Brexit is racism and racism is Brexit

imagesBy now it could not be clearer. Rather than usher in a more progressive Britain, freed from the shackles of that nasty, undemocratic EU in Brussels, Brexit has merely served to give licence to racism and unleashed precisely the carnival of reaction that many feared and warned that it would.

This story carried in The Independent makes sober reading. It reveals a spike in racially and religiously motivated hate crimes in the wake of the EU referendum, involving

  • Gangs prowling the streets demanding passers-by prove they can speak English
  • Swastikas in Armagh, Sheffield, Plymouth, Leicester, London and Glasgow.
  • Assaults, arson attacks and dog excrement being thrown at doors or shoved through letter boxes.
  • Toddlers being racially abused alongside their mothers, with children involved as either victims or perpetrators in 14 per cent of incidents.
  • A man in Glasgow ripping off a girl’s headscarf and telling her “Trash like you better start obeying the white man.”
  • Comparisons with 1930s Nazi Germany and a crowd striding through a London street chanting: “First we’ll get the Poles out, then the gays!”

With the collapse of the centre ground as a consequence of the economic crisis and austerity, it is the far right rather than the left that is winning the battle of ideas, emphatically illustrated by Brexit – a political campaign driven by the ugly politics of anti immigration and underpinned by xenophobia, racism, and the reaffirmation of a white supremacist British identity in reaction to multiculturalism.

Those on the left who campaigned for and supported Brexit did so having imbibed and surrendered to the far right on the issue of immigration and the free movement of labour, which is a symptom of the free movement of capital and the gross inequality between states that is a by-product of neoliberalism.

The worse illiterate is the political illiterate, Brecht reminds us, and this political illiteracy has never been more in evidence than when it comes to the pro-Brexit left. Providing progressive and left cover for white supremacy counts as many things, but socialism is most assuredly not one of them.

British society does not and never has had a problem with immigration. Instead it has had a longstanding problem with the maldistribution of wealth and resources, and a cultural problem with racism, reflective of the apotheosis of its colonial past and the cultural values incubated thereby.

Rather than a victory for the left, Brexit has revealed the willingness of its left-supporting adherents to throw migrants and minorities under the bus in order to appease the most base, tribal, and regressive instincts of a working class which in large swathes of the country has been persuaded that migrants and minorities rather than Thatcherism and the inequality it has entrenched is responsible for their plight.

They should hang their heads in shame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80 comments on “Brexit is racism and racism is Brexit

  1. Vanya on said:

    As usual, no actual suggestions as to what to do about these problems, which are clearly serious and responding to them an important task for the Labour movement.

    But as far as I can see John Wight NEVER has anything positive to propose on ANY issue he writes about. It’s always hand wringing and denunciations. The only positive about that is that reading SU is cheaper than buying the Guardian.

    Other than (on this issue) retreat to Scotland and campaign for independence, which clearly will be a huge protection to immigrants up there (did incidents like that in Glasgow referred to above never happen before the Brexit vote btw?), while trying and get rid of Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party (and fortunately that particular ship appears to have sailed).

    Now surely, is the time to draw up a few policies to unite around, including the fight against racism. Because, whether anyone likes it or not, the referendum is done and dusted.

    But of course if John genuinely believes that this is a call to unite with people who give a left cover to white supremacy or other such nonsense, then this would clearly be pointless.

    Then again if I believed that someone was guilty of that, and ran a blog like this I probably wouldn’t even give them a platform. Just as I wouldn’t give a platform to someone giving a left cover to sympathy with ISIS, or (with reference to comments made by John elsewhere) someone I believed to be a scab (Arthur Scargill was for leave, it would be ironic to say the least if that term was used to describe him of all people).

    By the way, in case John hadn’t noticed, the new prime minister was a leading Remain supporter and also previously the minister responsible for sending Border Agency vans round telling “illegal” immigrants to go home.

    While towards the end of the referendum campaign a good few of those on the left who also supported Lexit (including myself in a small way) were involved in a solidarity convoy to the Jungle in Calais:

    https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-bc54-Met-says-sorry-to-aid-convoy#.V5tDkLgrLIU

    Sadly I don’t recall this getting picked up on here. If I’m wrong I stand corrected.

  2. John on said:

    Vanya: As usual, no actual suggestions as to what to do about these problems, which are clearly serious and responding to them an important task for the Labour movement.

    I spent weeks providing those actual suggestions – i.e. do not support Brexit, as it will only unleash a carnival of reaction and racism.

    I was right.

    Vanya: But as far as I can see John Wight NEVER has anything positive to propose on ANY issue he writes about. It’s always hand wringing and denunciations. The only positive about that is that reading SU is cheaper than buying the Guardian.

    What is positive about Brexit? Please let me know? What can possibly be positive about migrants and minorities being the victims of a hate campaign unleashed by a campaign that you and the organisation you belong to supported?

    Vanya: By the way, in case John hadn’t noticed, the new prime minister was a leading Remain supporter and also previously the minister responsible for sending Border Agency vans round telling “illegal” immigrants to go home.

    And the new prime minister is only the new prime minister as a result of Brexit. Politics in the UK, which was already to the right has only been pitched even further to the right.

  3. jock mctrousers on said:

    Vanya: It’s always hand wringing and denunciations. The only positive about that is that reading SU is cheaper than buying the Guardian.

    Woops, I slept through Krystallnacht. Or would it be ‘ pointlessly nasty’ (no, I say comradely critical) to suggest that Oor John can be a bit of a drama queen sometimes?

  4. John on said:

    jock mctrousers: would it be ‘ pointlessly nasty’ (no, I say comradely critical) to suggest that Oor John can be a bit of a drama queen sometimes?

    I would say that this is an accurate summation, yes.

  5. Alysia on said:

    Brexit is about ” Not Wanting To Be In The EU Club ” and ” Not Wanting To Be To Be In The EU Club ” is Brexit.

    The concerns surrounding immigration in the United Kingdom have been simmering for years and politicians have chosen to ignore that fact. Had politicians addressed those concerns earlier we would not have had a Brexit.

    In fact, the German Government were in part to blame for Brexit by showing the rest of Europe that one country alone can invite mass immigration without so mush as a debate with it’s own population and in the same breath not even consulting the rest of Europe. One European country can make such a massive decision on it’s own and the rest of the European club are totally irrelevant. It’s no wonder so many in the United Kingdom fear Europe and want control back.

    Now look at what is happening in Germany and all across Europe !

    This is not about racism, it’s about a European dream/idea that has become unfair, unworkable and fragmented.

  6. But the “left exit” camp was tiny, and nobody was listening to them – as we were frequently reminded on this blog. So they cannot really be responsible for anything. No – the dismal failure is on the part of the “left remain” camp. They failed to get their message (whatever it was) across to large numbers of ordinary people. People who felt left out by globalisation were given the chance to vote on one of the foremost institutions perceived to be driving globalisation. Hardly surprisingly, lots of them voted to leave. The left remain camp needed to make a positive case for an alternative vision of Europe, to convince people that leaving the EU was not going to solve their problems, and that the challenges of globalisation need to be tackled on a transnational level etc. etc. The left remain camp did not succeed in making that case. “Another Europe is possible” was not a slogan widely heard in the referendum campaign. Of course, it is convenient for the left remainers to blame the left exiters for their own ineptitude. But it is scarcely convincing.

  7. Vanya on said:

    Francis King:
    But the “left exit” camp was tiny, and nobody was listening to them – as we were frequently reminded on this blog. So they cannot really be responsible for anything. No – the dismal failure is on the part of the “left remain” camp. They failed to get their message (whatever it was) across to large numbers of ordinary people. People who felt left out byglobalisation were given the chance to vote on one of the foremost institutions perceived to be driving globalisation. Hardly surprisingly, lots of them voted to leave. The left remain camp needed to make a positive case for an alternative vision of Europe, to convince people that leaving the EU was not going to solve their problems, and that the challenges of globalisation need to be tackled on a transnational level etc. etc. The left remain camp did not succeed in making that case. “Another Europe is possible” was not a slogan widely heard in the referendum campaign. Of course, it is convenient for the left remainers to blame the left exiters for their own ineptitude. But it is scarcely convincing.

    Absolutely spot on (except that I don’t accept that such a positive spin on the EU was actually credible, but that’s a different story).

    But my main point now is that people can wail and gnash their teeth and lash out as much as they like, but we are where we are.

  8. Alysia on said:

    If we are lucky, Brexit may turn out to be a positive outcome. Only time will tell.

  9. George Hallam on said:

    It seems that the majority of people are ‘racists’ too.

    One month after the UK’s shock decision to leave the EU, the latest YouGov research in Scotland shows no real shift towards independence. Were another Scottish referendum to be held tomorrow, Scots would vote to remain in the UK by 53% to 47%. The results represent a move to the independence option of just 1% since YouGov last asked the question in early May.

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/07/30/brexit-fails-boost-support-scottish-independence/

  10. UncleAlbert on said:

    Francis King: the “left exit” camp was tiny, and nobody was listening to them

    And consequent to their enthusiasm for Brexit they’ll be even tinier and less relevant.

    Left turkeys voted for Xmas.

  11. Matty on said:

    Vanya and Francis are spot on. I don’t remember anyone volunteering to deliver leaflets around my way – for either side. We got plenty of paid for stuff though.

  12. Vanya on said:

    John:
    The malign consequences of Brexit are such that UKIP’s Lisa Duffy now feels emboldened to publicly advocate ripping the Hijabs off Muslim women.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37014785

    This is desperate stuff from John.

    Politicians (including some far more mainstream than UKIP) have been coming out with this stuff (ie what she actually says) for years (as John well knows having written stuff condemning them on here).

    And what she is advocating pretty much became the law in France some time ago, and the last time I looked France is a member of the EU.

    Such sentiments are pretty common currency in public discourse in such countries as previously liberal Holland (another member of the EU) and increasingly in Scandinavia (where only Norway remains outside).

    And I wonder how many East European migrants would agree with them? Most Muslims in Britain, France, Holland etc are immigrants INTO Fortress Europe or their descendants.

    Blaming “Brexit” for racism and islamaphobia in this country is self defeating and dishonest.

    The suggestion (with NO proposals for how to tackle the problem- and even if your analysis is right, getting in a time machine and going back to before the 23rd June doesn’t count) that the situation has worsened to the extent that we are approaching some kind of armagedon (Jock McTrousers didn’t sleep through Krystalnacht the other week) is self indulgent finger waving.

  13. Petter Matthews on said:

    #16

    It’s racists and bigots that are responsible for racism and bigotry. And the struggle against them is too important for such muddled thinking.

    The message to the EU and its remorseless push for austerity and privatisation is clear – ‘there are bitter weeds in England’ . . .

  14. George Hallam on said:

    I don’t set much store by focus groups, but the following exercise may lead YouGov to conduct a full-scale poll.

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/08/11/yougov-focus-groups/

    YouGov’s focus groups suggests Leavers are more certain about the long-term future but Remainers are concerned about national cohesion

    We recently conducted two online discussion groups to ‘test the water of public opinion one month after the EU referendum. One group was carried out with Remain voters, and one with Leave voters, from a spread of ages and geographic regions. The main headline findings include:

    * Leave voters remain apprehensive about the short term future, however, in the main, they do not regret how they voted

    * The issue of sovereignty and control seemed more important as a driver of the Leave vote than immigration

    * Remain voters are particularly concerned about our national cohesion – perception that the campaign has opened up political and constitutional fault lines

    * Remain voters expressed no great desire for a second referendum, even among those who had signed the petition

  15. Vanya: And what she is advocating pretty much became the law in France some time ago, and the last time I looked France is a member of the EU.

    The UMP (not FN) mayor of Cannes has just banned “burkinis” from the beach.

  16. John Grimshaw on said:

    that reading SU is cheaper than buying the Guardian.

    I have just come back from Greece only to find that they’ve put the Guardian up by another 20p to £2.00. The horror, the horror!

  17. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya: The UMP (not FN) mayor of Cannes has just banned “burkinis” from the beach.

    I think if you check Vanya the left leaning mayor in Corsica has also banned Burqinis just the other day. Evidentially their,e was some kind of incident between Non Muslim Corsicans and those of North African back ground. On the beach. The “whites” we’re taking photos of the North Africans. They objected and then a fight ensued. Later in the day a group of over two hundred non Muslims attempted to get into a North African residential area shouting we want our country back or some such but were turned away. By the police.

  18. An excellent article by James Galbraith in the American Prospect on ‘The Future of the Left in Europe’.

    http://prospect.org/article/future-left-europe

    The key paragraph is this one:

    ‘Lexit faces the difficulty that the dominant anti-European forces are not left-wing at all. They are the extreme parties of the radical Right—from the frankly Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece to UKIP and France’s National Front. Lexit forces are therefore allied, distastefully, with nativists, xenophobes, and neo-fascists. Once out of Europe, there is reason to fear that the far Right would come to power first, and would undermine the democratic guarantees, which flow partly from European law, that preserve the possibility of progressive victories later on. This process is already advanced, even within Europe, in Poland and Hungary; it is a potential threat to democratic stability even in France.’

  19. George Hallam on said:

    John: ‘Lexit faces the difficulty that the dominant anti-European forces are not left-wing at all.

    Whereas the dominant pro-European forces are .. where on the Right-Left continuum?

    You pays your money and you takes your chance.

  20. John Grimshaw on said:

    George Hallam: Whereas the dominant pro-European forces are .. where on the Right-Left continuum?

    You pays your money and you takes your chance.

    Well I think John is quite rightly with this quote making a difference between the far right and the mainstream right. Lexit as I said light years ago had no traction and for that reason was a wasted effort. I don’t share the view however that the lexiters were allied with the right. They made strenuous efforts to ensure that no one could say that about them it’s just no one outside the small British left was listening.

    It hat being said I share the concern that Brexit could destabilise the EU allowing the far right to get traction. One of the weird things about Brexit was that the British consistently polled a higher support rating for the EU than do say the French who are of course considered here to be firmly pro-EU. The Hungarian government is openly supported by fascists and racists even though they are in the EU so the picture is mixed. If there were a hexit vote you could see that lot pulling further right wards.

  21. Giving the far right a free hand to oppose imperialism’s united policy against the working class is hardly a credible policy.

    It strengthens the far right and imperialism – while weakening the left.

    And if the left sides with that imperialist policy against the working class so much the worse.

    To be honest I’m proud to be part a current on the left across Europe and internationally which refuses to do either.

    One of the best and most pleasing things I read in the imediate wake of the referendum result was a statement from the Communist Party of Portugal on the subject.

  22. John Grimshaw on said:

    Giving the far right a free hand to oppose imperialism’s united policy against the working class is hardly a credible policy.

    It strengthens the far right and imperialism – while weakening the left.

    And if the left sides with that imperialist policy against the working class so much the worse.

    Sorry who’s suggesting this Vanya. Explain or elaborate please.

  23. It seems clear to me, JG. The united policy of the serious forces of imperialism (the City, the CBI, Institute of Directors, NATO, IMF etc.) in the referendum was to demand a Remain vote. Like many on the left, John White chose not to oppose that policy, a stance which – however understandable if in my view wrong – would have given the Tory Right and UKIP a free hand in opposing it. Objectively, as he is so fond of reasoning in the style of the Stalin period, he sided with imperialism. He now runs a scurrilous campaign to make out that the Lexit left Leavers were racists, chauvinists etc. who shared a platform with UKIP & Co. (which they did not). And he singles out the CP for particular misrepresentation and abuse. Given the political relationship between the CP and the Morning Star (which also editorialised for Leave), I now trust that JW’s high minded principles will no longer permit him to keep writing for that racist, chauvinist paper.
    All on the left must now find ways to reunite the labour movement around a left-wing, internationalist post-referendum agenda which respects the result. Unlike many on the left and much of the trade union movement (going by this year’s motions to the TUC), JW has set himself against that project. Unfortunately, he prefers howling at the moon, alongside Lords Kinnock and Mandelson and other pro-EU, anti-democracy and anti-Corbyn would-be saboteurs of the referendum decision.

  24. John Grimshaw on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    Sorry about the state of my reply Vanya. I was using the IPAD which I find very difficult. (Fuck computers) I didn’t really understand what you were saying at first but now I think I do. Why do you assume that the EU is the only imperialist conspiracy against the working class and that an indepedepent UK in NATO etc. isn’t?

  25. Exile: Given the political relationship between the CP and the Morning Star (which also editorialised for Leave), I now trust that JW’s high minded principles will no longer permit him to keep writing for that racist, chauvinist paper.

    This I reject. John’s journalism has rekindled my interest in boxing and I would miss his sports writing which is both expert and shot through with a political analysis which seems, as yet, unaffected by his deviations.
    If this should change measures, in the finest traditions of Stalinism, will be taken. 🙂

  26. John Grimshaw on said:

    If this should change measures, in the finest traditions of Stalinism, will be taken.

    It’s the gulag for you! 🙂

  27. John Grimshaw: Why do you assume that the EU is the only imperialist conspiracy against the working class and that an indepedepent UK in NATO etc. isn’t?

    I don’t assume anything of the sort.

    The struggle against NATO is compromised totally by softness on the EU.

    Surely the destruction of Yugoslavia and the current hyping up of tension in Ukraine shows that?

    Not to mention the relative positions of the SNP on both?

  28. #38

    Pilger’s articles are consistently apt, challenging and excellent, this one meets that standard. I remember the leader of a once high flying nationalist-orientated Trotskyite amalgam in Scotland demanding that “the west arm the KLA” in a letter to the Glasgow Herald. They were too late in their demand of course as the CIA were already doing so. John Pilger’s article makes reference to the KLA and their role in mass killings in Serbia blamed on Milosevic.

  29. Petter Matthews:
    Vanya,

    #37

    For anyone doubting the imperialist character of the EU, it’s role in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia will be very instructive. How many of the liberal apologists for the EU have any idea that Milosevic was recently exonerated I wonder?

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/24/provoking-nuclear-war-by-media/

    The EU has no character, imperialist or otherwise. This attribution of the character of a state to the EU is the product of unconscionable and crass ignorance. It is its member states that are imperialist not the EU.

    Even worse is the inference that Britain’s imperialist character is somehow weakened by Brexit, when it predates the EU by around 400 years. Did Blair require the support or sanction of the EU in order to join Washington in the most devastating imperialist war since Vietnam?

    Then we have the issue of what use is a socialist government outside the EU in the struggle against imperialism (that is of course in the highly likely event that Corbyn managed to get elected)? A socialist or progressive govt/state inside the EU would have a far greater impact than out.

    Yugoslavia’s dismemberment was the work of Washington and its European allies via NATO. Is Britain likely to leave NATO anytime soon? How about the Atlantic Alliance?

    This is desperate stuff froma discredited pro-Brexit left that has surrendered to the right and far right on immigration and the virtues of British nationalism.

    I’m sure the Afghan, Iraqi and Libyan people would have something to say about your British nationalism – the ones who are still alive, that is.

  30. jock mctrousers on said:

    Petter Matthews,

    Excuse me for finger-wagging, but when Milosevic died, both the Socialist Worker and the Morning Star had practically identical editorials along the lines of ” goodbye to the Butcher of the Balkans” Perhaps an apology ? But there’s no excuse for them getting that so wrong.

  31. John: The EU has no character, imperialist or otherwise. This attribution of the character of a state to the EU is the product of unconscionable and crass ignorance. It is its member states that are imperialist not the EU.

    Even worse is the inference that Britain’s imperialist character is somehow weakened by Brexit, when it predates the EU by around 400 years. Did Blair require the support or sanction of the EU in order to join Washington in the most devastating imperialist war since Vietnam?

    This is very odd.Of course the EU has a character. It is a regional grouping of powerful capitalist states which gives direction and coherence to the collective interests of these states where they converge. It projects these interests in competition with other regional imperialist groupings like Japan or North America. It is a forum for resolving differences between its member states all of which are represented collectively in trade negotiations which express their collective imperialist nature in conflict with Africa, Latin America , etc.

    It would be very unusual for the rulers of a powerful imperialist country like Britain, or its counterparts like France and Germany to abandon their class interests when they sit down at the Council of Ministers in Brussels.

    Britain’s imperialist character is defined most exactly by its relationship with the US which is characterised by a very high degree of capital penetration by each country in the other and a partial fusion of the actual bourgeoisies both at the level of ownership and family.

    In addition, only Britain and the USA, among the western powers, have a genuine global military capacity. A key aspect of this relationship is the role of Britain in acting as a watchdog and springboard for US monopoly interests in the EU – something that Obama alluded to in his intervention into the Brexit debate. (Incidentally, this is one reason why France vetoed Britain’s entry for so long).

  32. #40 So if in order to be imperialist, a formation needs to be a state, presumably NATO is not imperialist either?

    That will be good news for the more left wing elements of your new found pals in the SNP who can now feel happier that their party is almost as committed to NATO as it is to the EU.

  33. Nick Wright: Of course the EU has a character.

    No it does not. Its institutions are shaped by the character of its member states, its member states are not shaped by the character of those institutions. To paraphrase Marx, practice is not the product of ideas, ideas are the product of practice.

  34. Vanya: presumably NATO is not imperialist either?

    NATO is a product of Western imperialism, Western imperialism is not a product of NATO.

  35. John: No it does not. Its institutions are shaped by the character of its member states, its member states are not shaped by the character of those institutions. To paraphrase Marx, practice is not the product of ideas, ideas are the product of practice.

    So, according to this theory the evolving character of the EU does not shape its member states. This must come as a surprise to the architects of the EU (the bearers of theory/ideas) and the functionaries who run it, the politicians who promote its operations and the various dominant bourgeois figures whose project it is (the agents of practice).

    For them the whole point is that it changes the character of the member countries. Thus we have the Maastricht convergence criteria, the Lisbon Treaty, PFI and the pressure (EU, ECB, IMF) to buttress austerity policies. (The synthesis of theory and practice.).

    Britain became a member of the EU and thus contributed something to the character of that institution. By the same token Britain adopted EU laws and regulations and in doing so transformed the way it operates both domestically and globally.

    If Britain and other member states, and the institution of the EU, remain untransformed by this then the dialectical clock has definitely stopped working.

    Hail John Wight, the 21st century antithesis of Galileo. “Behold, it doesn’t move!”

  36. Nick Wright: So, according to this theory the evolving character of the EU does not shape its member states.

    Surprisingly, it gets worse.

    The EU does not have an independent existence apart from its members states. The EU is its members states. It can be no other. The Council of Ministers, commissioners, and the European Parliament are made up of representatives of members states within the EU, not the other way round.

    Nick Wright: By the same token Britain adopted EU laws and regulations and in doing so transformed the way it operates both domestically and globally.

    Britain adopted EU laws as an EU member state participating in the drafting and passing of said laws.

    Clearly, you’re confused. Just as the UK Parliament exists as the political and juridicial seat of UK democracy with the consent of its four component nations, so the EU exists as same with consent of its member states over issues in which sovereignty has been voluntarily ceded and pooled. It has no political life apart from that of its member states.

    Nick Wright: the 21st century antithesis of Galileo. “Behold, it doesn’t move!”

    The development of the EU reflects the development of the economic and political life of its member states within the context of neoliberalism.

    Your sympathy for a British ruling class shackled to that nasty monolithic EU is touching. It is politics conducted in a vacuum wherein class struggle is suspended in favour of struggle against abstraction.

    It is idealism and subjectivism allowed to run rampant.

  37. jock mctrousers on said:

    “ Nothing to see here! Move along!” You sound just like Neil Kinnock or John Major here:

    John: The EU does not have an independent existence apart from its members states. The EU is its members states. It can be no other. The Council of Ministers, commissioners, and the European Parliament are made up of representatives of members states within the EU, not the other way round.

    So no huge opaque permanent bureacracy wide open to big business but scarcely accessible to NGOs and unions, and a flourishing revolving door system as reported so much by Friends of the Earth, Corporate Europe Observatory, Spectrezine, even the TUC?

    This puts it quite nicely:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/22/the-left-and-the-eu-why-cling-to-this-reactionary-institution/

    the near monopoly of the right over the Brexit campaign is not proof that opposition to the EU is intrinsically right-wing, but testifies instead to the weakness of a left which has been steadily stripped of its commitment to economic justice. Thirty years ago the most forceful advocates of Brexit were to be found among the members of the Labour Party, not on the right, and calls for Britain to withdraw from the EU, or the EEC as it was then called, were considered a standard feature of Labour’s policy platforms. The great left-wing MP Tony Benn campaigned in the 1975 referendum for Labour to leave the EEC on the grounds that such an arrangement was contrary to the basic democratic principle that people should be allowed to vote on the policies affecting them.

    … the left-wing opponents of Brexit frequently give the impression that they regard the EU’s democratic deficit as a minor flaw, something that could easily be rectified if only Britain stays within the EU and works with other countries to reform it. Not a few even deny that the EU is undemocratic, reasoning that because the Council of Ministers, which concludes the treaties which form the basis for the EU, is composed of elected government figures from the member states this amounts to an indirect form of democratic accountability. These supporters of remain seem oblivious to the fact that the whole purpose of enshrining in various treaties the neoliberal principles on which the EU rests, treaties which once concluded cannot be repealed except through the agreement of all 28 member states, is to ensure that such weighty questions are forever removed from the sphere of democratic debate. The electorate of a particular country can vote their government out, but they cannot revoke the set of laws that this government agreed to, nor exercise any control over the unappointed Commission which is granted broad discretion to implement these laws.

  38. jock mctrousers on said:

    This is quite a long quote from Richard A.Werner, a hefty academic (who wrote what is considered the definitive work on the post WWII Japanese economy)
    https://professorwerner.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/eu-basics-your-guide-to-the-uk-referendum-on-eu-membership/
    … As for the first question, namely what it means to stay inside the EU, we should consult the EU itself. Happily, the EU released a major official report about its key policies and what it plans to achieve in the near future in October 2015. This report was issued in the names of the „Five Presidents“ of the EU. In case you had not been aware that there was even a single, let alone five presidents of the EU, these are: The unelected president of the European Central Bank, Goldman Sachs alumnus Mario Draghi, the unelected president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the unelected Brussels Commissar and „president of the Eurogroup“, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the „president of the Euro Summit“, Donald Tusk, and the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. What is the message of this not negligible number of EU presidents concerning the question of where the EU is going? The title of their joint report is a give-away: „The Five President’s (sic) Report: Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union“.

    So the Five Presidents‘ Report makes clear that the EU is not simply a free trade area. That project had been left behind with the 1992 Maastricht Treaty and a very different kind of Europe has become enshrined with the 2007 European Constitution (called ‚Lisbon Treaty‘, since the people of Europe in several referenda rejected it. Source: please read what the author of the rejected European Constitution says: …. Instead, the EU is the project to abandon all national sovereignty and borders within and melt away all European nations that don’t succeed in exiting in time, into a merged, joint new single country, with one central European government, centralised European monetary policy, centralised European fiscal policy, centralised European foreign policy, and centralised European regulation, including of financial markets and banking. This United States of Europe, an undemocratic leviathan that the European peoples never wanted, is the culmination of the much repeated mantra of „ever closer union“.
    This project has been implemented steadily and stealthily over several decades, despite major and consistent policy blunders and scandals involving the central planners (e.g. in 1999 the entire European Commission – the unelected government and cabinet of the European superstate – resigned in disgrace, as it was found to have taken bribes and engaged in fraud, while the EU’s own Court of Auditors has repeatedly refused to sign off the EU’s official books).

    n the words of Nottingham University academic Richard Aldrich:
    „The use of covert operations for the specific promotion of European unity has attracted little scholarly attention and remains poorly understood. … the discreet injection of over three million dollars between 1949 and 1960, mostly from US government sources, was central to efforts to drum up mass support for the Schuman Plan, the European Defence Community and a European Assembly with sovereign powers. This covert contribution never formed less than half the European Movement’s budget and, after 1952, probably two-thirds. Simultaneously they sought to undermine the staunch resistance of the British Labour government to federalist ideas…. It is also particularly striking that the same small band of senior officials, many of them from the Western [note: this means US] intelligence community, were central in supporting the three most important transnational elite groups emerging in the 1950s: the European Movement, the Bilderberg Group and Jean Monnet’s Action Committee for a United States of Europe [ACUE]. Finally, at a time when some British antifederalists saw a continued ’special relationship‘ with the United States as an alternative to (perhaps even a refuge from) European federalism, it is ironic that some European federalist initiatives should have been sustained with American support.“

    UK journalist and former Brussels correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was the only journalist to report on such academic research findings, in two articles in 2000 and 2007:
    „DECLASSIFIED American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. … US intelligence secretly funded the European Movement, paying over half its budget. Some of Europe’s founding fathers were on the US payroll….
    „The documents confirm suspicions voiced at the time that America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state. Lest we forget, the French had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the federalist signing table in the early 1950s. Eisenhower threatened to cut off Marshall aid unless Paris agreed to kiss and make up with Berlin. France’s Jean Monnet, the EU’s mastermind, was viewed as an American agent – as indeed, he was. Monnet served as Roosevelt’s fixer in Europe during the war and orchestrated the failed US effort to stop de Gaulle taking power.
    „One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen William J Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the CIA. … Washington’s main tool for shaping the European agenda was the American Committee for a United Europe, created in 1948. The chairman was Donovan, ostensibly a private lawyer by then. The vice-chairman was Allen Dulles, the CIA director in the Fifties. The board included Walter Bedell Smith, the CIA’s first director, and a roster of ex-OSS figures and officials who moved in and out of the CIA. The documents show that ACUE financed the European Movement, the most important federalist organisation in the post-war years. In 1958, for example, it provided 53.5 per cent of the movement’s funds. The European Youth Campaign, an arm of the European Movement, was wholly funded and controlled by Washington.
    „The leaders of the European Movement – Retinger, the visionary Robert Schuman and the former Belgian prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak – were all treated as hired hands by their American sponsors. The US role was handled as a covert operation. ACUE’s funding came from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations as well as business groups with close ties to the US government.
    „The head of the Ford Foundation, ex-OSS officer Paul Hoffman, doubled as head of ACUE in the late Fifties. The State Department also played a role. A memo from the European section, dated June 11, 1965, advises the vice-president of the European Economic Community, Robert Marjolin, to pursue monetary union by stealth.
    „It recommends suppressing debate until the point at which „adoption of such proposals would become virtually inescapable“.
    „Fifty years after the Treaty of Rome, the architects of post-war US policy would be quite pleased, I think, if they were alive today. …

  39. Petter Matthews on said:

    John,

    #44

    “No it [the EU] does not [have a character]. Its institutions are shaped by the character of its member states . . “

    And if its member states (or at least its most powerful ones) are imperialist, wouldn’t we expect its institutions to reflect that characteristic?

    Your frustration with Brexit/Lexit has made you abandon clear thinking on this issue.

  40. Arkadiusz Jozwik was murdered for the crime of being Polish. He joins Jo Cox as a victim of Brexit, the UK manifestation of the resurgence of the far right across Europe.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/polish-man-killed-race-hate-8744273

    When you have the likes of Nigel Farage talking about the need to “take the country back,” it raises the temperature against migrants and minorities, leaving them vulnerable. I wonder if the Morning Star will cover this story and place responsibility where it properly lies, or do its usual and publish another mealy-mouthed apologia for Brexit.

    I predicted that if Brexit came to pass it would unleash a wave of right wing consciousness such as this country hasn’t experienced since after the Falklands War. I was right. Given Theresa May’s insistence that Brexit means Brexit, I go from being a strong opponent of Scottish independence to being one of its most passionate supporters. It is time for Scotland to depart this 19th century relic of British colonialism.

  41. #51Instead of wondering, why not just check? The murder was covered in yesterday’s Morning Star and the subsequent vigil in today’s.

    I wonder if you were going to mention that, or just leave the inference that it hadn’t been.

  42. jock mctrousers on said:

    John: I go from being a strong opponent of Scottish independence to being one of its most passionate supporters

    Well, good luck with THAT! Have the SNP got a position on the currency yet? It was obvious at the last referendum that they hadn’t given a second’s thought to the actual practicalities of independence, because they didn’t really take it seriously. And they still don’t – have I heard a word about the currency problem since? Independence with the economy run by the Bank of England, to rules set by the EU – nothing really for the Scots parliament to do but award themselves high salaries and tout bits of Scotland to Donald Trump.

  43. Petter Matthews on said:

    # 55

    Why do so many of these working class oiks so stubbornly refuse to conform to the union jack-waving, white van-driving, racist stereotypes?

  44. John Grimshaw on said:

    Petter Matthews,

    My reading of the situation Peter is that the Brexit vote has polarised people’s attitudes. It has, as John says allowed racists to come out from under their stones more. Either in a minority of cases to be physically aggressive or more likely to be more verbal about “foreigners”. That being said the UK hasn’t changed, these people were always with us. On the other hand the vote seems to have served as a wake up call for people who aren’t racist and are respectful of difference. My friend father Alan (liberal Anglo-Catholic) in Bethnal Green organised a remembrance and unity service for that murdered Belgium priest the other week. As chair of Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum he invited people of other religions and he and his Christians were joined by many Muslims in remembrance on the church steps in a highly visible way. We

    We are lucky that in this country the organised far right is weak. Hopefully once the furore has died down the under the stone people will go back, however subjectively anti right forces must now ramp up what they do to put them back under their stones.

  45. John Grimshaw on said:

    Petter Matthews:
    # 55

    Why do so many of these working class oiks so stubbornly refuse to conform to the union jack-waving, white van-driving, racist stereotypes?

    I know some nice white van men. 🙂

  46. John Grimshaw on said:

    It is time for Scotland to depart this 19th century relic of British colonialism.

    Just to be pernickety John, Scotland can of course leave the uk if it chooses to do so but the UK (including Scotland) is not a relic of nineteenth century colonialism, the U.K. Is where the colonialism came from.

  47. #57 Absolutely. But don’t be under the illusion that any of this will find any resonance with John. His narrative is passive negativity. In the service of the forces of reaction he claims to oppose.

  48. #59 That occurred to me as well.

    Of course as John himself pointed out during the Scottish referendum campaign, Scotland was a junior partner in perpetrating the crimes, not a victim.

    And it’s hardly a racist free zone either.

  49. #62Overall yes.

    In some specific areas, possibly senior.

    Certainly in the military field at least equal.

  50. Petter Matthews on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    Yes, I don’t dissent much from anything that you have said (particularly on ‘white van men’ – as I used to be one!). My beef is with the liberal/metropolitan elite who in the same way that some racists have used Brexit as an excuse to amplify their bigotry, have used it to amplify their contempt for working class people. Sneering at working people and dismissing them as feckless and bigoted seems to be becoming increasingly acceptable. We have to fight it with the same vigour that we fight the far right.

  51. #64 I tend to agree. Funnily some of the old usual suspects on the British ultra left have changed their ways.

  52. #65 compare threviews approach of certain groups to the initial dispute at Lindseye oil refinery with their position on the referendum.

  53. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    #65 compare threviews approach of certain groups to the initial dispute at Lindseye oil refinery with their position on the referendum.

    I think Vanya that rather than speaking in a cautious way you should say exactly what you think. 🙂

  54. https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-0cba-We-must-now-forge-a-new-position-based-on-new-realities#.V9cTHGbTXMI

    The labour movement must now forge a new position based on new realities.

    One such reality is that the people have made their decision democratically. It must now be implemented. Anything less plays into the hands of the powerful and wealthy minority who fear or scorn the prospect of rule by the people, for the people.

    Nor will unity be rebuilt with the mistaken, divisive notion that the English (and presumably Welsh) working class is predominantly stupid, reactionary and racist because a majority voted to leave the EU.

    While both official campaigns played the anti-immigration card, the Ashcroft polling suvey shows that national sovereignty was the most important issue for half of all Leave supporters. Only one-third put control over immigration first.

    One-third of black and ethnic minority voters opposed EU membership. Almost half of voters (45 per cent) described either capitalism, globalisation or both as a force for ill in society, the majority of them opposing EU membership.

    On the Remain side, many supporters voted for progressive, internationalist reasons — not for those proposed by the CBI, the Institute of Directors, the Bank of Engand, the IMF and Nato.

    Unity can be rebuilt on a Labour programme of left policies. These should include an alternative agenda for the EU exit negotiations.

    Firstly, there should be no assumption that Britain must try to remain a fully paid up member of the European single market.

    After all, this is the “free market” that allows EU steel imports (seven times larger than those from China) to threaten the future of the industry in Britain, while also prohibiting any emergency measures to limit imports or prevent the flight of capital and jobs.

    Britain trades with the US and major emerging markets without any necessity for a “free market” agreement under which big business is free to do as it pleases.

    If a trade agreement with a reasonably flexible approach to tariffs, quotas and state aid cannot be negotiated with the EU, then the option of trading under WTO rules is available.

    Beneficial regulations and programmes that rely on EU legislation should be maintained. The freedom to reduce or abolish VAT rates should not be bargained away before it has even been regained.

    Residency and travel rights should be protected for all, but the “right” of monopoly corporations to superexploit migrant workers cannot continue.

    All those European Court of Justice rulings against trade union and government action to enforce equal rights for imported workers can now be consigned to the scrapheap.

    Moreover, we should unite behind the efforts of the Indian Workers Association (GB) and others to reverse the racist immigration controls imposed as part of the EU’s “Fortress Europe” strategy.

    While security co-operation must continue in order to protect citizens from terrorist violence, leaving the EU should also mean leaving the European common foreign and defence policy.

    Campaigning for an EU exit that serves the interests of workers and their families is not only in our own interests here in Britain.

    Socialists and communists in Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and elsewhere are watching to see whether and how a progressive EU exit can be achieved.

  55. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya: One such reality is that the people have made their decision democratically. It must now be implemented. Anything less plays into the hands of the powerful and wealthy minority who fear or scorn the prospect of rule by the people, for the people.

    The decision should be implemented for the reasons your paper says, however my view is that it might very well not be. There are various reasons for this. The establishment is not legally bound to abide by a referendum decision. The establishment doesn’t know how to extricate British (English and Welsh?) institutions from those of the EU. There was no planning for Brexit in advance. The country was sufficiently divided that politicians may feel they can obfuscate and then have “another try”. Owen Smith clearly thinks so.

    My concern is that if the referendum result is not followed up on is that the likes of UKIP will be further empowered.

  56. #70 Is should have pointed out that the text I posted there is a relevant selection from the article , and that the article itself is written by Rob Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party.

    The labour movement must now forge a new position based on new realities.

    One such reality is that the people have made their decision democratically. It must now be implemented. Anything less plays into the hands of the powerful and wealthy minority who fear or scorn the prospect of rule by the people, for the people.

    Nor will unity be rebuilt with the mistaken, divisive notion that the English (and presumably Welsh) working class is predominantly stupid, reactionary and racist because a majority voted to leave the EU.

    While both official campaigns played the anti-immigration card, the Ashcroft polling suvey shows that national sovereignty was the most important issue for half of all Leave supporters. Only one-third put control over immigration first.

    One-third of black and ethnic minority voters opposed EU membership. Almost half of voters (45 per cent) described either capitalism, globalisation or both as a force for ill in society, the majority of them opposing EU membership.

    On the Remain side, many supporters voted for progressive, internationalist reasons — not for those proposed by the CBI, the Institute of Directors, the Bank of Engand, the IMF and Nato.

    Unity can be rebuilt on a Labour programme of left policies. These should include an alternative agenda for the EU exit negotiations.

    Firstly, there should be no assumption that Britain must try to remain a fully paid up member of the European single market.

    After all, this is the “free market” that allows EU steel imports (seven times larger than those from China) to threaten the future of the industry in Britain, while also prohibiting any emergency measures to limit imports or prevent the flight of capital and jobs.

    Britain trades with the US and major emerging markets without any necessity for a “free market” agreement under which big business is free to do as it pleases.

    If a trade agreement with a reasonably flexible approach to tariffs, quotas and state aid cannot be negotiated with the EU, then the option of trading under WTO rules is available.

    Beneficial regulations and programmes that rely on EU legislation should be maintained. The freedom to reduce or abolish VAT rates should not be bargained away before it has even been regained.

    Residency and travel rights should be protected for all, but the “right” of monopoly corporations to superexploit migrant workers cannot continue.

    All those European Court of Justice rulings against trade union and government action to enforce equal rights for imported workers can now be consigned to the scrapheap.

    Moreover, we should unite behind the efforts of the Indian Workers Association (GB) and others to reverse the racist immigration controls imposed as part of the EU’s “Fortress Europe” strategy.

    While security co-operation must continue in order to protect citizens from terrorist violence, leaving the EU should also mean leaving the European common foreign and defence policy.

    Campaigning for an EU exit that serves the interests of workers and their families is not only in our own interests here in Britain.

    Socialists and communists in Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and elsewhere are watching to see whether and how a progressive EU exit can be achieved.

  57. #73 Didn’t mean to submit the text allover again and I have no edit function on my android device for some reason 🙁

  58. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    #73 Didn’t mean to submit the text allover again and I have no edit function on my android device for some reason

    Ahh. I did wonder.

  59. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    http://m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/11921408

    I agree the issue is complicated, which some people can’t understand. But European racism against persons of a Muslim background is hardly new and I’m not sure it’s necessarily just related to the EU. Will that discrimination disappear if the EU ceases to exist? By the way it was reported that the right wing government of Hungary last night is proposing that ALL immigration into the country will be banned. I would think that this was contrary to the existing EU rules. It will be interesting to see if BRussels takes a stand or not.