The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 26th February 2016
ANY ILLUSIONS about the possibility of reforming the European Union (EU) must surely have been shattered by the outcome of the Prime Minister’s marathon talks in Brussels. David Cameron may claim that now “Britain will be permanently out of ever-closer union, never part of a European super-state, there will be tough new restriction for access to our welfare system for migrants, no more something for nothing.” But everyone else can see that his attempt to renegotiate the terms on which Britain will remain a member of the European Union has ended with a minor but vindictive attack on migrants’ benefits and a vacuous recognition of Britain’s “special status” within the Union.
The ruling class has long been divided over the European Union. Some want to align British imperialism with Franco— German imperialism within the European bloc. Others still hanker for the “special relationship” with the United States, and the supposed role that British imperialism can play as the “bridge” between the American and European imperialist blocs. These divisions have now split the Tories wide open.
Cameron’s words have been pounced on with glee by the Eurosceptics within and far beyond the Tory faithful. Six Cabinet ministers immediately joined the ranks of the “Brexit” campaign that until now had been dominated by Nigel Farage and the motley crew of racists, homophobes and chauvinists within his UKIP party. Boris Johnson has belatedly joined the Tory rebels in the mistaken belief that this will further his own dreams of leadership.
Meanwhile Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed that Labour will continue its long-standing support for the EU and campaign to remain within the Union.
Cameron now has to defend continued British membership of the EU at the referendum on 23rd June in the face of a vociferous opposition from Eurosceptic Tory grandees. He clearly will have to rely on the backing of Labour and the Scottish Nationalists to win.
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.
In fact the EU is a European Chamber of Commerce writ large, aiming to build a super-state with super powers for the industrialists, cartels and banks to intensify the exploitation and oppression of the millions of workers within its frontiers.
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.
The New Communist Party has been opposed to the Common Market and the EU that followed since its foundation in 1977. We support the efforts of the new Trade Unionists Against the EU movement and we will call for a NO vote at the referendum. But we will never close ranks with the reactionaries and racists at the helm of the major NO vote campaign.
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.