The labour movement in Britain should shed any illusions about the European Union when challenging austerity and privatisation, said Communist Party chair Bill Greenshields.
Speaking to the party’s political committee on Thursday, he pointed to the role of the EU Commission and the European Central Bank as members of the so-called ‘troika’ alongside the International Monetary Fund.
‘These are the bodies driving the bail-out programme across continental Europe, slashing welfare benefits and pensions, destroying millions of jobs and privatising industries, services and utilities, all in order to ensure that German, French and British banks get a return on government bonds’, Mr Greenshelds declared.
Accusing the troika of orchestrating ‘bureaucratic coups’ in EU member states, he recalled that elected governments in Italy and Greece had been forced to stand down in favour of unelected ‘technocrats’ when the cuts being demanded were too much even for some right-wing leaders.
‘Britain’s anti-democratic coup happened in 2010, when the Tories and Liberal Democrats formed a coalition for which nobody had voted, to carry out an austerity and privatisation programme at the behest of the City of London spivs and speculators – and previously denounced by LibDem leaders’, Mr Greenshields said. He pointed out that the British government had submitted its financial strategy for approval by the EU Commission and was enthusiastically carrying out troika policy.
‘It’s no wonder that the latest survey of City opinion confirms that British big business overwhelmingly supports continuing membership of the EU’, the CP chair commented. He was referring to a report from financial lobbyists TheCityUK, which showed that 84 per cent of top City business leaders strongly favour remaining in the EU, while also calling for ‘reform’ to exempt Britain from any new banking regulations and to cut EU ‘red tape’ in areas such as employment and health and safety law.
Britain’s communists confirmed the party’s intention to participate in a No2EU – Yes to Workers’ Rights alliance in next June’s European Parliament elections, alongside the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, the Socialist Party and other left and anti-EU bodies.
‘It will be important that there is an electoral platform across England, Scotland and Wales which exposes illusions in the EU as the basis for creating a “Social Europe”, while calling for Britain’s exit from the EU on socialist policies’, Mr Greenshields insisted.
The political committee also decided to:
- Express solidarity with college staff, teachers, probation staff, civil servants and firefighters taking action to protect employment terms and conditions and public services.
- Urge a big turn-out at this year’s 21st Century Marxism event in Clerkenwell Green, London, where speakers include representatives from communist and workers parties in South Africa, Palestine and Cyprus as well as trade union leaders, left MPs and other front-line campaigners.
- Send national women’s organiser Liz Payne and international secretary John Foster to represent the Communist Party at this year’s international meeting of communist and workers’ parties in Lisbon on November 9-10.