Coordinate Resistance Europe-wide
1. The movement in France by trade unionists, socialists and young people against the El Khomri law, which abolishes labour rights won over many decades, and its imposition by the government invoking Article 49-3 of the constitution, once again underlines the need for solidarity and common action across the continent. We cannot leave the workers and youth of any European country to fight alone because their victory or defeat has immediate repercussions for workers in all the other countries.
2. This is being done by a “Socialist” government elected on an anti-austerity platform, in the context of a renewed the state of emergency, imposed after the November 13 terrorist outrages in Paris, which gives the police and government agencies undemocratic repressive powers. No wonder that Marine Le Pen’s Front National, by demagogically opposing neoliberal austerity and attacking the government, has good prospects for the presidential elections in 2017.
3. The right advances, to a major degree, because of the betrayals of the parties of the reformist left whilst in government, not only the more conservatives ones, such as the French SP, the German SPD or British Labour, but also the “radical left” as was seen in 2015 with the Syriza government’s capitulation to the savage austerity programme imposed by the European Union Council, Commission and Central Bank plus the IMF.
4. Another major factor that has limited and frustrated resistance is the tactics of the major trade union federations of limiting actions to one-off protests, days of action “with no tomorrow” and a tendency to protect their friends in the “socialist” governments.
5. But, as in France today, the renewal by the trade unions and youth in Greece of the struggle against the latest round of cuts is cause for optimism and shows there is a real possibility of turning the tide if we all work together/tous ensemble.
6. To these actions on the streets and in the workplace expressing our aspirations for a Europe free of austerity and social decline, can be added pressure by the forces of the left, militant unionists and young people in Spain for a government that will break definitively with austerity and take decisive measures against mass unemployment, precarity and declining wages.
7. The same aspiration was expressed by the election of Jeremy Corbin on an anti-austerity programme in the British Labour Party, which, under Blair and his successors, was the pioneer and promoter of neoliberal “reforms” in the EU and imperialist wars via Nato.
8. Last, but not least, are all those that have protested against the rise of racism and chauvinism across Europe, against the network of razor wire barriers and walls that bar the way to refugees, against the demonising of workers from eastern Europe and against the New Cold War plans of our rulers.
9. What is needed is not simply a trade union movement, or a social movement of youth that limits itself to protests, like the Indignados, Occupy or Nuit debout, but a mass, political class movement to drive the perpetrators of austerity from power and to install governments that will start to solve the crisis caused by capitalism at the expense of the capitalist class.
10. These forces, if they coordinate their actions with similar forces across Europe, can carry a message of revolutionary hope, of a transformed Europe of social justice, indeed a socialist Europe, against the reactionary forces of the racist populists and fascists that have made alarming advances over the past few years in, for example, France, Hungary and Poland.
11. Those forces are increasingly “Europhobic”, advocating return to “independent” national states, throwing up borders against one another and people from outside the EU. The British referendum fully displays these reactionary tendencies. They cannot be fought with either a defence of the EU as it is or a campaign for a mildly reformed “social Europe”. What is needed is a united struggle across the continent to achieve a revolutionary transformation, a socialist Europe, open to the world.
12. The rise of the right is in no small part due to the betrayal of the voters and members of the major parties of the social democratic and socialist left; British Labour, the Spanish and French Socialist Parties, the German and Scandinavian Social Democracies. Added to this was the collapse of Syriza, after generating so much hope for a radical break with austerity.
13. The Greek experience shows that merely electing governments pledged to abandon austerity (as François Hollande also did in France) is quite insufficient to defeat the huge international forces of big capital. If the working class and the youth are not organised and mobilised to enforce an anticapitalist response to the attacks of the central banks and stock exchanges, the bond markets and the IMF, then such governments, whatever their electoral mandate, will capitulate or be overthrown.
14. Europe-wide resistance, and planning for that resistance, is urgently needed as we face the likely return of economic crisis and the rise of a nationalistic right that would divide us into rival “independent” states, adopting “beggar your neighbour” policies once again. The right can point to the sufferings imposed by the Europe of Capital to endorse this reactionary retreat. We need to advance the goal of a socialist united Europe with its gates open to those seeking asylum from war and racism or productive work for our common welfare.
15. Therefore, we issue an urgent appeal for the organisations of the left, the militant trade unions, all those who are fighting austerity and racism, to organise an international conference this year in which a common strategy for action across Europe can be hammered out in democratic debate and discussion and then taken back into the movements of every country.
- Down with austerity and the demolition of our social gains
- Down with racism - throw open the gates of “fortress Europe” to those seeking refuge and work. Pull down the new fences and walls being erected to keep them out.
- For a Europe where the best levels of wages, social welfare, education, democratic and labour rights, are available to all.
- Down with the states of emergency and anti-trade union and labour “reforms” that diminish our democratic rights and hamper our resistance.
- For a Socialist United States of Europe.