European Union. Balance sheet and prospects for an imperialist union. For a socialist Europe as the only real alternative!

6 Giugno 2024

Pubblichiamo un documento di analisi comune dell'Opposizione Trotskista Internazionale e della Lega per la Quinta Internazionale


The European Union was born from a concerted effort by the imperialist states of the old continent, driven by the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the aim of participating in the new division of the world market. The collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact pushed the capitalist reunification of Germany. French imperialism accepted reunification in exchange for the integration of German imperialism into a new continental pact. The European Union was born around the Franco-German pact. Its progressive enlargement has not replaced this original center of gravity, but has aggravated its contradictions. The current world scene deepens the crisis of the EU from all sides.


The social implication of the Imperialist Union has been the concerted administration of anti-worker policies on the domestic front: job insecurity, dismantling of wage indexation mechanisms, privatization of services, an attack on welfare benefits. The reduction of taxes on wealth and profits, in the context of world capitalist globalization, has accompanied the growth of public debt in the direction of finance capital. The payment of public debt and related interest has led to the reduction of social spending by the various nation-states in the fields of health, education, public welfare, and social protection. The European pacts on fiscal policies — from the Maastricht Treaty (1992) to the Fiscal Compact (2012), up to the new Stability Pact (2023) — have hinged on the agreed implementation of these policies.

All bourgeois governments, of all political colors, starting with the governments of the imperialist countries, have administered anti-working class policies. Center-left or social-democratic governments have led the way on several occasions (Blair in Great Britain in the decade 1997-2007, Schröder in Germany between 1998 and 2005, the long center-left legislature in Italy from 1996 to 2001).

The European working class has paid heavily for the social costs of these policies. Its social achievements have come under attack everywhere. Inequalities in income and employment levels have widened overall between and within countries. Traditionally underdeveloped regions have confirmed or worsened their marginality (parts of East Germany, Southern Italy, Andalusia, Brittany). Peripheral countries such as Greece have undergone profound economic and social destructuring in order to pay the foreign debt to German, French and Italian banks. The bulk of Eastern Europe, progressively integrated into the EU, after having undergone a massive destruction of industry and social security in all countries, differentiated between a more developed North and West (Czech Republic, to a lesser extent Poland, Slovenia and the Baltic countries) and an East and South reduced to a reserve of low-wage labor.

Ultimately, the real “success” of the European Union has been against the wage-earners and the poor population of the continent.


This is the Union’s only “success”. The ambitions of European imperialism were in fact very soon confronted by an adverse international scene

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the strong revival of US imperialist militarism in a unipolar key, also through NATO control, forced European imperialisms either to a subordinate alignment (as in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan) or to a passive differentiation (as in France and Germany over the invasion of Iraq). However, in the same period, Germany and France aimed at establishing the EU as a global power, with the Lisbon agenda and the introduction of the Euro as a potential alternative to the dollar, with closer links to Russia (in the case of Germany a “strategic partnership”). But this failed due to inner contractions within the EU and within the European imperialist bourgeoisies. The axis between US imperialism and British imperialism also exacerbated these internal contradictions.

The great capitalist crisis of 2008 dealt a further blow to the Union. The double continental recession (2008-2011) and the sovereign debt crisis widened the conflict of interests between Germany and the Mediterranean imperialisms (France, Italy, Spain) around fiscal policies. But, above all, the rapid growth of China as an imperialist power after 2008 and the new planetary centrality of the inter-imperialist clash between the US and China have progressively marginalized the weight of the EU. The imperialist maturation of Putin’s Russia and its power politics, culminating in the invasion of Ukraine (February 2022), have finally deepened its crisis.


The combination of Russian imperialist pressure, the crisis of US imperialism’s world hegemony, and global competition with the US and China (and between the US and China), presents European imperialisms with new challenges of historic significance
: the need to develop their own military force, still integrated into NATO, but capable of a new distinct presence on the various strategic chessboards; the need for a leap in investments in the ecological and digital transition, the need to stimulate the centralization and concentration of capital on a pan-European level.

For this reason, a transnational sector of the European big bourgeoisie and its political personnel (Mario Draghi) are pressing for a strong acceleration of the EU in the direction of the advance of its integration process. Starting with the proposal to relaunch continental public debt.

But the same global emergency that drives European integration deepens the contradictions that undermine it.

This undermining of national self-interest goes along with some danger of new EU-exit policies according to the model of Brexit for the UK. Brexit, on the other hand, is a negative model in several aspects. For the UK economy, with its high dependance on trade with the EU and its special relationship to Ireland, Brexit has turned out to be a road to further decline. Also, for the working class, the exit from the EU didn’t mean an end to the neoliberal attacks, but was a political disaster (four Conservative prime ministers since 2019 and Labour in the hands of a strongly pro-capitalist leadership). It demonstrates that any kind of bourgeois-led national alternative to the EU will lead to an acceleration of attacks, because the economic and political difficulties faced by a smaller capital outside the EU will necessitate an even harsher regime of capitalist exploitation.

Each European national imperialism cultivates its own self-interest. German imperialism opposes any new European debt by relying on the superiority of its state budget: hence the allocation of 100 billion for Germany’s military investment. French imperialism, struck by the collapse of its area of influence in Africa, demands recourse to continental debt according to the interests of its war industry and its military hegemony in Europe, in open competition with Germany. Italian imperialism makes a common front with France in asking for recourse to European debt, in the face of its budgetary difficulties, but plays alongside US imperialism to obtain recognition of its own role in the Middle East and Africa, to the detriment of French imperialism.

All European imperialisms are increasing their military budgets by participating in the world arms race. But the leverage of national state budgets, which are very different in terms of size and levels of debt, acts as a factor of further divergence in the EU. On the other hand, the new Stability and Growth Pact, under German pressure, has preserved the discipline of public debt reduction and deficit spending ceilings in a different form.


The gap is widening not only between national imperialisms within the EU, but between the EU as a whole and the competing powers of the US and China
. On the other hand, the expansion of protectionism, linked to the clash between imperialist poles, strikes at the traditional strength of the EU as the first exporting pole. The overall result is the deepening of the European crisis.

The Union’s enlargement plans are also facing crippling contradictions. On the one hand, the pressure of Russian imperialism suggests the search for the enlargement of the Union in the direction of Ukraine and the Balkan countries that have already been candidates and waiting for some time (Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia). On the other hand, the criterion of unanimity in decision-making is an obstacle to further enlargement. And that’s not all. Georgia, too, shows signs of following Ukraine into becoming a bone of contention between the EU and Russia.

Ukraine’s very integration into the EU is confronted with the enormity of the costs of reconstruction, the impact on the continental redistribution of agricultural subsidies, the risky military implications in the confrontation with Russian imperialism. The competitive race between European national imperialisms for bilateral agreements with Ukraine covers not only the gap of interests in the future division of its reconstruction, but also the paralysis of the EU’s prospects.


In 1915 Lenin declared that on capitalist grounds European unification (“United States of Europe”) is “either impossible or reactionary”. The experience of the last 30 years has confirmed this truth on both sides
. A complete European federal union is impeded by the divergent interests of historically consolidated imperialist states. At the same time, every step forward of the Union in the field of capitalist integration has resulted in an attack on the working class, on the oppressed sectors, on their most basic demands. In no way has the Union of European imperialisms assumed or can assume a progressive character.

All the more so today, the whole evolution of the world scene is falling upon the European proletariat and the oppressed masses. The leap in military investments in all European countries, the public call for the war economy, the plans to resume compulsory military conscription in some countries, the military missions in the Middle East (Red Sea) alongside the Zionist state, are leading to new cuts in social services. The energy crisis and protectionist winds are translating into rising prices and a new blow to wages. The payment of public, state and/or European debt, combined with the crisis of state budgets, undermines environmental investments in energy conversion. The increasing militarization of public opinion affects democratic rights, starting with the criminalization of anti-Zionist mobilization (particularly in Germany and France).

War-related migrations are becoming the occasion for new xenophobic campaigns of pushbacks, forced repatriations, and administrative detentions. At the same time, European participation in the race for Africa’s new raw materials is combined with the fight against migratory flows at the outset through criminal agreements with the regimes concerned. The “European solidarity” that fails on the internal redistribution of migrants is realized in their rejection at the border.


All the dominant parties of the old continent manage, in various forms, these basic political dynamics
on a national and European scale.

What is at stake in the upcoming European elections is the uncertain balance of administration of bourgeois policies in the EU institutions.

The EPP, the S&D, the Liberals and the Greens, thanks to their parliamentary majority, administer the current European Commission. This “Grand Coalition” is likely to continue under a second Von der Leyen term as head of the European Commission, but the balance of forces will shift to the right with significant losses by the Greens and liberals. In addition, the EPP will try to integrate at least important sections of the rightwing European “conservatives and reformers” (ECR), most importantly the Fratelli D’Italia (FdI). Some sectors of it reserve the possibility of negotiating its own entry into the current majority led by von der Leyen. The sovereigntist extreme right (Identity and Democracy) claims its participation in a center-right European government in opposition to European social democracy, but clashes with the current antipathy of the EPP towards the German and French extreme right.

In any case, the interests of their own national imperialisms, and domestic political calculations, dominate European politics. The political struggle between bourgeois parties in Europe remains predominantly national. On the other hand, unlike in the previous decade, no major political force in Europe — apart from sections of the sovereigntist extreme right — is now demanding an exit from the EU and/or the Euro. It is an indirect reflection of the international political emergency.


At the same time, the course of dominant policies is experiencing a widespread crisis of consensus
. With the exception of the Baltic countries and the states exposed to the Russian frontier (Poland), the campaign of the ruling circles in favour of the war economy has not succeeded in hegemonizing public opinion. Pacifist sentiment (sometimes “anti-Ukrainian”) on the one hand, and precious progressive solidarity with the Palestinian people on the other — both prevalent in public opinion — measure, to varying degrees, the crisis of foreign policy consensus in the imperialist countries of the Union.

It is no different for environmental policies: the postponement or self-reduction of the commitments announced in the Green Deal, under pressure from employers’ organizations in industry and agribusiness; the placing of the burden of the announced measures for the conversion of production and energy on the shoulders of workers and consumers; The criteria for the distribution of agricultural subsidies to the benefit of large farms, have resulted in widespread resistance or open opposition from large popular sectors on opposite sides.

The deep crisis of the health and social security systems, aggravated by the demographic crisis and the jump in military investments, and the inflationary pressure on wages in the face of abnormal growth in profits, feed the discontent of large sectors of the masses.

The instability of the political balance in Europe is a reflection of the crisis of consensus.

With the partial exception of Italy, all the main imperialist countries of the old continent are encountering increasing political difficulties on the domestic front. The German government is undermined by the deep crisis of the SPD and by the internal contradictions of the “traffic light” majority. The French government is affected by the internal crisis of the Macronist party (En Marche), and no longer has a stable parliamentary majority. The Spanish government, which survived the early elections, is experiencing a new crisis of consensus on the front of the unresolved Catalan question. The government of Great Britain is going through a historic crisis of the Conservative party that proved to be unable and utterly divided in managing the disaster of Brexit.

In several countries, the traditional pendulum of alternation has been shaken or destabilized by processes of political polarization.


The rise of the sovereigntist right and far right in several European countries is a reflection of the crisis in the old continent.

Sovereignism, differently declined, is a candidate to represent declassed sectors of the petty and middle bourgeoisie (as in the case of the tractor movement) but also to build petty/middle-class hegemony over large popular sectors and wage labor, in the suburbs and in the deep provinces. It is a rightist attempt to capitalize on the joint crisis of the liberal establishment and the European labor movement. Unlike in the past, the sovereigntist right in the imperialist countries combines the old score of militarist and Atlanticist nationalism with that of an imperialist Europeanism “more autonomous from the USA” and in dialogue with Russian imperialism.

It is the demand for a confederal Europe of independent states, as a Judeo-Christian power, an enemy of immigrants and Muslims. The aim is to connect with the “anti-American” pacifist sentiment of European public opinion on a reactionary basis.

The electoral consensus of the right in significant sectors of the European industrial working class is a measure of the detachment of the old center-left social blocs under the pressure of the capitalist crisis.

The shift to the right and even extreme right spectrum in these elections, as well as in many national elections, represents a major threat to the European working class, as well as to socially and racially oppressed strata, and also in regard to a further blockage of the already very limited ecological policies necessary to stop climate disaster.

These reactionaries represent this themselves, in a contradictory way, on a European level, both in their political announcements and organizationally. In the outgoing parliament they were represented essentially by the ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists) and the ID (Identity and Democracy). While there is no clear-cut division between them and constant regroupment between them, these factions represent two poles of reactionary EU-politics. The one pole, represented by Le Pen’s RN and FdI, combines populist rhetoric against, e.g. the current EU migration politics with an essential willingness to play a part in the mainstream capitalist project of EU-capital. The other pole, at the moment represented by the Alterantive for Germany (AfD) and the Austrain Freedom Partry (FPÖ), is more open in demands for dissolution of the EU in its current form and also threats of Brexit-type referenda for new exits from the EU. While the AfD is growing in its mass support in Germany, there is still no important faction of German capital that would move to the perspective of a German-led breakup of the EU and an alliance with Russia (as the “think tanks” of the AfD are openly propagating).


In recent years, the European working class has experienced very different dynamics of struggle
. France has experienced repeated processes of mobilization and radicalization over the past decade. Italy, on the other hand, remains marked by a prolonged and profound retreat of the working class. A similar retreat has swept over the Greek proletariat after the traumatic experience of the Syriza government.

A strong resurgence of wage struggles has swept Britain over the past year, marking a significant major awakening after the historic defeat suffered forty years ago at the hands of the Thatcher government, though the trade-union bureaucracy has kept control of these often one-day actions amd limited their gains to below-inflation settlements. Movements of struggle on the wage terrain have also taken place, on a more limited scale, in France and Germany.

But, on the whole, the level of mobilization of the European proletariat, through the responsibility of its leaderships, is today far below the needs and the objective scope of the confrontation. Both on the trade-union terrain and on the more general political level.

Distrust and hostility towards militarism are still predominantly passive. The Palestine solidarity movements, which are of great political importance, have registered mass dimensions in Great Britain, widespread youth participation in several countries, a general harmony with the majority sentiment of European public opinion; But the bulk of the organized labor movement is still absent. The environmental movement (Fridays For Future), which had experienced a strong expansion between 2018 and 2021 in important sectors of European youth, has also experienced a declining parabola, due to the absence of a class reference. The important democratic mobilization in Germany against the far right in the first months of 2024 has been subordinated to the SPD-led government and therefore deprived of a large part of its energy and potential.

The leading bureaucracies of the European workers’ and trade-union movement have had and continue to have a decisive responsibility in all this, subordinating the working class everywhere to the needs of their own bourgeoisies.

All the more reason why there is no continental platform of struggle and no militant action on a European scale. Even the ETUC’s criticism of the new European Stability Pact is limited to innocuous pronouncements. The passivity in the field of countering militarism and the failure to respond to the call of the Palestinian trade unions for mobilization against Israel, are a measure of the profound co-responsibility of the trade-union bureaucracies with European imperialism.


The continental political left, in turn, reveals its complete subordination to the new international framework.

European social democracy, in different forms, has managed, or manages, imperialist politics with governmental roles. At the level of the European Union, it does this in alliance with the EPP and the Liberals and Greens, on a pro-European/Atlanticist line. Both within the different national contexts
. In Germany, the SPD leads the government of German imperialism at the moment of its militarist turn. In Spain, the PSOE directs the government of Spanish imperialism and subordinates the workers’ movement to it through a policy of trade-union consultation. In France, the SP suffered the destructive effects of its role in government over the previous decade until the collapse of its mass ties. In Italy, the space of social democracy has been occupied since the 1990s by a liberal-bourgeois formation born from the ashes of the old Stalinist party and traditionally linked to the establishment (PDS, then DS, finally PD). In Great Britain, the Labour Party is running for government with a new Blairite liberal twist after having archived Corbyn’s brief “reformist” interlude.

The parties of the European Left, which in the 1990s and 2000s sought their own space to the left of liberal social democracy, are victims of their own ambitions for government. Rifondazione Comunista destroyed itself almost twenty years ago with its involvement in the government of Romano Prodi (2006-2008) and his anti-worker policies. Syriza sacrificed the demand for a breakthrough in the struggle against austerity during the mass strike wave of 2012-2015 on the altar of the austerity government (2015-2019), and is now hit by a deep crisis and disarticulation. Podemos has largely dispersed the consensus gathered after the mobilizations of the Indignados (2011) with its continued participation in the governments of Spanish imperialism (since 2019). In Germany, Die Linke, though in opposition, voted after October 7 for the pro-Zionist policies of the government of German imperialism and suffered an important split from the sovereigntist and populist sides (Sahra Wagenknecht’s “BSW For Reason and Justice”). The French NUPES has disintegrated in the wake of the “critical” alignment of the Communist Party (PCF) with Macron’s law and order policies and his Republican Front in defense of Israel. While Mélenchon’s France Insoumise preserves its own version of “left-wing” nationalist populism, dominated by the personal ambitions of its leader. Finally, Jeremy Corbyn, who ascended to the top of the British Labour Party (2015-2020) on the basis of an anti-Blairite reformist program, sacrificed the militant consensus he had gathered to unity with the liberal right wing of the Labour Party, ending up being sabotaged by it with false accusations of antisemitism, and suffered humiliating defeat in the 2019 election.

On the whole, the pretense of building a new left-wing social democracy on a continental scale has collapsed under the weight of governmental drifts and/or the pressures of national imperialism. The ideological banner of the ‘social, democratic and peaceful Europe’ has been and is only the ideological cover for this policy of rotten compromise.

Another sector of the European left, mostly of Stalinist extraction, has espoused campist positions, with support for the new Russian and Chinese imperialisms, presented as a “progressive” alternative to NATO. The alignment has translated into support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, either explicitly and directly or in a disguised version of the pacifist type. The campist spectrum is varied, with internal articulations that are also very different from each other. Its extreme wing has resulted in red-brownism, in open synergy with extreme rightwing sovereigntist circles and reactionary positions. The so-called “Anti-Imperialist Platform” is the main place of international aggregation of the extreme component of campism. This aggregation led to the internal split within the international Stalinist area, with the birth of the new pole of “European Communist Action” around the anti-campist positions of the Greek KKE.

The internal disintegration of the Stalinist movement is a byproduct of the new imperialist polarization on a world scale. And it calls into question, once again, the need for a basic historical balance sheet of Stalinism.

In the European elections, the parties of social democracy present themselves as the best champions of the European capitalist unifications, at the doctors of the sickening European Union, backing the New Cold War against Russia and China, the massive rearming, the sealing off of Fortress Europe and the new anti-immigration laws. Just as on the national terrain, they follow a policy of social-chauvinism and class collaboration on the European level, closely coordinated with the trade-union bureaucracies who sell the workers interests for a few “social” breadcrumbs from the European Commission’s table. While most of these parties still are bourgeois workers’ parties with organic links to the organized working-class movement, we generally do not give any support to these parties in the European elections.

In a number of countries, the reformist European Left Parties present themselves as a social, progressive, antimilitarist and antiracist alternative to the governing parties in the EU and its states and to the Grand Coalition in the EU and the far right. We do not give any support to their reformist, in fact left bourgeois programs. But we recognize the fact that in a number of countries, the more class-conscious workers, trade-unionists and activists of progressive movements will try to express their will to fight exploitation, racism, militarism and imperialism by voting for these parties. Where they represent a significant section of the working class and where they do not stand in an electoral pact with small petit-bourgeois or bourgeois formations, we give critical electoral support to these parties. We call on these parties, their members, and voters to engage in joint struggle against the attack by their national governments and the incoming European Commission, while at the same time openly criticizing their reformist programs and strategy.

Only in a few European countries, anticapitalist organizations like the NPA-R in France stand in the elections. We call for a vote for these parties, without hiding differences, calling on them not only to engage in joint actions against the upcoming attacks, but also to engage in organized discussion with the aim to overcome political differences on the basis of a revolutionary program and struggle for a Socialist Europe.


The socialist perspective is the only historically progressive solution to the European crisis. In opposition to both liberal-bourgeois Europeanism and reactionary sovereignism.

Only the working class can unite Europe on a progressive basis
. In the capitalist and imperialist framework, the old continent is condemned to decline, in the grip of world polarization between old and new imperialist powers. Within this framework, none of the basic demands of the working class and the oppressed masses can be satisfied. The capitalist crisis and the collapse of the USSR have long since closed the historical space for reform in Europe. All the demands of the proletariat and of the progressive movements of the old continent (social, environmental, gender, antiracist, antimilitarist) pose the need for an anticapitalist rupture. This is the perspective of a workers’ government, in every country and on a European scale. This is the perspective of the Socialist United States of Europe.

This slogan is not a propagandistic improvisation. It was the slogan of the communist movement in its revolutionary years. The Third Communist International formally assumed it in 1923, following the French occupation of the Ruhr, against the poison of imperialist nationalism. Stalinism cancelled it along with the entire communist program.

Today, the new world context of inter-imperialist confrontation, the outbreak of war in the heart of Europe, the general arms race, reinforce the relevance of this historical perspective. Against every kind of Atlanticism, imperialist Europeanism, nationalist sovereignism, campism.

Our defense of Ukraine from the war of invasion of Russian imperialism moves from a point of view of full autonomy from all imperialisms. First of all, from imperialism at home. US and British imperialism, the national imperialisms of the EU, are leveraging the war in Ukraine to promote NATO enlargement (in Europe and the Pacific), to propel and justify their own arms race (infinitely greater than the “aid” to Ukraine), to prepare for future wars against rival imperialisms. The economic sanctions against Russia themselves are part of this framework. At the same time, Russian imperialism and its reactionary regime see the invasion of Ukraine as part of the reconstruction of its Great Russian area of influence in Europe itself, and the revival of its power politics in the Middle East and Africa, in alliance today with Chinese imperialism.

The workers of the European Union and Russia have no interest in taking part, on one side or the other, in the division of the world between old and new imperialisms. On the contrary: only the struggle against all imperialisms can safeguard their own independent interest, starting with their own aspiration for peace. All the more reason to oppose any sending of NATO troops to Ukraine. In the event that the war in Ukraine turns into a direct war between Russia and NATO, our position would be revolutionary defeatism on both sides.

If you want peace, prepare for revolution”, declared Karl Liebknecht. The perspective of the workers’ government and the Socialist United States of Europe expresses this outcome.


The prospect of a Socialist United States of Europe goes beyond the perimeter of the current Union
. The political geography of today’s Europe is the result of the decompositions and recompositions carried out and negotiated by the bourgeois powers after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and capitalist restoration in the USSR. On the one hand, NATO imperialism, and on the other, Russian imperialism, are pitting “their” proletariats against each other in accordance with their respective imperialist interests and the arms race. To unite the proletarians against their own imperialisms is to fight to unite Europe beyond its present borders. For a united Europe from the Atlantic to Vladivostok. For a European Socialist Federation. It is the only framework in which it will be possible to resolve, on a progressive basis, the same myriad of national issues, large or small, that run through the Balkan peninsula, Eastern Europe, and the Russian Federation. These questions cannot be resolved either under the command of the EU imperialisms or under Great-Russian domination.

In the EU itself, the old borders between the main nation-states have no progressive function. They are maintained by the interests of the various bourgeoisies, which use the propagandist rhetoric of Europe when they have to impose sacrifices on their workers or negotiate aid for their banks, but they hold on to their own nation-states as instruments of internal order, as business committees and clearinghouses for their own conflicts of interest, as procurers of orders and profits on the world market, and as a military instrument of intervention or the forced return of refugees.

The mere obliteration of the old artificial borders and the parasitism of the national bourgeois states would in itself represent a great leap forward in the social wealth available to all European workers. Democratic planning of the European economy that brought together the productive power of the entire continent for the benefit of the workers would be an enormous step forward. Atavistic territorial imbalances (from the southern Italian question to the Spanish south) could be fully addressed within a great continental plan for work. The unresolved and unsolvable national questions in the context of the EU and capitalist Europe (the Irish question, the Basque question, the Catalan question, etc.) could be resolved within the European socialist federal framework, with the full right of self-determination of every oppressed nationality, within the unifying call of a continental community that is no longer oppressive: a European Republic of Workers’ Councils.

The Europe of working men and women would in turn be an instrument of support for the oppressed workers and peoples of the world against capitalism and imperialism. In particular, full support for the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people against the Zionist state, and of the Kurdish people against the states that oppress them, would be a message of liberation to the oppressed masses of the entire Arab nation and the Middle East, and a strong encouragement to their struggle.

The very development of the struggle for a workers’ government in Europe could give a strong impetus to the international workers’ movement at all latitudes and on all continents.


Only the socialist perspective of the workers’ government can liberate a platform for the unifying struggle of the proletariat, in every European country and on a continental scale, capable of uniting around it the progressive demands for emancipation and liberation of the oppressed sectors of society.

The political and class struggle naturally takes different forms from country to country. The articulation of the platform of struggle cannot disregard this principle of reality. However, the contents of the class struggle transcend national borders, even more so today. The European Union has united the bourgeoisie against labor. It is therefore a question of uniting labor against the European bourgeoisie. The struggle in every country for a workers’ government implies a framework of common and unifying demands.

- For the general increase in wages and the sliding scale of wages
- For the cancellation of all laws of job insecurity: equal work, equal rights
- For the cancellation of all anti-immigrant legislation; open the European borders to all refugees with full recognition of their citizenship, welfare, housing, and employment rights.
- For the division of work among all through the sliding scale of working hours
- For a grand plan of new jobs and public investments in environmental remediation, energy conversion, renewable energies, financed by the progressive taxation of large capitals, profits, rents
- For a grand plan of public investment in health, education, and the socialization of the domestic economy, financed by the cancellation of public debt to the banks, and their nationalization without compensation for large shareholders
- For the expropriation without compensation and under workers’ control of companies that lay off, pollute, and violate trade-union rights
- For the expropriation of large ecclesiastical properties (banking, financial, real estate), the cancellation of all clerical privileges
- For the repeal of all discriminatory laws and measures against women and LGBTQIA+ people
- No to all increases of military spending and arms drives. Not a cent for the bourgeois armies, abolish NATO and withdrawl of all troops from foreign operations, expropriation of the war industry under workers’ control
- For the nationalization under control of workers in the pharmaceutical industry, the chemical industry, the large food industry, large farms, large-scale distribution
- For nationalization under the control of workers in the railway, air, port, and logistics systems
- For the nationalization of the big monopolies in all strategic sectors of production, starting with the automobile and steel industries, the energy industry, and telecommunications

These measures have an overall significance: they constitute a systemic alternative to market anarchy and capitalist competition and, therefore, to the destruction of social rights, environmental devastation, oppression, and the dynamics of war, which they bring with them. They do not point to a “new economic policy,” according to the old reformist rhetoric, but to a different structure of the economy based on the satisfaction of society’s needs according to a plan democratically defined by the workers and under their control. An alternative of society and power.

The struggle for these demands in every country starts from the elementary demands of the working class and the oppressed masses, and must always be anchored in them. At the same time, it forms a bridge between these demands and the need for a workers’ government
. It is the only government which, by breaking with capitalism, can fully realize these demands and reorganize society on a new basis. The struggle for a workers’ government, based on their organization and strength, is everywhere at the heart of this program. Its natural and central crowning. It is also the guiding principle of the full autonomy of the workers’ movement from any capitalist government.


The foundation of this program of struggle lies not in the subjective consciousness of the working class and the oppressed masses, but in the objective condition of society
. The subjective consciousness of the broad masses has experienced a more or less profound retreat. But objectively, only an anticapitalist rupture can reopen a horizon of progress for humanity. It is a matter of leveraging this truth to bring it against the tide in the subjective consciousness of the masses. To bring the workers’ movement up to speed with the current turning point.

The relevance of the anticapitalist program is also of a political nature. The exhaustion of reformist space under the pressure of the social crisis and the dynamics of war calls for radical solutions. Either such a solution is imposed by the working class on the anticapitalist terrain or it risks being imposed by more or less reactionary forces against the working class. The crisis of the traditional forms of liberal alternation, the eruption of great processes of political polarization, testifies to the relevance of this crossroads. The very growth of the sovereigntist right in Europe is the measure of the crisis of the workers’ movement in preparing its own solution to the crisis of capitalism. Resolving this crisis is therefore a decisive part of the battle against reaction.

Moreover, only a radical struggle on a platform of unifying struggles can break up the reactionary social blocs, recompose an alternative social bloc, overturn the balance of forces, reopen the political scenario from below. Only a radical struggle can snatch partial results and conquests along the way. Only by raising the question of power can the bourgeoisie be induced to make concessions. Reforms, as Lenin said, are a byproduct of revolution. All the more so in a time of crisis.

It is not, therefore, a question of contrasting this program with the immediate objectives of the movements. But to bring this program into every movement. To bring its immediate objectives back to an anticapitalist perspective. It applies to the workers’ movement as it does to any progressive, gender, environmental, antiracist, antimilitarist, antifascist movement. All progressive, social, democratic and peace demands call for a break with capitalism and imperialism. Hence the need for a central reference to the working class as the central force of an alternative. At the same time, the working class will be able to fulfill its revolutionary role only if it takes into its program all the demands for the emancipation and liberation of the oppressed masses of society. Out of any economic retreat.


The program is a function of the orientation of the masses and the development of their consciousness. But the development of mass consciousness requires the presence of an organized vanguard that intervenes in the working class, in the mass organizations, in every progressive movement.

A vanguard united by program, by a common understanding of the general course of world events, by a common historical memory of its own class reference, on a national and international level, can have a real impact in addressing the acute crisis of leadership of the European proletariat we have described. This vanguard against the tide is an urgent political necessity. A global necessity, a necessity in Europe.

The old reformist and/or campist left that promised solutions and failed to deliver has been exhaustedthroughout the continent. The reconstruction of a revolutionary, anticapitalist, internationalist left in every country and on a European scale is, today, the central task of revolutionary Marxists in Europe.

International Trotskyist Opposition, League for the Fifth International