1. While the European Union tries to “kettle” refugees in Turkey, turn them back to Libya before they reach international waters, struggles to reign in Italy and its navy which has committed the unpardonable sin, according to the EU, of upholding the law of the sea by insisting on rescuing people at risk on the sea, even where and when those people are of darker skin and a different religion than the EU finds admissible; while the European Union contorts and distorts its own refugee policy to deny safe haven to those fleeing barrel bombs, militias, armies, automatic weapons, air strikes waged, supplied, supported in part, by the very same countries that make up the EU; the big worry, apparently, for some socialists in the United Kingdom is that a majority of people in Great Britain might actually vote to leave this confederation of capitalists; this union of exploiters; this common market designed to flatten every particular impediment to the accumulation of capital.
Wouldn’t that be a pity?
In two words, “Hell no.”
2. What’s the big deal? According to some socialists, the big deal is that a “leave” vote represents a capitulation to British chauvinism, racism, ethno-centrism, nationalism, and xenophobia. Sure I repeat myself, but I just want to be clear. According to some, the success of a Brexit vote would symbolize the isolation and separation of the English working class from the Scottish working class, and the working class of Ireland.
Really? Some could, and some actually did, make the same argument for voting against the Scottish referendum on independence from England– as if the separation of Scotland was not a program of the Scottish bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie for separation to establish “territorial exclusivity” for the rights of exploitation. Separation of Scotland from England would have exactly zero impact on the unity of the Scottish and English working class as solidarity and unity can only in mutual support for struggles against the bourgeoisie as a class, in both local and international manifestations.
Has Britain’s membership in the EU advanced, by a single shred, English workers’ solidarity with Irish workers? Of course not. Such solidarity in fact could have been advanced if English workers demanded that Britain withdraw from the EU; that Britain oppose EU policies; that Britain not support the “bailout” of the Irish banks; a bailout of criminals, scammers, and anti-worker goons, that forced about 400,000 workers and young people to abandon Ireland.
How did we ever get to the point where voting to remain in an organization of anti-worker rip-off artists becomes essential to workers’ solidarity? Here’s how: Because nothing terrifies the left like the prospects for the abolition of capital.
In a word: Nothing.
3. And we get this: “The Brexit movement is dominated by racist, anti-immigrant forces like UKIP and Boris Yeltsin Johnson. Argument for leaving the EU automatically plays into the hands of these racists.”
See 1 above: Hell no. Only if the socialists abandon anti-capitalist, anti-bourgeois opposition to the EU, only if the socialists abstain from identifying the EU for what it is– a continental confederation of capitalists, only if the socialist do not articulate opposition to the EU as part and parcel to the commitment to the emancipation of all labor, and all laborers from, the categories of “illegal/legal,” “documented/undocumented,” “migrant/native,” only if the socialists abandon class solidarity beyond borders by acceding to capitalist solidarity beyond borders, is the field open for the UKIP or worse, the wannabe Enoch Powells or worse, next year’s model fascists and worse to cover themselves with the poser-left rhetoric of concern for the “real, authentic, national, British worker.”
Should revolutionary organizations agitate, organize for Britain to leave the EU as part of a general revolutionary program? Ask yourself first, if there were a proletarian revolution in Britain would a revolutionary government of workers’ councils remain in the EU?
That tells us all we need to know. We don’t get to the one, that revolutionary opposition to the EU, without articulating that opposition at every opportunity prior to a revolution.
June 1, 2016