The champions of the bourgeoisie all over Europe explain to the exploited either that they benefit from European Union which brings peace, or that European Union is the root cause of economic crises and unemployment and that it is time to revert to the national currency and to close the boarders. Both claims are equally deceitful.
- The European Union has neither protected against the world capitalist crisis, nor prevented the return of conflict across the continent.
- Protectionism would precipitate the economic depression and lead to war.
For their defense, the workers must claim their independence to all the capitalists, and they must take power from them and unite the continent.
A halfway complete and consistent economic union of Europe coming from the top by means of an agreement of the capitalist governments is sheer utopia. Here the matter can go no further than partial compromises and half-measures. Hence it is that the economic union of Europe, which offers colossal advantages to producer and consumer alike, and in general to the whole cultural development, becomes the revolutionary task of the European proletariat in its fight against imperialist protectionism and its instrument-militarism. (Leon Trotsky, The Program for Peace, 1917)
After 57 years of so-called “European Union”, Europe is more divided and powerless than ever
European Union is born of a shaky compromise between a few Western European bourgeoisies that were conscious of the intolerable narrowness of their borders.
The national state which gave a mighty impulsion to capitalist development has become too narrow for the further development of productive forces. (Manifesto of the Communist International to the Workers of the World, 1919)
These governments were traumatized by the catastrophe of the Second World War, which originated in the attempts to overcome, through imperialist violence, the archaic character of their borders. The capitalist United States of America, whose national market wears a continental size, were the effective winner of the two world conflicts that occurred mainly within Europe. After the failure of the 3rd Reich, the German bourgeoisie only could advance under the guise of a grouping; with the collapse of its colonial empire, the French bourgeoisie lost much of its influence in international relations, despite General De Gaulle’s blustering.
European Union proved to be a vain and futile attempt to prevent the decline of European capitalism. For a full success, Europe should have been peacefully unified. The urgent need for the trade of goods, capital and workforce between capitalist economies led 22 States to join the 6 founding members of 1958, and 18 of them even succeeded in unifying their currency in 1992, in order to facilitate trade and to have a stronger influence in the world.
However, the European Union emerged too late, in the epoch of the historical decay of capitalism. European bourgeoisies are unable to merge and to delete their archaic borders, since each of them cannot be divorced from its national State, which is necessary for ensuring the exploitation of its proletariat (from which a part has a foreign origin) and for advocating its interests against the other bourgeoisies (including its own neighbours in Europe). Therefore, such imperialist powers remain divided and powerless against the US, Japanese, Chinese and Russian imperialisms, borders multiply in an already crumbled continent and war crops up on a regular basis.
After the disintegration of Yugoslavia, is it up to Ukraine?
Some bourgeois nationalist parties proclaim that the most affluent regions (Flanders, Lombardy, Catalonia, Scotland…) must secede and stop paying for the others, as if stunted capitalist States could escape from world capitalist crises and from foreign rule.
The small peoples can be assured the opportunity of free existence only by the proletarian revolution which will free the productive forces of all countries from the tentacles of the national states, unifying the peoples in closest economic collaboration on the basis of a common economic plan, and offering the weakest and smallest people an opportunity of freely and independently directing their national cultural affairs without any detriment to the unified and centralized European and world economy. (Manifesto of the Communist International to the Workers of the World, 1919)
When the Stalinist Czechoslovak bureaucracy decided to restore capitalism in 1991, the country got divided, as soon as 1992, into two States that became part of the European Union (actually under German influence) and into the NATO (in fact led by the United States).
When the Yugoslav bureaucracy decided to restore capitalism, the rivalries between the German bourgeoisie and the French bourgeoisie fuelled the civil war from 1991 to 1999 and led to the break-up into 6 States. Under a US decision and with the participation of the Belgian and French armies, the NATO bombed Serbia to put an end to the conflict. Nationalist dreams led to the submission of these micro-States, either to Russia or to the European Union, at the cost of destroyed infrastructures, a million people displaced and 300 000 deaths.
When the Russian bureaucracy decided to restore capitalism in 1991, the Soviet Union broke up. Since then, the Russian bourgeoisie fights against the US, German and French imperialisms for getting an influence over formally independent capitalist States that are actually under the rule of oligarchs who are unable to develop their country and then to ensure their autonomy. This is the case in Ukraine, where the request of the European Union meant a worsening plight of the workers, while the powerful Russian neighbor blackmailed about the supply of natural gas. The aspirations for a better and free life were diverted, both in 2004 and in 2013, by capitalist cliques sold to German and Russian imperialists.
What the bourgeoisie of all countries, and all manner of petty-bourgeois parties, i.e., “compromising” parties which permit alliance with the bourgeoisie against the workers—try most of all to accomplish is to disunite the workers of different nationalities, to evoke distrust, and to disrupt a close international alliance and international brotherhood of the workers. Whenever the bourgeoisie succeeds in this the cause of the workers is lost. (Vladimir Lenin, Letter to the Workers and Peasants of the Ukraine, 1919)
In early 2014, the European Union and the United States covered up the participation of fascist parties in the new government. On the basis of the lack of an EU army and of the failures of the US army in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Russian already occupied parts of Moldavia and of Georgia, after keeping Chechnya within its territory, with brute force, in 1994-1996 and in 1999-2000. In April 2014, Putin integrated Crimea into Russia, despite the hostility from a Ukrainian minority and from a Tatar minority; a latent civil war is going on in Ukraine between capitalist cliques that are sold to neighbouring bourgeoisies. The CIA advises the Kyiv government which covers up massacres, like in Odessa. Shock troops of the Russian army entered, masked, in the Ukrainian territory. After occupying Crimea in March, the “special forces” helped the pro-Russian militias, which include fascist elements, to get control over several cities in the east part of Ukraine, where opponents are sometimes physically liquidated.
Under capitalism the smooth economic growth of individual enterprises or individual states is impossible. Under capitalism, there are no other means of restoring the periodically disturbed equilibrium than crises in industry and wars in politics. (Vladimir Lenin, On the Slogan for the United States of Europe, 1915)
On the chauvinist myth that the Brussels Commission is above national bourgeois States
All governments assign to the European Union the responsibility for the unpopular measures that they take for their bourgeoisie. The British Conservative Party and the French UMP regularly use that trick. The fascistic parties and the fascist parties, as well as a part of the labour movement (especially the former Stalinist parties), condemn an almighty “Europe” which would dictate what they should do to the national States, stripped of their sovereignty. Such a chauvinist poison is a delusion.
The European Parliament has no real power, since the decisions of the European Union are taken by the “European Council” (and by the “Council of Ministers” to a lesser extent), that is through an agreement between the 28 national executive. They are applied by the “European Commission”, which Commissioners are appointed by national governments. Similarly, the president and the governors of the European Central Bank are appointed by the 18 governments of the euro zone.
The European Union is based on a bargain between the member States, especially on negotiations between the most powerful (Germany, France, Italy, Britain). The “Franco-German summits” are not included in the EU treaties, but since 1957, they prepare the meetings of the European Council, over the Commission and the Parliament. So no important decision of the EU has been taken without the agreement of the German and French executives: creation of the Common Market in 1957, adoption of a Common Agricultural Policy in 1962, enlargement in 1973, adoption of fixed exchange rates in 1979, decision of a single currency in 1992, launch of the euro in 1999, enlargement in 2004, adoption of new operating rules in 2009, support to Greece in 2010…
The EU budget proves that it is far from being a State. First, the European Union itself is not allowed to collect taxes and is mainly funded by the contributions of the member States. Then, this budget amounts to less than 1% of GDP. Last, the German and British bourgeoisies just requested – and attained – a cut in that budget.
The European Union scarcely has a common international policy and it has no military means for implementing it. The 2003 US, British, Italian and Spanish imperialist intervention in Iraq occurred against what Russian Germany and France intended. The2011 American, French, British, Italian and Spanish imperialist intervention in Libya occurred despite the German government. The 2013 French imperialist interventions in Mali and in Central African Republic where decided without consulting the EU and the other governments.
Behind a democratic façade, the European Union amounts to a hierarchy of States, with a few big imperialist powers at the top, some dominated countries at the bottom, and a few small imperialisms in the middle.
During the world capitalist crisis in 2008-2009, it was every man for itself in Europe: every State abundantly funded its own financial groups and car companies, in total disrespect for “liberalism” and the EU rules in public deficit and public debt. No actions were taken by the European Commission for violation of the budgetary limits set by the treaties (public deficit lower than 3% of GDP, public debt lower than 60%).
The German, French, Italian and British governments agree in making their workers and the workers from Greece, Portugal, Ireland pay the world capitalist crisis
The average public debt-to-GDP ratio in the European Union is now 93 %. The attempt to straighten out public finances and the increase of competition led to attacks against the proletariat on the working places (lower wages, longer working hours, work intensification, lower pensions, facilitating redundancies…) and to lower social benefits(pensions, healthcare, training…) everywhere, including in the richest countries of the EU.
The weakest national capitalisms virtually collapsed during the 2009 world capitalist crisis, which plunged their respective States into a “public debt crisis” in 2010, which amounts to the refusal of financial groups to keep on loaning money on the financial market.
Despite some initial reluctance from the German government, and because the existence of the euro, and even of the European Union, was at stake, the peripheral States eventually obtained the joint support of the IMF, the EU and the ECB. The bourgeoisies from Greece, from Ireland, from Portugal, from Spain and from Cyprus successively received huge loans, and the repayment was made at the expense of the workers: massive cuts in wages, redundancies of hundreds of thousands public servants… The proletariats of these countries became impoverished, left without prospect by their traditional leaderships which protect their bourgeoisie and only provide, as a diversion, electoral timelines and symbolic “days of action”.
The resistible rise of fascism and racism
In each member State, a fraction of the bourgeoisie was not able to cope with the opening borders and with the competition of other European firms. The irresistible rise of Germany, since it absorbed the GDR in 1990 and since Central Europe became open to its commodities and capitals, worries the other bourgeoisies in the EU. The 2008-2009 world capitalist crisis increased the gap between the German capitalism and its French rival.
Parts of the German bourgeoisie and of the Dutch bourgeoisie are reluctant to take charge of the bourgeoisies from the South.
The racist and fascist parties use the foreigners as scapegoats. The more “democratic” governments (like the PS government on France) kick out the immigrants, and even the Roma who are citizens from member States.
Mass unemployment, together with the powerlessness, the cowardice and the recurrent betrayal of the “reformist” parties and of the union leaderships, fuel the rise of xenophobic parties, including neo-Nazis. Fascist groups and parties already attack workers’ activists, national minorities and foreigners with the complicity of the police in Greece, in Germany, in Hungary, in France…
The united front of workers’ and students’ unions could rapidly stop this but, for countering “far right”, they will have to stop trusting the bourgeois State, its laws, its judges and its policemen. For depriving the fascist and racist parties of their influence, the workers’ organizations will have to break with the whole bourgeoisie, with the pro-EU fraction as well as the anti-EU fraction, with the so-called “national interest” which divides the working class and submits it to its exploiters, and to commit towards the workers’ government.
For the social revolution all over Europe, from Turkey to Iceland, from Portugal to Russia
For emancipating itself and for freeing society from the capitalist mode of production as a fetter and as a threat, the workers must face the whole bourgeoisie.
The social-patriotic parties (“Labour”, “Social-democratic”, “Socialist”, “Communist”) lead the workers under the rule of its bourgeoisie. Together with centrist organizations (false “Trotskyists” who reject insurrection and the dictatorship of the proletariat, remnants of Maoism…), they pretend that they will improve the European Union or, even more stupidly, that capitalism in one country is viable and preferable. The governing “reformist” parties are on the service of the bourgeoisie and against the working class. The union leaderships are also bureaucracies that just have to “negotiate” the bosses’ and government’s attacks.
A century after the First World War, for preventing Europe to plunge again in nationalism and war, the proletariat needs a new leadership, a workers’ International and, in every country, an internationalist and revolutionary Bolshevik-kind party.
The workers, employees, technicians… then will be able to unite and win over the unemployed, the semi-exploited strata (independent workers, managers), the training youth for overthrowing the rule of the bourgeois minority, taking power, abolishing the former relations of production, extending the European revolution, cooperating with governments stemming from the socialist revolution in the countries which made up the EU and with the others (including Turkey, rejected by the capitalist “Europe”).
The slogans of national despair and national frenzy must be opposed by slogans of international liberation. (Leon Trotsky, The Turn in the Communist International and the Situation in Germany, 1930)
- Alignment of the labour law on the most favourable rules of Europe! Ban on redundancies! Sliding scales of wages and working hours! Distribution of work among all workers! Workers’ control on hiring and on production!
- Respect for national minorities! Right of separation for national minorities! Free circulation for all the workers of all the countries in Europe! Same rights for all workers!
- Free and high quality and education! Cancellation of all attacks against the indirect wage! Expropriation of banks and insurance companies without compensation! Cancellation of all public debts!
- Full separation of religion and State! No subsidy for any worship! Ban of all religious propaganda in education sites! Free access to contraception and to termination all over Europe!
- Down with all the bourgeois military and economic treaties! End all external European military interventions and close foreign military bases!
- Self-defense of workers’ struggles and workers’ organizations against all gangs of capital! Dissolution of professional armed forces and arming of the population!
- Overthrow of all the bourgeois governments! Establishment of workers councils! Government based on the councils, with no bourgeois minister! Removal of boarders! Socialist United States of Europe!
The main enemy is in our own country. The unity of Europe only can stem from a social revolution led by a class which is neither owner nor exploiter, which is international and not national.
The success of the socialist revolution on the continent will provide a boost to the revolution in Northern Africa, in Middle-East and in the whole world, which will ensure the conditions for world socialism. Let’s build the International, which red flags will claim: long live to the workers’ and peasants’ governments of the world!
International Bureau of the Collective Permanent Revolution
Movement towards socialism (Russia)