Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Some questions about Europe for trade unionists

I think Frances O'Grady made a compelling case that Cameron's plans in relation to Europe are to rid the UK of everything that protects workers whilst keeping the free market for big business (http://m.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jan/28/tuc-cameron-eu-workers-rights).

Of course his plan may fail and he risks a British exit from the European Union, which it seems many on the left (http://communist-party.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1764:morning-star-editorial-let-the-real-eu-fight-begin-&catid=78:eu-a-popular-sovereignty&Itemid=91) would welcome (http://no2eu.com/).

Although at the time of the 1975 referendum I supported a "yes" vote, I was only eleven then and subsequently changed my mind. For many years I agreed with the traditional left view (http://www.lesc.org.uk/) that we should withdraw from a "bosses' club" of wealthy nations.

However, after a generation of globalisation and the fall of the wall, it's not just "actually-existing socialism" (http://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/philosophy/articles/sayers/existingsocialism.pdf) in one country that's looking unlikely.

Social democracy "in one country" doesn't seem terribly persuasive in the twenty-first century.

What if we now live in a world in which an anachronistic attachment to "rebuilding Britain" (http://www.workers.org.uk/) or to "national sovereignty" is, at best, irrelevant to the interests of working people?

What if we have no choice but to reorganise our entire movement across national borders if we want to have a hope of meaningful positive change?

What would that mean for our attitude to a referendum on the European Union?

(And, also, how will we get beyond warm words and good intentions - http://www.unisonnw.org/documents/general/Ver_di_Memo_of_understanding.pdf - to achieve this?)

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