Main political resolution at CAEF AGM 25 October 2008
Britain's future and
the European Union
Banking, economic and financial crisis
A world recession and possible depression is currently taking place. The EU economic and monetary system is falling apart. The Growth and Stability Pact which contains the rigid and strict rules of the single currency has been all but shredded. Several Member States have resorted to national controls and supporting banks.
The £500 billion “bailout” by the government and part state nationalisation of banks seriously offends EU rules and directives but leaves the bankers in control. The handing over of this money equivalent to £10,000 per person in Britain to the banking system clearly indicates there was plenty available to pay decent pensions, improve the Welfare State and invest in the infrastructure. It is a straight transfer of money from the pockets and purses of those who work to the stake-holders of big capital. This is or should be a salutary experience and lesson to all in the labour and trade union movement.
Privatisation of the Bank England was carried out when New Labour came to power in 1997. This was to meet criteria for the single currency.
Britain is paying increased Budget payments following the Prime Minister’s negotiating a decrease in the rebate. Over the next period to 2013 £45-47 billion will be paid by Britain into the Budget which has not been audited for 13 consecutive years. The major item in the EU Budget is CAP. The money is a direct transfer from workers’ pockets to big farmers in the EU. That payment is to help ensure the farmers vote for governments which keep the whole process in place.
Following the rejection by France and the Netherlands of the EU Constitution the federalists devised a plan which took the form of the unreadable Lisbon Treaty and denied referendums in all Member States except Ireland. The New Labour government reneged on a manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution. A diverse campaign for the referendum failed.
The Irish electorate rejected the Lisbon Treaty which should by EU laws have halted the ratification process. Our Campaign congratulates the Irish organisations which won this result on behalf of all citizens in the EU. However, Member State Governments, Commission and Euro-federalists instead of respecting the Irish vote have pressed on with putting the Constitution in place and pressured Ireland to find a way around this No! vote.
The President of the EU has called for the ratification process to be completed to deal with the financial and banking crisis. The European Parliament poll in 2009 may be turned into a poll on the Constitution and to use the result to further sell the Treaty.
The EU Constitution stipulates that the only system permitted across the EU is capitalism. This is defined as an open market with free competition and free movement of capital, goods services and labour. This is designed to undermine all forms of democracy – direct, practical and popular – and ensures the nation-state and the right to self-determination is culled.
There is a growing list of EU Directives providing obligatory legislation to privatise, and to consolidate, key state industries including railways, postal services and NHS/healthcare.
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.
In order to further weaken the trade unions and fundamental rights the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has made several judgements against collective bargaining and other rights of trade unions. A major role of the European Court of Justice is to support the Single (free) European Market on behalf of big capital and to detriment of trade unions.
· Oppose implementation of the EU Constitution and any part of it;
· Oppose any further privatisation and support full public ownership and democratic accountability of railways, postal services, NHS, energy and major banks including the Bank of England;
· Campaign for a boycott of the European Parliament poll and make clear this EU institution has no real powers but supports consolidation of the EU;
· Continue to expose the implications of Britain’s EU membership and the real role of all EU institutions;
· Continue to play a full part in the anti-EU movement in Britain and the EU;
· Calls for massive investment in manufacturing to revitalise the economy to provide jobs and end the precarious dependence on service industries including those in the financial sector;
· Continue to campaign for an end to Britain’s membership of the EU in order to regain the right to self-determination;
· Make clear as widely as practical that the nation-state is the only organisation capable of controlling trans-national banks and big capital.