The following statement is not authored by the RCN, but our motion to SSP conference in 2009 references it.
We are experiencing, in the world and in Europe, the worst crisis capitalism has known since 1929; a crisis which is hitting head-on the banks and all the financial companies, but whose roots lie in the economic system itself. Capitalist globalisation has accelerated and concentrated the extortion of wealth and its introduction into the Stock Exchange, with the ceaseless search for ever greater financial profits. These profits are being made at the cost of increased exploitation of the populations of the countries dominated by imperialism, who have seen their natural wealth plundered by the imperialist trusts; and of increased exploitation of the workers of the entire world, driven to compete with each other so that the price of labour is the lowest possible. Today, one again, it is the workers and the poorest populations who are being expropriated and strangled by the credit crisis, laid off in their hundreds of thousands in order to restore the shareholders’ profits.
These profits are also being made with contempt for the need to safeguard the environment and the planet. Global warming is bearing witness to deforestation, dangerous industrial processes and the explosive growth of the circulation of goods which use forms of transport that pollute.
The crisis is revealing to the light of day that the thousands of billions extorted from wage-earners are being squandered on the Stock Exchanges of New York, London, Paris or Frankfurt. It is also showing that states can find in a few days hundreds of billions to save the banks and the capitalist system, while they refuse to give more money for public services, jobs and social protection, the protection of the environment or the cancellation of the debt of the countries dominated by imperialism: 20 billion dollars per year for 15 years would be enough to put an end to food insecurity in the world…
The responses of each of the European states converge: socialisation of losses and privatisation of profits, injection of public money to save finance, cutting back on funds for public services, increased pressure on the unemployed and those in work, mass lay-offs in order to safeguard profits. Their Europe is not our Europe! It is at the service of the trusts and of finance. It is this Europe that the peoples of the Netherlands and France, in 2005, and then of Ireland in 2008 have rejected, by massively voting no to the projected constitutional treaty.
We propose an
emergency plan for Europe, which we will defend in struggles and in the 2009 elections. This crisis makes it more necessary than ever to put an end in Europe to policies that are opposed to the needs of the workers, policies that are dictated by the shareholders and those who own capital. The European Union was built by the capitalists and bankers precisely to aid this increasing circulation of goods and capital in the search for maximum profit.
We denounce the capitalist system and the policies of the European Union, and we put forward a series of proposals for a social and democratic Europe, which would impose a different sharing out of the wealth that exists, a Europe in the service of the workers and the peoples. The policies of the European Union, decided by the governments of the 27 Member States, constitute the framework for a series of social and democratic attacks against the interests of the popular classes.
The treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon are so many documents which aim to accentuate the pressure on the people, to adapt each country in Europe to the maximum search for profits for the capitalists and to disengagement from all public policies in the service of the population.
In the current phase of capitalist globalisation, competition is leading the ruling classes and the governments to call into question a whole series of previous social gains.
Labour laws, wage levels, working hours, public services, health and pensions systems are all today being deregulated.
One of the other dimensions of these neo-liberal policies leads to the building of a Fortress Europe against immigrants and the people of the global South. Their rights are swept aside in a general climate of security policies of which they are the prime target. Worse, the Schengen agreement leads the European police forces to pursue them and to expel them from the EU countries. The far Right wages increasingly xenophobic campaigns.
This Europe is the Europe of war: in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in other countries in the world, the European Union, alongside the US government, backs a policy devoted to the interests of the multinationals, opposed to the rights of the peoples.
In Europe, the everyday life of millions of wage-workers, peasants, young people and unemployed is made worse by the practical consequences of all these neo-liberal capitalist policies and attacks on democratic freedoms. However the people do not accept them. They have been consulted, through referendums, in France, in the Netherlands, and again recently in Ireland. Each time the people said No! No to the antisocial and anti-democratic policies of the European Union. Most recent elections have seen the defeat of outgoing governments, whether of left or right, expressing the peoples’ rejection of all governmental polices.
We want, today, to put forward on the European level an alternative to all these capitalist policies which, in the sole search of profit, destroy employment and lives and make the conditions of the most deprived worse and worse. There is another solution for the workers and the peoples than the policies put into operation by the European social-democrats and their allies. These policies and the left governments which have implemented them, have only been a left version of liberalism, the policies implemented also corresponding to the agenda of European capitalists on questions of social deregulation and dismantling of social protection.
The proposals which we want to put forward start from daily struggles, are based on the criteria of social needs of the greatest number, those who live from their labour power, they go against the dictatorship of the market, against the free competition which crushes millions of people in Europe and throughout the world.
They aim to harmonise upward social rights, wages, working conditions, pensions and social legislation for the workers of the different European countries. Their goal is to defend the popular classes against the rescue plans for banks and financial groups set up by the European governments. Faced with the plans of the different European bourgeoisies and their governments, the workers’ movement must defend its own plan while calling into question the powers of speculative financial capital.
The satisfaction of social needs not only implies a new sharing out of wealth which gives priority to social needs before the law of profit, which is based on funding that taxes capitalist profits, but also poses the problem of a reorganization of the principal sectors of the economy within a public and social framework, under the control and with the participation of the workers and the citizens. Instead of pouring more and more money into a bottomless pit to save the capitalists from bankruptcy, what is needed is the coordination on the European level of a rescue plan for the economy so that it satisfies the needs of the population and not those of the possessing classes.
That means to be opposed to the policy of the European Union, not to turn in on ourselves on nationalist positions, but on the contrary to develop the idea of another Europe, a social and democratic Europe, an internationalist Europe, founded on the solidarity of the peoples of Europe and the whole world.
- The right for all to stable, guaranteed employment with decent wages.
Today, in Europe the bosses are closing down hundreds of workplaces, laying of tens of thousands of workers in order to maintain their profits. The right to employment must be guaranteed by the refusal of redundancies. The right to a job must be guaranteed by refusing lay-offs and short-time working. Unemployment must be abolished. The casualisation which manufactures millions of poor workers must be abolished. For equal work, equal wages and identical contracts. Collective bargaining agreements must be aligned on the best that has been won and apply to all companies and all employees in the same sector.
This right to employment must be ensured by coordinated policies of reduction of working hours, without flexibility, precariousness and with workers’ control over working conditions and over hiring. The European Commission directive which allows flexibility of working hours up to 65 hours must be rejected.
The fight against unemployment and for the creation of jobs must be based on the setting in motion, under public control and control by citizens, of plans of development of European infrastructures – rail networks, channels, the information society, renewable energies and activities that are socially useful and respectful of the environment and which make it possible to stop production that is useless and harmful to the environment, as well as war industries.
- For a European minimum wage!
Everyone, wage-workers, unemployed, pensioners and or young people receiving education and training, has a right to a minimum income that makes it possible to live correctly.
Whatever the level of activity of the workplace, full wages must be maintained.
For an increase of 300 euros in all wages, all incomes in Europe. As the workers of Dacia in Romania demand, as many trade unions demand, the immediate demand for a wage increase of 300 euros responds to the urgency of the situation.
We have to impose in all the countries of Europe the right to a wage and a minimum income which tend towards upward unification of European workers.
We must also impose the sliding scale of wages, which is the principal weapon of workers against inflation and the fall in purchasing power that it implies.
- For public services
Against privatizations. For the return to the public sector of all privatised enterprises. For the defence and the extension of public services within the European framework. That must involve challenging all the treaties and all the directives which opened up to competition all the sectors dealing with fundamental social needs: health, pensions, education, postal services, transport, and telecommunications, energy, water, the pharmaceutical industry. In all these fields, it is necessary to maintain, restore or create national or European public services. The right to housing means considering as an economic priority the creation of a public housing service. The interdependence of all the sectors of the economy must lead the workers and their organizations to defend public and social ownership of the principal sectors of the economy.
- The population must control the accounts of enterprises and the movements of capital, impose the closing-down of tax havens and the establishment of taxes on the movement of capital invested in financial operations. Economic urgency makes it necessary for the banks to be nationalised, not to socialise the losses, but to place them lastingly under public control and at the service of popular needs, in particular the European Central Bank so that savings can be used to finance socially useful works (housing, public transport).
- Not to Fortress Europe of racism and discrimination
Equal rights for all residents in Europe, “nationals” or originating in a foreign country; voting rights for foreigners, access to all social rights, an end to all security policies, in particular in relation to youth and immigrants. To Fortress Europe, we counter-pose an open Europe that guarantees people freedom of movement and settlement.
- For a democratic Europe guaranteeing equal rights between men and women
For the right to abortion and to free and available contraception, for the right to divorce, for a struggle against sexual and marital violence, for the free choice of sexual orientation, refusal of all forms of discrimination in recruitment and employment because of colour, origin, sex or sexual orientation.
- For a Europe of ecology
The questions of global warming and renewable energies, and more generally all the environmental problems, constitute today one of the central dimensions of a social and democratic Europe. The demand for durable development in the service of a balance between humankind and nature conflicts with the logic of all the policies which remain within the framework of the market and the law of profit. The example of the biofuels which are used as a substitute for oil and lead to the aggravation of the food crisis and the impoverishment of millions of peasants is a good example of this market “ecology”. An environmental and development policy must be turned towards new forms of production and consumption which give priority to the public framework
- No to war! For the right of peoples to decide for themselves!
The explosive growth of military expenditure, the participation of European armies in Iraq or Afghanistan testifies to the remilitarization of Europe, testifies to the neo-imperialist policy carried out by European government in the interests of the multinationals which dominate the planet. The construction of a European defence integrated into NATO is one of the most dangerous signs of this new European military policy. The only answer to this growing danger of war is a policy of disarmament and peace, for the withdrawal of all Western troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, so that the Iraqi people can exercise full sovereignty, for the withdrawal of Zionist troops and settlers from the occupied Palestinian territories. Peace in the Middle-East involves the recognition of the national rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of the refugees to return and the constitution of a sovereign state.
All these ruptures will not take place without massive intervention by workers and peoples. Struggles co-ordinated at a European level have already taken place. We want to develop convergences between our struggles, to make or consolidate lasting links between social movements, between anti-capitalist parties, establish permanent frameworks for discussion and action so as to help bring to fruition common objectives.