Those Irish citizens who are today (Thursday) entitled to vote are presented with a stark choice in deciding the future of this country and the continent as a whole.
While the Lisbon Treaty will affect the citizens of all 27 member states in the European Union, only the electorate in the Twenty-Six Counties are entitled to vote on it. That is a tiny proportion of the 500 million inhabitants of the EU area.
What is at stake? For working people, some of the most important gains that have been garnered in hundreds of years of democratic struggle.
The Lisbon Treaty is a complex and almost illegible redraft of its predecessor, the EU Constitution, which was rejected in referenda in France and Holland in 2005.
It is, in letter and spirit, the same proposal that was binned three years ago, but with a new and deceptive veneer, in the hope that the Twenty-Six County electorate will rubber stamp it, whilst the rest of Europe, including 1.8 million Irish people will be denied a say.
The Treaty will further centralise the social, economic, political and cultural control of the European Union into the hands of bureaucrats and politicians with no connection to, affinity with, or empathy for, the Irish people, or any of the other 500 million people it will affect.
In everything from domestic law to international policies, there will be a reshuffle of where power lies. Every smaller member state will surrender control and sovereignty to the bureaucrats and it will be copper-fastened by the signatures of each head of state that has endorsed the Treaty.
The bureaucrats vision of a new Europe will entail a realignment of EU member states in line with the a neo-conservative global agenda, pushed by the new EU-US front and defined by greed, poverty, environmental disaster, imperialist war and a general reversal of human development.
Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland will be construed by its architects as carte blanche to implement their plans and will entail, amongst many other things, militarisation, with each member state contributing to an EU super army, to serve the interests of big business and megalomaniacs.
It will entail the dilution of neutrality, with the blood from future, EU-led, ‘wars on terror’ being on the hands of every member state.
It will entail the erosion of workers’ rights, with every human being becoming a commodity and base product of massive, trans-European business ventures, swallowing up and spitting out resources and personnel in the race for profit.
It will entail the erosion of national sovereignty, which is still unfinished business in Ireland, to be replaced by universal EU laws, dictated by unaccountable politicians and faceless civil servants. All of this and more.
However, all of that is not a reality just yet. The Treaty has been opposed every step of the way by every shade of socially conscious citizen across the continent, by socialists, republicans, democrats, human rights activists and workers.
A high-point of that opposition and the reversal of the current EU ethos of diluting rights can begin today in Ireland.
We can send a message across Europe and the world that we will rule ourselves and make our own decisions. We can follow in the traditions of the many generations who have preceded us in opposing unaccountable power and taking our lives into our own hands.
The tired threats of the establishment have been issued well in advance. They tell us that we will be punished for not voting ‘properly’. They should beware of the old maxim that telling an Irish person not to do something only makes it more inevitable that they will do it.
If you are interested in building a better Ireland, a better Europe and a better world, the only option is to go out today and Vote No.
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