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Lisbon: Round Two - A bosses charter, with or without 'guarantees'

category national | eu | feature author Sunday June 21, 2009 07:19author by Joe Higgins MEP - Socialist Partyauthor email info at joehiggins dot eu Report this post to the editors

The genuine left has a key role to play in fighting Lisbon II

featured image
Joe says "NO"

Joe Higgins MEP on why he'll be campaigning against the rerun of the Lisbon Treaty and how this provides a real challenge and opportunity for the left.

Less than two weeks after the Euro Election campaign a Euro related charade is about to be visited on the Irish people. We are now being told that the FiannaFail/Green Party Coalition Government will present us with the Lisbon Treaty for a vote in late September or early October as soon as the EU Heads of State agree ‘legal guarantees’ apparently clarifying what the Treaty really means.

Lest anybody forgot, we voted on this Treaty in June of last year and by a convincing majority the Irish electorate rejected it. However, that did not please the Euro elite which was shocked at our insolence in daring to take a view different to what it has determined in our interests.

The Euro elite is comprised of the corporate or big business establishment within the European Union and the political establishment which represents it in the parliaments of Member States and in the Euro Parliament also.

The corporate establishment wields enormous influence over the Member State governments and the EU Commission as well as over other EU institutions. It has really determined the neo liberal direction that EU economic policy has been driven in over the last two decades, driving policies such as the privatisation of public enterprises and deregulation.

Initially presented as an exercise in tidying up the structures and workings of the EU, the Lisbon Treaty is now seen, correctly, as far more than that. In fact it encapsulates the strategy of the Euro elite to increase its economic and political influence across the globe. That is why we are being pressurised to vote again so that we facilitate its goal. And of course, the Irish corporate and political establishments are using the same script as their European counterparts.

Only two years ago we had another vote in this State in the form of a General Election. And considering what the major political parties promised to the voters in the economic arena contrasted with the disaster that has befallen us, there could certainly be grounds for a rerun of that election. That’s not on offer however!

Much ado is now being made of the so called legal guarantees that the Irish Government is about to secure so as to make the second coming of Lisbon palatable. It is a cruel deception of course.

Nothing is being changed in the Lisbon Treaty. It is exactly the same document that we voted on first time around. We are told that the guarantees will relate to issues such as ‘abortion, neutrality, tax and workers’ rights.’ I have news for the government. Those of us who opposed the Lisbon Treaty from the perspective of the left never raised the big majority of the issues that we are now being told we are to be reassured about.

They may have been raised by some others in opposition but they were always red herrings. What this means is that debate leading up to the second vote on Lisbon may be more narrowly focused around key issues that are intrinsic to the Treaty. This is to be welcomed as it means that we can have a serious examination of issues such as protection of public services and EU militarisation.

We have only had sight of the proposed text of the guarantees for a very short time. However, the fundamental text on which the future direction of the European Union will be based is the essential text of the Lisbon Treaty itself. This is what will count when the European Court of Justice comes to make decisions on controversial issues such as workers’ right to organise and mobilise against predatory contractors who would abuse migrant workers in undercutting agreed wage levels and working conditions in a particular industry.

Press reports indicate that there are serious objections within a number of EU Member States to giving any assurances on the question of strengthening workers’ rights. This is not surprising.

We pointed out in the course of the first Lisbon Treaty campaign that many false claims were being made by its supporters to the effect that it would rule out automatically the exploitation of workers and that judgements that were given by the European Court of Justice giving contractors the right to undermine agreed wages and conditions could not happen post Lisbon.

In fact the legal guarantees cannot address this issue to the benefit of workers’ rights since the fundamental treaties of the EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights itself,a give priority to the rights of business to make a profit even where this means undercutting agreed norms for workers’ pay and conditions. We should not be asked to vote again only a year after we gave our verdict first time but if we must we will certainly insist that clarity rules with regard to the real meaning of Lisbon.

RELATED LINKS
- "No EU Guarantees Can Change Thrust Toward Militarisation in Lisbon Treaty", Article by Joe Higgins on 29th May 09: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/92511
- Campaign against the EU Constitution (broad left anti-Lisbon campaign): http://www.caeuc.org/
- Joe Higgins' MEP Website: http://www.joehiggins.eu
- Joe Higgins extended article from Lisbon I arguing for a no vote: http://www.socialistparty.net/pub/pages/viewspring08/5.html

Related Link: http://www.joehiggins.eu

Caption: Joe Higgins discusses how he will use the MEP seat to fight Lisbon


Caption: Joe Higgins on RTE outlines why he opposes Lisbon (from Lisbon I)


author by EddieLpublication date Fri Jun 19, 2009 18:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Lisbon treaty is designed to facilitate:
1. The democratic deficit that is evident in ignoring the wishes of the people.
2. Corporate greed.evident in the forced free movement of goods for multinational companies.
3. The exploitation of labour evident in low wages, unsociable hours and lack of security in employment.
4. An American style military-industrial complex evident in forcing increased expenditure on a eu arms industry.

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Fri Jun 19, 2009 19:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In reply to “EddieL’s” 4 points.

1. The Treaty enhances democratic control over the EU institutions in that it increases the powers of the directly elected component – the Parliament.

2. Free movement of goods and people are available to all. You seem to be arguing for enforced immobility of goods which is a recipe for autarky and poverty. This is to do with allowing people to move and trade – not corporate greed.

3. Look up the EU Social Chapter and framework for enhanced workers rights in the Lisbon Treaty. Not only is the point you make wrong the opposite is the case. The EU enables a reasonable floor to be put in place below which wage and non-wage conditions cannot fall.

4. The reference to defence are to enhanced co-operation between firms in EU states which happen to have defence or dual facilities. The idea is to lessen the amount of such kit that has to be imported from the US, Russia and China. It is not about increasing the overall defence capacity of the states within EU.

author by Anti-Lisbon Leftypublication date Fri Jun 19, 2009 20:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"1. The Treaty enhances democratic control over the EU institutions in that it increases the powers of the directly elected component – the Parliament. "

The European Parliament is not powerful at all. And it's elections are dominated by big business parties with big budgets. In general the European Parliaments members are really the representatives of powerful vested interests. It's normal to get MEPs up defending narrow vested interests of their own state's capitalist class. With a few honourable exceptions (Joe Higgins for instance) MEPs are not the type of people that will defend the interests of working class people.

"2. Free movement of goods and people are available to all. You seem to be arguing for enforced immobility of goods which is a recipe for autarky and poverty. This is to do with allowing people to move and trade – not corporate greed."

The "free movement" mantra is used to justify GAMA style operations. Just look at the rules around "free movement" of labour in the EU. It allows rights built up over years of struggles by workers to be smashed down in the name of "free trade" and "free movement o labour". The gains that workers make will constantly be undermined by the use of cheaper and more exploited labour. What's needed is for decent rights and entitlements for ALL European workers. Why not a common EU minimum wage at €15 per hour? Why not have common EU workers rights (parental leave, holidays, etc). You oppose this. You just want to move labour around so that it can be lowered in value and lowered in price. A recipe for poverty.

"3. Look up the EU Social Chapter and framework for enhanced workers rights in the Lisbon Treaty. Not only is the point you make wrong the opposite is the case. The EU enables a reasonable floor to be put in place below which wage and non-wage conditions cannot fall."

No it does not. I've read the Treaty and it does not do this. Any rights that are there are put beneath the "free movement of goods and services".

"4. The reference to defence are to enhanced co-operation between firms in EU states which happen to have defence or dual facilities. The idea is to lessen the amount of such kit that has to be imported from the US, Russia and China. It is not about increasing the overall defence capacity of the states within EU."

I don't want enhanced co-operation between the imperial powers of Europe! I don't want to have a European super-power. Did you leanr nothing of 20th Century History? Europe was destroyed by militaristic imperial rivalries. The Lisbon Treaty creates "enhanced co-operation" so that they can more cheaply move into their "spheres of influence". The French for example moved into north Africa under the EU flag.

To actually think you are left wing is a delusion. The EU and indeed the Lisbon Treaty is a document written in the interest of capitalist and imperialist powers. They may write about "workers' rights" in one sentance but in the next there is "the right of free movement" of profits and "goods". In thier court judgements the worker will always get the wrong end of the stick when up against the capitalist mulit-national. If you are left wing you will oppose imperial powers trying to create another 'block' against USA, China and Russia. This is the type of politics that delivered the horrors of the First World War. I suspect that you are a member of the Labour Party (a party whose sister-parties backed that war and played a disgusting role in crushing socialist movements in 1917-19)

If you are left wing you will vote against the Lisbon Treaty and support workers of all countries coming together to fight for their rights against the EU.

author by Pro Lisbon Lefty (and admirer of Michael D. Higgins)publication date Fri Jun 19, 2009 22:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Most of your points are not specific to Lisbon

You cannot have it all ways - say there is a democratic deficit and then knock those people that do get elected to the EP along with the elections. Are you saying that only national elections can be valid? Besides most of the decision making business of the EU is conducted by the Council – that is intergovernmental. And all Governments must be fully democratic appointed. The “democratic deficit” is really shibboleth. There is no international organization more democratic than the EU.

Your own rights to live and work in the all the other EU States is a product of EU membership. Prior to 1973 you were confined to the UK. Most firms are quite small – why should not just they but individuals as will not buy and sell their goods in a wider field than nationally. You seem to want some sort of large big brother agency that will prevent goods and services and people moving about.

Minimum wages are a national competence – each Member State is free to have one or not and decide the level concerned in accordance with its own arrangements. You are arguing that the Lisbon should take more power away from Governments in this domain. You are also ignoring the Social Chapter and the framework for the protection of workers rights enshrined in EU law. It is a member State issue to fully implement this – the decision is made in Dublin not elsewhere. To oppose the Treaty for this reason is not logical. It would make more sense to support the Treaty and then to press for greater workers rights nationally. Incidentally of course abuses are uncovered sometimes but that does not mean you abolish the right of people to move. There are other effective remedies for abuses and the jurisprudence is developing.

Going on about capitalist and imperialist powers is foolish when in fact the EU area is famed for its high level of social protection in general. Almost all the mainstream socialist and Social democratic parties in the EU plus the most of the Greens and ETUC are in favour of the Lisbon Treaty.

I am as much a left winger as Michael D Higgins who had this to say in the Dail following the last treaty vote:

“As regards anticipating the future, following the defeat of the constitutional treaty in France and Ireland, the European trade union congress suggested seven key social issues be covered in the Lisbon treaty. It succeeded in having included in the Lisbon treaty the position in regard to full employment, references to a social market economy, recognition of the social partners, full legal force for the charter on fundamental rights, the citizens’ initiative, the legal base for services of general interest and the social clause. All of this was secured.

It is important in terms of the future that we do not lose what we already have. The Labour Party is part of the Party of European Socialists and subscribes to the values articulated by Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and others. The PES has emphasized the importance of having a region in world politics where there is a social floor. That is the distinction. This is not only about Europe being able to compete with every other region; it is about there being one region in the macro-political space of world politics after the unipolar moment which accepts a social floor and fundamental rights, sustainable development and takes as its aim the reduction of world poverty, makes a specific commitment in regard to climate change and so forth. These are important principles.
All I am saying, with no sense of recrimination, is that it is very important that that which was there is not lost in respect of the future shape of Europe. I said earlier that this is a European issue and not just an Irish issue. That is the exciting version of Europe. It would not be appropriate if across Europe were to be amplified the politics of fear, distortion and downright untruths that was depicted here on posters. No one should be able to blast their way into the decision moment of a referendum. If all the little right-wing groups from Austria to the United Kingdom Independence Party received a voice we would have a fearful Europe that is indistinguishable from the very thing they opposed, namely, a country always accepting international policy and the logic of a war on terrorism. It should have been understood, and I hope it will be, that foreign policy and defence — not going to war in the interests of peace — these things alone make up the definition of a peaceful region in world politics. That is totally different from a bloc that has declared a war on terrorism, that identifies enemies and axes of evil around the world. That was the choice, nothing else.
I am not required to say that we are finding fault here, there and everywhere. I believe it was a great opportunity missed. I repeat that and I reject not only the politics of fear, but also my colleagues in public life who are afraid to defend what was more than defensible and was highly recommendable.”

I have to say his analysis and arguments are more compelling that yours and he does not resort to name calling and clichés.

author by Sevinch Karaca - WSM-Personal capacitypublication date Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish Centre for European Law Ltd. hosts this Law Society of Ireland
"EU Law can seem remote to Irish practitioners.
In fact, it is critical and expanding. It is critical as EU Law trumps Irish Law, and it is expanding as some 60-70% of Irish legislation annually concerns the implementation of EU directives. Practitioners and those working with directives need to able to identify EU Law issues, including State Liability, and to acquire the skill of reading directives. This seminar and workshop aims to assist delegates to acquire these key skills and to highlight practice opportunities in EU Law.
-------3.5 CPD Points------" advertising here www.icel.ie
for a humble €228 for non-members.

Related Link: http://www.icel.ie
author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is a pleasure to see that this site is allowing good topical debate, it gives me some hope for the establishment of democracy in Ireland, sadly lacking at the moment.
As an older person i remember all the promises that were made on our aplication to join the EU,some have been implemented but sadly many have not.
I do not understand why a treaty like this can not be split into understandable sections and and voted on over a period of time?
IN spite of the arguments put forward, a basic fact is that people do not understand this treaty.
We are asked to believe what our politicians tell us . Any person with moderate inteligence Knows that most politicians are in general inveterate liars and will tell you what you want to hear rather than the truth.The few honest ones like Joe higgins are in small organisations and do not have enough influence in rural Ireland.
I will vote NO again mainly because i am not stupid and can not give my consent to something that i do not understand.
I do understand however, that the EU have not condemned Israel for murdering Palistinian families. I condemn this, just as i condemn the NATZI's for murdering Jews in the second world war.
The larger countries in the EU have financial interests in the armaments industries and i suspect that is why there are no sanctions on Israel.
If the majority NO vote can not be respected by the EU politicians then why should i respect their aspirations?
" NO MEANS NO " NO M ATTER HOW YOU TRY TO FOOL US.
Cowan's actions are disgracefull and fully represent what his party stands for CODOLOGY.

author by TD - Free Palestine Campaignpublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 13:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg is the only body authorised under European Treaties to interpret the Treaties themselves and decide how they should be applied. The political decision, agreement and legal guarantees of a particular group of EU Prime Ministers and Presidents which the Irish electorate is being presented with as writ on stone atop Mount. Horeb, cannot and will not decide what Lisbon means, but judging from the Laval case we may have more to fear from this body than the dissimulating window dressing of the aforementioned hucksters.?

Caption: Irish Friends of Palestine Against Lisbon & Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahmah


author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 13:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If people are unhappy with the Laval case they can press to have it changed in future legislation. It does not mean the entire EU project has to be scuppered or that this Treaty shoudl be opposed because some people take issue with one judgment any more than the Irish State must be invalidated and dismantled because one may disagree with one or more judgement of the Irish Supreme Court. In fact the Laval case makes the case for Lisbon stronger as its Charter of Fundamental Rights would strengthen workers rights once it comes into force. This is the position of the European Trade Union Organisations and the Labour Party.

Calling other EU Prime Ministers and Presidents "hucksters" is merely juvenile name calling and sniping as opposed to worthy argument. This type of thing debases this site.

Related Link: http://www.etuc.org/a/5024
author by William Wall - William Wallpublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 16:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For anyone interested I've reactivated my NO MEANS NO blog and hope to keep it moving throughout the campaign. See the link below.

Related Link: http://homepage.eircom.net/~williamwall/williamwall/No%20Means%20No%20-%20Lisbon%202/No%20Means%20No%20-%20Lisbon%202.html
author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 17:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...considered what action needs to be taken if the NO vote succeeds again, and we still get told by our government or some EU Prime Minister that it is unacceptable? It is worth thinking ahead with the possibility that we may win again..

Will someone from the Socialist Party inform us of who is 'the broad left' involved in the http://www.caeuc.org/campaign, thanks.

They Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Speak No Evil - VOTE NO
They Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Speak No Evil - VOTE NO

author by Michael Gallagher - Photographerpublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 18:00author email libertypics at yahoo dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Typo

Editor, last photo is copyright to me, could you add this (c) please and my website below.

Michael Gallagher's website: www.myspace.com/libertypix

My apologies.

author by RSpublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 18:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.caeuc.org/index.php?q=node/6 is the CAEUC affiliates link page.

author by PBPA - People Before Profit Alliancepublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 23:46author email press at peoplebeforeprofit dot ieauthor address author phone 0876775468Report this post to the editors

People Before Profit will be launching a vigorous campaign for a NO Vote
The People Before Profit Alliance announced today that it will be launching a vigorous campaign against the Lisbon Treaty. It called on the electorate to reject the so-called guarantees given to the government.

PBPA Councillor Richard Boyd Barrett said “The people should not be fooled. This is exactly the same treaty that was rejected last year. Nothing has changed. This Treaty will lead to the privatisation of public services and increased militarisation of the EU. Enshrined in this Treaty are the failed neo-liberal policies which have caused the recent economic crisis. This is a Treaty for big business.

The so-called guarantees will not enhance workers rights. The pro-business decisions of the European Court will not be reversed. The demands of the Europeans Trade Union Confederation for a social progress clause have been ignored.”

Councillor Joan Collins said “In the next few weeks we will be putting plans in place for a vigorous campaign to defend our right to say no. We will work closely with other left and progressive organisations to defend our public services and workers rights. The people have given the government a mandate to oppose this Treaty. We must ensure that they stick to that mandate”

Related Link: http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.ie/node/156
author by Michael Gallagher - Photographerpublication date Mon Jun 22, 2009 09:33author email libertypics at yahoo dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I heard an interview this morning on RTE Radio 1 with Pat Cox talking about his new pro Yes lobby group.
First question asked, touched on was the government getting desparate and is it a sign of their inability to effectively get out the yes vote, that Cox's lobby group have to recruit the services of "powerhouse" Seamus Heaney, "icon" Robbie Keane and The Edge of U2? Cox didn't mention the "genious" guitar skills of the said Edge and how many millions of cd's his fans spun.
But I'm sure Cox is thinking hard of some more great reasons and lining up some more great people on why workers should be sold down the river, not to mention voting for the continuation of the arms industry and a eurpean army. A few more millionaires lined up to tell us how good the multi millionaires fat cat's club will be for us.
This is the Irish version of Celebrity Squares, ask them a question on the Lisbon2 Treaty and you're bound to get a funny answer! Seems like they are targetting the uninformed, young and middle aged here.

I wonder when I meet Cox again this year and point my camera at him, will he take my advice and and stop ordering photographers about, stick to what he does best (his worst) and stop acting like he owns the media and let us activist photographers get on with our important work.

RTE may not have uploaded the podcast of the interview yet, but here is the link to the programme:

http://www.rte.ie/radio1/podcast/podcast_morningireland.xml

When I am campaigning for the VOTE NO and talking to people, the bottom line I start from is: If you can't trust an Irish politician in your own government and parliament, then how are you expected to trust those that they are asking us to accept as our other masters, not to mention the faceless unanswerable bureuacrats who we know little or nothing about?

My main website: www.myspace.com/libertypix

National Remembrance Day  (c) Michael Gallagher
National Remembrance Day (c) Michael Gallagher

author by punterpublication date Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Celebs can have clout, as indicated by the celebs who supported the successfully held second divorce referendum some years ago. Some celebs might carry moral clout on an issue, hence Fred Johnston's appeal on indymedia for Aosdana members and the literati in general to come out in support of S2S in Erris. (The response has been small to date.)

I think celebs who lend their names to chosen causes should offer argument points for the admiring public to consider. It seems petty for a Big Name to urge people to vote some way because Big Name is doing so. For all we know Big Name may prefer Brand X to Super Formula Sudso washing powder, and it is a matter of indifference as far as the average washing machine user knows from regular machine use.

BTW Gay Byrne and a few other celebs last time around stated their intention to vote No. Better watch them during this Lisbon 2 outing.

author by Edward Horgan - Shannonwatch.orgpublication date Mon Jun 22, 2009 17:41author email edward_horgan at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thank you Joe Higgins for getting elected to the European Parliament, and for providing genuine leadership for the No campaign against the Lisbon Treaty. Please include SHANNONWATCH.ORG in your list of organisations and groups opposing the Lisbon Treaty.
The most important reason for opposing the Lisbon treaty is the abuse of Shannon airport by the US military and the refuelling of CIA torture planes. The Irish people have been and are still being lied to about the ending of Irish neutrality at Shannon airport.
About one a half million armed US troops have passed through Shannon airport on their way to and from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars have caused the deaths of over one million people, mainly innocent civilians. This represents the abandonment of Irish neutrality by the Irish Government, yet Irish government ministers and Taoisig Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen have repeatedly stated that Ireland is still a neutral state. Brian Cowen is now stating that he has achieved guarantees that from the European Union that will protect Irish neutrality. Since this neutrality no longer exists, this is a blatant lie. You cannot protect something that does not exist. Judge Kearns ruled in the High Court in Horgan v Ireland in April 2003, that US military use of Shannon airport was in clear breach of international laws on neutrality. Claims by the Irish Government that we are still a neutral state are fraudulent and an insult to the High Court.
Any assurances claimed to have been granted to Brian Cowen by the European Union are based on such lies and are clearly intended to deceive the Irish people. You would not buy a second hand car from this man, and you should not buy a second hand treaty from this government.
Equally despicable is the Irish Government's complicity in the US torture rendition programme. The closure of Guantanamo has not put a stop to this CIA torture programme, it has simply sent it underground to new black site prisons.
We must make Shannon airport and Irish neutrality the major issue in this campaign and we must establish a peace camp at Shannon airport as part of out campaign to defeat the Lisbon Treaty and restore Irish neutrality.

Edward Horgan, Shannonwatch.org, and International Secretary, Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance.

Related Link: http://www.shannonwatch.org
author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Mon Jun 22, 2009 22:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Stick to the facts Ed – Shannon and the US planes there has nothing whatever to do with the European Union and less still to do with the Lisbon Treaty. Nothing whatever. Zilch. You are creating an entirely spurious connection between the two. And I challenge you to answer Michael D. Higgins’s considered points above about the European Part of Socialists on the values and foreign policy of the union which is in contrast to that of the US under the previous administration.

author by Turlough Kelly - perspex carapacepublication date Mon Jun 22, 2009 22:55author email turloughkelly at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The spectre of another European war which apparently motivates so many of the tepid liberals like Ruari Quinn into unquestioning support for the EU is somewhat at odds with the avowed military aspirations of the union. The outcome of placing massive military power in the hands of the German, French, British, Italian and Spanish governments has been disastrous for Europe in the past and would be so in the future.

Additionally, the man whom liberals would place in charge of this private army of European capitalist interests, Javier Solana, far from opposing US hegemony actually INSTIGATED AND FACILITATED the American massacre of European men, women and children in Serbia in his previous capacity as Secretary-General of NATO.

author by Edward Horgan - Shannonwatch and PANApublication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 00:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors


“Pro Lisbon Leftie”, above, has the courage of a mouse. He hides behind what is probably a false “leftie” nickname, when he is probably an old fashioned capitalist, if anything.
Irish neutrality and its abuse at Shannon airport has all to do with the militarization not only of Europe but also of the larger western society. The militarization of Europe is a critical aspect, not so much of the Lisbon Treaty, but of the onward march of the European Union towards a constitutional Federal State, or super-state. Some on the pro-Lisbon side, claim to want to see the EU develop as an alternative to the USA as a superpower. This is just a mirage. Of the present 27 EU member states, 21 are NATO members since France announced its return to full membership this year. The five neutral states, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Malta, are becoming increasingly entangled with NATO with the Partnership for Peace that is in reality a Partnership in War. Cyprus in the only anomaly due to its unresolved divided status, but its close ties with NATO members Greece and Turkey make Cyprus an effective member of NATO also. The European Union and NATO are therefore so close in terms of military cooperation that any pretence that the EU will develop into a counter force to the USA is a non issue. Read the Lisbon Treaty carefully, and you will see that the NATO connections and the European Defence Agency are intended to create an interconnected military alliance. Europe will be a Federal State, but its military powers and independence will be dominated by the USA. British and French claims to have independent superpower status are little more than hot air based on flawed and outdated nuclear weapons systems, and colonial nostalgia.
Ireland is now being dragged into this unmitigated military mess. Our geography enables Ireland to be more neutral than any other neutral state. Our history should ensure that we will not repeat the mistakes of past military misadventures such as loosing up to 50,000 Irish dead in World War 1.
In spite of our small population and limited resources, Ireland had achieved a very honourable foreign policy based on neutrality and promotion of international peace, justice and sustainable development. Ireland was able to play a very positive and altruistic role, far in excess of our population numbers, in international affairs before we abandoned our principles along with our neutrality. Ireland represents about 1% of the population of the EU and about 0.5% of the combined populations of NATO member states, and our military influence within these organisations will be in this proportion or less. Ireland’s altruistic role in international affairs is now being replaced by a destructive selfish role that is bound to fail, because we will be trampled in the rush to grab this planet’s decreasing resources. We abandoned our own fisheries to other EU states, and our Corrib Gas to Royal Dutch Shell.
I have never advocated that Ireland should leave the European Union, unless of course the EU develops into the sort of self-destructive superstructure that the Lisbon Treaty could achieve. We need to remain within the European Union, but act as a brake on these self-destructive forces, by saying NO, again and again to this Lisbon Treaty. Let the EU continue as an organisation of states, where the member states and the peoples of these member states have a real say in what the EU does and does not do on our behalf. We owe it to ourselves, and the citizens of all the other EU states who were denied a voice and a vote in these important matters, to hold the EU to account on these matters. We also owe to humanity as a whole, to prevent Europe from reverting to its past tendencies towards imperial genocide and crimes against humanity, in the name of civilising the rest of the world. I tell no “porkies” here, I leave that to those Irish ministers who fraudulently claim that Ireland is still an neutral state, who accept “assurances” from a liar called George W Bush, and who talk of “binding guarantees” when they really mean BLINDING guarantees.

Halloween would be a good date to hold the Referendum.
The Lisbon Trick or Treaty Referendum.

author by EddieLpublication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:01author email declanleane at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Ed telling porkies and peddling non sequitors"
Pro Lisbon Letie,
Who is telling porkies and peddling hype, spin, terror, white elephants, dire consequences, etc.? Up to now you have been telling what is not in the treaty. Can you now tell us what is in it that you are so eager to foist upon the Irish People?
As far as I can see the four reasons for voting "no" at the top still stand.- no democracy, no competition between cheap foreign imports and Irish indigenous industry, no seecure employment at a decent wage, no say in future wars.
We are a small country on the wrong side of Europe. If we copperfasten the EU grip on our economy and labour market which is what the Lisbon treaty is designed for then we are finished as a nation. Maybe that is what you want and if it is you should say so!

author by Vercingetorixpublication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We see your recent election victory to the European Parliament as very useful for the vast majority of the People of Ireland.
 
We further believe that genuinely independent voices such as yours are now desperately needed once again: for the purpose of vigorously challenging the "Pied Pipers" referred to at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86545#comment223456
 
It would be much appreciated if you would add our "Human Rights (Ireland)" address to your list: http://www.humanrightsireland.com

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 13:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The fact that Ireland is a member of the EU makes the Shannon issue very rellevant to the LIsbon Treaty.
I would like to know why are the Labour party not questioning the formation of a private foriegn fascist mercenary ARMY by the FIanna Fail backed IRMS security company?
When this is allowed to happen in our neutral country there will be no problems for the politicians to add us to NATO if LIsbon is passed .
The so called PATRIOTS that are clammering for a yes vote are living proof of the slave mentality of a great many Irish citizens who deny our democratic rights having already voted NO. They seem to have no shame and are prepared to turn a blind eye to the many civil rights abuses that are occuring in this country
PLEASE DO NOT SHOW OUR NATIONS COWARDICE TO THE REST OF EUROPE . VOTE NO AGAIN.

author by Waynepublication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 13:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Worth noting is the very biased Irish media that will be filled with adds to support 'the treaty/failed constitution' and in return will receive positive publicity for a 'yes' vote. RTE is also part of this large clique and now the latest thing of bringing 'celebrities' into the picture to try get it through stinks. The No side will not have the money to compete with this so again it will come down to money

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 15:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Firms like Dell and Google and dozens like them are in Ireland because of our EU membership. The US planes have nothing to do with the EU. They are not in Ireland because of the EU. The circumlocutions and verbal twirls of you on this issue merely underscore this point. US and other nations’ military planes used Shannon for years before we joined the community in 1973. This is purely a matter for bilateral arrangement between Dublin and Washington. Besides both the US missions in Afghanistan and Iraq have UN Security Council blessing and if anything our foreign policy commitment to the collective security system of the UN strengthens the case for facilitating aircraft on such missions. If you are really a pure neutralsit you should oppose UN membership as well as when the UN takes a postion in internaital law agaisnt a State a UN member is not permitted to take a neutra lline. Your baseless use of loaded language like “CIA Torture Planes” are just plain to see propagandist tricks and are tiresome at this stage.

World War 1 which you castigate was entered into by Britain in defence of Belgian neutrality which had been brazenly breached by Germany and many of the Irish who volunteered in its defence were motivated in defence of a small neutral catholic nation so violated. Neutrality is only of so much use before you are overrun by an enemy nation and violated. Thereafter one has to rely on collective security or in its absence on another strong power to take on the invading power. The same was true of the violation of Norwegian, Danish, Dutch and Luxembourg sovereignty by Germany later. Obsessing about neutrality cut no ice with the warmongers of Hohenzollern or Nazi Germany or with the likes of Saddam Husain or Slobodan Milošević in our own time.

The fact that some or most of our community patterns are in NATO is a matter for them. There is no reason for Irish uber neutralists like yourself to get so excited about it. Even civilized and well run nation states have armed forces (like our Dutch and Scandinavian neighbours) and wish to cooperate with their like minded neighbours in defence matters. That does not mean we in Ireland have to get our collective knickers in a twist over it. We don’t have to participate in anything military if we don’t want to. Opposing Lisbon is bad for the Irish economy including its workers and farmers and for Irish influence over our affairs. There is also no point in saying that you won’t a different sort of EU. That is not on offer unless Europe starts over again like in 1945 and most members would not be interested in that nor aspiring members. One has to deal with the world as it is and the EU as it is while maximising the Irish influence. Saying no and rudely accusing our partners of militarism and bad intentions is not the way to do it.

You clearly have an obsession with Shannon and you keep company with a handful of like minded people – that’s what your fellow ex army officers say about you. But conflating this obsession with the Lisbon Treaty is not serving the truth and would be gravely harmful to Irish social interests.

author by Topperpublication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 16:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It was worth following the posts from "Pro Lisbon Lefty" to find that this is a "lefty" who supported the bloody invasion and occupation of Iraq (over a million dead), retrospectively takes the side of the British Empire (too many deaths to count) in the First World War, and objects stridently to talk of "CIA torture plane", despite the fact that the term refers to planes manned by the CIA which were used to transport people to be tortured, and hence the term is 100% literally accurate. I don't think you'll be convincing me to support Lisbon in a hurry mate

author by Turlough Kelly - None (perspex carapace)publication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 16:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fair play, comrade. It sounds like Pro Lisbon Lefty might consider our friend Cllr. Lacey a dangerous commie subversive!

author by paul mcCarthypublication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 16:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

discussion coming up now on Matt Cooper. No meat in hosptals. Paul Mccarthy is due to be on

author by Mannekin Pispublication date Tue Jun 23, 2009 21:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"World War 1 which you castigate was entered into by Britain in defence of Belgian neutrality which had been brazenly breached by Germany and many of the Irish who volunteered in its defence were motivated in defence of a small neutral catholic nation so violated."

This is a distortion of History. It's actually just swallowing the war propaganda and not actually looking at the cause of WW1. That war kicked off due to inter-imperial rivalries and alliances. It was not due to the violation of "little neutral Belgium". The EU project at the moment has some similarities with the inter-imperial jockeying of the late 19th century and early 20th. All this talk of "military co-operation" and having a bloc that can "intervene" into areas around Europe. It's all about ahving EU as a power bloc with a sphere of imperial influence (Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East). It's the politics of that lead Europe to destruction twice in the last century. Yours is the politics of the Somme and of Ypres. You are the one with the anti-European agenda.

I am an internationalist. I don't want Ireland just to "opt-out" when it comes to EU militarism. Ireland should oppose it and veto it. I don't accept for one minutes that we should be content with isolationist "opt-outs". I'm opposed to a militaristic EU and will oppose it even if Ireland "opts-out".

PS: Belgium was no innocent in the 19th & 20th Century. It was a brutal imperialist power that committed disgusting crimes in Congo. So please spare us the war cries of the recruiting sergeant.

author by drawlitepublication date Wed Jun 24, 2009 00:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the invasion of belgium??
and here was I thinking the main reason for WW1 was the assassination of a deeply unpopular Hungarian Arch-Duke by a Russian trained Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo was the more typical cause?

or the fact that england felt threatened with Germany changing their naval fleet from using coal to oil, and extending the orient express from Turkey to Basra to facilitate this change led to a sudden imperative to stop at all costs. (love the fact that's always forgotten is, the first two military divisions mobilised by Britain with the out break of the colonial war were in Basra, also the fact that Britain knew it couldn't win a land war against Germany so decided to make it a colony war instead. Must have been a very quick escapation though, as unlike the Boer War or Crimea War, Brtain issues no war bonds in advance.)

author by MichaelY - CAEUC and IAWMpublication date Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The CAEUC - No to Lisbon Campaign will be having a strategy discussion (open to all) next Saturday June 27th at 11.00 in Dublin's Teachers Club - Parnell Square.

To prepare somewhat for the discussion and as the Lisbon Treaty Mark II debate begins to take off, I thought it would be useful for people and activists interested on the militarisation/neutrality end of things to read carefully the (translated by us) excerpts of a recent statement by Sarkozy and Merkel below. To our knowledge this 2,300 word 'official' Franco-German statement , made public just before NATO's 60th birthday celebrations in Strasbourg in April, had no coverage in the local press.

"A common security policy is absolutely necessary. It is clear that our security policy must be defined in a broader way. Besides the specifically military questions, it should take into account the international financial situation, energy supplies or migratory questions. We need to look at new ways of responding to crises and conflicts, we need a global approach, partnerships that are ever stronger and more stable, and flexible tools. No country is capable of resolving the problems of the world alone. Alliances based on common values, such as the EU and NATO, are becoming increasingly important. The more our network of partnership develops and the more we combine our political, economic, military and development aid capabilities, the greater our chances of success in tackling crises will be, and the more our security will be guaranteed.

This conviction is the foundation of our security policy, which we are developing through ever closer cooperation between France and Germany within the EU and NATO. These three dimensions are mutually reinforcing. We are convinced that it is in our interest to make the European project and the Atlantic partnership two sides of the same security policy coin.

Over the past ten years, considerable progress has been made by the European Union, which has developed its common foreign and security policy. Let us emphasise the fact that such progress reinforces the transatlantic security partnership and NATO. Our American partners are coming to better understand that. For Germany, and for France, faced with the current challenges, Europe needs the United States as the United States needs a strong European partner."

I cannot conceive of a better reason than the drivel above to fight for a de-militarised Europe.

author by Demokrateespublication date Wed Jun 24, 2009 23:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Article 48 - The 'self-amending' clause!

Remember the Reichstag's 1933 Enabling Act, which effectively voted democracy out of existence in Germany and established the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

author by Topperpublication date Tue Jun 30, 2009 17:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The poster you refer to says "no to privatisation of health and education" - the Lisbon Treaty, and the EU's socio-economic agenda in general (handily, known as the "Lisbon Agenda") promotes a move towards the US model of capitalism, with steady reduction of the role of the public sector and gradual privatisation of public services. This is well documented - just following a handful of the left-wing anti-Lisbon links provided above will provide evidence. Now have you got something meaningful to say or are you just going to shriek a little louder?

author by Jackie Laughlinpublication date Wed Jul 01, 2009 16:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My two previous posts - the first of which Topper commented upon - seem to have been deleted.

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