As part of the continued debate on the EU referendum we are posting this statement from the Republican Socialist Alliance.
EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION
The European Union (EU) is facing a serious crisis. Vicious austerity imposed on Greece in an effort to uphold the Euro has destroyed living standards and jobs in that country. The EU’s economy is still in recession, while countries like Spain, Ireland and Portugal face mass unemployment and new spending cuts.
The EU is deeply divided over how to deal with refugees from Syria’s civil war and asylum seekers from war torn Afghanistan and parts of Africa. The European Far Right is on the march. The Tory referendum may lead the United Kingdom to leave. Having fully embraced the UK’s neo-liberal policies, the EU is now planning to adopt the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Because the pressure for the EU referendum has come from the Right, the socialist movement is divided between Remain, Leave or Abstain. The Republican Socialist Alliance (RSA) mirrors this. We are debating how to vote, but we agreed to discuss the longer term perspective of a democratic Europe. What is clear is, whatever the result, the EU cannot continue on the present road.
The EU acts like a state. But it is not a state. It has all the problems and costs facing any capitalist state without the full powers states can normally deploy. These pressures are greatest in the Eurozone where the Greek working class and the poorest sections of Greek society have been sacrificed to the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund.
The European people have no means of controlling this financial dictatorship. Working people are rebelling against the ruling establishment in each country and the EU is being torn apart. Right wing nationalists and fascists are mobilising this anger for their own interests in France, Austria, the UK and other countries.
It is easy to condemn the absence of democracy in the EU. Paul Mason says “The EU is not – and cannot become – a democracy”. He says it provides a healthy environment for monopoly business, capitalists creaming off the wealth, tax dodging elites and organised crime. He could have been talking about the UK.
The British Crown has led the way in all these areas. Whitehall ‘Mandarins’ and Ministers have given the City of London the freedom to conduct business for the monopolists, rich elites, tax dodgers and criminals from across the world. The House of Commons, a theatre of the absurd, is no more use or ornament than the European Parliament, so the ‘Leave’ campaigns claiming to ‘bring back powers under our control’ do not mean the control of the British people, but a full restoration of political power to the British establishment
The RSA recognises that “both the EU and UK are undemocratic states” and calls for a European democratic revolution “consistent with the idea of democratic revolution within the UK”. The fires of democratic revolution have been lit in Ireland and Scotland, Euskadi and Catalunya. The fight for democracy must spread to England, Wales and a wider European movement from Greece to Spain.
The people of Europe need a mass democratic movement to counter the growing threat of the Far Right. Such a movement must have its own democratic demands directed against the EU Commission and the existing EU ‘constitution’ (Lisbon Treaty). Instead of waiting for somebody to fix a broken system, the people of Europe must take action themselves. Without millions taking action another kind of Europe is impossible.
A people’s Europe must be a Republic. All hereditary institutions, including the monarchies in the UK, Spain, Holland, Denmark and Belgium, must be swept aside. All officials and representatives must be elected, accountable and subject to recall and paid no more than the average income.
A federal structure recognises that nations exist and people have a right to elect their own national assemblies, with law making powers. An essential part of a federation is the constitutional right of all nations to self determination (i.e. the right to leave).
Secular and Social Republic
A peoples’ Europe must be a secular republic. This guarantees freedom of worship for all religions and none: Atheists, Buddhists, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, and Hindus etc. There is no state religion, no special privileges for any religion and secular education for all. This is especially important because Europe’s history of anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia.
A people’s Europe must be a social republic, putting the welfare of the people before profit. The constitution must ensure that all corporations are fully open to democratic scrutiny and management is democratically accountable to employees, consumers and wider society. If the workforce and communities demand, corporations must be transformed into co-operative ownership and control that puts the welfare of the people before profit.
Whatever the result on June 23, it will become clearer that democratic revolution is the only means of fixing the absence of democracy in both the UK and the EU.