Now that the details of Brexit have been finalised its timely that we remind ourselves of why we supported not a Brexit but a Left Exit – ‘Lexit’
At midnight on 31 December we are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe.
We are as European today as we have ever been. Our social, cultural, political and our economic links remain. We will develop new relationships – but we are still Europeans and those of us who believe in the socialist project, still hold to the unity of working people in all countries and the overthrow of capitalism.
What we don’t believe in is the EU.
This is not a new position for the Workers Party We opposed entry to the Common Market in 1973 and again to the EEC in 1975. We have opposed every European treaty since, including the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaties, the Lisbon Treaties and the more recent Fiscal Stability Treaty
We opposed them on the same basis that we opposed entry in the first place – because the founding principles, the direction of travel and the policies of the European Union were designed to strengthen and secure the capitalist economic, financial and social model and smother any radical socialist alternative to that system.
Here are just four reasons why leaving the European Union is a progressive step.
The EU is undemocratic
• The EU is not just undemocratic. Its centralised fiscal policy makes it inherently anti – democratic.
• We’ve witnessed the EU’s treatment of Ireland and Greece which demonstrated its contempt for national sovereignty, democratic rights and the welfare of working people.
• Membership of the European Union prohibits the socialisation of the economy, the nationalisation of strategic sectors of the economy and, of course, the banks, unless of course, the losses are to be socialised to bail out the bankers
• Countries joining the EU stop being sovereign states – they become member states of an increasingly monolithic structure designed to facilitate multi- national corporations, progress the modern capitalist project and prioritise markets, profit and control over working people.
The European Union is anti- worker
• The myth that the EU promotes and protects workers’ rights is exactly that – a myth. The EU is anti- worker.
• The EU has cut living standards and economies have withered under forced austerity measures. • Thousands of people have been forced to move abroad to look for work.
• One in four workers are now unemployed in Greece and Spain, with youth unemployment at double that.
• Three-hundred thousand Irish working people have left their homes to look for work overseas since the 2008 banking crisis
The European Union is an aggressor
• The European Union has taken part in the imperialist wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya together with the US and NATO, and has played a leading role in the intervention and threats against Syria and Iran.
• “Fortress Europe” ensures that those outside the EU cartel of nations are subject to vicious discrimination – if they are lucky – and drowning in the Mediterranean if they are not. Opposing the EU is an act of international solidarity with other countries and other workers world wide
Socialists are primarily and instinctively internationalists. Voting to leave the EU was an international act of solidarity with the working class people of Greece, Portugal Italy and the many other European countries – including of course the Republic of Ireland – whose living standards, jobs, opportunities and democratic rights were trampled on by the Troika as the European Union bailed out banks and stretched the more marginal and weaker members states on the economic rack to pay for it.
It was an act of international solidarity with all those who stood against the EU directives to sell off and privatise public utilities, including water and lay off millions of public sector workers.
It was an act of international solidarity with the many, many thousands of people who lost their lives on the doorstep of Fortress Europe as they were forced to flee from the economic and military adventures of the EU.