The position of revolutionary marxists towards the E.U. (July 2011))

The position of revolutionary marxists towards the E.U.

Part 4 (last) of OKDE’s feature on the strategy of the labour movement towards the E.U.

(printed in July 2011, in our paper Workers’ Struggle)

EU is a mechanism of european capitalists and imperialists to survive from the international competition and reinforce themselves in it, to save the capitalist system burdening the crisis on workers and the peoples of Europe. This is what determines our position towards it – as well as, of course, the interests of the working class in Greece and Europe, the promotion of the cause of socialist revolution.

Break with the Euro and EU
Disintegration / Dissolution of the reactionary EU

Giving a way out of the crisis in favor of the working class and the poor strata demands policies which are opposite to and incompatible with the structures and the mechanisms of the Euro and the EU. This is even more the case for a weak economy such as the greek one. For example, even the slightest reconstruction of the productive tissue (industry, agriculture) presupposes an industrial and commercial policy based on the control/monopoly of the external trade and on the possibility to exert a credit and monetary policy (something impossible without a new currency) – a break with the Common Agricultural Policy directives – nationalization of all the key-sectors of economy and first of all of the banks – heavy taxes on the capital and big incomes/properties (even their confiscation) – control/restrictions to the movement of capitals, in order to accumulate sources and economic tools for an alternative policy –cancelation of the debt in order to stop the bleeding of paying off interest rates, insurance rates etc. to domestic and international usurers. Moreover, the slightest reconstruction of the public and social services presupposes that not only the “memorandums”, but also the Treaty of Maastricht, the Stability Programs, the Lisbon Strategy, all the ferocious plans and policies of the EU will not be implemented.

The most prevalent version is that if the government of a country would attempt to apply measures in that direction, even if it was seeking to remain in the Euro and the EU, it would almost automatically be thrown out of them, facing threats, blackmailing, embargos etc. Therefore, for everyone who really wants to implement an emergency programme for the working class and the poor strata, breaking with the Euro and the EU is practically a one way road.

The crisis of the EU, the inter-bourgeois competitions in it, the whirlwind of cruel measures, which has been sweeping one country after the other, have struck severe blows to the “european consciousness”, in whatever degree it had developed. Especially in Greece, the increasing rejection of “europeanism” is nothing less than undermining and disintegration of a basic pylon of the dominant bourgeois ideology since the political changeover of 1974.

The disintegration/dissolution of the EU would be a strategic defeat of historic significance for the most powerful and reactionary circles of european capitalists and imperialists. The collapse of the “Brussels’ wall”, of the centres where the cruel anti-labour, anti-popular attacks are organized and directed from, as one-way roads, would be a severe weakening of the bourgeois dominance on the proletariat and the peoples of Europe – and, thus, objectively, a great progress of the revolution.

But also on the political level, as well, “chinesification” is expanding, completing the Fortress Europe of Schengen, the Europe of spying and keeping a file for everything and everybody, of pan-european repression apparatuses and of refugees’ concentration camps. Not only Juncker, Trichet and the like were not elected by anybody, but also a bonapartist administration has been expanding all over Europe – an administration completely autonomized from the popular sentiment and the popular order/vote, which arbitrarily imposes the political “concensus” (as in Portugal), the creation of coalition governments, the authoritarian arming/shielding of the state and the crashing of democratic/civil liberties, the pushing back of the working class and the peoples to the subordinate state they used to be in, in the mid-19th century. Greece has become one of the main testing fields of this transformation of the european bourgeois “democracy” into a dictatorship with a parliamentary cloak, a modern Bastille.

Against this Europe, the labour movement and the revolutionaries must systematically cultivate its crisis and the questioning of its institutions and its ideology, instead of weeping for the “crisis of Europe” or presenting its potential disintegration/dissolution as a historic retrogression/fallback! This is even more the case for greek capitalism, of which the effort to manage its bankruptcy, in favour of the international usurers and the imperialist centres of the EU, is threatening to throw greek people into a status of modern neo-colonialism.

This is why not only we should not turn our back to a popular movement which possibly would struggle to get Greece out of the EU, just because it would not be a “purely” class and internationalist one, but we should intervene in it, struggling for an anti-capitalist / revolutionary perspective to prevail in its ranks. All those who do not see this reality, or take its edges off, supposedly in the name of class positions (* – see footnote, at the end of the article), are either blind or politically handicapped in front of the huge issue that class struggle has posed to the proletariat: to realize the revolution, it now has to step on the ruins of the EU mechanisms.

For a socialist Greece, in a united socialist Europe

It is, however, necessary to be clarified that it is wrong and dead-end to adopt the view (of stalinists, maoist-leninist currents, parts of ANTARSYA or even Synaspismus), which cuts off the exit from the Euro and the EU from the cause of the socialist revolution, postponing the latter for an indefinite future and implying that the first can be “sufficient” for the radical improvement of the situation of the working class and the poor strata.

It is true that greek bourgeoisie is begging on its knees to remain in the Euro, no matter how painful the economic cost is (with the exception of a very small layer, the greek capital has lost its economic autonomy as well as any dynamic), as it is completely depended on the reinforcement of european imperialists in order to remain in power, acting at the same time as an agent of their interests (e.g. paying off the debts). This, however, does not mean that an exit from the Euro and the EU will automatically solve the “social issue”, or that it is almost identical to the revolution. The crucial question remains: which class is in power? Without the overthrow of capitalism and the socialist alternative, the exit from the Euro and the EU will lead to an equally cruel attack to the working class and the poor strata. Because, in the last analysis, there is no essential difference in the core of class dominance apparatuses, either there is a “national” capitalism or the “supra-national” institutions of the EU.

An opinion often used is that revolution cannot succeed in Greece because it is an economically weak country. This is the alibi of reformists in order to prefix the goal of the “left” or “progressive” governments. Revolutionaries’ strategy, on the contrary, is to break the reactionary building of the EU, towards a socialist direction, wherever it is weaker – and Greece got the winning lottery ticket on this. It is self-evident that this path demands sacrifices, as reformists have been threatening the proletariat – but, in any case, these sacrifices will be smaller than the class genocide of the “memorandums” and of staying in the Euro and the EU mean, and they will open up a new perspective! This is the only actual political realism, which estimates the “national reality” along with the unequal development of struggles and the class consciousness from one country to the other, without being based on the improbable eventuality of a simultaneous victory of the revolution all across Europe.

It is possible for revolution to win in Greece – but this does not justify the stalinist view of “socialism in one country” (the currents we mentioned above adopt it in full or its distant echoes). It would not be a completion of “national sovereignty”, of the principle of “self-reliant development” etc. These causes are historically condemned in a period when productive forces have long gone beyond national frontiers of even the most advanced economies/countries. Only the collaboration of the dominant proletariat, at least of the major european countries, can use these productive forces in a rational way (e.g. the vast potentials resolving the energy problem), by putting all the important social choices under a democratic planning. This is the content of the struggle for a united socialist Europe. This is also the case, in an even greater degree, for a country with a small population and economic significance, like Greece, where, especially after the destructive bankruptcy of greek capitalism, the “national” starting point for a reconstruction of economy on socialist bases would indeed be rather low.

Moreover, let us not forget that even if greek capitalism is to be found out of the Euro and the EU, european imperialists will motivate all their powers, the darkest mechanisms (Euro-army, the new doctrines of NATO) to save the bourgeois regime from the threat of a revolutionary overthrow. This simple truth underlines how utopian “self-reliant development” is.

Therefore, we will consider a victory of revolution in Greece and its release from the Euro and the EU as a prelude of revolutionary developments in other european countries as well. We are certain that the working masses of other countries would also enthusiastically consider such a development as an opportunity for them to overthrow the yoke of their bosses, domestic or “supranational”. Despite the apparent weakness in the internationalist education and practice of the labour/revolutionary movement, there has been significant experiences (Euro-marches, anti-globalisation and anti-war movements), while the effect of the Arab revolutions in class struggle in Europe sets a good example for this dynamic – an example forgotten by many who claim to refer themselves to Marxism. What a criminal anachronism would be the effort to channel this dynamic into the unattainable “self-reliant development”, in the name of the “different social formations and national realities”!

Release from the Euro and the EU and struggle for the disintegration / dissolution of the reactionary EU, struggle for the victory of the socialist revolution in Greece (and in every country), internationalism for a socialist unification of Europe: only by combining these causes can the proletariat free itself from the dilemma to choose between the Scylla of the EU and the Charybdis of national isolationism – and trace a course according to its independent class interests.


(*) For example, we read in a declaration of an organization which participates in SYRIZA: “Whether in the Euro, or out of it … it is decisive for the interests of the working people that we lay a hand in profits and wealth … ”. Do not the comrades understand that such a “hand” inevitably leads to a break with the EU, which the labour class, therefore, must be preparing for? [For our critique to the “left pro-europeans”, see Workers’ Struggle of June 2011, part 3 of this feature]. It is also worth mentioning the last statement of Papariga [general secretery of greek CP] that, under the current circumstances, an exit from the Euro would be disastrous. No matter how hard the Greek Communist Party tried to patch up things, it is obvious that its “class” roars against the EU are being put aside the closer the time comes for it to offer a sheet anchor to the bourgeois regime, once more, as a deeply reformist-stalinist party that it is.