The EU Reform Treaty: Part 3
by Michael Pröbsting
Today we are facing an all-embracing offensive by the ruling classes of Europe. They want to destroy the social and democratic gains of the working class, whatever the cost, and establish the EU as the second military superpower, alongside the USA.
Resistance to this can only be successful if we orient ourselves not towards appeals and petitions to the rulers or to the achievement of governmental posts but towards a Europe-wide organisation and struggle by the working class and youth. That is why we in the LSR, together with our international comrades in the League for the Fifth International, stand for mass demonstrations and strikes up to a general strike against the EU reform treaty and other attacks. This is necessary both in individual countries and across Europe.
We need an organisation of resistance from below at every level. That is why we call for the building of action committees, social forums and alliances at every level, local, regional and national. Equally, we need a European wide coordination of the struggles. This demand is directed at all organisations of the working class, all parties which are against the war and neoliberalism, all the groupings within the anti-globalisation movement, the antiwar movement, immigrant organisations, youth organisations and student representatives.
How can we stop the reform treaty?
The resistance against the EU reform treaty demands broad struggle both in Austria and across Europe. In this way we can build on a broad rejection of the EU reform treaty and popular demand for a referendum across the whole of Europe. Just in Austria, 70 per cent of those asked in the most recent opinion poll were in favour of a referendum and in another poll twice as many people saw a disadvantage in the treaty as those that saw an advantage, 39 per cent to 19 per cent.
The League of Socialist Revolution supports the demand for a referendum over the EU reform treaty as one form, although limited, of opposition. We are, therefore, active in the referendum campaign. The majority of organisations in this alliance see its priority as small media actions, press conferences, petitions and the winning of individual officials and sectors of the established parties, they hope for support from the Kronen newspaper and so on. We by no means reject such steps, in particular circumstances they could indeed play a subordinate but positive role. However, the centre of gravity of the resistance must lie in a working class, class struggle perspective in order to force a referendum. The whole campaign can only be successful if it concentrates itself on organising broad mass actions, meetings oriented towards the masses and the building of local committees rooted in the masses. In concrete terms we call for:
The trade unions as well as the student organisations and progressive immigrant organisations should be won to opposition to the reform treaty and a perspective of class struggle against it through strikes and demonstrations.
We propose coordinated interventions by the organisations participating in the campaign in the planned so-called “information meetings” over the EU reform treaty to be organised by the government.
We are in favour of the organisation of local action committees in factories, schools and universities and also locally, following the example of the 900 local Committees for a No against the EU constitution in France in 2005.
We propose the organisation of at least one major demonstration as well as further direct actions in the spring.
For a programme of struggle against the general offensive of EU capital
The struggle against the general offensive of capital cannot limit itself to the EU reform treaty but must include all fronts. For that it needs a clear programme of defensive struggles.
Stop the social attacks!
Unemployment, under employment and poverty affect millions and millions in Eastern and Western Europe. As unifying key demands in the struggle we propose:
- Europe-wide introduction of the 35 hour week with no loss of pay or jobs.
- A minimum wage established by the labour movement of each country.
- For a struggle against privatisation of public services and mass redundancies.
- For a programme of socially useful public works under the control of the workers, the unemployed and consumers.
- Progressive taxation of firms and the rich to finance these measures.
The division of the working class and the oppressed along national and ethnic lines is a central problem for any common struggle. The EU and the national bourgeoisies and governments are consciously deepening the divisions. Workers from Eastern Europe and from the semi-colonial countries outside the EU are excluded from the Western labour market, dealt with as second-class workers or forced into illegality where they have to work in the worst possible conditions.
Within the EU, national and ethnic minorities such as the Basques or the Roma are denied their democratic rights. Moslem, Turkish, Arabs and migrants from the Balkans or from Africa are subjected to systematic hate and oppression. Fascist and racist forces are spreading the poison of anti-semitism. Against all this we fight for:
- Full and equal social and political rights for all who live in Europe.
- We are against immigration controls, for open borders.
- For self defence organisations of the racially or nationally oppressed against fascist or racist attacks.
- For a common struggle of migrant and indigenous workers against such attacks.
- Down with all reactionary “anti-terror laws”
Against war and occupation
The EU and its member states are open or covert supporters of the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and of the US threats to Iran. Therefore we are:
- For the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
- Support the legitimate liberation struggle of the Iraqi and Afghan resistance against the occupiers and, likewise, the resistance of the Palestinians.
- EU states are not only passive supporters of the USA. Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia are practically colonies of the EU. Germany participates in the occupation of Afghanistan and France regularly intervenes in Africa. And now the EU and Austria are also sending troops into Chad.
- No to all EU interventions whether under US leadership, the EU or UN flags! Withdrawal of all troops stationed abroad!
No to the building of the police state
The ruling classes are consciously building a police state under the cover of security for citizens and the “war against terror”. Democratic rights are being systematically hollowed out or even completely repealed.
- Against the permanent surveillance state. Down with all permanent surveillance cameras in public places. No online surveillance.
- Stop all dragnets and bugging operations. Against all security police authority. For self defence units to defend demonstrations against attacks by the police.
- Police out of the localities. Maintenance of public order by self defence units based on elections and control by mass meetings in the factories and housing estates.
For a constituent assembly
The question of the EU reform treaty is a democratic question. It is a matter of determining the constitution of a future federation. The ruling class has been trying to bring this about with either undemocratic or plebiscitary measures. All future attempts by the ruling class will have a similar character because of the internal contradictions within the national capitalist classes. The question of a constitution and of democracy can and must, under these circumstances, be made into a means of mobilising the masses but not for some “other” bourgeois constitution as suggested in the reformist daydreams of groups like ATTAC. Instead, we need a consistent democratic form for the unification process, a constituent assembly elected by all the inhabitants of the EU as well as those countries that wish to join a united Europe.
Such a slogan has a revolutionary democratic character if it is understood as a means of mobilisation, a means of using bourgeois democratic hopes and illusions against the rulers in order to make it easier to take the steps necessary for the overthrow of the ruling class.
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