Brexit is a protest against EU policy
Brexit is a protest against EU policy
The British decision to leave the European Union contains an important message for the Left. Fed up with EU austerity policies, UK voters seemed to prove what had only been long talked about: Yes, we can oppose the EU and say No to it.
The EU had promised to bring peace, stability, prosperity and employment. But instead of peace and stability, Europe has reaped only instability and discord. Instead of prosperity, austerity is deepening inequality, and rising unemployment not employment is on the increase. In particular, the policy pledges made to workers have without exception turned out to be inadequate. The EU has clearly shown that it is by nature a project of capital and the bourgeoisie.
The CPF has had a clear line on the EU that hinges on an understanding of the true nature of the Union. The CPF has opposed both Finland’s and the EU’s free market economy makeup.
“Breaking with the EU’s treaties, which are undemocratic and impoverish working people, has been an aim of the Party for as long as Finland has been an EU member,” said CPF chairperson JP (Juha-Pekka) Väisänen.
The CPF rejects the EU’s basic capitalist values, its political line, belligerence and the development of the EU member states into a more tightly bound federation.
“We reject the thrust of the current economic policy aimed at cuts and crushing workers’ rights. We reject the way in which Finland is increasingly party to EU agreements without there being proper public debate and the use of referendums. We reject the narrowing of democracy,” said Väisänen.
“The CPF wants to see another Europe, one which supports people’s welfare, equality, environmentally sustainable development, and peace. We call for a national referendum on the euro and EU agreements.”
Brexit opens the way to a new Left approach
“Brexit is good news for Finnish communists. A historic blow has been dealt to this project of big capital,” said CPF chairperson JP (Juha-Pekka) Väisänen.
“It’s time for the labour movement and the Left to take stock of basic issues: wealth distribution and its contradictions. The result of the referendum was a clear sign of how the experience of the UK working class of the EU is completely the opposite of that of big business and its bosses. They have been wholly unwilling to listen to the concerns of working people about EU policies. Brexit shows that, in the face of much disparagement and intimidation, workingwomen and men are opting for a different direction. Finnish workers should also have the chance to decide their own course and that of the labour movement free from the intimidating diktat of the bosses and the bourgeoisie. We need a joint analysis of the situation and the creation of a Left policy line on EU issues.
“At its recent national conference, the CPF asserted that European cooperation must be based on respect for the fundamental rights of citizens, the interests of the working class, democracy and the self-determination of peoples. It particularly necessitates that big capital and in especially finance capital are restricted and an end to the ideology of finance capital. National economies must be released from the shackles of the neoliberal euro regime, the power of the banks and monetary union by developing trade and other forms of cooperation so that the specific needs of each country and differences in development can be flexibly taken into account in monetary and foreign exchange policy, among other things. The capitalist pursuit of profit must be replaced by the more important goals of human and environmental wellbeing.
European Left meets in Paris
“The strength of the labour movement has always been in its unity. Amidst the globalized economy the Left must be better able to pursue an alliance policy and agree on the best interests of working women and men. This would not be in contradiction with those of other working class and poor populations or the environment elsewhere in the world. The European Left, the communist parties of European Union states and the networks of communist and workers parties worldwide are, in light of Brexit, essential tools for building a stronger workers’ Europe and a different world,” said Väisänen.
The struggle for a workers’ Europe will not wait of allow a summer vacation for anyone. The chairpersons of the European Left met immediately at the beginning of July to discuss Brexit, the Spanish elections and the current political situation, as well as to work on the joint political document of the congress of the European Left. The chairperson of the CPF, JP (Juha-Pekka) Väisänen, has been involved in preparing this document from the outset and took part in the Paris conference.
“Following Brexit it is all the more necessary to build the struggle against EU policy. We need an anti-EU movement that resolutely rejects racism. We need to struggle against the TTIP, CETA and TiSA free trade agreements. We need to resist cuts to and the weakening of public services, resist privatization, and European austerity policies. We need more robust criticism within the labour movement about the pay cuts and weakening of working conditions taking place around Europe. Only a powerful European-wide workers’ movement will be able to tackle the exploitation and profiteering of employers and capital. Europe’s direction cannot be changed unless there is a strong class struggle conducted by the Left and the labour movement.”
Communist Party of FInland