Vote SEP and PSG in the European elections!

22 May 2014

The election of the European Parliament that begins in the UK and the Netherlands today and ends on Sunday gives working people the opportunity to send a political signal with their ballot.

We call on all readers to vote for the candidates of the Socialist Equality Party in the UK and for the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit in Germany. Cast a vote against war, militarism and capitalist exploitation! Use your vote to signal your support for a socialist perspective and the construction of a new party in the working class!

We are implacable opponents of the European Union, which does not stand for the unity of Europe, but for the dictatorship of the most powerful European corporations and banks. The balance sheet of the EU is disastrous. It is responsible for austerity, cuts in social services, mass surveillance and the enrichment of a small minority at the expense of the vast majority. The revelation by the latest rich list of the Sunday Times that the wealthiest thousand residents of the United Kingdom have doubled their assets since the financial crisis in 2008, and now possess a total of 519 billion pounds, is representative of Europe as a whole.

While the establishment parties are closing ranks and moving in lockstep further to the right, a social storm is brewing under the surface. We are preparing for this storm by providing a political orientation.

We reject the false choice of either support for the EU or a strengthening of the nation state. We fight for the unification of Europe from below, for the unity of the European working class across all borders. This is possible only on the basis of a socialist program aimed against the big business and finance interests which determine what is taking place in Europe.

“Only the formation of workers’ governments in every country and the unification of Europe on a socialist basis can prevent the decline of Europe into nationalism and war, and create the conditions for utilizing and developing its extensive resources and productive forces in the interests of society as a whole,” reads the joint election manifesto of the PSG and SEP.

The media go to great lengths to portray the election as a model of democracy. It is nothing of the sort. The vast majority of the population is either indifferent or hostile towards the European Union and its parliament. It is expected that around 60 percent of the electorate will vote with their feet and stay away from the polls.

Of the votes cast, up to 30 percent will be for parties opposing the EU according to polls. These are mainly right-wing, xenophobic or openly fascist parties. Some of them—such as the National Front in France, UKIP in the UK or the Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders in the Netherlands—could even emerge first in their respective countries.

Responsibility for the growing influence of such right-wing forces rests entirely with the Social Democrats, the trade unions and the pseudo-left parties, which provide them with political cover.

Social Democracy has taken the leading role in enforcing the EU’s austerity and war policy against all opposition. The policies inaugurated fifteen years ago by Tony Blair in Britain and Gerhard Schröder in Germany are now being pursued to their bitter end by Matteo Renzi in Italy and François Hollande in France. The Social Democrats thus prepare the way for right-wing demagogues by allowing them to posture as opponents of austerity.

The European Left are doing everything in their power to suppress opposition to the austerity. They verbally criticize such policies, while supporting them on practice and implementing them when they are in government. The leading candidate of the European Left, Alexis Tsipras, has relentlessly stressed that he defends the EU and will vouch for the repayment of Greek debt.

Now, the Social Democrats and the European Left are using the threat from the right as an argument to promote their own fortunes in the European elections. This is not only cynical, it is also utterly dishonest. They will not shy away from collaboration with the ultra-right when resistance to their policies increases. The new round of social attacks they plan to impose cannot be realized with democratic methods.

They have already demonstrated this in Ukraine where they directly relied on the fascists of Svoboda and the Right Sector to stage a coup and bring a right-wing, pro-EU regime to power.

The crisis in Ukraine makes clear that the US and Germany are not even stopping at the danger of a third world war. They are deliberately stoking a conflict with Russia which threatens to lead to a nuclear disaster.

The reason for this revival of militarism is the desperate crisis of world capitalism and the European Union. It is aimed at providing the banks and big business with markets, raw materials and cheap labor, diverting attention from the extreme social tensions in Europe, and welding the EU together on the basis of an aggressive foreign policy.

Only a broad movement of the international working class can halt the slide towards war and fascism. We therefore call on voters to turn the European elections into a plebiscite against the warmongers and their accomplices in the media.

In Britain and in Germany, we call on voters: Vote for the candidates of the SEP and the PSG! In all of Europe, including Ukraine and Russia, we appeal to workers and youth: Join our party! Build sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Ulrich Rippert

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