No to UKIP, No to the EU!

LAST WEEK’S European elections were the usual farce. The majority of people in Britain and the rest of the European Union boycotted the poll while a substantial minority of those who did vote gave their support to the racist and fascist platforms that argue that the only way out of the slump is to curb immigration into Europe and drive the existing ethnic minorities out.

Ukip, which topped the European poll in Britain, is somewhat different. The French National Front, the spiritual heirs of the fascists and Petainists who collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War, spits its venom out on France’s long-standing Muslim, African and Asian minorities. Ukip on the other hand essentially targets the eastern European migrants as part of their case for pulling out of the EU altogether.

The European Parliament, we are told, is one of the most powerful legislatures in the world both in terms of its legislative and executive oversight powers. In fact it is neither. It is a toothless body with no real powers, which has been created to provide a democratic façade to the EU’s arbitrary and authoritarian governance in the service of the European ruling class.

The development of the Common Market and the EU that followed was the choice of Franco-German imperialism and western European monopoly capital. It promotes neo-liberal measures favouring the monopolies and the concentration and accumulation of capital. It cannot represent a genuine counterweight to US imperialism in favour of the people. With the Lisbon Treaty, new steps are being taken towards the configuration of the EU as an imperialist, economic, political and military bloc, contrary to the interests of the workers and the people.

But for years Labour and the majority of the leaders of our unions have elevated the EU as an instrument for social progress and economic advance. They say that the EU is becoming more representative through the authority of the European “Parliament” and establishment of regional autonomy. The social-democrats claim that the anti-working class “directives” and “rulings” can be reversed. The revisionist and left social-democratic circles that still pose as communists in some parts of Europe argue that the EU can be reformed to serve the interests of working people.

Ukip’s success has been largely at the expense of the Tories whose votes plummeted in the local and European elections. Labour made considerable gains while the Liberal Democrats crashed with disillusioned voters returning to Labour or swinging towards the Greens. Needless to say left social-democratic anti-EU slates like No2EU never got off the ground and their dismal 0.2 per cent of the vote again shows that Labour is still seen by millions of working people as the only credible alternative to the Conservatives.

Ukip wants to set the agenda for the next election around an anti-EU demand wrapped in racist and chauvinist slogans. Miliband & Co think that the Ukip intervention and the collapse of the Liberal Democrats will give them victory on a plate without any direct appeal to the working class. Communists must prove both wrong. Ukip must be exposed as a reactionary, racist movement that is totally opposed to the working class and the unions must mobilise to put the demands of the labour movement back on the Labour manifesto. The real nature of the European Union must also be exposed for what it is — an institution designed solely for the benefit of the oppressors and exploiters. What few benefits the EU has brought, such as increased trade and open borders, could all have been achieved through separate agreements and treaties.

The European Union is neither genuinely federal nor democratic and every stage of European integration has been financed by working people through higher indirect taxes, lost jobs and lost benefits. The European Union cannot be reformed. It must be dissolved and the Treaty of Rome, which established the Common Market in the first place, and all addenda repealed.

The problem is that the Labour leadership, like the rest of social-democracy throughout the EU, is as committed to the European super-state as the rest of the mainstream bourgeois parties in Europe. But the case for leaving the EU cannot be left to a maverick wing of Tory opinion whose reactionary leader’s only answer to the crisis is a return to the laissez-faire capitalism of the 1930s that thought that mass unemployment and destitution was the only way out of the slump.