When the left defend the European Union, we too often hear cries of ‘capitalist plot’, coming from more hard-line Labour members. With the EU's focus on free trade, the supra-national organisation can be seen as compliant with capitalism, but to label it as some sort of capitalist conspiracy is dangerous and erroneous.
The European Union is a project that, at its foundation, sought European integration and peace. The EU has been instrumental in improving social justice across the continent.
Even the much criticised single market has created a more balanced society by removing barriers and creating a level playing field that benefits the worker just as much as the employer. Socialism is, by definition, the belief in equality and through removal of physical and fiscal barriers. This is a concept that the EU falls in line with.
The budget of the EU itself contains measures to ensure equality. Brexiteers are all too keen to tell us of how much we pay into the EU, but much of this capital is redistributed to member states fairly. Is redistribution not also a key principles of socialism?
Finally, there are the extensive social benefits that have been given to citizens through membership of the EU. Rights for workers, women, the young and the disabled are just a few of those protected by the EU. The creation of the working week is something that all socialists can agree is a good thing, and the protection of maternity rights is something no one wants to be without.
The EU has seen great success in protecting against discrimination. Without it as an overarching governing body, countries would be free to stray far from the path of equality. The below diagram shows us just how poorly the United Kingdom performs in terms of equality with a plethora of EU member states towards the top of the scale.
Without membership of the European Union, there is no limit to what our current government could do that would lead us further into the depths of inequality. The Conservatives simply cannot be trusted to maintain the high standards of social justice that are regulated by the European Union.