Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vote NO to Lisbon on Friday

éirígí are urging people once again to vote NO to the Lisbon Treaty. We opposed the Treaty last year on the grounds that it was fundamentally undemocratic, would increase the militarisation of Europe and would erode workers rights and living standards even further.

So has anything changed in this Treaty since it was democratically rejected in June 2008? No it hasn’t. Absolutely nothing has changed. The Treaty we rejected then is the exact same Treaty we are being forced to vote on again this year. Not a single word has been added to the Treaty, not a single word has been taken away.

Claims that the European Union (EU) have listened to the concerns of the Irish people and have given “legal guarantees” on certain issues are untrue. These supposed “guarantees” do not over-ride the Treaty’s contents. They are not legally binding, are merely political promises from discredited politicians and bureaucrats and are worth as little as the paper they are written on.

So instead of accepting the democratic will of the people of this state, they rejected it outright and are forcing us to vote again. That decision shows their contempt for democracy itself. For the EU and the political establishment here, democracy is only a concept that is to be upheld when the people do as they say and when it serves their political and economic interests.

Whenever the people vote against the interests of the EU elite, as the French and Dutch people did in 2005 and as we done in rejecting the first Nice Treaty referendum and Lisbon last year, democracy is a concept to be discarded and treated with contempt.

There is also a deliberate effort to mislead the public and scare them into voting yes. They tell us there are no plans to further militarise the EU yet the Treaty explicitly says otherwise. It seeks to strengthen the EU’s and NATO’s military capabilities, it commits ALL states to increase its military spending and it creates a mutual defence pact which would further erode this states supposed neutral status.

The yes campaign also tell us that a yes vote is essential to end the recession and to ensure economic recovery. This is totally untrue. They conveniently ignore the fact that it is the very policies enshrined within the Lisbon Treaty that created the economic crisis that we are in. Voting yes to Lisbon will not end the recession, it will deepen the economic crisis.

As a result of these very policies, the greed before need, privatisation agenda at the heart of the EU project, we have seen unemployment levels sky-rocket, we have seen essential health and education services slashed and workers have seen their wages cut and their living standards plummet.

A yes vote would see a continuation of those failed and discredited neo-liberal capitalist policies that created this economic ruin. Lisbon puts the interests of business above the rights of workers and will accelerate a race to the bottom in terms of workers pay and conditions.

While this type of Europe is acceptable to the political and business establishment, that vision, which will result in further attacks on workers living standards and working conditions, is not acceptable to éirígí and to all those interested in workers rights and a more democratic society.

Business interests group IBEC, multi-national firm Intel and the trade union-busting Ryanair who have a vested interest in the neo-liberal free market policies espoused by this Treaty are pumping more than a million euro into the yes campaign. Lisbon clearly serves their interests as their bottom line is to make as much profit as possible regardless of the consequences for their workers or for wider society.

Also lined up alongside Fianna Fáil telling us to vote for Lisbon are the so-called opposition parties, Fine Gael and Labour. At a time when the country is crying out for an alternative to Fianna Fáil, it is clear that despite all the rhetoric and inter-party squabbling, there is nothing of substance separating these ‘opposition’ parties from Fianna Fáil when it comes to the economy. Neither Fine Gael or Labour are a credible alternative and are merely mirror images of Fianna Fáil. All they have to offer is more of the same discredited policies espoused by Lisbon and responsible for our mass unemployment and widespread cutbacks.

The simple fact is that Lisbon is fundamentally an undemocratic Treaty. It places business interests ahead of workers’ rights, puts privatisation and the ‘free market’ at the heart of Europe and seeks to build a more heavily militarised EU. Once again for those reasons éirígí believe it essential that we vote NO on October 2. Don't put your trust in those who caused this economic meltdown. There is too much at stake for all of us and our families.

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