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The BNP’s call for a referendum on EU membership reminds us that they and other far right groups like UKIP are exploiting the popular working class hatred of the remote, undemocratic and anti worker institutions of the EU. If socialists and the trade unions allow the vacuum of genuine working class opposition to continue, only the far right will benefit.
Trade unions, which have been the main victims of the constant EU barrage of attacks, should wake up across the country as they did at the Scottish TUC, which drew very different conclusions about the EU to the British TUC. The battle to recognise that Britain must withdraw from the EU should rage in every workplace and every union branch as the decisive ideological debate of the coming period.
Capitalism everywhere in the world is a bad thing, but failing to understand that we can give global capitalism its most serious smack in the face by withdrawing from one of its most organised power bases – the EU – is crazy indeed. Once some argued that the EU was a great bastion against the US and its particular brand of capitalism. Now the EU is keen to sign a new trade agreement with the US to become the world’s most aggressive imperialist bloc. Trade unionists who think that the 1990s legislation from the EU against various forms of discrimination have any meaning in this new context should think again.
The EU is what it has always been – the club for big business – but it is now worse than ever and has happily plundered the entire economies of countries such as Ireland and Greece. If you think the Tories are bad, they are absolute amateurs when compared with the unelected rulers who run our Parliament and those of all the EU member states. You cannot oppose so called neoliberal austerity without calling for withdrawal from the EU. This is something that delegates to the forthcoming People’s Assembly should also reflect upon, given that the organisers have already tried to do all they can to avoid a debate on the EU.