Thursday, December 13, 2018

Brexit Comments

The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. - Manifesto of the Communist Party.

There are sound reasons why some capitalists and politicians wish to retain the EU’s political and economic union. The failure of governments across the world to successfully tackle the many problems which have beset the capitalist economy since its inception has led many to the conclusion that action to reform and mould capitalism cannot be successfully undertaken within the borders of any one single nation state. The growing inter-connect of the capitalist economy has been seen—with a degree of justification—as a force which no longer gives automatic recognition to the individual nation. Complete withdrawal, i.e no deal, would be going against the trend under capitalism towards the concentration and centralisation of capital and so would be putting the clock back from that point of view. It could happen but it is bound to slow down the accumulation of capital in Britain. And if that happens the capitalist class will be very annoyed with their bungling political representatives, their “executive committee”.

The competitive drive to accumulate capital which pervades capitalist production and exchange ensures that sections of the capitalist class with divergent economic and strategic interests are forever in antagonism with one another over trading arrangements. sources of raw materials and spheres of influence which explains the existence of business interests who advocate Brexit.

In order for the EU to work effectively, all of Europe would have to be at the same stage of the trade cycle at more or less the same time. It is an unlikely expectation, however, that it will ever come about. For it is not only at the purely economic level that nation-states tend to march to a different tune. The more long-term political, military and strategic concerns of Europe's nation-states invariably lead them to pull in different directions. The interests of Hungary and Germany are, for example, hugely at odds. So far, capitalism has shown itself to be incapable of overcoming the national divisions that it has engendered over two centuries and more. 

For those who are calling for a referendum on May’s protracted withdrawal plan, we wonder how many would take time to read the full 585-page document of legalistically-precise, diplomatic-speak. Many employers are saying “any deal is better than no deal”. If there is no deal we would also imagine that many members of the working class too will not look kindly on those who would be responsible for an unnecessary disruption of their lives. The trading arrangements of the capitalist class don’t concern us workers, but we don’t want to be the innocent victims of the failure of their political representatives to come to some agreement whatever it might be.

 Another good reason why a second referendum is to be dreaded as it will unleash another wave of xenophobia, with verbal abuse and physical attacks, not just against East Europeans but against immigrants from Asia, Africa, and the West Indies and their descendants as both sides scramble for votes. Another example of our fellow-workers being collateral damage to this dispute among the capitalist class about their trading arrangements. 

This is a dispute between different sections of the same capitalist class which should be left to them to settle for themselves. No working class interest is involved. Why should we be asked to settle an argument between our masters which doesn’t concern us? We have no interest in taking sides on this capitalist question. Our interest lies in pursuing the class struggle and forging our own class agenda. We don’t care whether or not there is a referendum on the matter and, if there is, wouldn’t take part in it except to write “World Socialism” across the ballot paper. As socialists, who have no concern with what is in the best interest of the capitalist class, we can sit back and watch the show. As socialists we refuse to pander to petty nationalism but work to promote a world without frontiers where the Earth’s resources have become the common heritage of all.

 UN representative, Philip Alston, special rapporteur on extreme poverty, who completed a tour of the UK,  assuming some sort of hard Brexit, explained, that the poor would “bear the brunt” of the expected impact of Brexit on the UK economy, and said the fall in the value of the pound had already cost low-income families £400 a year. “In my meetings with the government, it was clear to me that the impact of Brexit on people in poverty is an afterthought.

In a yes/no referendum on the May government’s deal with the EU, workers up and down the country at their work-places, in pubs and on social media will end up arguing with each other about what terms “we”, i.e. the capitalists, should trade: WTO, Norway, Single Market, etc. Who cares if there’s a regulatory border in the Irish Sea? What difference is it going to make to anybody’s ordinary life? As a trawler fisherman at Peterhead answering Channel 4 News reporter’s question about Brexit negotiations, “Are you disappointed”, he replied, “I’ve been disappointed since I left school [I] don’t worry about it.”

In the end, there will be a deal of some sort, even one which could leave things much as they are. It will certainly leave capitalism much as it is, as a system of production for profit based on the exclusion of the majority from ownership and control of the means of production with all the problems this causes for the excluded majority and for humanity in general.

Not really from the Socialist Party perspective on the matter but this on Facebook was quite amusing:

LEAVER: I want an omelette.
REMAINER: Right. It’s just we haven’t got any eggs.
LEAVER: Yes, we have. There they are. [HE POINTS AT A CAKE]
REMAINER: They’re in the cake.
LEAVER: Yes, get them out of the cake, please.
REMAINER: But we voted in 1974 to put them into a cake.
LEAVER: Yes, but that cake has got icing on it. Nobody said there was going to be icing on it.
REMAINER: Icing is good.
LEAVER: And there are raisins in it. I don’t like raisins. Nobody mentioned raisins. I demand another vote.
LEAVER: Right, where’s my omelette?
REMAINER: I told you, the eggs are in the cake.
LEAVER: Well, get them out.
EU: It’s our cake.
JEREMY CORBYN: Yes, get them out now.
REMAINER: I have absolutely no idea how to get them out. Don’t you know how to get them out?
LEAVER: Yes! You just get them out and then you make an omelette.
REMAINER: But how?! Didn’t you give this any thought?
LEAVER: Saboteur! You’re talking eggs down. We could make omelettes before the eggs went into the cake, so there’s no reason why we can’t make them now.
THERESA MAY: It’s OK, I can do it.
THERESA MAY: There was a vote to remove the eggs from the cake, and so the eggs will be removed from the cake.
REMAINER: Yeah, but…
LEAVER: Hang on, if we take the eggs out of the cake, does that mean we don’t have any cake? I didn’t say I didn’t want the cake, just the bits I don’t like.
EU: It’s our cake.
REMAINER: But you can’t take the eggs out of the cake and then still have a cake.
LEAVER: You can. I saw the latest Bake Off and you can definitely make cakes without eggs in them. It’s just that they’re horrible.
REMAINER: Fine. Take the eggs out. See what happens.
LEAVER: It’s not my responsibility to take the eggs out. Get on with it.
REMAINER: Why should I have to come up with some long-winded incredibly difficult chemical process to extract eggs that have bonded at the molecular level to the cake, while somehow still having the cake?
LEAVER: You lost, get over it.
THERESA MAY: By the way, I’ve started the clock on this.
REMAINER: So I assume you have a plan?
THERESA MAY: Actually, back in a bit. Just having another election.
REMAINER: Jeremy, are you going to sort this out?
JEREMY CORBYN: Yes. No. Maybe.
EU: It’s our cake.
LEAVER: Where’s my omelette? I voted for an omelette.
REMAINER: This is ridiculous. This is never going to work. We should have another vote, or at least stop what we’re doing until we know how to get the eggs out of the cake while keeping the bits of the cake that we all like.
REMAINER: Fine, I’m moving to France. The cakes are nicer there.
LEAVER: You can’t. We’ve taken your freedom of movement.

No comments: