Following the election results of the UK Independence Party in the May 2013 local elections, we reprint here the resolution from the 2012 Congress of the Communist Party.

The EU and popular sovereignty

As capitalism's crisis continues and even deepens, the myth of the 'Social Chapter' and a 'Social Europe' – the reason why so many trades unionists decided to back the EU – is well and truly shattered.

Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is a prerequisite to winning democratic control over the economy, saving manufacturing, restoring employment rights and rescuing our welfare state. It is impossible to separate the austerity programme from the unelected institutions that crafted it or the policies created solely to sustain those same institutions. 'Rejecting austerity' means little without a rejection of such institutions as the EU Commission and European Central Bank and of the EU treaties, which legislate for permanent austerity. These institutions and treaties cannot be significantly reformed.

The anti-democratic and pro-big business character of the EU is now fully exposed as it imposes unelected 'technocratic' governments and as the European Central Bank – with its partners in crime the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – imposes drastically deflationary policies on one country after another. 'Austerity Europe' offers nothing to workers. The 'free' movement of labour has become the new regulator of labour relations, as transnational corporations undermine pay, worsen conditions and weaken collective agreements with the ultimate aim of smashing trade union organisation.

A commitment by left and progressive forces in Britain to demand withdrawal from the EU will strengthen the position of all those in Europe fighting to preserve and defend democratic gains. Attacking the monopoly capitalist character of the EU from a left perspective – and standing in solidarity with the communist and workers' parties and working class movements elsewhere in Europe – is a profoundly internationalist position. Britain's communists reject the ultra-leftist view that seeking withdrawal from the EU is a capitulation to reactionary British nationalism.

The EU has nothing to do with working class internationalism. It is the creation of western Europe's big capitalist monopolies and has been designed to serve their interests. The notion that it can be transformed into the basis for a 'united socialist states of Europe' is an illusion fostered in the labour movement by ultra-leftist elements who refuse to make a concrete analysis of the EU as it has developed to the present.

Exposing the true character of the EU must be central to the battle of ideas within the trade unions and the wider labour movement. While the Communist Party welcomes the prospect of a referendum on British membership of the EU, it is essential that the terms of the campaign be determined more by anti-EU arguments from the labour movements and the left than from the Tory right. The successful motion at the 2011 TUC conference opposing EU use of World Trade Organisation 'Mode 4' trade provisions (which would erode trade union rights even further by reintroducing indentured labour) provides a good basis from which to proceed. So, too, does the successful motion passed at the 2011 Scottish Trades Union Congress calling for an end of compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact and the negotiation instead of a most favoured nation trade agreement with the EU on the same basis as Norway but outside the provisions of the Single Market.

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