The Third International after Lenin

Friday, June 24, 2016

EU referendum: Workers face growing social crisis

....The referendum debate is sharpening factional tension within the Labour Party. The party’s recently elected London mayor Sadiq Khan has joined with Cameron to campaign for Remain. While party leader Jeremy Corbyn has demurred sharing a platform with the Conservative leader, he argues that EU regulations protect workers and are the road to “a real social Europe.”

Leaving would lead to a “bonfire of rights,” says Corbyn. This rings hollow in light of the assault on workers underway in France today led by the Socialist Party government of Francois Hollande (see article on page 4).

Similar developments are fueling political crisis across the continent. The two dominant capitalist powers, the rulers in Germany and France, push for greater European political integration as they squeeze weaker countries such as Greece, with devastating consequences for working people and much of the middle classes. Meanwhile from Germany to France to Italy to Austria, anti-EU parties and movements are growing. Attitudes to the EU differ between and within the traditional capitalist and bourgeois labor parties.

Despite “stimulus” measures, growth remains sluggish across the eurozone. While unemployment averages over 10 percent, there are vast regional differences. Germany’s official unemployment rate is 4.5 percent; Greece’s stands at a quarter of the population.

Whatever the outcome of the UK referendum, further fracturing pressures will dominate the EU.

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