Sunday, 17 February 2013
There Never Was A "Social Europe"
The man behind this week's large and hugely important anti-austerity and therefore anti-EU international conference in Dublin, dutifully ignored by the entire British media even despite the presence of Owen Jones as a speaker, is Paul Murphy MEP. His "Brief History of the European Project" is, alas, nowhere near brief enough to be reproduced in full here. But I urge you to read it. It begins thus:
The European social model “has already gone.” This how Mario Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank summed up the reality of what sort of Europe we have. The illusions of a ‘social Europe’ which were promoted by ‘social democrats’ across Europe have been smashed by the reality of the economic crisis and the swift speed with which the political and economic establishment have moved to use the crisis to go even further in a neo-liberal direction. However, some, including critics of the Austerity Treaty, continue to suggest a return to a better, more ‘social Europe’.
This is a false idea. The EU has not been transformed – ‘Social Europe’ has not been replaced by ‘Austerity Europe’. Instead, with the economic crisis, the nature of the EU has simply become much clearer as capitalism and its representatives within Europe have bared their teeth. The Austerity Treaty is simply the latest in a line of Treaties and legislation which shape Europe in the interests of the capitalist classes of Europe rather than working class people.
From the very beginning, the EU and its previous incarnations have not been ‘social’. It has always been a capitalist club, aimed at meeting the needs of the capitalist classes in Europe, enabling them to compete more effectively on the world stage. This is not a process that has been driven from below, with working people playing the role of participants or even beneficiaries. Instead, it is a project that has been driven by the political elites across Europe in the interests of the capitalist classes they represent. It has been driven by the fact that, as Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky observed in 1923, “the capitalist forces of production had outgrown the framework of European national states”, with the capitalist classes seeking broader markets and increased political power.
Today, meanwhile, I have been issued with the following press release:
The Socialist Labour Party (SLP) has today announced its intention to contest the next European Parliamentary Election which will take place in June 2014. The SLP is the only party on the 'left' that has regularly contested elections at all levels since its launch in 1996.
The Party has contested two previous European Parliamentary elections, in 1999 and 2009, seeing the number of votes it received double between these two elections. The SLP is launching a campaign to raise £65,000 to contest the election across the length of Britain.
Speaking today Andrew Jordan, SLP President, said "The Socialist Labour Party is totally committed to Britain's complete withdrawal from the European Union (EU). Withdrawal is the only way Britain can begin to regain control of its economy, sovereignty and political powers."
Jordan also said "In recent years we have seen the true objective of the EU become clear. The 'free movement of capital and labour' between EU member states has allowed industry to flood out of Britain to chase, and exploit, the lowest wages across Europe and at the same time we have seen the uncontrollable economic migration between EU member states lead to a stagnation of the minimum wage here. This is having a serious impact on communities across Britain with rising un- and under-employment which, when coupled with a minimum wage that is decreasing in value, is leading more and more families into an increasingly desperate situation. The EU exists to benefit big business and not ordinary working people."
Also commenting on the announcement today Arthur Scargill, SLP Leader, said "People across Britain are facing an increasingly desperate situation. By contesting this election the Socialist Labour Party will give every voter in Britain the opportunity to vote for the alternative to the economic agenda imposed upon us by the European Union and the 'main' three parties in Westminster. We will be asking people in this election to vote us in to get us out of the EU."
The usual media blackout, of course. Only bizarrely militaristic anarcho-capitalists with no cause to complain about the EU, but the very reverse, are allowed to be against it. The first vote that I ever cast in a European Election was for the SLP, when Andrew Jordan was 11. My inclination next year will be to vote for whoever is endorsed by the Morning Star.
If the Left can get its act together just for a change, then it can contribute to the election of no Conservative MEPs whatever from the North of England. That party will hold on in Scotland, because somehow it always does; this time, it might even beat the Lib Dems, and in fact that seems more likely than not. It will drop from first to second place in Wales, but no further, simply because who else is there to come second in Wales? Its allied UUP seat in Northern Ireland is probably secure enough on much the same principle, especially since STV is used to fill the three seats there.
But there is no reason for even one member of that party to be elected by the voters of the North East, or by the voters of the North West, or by the voters of Yorkshire and the Humber. Nor for even one Lib Dem, come to that. If the game is played properly. Even UKIP comes in handy eventually. But the real action needs to be elsewhere.