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The Socialist Workers Party and the euro

We want a Europe that meets the needs of workers and the poor, not a Europe of capital and war.

July 1, 2003
2 min read

So much of the debate about Europe is dominated by rows between different sets of bosses about how best to boost profits and how best to screw more out of workers.

It’s time to put forward views based on the spirit, energy and sense of alternatives that come out of the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements that have swept the continent.

The EU is dominated by the interests of big business. Mechanisms such as the stability and growth pact are designed to impose Thatcherism everywhere. The measures associated with the euro have meant cuts in welfare, stripped down regulation of business, increased labour flexibility and free rein for the multinationals.

European institutions have never delivered substantial reforms for workers. Policies are shaped by bodies like the European Round Table of Industrialists which links the leaders of many of Europe’s biggest firms.

As we know only too well from living under a Blair government, spending cuts, privatisation, racism and militarism do not spring solely from the EU. National governments push them on their own or in alliance with the US.

But the EU codifies a distinctly right wing view of the world. It’s true that in many parts of Europe that public services are better than here – but that’s because workers have fought cuts and there hasn’t been enough of that in Britain.

That is why if there was a referendum now we would vote no to the euro.

But at the same time it is very important to be independent from the nationalist opposition to the EU. The foreigner-hating over Europe that appears in the Mail and Sun is designed to set worker against worker and, like the racism that is whipped up against refugees, is part of a “divide and rule” strategy.

Far from wanting to cut ourselves off from developments in Europe, we want to be part of a united struggle for a social Europe, not a bosses Europe.

We take heart from the recent mass strikes in France, the huge protests that have taken place in Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany and Austria. The people who demonstrated in those countries are the sisters and brothers of the 2 million who marched in London on 15 February against the war.

We believe that “another Europe is possible” and “another world is possible”.

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