Victory to the French Campaign to reject the European constitution. Let us fight the neo-liberal and pro-American Europe
1. On the 29th of May France is deciding on the European constitution, on the basis of a referendum. In many other countries, especially where opposition to EU is strongest, the ruling elites have made impossible such referendums. Not so in France – perhaps a serious tactical blunder. A French "No" could really topple the whole project of an European constitution, and this outcome is not unlikely: the last polls have seen the "No" constantly leading by several points. On top of that, the "No" is supported by parts of the establishment, most important Laurent Fabius, prime minister under Mitterand and an minister of finance in the government of Jospin. This renders a farce unlikely, were the referendum is repeated until the "correct" answer is achieved. (Such thing was seen in the Republic of Ireland, regarding the treaty of Nice.)
2. What is the content of the constitution? Mainly the neo-liberal, antidemocratic and pro-American status quo of the EU will be given a constitutional frame. European military policy is subordinated to NATO (Article I-41), furthermore all members should donate 2% of GDP to the military. Neo-liberalism and market-radicalism are enshrined: Social rights are subordinated to competitiveness, free concurrence is top principle (Article I-2-3), made into constitutional law, just like the restrictions to public deficit, the so-called Maastricht criteria (III-177). Social and tax dumping are inside as well: the harmonisation of tax rates is made practically impossible (III-171, III-210). The total lack of democracy is constitutionally fixed: European Parliament remains a farce, although it achieves some new irrelevant competences.
All in all, nothing extremely new. But: the current state of affairs is now constitutionalised. All changes require unanimity of all member-states. Imperialist Europe is committing itself to globalisation and partnership with the USA. New attacks are prepared just now: flexibility of working time until 65 hours per week, the Bolckestein initiative for the liberalisation of trade in services, the restriction of the EU budget to 1 percent of GDP – which will mean the end for a number of initiatives in regional politics.
Without hesitation we can say "Vive le Non". A French No will not turn Europe into a place of people´s power and social justice. But it would be an important signal against the Atlantic Europe of the top strata of the bourgeoisie.
3. In the debate on the European constitution a large part of the left has once again shown that all antagonism is lost. A true disgrace is Toni Negri, calling for an affirmative vote to finish with the "fucking national state". In spite of that the French left has closed ranks in calling for a "No". This time one has avoided to march into the Le Pen trap, the desire to flee in panic everything which the Front National is supporting as well. (Just to remember the debacle of the Austrian left, which is supporting Europe because Haider used to be against it, once upon a time.) Within the campaign for the "No", Fabius is in reality a bigger problem than Le Pen because France is different.
It is the only country in Europe, where the bourgeoisie has managed to maintain a independent political project, an did not totally subordinate itself to the USA. It is not much, what is left of that. France has returned to NATO, and it was prime minister Fabius himself, which started in 1984 to dismantle the social corporatism of the left as well as gaullist "dirigisme" (state planned industrial policy) – the beginning of neo-liberal reform. In spite of that, some rest remains: We can hear De Gaulle talking of the "European Europe" (rejecting an American Europe), when Fabius is criticizing the constitution for not ending unanimity of foreign policy, thus keeping Europe "powerless". Parts of the left are unprotected on this flank, in "Le monde diplomatique" one can read about the necessity of the EU to define "its own model of civilisation". Thus for his tendency not only Europe, but the EU is becoming a positive point of reference, vector of social reform and instrument of rejection of the American Empire. A dangerous illusion.
Our resistance is first of all directed against the constitution, and the dominant Atlantic an neo-liberal Europe. If part of the establishment, Fabius or Le Pen, is voting "No" as well, this is good, not bad. But we must take care not to be confused with such forces. Coordination of all antagonistic forces, the preparation of a truly alternative pole in Europe is becoming of primal importance. We hope the international conference in Basque Navarra, scheduled for June can take steps forward in this direction.
For an anti-American federation of free peoples!