Friday, 24 June 2016

In Praise of Brexit

‘We discourage centralisation all we can’, announces old Hammond in chapter X of News from Nowhere; and I therefore voted for leaving the European Union yesterday, and am celebrating the Brexit victory in the referendum today, on what I regard as impeccably Morrisian because decentralising grounds.  We all saw what the EU did to a genuine possibility for socialism in Greece last year – i.e., totally destroyed it – and that, if nothing else, should have been sufficient evidence to the Left of the degree to which the EU is nothing more than a neo-liberal project of aggressive capitalist globalisation.  Add to that working-class anger at the economic consequences of uncontrolled mass immigration into this country – driving down wages and taking away jobs, phenomena which even the metropolitan Left seems incapable of comprehending -  and you have a strong socialist case for Brexit.

Of course there will now be various kinds of cultural, political and economic turmoil for some while to come.  The Labour Party, so many of whose leading figures including Sadiq Khan and Harriet Harman lined cheerfully up with David Cameron to sing the praises of the EU, will pay a high price in terms of working-class votes lost to UKIP; and even Jeremy Corbyn with his approval during the campaign of current levels of immigration does not come out with much credit either.  The political incoherence of the Green Party, in its capitulation to the neo-liberalist and globalising agenda as it championed Remain, will not be forgiven for a very long time to come.  But the great and heartening thing from all this, from a Morrisian-socialist viewpoint, is that after months in which the British, European and global elite threw absolutely everything in the way of threat and propaganda at the British people, working-class communities up and down the country have very loudly said to them and their Labour and Green Party allies ‘No more’. 


Kotick said...

Well, I can see where you're coming from on this, Tony, but it's very much the Tory right (Gove, Johnson, Duncan Smith, etc) who are driving the Brexit process at the moment, so I'm much less sanguine about it than you are.

Tony Pinkney said...

Thanks for this, Kotick - interesting and troubling times, indeed. I think Paul Mason has been making some very good statements about future directions for the Left, see for example And there's always Mao Tse Tung's important thought: 'Everything under heaven is in utter chaos. The situation is excellent'. Moments of crisis are moments of opportunity too.

Tony Pinkney said...

And I've just discovered an excellent piece on the Verso blog by Cedric Durand ('A Time of Disruption') which contains this: "But the incapacity to articulate a Left Leave — beyond small formations like the Socialist Workers Party and a few union bodies — is a failure of the whole British Left. In particular it is a missed opportunity for the new Labour leader — and historic Eurosceptic — Jeremy Corbyn, who made his own small contribution to delivering the popular classes into the arms of his enemies".

Owen Holland said...

I voted for Lexit as well and would recommend that any Remainers-in-mourning for a neoliberal Europe read the excellent analysis put forward by Neil Davidson:

The urgent tasks that lie ahead are to defend Corbyn from the attacks of Hilary Benn et al. (no coincidence that they're seeking to knife Corbyn in the back weeks ahead of the Chilcot Inquiry announcing its findings) and to continue building a strong, vibrant anti-racist movement, capable of driving back the advance of UKIP and its Britain-First satellites.