In the run-up to the European Parliament elections being held on 26 May 2019, ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’ sets out its main focal points
We will be standing in the European Parliament elections as ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’, an alliance that – in the face of a growing shift towards right-wing authoritarianism – strengthens the movement for a politics of solidarity and resistance in Austria and the EU. Only a strong Left in our parliaments, on our streets and in our minds will be able to halt the rise of the radical Right. The Social Democratic Party of Austria and the Greens’ inability to offer an alternative to neoliberal austerity is reflected in the rise of the Right. Against this backdrop, every single vote for a strong European Left in the upcoming elections will help bolster the fight against the current shift to the right and for better living conditions for everyone.
The following outlines the key issues that matter to ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’:
For radical systemic change
Against an EU for the banks, lobbies and corporations
The increasingly alarming climate crisis, thousands drowned in the Mediterranean, brutal cutbacks to save banks instead of people: we cannot go on like this. Around the world, more and more are waking up to the fact that these crises, which are caused by our capitalist mode of production, cannot be resolved within the existing system. And as social democratic parties have bought into this system too, it is now impossible for them to come up with convincing alternatives to the multiple crises of our time. It has also led to the erosion of their credibility, thus contributing to the rise of the extreme Right in Europe. But it isn’t just the interests of big business and the lobbies that are standing in the way of a green, socially minded Europe; existing EU treaties are damaging too. We need look only to Greece, where we were shown that the results of democratically held referenda do not count when the profits of banks and corporations are at stake.
We in ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’ believe that European integration requires us to pursue nothing short of a fresh start. This new beginning should to be based on a new, democratic agreement. We propose revising all existing contractual regimes that set out militaristic, neoliberal and undemocratic policies. A fresh start also needs to be applied to our economy, where we should see a break with the logic of limitless growth and profit at the expense of people and the environment. A Green New Deal, understood as a step towards a future production system that does not rely on the exploitation of people or the environment, can enable the development of a social as well as ecologically beneficial infrastructure for all citizens.
We in ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’ see ourselves as part of an ever-expanding ecological-socialist movement calling for radical systemic change that moves away from unlimited profit and growth.
For a strong, social, anti-racist, feminist parliamentary Left that is critical of the current system
Against Europe’s shift to the right
The upcoming EU elections are different from all those that have gone before: this time there is a risk that an alliance of nationalist and neo-fascist right-wing parties will become one of the three largest groups in the EU Parliament. FPÖ, AfD, Lega, Le Pen – in every country, political clashes with neo-fascists are sure to shape the outcome of the vote. At the same time, refugees, Muslims and women have become the main enemies of right-wing governments across the whole of Europe. While racism is employed to distract from rising inequality both within and outside of the EU, this right-wing shift is also essentially a patriarchal shift. The promotion of classic gender roles and attacks on women’s right to bodily autonomy go hand in hand with a well-orchestrated campaign of cutbacks that target women as well as those who are already struggling financially. The aim is to gradually strip away women’s hard-fought for rights – rights that have allowed them to gain financial independence.
We in ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’ are fighting for a ‘feminisation’ of politics in opposition to this authoritarian shift. A party cannot be left-wing without being feminist. It is also clear that only a strong left-wing movement both within and outside of countries’ respective parliaments can halt the rise of the Right. As members of the ‘Party of the European Left’, these are precisely the values we stand for and that will be represented in the next EU Parliament through the European United Left · Nordic Green Left (EUL/NGL) European parliamentary group.
We in ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’ stand for an emancipatory, feminist politics that serves everyone; we thus also stand shoulder to shoulder with those who feel threatened by the increasing shift towards authoritarianism and are affected by right-wing attacks.
For peace and neutrality for everyone
Against militarisation and arms exports
The EU’s ruling powers are neither willing nor able to disassociate themselves from the US’s politics of regime change. The EU either supports, or is actively involved in, America’s military interventions against democratically elected governments as well as their involvement in wars of imperialist rivalry fought over access to resources and markets. Extortive trade agreements such as TTIP, CETA or regional agreements with countries of the Global South, e.g. DCFTA, remain a cornerstone of EU policy.
In today’s multipolar world, some global powers, e.g. Russia, China and India, are also trying to pursue their own interests using whatever means they have at their disposal, all with the aim of expanding their influence as the world competes over power and military strength.
Every day, this type of policy leads to the destruction of the lives of millions throughout the globe. It is also the main reason why every year thousands attempt to flee to the EU by embarking on the perilous crossing over the Mediterranean.
We in ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’ are fighting for a Europe free of nuclear weapons, a Europe that follows Austria’s example and declares its neutrality, that is not building but reducing its arsenal, that is committed to promoting peace, that respects international law as an instrument to securing peace, that withdraws from NATO and works towards a European and global collective security system instead of exporting arms. We strongly object to the insidious creation of an EU army through PESCO. This sets us apart from the Social Democratic Party of Austria and the Austrian People’s Party, who were both involved in setting up this project.
Instead of engaging in the further militarisation of our borders to keep refugees out, we should be coming up with effective measures to combat the causes of flight. This not only involves preventing military conflicts but also stopping the destruction of regional economies and ecosystems for the benefit of European nations.
We in ‘KPÖ Plus – European Left’ are not only involved in the peace movement, we are also fighting for an immediate halt to extortive trade agreements such as TTIP and CETA.
For a Europe that offers universal social security
Against precarity and young Europeans without a future
Fewer and fewer believe in the promise of full employment and limitless economic growth. Low wages, a lack of secure employment, limited opportunities for social mobility, no future – these are the challenges facing many of the EU’s young as they begin adulthood.
While many young people have moved away from their homelands in the wake of the 2007/2008 financial crisis to find work in more affluent EU states, this is not the case in countries like Austria. But even here we are seeing the relentless spread of precarity in all areas of life. Pseudo-self-employment as well as temporary, poorly or even unpaid jobs have now become commonplace in Austria. And yet property in the country still goes untaxed. Here, like everywhere else, the objective of right-wing governments is to encourage these developments and to dismantle the welfare state to make labour as cheap as possible for businesses. This attack threatens society as a whole as the social safeguards offered in retirement are also being increasingly put at risk. The outcome is real wages losses and rising poverty in old age.
We in ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’ stand for the expansion of the social infrastructure to offer universal protection. This must take place at all administrative levels, i.e. at municipal, national and at EU level. For the latter, the top priority should be to end social inequality in Europe, e.g. through the introduction of an effective minimum wage and higher labour standards for all workers instead of a two-tier proletariat with different rights. We believe the same wage should be paid for the same work carried out in the same location. Everyone in Europe should also be provided with unconditional socio-economic security, regardless of their nationality.
We in ‘KPÖ Plus – European Left’ are part of a movement of resistance that also aims to develop social alternatives to help prevent the rise of the Right in Europe.
For a left-wing Willkommenskultur for everyone
Against the militarisation of our external borders and mass murder in the Mediterranean
Even within the EU, borders are a means of imposing inequality. It thus comes as little surprise that the vast majority of deportations from Austria involve other EU citizens. In the absence of minimum social standards that apply across the EU, it is hardly surprising that some are leaving their countries in search of a better life. In today’s world, we are constantly told that resources of every kind are becoming scarce, while eight men possess the same wealth as 3.8 billion. This striking example demonstrates that the problem is not migration – be it from within or outside the EU – but the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, i.e. the unequal global distribution of income and property.
We as members of ‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’ believe that borders for people living in a capitalist world are no solution for this form of inequality. The battle being fought at nation states’ and the EU’s external borders to keep migrants out, mass murder perpetrated in the Mediterranean – an act that goes against all humanist values – and growing racism in our society: these are the Right’s answers to the issue of rising inequality. The call for borders to be abolished and the fight against racism must, however, be made central to a politics that aims to dismantle capitalism. This fight for freedom of movement and equal rights is tied to the battle against inequality, low wages and social dumping both inside the EU and beyond.
We in ‘KPÖ Plus – European Left’ are part of a powerful movement of solidarity inside and outside of Europe. A left-wing Willkommenskultur must exist for everyone; a strong Left should defend existing human rights – unconditionally and universally.
For free networks, free software and free knowledge
Against corporate and state surveillance
We live in an age where we are constantly monitored by states and corporations. The EU Commission and several EU states argue that a constant stream of new mass surveillance instruments need to be introduced to monitor the general population, alongside preventative measures that give the police far-reaching powers, all for the purpose of fighting terrorism and reducing crime. In the meantime, private internet corporations not only pocket exorbitant profits by harvesting and selling our data, they are also influencing the outcome of democratically held elections. The internet may have once promised a utopia of low-threshold access to free knowledge and universal communication, but here too privatisation continues to take an ever greater hold. The restriction of net neutrality and the expansion of copyrights to benefit major labels and publishing houses are just two examples.
We in ‘KPÖ Plus – European Left’ are part of a movement against the expansion of mass surveillance by states and corporations. We stand for the expansion of free networks, the support of free software and universal access to free knowledge.
‘KPÖ PLUS – European Left’ main focal points.