Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Cameron's Bluff

Cameron claims he has now struck a deal with the European Union which means benefits for the UK and which will allay the fears of the anti-EU campaigners. The EU generates such political heat because it brings no advantages to some elements of the capitalist class in Britain, but, the majority of the capitalist class in Britain are export orientated businesses and access to the EU single market is seen as a magnet for investment from around the world.

The EU is essentially a trading arrangement between a number of European capitalist states who have joined together to face their competitors on the world market. The EU is an institution for the economic interests of the European capitalist class, and their mantra is 'free movement of capital, goods, services and labour.' It was inevitable that this trading arrangement would have wider implications. A common trading policy would be made easier by a common economic policy; a common economic policy by a common currency; a common currency by a common central bank; a common central bank would imply common political control and, by this stage, Europe would be well on the way to the vision of a federal United States of Europe that inspired many of those who set up the Treaty of Rome. Cameron’s vision, if vision it can be called, is somewhat narrower. He wants Britain to remain a fully independent sovereign state, with its own currency and with Westminster as the supreme law-making body. It is the narrow view of the nationalist, in this case of the British nationalist. It is a view shared by some in the Labour Party. 

It is not a view shared by the Socialist Party. We are, of course, neither British nationalists nor European Federalists but World Socialists. But we can see the special fallacy of the nationalist argument. In the world as it is today, it is neither possible nor desirable for the people of one part to stand apart from the rest. The Pro- European, for all their faults, at least realise that the people living on this island off the north-west coast of the Eurasian land-mass need to be closely associated with those on the mainland. Where they go wrong is in imagining that this can be fruitful within the context of capitalism. A federation of European capitalist states will no more provide a framework for the resolution of working-class problems than the so-called independent so-called nation-state. What is required is association with the other peoples of Europe, and beyond that with those of the rest of the world, on the basis of socialism. What is required is not a European common market, nor a single European currency, nor a European Super-State but World Socialism where the Earth's resources will be owned in common and democratically controlled through various inter-linked administrative and decision-making bodies at world, regional and local levels.

There are small benefits for some of the working class in Britain and those living abroad in the EU, other sections of the working class in Britain may benefit from leaving EU, but the majority of the working class will be unaffected by the dispute over the EU. The dispute within the British capitalist class has no class interest for workers. Whether British capitalism is in or out of the EU will make no real difference to their position as a class forced to work for a wage or a salary.

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