“For left wing internationalists in the UK the problem is not migration; nor is it even ‘sovereignty’ — which is always pooled in a multilateral world. It is that the EU is programmed by Treaty to destroy the core values of Europe.
The Commission’s demand that the Greek people should vote Yes to austerity in the referendum of July 2015 was the ultimate betrayal of Europe’s founding values.
It revealed that, on top of an irreformable structure there is a new problem: that Germany’s elite — and some of its people — are content to use the Euro system for their own differential advantage (link | chart), even if that means crushing the democratically elected government of another country. As a result, after July 2015 Europe became a system based on force, not rules.
Against the power of global corporations, hedge funds, and investment banks we need:
- parliaments with the sole power to legislate;
- a press with the power and will to scrutinise;
- a rigorously apolitical civil service;
- and a legal system tilted in favour of the citizen.
For the pro-Brexit left, the problem is Europe’s institutions fail on all counts.”
“The European Union is not a bastion of liberal values. Nor is it a safe harbor in the geopolitical storm. The economic agenda promoted by the European Commission and the European Central Bank since the Great Recession began — and now formally locked into European treaties — has done as much as anything to promote far-right advance in recent years.
If Greece now has an openly neo-Nazi party that can poll circa 10 percent of the vote, we can thank the troika for that; if Golden Dawn has thus far been unable to push beyond that level, we can thank the Greek left-wing and antifascist movements. In France and the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders are soaring in the polls (and would still be soaring whether or not Brexit had happened).”
“Indeed, in its unwavering support for neoliberalism the EU represents nothing less than an attempt to perpetuate an economic model which advantages European businesses, whilst eroding the living standards of most Europeans. Particularly in the countries of the eurozone, democracy has been eviscerated by the adamant insistence of the EU on more cuts to government spending. […]
The EU is not internationalist in any sense that a genuine member of the left would support. It exists to advance the interests of the business class as against workers, and in its zeal to enrich corporations at the expense of ordinary people it has succeeded in creating such disaffection with the political establishment that fascism, the very phenomenon the EU was in theory designed to prevent, has once more become a formidable force in countries languishing in the grip of high unemployment and low wages. […]
There is a moral case for leaving, based on the fact that Brexit would probably result in the dissolution of the EU and ease the suffering of nations currently held captive by neoliberal economics. […]
A myth has gained ground amongst large sections of the left that the rights which British workers have come to take for granted, such as maternity leave and paid holidays, were gifted to Britain by the EU, and that Brexit would free the Conservatives to intensify their assault on the working class, uninhibited by a social Europe which at present exercises a restraining influence over neoliberal governments. Even supposing that the remain camp is right in assuming that the Conservatives will hold onto power until the next general election in four years time, a questionable assumption in light of the fact the Conservatives are deeply split over the referendum, it is simply false to claim that we owe whatever rights we enjoy to the EU, As others have documented, most of the rights that are invoked by the mainstream left as a reason to vote remain were already in place when we joined the EEC in 1973, and they owe not to a beneficient bureaucracy of Eurocrats but to Britain’s working classes, who won these rights over the course of many years and after a series of hard-fought struggles with the capitalist class. Likewise, the retention of these rights will depend not on the good-will of a remote bureaucracy, which is actively undermining those same rights elsewhere, but on the determination of workers to band together in defence of their standard of living.”
From the start, this blog was about making a case for Grexit. Widening the scope though, and taking into account recent developments in Europe, from this moment onward it is also about a left-wing exit (“Lexit”) of as many Eurozone member states as possible—consigning this ill-conceived monetary union to the dustbin of history, as UKIP leader Nigel Farage has put it so eloquently.
As strange a bedfellow libertarian/right-populist single-issue party UKIP may be for progressive forces in Europe, they at least have achieved a remarkable victory last Thursday. The outcome of the EU referendum is a shot across the bows of this clunky old tanker—aka “neoliberal superstructure”—called the European Union. (Or maybe it was a torpedo to its side—only time will tell.)
In the days and weeks to come, we will post a lot more about the current state of affairs regarding Lexits. Until then, a walk down memory lane with Nigel Farage lends this endeavour a light-hearted bipartisan tinge: this particular Member of the European Parliament is so right on so many issues that we simply refuse to fall for the platitudes—bordering on character assassination attempts—put forth by mainstream media. We’d rather listen to the man instead:
I would’ve never thought that I’d be quoting The Sun one day—of all papers!—, but where this rag is right, this rag is right:
“Unemployment is touching 30 per cent of the workforce, savage cuts to pension benefits are lined up, the economy has shrunk by a quarter since 2010 and tortuous negotiations with the country’s creditors are continuing into summer.
Some things never change and Greece’s Euro-torment is one of them.
This could be happening in Britain had we listened to the likes of Peter Mandelson, Michael Heseltine, Michael O’Leary and Nick Clegg 15 years ago and signed up to Europe’s single currency. […] One glance at the horrors inflicted on Greece because it lost control of its currency and interest rates gives some idea of the quality of these gentlemen’s advice. […]
Increasingly, however, the Leave coalition is linking traditional Conservative Eurosceptics with those on the Left who, seeing the carnage wrought by the euro, are rapidly concluding that there is nothing remotely ‘progressive’ about either the euro or the wider EU project.”
“Deutschland hat durch seine (ohne Zweifel zu Unrecht erworbene) überlegene Wettbewerbsposition und seine extremen Leistungsbilanzüberschüsse eine Machtposition aufgebaut, die kaum zu erschüttern ist. Deutschland geht es wirtschaftlich besser als den anderen Staaten, weil es einen Großteil seiner Arbeitslosigkeit exportiert hat. Deutschland ist aus dem gleichen Grund zugleich der größte Gläubiger und damit das Land, das die Probleme der Defizitländer lösen kann, wenn diese vom Kapitalmarkt abgeschnitten werden, weil sie ihre Wettbewerbsfähigkeit (vor allem gegenüber Deutschland wiederum) verloren haben. […]
Bei dieser Machtkonstellation können die anderen Länder nur genau dann etwas erreichen, wenn sie glaubhaft drohen können, der deutschen Wirtschaft zu schaden, falls die deutsche Politik sich nicht ändert. Hierfür gibt es bei den gegebenen Verhältnissen nur ein einziges Instrument: Die Drohung mit dem Exit und einer starken Abwertung der eigenen neuen Währungen oder aber mit massiven protektionistischen Maßnahmen. Alle diese Maßnahmen laufen auf das Gleiche hinaus, nämlich den deutschen Gütern den Weg in das Land zu versperren oder sie prohibitiv teuer zu machen. Das ist die einzige ernsthafte Drohung, die von den Defizitländern eingesetzt werden kann.”