SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE AND THE EUROPEAN UNION, 4.8.14
Kimon, a member of the Greek political organisation, Antarsya and Real Democracy Now (a group of Greeks living in Edinburgh)
1. The appeal of the EU includes the ideas of:-
i) Nations working together
ii) Free movement of workers
iii) A safeguard against fascism
i) EU nations are actually forced to continuously compete – “Competitiveness” is the main EU goal. Also the EU itself is imperialistic.
ii) The EU borders themselves are guarded with an iron grip, leading to tragedies like at Lampendousa and Farmakonisi.
iii) The EU supported openly Nazis in the Ukraine and fascists (e.g the LAOS party) in Greece.
1. The Greek crisis
The EU didn’t cause it, but it played a major part with the impact of:-
i) Imposed neo-liberal reforms
ii) Greece’s competitive disadvantage against the major EU powers
iii) Whole sectors of the economy being shut down (eg agriculture because of restrictive EU measures)
Greece did not have the financial tools to deal with the crisis
2/3 members of the Troika which is enforcing brutal austerity represent the EU.
The measures passed more easily because “the EU demands it”
The Greek case is an example of the erosion of popular sovereignty, but not the only one. EU restrictions and penalties regarding budget deficits, do the same in other countries.
2. Maybe what we can do is change the EU from within?
i) However the EU has an undemocratic structure
ii) Only a third of the EU institutions are elected (the Parliament)
iii) This is the weakest institution
iv) You can’t change the individuals at the top of the EU institutions
v) These institutions are immune to street demonstrations, etc
vi) The transnational corporations have influence in institutions.
viii) They participate in the experts groups of the European Commission
viii) They help to draft EU legislation
ix) These expert groups designed the Euro and the main lines of the Lisbon Agenda
x) Corporate lobbyists are often the last people Ministers see before entering negotiations
xi) There is 1obbyist representing trade unions for every 60 representing corporate interests
xii) If the EU Commission has the monopoly of making legislative proposals the corporations have the monopoly of influencing the Commission
Therefore it is impossible to change the strategic aims and working culture to serve society
3. Why not break the weakest links if we can?
A potential left wing government can not do much without breaking some EU treaty and in the end coming into an all-out conflict with it. A potential left wing government in Greece for example, should nationalize banks. This is impossible without coming into an all-out conflict with the EU.
4. The Eurosceptics
i) One reason for their success is the fact that they have absorbed people’s anger towards the EU. This is helped by the failure of the European Left to oppose it.
ii) They take the ‘law of the jungle’ competitive culture one step further
5. Scottish independence and the EU
Joining the EU would negate some of the best arguments for independence:
i) We would leave one imperialist, only to join another.
ii) Instead of Westminster, it would be Brussels calling the shots, not the “people of Scotland”.
i) The EU should be seen as a weapon in the hands of the enemy.
ii) Leaving it, or dissolving it, would not improve the situation by default, but it is a necessary step on a different path.
iii) It is very important that we oppose the EU not from a nationalistic point of view, but on the basis of a different, internationalist, framework for cooperation and solidarity between the peoples of Europe, in their own interest not in the interest of capital.