Muslim migrants! Mobilize against racist and Islamophobic campaigns! For self-defense units, created by organizations of the workers’ movement and migrant communities. Protect refugees’ hostels and mosques against racist attacks!
* For a program of revolutionary equality for migrants – equal wages and access to housing, full citizenship rights, equal status for all migrants’ native languages in education and public administration! Open the borders for migrants and refugees!
* Defeat Imperialism – Solidarity with the Resistance! US, Russia, France and any other Great Power: Hands off Syria! Troops out of Afghanistan and Mali! Solidarity with the resistance struggle against the occupiers!
* Solidarity with the Arab Revolution! Support the ongoing liberation struggles against the reactionary dictatorships in Syria, in Algeria, in Sudan, in Egypt and in Iran! Victory to the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist state! Support the Yemeni people against Saudi aggression!
* Neither Brexit nor Remain! No support for any imperialist state – neither the EU nor the nation state! For international struggle of the workers and people! For the United Socialist States of Europe!
European Secretariat of the RCIT
We refer readers to the sub-section our website where the RCIT has published numerous booklets, statements and articles on Europe: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/. In particular we draw attention to the following documents:
Joseph Adams: Brexit: Theresa May Government on the Verge of Collapse, Fight for an End to Austerity! Organize against the Brexit Chaos! 26 February 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/brexit-may-government-on-verge-of-collapse/
RCIT: World Perspectives 2017, Chapter VIII. Europe in the Era of Chauvinism, Militarization and Brexit, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2017/part-8/
RCIT: Increasing Instability and Militarization in the European Union. On the Tasks of Revolutionaries in the New Political Phase which has Opened in Europe after the Terrorist Attack in Paris, 08.12.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/militarism-in-eu/
RCIT: Catalunya/Catalonia: Election under the Shadow of Madrid’s Tyranny! 20 December 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/catalonia-election-under-the-shadow-of-madrid-s-tyranny/
Michael Pröbsting: The Reformist Pipe Dream of a “Socialist” European Union, 01.10.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/is-a-socialist-transformation-of-the-imperialist-eu-possible/
Michael Pröbsting: The British Left and the EU-Referendum: The Many Faces of pro-UK or pro-EU Social-Imperialism, August 2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/british-left-and-eu-referendum/
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