Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/7073
Press Release: 19/03/09: RMT union backs electoral challenge in European Elections
Socialist Party to participate in pro-working class list
It was announced at a press conference earlier today that a pro-working class electoral alliance - under the name No2EU - Yes to Democracy will contest the forthcoming European elections in June. This is an electoral coalition with initial support from the Rail, Maritime & Transport workers' union (RMT), the Socialist Party, the Communist Party of Britain, and a wide variety of trade unionists and campaigners.
Hannah Sell, Socialist Party Deputy General Secretary said earlier today:
"This is the first electoral challenge to New Labour initiated by a national trade union, the RMT, the most militant industrial union in Britain. The EU's neo-liberal directives and rulings, enthusiastically implemented by the New Labour government, are linked to the avalanche of job losses, wage cuts and continued privatisation that working people face."
Nowhere is this more clearly revealed than in the Lindsey oil refinery construction workers' dispute earlier this year. It was under EU 'posted workers directives' and subsequent ECJ rulings that the Italian-registered company, IREM, was able to employ workers not covered by the union-enforced national construction industry agreements.
June's Euro-poll will be the first national electoral expression of the enormous anger accumulating at the devastating consequences of the capitalist crisis. Dave Nellist, Labour MP from 1983 - 1992 and current Socialist Party councilor & national chair of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party stated:
"Whoever wins the next general election in Britain have agreed to put every man, woman and child in the country to hoc of £1.3 trillion in guaranteed support to the banking system. That's being funded on the basis that after the next general election public services will be cut back. The European election could be a warning shot to whoever wins the next General election. We're going to be like the Lindsey workers, but on an electoral plane. We're drawing a line and we're not having it!"
The 2004 European elections, in a completely different economic climate, still saw a big protest vote, which went primarily to the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Labour could well register an even worse result than its disastrous showing then. UKIP, meanwhile, is likely to suffer a big loss of support. Two of its MEPs were implicated in benefit and EU fraud investigations. Those candidates standing on the No2EU - Yes to Democracy slate will have no personal benefit if victorious.
Dave Nellist, who was elected as a workers' MP on a workers' wage from 1983 - 1992, further stated:
"Becoming an MEP is a quicker way to become a millionaire than impressing Chris Tarrant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire! It really is a gravy train."
There is a real threat that the far-right BNP could win a seat in June; this has also been a powerful impulse behind the RMT's move to back an electoral challenge.
The Socialist Party has consistently argued the need for a new mass party of the working class to counter the threat of the far-right and fill the political vacuum that exists to the left of the pro-big business establishment parties. In 2006 it set up the Campaign for a New Workers' Party along side other left groups, trade unionists and independent campaigners.
No2EU - Yes to Democracy is a temporary platform for the European elections only. Nonetheless it sets a precedent which will be looked towards by working people when it comes to the next Council or General elections. The No2EU - Yes to Democracy electoral alliance could play an important role in the process towards building a new mass workers' party and addressing the crisis of political representation.
Speaking on behalf of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party, Dave Nellist stated:
"All three main parties speak for big business and the Establishment - no one speaks for ordinary working people. A new party for working people urgently needs to be built, which is not afraid to use the real language of socialism against the failed and flawed free market system"
Notes for journalists
The full list of demands of the No2EU - Yes to Democracy electoral alliance can be read on its website: www.no2eu.com.
Background information on the Socialist Party, their councillors, trade union NEC members and campaign work can be found at: www.socialistparty.org.uk.
Background information on the Campaign for a New Workers' Party can be found at www.cnwp.org.uk.