by William Bowles
Writer, Dandelion Salad
June 24, 2016
Ask yourself this: Why has immigration been made the pole around which, this entire referendum ‘debate’, has revolved? Why has the closet Nazi Nigel Farage of UKIP been given so much airtime?
Could it be the masses, hammering at the doors of Fortress Europe after we, that is the US-EU-NATO axis of pure barbarism, destroyed their countries, have something to do with it?
Thus, as so many times before, the Empire utilises its well tried and tested tactic of evoking the ‘other’ to inject fear into our hearts.
Yet it was only a decade ago that a Labour government made sure that tens of thousands of Polish workers would be admitted to the UK without a murmur from UKIP and the rest of the assorted rabble on the Right. And it’s pretty obvious that they were admitted in order to drive down wages and conditions of work. This is what EU economic policy is all about, otherwise known as austerity; a drive to ‘flatten’ wages and conditions downward right across across the EU. We see it currently at work in France, with yet another ‘socialist’ invoking austerity and in reality, it’s actually first and foremost EU policy that Hollande is invoking.
It seems that we, as a people, never learn the lessons of the past, for how many times has race, colour, ethnicity or religion, been used as a weapon to divide and rule us?
Fifty years ago it was Enoch Powell (also a Tory) and his ‘rivers of blood’ emanating from his Midlands constituency, Wolverhampton as the ‘dark hordes swarmed’ over white, working class England.
And why does Farage gets so much exposure? Because he his one of the ruling elite’s weapon of disinformation and deceit. He speaks with a Tory voice but he’s not actually of the Tory Party, hence he can say in public all the things the Tories (and no doubt a goodly sprinkling of Labour) could never say in public themselves. Farage is the ruling elite’s stalking horse of the day. We’ve been in this situation so many times before that it’s getting really tedious. Economic crisis? Find a scapegoat. Political crisis? Find a scapegoat. Find an enemy, wage war…
Thus what started as essentially an internal Tory Party feud between the old guard and an even older guard, morphed into the Tory Party’s worst nightmare, actually having to live up to one of their promises. And horror of horrors the Brexiters actually won, (even if it is pretty much a fifty-fifty result, 51% to 48% but a much higher turnout of 72% than the last general election at 61%. And what’s the betting that it was that working class vote that doesn’t normally vote in the General election, that made the difference?)
Thus in spite of pulling out all the stops, including the brazen and quite outrageous use of ‘our’ public broadcaster, the BBC, to put the frighteners on the public should we dare tell the elite to, well as I put it in an earlier piece, FUCK OFF, we did tell them! I even read a comment somewhere that if we dared leave the EU the Russians would invade us. But all to no avail, the North/South economic/social divide made sure of that.
So what’s next? Well, it’s a long, long way and mucho bucks (some estimates I read years ago, put it at trillions of pounds to actually, that is to say, the actual cost of extricating ourselves from all the laws that originate with the EU and creating new ones, or putting old ones back?) before the UK actually does really exit, if indeed it ever does.
On the left, such as it is, I think it’s pretty clear that Corbyn has revealed the folly of his divided self, heading up a Labour Party that aside from a few exceptions, was solidly pro-EU and solidly anti-Corbyn. They will use his ‘lacklustre’ support for remaining as a reason as to why the Remainers lost and of course, why he should resign.
But what of others on the left who supported exit, aside from the two I have already quoted from (here and here), both of whom dealt with why but not what they saw after, should we exit? Takis Fotopoulos, is a Greek expat lefty, best known for his ‘Inclusive Democracy’ project who tells us firstly, why we should exit:
On the other side, there are the victims of globalization in Britain and throughout the world: i.e. the millions of workers all over Europe who have lost their jobs since globalization began taking effect about 30 years ago, from the miners – after being defeated in the 80s following a long and heroic struggle – to the steelworkers who are about to suffer the miners’ fate, as soon as the referendum is out of the way.That is, on the other side are all those who are the victims of the opening and liberalization of markets for capital, labour and commodities. As even the Financial Times admitted a few days ago, “we are close to the point where globalization and membership of the Eurozone in particular have damaged not only certain groups in society but entire nations”. In other words, we are talking about all those in Britain (and beyond!) who are forced to work for survival wages and zero contract hours, not to mention the victims of a continuously deteriorating social welfare system (health, education and so on). This system is under the constant threat of further funding cuts while, at the same time, having to cover the needs of more and more people because of the so-called “four freedoms” of the EU, introduced by the Maastricht Treaty and those that followed it (i.e. freedom in the movement of capital, commodities and of course labour). – ‘Brexit, Neoliberalism and the Eurozone: What Is at Stake in the British Referendum‘ By Takis Fotopoulos, 29 April 2016.
Okay, but how exactly, does exiting the EU change this equation? We all live in a neoliberal world, and exiting the EU is not going to change that. In the UK, the people Fotopoulos is referring to, who are at the sharp end of neoliberal policies, are a minority (even if a sizeable one) and it’s a minority that doesn’t vote (except, it appears, in the Referendum) and hence has no representation. Electing Corbyn as head of the Labour Party didn’t change that, even if he does have a mandate from them, a mandate that he has trampled on by supporting (however reluctantly) the Remain camp. I would go so far as to say that those who voted for Corbyn have been cruelly misled, but then that’s the history of Reformism.
Surely, the point here is that all the things Fotopoulos refers to above, zero hours contracts, cuts in the social wage and so forth (let alone our butchering of the planet and its peoples which he doesn’t mention) have been in the works for thirty years now and we have been unable to resist any of it! At best we fight rearguard actions to hold on to the little that’s left of the postwar gains we made.
What’s missing from Fotopoulos’s argument is any reference to Imperialism. The UK, like it’s major European allies, is an imperialist state. The great majority of its people support (or acquiesce to) the policies of an Imperialist Great Britain, even if we are a poodle imperialism to the ravenous wolf, the US.
Fotopoulos ends his piece by telling us what we need:
What we therefore need in Britain, in Europe and in the world as a whole, is to start building Popular Fronts for National and Social Liberation (PFNSL), in every country which is integrated into the New World Order. Such fronts would fight for the recovery of national and economic sovereignty and the self-reliance of each country, in their struggle for the creation of a new democratic world order based on the values of solidarity and mutual aid, rather than the principle of competitiveness which has led to the present record level of inequality in the distribution of wealth and income throughout the world, as well as to an ecological disaster. Such a process of recovery would necessarily involve the creation of an alternative pole of sovereign self-reliant nations, and Brexit is a precondition for this. (ibid)
Fotopoulos talks as if it’s the left that is behind the success of Brexit but it’s not. Yes, I think we all know what we need, what we don’t know is how to achieve it. Popular Fronts? Popular fronts presuppose the uniting of various strands under one, common umbrella, and strands that actually exist and have force. I don’t see anything like this in the UK. All I see is a divided and ineffectual left that can’t even agree to describe the EU as an imperialist project and in fact, for the most part it’s been campaigning to Remain! Is this the stuff of Popular Fronts?
The blame game By William Bowles
Aprés la Deluge By William Bowles
Brexit As Working Class Rebellion Against Free Trade by Jack Rasmus
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate by Mike Whitney
Why Global Capital Fears ‘Brexit’ by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rupert Read, Thomas Wallgren
Brexit Violence Deeply Rooted, With Lessons for U.S. by David Swanson
British socialists debate the EU referendum
Why socialists should support a British exit by Neil Davidson
from the archives:
Michael Hudson: How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Exiting the EU by William Bowles
Noam Chomsky and Yanis Varoufakis: The Neoliberalism Assault on the World
Andrew Gavin Marshall: Who Rules Europe?
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion by Ellen Brown + Greece is Not the Major Problem – Europe is by Siv O’Neall
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See also: https://investigatingimperialism.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/the-blame-game-by-william-bowles/
See also: https://investigatingimperialism.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/aprs-la-deluge-by-william-bowles/
See also: https://jackrasmus.com/2016/06/25/brexit-as-working-class-rebellion-against-free-trade-print/
Pingback: Michael Hudson: How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote | Dandelion Salad