National Sections of the L5I:

The Irish NO to the Lisbon Treaty is a victory for the whole working class of Europe!

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1. The referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty ended with a decisive and clear NO. More than 53% of the participants  particularly many workers and farmers  voted against the Treaty. This result is a great victory for the European working class and all opponents of the treaty. This is because the goal of the treaty  as the League for the Fifth International and many other progressive organisations have repeatedly pointed out  is the strengthening of the European Union (EU) as an imperialist power. The real meaning of the treaty would be more neoliberal social cuts, more militarism and less democracy for the people. This is why many people in Europe reject the Lisbon treaty, this is why the Irish voted NO and this is why all progressive organisations cheer the referendum result.

2. The result is a big political blow for the ruling class in the imperialist EU. After the rejection of the EU constitution in France and the Netherlands in 2005, the EU bourgeoisie did everything in its power to push through the new version of the constitution in the national parliaments and to exclude the population from the decision-making. Only in one country  Ireland were they forced to put the treaty to a referendum and there it was clearly rejected by the population. This demonstrates the enormous gap between the ruling elite in bourgeois-"democratic" Europe and the popular masses. At the moment, it is unclear how the ruling circles in the EU will react to this defeat. But whatever they do, if they ignore the result by bureaucratic manoeuvring or if they force Ireland to repeat the referendum, the political damage, i.e. the enormous loss of democratic legitimacy for the formation of a neoliberal, imperialist state apparatus and its policy, cannot be undone.

3. The defeat for the Lisbon treaty in the Irish referendum and the broad rejection of it by the working class in Europe underlines also the deep gap between the proletariat on one hand and the reformist trade union bureaucracy and the neo-liberalised social democratic parties in Europe who all supported the Lisbon treaty. The reformist bureaucracy is closely interwoven with the capitalist state apparatus and the ruling circles in the EU. This shows once more why the working class needs a completely different, a revolutionary fighting perspective. More than ever we need a rank and file movement in the unions against the bureaucracy, one which enforces a radical democratisation of the unions and a class struggle policy. We need new parties of the working class which fight with the methods of class struggle  demonstrations and strikes in enterprises and the education system  against social and educational cuts, militarism and racism and which link these questions with the perspective of the socialist revolution and the creation of the United Socialist States of Europe.

4. But what we do not need, and what the League for the Fifth International warns of, are the complacent illusions which are spread by the social-democratised ex-Stalinists of the European Left Party (Rifondazione in Italy, PCF in France, Linkspartei in Germany, KP÷ in Austria, Synaspismos in Greece, the United left in Spain, etc,) or the petty-bourgeois reformist ATTAC-leadership and the left nationalist Sinn Fein in Ireland. In her press release of 13 June the ELP-Vice president, Graziella Mascia, proposes not a single action, not a single mobilisation against the ruling circles of the EU (from whom the ELP receives "incidentally" huge amounts in financial subventions), but vaguely proposes ìa new democratic processì (who is to organise this? The EU?!) and a EU-wide referendum (where the ruling class naturally would have the stronger cards since they are, via the EU structures, much better organised than the opponents of the EU treaty). ATTAC naturally also does not call for a Europe-wide struggle on the streets and in the enterprises but only raises the nebulous demand for a Constituent Assembly (again: is this to be convoked by the EU or can this- as we think- only be the result of a mass struggle and insurrectional movement of the streets and in the enterprises?)

5. We also warn against the backward-looking, national-centred left currents that demand that the national states simply leave the EU. They don't understand that the struggle for our rights, for our future, for socialism, cannot be led via a closing of ranks within each nation but only via the international unification of the workers in action. No, we don't need to appeal to our rulers, or to offer "constructive proposals" as to how the EU could be run better: nor do we need a "left" patriotism. We need a struggle by the working class, the youth and migrants on the street and in the enterprises against the Lisbon treaty, against the present price explosion, against social and educational cuts, against racism and pogroms against immigrants and against imperialist war. In short we need an internationalist perspective for a socialist united states of Europe.

6. As our immediate next steps the League for the Fifth International proposes to the workers' movement and the social forum movement the following:

* A revival of the progressive NO campaign against the Lisbon Treaty in all European countries! We demand they drop the treaty now, but if they proceed we demand referendums in the other EU member states!

* For the formation of local action committees of delegates from the enterprises, schools, universities and localities and the creation of a Europe-wide coordination! Militant trade unionists must try to win their unions for the struggle against the Lisbon Treaty!

* The coming assembly of the European Social forum in Malmo, in September 2008, must develop a plan of action for a Europe-wide campaign against the Lisbon Treaty!

* We must relate the struggle against the Lisbon Treaty with the present protest movement against the pension reforms, the health and education reform and against the price explosions! The capitalist class is responsible for all these attacks on our rights, therefore: one enemy  one struggle!

* For Europe-wide demonstrations and strikes and street blockades against the Lisbon Treaty!

* For the withdrawal of all EU member states' troops from countries they are occupying (Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chad etc.)


International Secretariat of the League for the Fifth International