In or Out referendum this is a boss’s argument
Boycott the referendum
Defeat Tory and EU Austerity plans
International Socialist League Statement on the EU referendum for 23 June
Cameron’s referendum is about the arguments over the best way for bosses to hammer workers and maximise their profits and wealth. While the Tories and bosses agree on their basic principles – smash workers rights, privatise services, cut pay and conditions, and use racism and xenophobia to divide the working class by shifting on the blame away from themselves for cuts and crisis.
They are divided on the best way to satisfy their greed hence the In or Out. But for us it is neither Cameron or Boris Johnson. In or Out, both sides are about defending the City of London and British capitalism against the interests of the working class.
Cameron was forced to hold the referendum because of the relentless xenophobic, racist and nationalist campaign by UKIP and some Tory MPs. The No campaign will be based on hostility to migrants and refugees; their campaign will be a carnival of reaction.
In or Out seek to use immigrants as cheap labour and are for stricter controls over them.
There is a struggle between the main powers in Europe. British capitalism wants to proceed with minimum regulation but with protection from German or French banks and businesses. So, Cameron’s deal defends British banks and trans-nationals that like vultures searching for meat roam Europe and the world to amass resources and profit and ensure the exploitation of workers and immigrants.
All the main powers in the EU are driven by the deepening crisis and the necessity to make more profit. Germany and France take profit from Greece and the smaller nations and are driven to try to undermine British capitalism.
Differences arise out of how best to fight Germany and France while maintaining the City of London as a world centre of finance, which is key for their economic, financial and political world status.
Crisis of EU deepens
A recent EU report noted that non-residential investment (excludes households buying houses) fell as a share of GDP and the main reason was “a reduced level of profitability.” The Commission found that Europe‘s profitability “has stayed below pre-crisis levels.”
The referendum coincides with an approaching third phase of the world crisis while Tories talked of a rosy economic future for the UK is proving to be empty. There is increasing personal indebtedness and for young people, the future is anything but rosy.
British capitalism has maintained its global financial status while its manufacturing base diminished with a loss of three million industrial jobs since 1970.
The City of London is overwhelmingly in favour of staying in the EU and opposes ‘Brexit’. The EU is a strong force for neoliberalism, privatisation and driving down workers’ wages.
The City depends on the free flow of capital between “capital surplus” economies of the oil and resource producers and North America’s multi-nationals, into and out of Europe. If the UK were outside that would damage the city of London.
There is no solution to the problems of the working class, young people and the immigrants through this capitalist referendum. The interests of the workers, immediate or in the future, are not at stake in this referendum. The contrary is true, it is a referendum in defence of the interests of the bankers and to use the xenophobic campaign for the big bosses to increasingly exploit the British and immigrant workers and to maintain their world position.
At the same time the reliance on financial services, on speculation and highly exploitative investment that uses the world as a speculative casino is not stable. The tensions in the world place the UK economy in great danger.
Capitalism In or Out can provide a solution to that problem, and while they will try to halt the decay of their system, what they are doing is to turn the UK into a country with many features of the oppressed smaller nations. The extensive and life-threatening floods, fracking, huge surveillance on those opposed to government policy, the extent of casualisation and the increase in homelessness are just some of its features.
Labour for Yes
There is a Labour Party majority in support of remaining in the EU where Corbyn secured a deal with the right wing and the trade union bureaucracy. The Labour Party (and trade union leaders) use calls for democratic reform of the EU as a smokescreen.
The pro-EU will lead to UK health services (including hospitals) being privatised by TTIP. Education, rail, water, sewerage, post and cultural services will also be given the international capital vultures and go the way of the Royal Mail (a privatisation forced by Europe and supported by big business). The EU’s free trade agenda over the past 20 years has shown that radical reform necessary to turn the EU around is impossible.
Alan Johnson will lead the Yes vote campaign. “The EU referendum will be the most profound political decision of my lifetime in terms of its effect on our national prosperity and Britain’s position in the world” [our emphasis].
“The Labour campaign that I lead will put the country’s future above party machinations, emphasising the contribution that the EU has made to peace and prosperity across our continent” [our emphasis].
Ask the immigrants, the Greeks and the small countries if they agree! Ask those who are being sanctioned in Britain, unemployed steel workers, junior doctors, railway workers and the millions on casual labour or zero hour contracts and all the striking workers in Europe if they agree!
After its brutal treatment of the Greek people during 2015, the EU has proven to be an anti-democratic autocracy committed to permanent austerity, whatever the human cost.
The EU remains unable (and unwilling) to give any real respite to immigrants fleeing war, starvation and brutal governments allied to the West.
Does Labour believe that there is any chance of reforming the institutions of the EU so that they genuinely represent the peoples of Europe? Those institutions are irrevocably committed to the interests of transnational capital, as shown by their promotion of TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and CETA (EU and Canada carve-up)?
Over 3.2 million people signed the European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP and CETA, far and away the largest number ever recorded for such a petition. An international struggle exists but Labour has turned its back on it and will never support a united European working class campaign to take to the streets to defeat EU’s privatisation plans..
EU a bosses Europe
A 1997 EU Press release stated that an EU-wide postal service would be established, which was achieved by a series of EU Directives. The ‘liberalised service’ allowed other companies to trade in Britain, 21 companies competed with Royal Mail and took 20 per cent of the total business, operating only in the profitable areas while only Royal Mail is obliged by law to provide a six day a week delivery to all parts of the country at an equal price even if unprofitable. The effect of this led to a drop in Royal Mail’s profit by 86 per cent to £22 million in 2006/2007.
Without a fight by Labour or the trade unions Royal Mail was privatised in 2014.
Dock workers in many European countries have protested for years against EU deregulation of the ports. And every public sector is facing the same attack.
The EU is a bosses Europe that supports austerity and enslaving the smaller nations in Europe. They try to do the same thing in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
The EU is a major supporter of war. It gives huge sums to Turkey while Erdogan represses and kills Kurds, Turkish youth and trade unionists. It supports Israel and a negotiated solution with Assad.
EU a noose for the working class
The majority of trade union leaders support the Yes vote. But the EU is a noose for the working class.
Some workers think the EU protects services and jobs from Tory Austerity. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is now imposing zero-hours contracts, casualisation and poverty pay as well as smashing up collective bargaining across Europe as part of its structural adjustment programme.
Even the European TUC, which campaigned for a “Yes” vote in the Greek referendum for more austerity, openly admits that “cuts in salaries, cuts in public services and weakening collective bargaining rights are all on the agenda”.
The EU is currently negotiating secret trade deals which institutionalises mass privatisation of public services for the world’s largest corporations. Its neoliberal employment model openly calls for wages to reflect productivity, which means cutting wages even further allegedly to compete with the ‘core’ high-investment economies of France and Germany.
The European Commission, IMF and the European Central Bank now directly intervene in national wage negotiations in Ireland, Greece and Romania to weaken collective bargaining. Previously in Romania 98 per cent of workers were covered by collective agreements today that figure is around 20 per cent. This means a loss of sovereignty of these three countries.
A new form of EU colonialism has developed whereby wealth is being directly transferred from the periphery to the core particularly in Greece and now Ukraine. This colonial transfer of capital takes the form of interest payments on the ever increasing debt.
Workers’ jobs cannot be protected by clinging to the EU. They have to fight this government and the EU by taking to the streets.
The right-wing No Vote campaign targets EU law and immigration as the main cause of the problems of the British working class, championing insularity, racism, nationalism and xenophobism.
The No campaign has already become a factor in deepening Cameron’s war against migrants in Calais. Policies on benefits and housing, with more draconian measures, are announced almost dayly.
The No is a section of the bourgeoisie (represented in the “Business for Britain” campaign) and sections of the middle class, represented in part of UKIP and other racist groups. It also includes George Galloway, who recently shared a platform with Nigel Farage.
The Socialist Party supports the NO vote. However they lend support for immigration controls (see Socialist Voice August 2014) arguing that “no immigration controls” would “be a barrier to convincing workers of a socialist programme”. However “no immigration controls” is part of the struggle for a socialist world which means open Calais’ border, and granting safe passage to all who want it.
Neither Austerity or EU can be reformed
Britain is an oppressor nation and we cannot support one side of our oppressors or the other in this particular referendum.
Just as we cannot reform austerity, this government or the EU. We say end austerity, bring this government and the EU down! This is the only way end our misery, with workers taking to the streets.
In 2016 strikes are taking place across Europe, such as the junior doctors and railway workers in Britain, the transport workers in Barcelona, French air-traffic controllers, dock workers and truck drivers and more than 5.6 million civil service workers, general strikes in Greece, railway workers in Belgium, Portugal’s unions representing 600,000 civil servants (Courts, schools and medical services).
The will to fight lives on the streets in Europe.
We want the destruction of the EU by the mobilisations of workers across Europe on the streets. A workers and people’s Europe can only be built from below to overthrow the nightmare vision imposed by the undemocratic institutions from above.
We support unconditionally the right of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland to leave the EU because they and the European Central Bank supported by the IMF have imposed austerity on these countries that has turned these countries into semi-colonies. The only way out for these countries, for the smaller countries in general, for immigrants, for all workers is to leave the Euro and the EU.
We call for a campaign to champion the rights of workers, the need to support all workers’ struggles across Europe, to expose the self-seeking xenophobic and profit motive of both capitalist camps, the need to support oppressed nations within Europe, the need to break up the EU by the actions of workers and for a free socialist states of Europe.
- Boycott the bosses referendum
- Only working class mobilisation can end austerity!
- Bring the Tories down!
- Down with the EU!
- One working class: Immigrant and indigenous – for a free socialist United States of Europe!