The European elections come at a time of crisis and political destabilisation across Europe. The effects of the global capitalist crisis on the European economy are far from over, and a possible commercial war with the USA of Trump is hanging over the heads of European capitalists. Rivalries among the bourgeois classes of different European countries contradict with their need to unite against the US, China, and Russia. The BREXIT process has given rise to a prolonged political crisis in Britain. Massive austerity measures have been applied, not exclusively in the South, and a massive offensive against the working classes is underway.
In this context, the traditional parties that used to share power in the European capitalist states since the Second World War, the Christian-democrats and the social-democrats, find it hard to govern today. The far right, in different variations, has grown stronger in most countries: France, Italy, Hungary, Austria, the Spanish State, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Greece. In Italy and Hungary, they already govern. In Eastern Europe, the collapse of the bureaucratic regimes of the so-called Eastern Bloc has left behind a chronic situation of social disaster and political confusion.
However, this is only one aspect of the current situation. The other aspect is the important struggles of the working classes and the peoples of Europe. Broad militant layers have acquired valuable political experience through their participation in the general strikes, the so-called “indignant” movements and the popular assemblies in the first years of the crisis in Greece, the Spanish State and a whole series of countries. New struggles are underway today: workers’ and students’ strikes and the yellow vest movement in France, industrial workers’ strikes in Hungary, the new rise in the feminist movement across the continent, the massive anti-fascist demonstrations in Italy, Germany and other countries, the movement of solidarity with the refugees etc. At the same time, the national issue in the EU has never been resolved, with the prominent examples of the struggle of Catalonia for independence and the ongoing occupation of Northern Ireland by the UK. The rebellions in Algeria and Sudan are a source of inspiration for the oppressed in Europe too.These struggles form the background of a possibly explosive situation, that could create new opportunities for revolutionary situations. Insurgent working classes will have to confront both “their own” national state apparatus and international imperialist institutions such as the European Union. “The main enemy is at home” means that we fight simultaneously against the international imperialist coalitions in which “our own” bourgeois class takes part. While firmly opposed to any nationalist, capitalist alternative, we know that an anti-capitalist revolutionary policy is incompatible with membership in the EU.
We know that the struggle against imperialism, racism, austerity and capitalist domination is not a struggle to be waged only at the level of a single country. But neither can it be waged without breaking with the capitalist policies of the EU, the ECB, with European finance capital, with the xenophobic, anti-immigrant policies of “fortress-Europe”. We are clear that the EU is a capitalist and imperialist union. To attack the national bourgeoisie’s power is to break with all the institutions of the EU. Against Europe of austerity, racism, and exploitation, we defend international solidarity; we strive for a free socialist alliance of the workers and peoples of Europe.
Recent developments have proven that such a revolutionary perspective is totally negated by the broad reformist parties that have arisen in a series of countries promising popular governments against austerity. SYRIZA in Greece has taken power in 2015, only to apply a fierce programme of austerity and pro-capitalist reforms, being an ideal proponent of the interests of capitalists. Podemos in the Spanish State are already committed to the perspective of a joint government with the PSOE, the party that introduced austerity in the country. In Portugal, social-democrats are governing with the support of the left, the Communist Party and the broad Bloco. In Italy, the participation in the Prodi government has discredited the left, that cannot rise again after more than a decade. The far right is trying to take advantage of the failures of the mainstream reformist left to gain power against the “corrupt system”.
Independent revolutionary parties are therefore instrumental in order to promote a revolutionary way out of the crisis. In the present framework, it is important to present an anticapitalist alternative, both in the struggles and in the elections, in order to express the currents that are emerging to the left of the reformist parties. Some such parties or fronts already exist: the NPA in France, or ANTARSYA in Greece, which is running independently for the European elections. In other countries, there are processes to build independent anti-capitalist and revolutionary formations, bringing together currents from different traditions, who nevertheless share a stance of independence from all capitalist institution and a firm orientation towards the massive struggles of the working classes.
We should be able to present a joint platform of such anti-capitalist forces at the European level. This should have also been the task of the Fourth International, but this is unfortunately not the case given the current political orientation of the International, as well as of most other international formations. However, such anticapitalist forces will arise stronger. We will help create and support such projects, fighting for a modern-date transitional programme and for the revolutionary parties of our time.
Tendency for a Revolutionary International