Dublin: Yanis Varoufakis, Clare Daly and Bernadette McAliskey call for radical European opposition

Member of the European Parliament Clare Daly, MERA25 founder Yanis Varoufakis and veteran civil rights campaigner Bernadette McAliskey spoke at a packed meeting held at the Button Factory in Dublin on April 29, titled ‘Towards The Abyss: Is Europe going from crisis to catastrophe’. The event was organised by Clare Daly and hosted by actor and activist Liam Cunningham.

All three speakers took the occasion of the run-up to the elections for the 10th European Parliament in June to denounce the present course of EU development, to condemn the EU’s increasing turn to war and militarism, and to call for a radical, socially just alternative for the people of Ireland and Europe.

“Why is Europe becoming… nasty, stupid, brutish and therefore irrelevant for the rest of the world?” asked Varoufakis, who is running for election to the European Parliament in the constituency of Athens for MERA25.

Varoufakis criticised a European ruling class, whose commitment to “20 years of austerity for the many and socialism for the very few” has “caused Europe to fall behind in every regard, technologically, strategically, industrially, environmentally and of course morally”.

Referring to the people of Ukraine, he proclaimed a “steadfast commitment to a swift, just peace, instead of the never-ending war Brussels is planning for them on behalf of Washington”.

He called for the election of strong opposition voices to the European Parliament to challenge the misrule of European elites. “Everything should be different,” he said. “Everything can be different. But nothing will change unless we build barricades to stop the warmongers and the oligarchs in their tracks.”

McAliskey took aim at the political consensus of the Irish establishment, a “political class of gombeens” who all “have a hymnsheet to sing off” that Ireland “needs to shake itself out of its historic past, get over its understanding of colonisation” and further align with a Euro-Atlantic bloc that could “drag us into war”.

She dismissed the argument that “the war in Ukraine means we need to… water down our neutrality”, and called for communicating to the United States government that “this country is not for sale!” She added: “This country has never been at war with any other country in the world, other than for our own freedom – we’ve never been at war with anyone but the British Empire – and we’re certainly not going to war for a new expansionist America.”

Endorsing Daly for re-election, she said: “The most important thing that I think we have to do, for Palestine, for Ukraine, for Ireland, against NATO, against racism here, for the homeless here, for the asylum seekers here, is to make sure that voice that is clear, that voice that stands for humanity, and that is unafraid of the system – to make sure that that voice continues to be heard.”

Speaking last, Daly drew attention to fact that “the gap between those in power and the citizens of the world has never been greater.”

European politics is moving in the direction of US politics,” she said, adding that it is “removed from the people, [with] an unelected Commission with powers above the interests of Member States and in hoc to lobbyists, to big business, Big Agri, Big Pharma and the military industrial complex, all of them bleeding us dry to line their own pockets.”

“Europe is no longer a peace project. We are on the cusp of a fully fledged Defence Union, aligned with NATO, exercising hard power,” she said.

With “European manufacturing on its knees, a devastating cost of living crisis, a housing crisis affecting every family,” she pointed out that “all we can expect out of the new European Parliament and the new European Union is more of the same.” “I think I speak for us all when I say we are well and truly in the abyss, not to mind heading towards it.”

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