European Union

The bosses Europe is not for us

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David Cameron has set the date, 23 June, for the referendum on EU membership, and there’s a whiff of panic in the air.

The Tory party is split down the middle, with important figures such as current London mayor Boris Johnson opting for the leave camp in opposition to Cameron’s desire to stay.

Big business is also taking sides. Half the FTSE 100 top companies have signed a letter putting the business case for EU membership, though the capitalist class is by no means united on this.

Beware what you wish for if you vote no to EU

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Joseph Choonara (October SR) mistakes a Yes in the EU referendum as necessarily meaning support for its right wing institutions and practices. He wrongly assumes that leaving is the only way of opposing them; and he completely ignores the implications of leaving.

Firstly, instead of addressing what I wrote, he fantasises about what I was “maybe” saying or “perhaps” thinking.

In reality, I neither support nor wrote (or thought) anything about an EU “super-state”. I neither said nor implied that internationalism “must…express itself through…EU institutions”.

More space for a left No

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The debate continues on how best to be an internationalist in the run up to the EU referendum.

Last month’s Socialist Review contained James Anderson’s rather intemperate response to an article I wrote calling for an “internationalist No” in the forthcoming referendum to retain British membership of the European Union.

He writes, “The main argument for voting Yes is that in practice internationalism would be greatly facilitated and given credibility and focus by taking full advantage of the common political framework provided by the EU — by sharing the common membership and institutions and also the common enemies it provides.”

Break up the EU club

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We were for a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum not because we believed that independence was inherently progressive but because it would break up the British imperialist state and weaken our ruling class.

We should apply the same principle to the question of EU membership.

A No vote will not just hurt our ruling class economically but will also weaken it politically.

No vote weakens rulers

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The key point that James Anderson makes in his article (“EU referendum: Better to stay and fight”, September SR) is that a socialist party’s stance on the EU cannot be drawn directly from socialist principles.

There are various possible “arenas of struggle” and so opposition to the EU is not unequivocally a socialist position.

Anderson’s argument is for a Yes vote with the aim of democratising the EU institutions. This would give focus and credibility to our internationalism in a way that wouldn’t be possible if we campaigned to stay outside.

EU referendum debate: Better to stay and fight

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In last month's Socialist Review Joseph Choonara put the case for voting No to EU membership. James Anderson is not convinced, seeing potential for an anti-racist, internationalist Yes vote.

The debate was opened by Joseph Choonara (July/August SR) with standard criticisms of the European Union (EU). Its policies are indeed capitalist, neo-liberal, anti-democratic, racist, murderous, and — he might have added — implicated in Nato’s reckless eastwards expansion to Ukraine. Not unlike UK policies in fact.

But unfortunately, like others on the left, he simply assumes that the only way to oppose EU policies is to leave it. There is no analysis of the likely consequences, no explanation of why we should “go”, or where.

EU referendum: Should we stay or should we go?

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As the debate over European Union membership heats up, Joseph Choonara argues that socialists should argue for a left wing No vote, despite the right wing dominating the campaign for a "Brexit".

Referendums are often awkward terrain for socialists, because the terms of the debate are set by establishment politicians. The referendum on British membership of the European Union (EU) is a particularly tricky specimen. The mainstream arguments on both sides will be unpalatable.

The Yes campaign, to retain Britain’s EU membership, will be dominated by the Conservative and Labour leaderships, along with what’s left of the Liberal Democrats.

EU targets migrants at sea

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The European Union’s (EU) response to the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War is more detention camps, fast track repatriation and jail for migrants and refugees.

Alongside this EU ministers have sanctioned a naval task force with the missions to destroy boats at sea and halt migrant ships as they set off on their journey.

The EU has drawn up a plan to open “structured border zones and facilities”, that is quarantine centres, in the so-called frontline states of Malta, Italy and Greece.

Greece: It didn't have to be this way

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The Troika has succeeded in imposing its will on the Syriza government for now, but other options were. And still are, available.

One of the most scathing responses to the deal struck between Greece’s radical left Syriza government and European finance ministers in February came from 92 year old Manolis Glezos. The former resistance fighter — famous for tearing the Swastika from the Acropolis in 1941 and now a Syriza MEP — compared the agreement to “renaming fish as meat”.

Solidarity against racism

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The electoral success of far-right parties presents a challenge for the left. Brian Richardson reports from a key anti-fascist conference in Greece that is beginning to coordinate a continent-wide strategy to halt them.

The headline story in this May’s European Parliament elections was the success of the fascist Front National (FN) in France. Marine Le Pen’s party topped the poll with 24.85 percent which translated into 24 seats.

It is now the fourth biggest party in the parliament. That success was subsequently consolidated with the capture of two seats in the French Senate elections in September. The outright fascist Jobbik party took second place in the Hungarian elections with 14.6 percent of the vote, winning three seats.

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