IV353 EACL statement Part 1

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Wed Sep 10 09:21:40 MDT 2003

6th Conference of the European Anti-Capitalist Left Athens, 9-10 June 2003
1. Resistance to the war in Iraq has inspired unprecedented mass
mobilisations on a world scale. The ongoing instability of world capitalism,
the international economic recession, the process of European Union state
formation, and a new wave of social attacks on the working classes, youth,
women, immigrants and others will lead to new mass struggles. They are
fostering a general process of political clarification inside the labour and
social movements and parties of the left. In the next twelve months the
European ruling classes will make an all-out effort to strengthen the
European Union as a supranational, imperialist state. The social democratic
parties will once more play a key role in trying to 'convince' working
people to accept new cuts in jobs, wages, pensions, housing, education,
health care and labour rights in the name of 'competitiveness'. They will
also proclaim the need to accept 'sacrifices' of democratic rights and
freedoms and asylum rights, to spend more on the military and to build a
European 'army'. The European Anti-Capitalist Left will be at the forefront
of mobilisations against this new neo-liberal wave, and will participate in
the June 2004 elections. We want to break the iron chain that links neo
liberal policies to war and war that prepares a new waves of massive social
aggressions - a chain that is at the heart of global capitalism.

2. The war on Iraq has been an historic event: it was the first frontal,
planetary clash between global capitalism, led by the US government (and its
allies), and the new international social movement. Far from being
irrational or fortuitous, the new strategy of US imperialism, centred on
'unlimited war', is linked directly to the rise of capitalist globalisation
and the necessity of mastering the heightened contradictions that result
from it. These contradictions include: unbridled extension of the reign of
the market; deregulation of economic and institutional functioning,
including systematic abrogation of labour's hard-won rights; transnational
concentration and mobility of financial and productive capital; a more
pronounced hierarchy among capitalist states; and an unprecedented
intensification of social inequality, on a planetary scale as well as in
each region and country. As a result inter-imperialist contradictions, which
have been exacerbated and set loose since the collapse of the USSR, need to
be kept under control in new ways, since all the institutions that
traditionally kept social and popular movements within bounds and channelled
social explosions have lost their legitimacy and their grip. The outcome is
economic volatility and general instability. The extraordinary extent of US
power, whose supremacy is very uneven on different levels (military,
economic, monetary, political, ideological and cultural), itself contributes
to increased instability.

3. The 'surprising' opposition of the French and German governments
(supported by Belgium) impeded NATO's functioning for a while and (with
Russia and China's help) successfully blocked Bush and Blair's initiative in
the Security Council. Their opposition was too strong, too well thought out
and too concerted to be reduced to remote historical factors, accidents of
party politics or personal ambition. The opposition from the EU's key sector
is linked directly to a resurgence and reinforcement of contradictions
within Western capitalism. Admittedly these contradictions are still held in
check by transatlantic imperialist arrangements, the unrivalled supremacy of
the US and the EU's difficulties in forming its supranational state. But US
strategy, more and more systematically unilateralist, including in trade
relations, is having a growing impact on US-European relations. During the
past five years economic conflicts in the WTO framework have changed the
diplomatic climate. The unprecedented growth of the 'transatlantic economy',
measured in the volume of trade and above all in the level of foreign direct
investment, has had contradictory effects. Intensified transatlantic
integration has also stimulated intensified competition on both sides of the
Atlantic and elsewhere in the world. Two political-strategic shifts are thus
taking place at the same moment for the same reasons. US imperialism has
been reorienting its foreign policy in the wake of the disappearance of 'the
communist danger': a close union with Europe has become a lower priority
than reaffirming its global domination. In its ongoing alliance with Europe,
the US sets the ground rules on the basis of its own interests. (The war on
Iraq is the most visible example.) Simultaneously the European Union's
economic dynamic (the euro, consolidation of the single market, eastwards
expansion) is impelling it to equip itself with the nucleus of a
supranational state apparatus. Without challenging US supremacy, the EU is
striving for a new equilibrium that would change the relationship of forces.
This dynamic is pregnant with frictions, partial conflicts and more acute

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