European Community
(IRSP Pamphlet Reprint)

The author and original date of publication of this historical IRSP document is unknown, but it was part of a series of pamphlets produced by the IRSP to give the working class of Ireland a clear vision of the IRSP's policies.

The Irish Republican Socialist Party is totally opposed to membership of the European community. We reject the claim that there is no alternative for the Irish people. To us, the E.C. is a political structure created by the capitalists of Europe, initially at the behest of U.S. imperialism, to strengthen their hold over the European working class with increased profit possibilities. It also serves to crush the smaller and weaker capitalists, the poor farmers and sections of the middle class, in the interests of the transnational industrial and financial monopolies.

Our objective of the United Socialist Republic can not be reconciled with participation in an organisation which is politically, militarily and economically anti-socialist.

EUROPEAN UNITY

The concept of European unity arose after World War II as an objective of world capitalism. Its purpose was to prevent any further wars between the capitalist nations of Europe. Cooperation between principally West Germany, France and Italy in economic coordination, especially in iron, steel and coal was a condition of the Marshall Aid Plan (massive loans and grants) provided by the U.S.

It was realised by the imperialists that, alone, these countries would not be able to stave off socialist revolution. Together, a speedy economic recovery could be achieved thereby damping down the struggles of the working class.

From these origins the Treaty of Rome (1957) sprang and the Common Market was created to replace the European Coal and Steel Community and the organisation for European Economic Cooperation. In 1972, (Ireland, Britain and Denmark joined the original six members (Italy, France, West Germany, Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium). Greece joined in 1981 and Spain and Portugal followed.

LIVING STANDARDS FALL

Since entry, the gap in living standards between Ireland and the smaller European countries has widened. From having 56% of the average in Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland and Denmark in 1971 we fell to 52% in 1986.

Total numbers at work have fallen in the same period from 1,080,000 to 1,067,000 (1987) in the 26 counties. Our smaller workforce has been accompanied by a fivefold increase in unemployment, from 65,000 to 230,000. Despite the creation of new jobs by foreign investment, numbers in manufacturing have actually dropped due to the wholesale collapse of native industries such as papermaking, textiles, leather, printing, baking, clothing and food processing.

In agriculture the Common Agricultural Policy has subsidised the incomes of the 50,000 large farmers to the tune of £20,000 per annum. The artificially high food prices cost £14 per week to each family.

The result of the massive flow of E.E.C. funds into farming is a reduction of over 100,000 working on the land and dependence on imports for fruit and vegetables.

The Single European Market which comes into force in 1992 will further accelerate all the tendencies in the European economy towards monopoly domination of the poorer, less-developed countries by the multi-nationals of France, Germany, Britain and Italy.

Continuing emigration and large-scale unemployment is inescapable while the Irish economy is tied to the E.C. Irish capitalism is pinning its hopes on enticing more Japanese, Korean and U.S. investment here to take advantage of the Single Market of 1992. The I.D.A. (Industrial Developnent Authority) is racing unparalleled competition from other E.C. countries, particularly Britain. U.S. investors have ranked Ireland as their #8 choice for location in Europe.

Ireland's geographical disadvantages (distance from principal European markets and island status) can only be compensated by even further cuts in labour costs, through lower wages and increased productivity. For the capitalist this means less taxes and less public spending on state services such as Health, Education and Social Welfare.

Increasingly the industries which come here are those that have been spurned by other countries for environmental and safety reasons. Some capitalist economists predict that Ireland's largely agricultural-based economy will not be able to support a population in the 26 counties of more than 1.5-2 million. Emigration will continue with the emphasis turning to gearing our human 'exports' for continental Europe rather than the traditional destinations in USA, Britain and Australia.

REPRESSION

The Dublin government has accepted the implications of monetary and political unity with its European masters. It is being dragged into NATO, with which it is already cooperating on a technical level, with much dubious "telecommunications" technology being concentrated on the west coastal area, away from the much more densely populated eastern area. It has ratified the European Convention on Terrorism Act, which includes extradition of Irish citizens to the other states on political grounds; the cooperation of state security organisations in a co-ordinated campaign against republicans, socialists and all anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist political activists (with the aim of a European police force).

The Dublin government is undoubtedly involved in the TREVI group which is specifically aimed against "subversives". It has no independent line on foreign policy which is undermining support for liberation struggles in South Africa, Palestine, South and Central America etc.

INADEQUATE FUNDING

Social, Regional and Structural funds have been and will continue to be, totally inadequate to protect the weaker countries such as Ireland. These funds are totally reliant on the goodwill of the member states and the European parliament has no effective power to enforce greater contributions, should it come to the conclusion that these are necessary. Any benefits to the Irish masses of the various grants have been incidental.

These are designed to facilitate the imperialists plunder of our resources and our labour, which is why so much of the Structural Funds are going on the transport system. This is not to improve the living conditions of the urban and rural poor, it is destined solely to speed up the transport of goods and materials to the markets.

We totally repudiate those collaborators with British imperialism who falsely project the prospect of Irish unification via the E.C. Middle class 'nationalists' of the SDLP and Fianna Fail variety try to conceal their own cowardly subservience to British imperialism by involving the international unity of the E.C. as the force which will end partition in Ireland.

SELF-DETERMINATION

The I.R.S.P. says the right of the Irish people to national self-determination can only be won by the revolutionary struggle of the Irish working class. Not only do we discount the desire of sincerity of the EC (dominated by imperialist powers including Britain) we say it has no role in this matter. Similarly we do not regard any of the advances in social legislation as a justification for continued membership of the community. Such gains or advances which have accrued owe more to the E.C's recognition of (and embarrassment by) the social, political and economic backwardness of Irish capitalism than to the benign nature of the Brussels bureaucracy.

We reject the claim that there is no alternative for our partitioned and underdeveloped economy. We do not, however, cite the relative prosperity of countries such as Norway, Finland, Sweden, etc, which are not in the E.C. As the basis for our confidence in an independent role for Ireland (as does Sinn Fein).

For us the only real alternative to the E.C. is a Socialist United Irish Republic. Only with the working class in power and a planned economy based on the nationalisation of major industries and the banks etc, and the monopoly of foreign trade by the workers state can there be a future for the Irish people. Such a state will develop through trade agreements, technological exchange etc, entered into with those states and economies independent of the imperialists.

In or out of the Common Market/European Community, the Irish working class has no future under capitalism. Therefore, the struggle against the Common Market is not simply one for withdrawal. It must have as its aim the socialist revolution and national liberation. It must also have the objective of replacing the European community with the Socialist states of Europe. This is the revolutionary significance of 'being European' for the I.R.S.P.