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Bosses founded the EU to help save capitalism
Most of the capitalist class has consistently defended what it originally called the 'Common Market', but tried to develop and make more palatable as the 'European Economic Community' and then the 'European Union'.
Dave Nellist is chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which includes the Socialist Party and supports a Leave position. He has recently pointed out that when he was elected as a Labour MP in 1983, Labour's manifesto called for exit from the European Economic Community.
Also, in the past Dave campaigned alongside socialist Tony Benn and union leader Bob Crow against the EU. The ranks of the labour movement have fought for this policy for decades.
The year before I joined the Labour Party in 1957 with the influence of the Socialist Party's predecessors in Socialist Fight (later Militant), the Walton Liverpool constituency Labour Party had submitted a resolution to Labour's national conference. It called for a campaign for a socialist united states of Europe.
However this socialist viewpoint was not received sympathetically by the Labour leadership. A lengthy correspondence ensued. The Walton constituency used this to draw out political lessons, and give socialist ideas the maximum publicity.
3,000 pamphlets titled 'No Retreat' were distributed to every Labour branch countrywide, and to delegates at the 1957 Labour conference. In the hope that persistence would be rewarded, Walton branch had submitted its resolution again.
The pamphlet said: "The Council of Europe [a talking shop for Europe's foreign ministers, founded in 1949] is a ghost without substance or meaning, the Schuman Plan [coal and steel bosses' agreement to coordinate to maximise profit, beginning in 1950] is a disciplined attempt on the part of European capital collectively to exploit the European workers, and to drive down in a concerted fashion the living standards of the people.
"These are examples of attempts at capitalist regulation of a 'European common market'. Far from representing the pattern of socialism in embryo, these are attempts to shore up the decaying structure of capitalism and give a fresh lease of life to the sworn enemies of the working people."
The Labour Party members in Walton were absolutely consistent in putting their position on Europe in 1953, as well as in 1956 and 1957. And again, in 1967, they distributed a pamphlet: 'A Socialist Answer to the Common Market'. This included the following:
"Now, in power three years, they [the Labour leaders] have capitulated to the pressures of big business and the bankers and, on even worse terms than those proposed by the Tories, have tried to enter the Common Market. Foreign policy is the continuation of home policy and having adopted the discredited policies of the Tories, in even harsher form at home, they could not but blindly follow similar policies abroad."
The mistakes of the left Remain camp today are strikingly similar. Socialists should remember the lessons of the past, and the true nature of the EU: vote Leave.
In The Socialist 8 June 2016:
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