'No' to the constitution - 'Yes' to "liberte, egalite, fraternite"
The constitution is viewed by the "non" as an attack on public services - which in France are at the heart of a very high quality of life and social solidarity. France has arguably the best medical system in the world, a metro system in Paris that is a model of efficiency, fabulous railway and postal systems, a very good, secular school system and tremendously rich cultural life - all indispensable elements of social cohesion. This entails government regulation - profitable parts of the system are always able to cover for others.
..Contradictions abound. When an American such as Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Washington-based Foundation on Economic Trends, praises the European dream, he talks about Europe's preeminence in security, health, education and even scientific research. This has not much to do with catching up with the US. The "non" argue that Europe's superior education system simply cannot be smashed for the benefit of short-term profit: this would mean Europe cannot assert itself as an alternative to the US. A key argument for the "oui" to the constitution is a strong Europe standing up to the US. It's curious to note that most American politicians as well as corporate media - but not the neo-cons - support the "oui" (even though they complain about the popularity of precisely this "standing up to the US").
Neo-liberalism is inevitably at the heart of the debate. The "non" says that a victory - fueled by grassroots movements and the Internet - will be a political tsunami, generating all around Europe waves and waves of social awareness. Like Bob Dylan's "the times they are a-changin", Europe would awake to an alternative to hardcore capitalism. It's a very romantic idea. The "non" is trying to sell a very appealing ideal to the world: modern life not as a marketplace where everything can be bought. They genuinely believe that a "non" will lead, by popular pressure, to a radical transformation of the EU - toward social harmonization from the ground up, universal right to social services, a progressive industrial policy, opposition to all forms of neo-colonialism, the cancellation of all the South's debt, and inevitably the end of NATO. Not by accident France's proud motto is "liberte, egalite, fraternite". Read more
SAY NO TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL
TREATY TO BUILD ANOTHER EUROPE!
We citizens, trade unionists, associations and organisations,
URGE TO SAY "NO" TO THE PROJECT OF EUROPEAN CONSTITUTIONAL TREATY
The project for Europe that is being proposed to us is entirely organised around a unique principle: the market, the generalisation of competition. This allows and organises the attack against public service and pensions, the incentive to the extension of working time and flexibilisation as well as the encouragement to social regression in each of the countries of the European Union. Whereas the aim of the constitutional treaty which is submitted to us is to set the broad lines of what will be tomorrow's Europe, we note that the future the treaty prepares for us is everything but the future we long for.