Joe Higgins: Why I’m Standing for Euro Election

THE REASON I am standing in the Euro Elections in Dublin is to give the people of the capital city the possibility of a clear socialist alternative to all the establishment political parties.

There is no doubt that the current economic catastrophe will be foremost in the minds of people as they vote on 5 June in both the Local and Euro elections. They will want to punish Fianna Fail for its’ pro-speculation policies that engineered the huge property bubble that has inevitably burst with horrific consequences. They will also want to hit back at both Fianna Fail and the Green Party for their current policies of making working people pay for this crisis while bailing out the banks and the speculators.

Despite their posturing as the parties in opposition, that too is the policy of Fine Gael and the Labour Party. In government they could continue largely the same policies because of course they also fall at the feet of the capitalist market and obey its rules.

The Socialist Party stands for a completely different approach. We say that working people have no responsibility for the crisis. Therefore they should not pay a cent toward bailing out those who caused it. Where are the billions in profits which were raked in during the boom? Some tied up in toxic assets no doubt, but the bulk salted away safely. Those funds are now needed to maintain public services and we demand them back.

Our campaign for the Euro elections puts the alternative clearly out there – an economy that is run for the benefit of the majority in society.

This means banks would be taken into public ownership with democratic control as a basis for a plan of regeneration. It means nationalising companies like SR Technics which is sacking 1150 aircraft engineers despite having its order books full for the next there years. It means taking  control from the big corporations and financial institutions which dominate the crazed workings of the financial markets and stock exchanges.

Although the focus will be overwhelmingly on the crisis at home, we will also raise many crucial issues relevant to Europe. We will stand by our criticism of the present European Union as a structure dominated by the interests of the major EU based multinational corporations. We will explain again how the Lisbon Treaty was another mechanism to further the agenda of privatisation and neo liberalism in the interests of corporate profits.

We will also explain that the militarisation of the EU and an increase in armaments spending envisaged in Lisbon is not the way to achieve peace in our world.

We will counterpose to the Europe of big business, a socialist Europe democratically run by working people in the interests of the majority. On the basis of co-operation across borders between genuine workers’ democracies it would be entirely possible to build a Europe that would give every individual a dignified life, excellent public services and a future of peace.