by Theo Russell
THE EUROPEAN Union (EU) received a relentless battering last week at a packed meeting at Friends House, central London organised by Leave.eu, also known as “Lexit”. Speakers from Britain, Ireland, Greece and Catalonia condemned the EU as a project promoting exploitation, war and racism.
Brid Smith, one of two TDs for the People Before Profit Alliance in Ireland, said: “Ireland has higher contributions per capita to the EU ‘Troika’ than Greece, Portugal or Spain, and the people of Ireland will be paying nine billion Euros each year until 2054.”
She said: “Support for travellers and single parent families and benefits for under-25s have been savagely cut, what Michael Noonan (Irish finance minister) calls ‘picking the low hanging fruit’,” and made the rallying call “Pull away from the EU!”.
Rob Griffiths, secretary of the Communist Party of Britain and chair of Leave.eu, said that Brussels was “inflicting collective punishment on the countries and people’s lives,” and that far from protecting EU migrant workers, “EU Court judgments stop governments giving workers from other EU states the same rights as domestic workers.”
He added: “The EU’s fundamental treaties and protocols contain agreements on aligning the EU with NATO, which are un-amendable.”
Argyri Erotokritou from Antarsya (Mutiny), a Greek left coalition calling for leaving the EU and euro and nationalising major industries, said: “The true face of the EU was revealed by the refugee agreement with Turkey, a racist agreement. The Tsypras government is proud of this agreement, which deports Syrians and Afghans back to Turkey and imprisons them in camps.”
She said: “We need to cancel Greece’s debt with the European Central Bank,” adding: “A win for Brexit will be sign that we are not alone in this fight and that we can hope for a Europe free from racism, austerity and worse.”
Lindsey German from Counterfire said that in David Cameron’s warning of the increased threat of war if Britain leaves: “He clearly forgot about the war in Yugoslavia — but then history is not his strong point.” She added: “The other side of the EU’s ‘free movement of people’ is ‘fortress Europe’ to keep out Asians and Africans, which is fuelling the growth of the far right and racism”, and pointed out that: “It’s effectively a requirement of EU membership to join NATO.”
Quim Arrufat, international secretary of the left-wing Catalan party CUP, which has 10 MPs in the Catalan parliament, said: “Europe is being divided between the centre and the periphery, and in every country between rich and poor. They are creating war all around the EU’s borders; it is not true that they have avoided war. If you follow the border of the EU from Ukraine, coming through Turkey, they are bombing our brothers and sisters in Kurdistan, Palestine and Iraq.”
He said that the Catalan government has been warned by the government in Madrid: “If you leave the EU you will be outside the EU and the Euro.”
Alex Callinicos, from the Socialist Workers Party, said that the EU was: “One of the most important imperialist projects since World War Two, promoted in the 1940s by US imperialism — is European integration as a junior partner in managing capitalism. We have to name it as the imperialist monster that it is.”
He said the Labour Party and trade union leaders supporting the EU were “pushing large numbers of working class people into the arms of Farage, the Tory right and the far-right”, adding: “A vote to leave will shatter the Tory government and we are confronted with an historic opportunity.”The ‘Leave.eu’ campaign was launched last autumn. Details can be found at http://leftleave.org