There have been two meetings called by the RMT to discuss an electoral intervention at the next European elections in 2014. All members of the TUSC steering committee and representatives of the groups on it were invited to attend. Nick Wrack went to the first two meetings. There was a third meeting on Monday 5 August for all those who wanted to continue their involvement in this initiative. The Independent Socialist Network discussed the proposal at its last meeting. Below is a letter from Nick to the participants in No2EU following that discussion.
Please accept my apologies for this evening’s meeting called by the RMT to discuss the next stage of contesting the Euro elections in 2014 under the name of No2EU.
On behalf of the Independent Socialist Network I would like to thank the RMT for inviting us (as part of TUSC) to the previous two meetings.
As you know, at those earlier meetings I expressed my opposition to resurrecting No2EU as an electoral banner. I argued that it would be far better to stand under the TUSC name and on a clear socialist platform.
Since the last meeting we have had a national meeting of the ISN, which discussed No2EU.
There was total opposition to the proposal to stand as No2EU. Whilst there were some differences of opinion on the question of whether things would be better or not by withdrawal from the EU, everyone opposed the name No2EU, regardless of any suffix added to it.
The opposition was primarily for two reasons. Firstly, the opinion that the election will be marked by a horrible reactionary nationalism and anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric. It was felt that, rather than cutting across this from the left, the title No2EU will reinforce it.
Secondly, it was agreed that we should oppose any name or slogan that suggests or implies that things would be better simply by withdrawal from the EU.
We see austerity as being rooted in the capitalist system – specifically in the current crisis. It is not only an EU phenomenon. It will continue to be driven in the UK whether the UK remains a member of the EU or withdraws.
We would have preferred a campaign under the slogan ‘No to austerity – Yes to a Socialist Europe’. This could have gone a long way to raising socialist ideas and promoting discussion on the alternatives to austerity. It would have fitted in to a more long-term, strategic approach to building a new working-class party in Britain.
As it is, we felt that by standing under yet another name – and one that hasn’t seen the light of day since 2009 – and then putting it away again, we will only reinforce the idea that the socialist left is confused and split, with no single banner.
Due to these reasons, the ISN feels that it cannot support the No2EU campaign and, in the circumstances, I do not think it would be appropriate for me to participate in this evening’s discussion.
With best wishes,