World Perspectives 2017: VIII. Europe in the Era of Chauvinism, Militarization and Brexit

 

1.                   As we have already elaborated in past documents, the accelerating economic and political contradictions of the new historic period are increasingly pushing the European Union to a point of “make it or break it.” [1] The exacerbated rivalry between the Great Powers pushes the larger European imperialist powers to impel the creation of political and economic pan-European institutions. Such a deepening of the EU integration can only take place under the leadership of German imperialism in alliance with France. However, this would also mean the loss of sovereignty for the bourgeoisies of other European nations. In light of the deep social and economic crisis and the utter corruption of the official workers’ movement which uncritically supports the imperialist EU project, this has resulted in the rise of right-wing populist parties in most European countries. In Britain, UKIP has managed to win the referendum on Brexit. In France, the National Front is currently the most popular party, as is the FPÖ in Austria. In Germany, the AfD is also increasing its electoral support as is the Lega Nord in Italy.

 

2.                   One of two possible directions of development is possible for the EU: On the one hand, it can continue towards closer political, economic and military integration. This is obviously the desire of the majority of the monopoly bourgeoisie of the main European powers, as is indicated by the plans for the creation of a separate EU army – independent of the national armies. On the other hand, it is also possible that the dominant ruling class will fail in this integration. Britain might be already out of the EU, even though its ruling class is still trying to undermine the Brexit process. If Le Pen wins the presidential election in France in 2017, it is also difficult to imagine a successfully deepening of EU integration. In such a situation, it is be possible that the EU in its present forms will be disbanded and replaced by a smaller version which would probably include Germany, the Benelux countries and some other European states.

 

3.                   The dynamics of this crisis is clearly accelerated by the obvious impotence of the imperialist EU as a political power. It is incapable of handle wars and crises next door. During the crisis in Syria and the Ukraine, the EU has had to leave the initiative to the US and Russia. Similarly, it has been incapable of handling the so-called “refugee crisis.”

 

4.                   Whatever the exact scenario will be, it is certain that Europe will undergo a fundamental political crisis in the next few years. Under such conditions, revolutionaries must, first of all raise the banner of working class solidarity with refugees, as well as that between migrant and domestic workers. They must oppose all steps towards the creation of a Fortress Europe and fight for Open Borders – contrary to the Stalinists and the CWI, which oppose such a perspective. Revolutionaries must fight for full equality of migrants (equal wages, full citizenship rights, right to use one’s native language in the education system and in public administration, etc.) [2]

 

5.                   Furthermore, revolutionaries must call for an independent working class position and oppose, in the imperialist countries (like Britain), both imperialist-chauvinist positions. Their rallying cry must be: “Neither for Brexit nor for the EU, but for an international working class struggle! For the United Socialist States of Europe!” They must therefore fight against the Stalinist and centrist forces which advocate the imperialist nation state as a step forward, as an alternative to the EU (as do the CPB, the SPEW/CWI and the SWP/IST in Britain); But they must also fight against the Labour Party, social democrats, and centrists like the AWL and RF/L5I which advocate support for remaining in the imperialist EU.

 

6.                   Italy has been another flashpoint in the political crisis in Europe. The bourgeois-liberal Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tried to implement a constitutional reform, but lost the vote by a large margin in a popular referendum. The opposition against the constitutional reform was particularly strong among the low and middle strata of the proletariat, including many unemployed and youth. As a result, he resigned, which may lead to a prolonged crisis with a weakened PD-led government or to early election. Revolutionaries in Italy correctly called to vote NO in the recent referendum. Social democrats criticized the radical left for voting NO, and argued that the right-wing opposition also opposed the constitutional reform. However, their argument is completely incorrect. In cases where workers have to choose between two qualitatively equal reactionary options, revolutionaries advise to vote for neither of the two. This was, for example, the case in the Brexit referendum and in the 2016 presidential election in Austria where a bourgeois Green Party candidate stood against a right-wing populist. However, the Italian referendum was about an anti-democratic constitutional reform. The fact that the right-wing opposition supported the NO vote for tactical reasons (in order to weaken the Renzi government) is not reason for revolutionaries to change their own tactic. Similarly, revolutionaries will not change their support for protests against an austerity law by a liberal government, just because a right-wing opposition party might also oppose this law for opportunistic reasons.

 

7.                   In the coming period, it will be crucial for revolutionaries in Italy to fight for the CGIL to break with the bourgeois-liberal PD party and to advance the struggle for a new Workers’ Party. However, such a new Workers’ Party must not be created by orienting towards an opportunistic “unification of the left,” which would mean diplomatic maneuvers to bring together the petty-bourgeois left and the minor bureaucrats who failed to make a career in the PD. No, the struggle for such a party must be oriented towards the militant workers, the migrants and the fighting youth!

 



[1] See Michael Pröbsting: Marxism, the European Union and Brexit, August 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/eu-and-brexit/; RCIT: After the BREXIT Vote – Stormy times ahead for the workers and oppressed in Britain, 24.6.2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/brexit-vote-results/; RED*LIBERATION (Bulletin of Socialists in the Labour Party): UK: No to Cameron’s Trap: Neither YES nor NO to UK membership in the EU! For Abstention in the Referendum! We call on Momentum to create a “Third Camp” and to launch a socialist and internationalist campaign! For international Unity of the British, Migrant and European Workers! 25 February 2016, https://redliberation.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/100/; RCIT und RCIT Britain: Boycott Cameron’s Trap: Neither Brussels, nor Downing Street! For Abstention in Britain’s EU-Referendum! For international Unity and Struggle of the Workers and Oppressed! Fight against both British as well as European Imperialism! Forward to the United Socialist States of Europe, 2 August 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/eu-referendum-in-uk/; Michael Pröbsting: The British Left and the EU-Referendum: The Many Faces of pro-UK or pro-EU Social-Imperialism. An analysis of the left’s failure to fight for an independent, internationalist and socialist stance both against British as well as European imperialism, Revolutionary Communism Nr. 40, August 2015 http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/british-left-and-eu-referendum/; RKOB: The European Union and the issue of the accession of semi-colonial countries, 14.10.2012, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 6, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/eu-and-semi-colonies/

[2] See on this RCIT: Defend Refugee Rights! Support the Arab Revolution! Defeat EU Chauvinism and Imperialism! 22.05.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/open-letter-refugees-arab-revolution/; RCIT: Throw Open the Gates of Europe to Refugees! 15.9.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/refugees-are-welcome/; RCIT: Stop the Imperialist EU-War against Refugees! 22.5.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/eu-war-against-refugees/