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If the Tories win the next election, we will have a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union by the end of 2017. Thus promised David Cameron in January, in an attempt to counter the Eurosceptics in his own party and the steady rise of UKIP in the polls. Yet there is also a growing left critique of the EU from those concerned at its increasingly anti-democratic, neoliberal agenda. Ask yourself the question: if there was a referendum tomorrow, which way would you vote – and why?
David Cronin has worked in Brussels for the best part of 20 years, and few people are more familiar with EU politics. His latest book explodes once and for all the myth still promulgated by some on the centre left that the institutions of the EU can provide a counterweight to the power of transnational capital. Drawing on a wide range of internal documents and personal interviews, Cronin demonstrates how EU policies are largely dictated by the thousands of corporate lobbyists who swarm around the Belgian capital. One leading British MEP openly admitted that she had signed amendments watering down rules on hedge fund transparency that had been handed to her by the financial industry itself.
Cronin is not the first to expose the European Commission as a puppet show run for the benefit of capital, nor to point out the toxic horror that is the European Central Bank. Crucially, however, he also reveals how our elected representatives in the European parliament are just as amenable to corporate ‘persuasion’ as the unelected commission, and in some cases even more so. Anyone who believes the Lisbon treaty made the EU more democratic should think again.
Cronin’s book confirms the conclusion reached by many of us who have led campaigns against the EU’s neoliberal policies over the years – namely, that the heart of the problem lies in the anti-democratic, pro-corporate identity of the European Union itself. True democracy requires us to take power back from Brussels and build participatory forms of popular sovereignty instead.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns