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Friday the 13th

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Friday the 13th


That there was good participation in the Irish referendum on the "Treaty of Lisbon" and that the "No" won by a wide margin is old news.

However, nearly no commentary from the union point of view has been published so far. This may have something to do with the fact that Messrs. Berlusconi; Murdoch etc. are allergic to snotty workers who ask for pay hikes, shorter hours and other such horrors.

For the past twenty years there has been talk about reforming our Institutions; Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice, and then Constitution.

One general trend of these changes has been towards more modern forms of institutional democracy; clearly a good thing.

Along side with this, there were constant attempts to reduce the influence of the smaller Member States which were euphemistically called "streamlining decision making" etc.

The ins and outs of this question are too complex to be discussed exhaustively in a few paragraphs. Anyway, that question is for citizens, and not just politicians to answer.

The Constitution was soundly defeated at referenda in the Netherlands and France. At that time a wag suggested that Jacque Chirac could have "saved the Constitution by threatening to resign if were accepted".

Our predecessor, the left wing of a certain union, published a more serious evaluation entitled "No to Economic Cannibalism", parts of which still hold true. Naturally the bosses and their politicians ignored our advice.

Sleaze being more to their taste than democracy, they repackaged very nearly all of the Constitution's content as the "Treaty of Lisbon". Seen from this angle, the "NO" begins to look more like a "YES" to democracy.

But some of the published reactions were anything but democratic. The moaning about how "1%" were holding things up is silly and/or dishonest.

It shows how little the spin doctors have ever heard of the Shape-Shubik power index, which is a rudimentary notion in the scientific theory of strategy.

It is also very probable that the majority of the Europeans would have voted the way the Irish did.

Those who disagree with us are invited to organize and win a referendum in Germany with its 80 million EU citizens.

Some politicians and journalists slurred Ireland, often about how its recent economic growth was due to the generous EU subsidies more than to the hard and smart work of its people.

If subsidies are so great, then how come the EU agriculture is still not competitive after receiving far more tax EUROs than the Irish economy can dream of?

Others even threatened to punish Irish voters by sidelining or openly excluding their country from the EU.

Well, why don't these ladies and gentlemen emigrate to Zimbabwe where Robert Mugabe is practicing their kind of democracy?

The Treaty of Rome introduced the famous four freedoms; goods, services, capital and workers were to circulate without obstruction across the borders of the EEC6 Member States.

That last freedom is also the least one; it means little more than an unemployed European may search and compete for jobs in all the Member States.

That is a good start, but it just does not go far enough. So it is fair to say that at least three quarters of the process called European integration has favoured the agenda of business, especially big business.

The two solid achievements of the EU, the Customs Union and the Monetary Union, have enriched billionaires and mega corporations without diverting any defined share of the "EU dividend" to workers, or at least helping them to fight for it by putting pro-trade-union laws in place.

Without ever reading the text of the Treaties, ordinary people can tell that something is not right by looking at how real salaries and wages have fallen. Given the distressing choice between national and EU politicians who do nothing for them, many react by voting for people whose names they can at least pronounce and spell.

They are not the only ones who doubt that our Institutions are effectively protecting the "little guy" from unregulated globalisation; ATTAC sees two major crusaders; the US government and the EU Commission.

So ordinary people are not being anti-European in the referenda; they are rationally reacting to the fact that workers are not stakeholders in the EU as it stands (and stumbles) today.

It would be nice if, during the second half century of its existence, the EU did as much for average people as it did for big business during its youth. That would be revolutionary, so we will not hold our breath waiting for a 180 degree turn.

It is debatable whether Europe is or is not ready for industrial democracy and a more egalitarian social order today.

But fundamental rights have played a major role in its history for centuries; remember such dates as 1215 (Magna Carta), 1649 (English Revolution) 1789 (French Revolution).

The first plank of the SID Platform is about the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The Treaty of Lisbon would have explicitly given this Charter the force of law; something that even SID cannot criticize.

It is true enough that the EU's Courts are making more and more use of the Charter as a check list of citizens' fundamental rights, so that the loss suffered at Dublin is not catastrophic.

But raising it to the level of supreme constitutional law would have been an excellent political signal and it would have simplified our legal system.

SID is easily more democratic than 26 Member State governments and invites you to vote in this poll, after you have read the Charter of (your) Fundamental Rights at , even if you are not Irish.

Michael ASHBROOK
Secretary General of SID



Please vote





The Charter of Fundamental Rights should have the force of directly applicable law throughout the EU.



No

Undecided

Yes



View Results

(Votes: 51)





S olidarity with those who work for their money
I ndependence from those who don't
D emocracy in all decisions taken by groups of sane, adult humans


SID - Solidarity, Independence, Democracy is an independent Trade Union of all EU Institutions employees (Je souhaite adhérer au SID…)

Created by: admin last modification: Tuesday 10 of February, 2009 [23:45:16 UTC] by admin


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