The whole brouhaha around Brexit has amply demonstrated the under-hand tactics used by the losing side post-2016 referendum. There seems no dirty trick that the PTB and their useful idiots will not employ in their ongoing campaign to keep the UK in the prison of the EU and keep the sinking ship of the EU afloat.
The counter-revolution campaign contained of 4 discrete but interconnected segments.
- Project fear: This was successfully used in the Scottish Independence Referendum and has been rolled out again in an attempt to reverse the Leave vote in UK’s EU referendum campaign. After the Leave vote result, media immediately went into (hysterical) overdrive with its tales of woe and chaos regarding the ‘inevitable’ collapse of the UK economy. Visions were conjured up of empty super-market shelves, mass unemployment, capital flight, food riots etcetera. The end of civilization as we know it. A notable example of conjecture and scare-mongering being presented as hard ‘facts.’
- Disinformation: The ‘experts’ from the political and media class assured us that life in the EU was wonderful and full of promise and if we only gave it a little more time it would become a veritable Shangri la.
- Enter stage left: the great and the good from the pseudo-left, social-democratic establishment, overwhelmingly in the case of the Labour party, who have assured us that the EU could be transformed – when all the evidence pointed to the contrary – and become an instrument of progress, prosperity and enlightenment. This policy was given broader exposure with Diem2025 the brainchild of one Yanis Varoufakis. According to the theory, nation states no longer existed, and reforms should start at the supra-national level. But as a matter of fact, the nation-state is precisely the arena which meaningful politics can and does take place. According to the Remain and Reform school, we apparently need a Europe-wide supra-national strategy – based upon what policies exactly? We must assume, according to the party line, that the nation-state is either dead or dying, this being an article of faith of the globalist left and the Washington Consensus. Strange bedfellows?
- Confusion: When the population has been softened-up and generally addled by the non-stop propaganda offensive waged by the media – private and state – they will tend to opt for the status quo. Clinging on to the wet-nurse in fear of something new and untested. A second vote is to now been mooted by the PTB, spuriously designated the ‘peoples’ vote, as if the first Referendum somehow wasn’t – and this has been massively endorsed by the Labour party membership and pretty much universally by the PLP. Ergo, the policy the ‘left internationalists’ is one of inter alia ‘strengthening democracy’ – all very noble.
However, the crucially important issue of the neo-liberal policy tripod: the three freedoms of movement – capital, labour, commodities – remains in place, political change will not take place. And provided the institutional infrastructure of globalized capitalism – the IMF, WTO, World Bank, the EU are overseeing and enabling the EU’s neoliberal project, economic and political change will not take place.
It is not the shackles of nationalism that give rise to the bureaucratic monstrosity which is the EU but precisely the opposite. The neo-liberal imperatives of open borders, liberalized commodity markets, liberalized capital accounts, abandonment of exchange rate controls, flexible labour markets and freedom of movement of labour, provide the theoretical and political under-pinning of the whole structure. Unless these political/ideological roadblocks are addressed the status quo will continue and continue to deteriorate.
In terms of alliance building, political convergence between states cannot be constructed at regional (for example the EU) or even less so at global levels even if it is not achieved firstly at the level of nations. Because whether we like it or not, nations define and manage concrete realities and challenges, and it is only at these levels that changes in the social and political balance of forces to the advantage of the popular classes will or will not occur. Changes at the regional and global level may reflect national advances and certainly facilitate them – but nothing more. In short the move is from local to national and finally to supra-national, not the other way around.
In order to stop the onward march of globalist neoliberalism governments and states must regain control of their economies and politics. There is no single way to achieve this critical goal, but without it hemispheric co-operation will remain little more than an empty rhetorical flourish. Moreover, everywhere electorates are looking to governments to be a counterweight to footloose corporations. It is this intuitive perception to rein-in markets that will increasingly occupy centre-stage between pro and anti the coming decade. For social-political movements the nation-state continues to be the chosen instrument for the organization of society. It cannot be any other way. However much social institutions will have to adapt to new global pressures, what is not in doubt is that the nation-state remains the crucible for equality seeking movements the world over. Efficiency, profitability and competitiveness have not won the hearts and minds of the peoples worldwide, nor are they likely to do so; precisely the opposite in fact.
Reform of the EU, which I understand to be the goal of the campaign of pro-EU aligned leftist faction fails to take into consideration the fact that the EU cannot be reformed since its whole ideological structure and constitution is built upon neo-liberal technocratic assumptions which can clearly be identified in the interior belief-systems of the bureaucracy, and consequently the daily practise and deliberations of internal institutions explicitly designed on a neoliberal model and cemented by legal statutes have made such changes impossible.
But such reasoned arguments were ignored by the Remainer berserkers, as they screeched: ‘’Smash the whole EU referendum farce with a second referendum.” The ‘farce’ meaning of course an outcome which the Remainers didn’t like. Well of course this is pretty much par for the course for EU electoral practise: If at first you don’t succeed, then simply repeat the playbook instructions until you get the right result, which is to say the result which suits the political/economic status quo.
Regardless of the pros and cons of EU membership I don’t think I have ever seen such a blatant attempt at the repudiation of universal suffrage as this. It seems to have now become fashionable and acceptable to question the whole basis of democratic electoral practise with the soi-disant elite – the elite which leads from the rear – actually openly questioning the validity of what it took a hundred years to establish, from 1832 until 1928.
I didn’t particularly like it when the Tories were elected in 1979, 1983,1987, 1992 and 2015 but I never and ceteris paribus, never would have questioned the legitimacy of their electoral triumph. Perhaps we should have staged a coup, Ukrainian style, and overthrown the democratically elected government and then had another election, come to think of it why bother with elections at all, after all you might lose.
There seems to be a real problem with left Remainers, including the soft-lefts which incidentally didn’t even allow a discussion on the issue. But democracy is not a la carte. Mess with the system and you open up a Pandora’s Box of baleful possibilities. Possibly and at some future date an election which returns a candidate/party to their liking may also be repudiated. In which case where do you go from there? Answer nowhere since it was always a possibility after the initial precedent had been established; and when election results become merely provisional or advisory, then genuine democracy is hollowed out and becomes a ritual, part of the political spectacle which in no way challenges the structures of power and privilege.
Universal suffrage and electoral practise are not conditional they are absolute. Democracy is table d’hôtel or it is nothing. The Remainer bloc seem to have undergone three identifiable ‘moments’ (see below) in their fury of not getting their own way.
Moment 1. Bertolt Brecht made the point after the East Germany rising in 1953, that the Communist government complained that they had done so much for the people and how ungrateful the people were. Brecht’s acerbic reply was that “the people should be dissolved and another elected.” That was the Remainers Brechtian moment. Bronze medal.
Moment 2 came the Augustian moment. St. Augustine who intoned: “Lord give me chastity and celibacy but not yet.” Translated into Remainerspeak it would read: Lord give me invocation of article 50, but not yet. Silver Medal.
Moment 3. Finally, there was the Richard Tuck moment: “The people have spoken, the bastards.” –Dick Tuck and American politician’s concession speech following his loss in the 1966 California State Senate election “The people have spoken, the bastards.” Gold Medal.
Gold medal therefore to be awarded to the Remainers for their characterisation of the Leave vote – some 17.4 million of the electorate – as ‘bastards’.