16 thoughts on “European Union, for peace or capitalism?

  1. Wednesday 2nd September 2015

    posted by Will Stone in Britain

    TRADE unionists have branded their anti-corporate and democratic drive for EU withdrawal “the only true campaign” against Britain’s membership.

    Britain’s EU membership came under the spotlight yesterday after Ukip leader Nigel Farage announced his party would launch its own No campaign this week.

    He said he would not be signing his right-wing party up to either of “the two existing” No campaigns, the Westminster-based Business for Britain and the corporate-funded Know campaign.

    But his comments neglected to mention Trade Unionists Against the EU (TUAEU), the only No campaign on the side of British workers.

    TUAEU’s Brian Denny told the Star: “Trade unionists invented democracy and that democracy is being removed by the EU institutions. We can’t have democracy inside the EU.

    “Ukip has a business agenda for leaving the EU, ours is anti-corporate and about protecting workers’ rights.

    “It’s about time the entire trade union movement woke up to the fact that there’s no future inside a corporate EU.”

    He cited the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as a “great example” of how Britain’s EU membership is bad for workers and democracy.

    The dodgy behind-closed-doors deal between the EU and US will give unprecedented powers to private companies, allowing them to sue governments if privatised services are returned to the public sector.

    The TUC officially supports Britain’s EU membership but has hinted its stance could change if workers’ rights and protections are removed in reforms being negotiated by the Tory government.

    These rights include four weeks’ paid holiday, rest breaks and the 48 hours a week working time directive.

    Prime Minister David Cameron meanwhile ditched plans to ask voters to answer Yes or No to continued EU membership after the Electoral Commission warned the question could be perceived as biased.

    The elections watchdog argued a Yes or No choice could give an advantage to campaigners for continued membership.

    Mr Cameron accepted the advice and so voters will now be asked whether they wish to remain in or leave the EU in the referendum, promised by the end of 2017.



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  4. Thursday 21st
    posted by Luke James in Britain

    Hoey and Hopkins lead MPs’ charge on ‘anti-socialist’ bloc

    LABOUR MPs launched a left-wing campaign to leave the “anti-socialist” European Union yesterday by warning that the party’s most popular policies would be banned by Brussels.

    A government headed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would find itself in breach of EU competition laws if it pursued public ownership of railways or energy companies, said Labour Leave.

    In a pamphlet entitled Jez EU Can’t, published to coincide with its London launch, Labour Leave also outlined how ending NHS outsourcing, cracking down on tax avoidance and strengthening workers’ rights would also be outlawed.

    “The EU is anti-democratic, is anti-socialist and is not accountable,” said ex-minister Kate Hoey, one of five MPs to break with party leaders to call for an exit left.

    “The EU commissioners aren’t elected, we can’t get rid of them and I believe the continuing way they have tried to ensure our country has less and less control over what we do is absolutely crucial.”

    Veteran left-wing MP ­Kelvin Hopkins said the situation would be made worse by the EU-US trade deal TTIP, which will give private companies the abilities to sue governments that oppose ­privatisation.

    “TTIP is the final demonstration that the European Union is about looking after the interests of the corporate world — not working people,” said Mr Hopkins.

    “Millions of Labour voters understand that. Thousands of Labour Party members understand that.”

    Former TUC general secretary Brendan Barber, a board member of the Britain Stronger In campaign, claimed the EU had delivered “concrete benefits” for British workers, including rights to paid holiday and protection for part-time and agency workers.

    He claimed that millions of jobs connected to EU trade would be put at risk by a British exit, saying: “Workers, trade union members and hard-working families are stronger in Europe and leaving would be a threat to their security and prosperity.”

    Former Cabinet Office minister Graham Stringer, as well as back-bench MPs Roger Godsiff and Khalid Mahmood, are among other MPs supporting Labour Leave.

    The group is being funded by entrepreneur John Mills, who was agent of the No campaign in the 1975 referendum and is secretary of Labour Leave.

    Jez EU can’t…

    1. An “integrated publicly owned railway network” is illegal under EU law under directive 2012/34/EU.

    2. Removing the private sector from the NHS will be very difficult to reconcile with certain fundamental principles of EU law, including the freedom to provide services, EU public procurement, competition and state aid law.

    3. EU directives (2009/72EU and 2009/73/EU) on the “internal market” constrain the ability of the British government to undertake radical reform of the energy market.

    4. Restrictions on the right to strike under EU law could not be unilaterally repealed by a future Labour government. The European Court of Justice has held that the rights of companies to establish themselves and to provide services in other EU member states have “direct effect” against trade unions.



  5. Thursday 21st January 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    LABOUR’S support for staying in the European Union is “completely inconsistent” with leader Jeremy Corbyn’s previous positions, MPs said yesterday.

    Kate Hoey pointed out that Mr Corbyn had “always” voted with eurosceptic Labour MPs against further EU integration over the past 20 years.

    Graham Stringer also said he was “surprised” at the party’s position and was going to raise the issue in meeting scheduled with Mr Corbyn yesterday.

    “It wouldn’t surprise me if that changes because it’s completely inconsistent with what Jeremy has done in his time in Parliament,” he said.

    A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “The Labour Party has a united position, which is to support the Remain campaign but at the same time to push an agenda of progressive social change in Europe.

    “We want to work with allies in the EU to see changes across a whole range of things, like liberalisation, privatisation, austerity and jobs, transparency, democratisation and about employment rights.”



  6. Thursday 21st January 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    THE Morning Star supports the goal of the Labour Leave group — Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union — because it sees the EU as an irreformable capitalist monolith.

    This is not a recent development. It was wired into the EU prototype, then known as the Common Market, set up in 1956 with six member states and committed to removing all obstacles to the operation of market forces.

    Each successive EU treaty and expansion of the bloc’s borders has preserved that capitalist principle at the heart of the developing superstate.

    Whatever the differences between EU member-state governments, whether supposedly conservative, liberal or social democrat, they are united on this guiding principle.

    Just as Henry Ford promised buyers of his Model T car that a “customer can have a car painted any colour he wants as long as it is black,” citizens of EU member states are free to elect a government of any shade provided that it backs neoliberalism or capitalist austerity.

    Earlier pretences to back a “social Europe” that underpinned workers’ rights, solidarity, welfare and state-guaranteed health provisions — the post-war settlement designed to prevent a return to the bad old days of the 1930s, with economic slumps, mass unemployment, fascism and war — have evaporated.

    The EU crucifixion of Greece to finance the bailout of a reckless and overexposed private banking sector has laid bare the hollowness of such claims.

    The supposedly radical left Syriza government led by Alexis Tsipras talked resistance and practised surrender, accepting previously unseen cuts in wages, pensions, public spending and living standards, higher taxation and widespread privatisation.

    The independent European Central Bank — independent, that is, of democratic accountability — and the unelected and unaccountable European Commission put Greek people through the wringer, ignoring continent-wide pleas for more humanitarian treatment.

    The message was clear to member states’ electorates — don’t think you can change things. This is the way it is.

    For an organisation that parrots the word “democracy” relentlessly, whether in criticising other world powers or preparing the way for another illegal invasion, the EU record on respecting democracy is shaky.

    When voters in countries such as Ireland or France have erred by voting against EU treaties, they have been ordered to try again until they redeem their mistake by getting it right.

    Elected governments in Italy and Greece have been replaced by appointed “technocrats” — effectively bankers and their nominees — to run the show and drive through economic “reforms” that benefit the rich and powerful.

    The balance of income and wealth across the continent has swung from poor to rich as the inevitable consequence of wage freezes, higher unemployment and benefit cuts.

    Even now as the working class is over a barrel, our unelected and unaccountable EU bosses are negotiating the TTIP trade deal with Washington to further distance economic life from democratic accountability.

    Yet pro-EU zealots in Labour and the nationalist parties who affect to oppose austerity talk vaguely of reforming or improving the EU when they must know that there is no mechanism for reversing the pro-market forces code that is central to the bloc’s DNA.

    Labour Leave backers are correct to note that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have understood these basic facts in the past and doubtless still do.

    But they must also appreciate that elected leaders are not as free to speak out against party policy as backbenchers.

    The task of Labour Leave and like-minded others in the labour movement is to avoid personality politics, cut through the sunshine stories of the “social Europe” fairyland and expose the reality of a hard-bitten undemocratic big business bloc.



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