9 Responses to THE SWP AND THE EU: SHADES OF 1989

  1. sartesian says:

    Have to disagree, comrade; not with your assessement of the SWP, but with your notion that leaving the EU represents a step backward for the British working class. It’s only a step backward if Marxists to step in and attack the EU for what it is.

    Fundamentally, what is the EU? It is a union of capitalists, designed to remove particular, localized impediments to increased exploitation; designed to insure a uniformity of markets that can be better exploited by advanced capitals; determined to preserve the power of the bourgeoisie by enhancing a)the prospects for accumulation b)coordinating opposition to the workers’ struggles.

    So why would any Marxist, any revolutionist advocate any country maintaining its participation in the EU? Because the right wing is using the opportunity to appeal to chauvinist, petty bourgeois, xenophobic elements, which disorient and immobilize workers? That’s absolutely the problem. However, abstention, or advocating allegiance to the union of capitalist is absolutely not the solution. That leaves the issue of opposition to capital, the union of capital, squarely in the hands of those same xenophobic elements.

    Why not demand complete opening of the borders in opposition to the EU’s abandonment of its own migration and refugee policies? Why not combine opposition to the EU directly with challenges to the xenophobia of Boris Johnson or the UKIP? Why not demand the withdrawal from the EU based on the EU’s sponsoring of over 15 different military missions around the world to train, and augment, police and security forces? Why not argue for withdrawal precisely because it will disrupt the advantages the City (the financial center) now enjoys to conduct its various schemes, which get bailed out on the backs of the workers? Why not oppose the EU based on its horrific and inhumane treatment of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc? It’s fragmentation and categorization of workers as “legal” and “illegal”?

    • A limited response. Greece should have exited the Euro but without leaving the EU. If they were then threatened with expulsion from the EU as punishment, the united response from European workers would be to defend their right to remain. Opposing centrifugal forces is always a concrete question and their are always counter-posed concrete tactics. In the case of Britain, the concrete position was to vote remain.

  2. sartesian says:

    Correction, should read: “if Marxists FAIL to step in…..”

  3. barbrovsky says:

    So yes, why not argue for the EU to withdraw from all the imperialist wars it has going and so forth? But asking the left here in the UK to campaign for a democratic Europe is pretty pointless if they can’t even get it together to produce a coherent alternative for the UK. And obviously the two failings are linked, joined at the hip actually.

    The bottom line is we have a social imperialist left, opportunist and reformist to the core and I can’t wait for them to die off and get out of the way! They’ve sat on (and in) our heads for too long.

    • Any Marxist worth their salt would understand there were two primary and decisive reasons to vote to Remain. Firstly to argue as always that the enemy was at home, the City of London not Brussels. Secondly to resist the centrifugal and destructive forces unleashed by a moribund capitalism that always and everywhere ends up feeding the forces of reaction. Every other consideration is irrelevant.

      • sartesian says:

        “Secondly to resist the centrifugal and destructive forces unleashed by a moribund capitalism that always and everywhere ends up feeding the forces of reaction. Every other consideration is irrelevant.”

        A) voting to support a union of capitalists is not resisting the centrifugal and destructive forces unleashed by moribund capitalism. It is feeding the destructive forces unleashed by moribund capitalism. Ask the refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, all fleeing those forces.

        B)Really? So you would tell the workers of Greece– stay in the EU? Do not oppose the centrifugal destructive forces unleashed by the Troika, because that would only….do what? Make things worse? Not hardly.

  4. barbrovsky says:

    Ok, the enemy is at home, not in the EU. Centrifugal forces? And we, that is the left, have control over these forces? I mean the referendum actually, wasn’t our fight, abstention or defacing the ballot, was the ideal way to ‘vote’. The red herring, which I see you are also banging on about, of Brexit’s appeal to xenophobes and racists, slightly runs counter to your idea of a united working class here in the UK. But I contend that it’s a calumny. You just can’t say 17.5 million people are all racists, xenophobes and hillbillies.

    Yes of course there are racists here, many of whom no doubt voted to leave and some, no doubt also voted to stay but it’s pure guesswork. Produce figures for me on what the percentages are and we have something to talk about but it’s a cheap shot that explains nothing.

    Is it not also possible that 17.5 million people just said, ‘fuck the government’? Neither a vote for or against the EU but against austerity and the destruction of the NHS and a general mistrust of the state and of politicians. Until the referendum came along.

    • I do not wish to imply that those who voted to Leave were implicit racists. There was a large element of protest in the vote. Instead, I was referring to the objective conditions Leaving has and will precipitate. What was latent is now been catalysed and brought into the open. I helped organise a largish rally in my town following a significant racist attack, which was as unexpected as it was potentially dangerous. We also work around our local job centre and many foreign claimants are telling us how they are now being chased down the streets of their town since the referendum.

  5. barbrovsky says:

    So, you are saying that voting exit precipitated a racist ‘pogrom’? What absolute rubbish!! Britain has for centuries, used racism as a tool of control. In fact, it constituted the central plank of both the for and against platforms in the runup to the vote, so either way, race (by another name, immigration) played a central role in the propaganda war, on both sides!

    Yes, of course there are racists here, it’s a racist state, just like all of the imperialist countries. We have racist institutions, police, education, health, you name it! And all of a sudden, the state and its propagandists are concerned about racist attacks? Puleeze!

    Saying that voting exit triggered racist attacks is just a total cop out. And what of the ‘large element of protest’? How large was it? Larger than the racist element? Larger than the xenophobic elements? What you are saying is not analysis, it explains nothing about why there was a referendum in the first place, is surely is the major issue to be investigated.

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