Fri Jul 12, 2024
July 12, 2024

Declaration for the European Elections 2024: A Socialist and Revolutionary Way Out of the Europe of Capital

By IWL Europe

Between June 6 and 9, elections to the European Parliament will be held. They are marked by the rise of the far-right and the generalized turn of the governments to rearmament and militarism; by institutional racism and xenophobia; by the attacks on liberties and by the re-launching of the offensive against social and labor rights. They take place in the midst of the Zionist genocide in Gaza and the terrorism of settlers and soldiers in the West Bank, and in the face of the advance of the Russian imperialist offensive against Ukraine.

These are elections to a parliament without powers, because who rules in Europe are unelected bodies, such as the European Commission, which answer to the German and French governments and to the big European bosses. In many countries the conditions for minority political forces to present candidatures are prohibitive. The EU is the Europe of capital, an instrument above all of German and French imperialism to dominate the countries of the East and South and to influence on a global scale. The EU’s proclamations about democracy and human rights are a farce that increasingly openly contradicts its policies.

But there is also another side of reality, on which we can rely, formed by the student mobilizations in many countries of Europe in internationalist solidarity with the Palestinian resistance and against the Zionist genocide. We also have battles such as those of the German working class for wages, those of women in defense of the right to abortion in Italy, or the struggles in defense of the environment, also led by the youth.

The Decline of the European Union (EU)

In the background is the decline of the European Union (EU) and its main powers which, in the midst of the inter-imperialist dispute between the US. and China, play an increasingly subordinate role in the economy and in the world order.

Germany, the EU’s great power, has been stagnating since the breakdown of access to Russian gas and Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Its manufacturing output is in decline and it is threatened by China’s exports, on whose market, at the same time, it depends. It acts as a political dwarf in the world arena, fully subservient to the U.S., as expressed in the genocide in Gaza.

Macron’s arrogance is not able to hide the decline of France, expelled from its former African colonies, with public services in free fall, an economy that does not lift its head and a political regime in crisis that, since the struggle of the Yellow Vests, is at the forefront in attacks on freedoms and repression of dissent. Macron’s verbiage on “French national sovereignty” does not hide his vassalage to the U.S. in the Gaza massacre and in major international affairs.

The EU has recently agreed to open a new and very uncertain enlargement towards the east, while the internal divisions between the different European bourgeoisies and governments are accentuated. These are the divisions that make impossible the creation of a European macro-state, which would be, in fact, the only way for European capitalism not to be crushed in the U.S.-China conflict.

They Want to Put an End to the So-called Welfare State, While Increasing Repression

The overall decline of Europe is constantly reducing the political space to maneuver, and as a result the EU and its governments are attacking the historical conquests that still remain of what we know as the Welfare State. If this is happening in France or Germany, it is even more acute in the rest of EU countries. The EU has already agreed to return to the rules of the so-called “stability pact,” which has been suspended since the pandemic, with which to force social and labor cuts.

One of the most extreme cases of social aggression is happening in Greece (which has been converted, since the betrayal of Tsipras in 2015, into a true semi-colony), where they have just passed a law whereby the working day can be extended to 78 hours a week and which promotes semi-slavery labor contracts and anti-strike measures. Portugal has been condemned to be a tourist destination and a lithium extraction area for foreign companies. Together with the countries of the East, it forms part of the semi-colonized European periphery. Countries such as the Spanish state, although it has significant financial capital, are also, increasingly, countries of waiters and precarious jobs.

The offensive against the remaining social gains is inevitably accompanied by measures of police and judicial repression and social control against the various forms of resistance. Together with France, Italy or Hungary, Europe has become a champion in repressive matters, as the different EU governments have repressed the mobilizations in solidarity with Palestine, labeling them as “anti-Semitic.” Spanish judges, heirs of Francoism, accuse Catalan pro-independence supporters of terrorism for having promoted mass actions.

EU Policy Towards Palestine and Ukraine

The EU policy towards the genocide in Gaza and Israeli terrorism in the West Bank is truly appalling. The EU and its governments, submissive to the U.S., have given political cover to the genocide, while Germany and Italy are openly arming the Zionist state. At the same time, the repudiation by a clear majority of the European peoples is creating certain cracks among the EU partners. Governments such as the Spanish government, formally very critical of Israel, have continued to authorize arms sales, justifying this on the grounds that the contracts were signed beforehand. Josep Borrell, EU High Representative, appears as a critic of the massacre, but the EU has done nothing effective to stop it. For their part, the European trade union bureaucracies verbally condemn the Zionist atrocities, but have taken no consistent action against the companies involved in the genocide or against the support of governments for Israel.

Regarding Ukraine, at the same time that Poland and Lithuania are taking away aid to emigrants, the EU and its governments have continued with the verbiage of support to the Ukrainian people. But when it comes down to it, they are not supplying the weapons needed to stop and defeat Russian aggression, and when they do supply them, they do so too little, too late, and too badly. EU countries have continued to buy liquefied natural gas from Russia in large quantities, while – through triangular schemes – they sell them military hardware.

At the same time, Putin’s occupation forces are sharply increasing their attacks. Ukrainian soldiers are dying on the front lines short of ammunition and the country’s infrastructure is being devastated for lack of air defense. In truth, the European powers, in line with the U.S., do not want Ukraine to win, instead they want to force it into an armistice with Putin, in which Russia will keep a whole part of the Ukrainian nation, while they colonize the rest. Zelensky’s subservience to the U.S. and the EU and his open anti-working-class policies have weakened the resistance, whose backbone is the Ukrainian working class. Likewise, his miserable support for the Israeli genocide has detracted international solidarity from the just cause of the Ukrainian people.

The Rise of the Far Right

We are experiencing a significant rise of the far right. In the previous European elections, it obtained 18% of the votes and now, according to polls, it could reach 25%. The far right presides over the government in Italy (Meloni) and Hungary (Orban) and participates in coalition governments in countries such as Latvia and Finland and in regional governments in Spain. In the Netherlands it was the most voted force, in Portugal it quadrupled votes and reached 18%. Macron (whose policy is in many points the same as that of the extreme right) is, according to the polls, 10 points behind in voting intentions.

The European right gives every day a letter of legitimacy to the far right, which imposes, with its support, laws on key issues, such as immigration and asylum policy (which was also voted for by the Social Democrats). They also go hand in hand on issues such as rearmament and attacks on freedoms. The right-wing candidate to repeat as president of the European Commission, Von der Leyen, has already announced her intention to make a pact with the far right that is in favor of NATO and Israel and against Putin, as is the case of Meloni and Vox.

This rise of the far right is socially supported by a discontented middle strata and among precarious sectors of workers who absorb their demagogy against immigrants and “Muslims” as the cause of their misfortune, absolving the real culprit: big capital and its institutions. Their rise reflects the crisis of capitalism, which has not emerged from the morass since 2008, and is proportional to the depth of the social crisis, the failure of the current political regimes, and the absence of an alternative on the left that is not seen as “more of the same.”

We also call attention to the emergence of “red-baiting” parties such as the BSW in Germany, led by Sahra Wagenknecht. This party, a breakaway from the Die Linke party, defends a xenophobic, Islamophobic, pro-Zionist and pro-Putin program; it claims the Stalinist past of the GDR; it is in favor of fossil energy and against environmental policy measures; it is, finally, anti-European.

Racism and Institutional Xenophobia

The Immigration and Asylum Pact voted by the European Parliament – a complement to the xenophobic laws of the states – is a sign of barbarism. Doctors Without Borders has denounced it as “an abolition of the right to seek asylum in the EU” that “will have catastrophic consequences for the lives of people seeking safety and protection in Europe” because it “endorses border rejections, hinders access to asylum and unjustly criminalizes migrants and refugees.” Maria Sonnek of the NGO Seebrücke said that “the legal package institutionalizes the most brutal and repressive practices at the EU’s external borders.”

Migration is due to the catastrophic living conditions caused by the impoverishment of semi-colonial countries, the consequence of the plundering of their natural resources and the corresponding environmental degradation, the wars provoked by the greed of imperialist powers and the destruction of their living conditions, all now aggravated by climate change. The European response is the screening of people, including facial recognition of children as young as 6 years old, hot returns of asylum seekers, the management of asylum in closed facilities, arrests on suspicion of irregular entry and the externalization of borders. While the British want to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, EU countries externalize their borders to North Africa, Kosovo and Serbia.

Rearmament and Militarization

European governments, with the EU in the lead, have entered into a massive policy of rearmament and militarization and have activated a huge propaganda campaign (“Prepare for war”). Some Northern European countries have decided to reinstate compulsory military service, something the German Minister of Defense himself advocates. The Scholz government has approved a rearmament expenditure of 100 billion euros. In France the government is preparing the ground for compulsory military service by enlisting 15-17 year olds in the SNU.

The rearmament policy aggravates the social offensive of big European capital. The Danish Prime Minister, the Social Democrat Mette Frederiksen, has already warned, lest anyone be deceived, that arms spending is necessarily detrimental to social spending.

The EU’s arms plans seek to favor the European arms industry, but for a long time to come the big beneficiaries will continue to be the U.S. arms manufacturers.

The plans for rearmament and militarization go hand in hand with the strengthening of the military hierarchy and the subjugation of peoples. For this reason, not only do we oppose rearmament, but we defend universal military training based in the neighborhoods and workplaces and where the officers must have the approval of the troops.

Backtracking on the Few and Insufficient Climate Measures that Have Been Adopted

The European Environment Agency (EEA) published a report on March 11 stating that “Europe has been warming faster than the global average. Climate change is happening now and will worsen in the future.” It has denounced the inability of EU institutions and governments to combat the rate of increase in extreme weather events, which will have “catastrophic” consequences.

Indeed, the consumption of fossil energy has continued to increase in Europe and in the world, as well as prospecting for more petroleum, which is being carried out in particularly sensitive maritime zones. The European ecological transition plans do not serve to stop the environmental catastrophe, but are at the service of a new productive restructuring to increase the exploitation of workers through automation. This is the case of the electric car. On the other hand, obtaining the materials necessary for its production is causing enormous environmental damage in the countries of the semi-colonial periphery where they are obtained, often in subhuman conditions.

The EU and its governments, hand in hand with agribusiness, are also forcing a strong retreat in the already very limited environmental measures approved, taking now as an excuse the past agrarian mobilizations. The Nature Restoration Law approved by the European Parliament says nothing about new areas to be protected and leaves a wide margin of maneuver to the states. It is not strange that it has the formal support of multinationals such as Unilever, Coca Cola and Nestlé.

It is Necessary to Promote the Mobilization and Independent Organization of the Working Class and Youth!

In these past few years we have lived through several big mobilizations, such as those of the French working class against the pension reform. However, under the weight of the trade union bureaucracy (and the silence of the official political left), they did not manage to advance in the independent organization of the rank and file, nor did they challenge the anti-democratic rules of the Fifth Republic. For this reason, although they had a broad majority social support, they were defeated and the government and the bosses ended up imposing their hated reform.

Recently, important wage mobilizations took place in Germany and we have isolated struggles in many places. With the youth in the lead, we have experienced strong mobilizations in favor of the environment, like the one in Saint Soline in France, savagely repressed by Macron. The struggle in solidarity with Palestine mobilizes ever wider swathes of the youth, giving rise to major demonstrations and other actions in repulsion against the Israeli massacre, often repressed.

To confront this offensive of capital and the various governments at its service, there is only one road: to advance in mass mobilization, in unifying the struggles and taking steps in the independent organization of the exploited and oppressed, in their self-organization, overcoming fragmentation, resignation and discouragement, and overcoming the bureaucracies.

There is no way out within the Europe of capital, the EU, and the euro. The social democratic and socialist parties have long been part of the system, of which they present themselves as the “lesser evil.” This is also the case of the few residual communist parties that still persist. For their part, the parties which in recent years appeared to the left of social democracy, which spoke of “re-founding the EU” and presented themselves as an alternative, dragging behind them broad popular sectors, have shown that, in the end, they were nothing but the fifth wheel of the system. This is the case of Refundazione Comunista, Syriza and Podemos which, after being part of bourgeois governments of class collaboration, are now in an advanced process of decomposition.

We need to advance in the construction of an alternative revolutionary force whose strategic objective is to organize the working class to take power and advance towards a Europe of the workers and the people. We need to take steps in building a revolutionary International and its parties throughout Europe. This is the central task for which the European sections of the LIT-CI are working.

With the Palestinian people!

Stop the genocide in Gaza! Stop immediately the sale of arms to Israel!

For a free, secular, democratic and non-racist Palestine, from the river to the sea!

Break diplomatic and commercial relations with the Zionist state!

Support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign!

No to the “two-state” trap, which legitimizes colonial occupation!

With the Ukrainian resistance!

Support the Ukrainian resistance against Putin’s imperialist aggression!

Effective military support to Ukraine! Stop the triangular sale of military equipment to Russia!

Cancellation of the foreign debt that enslaves Ukraine!!!!

Confiscation of Russian assets in Europe to provide for the needs of the Ukrainian people!!!

No to Zelensky’s submission to the USA and the EU! No to his anti-worker plans!

No to rearmament and militarization!

Reduction of military expenditures! Social expenditures, not military!

Out with NATO and American bases on European soil!

Universal military training, based on the place where one lives and works and with the officers subject to the approval of the troops!

Out with the immigration and asylum pact and all xenophobic immigration laws!

Regularization of migrants! Dismantling of the Frontex agency!

Recognition of the right of nationality to those born on European soil and the right of refuge to those fleeing wars, dictatorships and hunger!

Native or foreigner, the same working class!

Reorganize the whole economy, fight the environmental catastrophe!

Expropriation of the strategic sectors, putting them under workers’ control!

General reorganization of the economy on the basis of social needs and environmental sustainability!

The EU is the Europe of capital! For a Europe of the working class and peoples! For a Socialist United States of Europe!

For the construction of the revolutionary international!

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