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 The EU has not been transformed – ‘Social Europe’ has not been replaced by ‘Austerity Europe’.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.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Owen Jones (The Independent; 5th November 2012)..."It doesn’t mean arguing for withdrawal, but it does mean demanding a very different European project"

So the Left don't want to withdraw or rebuild nation states, they just want the EU to be more left-wing. Precisely as I said.

Only UKIP oppose Labour's neocon wars and Owen Jones and the Left's pet European project.

Owen and the others haven't yet worked out that socialism and corporatism go hand-in-hand.

The EU is a social Europe AND a neoliberal Europe. For those in the know, there's absolutely no contradiction. Quite the contrary.

David Lindsay said...

Illiterate to the point of being picturesque. Historically, philosophically, everything.

You don't even know anything about UKIP, which is increasingly, if not by now entirely, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Commentator, and thus of the Henry Jackson Society.

The Henry Jackson Society, which has, as much as anything else, a founding commitment, still reproduced on its website, to a single EU defence "capability" under overall American command, but under day-to-day German (in the Sarkozy years, it was sometimes suggested that it might be French) control.

Anonymous said...

Relax, Dave, your just jealous. That we're on the right side of every issue and your party is on the wrong one.

We are not a "wholly-owned subsidiary" of anybody.

Your party, with its support for two neocon wars AND the EU , is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the neocons in the White House and the neocons in the EU.

Which is something of an achievement.

We, on the other hand are the only mainstream party that publicly oppose both.

Sorry that doesn't suit you.

David Lindsay said...

As I said, you know nothing about UKIP.

Or, evidently, about the people who have taken it over, whom you now say have been right about everything, having this very evening disagreed with them profoundly on matters of the utmost consequence.

If "taken over" is quite the right way of putting it. They never were alien to it. They would be, though, and for all the following's other defects and deficiencies, to the SLP, to TUSC, to the LESC, to the CAEF, to the Morning Star, and so on. Look them up.

Anonymous said...

David, a really interesting article, coming from a traditionally right-wing eurosceptic background it is always interesting to read of left-wing eurosceptism, and I genuinely would like to see the SLP or TUSC eat into europhile Labour support and maybe deny Labour an MEP or two.

However, although I understand your desire to have no Tory MEP's elected in the north of England, I don't see how it could possibly happen. It would require the Tories to finish at least 4th in the North East (maybe feasible, if UKIP surge and the Lib Dems hold), and at the very least 4th or lower in the North-West and Yorkshire (depending on how the vote splits, would require the Tories to get a very weak 4th). Better to focus on removing the BNP?

David Lindsay said...

The BNP is finished anyway.

It can be done in the three Northern regions, although almost certainly nowhere else: Labour, UKIP, and an admittedly unlikely outbreak of self-discipline to the left of Labour could collectively result in no ConDem MEPs whatever.