may day protests

for a socialist europe

May Day protests have been called to coincide with the EU summit taking place in Dublin that day. The right wing media have tried to whip up a sense of hysteria around the May Day protests, talking of how 1,200 newly trained riot police are ready with riot gear and water cannons for violence from "thugs". However they have consciously tried to ignore why people will be protesting against the EU agenda in the first place.

By Cillian Gillespie

1 May will mark the accession of ten new Eastern European countries into the EU. This is being celebrated by the Fianna Fail/PD Government, which holds the EU Presidency, as a new era of progress and development for these countries and an illustration of the progressive nature of the EU.

However the anti-working class and racist anti-refugee policies promoted by this capitalist institution proves this to be a complete lie. As well as the pomp and ceremony that will undoubtedly surround the summit on 1 May a discussion will take place on the draft EU constitution that further accelerates this agenda.

Attack on living standards

All across Europe attacks are being implemented on the living standards of workers and young people. The EU has been to the forefront in promoting a neo-liberal agenda of privatisation and cutbacks of essential services and attacking conditions in the workplace. Young people in Ireland are for example forced to work in low paid temporary jobs, also as a result of this agenda cutbacks are being implemented in education.

Fortress Europe

In recent years the EU has attacked the rights of those asylum seekers and refugees who are fleeing persecution and poverty through the policy of fortress Europe. Various right wing governments across the Europe including our own have stepped up their policies of deportations. They have also made it as difficult as possible to enter European countries which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of asylum seekers. This state racism has also helped legitimise the ideas of the various far right parties that have certain electoral successes in the past few years.

EU army

While the capitalist governments of Britain, Italy and Spain all gave active support to Bush's war on Iraq countries such as France and Germany are promoting the idea of an EU army that they hope will act as a counterweight to US imperialism. The idea of such an army is being further advanced in the new EU constitution, which will be discussed at the 1 May summit. There is nothing progressive in the creation of such an army; it is promoted in order to serve the interests of the major imperialist powers in Europe.

It is vital that young people oppose this agenda and get out and protest on 1 May. Shamefully the trade union movement have called off their annual May Day march (which is usually the best kept secret in Dublin) in order not to rock the boat with the government. A protest has been called by the "Another Europe is Possible'' group that will begin at noon that day. The gardai are preparing to clamp down on the protests in order to try and deter people from protesting against the visit of George Bush to Ireland in June.

Socialist Youth will be participating in the 1 May protests and will be putting forward the need for workers and young people across Europe to take action to defend their conditions, oppose the scapegoating of asylum seekers and the further militarsiation of Europe. We will also link in with the fight for a democratic socialist Europe free from capitalist exploiation, racism and warmongers.

This article is from the April 2004 edition of Socialist Voice.

The contents list for this issue is here while back issues are available here.

More articles from the SP archives of are available in our sitemap