As the Brexit discussions between Britain and the European Union continue, the true nature of the EU becomes clearer by the day.
The EU has been weakened, and its class character is being revealed. The subservient nature of the Irish establishment, and how little influence they have at the European level, is also being exposed and brought into the public glare, despite the efforts of the media to conceal this.
Wherever the economic and political borders end up after Brexit, it will be the ruling class of Britain and Germany that decide, and it will be in their own class interests. Dublin will have little say, and the Assembly in Belfast even less. British big-business interests will be king; and, despite what Arlene Foster might think, the big-house unionists in Cos. Fermanagh and Tyrone will have little influence either. They were and are good for maintaining the Union but are irrelevant when talking about British capitalist class interests.
The EU is designed for the benefit of big business and for its interests alone, to the detriment of the working class. It was set up to build a capitalist United States of Europe, to rebuild the European industrial monopolies after the Second World War, and to transfer power from national parliaments to a supranational European entity, so restricting the ability of states to make laws and direct policy decisions in their own interests.
The EU was deliberately designed to strengthen the European monopolies, the ruling class of the member-states, and to marginalise the citizens. This has been achieved over the years through the plethora of treaties and, more recently, trade agreements, such as CETA and TTIP, that have been imposed on our people.
These agreements are constructed to restrict and reduce the ability of working people to effect change in the economic and social policies imposed on them and to further erode democracy and accountability at the national level. Along with the institutions of the EU, they are major weapons in the class war.
At the end of the war there was a kind of truce between capital and labour. Capital needed the working class for rebuilding its industrial base; it also needed to defend and protect European capitalist interests from the challenge posed by the rise of socialism as it efficiently and quickly rebuilt itself after the war. Socialism was now seen as a real and viable alternative. This had to be stopped, at all costs, to keep the elite of Europe in their position of power and privilege. Their imperial project of globalisation, neo-liberalism and a race to the bottom in workers’ rights was all the time being designed and planned in the background.
Since the defeat and overthrow of socialism in Europe, coupled with the completion of the rebuilding of the infrastructure and industrial base, capital no longer feels the need to accommodate workers. This has led to workers’ rights being savagely attacked all around Europe and austerity being imposed on our people to pay the debts of finance capital.
We need only look at the decisions made in the EU Court of Justice, in the Luxembourg, Laval and Vaxholm judgements, coupled with all the anti-union laws that have been introduced. These have had a serious effect on workers’ rights. The judgements have given priority to the market over workers’ rights, and the anti-union laws have most certainly tipped the balance of power from labour to capital.
Now the people of Britain have voted to leave the EU—despite the best efforts of big business, the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and others to get the people to vote to remain. We here in Ireland need to show solidarity with the British working class and all those who continue to push for a full exit from the EU and to campaign for a left-alternative exit. If this happens it may be the spark that lights the flame for an Irish exit.
We need to rid ourselves of the dominance of our imperial masters in Britain and Europe and to build the unity of our people and country. Only then will we be on the road to economic independence, which will allow us to achieve the socialist republic that James Connolly fought and died for and finally have freedom and independence for all our people, Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenter.