STATEMENT of IWL(FI)
Written by IWL’s European Subsecretariat
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:27
Statement of the International Workers’ League – Fourth International (IWL-FI) for the elections to the European Parliament due on 25th May.
On the occasion of the elections to be held on 25th May to European Parliament, The International Workers’ League – Fourth International – IWL-FI) wishes tin address the fighters of the working class and the youth, all those who resist the social catastrophe brought about by the policies of the EU and its governments. Given the unity of the European financial capital and governments hinging round this machine of social war, workers and the oppressed on the continent must respond jointly. This will be the only way to halt the plans andwill drive the imperialist of European Union project into crisis and this is how we shall open the path to a United Europe of Workers and Peoples.
The UE, imperialist war machine against the workers and peoples of Europe
Both mainstream trends in the European Parliament, European People’s Party and the Party of European Socialists, integrated by the respective socioliberal and right national parties, represent the interests of the great bourgeoisie of the continent. The relative differences between them express nothing but the rubs between the different sectors of the European imperialist bourgeoisie in the midst of the deepest capitalist crisis since the world post-war.
In the countries where these parties rule, they sing the praises of a stunted “recovery” that is nothing but some recovery of the employers’ benefits at the cost of lower wages, of proliferation of precarious contracts and cuts in the public budget against the background of massive unemployment that reaches unheard of proportions in the peripheries. When they act “opposition”, they criticise the government on duty and say that the Welfare State is to be maintained, but when they return to office, they apply the same policy.
The recent offensive of cuts against workers and favours for the employers that Hollande began in France, or the fact that the “socialist” candidate to head the European Commission happens to be Schultz, a representative of the SPD who governs is coalition with Merkel, leaves no stone unturned of the socialist candidates’ speeches.
It is those parties that, in the name of the perfectly hierarchized great European capital, administer such organisms as the European Commission and govern countries applying plans of austerity and counter-reforms that sweep away achievements acquired ever since the post-war and place the European periphery under direct submission to Berlin and Brussels. By means of plans of social war commanded and coordinated by the EU under German command, they are carrying out brutal structural adjustmentsthat great European banks and multinationals so as to compete in new conditions of the world market.
“Refoundation” of the EU and give up the demands or split with the EU and open the path towards a workers’ and peoples’ Europe: this is the dilemma.
The parties grouped in the Party of the European Left (PEL) – that engulfs Front de Gauche, Izquierda Unida, Bloco d’Esquerda, Die Linke or Syriza– arepresented as a Left alternative to socialist parties and the right and they postulate Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Greek Syriza, as a candidate to preside over the European Commission. They talk about a “Europe of the Peoples”, they criticise the “austericide” and claim for “a social and democratic Europe”, However they do not question the EU and its structures and quite to the contrary, they take on, however, its standards and rules.
According to the PEL parties, the European Union is not a war machine of financial capital against the workers and the peoples but a “neutral apparatus” allegedly kidnapped by dark forces of finances that may be recovered for the citizenry, In short, it is all about “refounding the EU”.
But doing so, the PEL conceals from European workers the real character of the European Union and helps it to counter the legitimate load of hatred spreads unstoppable among the working masses of the continent against this war machine of the financial capital. At the same moment it blocks out any perspective of an alternative to the Europe of great capital.
And yet we are not facing an ideological problem but a very practical one as refounding the EU implies accepting its rules and its limitations and that quite simply means the elimination form the programme any breakaway claim that may challenge the treatises. And that is why they give up the idea of something as elementary as suspending the payment of the public debt, while public and rigorous auditing is being carried out to reveal how the debt was contracted and who was responsible for it and who benefitted from it. This basic measure to stop the cuts and protect the public services is replaced by a “restructuring of the debt”, that is to say: keep on paying the creditor bankers.
That is also why they also give up the idea of expropriating the banks and nationalising strategic sectors of economy, reducing their demands to something as blurred as “democratisation”, “transparency” or “public control”. As for the dictatorship exerted by the German and European banks by means of European Central Bank (ECB) they simply limit themselves to demanding “mechanisms of democratic and parliamentary control” so as to subordinate it to the political authorities, the same authorities – we might add – that appoint characters from circles the big private banks to the upper echelons of the ECB.
Furthermore, PEL is perfectly aware of the fact that there are demands included in their programme, such as end the cuts or push back labour counter-reform or public pensions that have been explicitly imposed by the Troika are impossible within the framework of the EU and cry for a split from it. This is something that everybody can see. But the PEL cannot conceive a Europe splitting with the capital.
It is really a tragedy that this policy of the official left will allow the extreme right and fascism and populist and reactionary movement (such as Grasshopper in Italy) should benefit from the legitimate hatred that the toiling masses feel for the EU and its policies while racism and xenophobia accrue to make us confront workers and so benefit a sector of capitalists.
These elections place the problems of reform EU or split with it on the agenda; and there can be no halftones here. A programme for solution for the crisis favouring workers is radically incompatible with the permanence in the EU. Defending such a programme demands from the central countries that they should expose the Treaties and demand the dissolution of the EU. In the dominated countries of the periphery the demand is to stop paying the foreign debt and split from the EU.
The struggle cannot be fought by each country separately. There are no nationalist solutions for each country. This battlefield is for the working class. The struggle is only one, shared by the entire working class of the continent if it is to stop the austerity plans and the counter-reforms, defeat the structural adjustments underway, break the back of the domination of the financial capital and open the path for the creation of Governments of Workers and a Europe of workers and Peoples that are to express the free and voluntary union of the Socialist States of Europe.
An Internationalist programme for the working class
European elections should be used to advance in the construction of a class pole, revolutionary and internationalist.
The working class in the central imperialist countries suffers the blackmail of being dislocated and faces the fake dilemma of either to cut down their wages and living conditions or become unemployed. In the meantime, governments of the peripheries force workers to run a race towards the abyss, the steeper the slope down which the wages fall and faster the social retreat, the more “competitive” is the country to lure companies that dislocate elsewhere. This is a match that only the imperialist bourgeoisie can win. Interests of workers as a class can only be exerted in a joint international struggle. The rehearsal of a General European strike on 14N proved thatinternational union is possible and necessary to fight against adjustment, the governments that apply it and the EU that heads it.
There is no way to splitwith the spiral of cuts, sliced wages and counter-reforms as well put an end to unemployment without questioning the deepest needs of imperialist capital and the labour division imposed on the continent… in short, without putting an end to the UE, either by challenging imperialism itself or fighting against it on the periphery. Here are some measures that we consider necessary:
Stop the cuts and privatisations! Return the rights that have been snatched away and public services that have been privatised. Against the payment of the public debt! It is the main tool instrument of submission of States. The deficits by means of which the governments justify the cuts are nothing but the tools for expropriation of public budgets for the sake of creditor banks that profiteer on parasitism and speculation. Jail and expropriation of property of the corrupt!
Expropriation of the banks and their unification to centralise credit in the benefit of the reorganisation of economy, guaranteeing the deposits of owners of small savings; control of the movement of capitals and monopoly of state over foreign trade; debt moratorium to benefit workers, peasants and small entrepreneurs that are unemployed or ruined!
Repeal labour counter- reform passed to facilitate layoffs and cuts in wages and to break down the collective bargaining. It is possible to end unemployment by sharing out the jobs among everybody and without reducing wages! We need an ample plan of public social and ecologic works to create jobs.Nationalize strategic companies and branches under control of workers, reorganising economy and reopening closed companies.
Down with junk and zero-hour contracts! For the right of the young to work; No to the “Double scale” of wages! A six-hour working day for students! No to the precariousness of contracts and cuts in wages!
Let us fight against the violence of male chauvinism! For the right of women to decide about their own bodies! No to the unevennessof wages: equal work, equal pay. No to cuts! More childcare places! Against the oppression of the LGTBI collective
Against xenophobia and racism! Abolish the directive of shame and immigration laws. Dismantle the centres of “detention” of immigrants” Equal rights to wages, union and political rights! Defence of immigrant workers against the extreme right and fascists (National Front, Wilders, UKIP in England, Golden Dawn…)
Environment is under systematic aggression in the peripheries and in the North. Together with the labour and social rights, this is another great victim of capitalist crisis. Its defence is a fundamental task for the working class.
The emergence of technical governments, gradual autonomy of administrations from parliament majorities or their disregard for the rules of a parliamentary system thoroughly rotten as it is are symptoms of an authoritarian drift that come hand-in-hand with alarming actions such as their intervention in the strike of the metro workers in Athens, the cuts in the right to union representation in Italian companies, or the Spanish Bill of citizen security, which criminalises social protests. The defence of democratic rights has turned into and essential task. Down with all the measures against freedom of expression, freedom of organisation and freedom of demonstrations!
There must be a special mention for the defence of the right of oppressed nationalities to their self-determination, and extremely topical item in the Spanish State because of the demand posed by an ample majority of Catalonians to have a referendum held to decide on their relations with Spain.
EU not only submits the countries of its peripheries in the East an in the South but also constitutes a valuablediplomatic instrument of the great European powers to defend their commercial and geopolitical interests in the world. Its activity in Afghanistan, Lebanon or Palestine in shameful complicity with the genocidal dictatorship of Al Assad in Syria, its annexation policy for Ukraine, the Free Trade Treaties for African or Latin American countries or the colonialist interventions in Africa define an imperialist policy of looting, always in the shade of the USA.
Dismantle the American bases in Europe, split from the NATO and bring back home all troops from abroad are immediate demands.
MAS (Movimento Alternativa Socialista – Portugal)
PdAC (Partito di Alternativa Comunista – Italia)
Corriente Roja (Estado Español)
LCT (Ligue Communiste des Travailleurs – Belgique)
ISL (International Socialist League – England)