AT THE London May Day rally organised to honour the memory of Bob Crow and his great friend Tony Benn, I announced that I was standing for the left-wing No2EU coalition in London on May 22 in place of my father.
As I said at Trafalgar Square, I am standing not only in his memory but because I believe in order to achieve the kind of socialism he worked so hard for we must withdraw from the EU empire.
As my dad often said, the European Union is a threat to decent public services, real jobs and to the very concept of democratic control of the economy he passionately believed in.
There were those that disagreed with him or simply ignored his warnings.
Yet across Europe unemployment continues to grow, with youth unemployment rising to a staggering 23.5 per cent, while the EU intensifies its attacks on workers’ and trade union rights and the public services they rely on.
Bob, along with others including Benn, became a political voice of disillusioned working people who saw the EU for what it really is, a cartel of corporate gangsters that want to take back all the gains of the working class and turn them into profit.
Bob’s good friend John Hendy also gave a powerful warning about EU plans for a major attack on agreements between trade unions and employers at the No2EU launch at the TUC last year.
“Under EU treaties and EU court judgments, big business rights to make money override the human rights of working people to defend themselves.
“EU structures are clearly undermining workers’ rights particularly in member states in the eurozone suffering permanent austerity as part of ‘bail-out’ agreements such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece,” he said.
He described the moves as a “gamechanger” as the myth of “social Europe” was being dropped completely in favour of the EU’s “fundamental four freedoms” — the free movement of capital, goods, services and labour.
Well, I’m too young to remember any promises about “social Europe” back in the 1980s.
All I know is any claims about EU membership creating full employment, decent public services and people-centered human rights ring a bit hollow today.
Public services, including postal, transport, energy, education and health services, are being privatised as part of the EU austerity agenda being imposed on member states by unaccountable EU institutions.
But the voices of us working people are not being heard.
On top of that the EU is deploying troops in Africa on the pretext of humanitarian intervention while encouraging and funding fascists in Ukraine to overthrow the elected government.
The failure of the major parties to represent us has led to a political vacuum which is being filled by Tory outriders like Ukip or, worse, groups like the British National Party.
My Dad had no time for Ukip — not least because it supports the privatisation of the rail industry not only in Britain but across the European Union.
While his union RMT campaigned vigorously on the streets for public ownership of our transport networks Ukip MEPs sitting in Brussels have been demanding that member states follow EU rail directives imposing privatisation and fragmentation across the EU.
Ukip aims to add to the austerity measures being imposed on us, not fight against them.
If you’re a mother like me, forget maternity pay. Ukip also fully supports the current measures being forced upon jobseekers to take zero-hours contracts or have benefits cut.
Forget any rights to a holiday to spend that quality time with your family … and the list goes on.
Bob was often told that he was in a minority, but that never bothered him as he would often say that minority views can become majority views very quickly.
He also taught me to never give up. Bob Crow was an internationalist who believed in fighting for equality, justice and against racism around the world.
His solidarity didn’t stop at the borders of “Europe.” He had no time for bosses’ clubs like the EU or the IMF as he saw them as capitalist organisations designed to prevent international friendship and solidarity.
If you want to find out more about No2EU go to www.no2eu.com — you can even download a poster to put in your window.
So on May 22 make a difference, vote No2EU, vote for Bob and his vision of a better world.
Natasha Hoarau is standing for election in the London region.