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Democrat Editorial - September-October 2008 (Number 110)

Financial Crisis, Globalisation,
the EU and Britain

Britain is going to have to pay up to £6 billion more into the EU Budget over the six year period to 2013 . This sum would have been less but for two factors. The exchange rate between the pound and the euro has deteriorated. The other is a reduction in the rebate to Britain negotiated by Prime Minister Blair. Over this period Britain will be paying into the Budget an estimated £45-47 billion. That means less available for much needed improvements in public services and investment in the infrastructure.

This is just one further reason to halt the thrust towards a federalist EU and to retrieve Britain's independence and control over its' own affairs. That is not all. The EU must be seen as part of the wider world.

The so-called 'globalisation' of the world requires capital to be 'internationalised' and the market liberalised. The form the EU takes encompasses 'globalisation'. All the Directives and EU legislation emanating from Brussels are to further 'globalisation' not only within the EU but in relationships with other countries and especially with the developing world.

The aim of big capital in the form of giant transnational companies, corporations and banks is to make money and invest in concerns and places to make more money. Three ways to make money are rent, interest and profit. This involves exploitation and the pressing down of wages and incomes.

These objectives are the antipathy of democracy, all forms of democracy – practical, direct and popular. To enhance the unfettered movement of money the power of nation states has to be removed. The nation state is the only body which can control big capital.

Trade unions work within nation states to protect their members' interests including incomes to ensure they have a slice of the cake of wealth created. Rights to strike and collective bargaining are part of democracy within the nation state and enshrined in legislation. Such rights were not given on a plate but had to be struggled for. Anti-trade union legislation was put in place by the Thatcher Government and has not been repealed by New Labour.

Over and above this national legislation are EU laws developed by the EU Court and legislation initiated by the Commission. As we explain on pages 6-7, the EU Court interprets the EU Treaties and policies in favour of big capital. Big capital ensures the Treaties, EU legislation and policies are drafted in their favour.

This legislation is dressed up in the clothes of 'liberalisation' and 'deregulation' to give the air of freedom. In fact it is only freedom for big capital to be given a legal right to reign supreme without any accountability to governments or anybody else.

In the current period, financial and other institutions, including airlines, are going bankrupt like skittles being toppled. This is one way in which corporations squeeze out their weaker competitors. Any social consequences are ignored.

A key component of the EU Constitution or Treaty of Lisbon states that the economic system for the EU shall be capitalism. This is in line with the aim of corporations and banks. All other economic systems are ruled out. It means the privatisation of everything. Not even the Constitution of the USA stipulates what the economic system should be.

Neither democracy nor humanity are allowed in the EU project. It is time to end the glorification of profit and the shroud of globalisation. That requires action by all democrats and all sections of the labour and trade union movement.