CAEF AGM and Public Meeting
The Campaign against Euro-Federalism (CAEF) held its AGM followed by a public meeting on April 11 in Birmingham.
Reports on CAEF’s activity, financial situation and influence were all positive. Despite a small membership it is estimated and agreed that CAEF punches way over its weight with good results and positive influence.
Two resolutions were adopted at the AGM and are printed below. The first deals with fighting for the alternative in relation to the EU. The second resolution deals with TTIP and similar so-called trade agreements and CAEF’s total opposition to them.
The public meeting after the AGM was addressed by Mick Brooks, an active trade unionist, who spoke on the current capitalist crisis and addressed the difference between deficit and debt. He made quite clear that the austerity policies are making matters worse for everyone except the rich. The latter, he said, spend their accumulated wealth on luxuries rather than invest in production for the benefit of the national economy.
The second speaker, Michael Chant, addressed the question of the General Election and the stand on the possibility of a Referendum on EU membership. It was generally agreed that it can’t be a foregone conclusion that the question written for the Referendum would be a straight in/out vote. Serious work has to be carried out to build the movement against the neo-liberal EU, so the workers’ movement responds from a position of strength.
He emphasised that underlying the prevailing logic of the debate of the Westminster parties is not what favours the people, but rather what favours competing sections of those who control the economy in Britain. The ability of the people to set the agenda is not being debated, and therefore it is necessary to unpick from the debate what serves the opposition of the people to the dictate of all sections of finance capital, so that the day when the people have decision-making power is brought closer.
Michael Chant argued that clarity and unity is forged in the fight, and unity in action is called for. CAEF is able to join the fight against neo-liberal globalisation with the firm stand that the European Union serves the interests of the rich, and that there is an alternative. TTIP is being exposed in the course of the election campaign and of the fight to safeguard the future of the health service, for example. It is being exposed as entrenching the power of the monopolies to enforce their interests against sovereign governments. The opposition to this has given rise to such slogans as: No to Monopoly Right! Yes to Public Right!
To have a “proper debate”, he continued, on Britain’s place in Europe, as some have suggested following Blair’s intervention that putting “exit on the agenda” would threaten Britain’s position as a “great global nation”, is itself a fraud unless the context of the reactionary programme to “make Britain great again” is put in place.
The speaker underlined that under the guise of the “British nation” and “British values”, global crimes, aggression, warmongering, intervention, racism and subjugation of peoples and minorities have been carried out. Today’s clamour for “British values” and the interests of the “British nation” is a continuation of this sordid history.
In conclusion, Michael Chant reiterated that the fight against Britain’s membership of the EU must be carried out in the course of fighting for the alternative, of developing the Workers’ Opposition to austerity, and in conjunction with the fight to deprive those presently in power of their power to deprive us, the working people, of decision-making-power.
John Boyd as CAEF Secretary and joint author of the First World War pamphlet drew attention to the parallels between the run up to the war and the EU today. Imperialism has been resuscitated and is again on the march around the world. This is especially so in Africa and the Middle East where some problems emanate directly from the imperialist carve-up over a century ago. In fact the desperate situation where people risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean to reach a country in the EU is a symptom of the implications of imperialism.
Questions and discussion followed each speaker giving all who attended to put in their point of view. This was a successful and enjoyable AGM and Public Meeting which followed hard on the equally successful CAEF conference earlier in the year. The hallmark of CAEF events is unity around CAEF’s aims. Members from different political parties and groups and those of none can sit down together and discuss matters without any display or hint of sectarianism.
(The Democrat, March-April 2015)
CAEF AGM Resolution
No! to the EU of the Monopolies – There is An Alternative
The Campaign against Euro-federalism recognises that:
1. The European Union represents the interests of the neo-liberal agenda of the dominance of the global monopolies, the transnational corporations and the financial oligarchy of the EU. This includes the so-called “free trade”, a “free trade” which in fact constitutes control of markets, resources and labour.
2. The alleged aim of so-called “free trade” and “free movement of capital, goods, services and labour” to create jobs, spur investment and promote economic growth is a complete fraud.
3. The EU project is one of neo-liberal globalisation which is imposing a fraudulent austerity agenda on the peoples of Europe.
4. The EU violates the sovereignty of the nations, national governments and states that are its members.
5. The “old imperialist powers” of Europe are colluding and contending to dominate the other states, including the former Eastern European countries, as well as Greece and others.
And notes that:
1. Those whose interests are served by the EU attempt to sway public opinion by imbuing workers with false hopes that future employment will be brought about by implementing EU directives and reactionary government policies.
2. The dangerous developments within the EU, such as the secret TTIP negotiations with the United States, are designed to impose private monopoly interests and wreck public services. This is under the fraud of harmonising regulation, and the proposals for a European armed force which would lead to the escalation and broadening of armed conflict.
3. The austerity programme pursued by the Westminster Government has been consistent with the neo-liberal programme of the EU, which concentrates political, economic and military power in fewer and fewer hands.
4. That there is a powerful movement of the people in this country and throughout Europe against the imposition of “austerity”, a movement which fights against the neo-liberalism which enriches the elite who expropriate the people’s social wealth. This devastates living standards and destroys public services, public authority and social programmes, as well as devastating the environment.
In these circumstances, the Campaign against Euro-federalism (CAEF) affirms that there an alternative which puts the people’s well-being at the centre of considerations and defends the rights of all. This alternative is where people have control of their own lives and future, in which the economy is our economy, resources are our resources, and the co-operation of the peoples of Europe is strengthened for their mutual benefit, not for the rich and powerful. The interests of the monopolies are made subservient to the public good in each and every country and throughout Europe.
Some features of this alternative, to which the people aspire and are fighting to realise are:
1. The power for sovereign states to decide on their own development strategies and policies.
2. The power of economic sovereignty for people to decide on the direction of their own economies.
3. The power to restrict the operation of foreign capital and monopolies and instead to develop co-operation within the working class movement for the public interest.
4. The power to unite with workers from whatever origin so that the rights of all workers are upheld and remuneration and conditions are raised, not lowered.
5. The power to develop public services for the public good away from the control of private interests.
6. The power to conduct investment, as well as inter-European and international trade, away from the control of the bodies of the European Union – pending and future trade agreements should be concluded not on the basis of neo-liberal “free trade”, which means domination of the monopolies, but on the basis of mutual benefit of working people of sovereign countries.
7. Current “free trade agreements” which represent the right of the monopolies to dictate the economic agenda to the detriment of working people should be abrogated. International trade should be conducted on the basis of the principles of self-reliance, equal trade for mutual benefit with all nations regardless of their political regime, and the inalienable right of working people to control all decision-making that affects the socialised economy and the social and natural environment.
In short, the alternative lies in upholding the public good, opposing the dictate of European and global monopolies, including the international financiers, and affirming the sovereignty of each state’s public authority over the direction of its economy and society as a whole. On that basis, the people of each country can develop their co-operation and unity which expresses their interests and not that of the transnational corporations; on that basis sovereign peoples can develop their own institutions of international mutual benefit.
CAEF AGM Resolution
Oppose TTIP and ISDS
CAEF should carry out every possible action and alert all affiliated organisations and members on the full implications of the US/EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). This also applies to the imminent Canada/EU Comprehensive Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and India/EU trade agreement. The contents and text of these treaties has been deliberately kept secret from governments, national parliaments and electorates.
CAEF recognises that TTIP combined with ISDS, which is already in operation, CETA and TiSA is the largest frontal attack in history on all forms of democracy. If not stopped they would:
* Give rights to transnational corporations and banks to override national governments and parliaments and write the rules for this hidden process
* Erode the sovereignty of nation states and their rights to self determination, national independence and democracy
* Lower social standards
* Attack and undermine workers and trade union rights
* Strangle the development of economies
* Dilute food safety rules
* Undermine regulations on the use of toxic chemicals
This AGM of CAEF resolves to assist affiliated organisations and member to expose and oppose TTIP, ISDS, CETA and TiSA in this attempt to bolt together the EU, Canadian and US markets. This to be done by:
* Regular updates on the CAEF website
* Providing as much information in electronic formats as practical
* Reports on the CAEF website of actions and protests taking place across Europe, the US and Canada
* Presenting arguments against those forces and vested interests which support these treaties
* Making clear that even if ISDS was stopped there are many other severe implications which would emanate from the other treaties
CAEF recognises this as an opportunity to soundly defeat those interests which support these treaties who influence and operate the EU, eg the unelected Commission, European Round Table of Industrialists and tens of thousands of lobbyists in Brussels.
CAEF’s primary aims remain the defence of democracy, the right to self determination of nation-states and mutually beneficial trade agreements.
The General Election and TTIP
Michael Chant, The Democrat, March-April 2015
One of the most important subjects that candidates should take a stand on in the General Election is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). We think that it is important that electors in their constituencies should examine the stand of the various candidates in order to decide how to cast their vote. This is an important pointer in deciding whether the candidates genuinely take a stand against the fraudulent austerity agenda which seeks to offload all the ill effects of economic and other crises onto working people.
There are several political parties standing candidates in the General Election opposed to TTIP. They include the following:
National Health Action (NHA) Party
The NHA Party opposes TTIP from the point of view of restoring the NHS as a safe, comprehensive, publicly funded, publicly delivered, and publicly accountable integrated healthcare system. It points out that TTIP threatens not only the NHS but the health and well-being of the public. Its manifesto states: “TTIP will leave the UK prey to being sued in secret courts under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause and the supposed economic benefits of the treaty benefits are now being seriously questioned. If the EU does sign this treaty with the United States, we believe the British Government must exercise its right to a full opt out.”
The Party also is opposed in principle to monetary union, pointing out that the Eurozone has been transformed into a two-tier system in which richer nations have the power to impose “austerity” policies on poorer ones.
Socialist Labour Party
The SLP points out that international monopolies put human well-being at risk. Its manifesto states: “We vigorously oppose any moves through secretive trading alliance such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to give added power to Corporations to challenge governments and other democratic agencies to secretive courts from preventing them profiteering from their harmful products and activities.”
The Greens are opposing TTIP from the point of view of decisions being made by private corporations and not by democratically elected governments. Its manifesto states: “TTIP is globalisation in its worst form, designed to submit democratically elected governments to the will of private corporations. Companies will be able to take legal action against governments that they think threaten their profits. National policies in EU countries for health, environmental, consumer and social protection could be challenged by companies from anywhere in the world in private international tribunals, run by corporate lawyers.”
The manifesto points out that under TTIP, attempts to bring the NHS and the railways back into public ownership could be financially penalised or blocked; authorisations for GMOs could be accelerated; and the regulations of banks and the financial industry would be harder, if not impossible.
Plaid Cymru oppose TTIP in the context of supporting locally produced food and ensuring food quality standards are not breached. Their manifesto opposes “the lowering of quality thresholds as part of the EU-US TTIP trade negotiations.”
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)
TUSC takes a stand for “public ownership, not private profit”. Its manifesto states: “No to … TTIP and all secret austerity treaties.”
Communist Party of Britain
The CPB point out the extreme danger posed by TTIP, including the danger to healthcare, education and workplace rights.
Left Unity oppose TTIP, both in terms of opening up the NHS to the market, and in terms of opposing neo-liberal economic policies. Its manifesto states that it supports “governments that stand up for ordinary people against the corporations, speculators and investment bankers”.
Scottish National Party
The SNP states: “We will also seek an explicit exemption for the NHS and Scottish Water, as part of a general public sector exemption, from the terms of the proposed TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”
Of the other parties, the Conservative Party has taken every opportunity to try to justify TTIP. The Lib Dems have taken an enthusiastic position in TTIP’s support.
And although there are Labour politicians who oppose TTIP, the Labour Party manifesto states: “We support the principles behind the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Treaty (TTIP). We will hold the European Commission to account on issues of concern, including the impact on public services and the Investor to State Dispute Settlement Mechanism. And we will ensure the NHS is protected from the TTIP treaty.” It should also be pointed out that there are several trade unions who oppose TTIP, and the TUC itself adopted a comprehensive resolution at the 2014 Congress opposing TTIP. In addition, local TUCs at their own conferences opposed TTIP.
Electors, therefore, must make up their own minds about whether the Labour candidates oppose austerity or not.
What is certain is that the campaign against TTIP will continue irrespective of whichever party or parties eventually form the government.
Perhaps as never before, the election campaign is showing that people are in struggle and participating in the campaign on that basis, rather than sitting back and merely putting a cross or abstaining as the sum total of their political involvement.
Nevertheless, the electorate must be wary of the establishment, which is in favour of TTIP, staging an electoral coup against the will of the electorate. The struggle against TTIP and the whole austerity agenda must be seen through to the end.
(The Democrat is the paper of the Campaign against Euro-federalism.)