Dead Men Left

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The big "non": looking promising

I've heard good reports from Paris about the anti-EU constitution rally. The estimate I heard was some 15,000 assorted leftists gathered, covering the Greens, left-wing Socialists, Communists, Trotskyists of various stripes, trade unionists and the non-aligned altermondialistes around the ATTAC network. To see the French left united like this is something in itself, but there are impressive reports, too, of the organisation behind the non campaign: close to 1,000 local "unity" groups have been established, drawing in support from all the factions just mentioned, in order to run local campaigns. In the 20th arrondisement in Paris, they reckon to get something around 50 activists meeting on a weekly basis, and have done for the last few months. This one unity group has distributed tens of thousands of leaflets across just this small chunk of the capital, all stressing the case for a social Europe against the neoliberal constitution. It's looking good for May 29, but, win or lose, a serious argument is developing in the unity groups about the need to maintain the organisations after the referendum as a broad, pro-justice, anti-capitalist platform.

A no vote will severely curtail the moves to chop up hard-won social protections. It'll also deliver a hefty slap in the face to Blair, Brown and New Labour's chosen representative in Europe, Peter Mandelson, who are amongst the most rabidly in favour of dismantling welfare states and discarding employment legislation across the continent. Here's Graham Copp with some more on why the left should oppose the new constitution. Graham's head of research at the Centre for a Social Europe; their website is here.