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The EU – do we stay or do we go?

Philip Roddis

For years I’ve called myself a peg-on-nose Remainer. While many fellow Remainers strike me as naive, deluded on the nature of the EU and frequently contemptuous to boot, my bottom line is that until Left Leavers show how Brexit can be a gain in the here and now for British workers,[1] I don’t see how leaving that bankers’ club can be other than a de facto alignment with the most hideous currents in Britain today.

Which is hardly a ringing endorsement of the EU. Nor do I share Yanis Varoufakis’s view that our best option is to seek its reform from within. Though his understanding is deep and, of course, painfully experiential, I deem his diem25 project the clutching at straws of a drowning man.[2] As I put it in a post in April:

an EU predicated on neoliberalism in a predatory global order can no more be reformed than can the US Empire

So what might bring about a re-evaluation of my position?

A major realignment of class forces in Britain is what. This side of a pre-revolutionary situation in the West, something not seen in my lifetime – from Paris ’68 to Occupy to gilets jaunes – the most likely indicator would be the emergence of a powerful voice with a grasp of the true, take-no-prisoners nature of capitalism. That rules out neo-Blairites, Greens[3] and Lib Dems.

The voice I have in mind has the capacity to reach out to those most shafted, by everything the EU actually stands for, with a nuanced but unequivocal statement of the Left case against it.

That, and a plan to stop Leave being a green light for reaction. One that can be adapted by anti EU progressives across the member states, including the only winners, Germany and Holland, from the eurozone project.

And, quite important this, one that does not conjure up rabbits from hats, or otherwise insult my intelligence.

Such are the uncertainties of our times, I can’t say whether that’s a pipe dream or just round the corner. I can say this much, though. Like its sister currents in Europe, it must have deep roots in the organised working class. That may not mean Labour in its current form, of which more in a moment, but will include the socialist wings of that party and the trade union movement.

It will also include those on the far left, among them some of the ablest thinkers on the planet, who are willing to let go of sectarianism.

*

With Labour’s Leavers jumping ship faster than its Remainers – gone the heady days of 2015/16; gone the highpoint of June 2017 – where does it now stand? Many Left Remainers say its leader has let them down.

For those who see Brexit of any kind, and under any circumstances, as a calamity of Biblical dimensions, his crime was refusal to commit unconditionally to Remain.

I’ve said in this post and others how colossally uninformed I find that, given the actual nature of the EU as distinct from Remainer fantasies about it, but will add that it assumes a top down party undivided. In its ignorance of how political parties work, it relegates PLP, NEC and every branch member to the status of mere instruments of the will of He Who Must Be Obeyed.

It also ignores the cry of anguish from millions of Leavers in the heartlands, but why bring that up? The Remainers who never heard that cry, and they are many, are unlikely to hear it now.

Then there are far left Leavers who say Corbyn sides with a ruling class whose dominant wing does not, whatever centre-left Remainers may think, want Brexit. They say he has thrown in his lot with Lib Dems, europhile Tories, Greens, SNP and such other Westminster elements as can be rallied beneath the banner of stopping hard – and perhaps any form of – Brexit.

I’ve some sympathy with that criticism, when couched in terms of the limits to ‘parliamentary socialism’.[4] But two problems won’t go away. One is my conviction that the referendum result, while hugely significant as indicator of how millions feel, is worthless in narrow electoral terms. (See footnote 1 to Last night in the House.)

It may not be invoked, least of all by socialists, as a sacred covenant. The other is the failure of any Lexiteer of my acquaintance, and I’ve spoken to a good few, to point to anything in the here and now that offers realistic hope of a Left Brexit.

But I’m beginning to repeat myself.

Unlike the forces tearing the Conservatives apart, what is now splitting the Labour Party is not Brexit as such. It is the deep divisions informing it.

On June 9, 2016 – just a fortnight before the Referendum – I wrote, in a post headed Labour’s Problems are Britain’s Problems, that:

Neither Corbyn nor neo-Blairites are well posed to win a general election. Blair pulled it off in ’97 not just because he had ‘moderate’ policies, JFK appeal and an electorate tired of the tories. He won because now discredited trickledown economics made a “3rd Way” seem plausible, and allowed the C1/C2 vote to be tapped without alienating D/Es.

His subsequent two wins were with shrinking majorities despite a Conservative Party in disarray under leaders chosen not for electoral appeal but stance on Europe. (Ken Clarke would have posed a more credible challenge to New Labour than Howard, IDS or Hague could ever do.) New Labour ‘realists’ dream fondly of a charismatic leader with centrist policies to woo Middle England and return the party to the glory days. Not possible.

… Britain’s fault lines have deepened … In an increasingly Disunited Kingdom a party may appeal to Middle England or burgeoning underclass but not both; not in sufficient numbers to win elections. The C1/C2s … [have always been able to vote] Tory or Lib-Dem while D/Es, long held to have no alternative to Labour, now have SNP, Ukip and (we can predict) parties further to the right. That Corbyn has such huge grass roots support, and near zero PLP backing, is more a reflection of our fragmented society than of a uniquely Labour problem. Ditto the fact not one of the frontbench rebels voted against the 2015 Welfare Bill.

I’ve seen nothing – not even Labour’s electrifying response to Theresa May’s miscalculation of June 2017 – to change that view, and much to reinforce it. Parliamentary socialism, even of the most insincere kind, seems done for. Not through the shortcomings of this leader or that.

Not because its programme isn’t Left enough, or too far Left. It seems done for because Britain is broken by a fracture forty years in the making. A fracture threatening both of the parties which have dominated the UK for close to a century, especially and more immediately a Labour Party now obliged to woo liberal progressives without abandoning what were once its heartlands.

Can’t be done.

The Tories are under existential threat too – ask Philip Hammond … Amber Rudd … Ken Clarke … John Major – but their agonies are bound more tightly, and over a much longer period, with Europe. What’s more their recovery, once the dust settles on Brexit, is more easily envisaged.

Their fortunes interest me little, however, and I’ll speak no more of them here.

*

What does any of this have to do with the conditions for a principled switch from peg-on-nose Remainer to enthusiastic – or careful but committed – Leaver? I’m nearly there but let me first summarise the conundrum as set out in this and other posts:

The EU is a capitalist/imperialist club, and as such antithetical to the interests of workers.

This state of affairs cannot be changed from within.

The Leave voice of reaction – let’s call it Rexit – is so strong, so long established, as to have drowned out that of Lexit. Under current circumstances, which may change, a Left led Brexit is no more achievable than EU reform.

Given these realities, here is what would flip me into the Lexit camp:

Recognition by significant numbers within the Labour movement that the circumstances in which Labour was able to gain office during the long postwar boom are gone forever.

Said recognition to galvanise precisely the Lexit movement I refer to.[5] The difficulties can hardly be overstated. Past efforts to build a real socialist movement, with deep roots in the organised working class – without which it is doomed to join all the other sects and failed projects littering the Left landscape – leave a sobering legacy. Anyone remember a chap named Arthur Scargill (he walked on water, you know) or his Socialist Party?

The emergence – as consequence, in tandem with or as driver of the above – of similarly rooted tendencies across the member states.

I see these things as unlikely but, precisely because of the turbulence in the Western world, not to be ruled out. I’m with the ghost of Jean Paul Sartre – looking to the future not with pessimism but stern optimism.

In the meantime, may I recommend you spend the next thirty-five minutes of your life hearing what Costas Lapavitsas has to say? Like Yanis Varoufakis he is an economics professor. Like Yanis he has taught (and still does) in London. Like Yanis he was in the Syriza government and saw at first hand the true nature of the EU. Like Yanis he is highly intelligent and extraordinarily articulate. Unlike Yanis he does not believe the EU can be reformed.

NOTES:-

[1] By ‘workers’ I refer not to quaint folk in cloth caps and clogs clanging down cobbled streets at dawn to t’mill. I refer to all whose only means of satisfying the material conditions of existence is to sell their labour power, skilled or unskilled, on markets they have no control over. Chances are that’s you. And chances are – tact never was my strong suit – you haven’t grasped the extent to which those who own serious capital are, regardless of how they see things, aligned objectively with the drivers of staggering inequality, actual war on an imperialised world, potential war with rival powers, and environmental catastrophe.

[2] Costas Lapavitsas hits the nail on the head. Those on the Left who say the EU can be reformed have given up on socialism. They now look instead to the utopian dream of a kinder capitalism. This is to misunderstand, profoundly, the nature of the beast.

[3] One indicator of the naivity of many Left-Remainers is their seizing on Green window dressing. Like children yet to learn that shop-keepers, even subjectively honest ones, aren’t reliable guides to the quality of their wares, they pay too much heed to what is said, too little to what is done. Easily impressed, they float into the Green Party on the basis of programmes whose pull, after environmentalism, is Remain with a dash of anti austerity. Astute shoppers look for objective indicators.

In Germany the Greens joined a neo-liberal coalition to vote for the Afghanistan war, in Ireland a right wing government that cut healthcare and benefits, while in Britain’s local councils they have voted for austerity measures.

This is not to say the Green Party is insincere. Rather, that any opposition to ‘austerity’ not grounded in deep understanding of the nature of capitalism will always – like parliamentary socialism – capitulate when the going gets tough. NB such realities do not lessen my willingness to work with Green activists, many of whom I hold in the highest regard, on the most pressing issue of our time: capitalism’s war on nature.

[4] I have no sympathy whatsoever with ad hominem attacks – from the Left as much as the Right – on a man with an unrivalled record of siding with the oppressed against the oppressor; a man of rare personal integrity.

[5] Worth noting in this context is that even a non revolutionary but radical restructuring of UK capitalism – tilted away from financial and other services toward manufacturing – would require huge levels of state investment. Levels which neither EU rules nor its economically liberal raison d’etre permit of a member state.

Scribbler for some sixty years, and for fifteen a photographer too, Philip Roddis began blogging in the early noughties by inflicting film reviews on an unsuspecting public. Soon he was doing the same with illustrated writings on wanderings in Asia and Africa. He writes “to help me think, and because I like to be read”, and finds photography's problem solving aspects "a break from those of writing, as well as an aid to writing and to reflective travel”.

His blog is Steel City Scribblings

Filed under: Brexit, latest, UK, UK domestic politics

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Scribbler for some sixty years, and for fifteen a photographer too, Philip Roddis began blogging in the early noughties by inflicting film reviews on an unsuspecting public. Soon he was doing the same with illustrated writings on wanderings in Asia and Africa. He writes “to help me think, and because I like to be read”, and finds photography's problem solving aspects "a break from those of writing, as well as an aid to writing and to reflective travel”. His blog is Steel City Scribblings

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Steve Hayes

If I understood this article correctly, they author wants to Remain in the anti-democratic European Union unless he can be sure that leaving will result in a socialist transformation of British society.

Wilmers31
Wilmers31

“….. in Britain’s local councils they have voted for austerity measures.”

The immense costs for war participation make austerity mandatory. And they do not stop when the war is over – veterans require care for 50 years after they return.

Britain is a prickly member in the EU. If the EU is to survive, Britain must get out. When EU difficulties have settled down, Britain can re-apply if that is their wish. But Britain must experience freedom for about 20 years.

Ken Kenn
Ken Kenn

The EU is a Bosses Club – who knew?

The EU is a Bosses Club with a Social State and a Welfare State ( for now) .

The other two ‘ Clubs ‘ are made up of the BRICS – who aren’t interested in the spoiling tactics of non material trade and the other (the US ) gave up on material trade years ago and decided to coupon clip instead.

So – in a bourgouise choice I only have a choice of the worst three.

Corbyn’s pre Referendum announcement was to reform and remain.

The Leavers won and Corbyn being the most democratic and sincere believer in Parliamentary Democracy ( like Tony Benn ) said we have to respect the decision to leave.

But in what way?

Unless we all want to jump off the planet and opt out of Globalisation then we have no other choice but to pick a side with one of the three trading blocs.

How the hell George Galloway and others thought they would be consulted re : how the UK leaves the EU when this is a right wing Brexit – not a left one is beyond me?

In a globalised worlds there is no way that the UK can build its own ships/aircraft/ steelwork its tech etc etc and operate outwith the global economy – that’s crazy.

What is required is trading alliances with others separate and apart form the Giant Squid called the US.

Get away from thatworldwide armlock and maybe ( no guarantees ) just maybe the UK could find its proper and revised position in the world?

Learn to trade in a different way.

Meaning ditch the US and we might just get somewhere.

The EU is nasty but the US is worse.

Lesser evils and all that for now until the revolt.

jenny 234
jenny 234

If I remember correctly, the electorate voted to LEAVE the EU – what’s so difficult?

Wazdo
Wazdo

I voted to remain because our son works in a factory one third to a half of their products are bought by companies in the EU and I wanted him to keep his job. If we come out, or should that be when, he will quite likely to be made redundant. All his workmates voted leave. Here, in the Black Country, 70% voted leave even when it was pointed out to them that they could lose their jobs.

He and his wife will then have to sell their house at a much lower price than they bought it for (property prices will plummet), and will probably be unable to pay off their mortgage.

But hey ho leave is fine and I guess I’m just being selfish.

Butties
Butties

Your guess is correct.

mark
mark

Property prices will plummet. Terrible. Won’t be able to pay 500k for a grubby sub standard 1 bed London flat any more. How will I cope?

Theo
Theo

BTW Germany doesn’t print Euros because only the ECB can.The German Bundesbank often opposed ECB monetary policies but had no influence.Neither has any German ever presided over the ECB.

Graft
Graft

Stop being a Pussy roddis and leave leave leave

Stephen Morrell
Stephen Morrell

Apologies for length.

The EU has always been made out to be more than what it really is, with some going so far as to claim that it’s the prototypical beginnings to a ‘Unites States of Europe’. Many leftists, ‘pegs on their noses’ notwithstanding, might even say it’s a step in an ‘internationalist’ direction. To think that is to claim the EU is not just another imperialist cartel.

Below are ten reasons in principle for why the EU is a bad thing, and Brexit a good thing deserving support. These aren’t comprehensive but they don’t depend on particular alignments of political conjunctures, forces, scenarios or exigencies:

1. The EU is the means for German capital to dominate the other European capitals in order to better compete against rival US and Japanese capitals. To support EU membership means supporting one imperialist cartel against rival imperialists.

2. EU membership is a direct attack on the remaining vestiges democracy of all EU member countries. Through the euro and its fiscal rules, the EU makes all member governments more completely subservient to (mainly) German finance capital.

Tony Benn, the British Labour Party’s most prominent left-social democrat at the time and mentor of Jeremy Corbyn, was against the EU, albeit chiefly from a narrow ‘little Englander’ point of view of the EU undermining what democracy as exists in the English ‘mother of all parliaments’. He was right, but his protege hasn’t offered any arguments to the counter that position.

Concretely, EU membership means that the populations of EU member countries can’t meaningfully vote in national elections for candidates that might infringe on any EU financial/fiscal regulations, for example to run budget deficits that exceed 3% of GDP or carry a total government debt exceeding 60% of GDP; or re-nationalise vital infrastructure (sorry Jeremy, you can’t re-nationalise British Rail and still oppose Brexit); or refuse to implement savage austerity policies to pay off German bondholders (eg, Greece).

3. The only EU member that can run a significant budget deficit is Germany because it can print euros, while other member states living under the euro are forced to borrow from the ECB (really the German banks) under strict terms. In order to pay their debts to the German bondholders these subject countries are forced to savagely cut their budgets and to impose even more barbaric neoliberal economic policies to shift the debt burden to the working class and poor. They don’t have the option of devaluing their currency or ‘quantitative easing’ by printing more money. A major source of sovereignty is thus erased if a country’s central bank can’t even issue its own currency or set its value against other currencies.

4. Leaving aside the fact that the ‘free’ movement of labour is subject to the even freer movement of capital in the EU, this comes at a price that is clear but no-one wants to acknowledge it. The poorer European countries provide a pool of cheap labour that can be used for German corporations, and to a lesser extent French ones, to better compete with the US and Japan — not least by lowering living standards and working conditions of German and French workers.

To help this along, the diktats of the EU are being enforced inside the working class by the trade union bureaucracies and mass reformist workers parties of Europe, of which the UK Labour Party and German SPD are prime examples. The latter in 2005, in alliance with the bourgeois Greens, rammed through the Hartz IV laws and Agenda 2010 that gutted numerous social welfare provisions, and as a result Germany now has a two- and three-tiered workforce. In fact, ‘Hartz IV’ has become the current German term for the lumpenproletariat, and 55% of Hartz IV recipients are foreign born.

The poorer European countries with their reserve army of cheap labour thus have been used as a battering ram for lower wages and conditions inside the dominant EU imperial power itself. It’s not just influxes of desperate refugees from Middle East and African countries ruined by US and European imperialist depredations fuelling the rise of fascism in Europe. The EU does it inherently.

5. Support for the break-up of the UK (eg, independence for Scotland and Wales), which is a good thing, is inconsistent with opposition to Brexit. The same arguments against Brexit apply to opposing Scottish and Welsh independence.

6. The majority of bourgeois politicians on the ground support the EU and are horrified that their ‘own’ people don’t also love the EU. That they’ve used the EU to justify austerity and more, all but painting the EU as the ‘bad guy’ like in a protection racket (‘if you don’t do as we say, this far more evil goon over here will come and break your knees’), doesn’t even register with them as a reason for working class hostility to the EU. British deindustrialisation may have commenced before the EU, before Thatcher even, but it was accelerated by the EU.

The majority vote for Brexit, which no bourgeois or EU supporter acknowledges, wasn’t simply reactionary nationalism. A lot of it was the working class and the oppressed simply saying ‘fuck you, we’ve had enough; we’re no longer prepared to have our jobs and lives ruined by bondholders, coupon clippers, currency speculators and junk bond bundlers’.

The EU has served and continues to serve as a bogeyman-roadblock to any meaningful social reforms. Undermining, destabilising and otherwise removing the EU as a political factor will allow workers and the oppressed to more effectively take on their ‘own’ oppressors. The Brexit vote was a shot across the bows.

7. Support for Grexit is inconsistent with opposition to Brexit. Most Greeks favour Grexit, and no-one claims Grexit is a predominantly reactionary, nationalist movement. Yet it’s likely many if not most anti-Brexiters support Grexit.

8. The same imperialist cartel dominates the EU, albeit with different inter-imperial power relations, as in the Common Market and EEC. Germany’s dominance and resurgence as an imperialist force was based on its annexation of East Germany and the restoration of capitalism there, which the Maastricht treaty signified. But is the purpose of the EU fundamentally different from the EEC? Does it exist to ‘unite’ Europe into a common ‘culture’ perhaps? A ‘social Europe’?

The Greeks, Portuguese, Irish, Spanish et al. might find all that hard to swallow, especially when they’re asked to endure austerity to repay loans to the ECB, and to suffer double digit unemployment and generalised impoverishment just to abide by EU neoliberal rules. German workers may not agree either. ‘Social Europe’ my arse.

On the other hand, if one understands that the capitalist rulers don’t change their fundamental outlook one iota, then the main reasons for the EU’s existence are the same as before: to maximise profits at the expense of all of Europe’s working classes, including the German working class; and to improve competitiveness against the EU’s main economic rivals, Japan and the US.

9. If the EU were one of the ‘Free Trade’ pacts like those being pushed by the US (eg, TPP), everyone would know to oppose them because, despite their secrecy, they clearly place member states under an onerous and unaccountable international corporate tyranny. The EU’s fraudulent European ‘Parliament’ serves precisely as a ‘democratic’ fig leaf and rubber stamp for a very similar arrangement.

10. As for the notion of a ‘United States of Europe’ implicit in the pleadings of the most ‘progressive’ supporters of the EU, Marxists would counter that under conditions of imperialism that this is a thoroughly reactionary slogan. As Lenin put it: “In this sense [ie, of temporary agreements between capitalists and/or states] a United States of Europe is possible as an agreement between the European capitalists…but to what end? Only for the purpose of jointly suppressing socialism in Europe, of jointly protecting colonial booty against Japan and America” — ‘On the slogan for a United States of Europe’ [August 1915].

Nothing much has changed in 104 years: the ‘social Europe’ of the EU is essentially the same. In short, the EU must go, and Brexit would be a good first step to that end.

George Cornell
George Cornell

You remind me of a kindergarten teacher who says on a report card “ Does not play well with others”. That’s you. Your very dark view of the EU, tinged with racial slurs, epitomizes why you should leave. But it’s not enough for you to leave, you maliciously want the EU to fail as well. Well you can just take Jimmy Carr’s second vegetarian option. And just think you can invade more Iraqs, destroy the lives of more innocents, and render and torture without having to listen to human voices. Cuddle up with Pompeo and his ilk, after all success within the EU is so threatening to your fragile unproductive egos with your ample streak of superiority complex. Go for it. You are a bad global citizen. And your politics would make any dictator snort. Good riddance.

Stephen Morrell
Stephen Morrell

Your report card, from 4th form not kindy, reads, “Does not argue well with others. Should address points raised, but if unable to, then learn to direct ad hominem attacks against self.”

George Cornell
George Cornell

Says Stephen Morrell, addressing none of the points raised , searching for pseudo-attractive sound bites with not a hint of self-insight.

mark
mark

Why do we have to play by our masters rules all the time and constantly play their game of lesser evils?

RobG

Well, at least you acknowledge the EU for what it is, but you still don’t seem to acknowledge neo-liberalism in a worldwide sense.

Revolution is coming (and is already happening in places like France).

Be very afraid, my friend.

Doctortrinate
Doctortrinate

Brexit = another model of managed change with warped suggestions that remotly agitate the rank and file into mousetrap participation where all roads circle to a predetermined outcome .

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

Another ringer from Philip!

The Leave voice of reaction – let’s call it Rexit – is so strong, so long established, as to have drowned out that of Lexit. Under current circumstances, which may change, a Left led Brexit is no more achievable than EU reform.

Well, once Brexit’s over, it becomes the proverbial fait accompli, and you could then put it behind you and work on winning a parliamentary election for the left. How about that?

NB such realities do not lessen my willingness to work with Green activists, many of whom I hold in the highest regard, on the most pressing issue of our time: capitalism’s war on nature.

I would frankly prioritize capitalism’s war on us. Once we nature-lovers are gone, who’s going to fight for the environment?

Tom
Tom

“The EU is a capitalist/imperialist club, and as such antithetical to the interests of workers.”

Odd then that EU nations have the best workers’ rights in the world. And that the EU has never invaded anyone, indeed has fostered peace among previously wartorn nations.
Wouldn’t a ‘capitalist/imperialist club’ be more like the USA? And funnily enough, the vast majority of politicians who support the hardest break with the EU are indeed right-wing Tories with close links to the far-right American politicians and the intelligence agencies.
So the article makes almost no sense in view of these points.

George Cornell
George Cornell

Well-spotted, Tom.

vexarb
vexarb

“Well spotted, Tom” except for this blind spot: ” that the EU has never invaded anyone, indeed has fostered peace among previously wartorn nations.”

The invasion of YugoSlavia and dismemberment of Serbia were atrocities carried out in the name of the EU. Our allegedly ‘peaceloving’ EU dropped more bombs on Serbia than Hitler did. But the EU has engaged in even greater amount of covert warmongering because the EU is NATZO, both offices are in Brussels. Open war against Libya in the name of NATZO, covert war against Syria by NATZO countries, siege and mass starvation of Yemen by NATZO warplanes, NATZO nuclear weapons in the Baltic aimed at Russia and Iran.

“War is Peace” — EU / NATZO slogan.

There was a time, just after WW2, when European Unity stood for something real peace and social democracy. “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive”. That dawn ended around 1980 with the election of Maggie Snatcher as Prime Minister of Britain, and the appointments of Lord Salisbury to NATZO and Lord Kinnock to the EC. From then onward both the EU as a whole and individual EU countries became increasingly corrupt and foolish. Today we stand under the noonday sun of a fascist-leaning Anglo Zio Capitalist Western hegemony. “In” or “Out” of the EU makes no difference to the foolish criminality of current Western Leadership.

George Cornell
George Cornell

Whoa there. Are you saying that the US and UK have nothing to do with NATO and the blame-shifting exercises you are indulging in?

NATO is still very largely a malicious American invention, a manipulative American enterprise, an American armament bazaar, and its primary activities America-driven, fomented by American-fuelled imaginary, delusional insincere anti-Russian paranoia. Having poor Eastern European countries sign on to massive defense expenditures (buying American arms) makes them forgo basic needs in their own countries. I agree that in or out of the EU makes little difference to the current status. I agree with your last paragraph.

vexarb
vexarb

@George Cornell: ” Are you saying that the US and UK have nothing to do with NATO …?

No.

George Cornell
George Cornell

You fooled me, then.

mark
mark

Too true. The EU is just the civilian wing of NATO, Uncle Sam’s faithful Gurkhas ever ready to provide the cannon fodder in the latest crazy war for Israel. Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Venezuela, Iran. What invasions and regime changes do you want us to cheerlead for today, boss?

ZigZag Wanderer
ZigZag Wanderer

Errr …. it makes plenty of sense … particularly for Brits.
Despite being members of the EU for all these decades the UK lags behind EU countries by a significant margin in workers rights.

Most EU countries are indeed up there in tier 1. In 2018 we Brits languished down in tier 3 alongside places like Burkina Faso , Congo , Liberia and many more.

This is an improvement over 2017 when we were even worse.

Scroll to page 11 of this ITUC Global Rights Index for the record. https://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/ituc-global-rights-index-2018-en-final-2.pdf

With regards to military aggression the EU obviously hasn’t invaded anyone as it doesn’t have any armed forces ( yet ).

Individual EU countries have however “fostered peace” by lobbing plenty of ordnance at brown people regularly over the last couple of decades.

Chris Rogers

Best not mention the Ukraine then, or for that matter that recognition of a fool claiming to be the President of Venezuela, despite no one ever casting a vote for him in the nation he claimed to rule. Oh, and the fact funds dispensed to said chancer went missing rather quickly.

Jen
Jen

If the EU has never invaded other nations as a bloc, that is partly because that is NATO’s job to do so on the EU’s behalf. Nearly all nations that are members of the EU are also members of NATO: indeed, joining NATO is often part of the process towards joining the EU. The sole exception is Finland which has its historical and geopolitical reasons for not being a NATO member.

It should be of some significance that since joining NATO and then the EU, various Eastern European nations have been busy turning themselves into open-air military barracks, supposedly to protect against Russian aggression, while their economies have become rundown and their young people vote with their feet. Would the EU have allowed that situation to develop if it really had favoured peac?

George Cornell
George Cornell

Jen, the US has pushed the Russian aggression thing hard. This has been going on since long before the USSR collapsed. As far as I can tell there is no NATO, without the manufactured Russkie threat. Now to be a NATO member, you have to commit to massive weapons expenditure and guess who sells you the weapons? Very little of this imperative comes from the EU.

Francis Lee
Francis Lee

http://www.oecd.org/g20/topics/framework-can-create-a-growth-path-which-is-both-strong-and-inclusive.htm.

”What are these wonderful growth-enhancing ‘structural reforms’? For Portugal, the IMF-EU decided that they were a reduction of 4 public holidays a year, three days minimum paid holidays, a 50% reduction in overtime rates, and the end of collective bargaining agreements. There would be more work-time management, the removal on restrictions on the power to fire workers, the lowering on severance payments upon losing ones job, and forced arbitration on labour disputes. In short, workers must work longer and harder for less money and fewer rights and a higher risk of being sacked. Southern Europe must become a cheap labour centre for investment by the north.” (The Long Depression – Michael Roberts, p173.) So much for workers rights. I think you’ll find that workers rights were established against the bitter opposition of the employers, and not a gift from the oh-so-benevolent

This is the reality of workers rights in the EU. A flexible labour market. Every time I read a Reaminer argument I am reminded of a religious cult. Absolutely no attention is paid to the facts, belief is apparently all what counts

mark
mark

Plus if the locals don’t like it, they get a visit from the Brussels boys. Ireland is ordered to privatise water. Spain has its Cabinet appointments vetoed. Italy gets its budget vetoed. Italy and Greece just get EU colonial governors sent over as viceroys to rule the places for Brussels. Imagine what they’d do with a Corbyn government.

Kitty
Kitty

There are so many rumours going around it’s difficult to know what is fact and fiction . I believe that May signed us up for the EU army after the referendum. What exactly does this mean? If there is a war will UK troops be under the control of Brussels regardless of the UK Governments position. Nobody seems to talk about this not even the hard line Brexiters so perhaps it’s not relevant.

wardropper
wardropper

Many of your fellow Remainers strike you as naive, as do many of my fellow Brexiteers, but the issue is not how naive the bulk of the British people might be, Brem or Brex, but what is the best policy for dealing with appalling EU systemic corruption which, if it serves anyone apart from the greedy individuals involved, it serves Washington.
My view is that distance between London and Brussels is a good thing, and will focus our attention where it is needed: On our domestic corruption.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood

[5] Worth noting in this context is that even a non revolutionary but radical restructuring of UK capitalism – tilted away from financial and other services toward manufacturing – would require huge levels of state investment. Levels which neither EU rules nor its economically liberal raison d’etre permit of a member state.

In that context, it’s definitely worth looking at the many blog articles of Professor Bill Mitchell:

http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/

A recent example:

http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=43137

But there is much more there.

vexarb
vexarb

Cut’n’Paste from Mikes link; the Prof says: ” that the next generation will have to be more productive than the last to maintain real standards of living and if austerity undermines productivity growth then it just exacerbates the ageing problem. My contention has always been that governments should use their fiscal capacity now to make sure there is a first-class education and training system in a growth environment to prepare us for the future when more people will have passed working age. I offer some empirical analysis to clear away some of the myths that the Remainers have been spreading.”

ThereisaGod
ThereisaGod

Great article.

Chris Rogers

An interesting article that highlighted one of the major dilemma’s for actual Leftwingers when it came to casting a vote in in the EU Referendum, namely, and for many, it really was necessary to wear a peg on our nose, unlike the author I cast a Leave vote and was dumbfounded to learn Leave had actually secured a majority of the Votes cast – I was of the opinion such an outcome would never be allowed to happen by our Elites, much the same way the neutered the Scots Ref., vote some two year prior.

Anyhow, this is all water under a bridge, the fact remains that within Parliament a clear majority of our MPs were opposed to Leaving the EU regardless what type of Transitionary Agreement was reached to facilitate the UK’s exit from the EU, which, was never going to be and easy task given the EU’s own desire to penalise the UK electorate for overturning the Ever Closer Union applecart.

Regardless of he hoopla, this poster has always favoured a Noway Plus arrangement as a halfway house, that such an arrangement has proved impossible cannot be faulted on the ERG fringe, rather, fault lies with our own Parliamentarians who never had any intention whatsoever of upholding the decision of the UK Electorate and a Brussels elite working hand in glove with this faction, epitomised by our good friends Blair, and his devious henchman, one Peter Mandelson – the so called ‘Centrists’.

ThereisaGod
ThereisaGod

I’ve thought the same about thee final outcome…. that a meaningful Brexit will not be allowed.
In a sense it’s all good though. This issue has forced millions to sit up and recognise the nature of the pantomime of choice that is ‘Democracy’.

The following lecture given to the FSB (KGB) by a Russian professor, sounds close to the truth re the structures that govern us:

wardropper
wardropper

That’s really a fascinating lecture, for all sorts of reasons. Thanks for posting it.

Ramdan
Ramdan

This is a MUST SEE for everyone. Even if we might not agree with some things here and there, the whole picture is there as to how the system shapes this collective delusion (propaganda, manipulation, brainwashing, so on) of false choices.
GREAT! Thanks

BigB
BigB

Chris:

A “Noway Plus” (sic) deal is about right!

Do you follow UK Column? If you do you will know of Lord Blackheath’s tribulation at trying to question the real nature of the deal. He dared ask about EU Defence Union and was immediately told to cede and retract by Lord Blunkett. Remember him?

The flak he has drawn confirmed the real nature of the larceny and Treason from both sides of the House, in upper and lower chambers. Our military is the price for City freedom from scrutiny and jurisprudence. The rest of the country be damned.

A nation state with no sovereign control of its military, defence or foreign policy is a nation state …in name only.

https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/hero-brexit-lord-james-blackheath-threatened-over-eu-defence-union

There are no good options. The EU is collapsing financially, austere constitutionally, arming, protectionist, and expansionist militarily. With a Defence Union completion agenda set for 2025: our military is already committed. And no one – not even with Parliamentary privilege – is allowed to question or discuss the real agenda.

We are fobbed off with sub-standard debate and degraded pseudo-options. A “Noway Deal” is about all we will get. The real deal was done a long time ago …and we will be last to know. Ask the wrong question and a blindsighted man and his dog will tear you a new one!

George Cornell
George Cornell

“The EU is collapsing financially, austere constitutionally, arming, protectionist, and expansionist militarily” , you say.

Compared to what? Are you saying you would rather continue on with England’s invasionist history (196 countries at last count), or its enthusiastic piling on, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria…? Or doubling down on its contempt for international law? Conventions? By joining arms with the Boltons, Pompeo, and Trumps of the world? Maybe now that Diego Garcia has been outed, you could ask Scotland if you could use some Hebrides for torturing.

Who are you anymore?

BigB
BigB

As Manuel might say: “Que?” (Fawlty Towers).

How can trying to expose the larceny and treachery of the political class amount to endorsing their behaviour over the centuries? Especially when at least one Lord tried to make the henceforth secret nature of the done deal with the EU is threatened and shut down.

If you read the article and absorb its import: it can hardly be construed as an endorsement of politics …just the opposite.

Let me spell out my opposition so there is no confusion. In the article, you will see that Professor Gwythian Prins was with Lord James. He is an academic who came into possession of leaked tapes – colloquially known as the KitKat tapes. In which, the true nature of bureacratic perfidy is made clear. Including betraying UK Battlegroups to a non-leadership role under EU military command. Further, Whitehall strategy (DExEU papers) revealed that we are being committed to “ever closer union” and “EU Global Strategy” despite the democratic mandate (laughing out loud) to do the opposite.

https://briefingsforbrexit.com/escaping-from-hotel-california/

Whatever ones position: this is nothing short of High Treason. This latest development confirms to me at least that the secret agenda is the real agenda. And public discourse and scrutiny is not welcome. Democratic oversight and accountability be damned. Our military – including its nuclear capabilities – is being ceded to Brussel’s unaccountable control over our foreign and defence policy. Which as a later development, is being proposed as being by a show of hands.

The public is not to know. It is not part of public discourse. Ergo: public opinion is deliberately uninformed. Which is post-democratic …to say the least. Lord James’ questions need answered: as the command and control elements are being set up. Fully informed publicity and full disclosure of the real intent changes everything. No one voted to cede our military to non-leadership subalterns of EU/NATO defence, security, financial, and foreign policy. We are being lied to and betrayed. That is what I stand against. Which is no endorsement of this countries horrible history. Just the opposite …to stop it happening all over again.

mark
mark

Yes, French, Danish, Norwegian and Italian aircraft weren’t involved in bombing Libya back to the Stone Age. It’s just a figment of people’s imaginations.

George Cornell
George Cornell

They played very minor roles, to their shame, their gutless leaders bullied into it by the Americans on false pretences.without the assent of their voters. Denial of technology, Five eyes, etc. It hardly excuses the UKs much more active and major role in American war crimes. Are you sure you want to argue this?

mark
mark

That must be a lot of consolation for any Libyan whacked round the head by a minor 1,000 lb. bomb.

George Cornell
George Cornell

And Mark, you will of course know the ability to say “everyone was doing it” like you are now , was precisely the aim of the US and UK. Why in the world are you being complicit? This strategy was discussed publicly at the time Bush was bribing Blair to send innocent British boys to their deaths in Iraq.

Chris Rogers

Bit late my end, so will respond in full after a few hours sleep.

Brian Steere

Everyone defends their investments – unless releasing them for a better. When we invest identity in or against ideas, we internalise them as structure that is then invisible. Ideas are not things but relational energetic. We thing ourself into a box and die in it.

The way out of an impossible situation is to recognise you are not in it.

My comment to Dungroanin’s ‘Ancient Battle’ below includes the recognition that the brexit circus frames us in supporting the sustainability of systemic lies – or if you prefer – defended self illusion – whichever road is taken to ‘Rome’.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin

Brian, i’ll respond and add here rather than below.

Whilst we are frantic about lifting a yoke, so is the EU.

How can they be rid of a occupying force, NATO? With its multitude of bases, weapons and its 2% ‘fire insurance’ gangsterism?

Yes the EU is a bitter drink formed of decades of cronyism appointments- think Brittain / Kinnock/ Mandelsson etc just from our end, yet it is evolving and the Aqus is a valuable project that aims to provide the same laws and regulations across the whole space – it is not a finished project, it will only get better.
It is only 7 out of 10 good.

We can stay involved, we can have the single market, the customs union and the various regulations and rights yet still be out, to stop the free movement, which is why most voted to Leave, though by a trick question.

The truth is the main two parties both got votes in 2017 to respect the Leave vote, but only one party decided the terms of leaving with their RED lines.

And that party and its masters & the controlled opposition (the centerists who claims to REMAIN) only went through the charade of negotiating the WA – knowing they would reject it – because they only ever wanted a HARD brexit. Which is the only escape for the City.

That the recent events and actions of the government are only fully explained by that hypothesis should be clear to all now.

Brian Steere

I recognise the game-board and the pieces – but who indeed is the EU?
Not the European people – or any elected representatives of the people – save a token show.
Who then SELECTS those who are set to front the organisation – at least on the stage?

I could say the same for NATO – for the US (formerly of A) is itself fronted by selected ‘representatives’ who it seems effectively run a pay for play – but within a broader use of such players for geopolitical ends.

Cameron’s job was to initiate the ‘brexit’ – under whatever pretext fitted his need to know.

A pattern I recognize is that of the saviour or protector who captures the unwary in their hopes and dreams – or in escaping or mitigating their nightmares. This alternating play of the herd mind is the running of two seemingly opposing or contrasting versions of the same thing. In this sense people are framed and farmed golems.

Likely ‘brexit’ goals include breaking up the UK, reconfiguring the EU, and drawing out what they frame as ‘popularism’ so as to smear and make it a similar meaning to ‘nazism’.
Globalism as a domination over the human spirit but masking as a technocratic provision of security is to be willingly chosen. Indeed it is being willingly chosen – for all choices in its framework work the same end – albeit under stick or carrot, but always working together.

Yes the City of London is associated with the WHO and HOW of a ‘hierarchy’ of control.

Control operates in absence of a clear decision – or to undermine and divide it so as to gain control.

We say we want freedom – but we think within our cage – and any other thinking doesn’t ‘run’ in the mind of the collective.

Biodiversity is recognisable as a healthy environmental expression and a developed or expanded consciousness is that which embraces the full spectrum of its experience and finds the balance points by which to expand or grow in awareness and participation. But the human frame of thinking is set under the jealous mono-polar god of exclusion and domination – or in human terms – private judgement set over life.

It is this frame of thinking that we could release the yoke of – if it were itself brought to awareness, rather than employed to frame our attention in diversionary tactic from a true account – as if our survival depends upon hiding our light – except as mandated to show.

What is the ‘brexit’ proposed to be the opportunity of? OTHER than jumping out of the frying pan? As with all Top-Down ‘freedom movement’ it weaponises the identity in fear and grievance to serve the breakdown of the residual barriers or checks against its complete and unchallengeable domination. As in ‘checkmate’.
I see the game-board and the pieces. I see that we can see life that way – and I see what it promises but never truly delivers and that it costs the ability to see life any other way.

Playing the game is to keep the game running, as the idea of sustainability via sacrifice. In the game it runs like musical chairs as to who will be left with blame and penalty when the music stops, for the judgement to fall. In games within games, people are induced to sacrifice themselves to feed the system that preys upon them.

Do we wake to stand in the desire to live and share in life – or sleep in the wish to save our own private agenda at other’s expense? Deceit doesn’t package and sell toxic debt as a liability, but as a sense of justified self-inflation. That then lives under the shadow of being popped.

Perhaps the result of an enforced austerity will open motivations that a protected bubble will never need to access? That said I still feel for the way of willingness and communication FROM a true sense of shared worth. Coercive assertion cannot find an honest answer because it presets what can be said without penalty. And so force needs to be used only for the balance points that serve the true qualities of being – for without them, no balance is possible – only subjection to dictate.
Our capacity to learn relational balance within ourselves and among ourselves is denied by regulatory capture.
Corporate capture is an internalised structure of ‘identity’ that is operated systemically.

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle

Superb article – you can accept the EU, or you can accept socialism, but you can’t have both at the same time: this at heart is the condrum for those on the left.

Like Phil I was a reluctant remainer but only because I feared Brexit was likely to unleash a form of cryptofascism redolent of broken European states during the inter-war period – exacerbated by the sickening thought of JRM, Priti Patel or Liam ‘sweaty upper lip’ Fox preening in front of the BBC cameras delivering a fresh salvo of lies about how wonderful everything is in the new capitalist utopia.

For a moment Corbyn exceeded expectations running May a close 2nd in 2017 – but his diluted form of socialism has been under endless attack from the establishment as well as snakes from within his own party (Phillips, Watson, Creasy, Hodge, et al).
In other words like an ideological form of cancer the forces of capitalism have metastised into every sphere of public, private, and political life – a high price to pay for everyone having an i-phone and being able to log into FB 24/7.

Here’s an interesting statistic: in Britain the proportion of the workforce covered by collective bargaining has fallen from around 80% in 1979 to below 25% today and only 15% in the private sector.

Conditions for workers has always been one of the central planks in socialist ideology.
Strength was predicted on domestic and international collectivism: it is this bedrock that has been weakened, perhaps even fatally undermined: a development which started to accelerate ever since the days of Maggie’s neoliberal love in with the Gipper.

Graft
Graft

Ffs get I’ve read your corbyn love in heaven fucking useless and certainly not a socialist (Trotskyists have always been fake socialists)

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle

Corbyn is a good man: his heart is in the right place, he has a strong voting record and doesn’t fiddle his expenses.
Britain would probably be a less fractured and economically divided counrtry if he was leader – marginal improvements perhaps, but certainly less toxic than a Johnson, a Swinson, a Phillips, or a pound shop Enoch like Farage.

It goes without saying his ascent brought into the open the venal and entitled nature of Britain’s establishment who all along work have been working hand in glove with the owners of the MSM to protect vested interests in banking and big business.

If you are saying the entire political class should be strung from a lamp post because ‘they are all the same’ then you need to spell out alternatives rather than wasting your time complaining about a system you have rejected.