The EU theses were adopted on a general meeting in June 2008 after several years of intensive dealing with the concrete development of EU and with the issues of general development of imperialism in the 21st century. Just as with all our theses, now our discussion has not been finished and we are looking forward to receiving critical contributions.
European Union – essence and aims
1. What is the EU?
The EU is an imperialist project. It is an unfinished project in progress of the finance capital (banks and monopoly companies) of several European countries forming a block in their struggle for world hegemony. The main issue is the competition with US American imperialism having been the leading imperialist big power for centuries. On a formal level the goal is a united economic area and a common economic policy. That makes the basis for unified domestic policies of interior and judicial affairs, and „security“ as well as unified military and foreign policies. A focal issue of EU is armament in all fields and the increase of power and military forces for world-wide deployment because wars are inevitable in inter-imperialist competition.
2. Aims of the EU
At present the EU aims at establishing and stabilizing boards of decision-making and administration that are of high priority for the interest of finance capital. The focal point of interest is the consolidation of central institutions being capable of acting despite the contradictions between the several imperialist EU forces. This process of integration (“Lisbon”, “constitution”, “agreement” etc.) aims at the consolidation of hegemony of the big imperialist powers. Getting ahead of US imperialism is the primary purpose of the EU. This however includes a common poise against Russian and Japanese imperialism as well as against emerging powers such as China, India and Brazil. This includes the coordination of attacks against the working class in Europe and the peoples of the neo-colonies inside and outside Europe. There is the aim of organized cutbacks of social and democratic rights (“Balkenstein directive” on freedom of services etc.). The EU however does not care about a unified code of social and democratic minimal standards.
3. Fascisation in the EU
Especially the advancing of cutbacks of democratic rights (fascisation) in general and in certain countries is centrally steered. (So e.g. the ban of the Czech youth organisation KSM or the Hungarian Labour Party / Left Front was, amongst others, backed by a decision of the European Council.
4. The Emerging of a new state apparatus
The EU is no federal union of states (as e.g. the USA) but a dungeon for the peoples. The state apparatus developed by now does not comply with the traditional forms of states of the emerging bourgeoisie according to the model of the USA or the French Revolution but concentrates on a few core areas: foreign and military policy, economic and monetary unity, counter-insurgence, drug and human trafficking. Furthermore in the economic area certain aggressive arrangements of monopoly capital as e.g. at present a monetarist, “neo-liberal” economic policy are fixed by agreement. In all these areas EU legislation is superior to national legislation. Other traditional functions of the state such as democratic representation and domestic administration, social service, health, education, public service, minority rights, labour code etc. are dealt by the EU as “regional affairs”. The nominated commissionaires are decisive for EU legislation, the Armament Office for military policy, the Central European Bank for economic and monetary policy etc. whereas the so called European Parliament only serves as a bourgeois democratic facade. The member states of the EU have transferred far-reaching sovereign rights to EU institutions and so have formed a new state structure that is clearly more than an international alliance of sovereign states. That does however not mean that the inter-imperialist contradictions within the EU have been overcome and a division of the EU into two or more parts will be very probable when the economic, political and military tensions are increasing worldwide.
5. The most important imperialist powers in the EU
The big powers within the EU are Germany, France, Britain; while Germany and France are leading Britain is putting certain own accents; other important imperialists are Italy and Spain. There is inter-imperialist competition as well as cooperation with changing alliances. The basis for the EU was the strategic alliance between the German and French imperialists since the end of the 1940ies (ECCS, EURATOM, EEC, WEU). Within the EU especially deep contradictions are to be found with British imperialism following a foreign and military policy of its own on the side of US imperialism.
6. The smaller imperialist powers in the EU
The finance capital of the smaller imperialist countries of the EU actively participates in the EU project, as well. As far as the sovereignty of smaller imperialists is considerably limited this is mainly caused by the interest of the domestic finance capital of these countries (i.e. larger area for activities and therefore better chances for profits). (Examples as Norway and Switzerland show that it is really possible for small imperialist countries to stay out of the EU but to advance a relatively self-relying policy of maximizing profits in close cooperation with the EU.)
7. The neo-colonial countries in the EU
Many countries and regions of the EU have been reduced to a status of semi-colonies or neo-colonies, resp. This includes especially the countries in the East and South. The imperialist countries of the EU convert parts of the bourgeoisie of those countries into their comprador bourgeoisie to tighten them to the EU. In doing so the main aspect is securing cheap work-force and consolidated marketing areas in competition with Russian and US American imperialism. It is the clearly defined goal of the EU to include further countries into the neo-colonial semi-circle around the imperialist core countries of the EU. While the German and Austrian imperialism are spurring expansion to the East and Southeast, the French and Italian imperialism is especially pushing for the annexion of Mediterranean countries.
Austria in the EU
8. Imperialist participation in the EU
Austria is a small imperialist country. Its international impact has been strongly changed by joining the EU. From the year 1918 to the middle of the 1960ies Austria perused nearly no capital export (foreign investment of surplus capital for increasing the profits). In the last third of the 20th century Austrian capitalism was modernized and parallelly to this process the Austrian foreign investments were growing. Since the year 2000 the capital export has significantly outrun the capital import. In the same decade the federal army military created units capable of international deployment. Within the framework of the EU the Austrian army is in action in several regions all over the world today.
9. Economic role
Until shortly before the end of the 20th century the so-called “trade with the East” characterized Austrian foreign trade but since joining the EU, the imperialist direct investments in Eastern and South-eastern Europe have quickly increased. Today they are the decisive feature of Austrian imperialism. At present in a dozen of Eastern European countries and on the Balkan Peninsular, Austria is among the five most important imperialist investors and exploiters, in about half of them Austria is on top (with foreign direct investments top ranking in: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania; second or third rank in: Slovakia, Serbia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Ukrainia; FDI stocks 2007). A considerable part of it – about one third according to our calculations in 2009 – is however capital flowing through Austria especially of German and Italian imperialist origin.
10. Political role
Until the middle of the 1990ies Austria played the political role of an imperialist “neutral” broker with the countries of the COMECON and the Arab Region. Since then it poses as an imperialist economic power especially in the traditional zones of influence of the Austrian imperialism before 1918. In some fields Austrian imperialism plays the role of a trailblazer for intensified reactionary attacks of monopoly capital within the EU and beyond, e.g. racism, christian fundamentalism, …
11. Military role
On joining the EU the Austrian imperialism started again playing a more important military role on an international scale. For more than 10 years and totally neglecting the Neutrality Act of 1955, Austrian troops have been in action in Bosnia and Kosovo; since 2008 and for the first time since the end of World War II a larger military force has been deployed even out of Europe to fight “terrorists and rebels” (Chad/Central Africa). With the EU the worldwide deployment of troops has become possible for Austria also without direct participation of German imperialism.
Smashing the EU and revolutionary orientation towards socialism
13. Contradictions in the EU and utilizing them for revolutionary struggle
Smashing the EU is no self-contained strategic goal for us but is subordinated to the struggle for socialist revolution and dictatorship of the proletariat. Within this struggle several contradictions can be utilized that have emerged or intensified with the creation of the EU.
a) The continuing offensive to destroy, commercialize and privatize all public services in the EU first of all hits the lower strata of workers and toilers. While the rights of the capital are regulated by law all over the EU (e.g. Stock Companies Act) the labour code and social regulations are downgraded to regional rights (e.g. no right to participation of labour representatives in EU Stock Companies Act). Collective bargaining agreements are declared non-binding by the EU Court of Justice etc.
According to EU laws e.g. even breeding and education are not among the duties of the state. Our way is the construction of a broad united front of the working class and their allied for smashing the EU by taking aim at the domestic monopoly capital. Our aim is a broad and persistent alliance of the anti-EU forces in Austria under the leadership of the working class and of the struggle of the working class and people’s masses in other EU countries, and especially of the people’s masses in the neo-colonial countries in and out of EU exploited by Austrian imperialism.
b) Contradictions between the imperialist offensive abroad and the working class and people’s masses outside the EU are normally directed against a certain imperialist power (e.g. Germany, France, England, Austria) and not against the EU as a whole. Therefore for us the political contradictions of oppressed peoples especially against the Austrian imperialism are in the forefront.
c) Considering the actual weakness of the working class movement, the contradictions between the individual imperialist EU powers cannot be utilized without running into the danger of becoming the pawn of other imperialists.
14. EU critical movements
If an imperialist Austria leaves the EU this is, on itself, not an “intermediate step” on the way to proletarian revolution. (At the same time we stress that the demand for leaving the EU or not joining it, resp., is of different importance for non-imperialist or semi-colonial countries.) At present most of the EU critical movements in Austria do not assess the EU as a hostile imperialist structure but press for reforms within the EU. Many think that following the implementation of the “rights of capital” now the phase of “social rights” is to come. Only very few notice that the EU is a monopoly capitalist project – those who do notice it mostly pursue a course for a capitalism with restrictions for the monopoly companies. Some rightist and fascist currents totally obscure the relation between the interest of the Austrian monopoly capital and its participation in the EU. They stage as fierce opponents of the EU, mislead the enraged workers and people’s masses, advocate a strong “Austrian economy”, and so strengthen the position of Austrian imperialism within the EU.
15. The relation of struggle against the EU and against „our own“ Austrian imperialism
We are fighting our struggle against the EU first of all as a struggle against “our own” imperialist bourgeoisie and for their overthrow in a proletarian revolution. It is very unlikely that in a coming revolutionary surge the conditions for a proletarian seize of power will reap only in Austria but also in several neighbouring countries – on account of the tight interweavement in the EU, more than in 1918. This fact is in favour of our struggle but does not allow us hoping or even waiting for help and support from abroad. Our biggest contribution to smashing the EU is the overthrow of”our own” bourgeoisie.
16. The general orientation of our struggle
We are fighting our struggle for smashing the EU as part of the struggle for socialism. Under certain circumstances – especially massive militant activities of the working class – the option of “leaving the EU” is not more than a tactical sub-goal. Our strategic goal remains the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the establishing of workers power (dictatorship of the proletariat) in the form of soviet power. If possible, this goal will be achieved in alliance with soviet movements in neighbouring EU countries, especially neo-colonies.