By Joan Trevor
The European Anti-Capitalist Left (EACL) has had six meetings coinciding with EU summits. The first was in Lisbon in March 2000, the most recent in Athens in June 2003. The next is planned for November.
This body was initiated by the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire (LCR) (France), Red-Green Alliance (Denmark), Left Bloc (Portugal) and the Scottish Socialist Party. Groups involved now include the Socialist Workers' Party and the Socialist Party (as observer) from Britain and Rifondazione Comunista (Italy) which joined in June 2002.
The initial ambition to constitute itself as a party to stand in the June 2004 European elections looks unlikely to be fulfilled now: lack of time or lack of will? Rifondazione is simultaneously courting various Communist Parties and exploring the possibilities of a wider grouping of 'the left' that might include elements of the 'social movements'; and the LCR is negotiating a platform in France with Lutte Ouvrire.
What are the EACL' s politics?
The statement of the Madrid meeting, June 2002, summed up: "Our alternative programme is as simple, easy and clearly defined as the bosses' neo-liberal one: a full-time, stable job, a decent wage, and a liveable replacement income (in the event of unemployment, disease, disability or retirement) for everyone; radical reduction of working time without loss of pay or intensification of work, with compensatory hiring; the right to housing, education and professional training and health care, all good quality; and access to means of public transport.
"These political and social rights will be equal for all workers, native and immigrant, men and women.
"Implementing them requires: a radical extension of public services; a recasting of the state budget (including the tax system) which drastically increases social spending; and a radical redistribution of wealth and income from capital towards labour.
"For this purpose all anti-capitalist measures must be taken that are needed to control and, if necessary, expropriate private property and transform it into social, public property."
It advocates campaigning for its goals within the EU structures as far as that is possible - and, of course, "on the streets". It does not take positions on questions such as in or out of the euro, devolving policy-making on these issues to its constituent national lefts! The general tenor though is to recognise that bosses' Europe is an accomplished fact the left must get to grips with rather than to push for a return to more separate nation states.
The LCR's Franois Vercammen in a recent article pushed further in this direction: "The acceleration and deepening of the establishment of the bourgeois-imperialist state that the EU represents offers an opportunity to the organisations of the anti-capitalist left to make up for lost time."