As we go to press, the breaking news is that the anti-austerity, anti-EU parties in Portugal, which won an absolute majority as a coalition in the recent general election, have been denied their right to form a government by the constitutional head of state. President Aníbal Cavaco Silva cited grounds of national interest in that such a government would precipitate a major clash with the European Union and its eurozone. 
In the context of the movement in Britain to leave the EU, it must be stated that there is an alternative to the EU of the monopolies. It 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.
The EU 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. 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. The EU is a force for imposing the austerity agenda, as in Greece.
Membership of the EU would tie the hands of any future progressive government that serves working people. To think of the EU as a force for good international relations in Europe is an illusion, imbuing workers with false hopes.
The alternative is to build and develop trade and other relations between nations and countries for mutual benefit. The mood which has burst on the scene since September 12 is that there is an alternative to austerity. This must be extended to the EU. There is an alternative to the power structures of the EU, an alternative which serves the needs of the people in the course of their daily lives.
Just as the emergence of a “new politics” championed by Jeremy Corbyn comes out of and is based in the struggles of the people to resist the anti-social offensive and get organised, so new relations of the states of Europe will not emerge out of some kind of “reform” of the EU of the monopolies and austerity. It will emerge out of the struggles of the people against the dictate of monopoly capital. The “internationalism” of the EU is an illusion, based on the wrecking of the nation-state, the end of the nation-building projects of the big powers, and a hostility to others’ nation-building projects, a hostility which includes the so-called “free trade” and the “free movement of capital, goods, services and labour” which is designed to trample on the rights of everyone.
The internationalism of an alternative Europe is based on true social relations between peoples and their good-neighbourliness. Ultimately this means that the people must be empowered in the European states to bring these relations about. But the time is now to declare that this is the way forward and to hold governments to account that they conduct affairs on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. It would be an important break with the old for Britain to leave the EU. It is not a backward step but a step to defeat austerity on a European scale.
Such a step provides an opportunity to affirm in the countries which presently make up Britain or the UK that the alternative can and must be fought for nationally, as well as internationally. It provides a golden opportunity to build national economies which serve the public good and the people’s well-being. It provides an opportunity for the working people to affirm: We Decide! It provides an opportunity for working people to say No, Oxi, to legislation that goes against their interests.
The austerity agenda is destructive of the social economy. The EU represents this austerity agenda. The rights of working people, make no mistake, have been fought for by working people themselves. These rights are inviolable whatever the EU may say or not say. The issue is to have them enshrined and guaranteed in national legislation. The long-term viability of the national economy and public services are serious concerns. The EU, far from guaranteeing these long-term aims is concerned with short-term realisation of maximum profit.
The alternative for the people is themselves to fight for a pro-social direction for the economy and the guarantee of workers’ rights. This is possible in the context of fighting for control of the economy, wresting it away from those in power in the EU and leaving the EU altogether. This would be an important step in the people gaining control over their economy and over decisions which affect their lives. This is not the be-all and end-all of the fight for a national economy and public services which are under the sovereign control of the people who create the wealth in the first place. The fight for this continues and intensifies at home. But it can actually be carried out in conjunction with all those forces fighting for the same aim.
The movement is on to defeat austerity and promote the public good and all public services. The move to leave an EU dominated by the “old imperialist powers” which defends the narrow private interests of the monopolies and attempts to impose them on the member states, especially the smaller powers, should be engaged as part of the whole movement to defeat austerity. The defeat of the austerity agenda is what the whole movement to leave the EU is about and this is what should be on the banner of the labour and trade union movement. It can be brought about together with the aim of empowering working people as the decision-makers. Otherwise further crises are bound to be the result to the detriment of the people of Europe as a whole.
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 Daily Telegraph, in an article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on October 23, wrote: “Mr Cavaco Silva is effectively using his office to impose a reactionary ideological agenda, in the interests of creditors and the EMU establishment, and dressing it up with remarkable Chutzpah as a defence of democracy.
“The Portuguese Socialists and Communists have buried the hatchet on their bitter divisions for the first time since the Carnation Revolution and the overthrow of the Salazar dictatorship in the 1970s, yet they are being denied their parliamentary prerogative to form a majority government.
“ This is a dangerous démarche. The Portuguese conservatives and their media allies behave as if the Left has no legitimate right to take power, and must be held in check by any means.
“These reflexes are familiar – and chilling – to anybody familiar with 20th century Iberian history, or indeed Latin America. That it is being done in the name of the euro is entirely to be expected.
“Greece’s Syriza movement, Europe’s first radical-Left government in Europe since the Second World War, was crushed into submission for daring to confront eurozone ideology. Now the Portuguese Left is running into a variant of the same meat-grinder.
“Europe’s socialists face a dilemma. They are at last waking up to the unpleasant truth that monetary union is an authoritarian Right-wing enterprise that has slipped its democratic leash, yet if they act on this insight in any way they risk being prevented from taking power.
“Brussels really has created a monster.”
– See more at: http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wwie-15/ww15-30.htm#second