The European Union for the capitalist monopolies,
against the workers and the peoples
The origins of the European Union date back to the fifties of the last century, when the western European imperialists, under the guidance of the USA, tried to reinforce their alliance against the Soviet Union, fixing a better economic cohesion.
The fundamental reason for which the big European capital was interested in putting together the production of raw materials (as coal and steel) and forming a large area of <free trade>, was that of making up for the lost positions because of the war, in order to face the challenge of the world competition for the markets (in the conditions of the disintegration of the old colonial system) without being overwhelmed. The second reason was the solution of the French-German conflicts.
Since this time there have been attempts to give to the European Community non only the character of an economic-financial union, but also political-military with a supranational characteristic and with ambitions of superpower in international relations.
After the deep economic crises of the 70s, since the 80s, with the European Sole Act prepared by Delors Commission, has begun the formation of the internal European market, its structures and superstructures necessary to stop the decrease in the competitive capacity of European monopolies, offering them resources ad freedom of action comparable with those of the USA.
The turning point of the European Union, the strongest drive to this imperialist project has come with the collapse of the revisionism in power in 1991. Particularly since these events the EU has been and it is still the synonym of economic, political and social restructuring of a large part of the continent in the name of the strategic interests of the imperialist powers and monopolies, which had to take advantage of the new situation pushing particularly towards the Eastern European countries.
In 1992 the Maastricht Treaty established the European Union giving, under the stimulus of the great changes in the international situation, a turning to the integration process of the European bourgeoisie. It was the result of a precise political strategy: the EU was to be established on the basis of a solid institutional situation founded on neo liberalism: in fact it is often reminded that as a foundation of the EU there are the four liberties of the bourgeoisie to move at their own pleasure capitals, goods, services and work-power.
The European Union essentially rotates around France and Germany, two imperialist powers which have bourgeoisies, distinct and rival between them but since the after war years have been trying to improve their level of coordination, often moving in cooperation with capitalist Russia 8and other countries) in order to achieve their respective interests.
The present institutional structure and the common currency, the euro, are the result of the agreement between Mitterand and Kohl, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This agreement should help in contrasting the dollar hegemony and win the empty spaces deriving from the collapse of revisionism and the decline of Japan. For the French the new structure also meant the attempt to incorporate and condition the German power re-unified in the EU net, using its role of economic locomotive.
On their side, the USA with the active help of Great Britain which wants to defend its spaces, during these years have tried to restrain the construction of a rival imperialist pole. Besides the worsening of inter imperialist competition with other centres of the world economy (USA, Japan, China, etc,), the European Union is undermined at its inside by the unequal development and rivalries between the imperialist powers which constitute it . In fact, the Community policies have not abolished the competition between the various groups of European bourgeoisie.
With the enlargement of the EU to 27 countries, now there in the same political-economic structure imperialist countries and countries at an intermediate capitalistic development. Many of these countries have witnessed a capitalist counter revolution which has devastated their economies, reducing them to the condition of semi colonies; the penetration of financial capital is enormously facilitated by the enlargement of the EU.
The essential instruments adopted inside the EU in order to facilitate the capitalistic concentration and encircling necessary to the reinforcement of monopolies, have been: liberalization of movements of capitals, autonomy and independence of central Banks from political power, struggle against inflation by the lowering of wages, integral covering of public deficit through financial markets, centralization of monetary policy and national decentralized running of fiscal policy.
The neo liberalistic policy applied and institutionalized by the EU is functional to the reinforcement and consolidation of the class dominion of monopolistic capital over the European proletariat through the liquidation of the conquests and social rights of work, temporary employment, deregulation, supporting a model which serves only for the growth and domination of the big European capital
This application of the neo liberalistic policy, fundamentally at the service of the monopolistic capital, policy, has taken after Maastricht new names and symbols, Stability and Growth Pact, Lisbon Treaty, etc., even if it has an identical content which is like a burden on the working class and workers.
Since the 1990s up to today the activity of the EU has drawn with a decisive and increasing influence on sectors of vital importance for the working class and the workers, as on the market and the law of work, the time of work, the law on the matter of immigration, etc.
The anti-workers, anti-popular and anti-democratic character of the EU has been shown before the eyes of workers particularly on these matters, in spite of the demagogic assurance on the part of bourgeoisie and reformists. Particularly workers have been able to see that the EU, -divided on the stability pact, in foreign policy, etc.,- has shown an iron unity of aims on the matter of levelling toward the bottom conditions of work, wages, rights.
In fact, inside the EU there is a large process of dismantling of the social protection, security and health system of workers, privatization of public sectors, relocations. The Brussels commission, a real committee of business interests and assistance for monopolies, has favoured the adoption of all the measures to better exploit workers; at the same time has driven the social massacre of poor peasants, artisans, fishermen, retailers and the so-called <self-employed workers>.
Among these measures an important place is taken by the directives passed by the European Parliament and by the Council and the Commission. The directives bind the member states of the EU as to the result to get, being understood that the national bodies of the bourgeoisie can adopt the form and the means more suitable to overcome the resistance of the subordinated classes in order to attain their aims.
Four examples of anti working class and anti popular directives
1) The Bolkestein directive
It is a model of neo liberalist directive. It is about the free circulation of <services> which practically includes all the activities that are not exclusively industrial production. Therefore it includes health service, education, social security, learning, water, which the bourgeoisie considers as ordinary economic products.
This directive, agreed upon with the economic giants of the continent, questions the public management of such activities, on the pretext that it would alter competition. In effect. It is an instrument for the privatization of public services which must be dismantled in favour of private firms.
Besides, the <Bolkestein> gives the firms which are settled in a country of EU, the possibility to operate in any other country of EU conforming to the social legislation of the country of origin ant to that of the country in which it hires workers. This clause allows the masters to establish the legal office of the firms in the countries where social laws are lesser, in order to better exploits workers and evade the national working agreements.
At first the Bolkestein directive has been presented as one of the strong items of the campaign for the European Constitution. In a short time it has been transformed in the symbol of the neo liberalist policy against the working class and working people masses. The directive, in the name of the extension of free market and free competition, affirms the principle of wild competition in the services, economic activities, work relations. The liberalization it asserts is in favour of the penetration of multinational giants into the market of services; they are measures aiming at mitigating the crises of overproduction opening new outlets.
The struggle for the abolition of the Bolkestein directive has got a new impulse with the rejection of the European Constitution in France. Many trade unions have organized mobilizations, both at a national and European level (for example, the demonstration of 14-02-2006) which have been useful to reject the initial proposal of the directive, but not to bury it definitely.
In fact, in the European Parliament, two coalitions (the European Socialist Party, which gathers the social democrats, and the European Popular Party, which gathers the parties on the right) have agreed upon a new formulation which leaves apart the most controversial problem (the reference to the right of the country of origin of the firms), maintaining all the rest. This <reformed> directive has been passed last year with a final text even worse (both in the field of working rights and of public services) than the <compromise> one.
It is a decision on which the working people and citizen have never been asked. Only a strong mobilization of the working class and other workers will be able to prevent its definitive coming into force, which is foreseen within 2010.
2) The directive on working times
Last June an agreement has been reached between the governments of the European Union on the directive regarding working time. The directive derogates from the ceiling of working hours bringing them from 48 to 60, of course with some exceptions which reinforce the level of exploitation of those who have signed a n employment contract on <call> (that is , those contracts which provide an <inactive> working time. The rules are applicable to the contracts over tem weeks. Besides it is given the possibility to derogations for a weekly time up to 65 hours, to be carried out in an individual manner.
Of course it is a feast for the capitalists who thanks to this directive receive a big help to put into discussion the national working agreements, to get free hands for the arbitrary management of working times and to worsen the conditions of millions of workers.
If we consider the precariousness of the market of work, it is easy to understand how workers, blackmailed in the hope to get a job, could accept clauses on working time perfectly legal, but destructive of their material conditions of work.
Besides, the agreement reached between the European governments on the working times, is a direct attack to workers’ health and security. The possibility to work up to 60 hours per week and in some cases up to 65, with simple individual derogations to contracts, hits the whole system of rules and laws of workers’ protection.
Together with the Bolkestein directive, the directive on working times, will make enormous damages to workers’ rights and trade union bargaining. Actually these directives aim at completely deregulating the working relations, through a wild competition to lower wages and considerably increase the weekly working time.
It is necessary to oppose in every way the putting into effect of this killer-directive because , otherwise, the conditions of work and wages will become worse and deaths and accidents at work will increase.
3) The directive for the agencies of temporary work
This directive particularly concerns workers taken through agencies of temporary work (eight million in the EU). According to the demagogical formulas of the Euro-technocrats this directive should bring on the exigencies of productivity of firms and the necessary protection of workers. In fact it is for the exclusive advantage of capitalists, as behind the formal respect of these workers –who should be able to get the same rights, same wages, same access to the services of social utility- a road is open to possible derogations according to the agreements between the parties in the national context.
What the EU is interested in is really to stimulate and extend as far as possible the system of agencies of modern system of hiring labour, which guarantee a better flexibility of labour-force, as they use workers when they consider it more suitable, that is according the market tendency.. If a firm is not doing well, the workers can be fired very easily, being it legitimate by a forward contract, while in the past they should go through unpopular manoeuvres in front of other workers, trade union problems, lists of mobility, etc.
In this case also it is an instrument to oppose the tendency, more and more anarchic, of the capitalist market; a system in which the only way to squeeze the biggest profit is to lower wages as much as possible, intensify the exploitation and flexibility of proletarians.
4) The directive about migrants
On this last item we integrally refer to the paper undersigned in the month of June together with other partier and organizations.
The EU is an imperialist project wanted by the bourgeoisie of the most powerful European states which nurture ambitions of super powers; it is an institution which whose aim is to facilitate the pursuit of the biggest profit of monopolies and the parasitic income of the bureaucrats of Brussels and the bourgeois politicians who support it.
In the capitalistic EU the biggest profit of monopolies is above every other interest or aspect, including the population wellbeing and the so much showed off environmental aspect, in spite of the so called <social dimension> , human rights, etc. which are a mask of imperialism.
The working class, the workers, and the peoples haven’t had and will not be able to have any advantage from the alliance between groups of imperialists against other groups of imperialists. All the history of the European Union, already before the Maastricht Treaty, shows that the improvement of <European competitiveness> means to take from workers and give to owners, so as to strengthen them in the struggle against their American, Japanese, etc, rivals. With the reinforcement of EU as a super power, their conditions will become only worse.
When the reformists maintain that working class people have an interest in a strong <democratic and social> Europe, they are once more trying to tie the working class to their own bourgeoisie. In fact, there is one only way by which the bourgeoisie of the various European countries can bear competition: to increase the exploitation of their own workers, to reduce social expenditure, to divide the proletariat.
In a capitalist regime the forms of union of the bourgeoisie can only be expressed in treats which are <ropes placed on the neck> of the working class and the peoples. For the Marxist-Leninists the only state form of union and freedom for nations, to say it with Lenin’s words, is linked to Socialism.
Therefore, it is the duty of communists to destroy the false image of EU and show the negative consequences on the living standards, the work conditions and the rights which the formation of a European imperialist bloc implies.
It is necessary to work in order that the working class people and workers find the right forms of connection at an international level and also take this new European context as a dimension of their own political action.
Only with the class struggle, in the prospect of overthrowing and dispossessing their own capitalist classes, the European workers will be able to defend and enlarge the conquest laboriously got in the past.