No 1494 5th July 2016
Shock Brexit vote is a contradictory class-war move against collapsing capitalist Slump impositions. It solves nothing about the crisis and is laden with illusions and chauvinist backwardness, – all prey to fascist and reactionary nationalist influences, needing to be vigorously fought against. But it is also movement from a working class long held back by the supine official TUC and treacherous Blairite class collaboration. Of course “Europe” has done nothing to “protect” workers’ interests but then neither is it the cause of their problems – that is capitalism itself which will dominate lives and push Slump onto their backs inside the EU or outside. Leave means only a different set of bosses call the shots as the profit system’s crisis antagonisms drive towards World War III conflict. Only turning over the entire monopoly capitalist system by revolutionary struggle can change things. All the fake-“left”s fail to put any such perspective exposing their cravenness and failure. A revolutionary party to rebuild and provide Leninist theory and leadership vital
The shock Brexit vote is a signal that the working class is beginning to dig in its heels against the capitalist Slump and its impositions.
The shattering upset of the ruling class Tories, and the worldwide market impact reveals the impact of a seismic shift in mood as the world capitalist crisis deepens, a deep rumbling warning of explosive rebellion to come against the ever intensifying cutbacks and fears of the warmongering degeneracy and uncertainty being imposed on country after country.
But this is no routine “revolt against the rich” as some shallow sections of the fake-“left” describe it, to be channelled into yet more “left pressure” to “defend workers rights” - a hopeless and misleading perspective.
Just the opposite: Until a firm revolutionary leadership is built and fought for in the working class it is a movement fraught with potential reactionary dangers from chauvinist backwardness, racism, and idiotic nationalism, all trying to head things towards overt fascism and the mass hatreds needed for the international war conflicts which are coming.
It would be hugely misleading to suggest that the vote is “progressive” in itself, as many of these fake-“left” “Lexiters” have done, especially without even mentioning the need for revolutionary struggle to bring down the capitalist ruling class.
That is treacherous tailending opportunism, playing into the hands of the vilest anti-migrant prejudices being deliberately stirred up by UKIP and other fascist backwardness (and much of the mainstream political establishment too, Tory, and Blairite Labour.)
But arguing to “Remain” was out of the question too, leaving the working class swallowing great gobs of “austerity” cuts, Slump punishment, unemployment and “zero-hours” humiliation, and the difficulties imposed by massive undercutting of wages and competition for resources which huge numbers of migrants and asylum seekers have confronted them with.
The great mass of the working class has seen none of the superficial and transient hipster and cocktail bar glitz of the artificial “recovery” from where it stands in the mind-numbing call-centres and Amazon packing warehouses (if “lucky” enough to have work), or inside food banks, remaining “jobseeker” offices, or on the boarded-up high streets of “austerity” Britain.
And it rightly senses that the middle-class London and southern complacency (and a few other metropolitan centres) is founded on the shallowest of transient froth on the artificially stimulated world economy anyway.
All this supposed economic “recovery” is living on the borrowed time of Quantitative Easing credit injections, which have only deferred very temporarily the Great Disaster of the 2008 global collapse, due to return even more savagely when the hugely inflationary QE effect works its way through the world system (as the Leninist EPSR alone has constantly struggled to warn the working class).
Declarations by the official TUC and some of the “Remain” fake “left” that the anti-establishment vote indicates the working class being won over by reaction, with a newly resurgent fascism just a step away is also a complete misreading of the situation, saturated in petty bourgeois despair and defeatism.
All this fake “left”ism is trapped on one side or the other and unable to see the significance of the giant and shattering movement of the working class which has already brought down David Cameron, shaken the international stock exchanges and currency markets (already teetering on the abyss anyway) and sent reverberations around the world.
That is because none of them have addressed the question that really needs asking.
It is not “the failed European project” that is to blame for economic and political disaster nor leaving Europe which is causing the pound to plunge, shaking investments and collapsing property prices (albeit the Brexit acts as a catalyst, bursting the bubble).
Not “in or out” of Europe is the issue at all but the capitalist crisis and the epochal breakdown of the world imperialist system into total collapse and warmongering, is what is driving everything.
And what is required is to make that visible and lead the working class by building and fighting for a revolutionary perspective.
Anything else is deliberate distraction which suits all the petty bourgeois swamp of fake-“left”s and the “Labour Movement” down the ground who deep down hate the idea of the working class actually taking over, despite their posturing about “Marxism”.
A key aspect of the referendum in fact has been to head all attention away from this universal capitalist slump catastrophe and the only possible way out of it there can be, the ending of this historically outmoded and increasing deadly, degenerate, arrogant, exploitative, unequal, and vile warmaking and torturing exploitation system.
Referenda are deliberately used this way by the ruling class, to pretend that an even more “democratic choice” has been offered while in fact limiting the question to extremely narrow bounds, even more restrictive than the hoodwinking general election “democracy” fraud (now more threadbare and rightly despised by the working class than ever before).
The plebiscite was a favourite trick of the 1930s fascists and Nazis to pretend “popular support” while stripping away even the pretence of general “democracy” (which were collapsing in ineffectuality and paralysis as the Depression gathered pace - notably in the Weimar Republic). Just as diversionary is the squabbling of the fake-“lefts” already filling reams of newsprint over the “real meaning” of the vote for their own endless manoeuvring and jostling for position with each other - notably around the opportunist Labour Party and the craven stoogery of the alleged “left” Corbynites (a last ditch throw of the stale old class-collaborating reformist parliamentary racket to pretend that change can be won through “democracy”).
But the last thing any of them are going to do is talk about the complete breakdown and collapse that capitalism itself has come to, causing the paralysis of all world progress and human advancement and demanding a gigantic leap forwards - revolutionary overturn of the entire world system.
Without such an understanding the vacuum will be filled with the nationalist hatreds and the vile scapegoating that are an inevitable consequence of a system built on antagonism and vicious competition and heading for world war as its only path out.
Such hate-filled pettiness, the very essence of everything capitalism teaches people, is clearly part of the vote and has been deliberately fostered.
Yet even so there has clearly been a stubborn class-war dimension to the vote.
Seemingly quiescent for a decade of breakdown and deprivation, the working class has shown that it is longer willing to accept, nor can, the “jam tomorrow” promises and tepid reforms sold to it for so long by class collaborating “official” trade unionism and the “Labour Movement”.
And this class war spirit begins to show initial signs of the creatively destructive aspect of revolutionary transformation, ready to bring everything down, dimly aware that it has “nothing to lose but its chains and a world to win” as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels concluded the still fundamentally sound (and profound) Communist Manifesto.
Its nihilistic atmosphere even faintly echoes the growing world “terrorist” revolt, the early and highly confused sign of Third world rebellion against imperialist diktat ready to throw itself into endless suicidal attacks against the hated West, as yet without any positive grasp of the mass socialist understanding needed to change things but filled with hostility to its exploitation tyranny and barbaric warmongering and destruction.
The mood was captured even in some of the bourgeois press accounts in the days after the vote:
“Leaving the EU might make my life shit, but it’s shit anyway,” Martin Parker, a 62-year-old jobseeker says, bluntly. “So how much worse can it get?”
On the outskirts of north London, sitting in his rented box room (“the size of a cell”, as he puts it), Parker could be said to represent a section of the country the remain camp failed to reach. The voters who weren’t swayed by fears of the economy failing – not because they didn’t believe them – but because, as Parker puts it to me: “I’ve got nothing to lose.”
Through the 1980s and 90s, Parker worked as a precision engineer, making aircraft engine parts and suspension units for tanks. But work dried up and he bounced between signing on and taking casual work: from computer programming to office work. His last job – selling studio glass in an art gallery in Piccadilly – ended in 2011 and he’s been out of work since.
“Unemployment, benefits, it doesn’t resemble how it used to be,” he says. “You could do a short contract job and you knew you could sign on after ‘cos it was simple. Nowadays, it’s so hard … Their approach isn’t to support you. It’s to get rid of you.”
“Get rid of you”, to Parker, has come to mean stopping the money he needs to live on. Over three years, his jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) has been sanctioned on six separate occasions. “Sanction on top of sanction,” he says. “Like a layer cake.”
The misdemeanours varied: an “inadequate” CV; being late for an appointment (“I was always early,” he says); or a failure to provide information. “Petty things”, Parker says. “Things you hadn’t actually done or things you were supposed to do but they hadn’t told you.”
At one point, his JSA had only been reinstated for 19 days before it was stopped again. But in 2014 the final hit came: he missed a Jobcentre interview – the letter informing him he had to attend arrived on the same day, he says – and was handed a three-year benefit sanction. Or a “156-week termination” of JSA, as the official notification put it.
As the sanctions started, he says, “everyone piled in”. By 2011, with his rent rising and his housing benefit also suspended each time his JSA was stopped, he gave up his two-bed flat and moved into a shared house: eight adults crammed over three floors. “We’re all squashed up,” he says. “It’s like being suffocated.”
Parker has now been here for almost five years but barely anything is unpacked. There’s no room. Instead, he lives out of boxes and bags – five stacks mounted on the floor. “You develop a good memory of where everything is,” he says.
Many of his possessions are gone, sold to get by. Two years into his three-year benefit sanction, he survives by “begging for small favours”: cleaning someone’s garage in return for food, say. Friends give him meals or bits of cash.
“It’s funny,” he laughs, quietly. “They’re all foreign. Polish. Italians. No one English has helped me.”
The government, he says, wouldn’t mind if he starved. Something as seemingly minor as council tax changes is for Parker, not only less money to live on but evidence “the whole establishment’s determined to make my life as ghastly as possible”.
As of last year, Parker’s council has increased his council tax by 130%. He’s been taken to court twice for non-payment and has just had a third summons.
“I haven’t even got a cupboard,” he says. “There’s no possibility of doing anything different. There’s nowhere to go.”
The “take back control” slogan of the leave campaign seems increasingly fitting. As well as concerns over immigration or sovereignty, it spoke to a lurking, widespread feeling of powerlessness, betrayal and anger.
Parker wouldn’t normally have bothered to vote – “I couldn’t really care less about the EU” – but last week he walked through a rainstorm to put his cross next to leave. His vote was not only a sign that he, like many, had no prosperous future to risk but a message to the elites that he feels have let him down.
“People are sick and tired of being ignored,” he says. “I don’t suppose I’m the only one to use this opportunity. It was a chance to kick the whole establishment where it hurt, for us to send pain the other way. And we took it.”
While this doggedness has long term potentially revolutionary significance it is obviously not yet at all conscious of any such perspective, still limited for example by the “democracy” notion of “taking an opportunity” to do something i.e of waiting for a supposed “say”.
The next step for the working class is realising that the “opportunity” to kick the ruling class is not limited to such referendums and other moments of a “democratic” say “granted” by the ruling class.
It needs to take matters into its own hands to really change things - and will increasingly do so as the crisis bites deeper and forces their hand, just as has been seen in the oppressed Third World, such as in the spontaneous upheavals of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts, which shook imperialism to the core, and as in the Ukraine, resisting the fascist skulduggery of the Kiev counter-revolution.
That might be closer than this bourgeois press selected interview might indicate, if the 28% who did not vote are also taken into account, and beyond that the further minimum 5% who are not even registered at all.
This is not passive indifference and “apathy” as some of the fake-“left” have declared it but a further symptom of the breakdown of the illusions in all “democracy” under capitalism.
Parliament is a giant, corrupt and bamboozling nonsense and always has been - and in general elections the cynical disillusionment and contempt of the working class, correctly understanding what a lying racket the whole process is, has been growing decade after decade, the turnouts dropping to tiny numbers and such voting as there is mainly expressing negative hostility.
Such positive support for reformism as still continues (around the Momentum pro-Corbyn campaign eg) reflects either the petty bourgeoisie itself or its continuing influence on some workers, particularly those in the municipal and welfare state sectors, created by post-war reformist concessions made to head-off the revolutionary surge created by the last great Slump disaster and its inevitable devastating World War Two end point.
There was a slightly higher turnout than usual for the referendum, some still clinging to the illusions in “having a say” and “getting back sovereignty” as these following vox pops indicate in a mixture of all kinds of backwardness and narrowness, - all needing vigorously to be combatted and battled against, and certainly not pandered to - but all mingled with the rightful anger and contempt for the ruling class:
I want a stable country where people from all counties across the UK are heard and not fed scraps from the south. I don’t want to fear that when my daughter has children there’s no room in schools due to overcrowding, or if she has health issues a medical appointment doesn’t take longer than growing a baby.
We should feel safe in our jobs and not feel as though if we’re not willing to work seven days a week, 10 hours a day then someone can quite easily be drafted in from abroad and subsequently thrown on the unemployment pile further straining local economy.
When every Briton lives a suitable standard of life, then my tax money can be spent elsewhere. When the systems put into place – NHS, state schools, housing – are well-equipped and capable of looking after each individual residing in the UK, then we can accept more and do right by others.
We, the little people, or even the big boys that apparently run the country haven’t got full control over what happens, and if suffering a downturn in wages due a weaker economy over trading deals is a price to pay to make the country and its people better educated and in a full bill of health then so be it.
The image of racism is far from true and shouldn’t be used as a smear against the voiceless that live day-to-day with the consequences of the decision makers that reside in a London borough away from real life and constantly roll the shit downhill.
What the writers in a swanky London office or sat at home at a fine oak table with an Apple Mac drinking espresso from Starbucks don’t realise is that the leave voters from wherever they’re from aren’t afraid of rolling up their sleeves and putting in the graft that will make the country great. Danny Lancaster, 30, Barnsley
I voted leave for empowerment, and to feel like my voice is heard and can influence change. The compromise to remain was too high a price. It’s a reminder that democracy does exist here.
The present leaders have failed to address the have-nots, preferring to placate the haves. Visiting London in 2014 there were no signs of a recession. The city has alienated itself from the rest of England. It felt obscene.
I have worked in mental health for 30 years. In that time I have observed that society is reflected in the people who access our services. The biggest issues are feeling connected or rather disconnected in society. The majority are probably the people who have the smallest voice, but who rely on others to advocate for them. How much energy and financial support is offered to EU nationals who are vulnerable, when our own are ignored? I haven’t seen any EU benefits to mental health at all. I’m struggling to understand what they’ve done.
This is an opportunity. If people can see beyond the loss, and see it as an opportunity, we can affect change for people and how they experience life. The people who are actually living the life made the choice. All these people who are aggrieved. Why weren’t they out campaigning? All these smug people who thought it wouldn’t happen ... it shows a real sense of arrogance. Fiona, mental health nurse, 52, Derby
The working classes have been betrayed, to be poor is now a sin. The bosses love foreign workers. They are non-union, cheap and pliable. The British people who used to do those jobs have not gone on to university, they have gone on the dole or worse. There is also an issue over the conditions that the foreign workers have to endure, and the housing situation in the UK is abysmal.
Elite media types and people like Bob Geldof have failed to understand the concerns of normal people. They look down on us and call us racist, but they are the ones guilty of bigotry.
Britain became a socialist country after the second world war through the sacrifices of ordinary people. A welfare state was their reward. Now to be poor is a sin and you are attacked from every direction, so there was an element of a “stuff you” protest vote.
The EU sacrificed cohesion for expansion that seems to be run by Germany. Angela Merkel decided to allow 1 million migrants into Germany, breaking EU law and not consulting the Bundestag. Germany broke Greece and is offering expedited negotiations to allow Turkey into the EU. They do not consult and it is not a union.
Britain seemed stuck on the fringe of the EU and our path to greater assimilation wasn’t clear. There is no plan for creating a Europe with the same taxes and minimum wage, so the movement of people adversely effects those countries with better conditions. The EU is monolithic and so hard to understand. Where is it going? It failed to make itself clear, simple and accountable. It just rumbles on.
The EU has had a negative impact on the countries that surround it, with the Ukraine feeling part of another sphere of influence and migrants from Africa dying in the Mediterranean due to failures of planning. I was pro-EU, feeling that Europeans had a better standard of living than us, but became disillusioned as it expanded to include countries like Romania. I can’t see how being in a union with failed states benefits us.
During the referendum campaign I was shocked by how much the establishment failed to provide balanced views. Reports were churned out that predicted the worst case scenarios of Brexit but not the best. I am happy, but concerned, that if Scotland gets a referendum to leave the UK then England and Wales will be stuck in Tory hell for a century. I believe Scotland is its own country and maybe should become independent. They may be worse off financially, but freedom is worth a lot.
I hope that the Labour party unites under a strong leader like Alan Johnson and re-engages with its traditional support base. Labour needs leaders from the same streets that its supporters come from. Actually I think we need proportional representation so we can focus on issues rather than party politics. Angus, 52, Norwich
A way to hurt the government and banks. I would like to see economic reform where one person’s wealth isn’t the debt of another’s, and people are rewarded for their contribution rather than what they can extort from others through rents and fines.
I’d like an economy where growth is genuine, which potentially means overhauling the whole banking system. I would like the bank to be disempowered from creating money and those powers going to central government, albeit a government whose aim is to represent its citizens rather than control them. The money supply should not be held in private hands.
Politically, I would like to see Brussels and Westminster reformed, and arrogant politicians and public servants begin to serve public needs and not be bought like prostitutes by vested interests. Eventually, under the right circumstances, I would like to see us return to the EU, with more visionary and ideologically driven representatives that are forced to make themselves accountable to both their home population and the wider European population. Europe could be a fantastic political structure that would promote the growth and needs of all its people, but not with the current political mentality.
The arrogance displayed by politicians here and all over Europe who suggest citizens are not “educated” enough to be left to decide is conceited and undemocratic. Chief among these is Jean-Claude Juncker. I am very sad we are leaving the EU, but the administration of both the EU and the UK need fundamental reform that promotes the lives of its citizens rather than loading them up with debt to pay for a defunct political and economic system. The absolutely wrong people are being put in charge of a economic and political system that no longer allows people rise through the ranks.
While immigration would not be such a problem if the UK built homes and infrastructure and trained adequate doctors, nurses and essential workers, but politics is deliberately creating scarcity. Take housing, where landlords are being helped turn everyone into tenants while demand for homes continues to be stoked by immigration, pushing up rents and making us poorer every year. These are moves towards a return to 19th century serfdom. Although I know the government and the Bank of England are the ones pushing people down, this vote was the only way to really hurt them. Kerry, 51, Essex
Non-EU citizens are discriminated against I voted for a fair immigration policy. My wife is a non-EU citizen from Thailand and we are discriminated against. If I didn’t earn £20,000 or more – the required figure – the choice would be to claim benefits and then when it came to my wife’s visa renewal she would have to leave. Her visa costs almost £1,500 every two-and -a half years.
Cameron has only himself to blame. He thought he could bully the electorate, the same as in the Scotland referendum, but forgot that nobody is enthused or patriotic about the EU and millions hate him. I also don’t like to be told by governments and businesses how to vote, that’s why we have a secret vote. There’s a lot of anger against Cameron.
I think any xenophobia and racism is stirred up more by the remain side, not the leave side. I am very much in favour of a fair immigration policy. The Australian points system was a big deciding factor for me. I’m not sure if it would be any easier for my wife under the points system. Depends on the level, but I would hope as a British citizen I wouldn’t be discriminated against.
I’m very happy with the result, it should keep all of them occupied for years and less time to start picking fights around the world.
Andrew Riches , 54, Graphic design, Midlands
For me it was all about sovereignty, the ability to make our own decisions and not be ruled by the faceless, non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels; not to be frogmarched into ever greater political union and the creation of a European superstate which no one ever sought my opinion over. It was about regaining control over our own borders and regaining a say into our own destiny.
It was also about uncontrolled migration, but never about the economy. I never believed “project fear”, and if the economy does falter, now we have regained control of our country we can make decisions and take action ourselves to rectify it.
An independent Britain that trades and lives peacefully with its European neighbours, but not ruled by them. One that listens to the needs and opinions of the ordinary people and not just those of the white, middle class, liberal elite in London.
As an older member of the population, I also resent the current ageist view being peddled by remain voters that my vote to leave was somehow selfish and of less value than those of a young person, and that I should have thought of their future. I did think of their future, it was just a different future I saw; one living in a free, independent nation, able to make its own decisions unencumbered by Brussels.
Just because I am older, my opinion is to be ignored or seen as being of less worth. You could say that as I have worked for over 40 years, paid more into society than any young person I therefore have more at stake to lose. My opinion is far more valid. Gary, 55, London
But what all this indicates is that the great missing element for the working class is the Leninist understanding and grasp that can lift this away from the narrow nationalisms and tribalism engendered by capitalist ideology.
Feeding all this with the backward petty nationalisms of “British jobs” and the idea that the EU is a “bosses club” which it is important to get out from under - thereby implying that things would somehow be different outside the EU is the most deadly misleadership of the working class as the EPSR has long declared (eg in issue No 1012 as quoted recently) and again here:
As stated in “vote us in to get us out” to avoid falling more under the domination of specifically GERMAN monopoly-capitalist power (which rules the EU, effectively) in circumstances where there is no connection at all, implied or stated, between voting not to be in the EU and the overthrow of the capitalist system itself, -- the only possible meaning of such a campaign is that British monopoly-capitalism is somehow BETTER for the working class, if British workers could have the choice back again between this or being in the ‘European bosses club’.
This is PURE nationalism, - and the most benighted, class-collaborative, luddite, Mary Poppinsish nationalism at that, - wishing to return to a completely non-existent “better” time before the evils of multi-national imperialist corporations took over, - - which most laughably would NOT BE STOPPED anyway, even if Britain DID leave the European Union again. Ford, General Motors, the Japanese, and the Germans would STILL dominate the car industry with not a ‘British’ manufacturer in sight. The US-Australian Murdoch would STILL dominate newspapers and commercial broadcasting; American monopoly-corporate ‘bosses’ technology would STILL dominate the computer and software industries, etc, etc, etc, etc.
This electoral stance was just rotten little-syndicalist chauvinism and luddism of the most dismal ANTI-revolutionary kind. What ‘international’ revolution was called for? (the only meaning of ‘internationalism’ in Marxist-Leninist science which these Sparklets also pretend to support in this ‘left’ cover-up of Scargill jingoism)??? None at all. There is no ‘revolution’ anywhere in any scrap of SLP manifesto or policy.
Scargill was at it again immediately after the result declaring that:
The SLP has always recognised the EU as an engine of free-market globalised capitalism. Membership of the EU has inflicted horrendous economic, social and political damage to all working people trapped within it. As for Britain, 90% of our manufacturing and key industries have been wiped out with our health, education and welfare provision steadily wiped out. We see the damage everywhere around us in the need for food banks and campaigns to protect homeless families and hundreds of individuals sleeping rough, whilst high-cost sky-scrapers shoot up to house billionaires and blight our cities.
But Britain outside the EU will still be part of “free market globalised capitalism” and subject to the control and influence of just as many multinationals, giant banks, hedge funds – potentially even more directly exposed to the sweeping currents of the huge world capital flows which can wipe out entire economies overnight (as the precipitous plunge of the pound since Brexit indicates).
And the laughable notion that somehow “British” industry would have survived if only proper British capitalism had been allowed to get on with it is the worst backwardness imaginable.
Leaving Europe is not only not a solution to working class problems but this helps with the blaming and scapegoating of foreigners which is being used to stoke up hatreds and divide workers (however much these Lexiters piously declare that they are “of course” nothing to do with the backwardness of UKIP or are “different to the chauvinists” etc).
As glaringly obvious throughout the campaign, in crisis the ruling class deliberately further escalates such division and conflict, readying the masses for the world war it is using to escape its catastrophic failure (already well underway in the Middle East).
Scargill and the other fake-”lefts” do nothing to counter such sinister foulness as the emotive Nigel Farage “immigrant queue” and other monstrous and deliberately calculated provocations reaching near-Goebbels levels – creating an atmosphere which has already seen outright fascist violence in the killing of MP Jo Cox and the hugely escalated numbers of hate crimes against “foreign looking people”.
Cox’s killing was not some random “unfortunate” act by a maverick “nutter” but the direct consequence of the hate-frenzy created by the entire campaign and more generally by capitalist society as a whole, which endlessly generates such backwardness and hate-filled confusion by its grotesque inequality, unfairness and viciously antagonistic nature at all levels, from the desperate individual fight for survival and employment to local area communities, cities, regions and countries, all set at each others throats.
The ruling class further deliberately inculcates and nurtures the kind of fascist backwardness responsible, which is not some specially different phenomenon to be separately fought with “anti-fascist” movements, but part of capitalism itself and stoppable only by ending capitalism totally.
The calculated talk of “regaining control” - meaning stopping immigrants and increasingly, expelling existing resident migrant workers, as the nasty Tory leadership candidate Theresa May has already “refused to rule out” is part and parcel of this deliberate incitement.
Voting to “leave Europe” will achieve nothing economically for the working class.
It is already proving a disaster for the British capitalist economy and will continue to be so despite the nonsense assertions and claims of the exiters about “recovered sovereignty” and “turning out to the world” etc etc.
A cascade of Stock Market lurches, credit downgrades and currency falls has immediately followed and all kinds of industry and economic activity is in jeopardy, from the food imports which make up 50% of the country’s consumption (one of the most dependent in the world) to the great foreign owned car factory investments placed in Britain solely because of its access to Europe. City banks are already moving thousands of jobs from London EU centres.
Jobs will be lost, prices will rise, and unemployment will increase.
And the notion that even harder pressed capitalist companies will suddenly start paying better wages, as undercutting migrant labour is held back, is just laughable.
Neither will protectionism and tariffs save jobs and communities.
All such measures simply push the problems on to other workers overseas to begin with, which is not only a long way from socialist solidarity but more practically a weakening and fragmentation of the overall world class struggle against globalised capitalism.
Within capitalism such isolationist protection invites retaliation, which for the pathetic under-invested, low productivity remnants that British industry has been reduced to by its near-senile and fearful ruling class (trying to eliminate the industrial working class), spells even greater trouble than for its major rivals (see quotes used in EPSR issues 1492-3).
But then the opposite outcome of “Remain” is not any kind of solution either.
Liberal denouncing of the Brexiters as “nothing but” racists, pays no attention to the real difficulties and grievances of a working class that has been driven into the floor by “austerity Britain” not least by the calculated and deliberate use of mass migrant labour from lower living standard countries to undercut workers solidarity, hammer wage levels and savage benefits and already scarce resources.
Migrant labour has always been one of capitalism’s great weapons, not only undercutting workers’ wages and conditions, and their ability to organise and fight back, but adding to competition for already slashed health and welfare resources.
Capitalism also uses migration to undercut wages at the expense of the locals, to fill the holes its incompetence and indolence has left in education and training (and it is deliberate policy to slash education and keep workers ignorant, humiliated and suppressed).
By pulling in the youngest, brightest, and fittest from their own countries, it further undermines the weaker nations and defuses the potential revolutionary struggles that alone provide the answer to their difficulties (and the difficulties facing all workers in fact).
Tens of thousands of the brightest and best are reported to have left Greece in the last five years for example.
A whole aspect of the EU and its free movement has been precisely to contain and deflate the class war pressures that can only build up in smaller countries as the capitalist crisis grows and intensifies, one of the key reasons why US imperialism wanted Britain to remain inside Europe, where it would both help push for its constant expansion and partially fund it, while wielding its influence to oblige the major European power, Germany, to do the same, adding significant funding and simultaneously containing the full and growing anti-US world trade competitive potential of Berlin and its immediately surrounding satellites).
“Development funds” are fed in to bribe the weaker areas and round of the very harshest edges of capitalist exploitation, particularly in those countries which have a former workers state existence, ripe for a return to communism as the full impact of raw mafia-gangster capitalism is imposed.
Those funds are supplemented with the substantial remittances from expatriate workers, themselves kept away from the sharpest contradictions (and the mass unemployment capitalism has brought, back home), in their new economic migrancy lives “bettering themselves”.
In purely capitalist economic terms, meanwhile, staying inside Europe is no better than leaving it, for all the obvious immediate downturn impact of the “Leave” vote.
All the smug middle-class illusions about an “economic upturn” and stability are so much fairy dust.
Current “growth” is based on the hyper-inflationary injections of Quantitative Easing which have been pumped into the world monopoly capitalist economy to save it from the total credit meltdown of 2008 (the breaking to surface of full capitalist crisis catastrophe, - long brewing and partially erupting for decades - as predicted and warned of by Marxism (alone)).
The British economy, one of the most distorted, finance-orientated and parasitic in the world, has taken advantage of these staggering $trillions of Mickey Mouse paper (or electronic) dollars by handling ever more of the world’s big business and fatcat funds, from “legal” multinational shares and deposits, and rampant hedge-fund speculation (gambling with real life jobs and commodities), to the dubious and outright corrupt, from Mexican drug lords to Russian oligarch degeneracy.
Its City “expertise” - (and in financial centres in places like Leeds and Manchester, all voting “Remain”) - is in banking sharp practice, tax evasion, money-laundering and sleight-of-hand vanishing tricks for vast money deposits into huge secret offshore repositories, all of which has ranked it the most corrupt economy in the world bar none, according to even the bourgeois press. After listing many of the monstrously corrupt cities created worldwide by capitalist dominance, from devastated Mogadishu and Kabul, to Bogota and Lagos, Bangalore Dhaka and Delhi, a recent analysis in the Guardian concluded:
all these...ignore ...the most important element: where illicit money flows, and how it is hidden. From embezzlement in Ashgabat to bribery in Bogotá, virtually all forms of corruption can ultimately be traced back to the hijacking of urban public policy-making and civic institutions by vested interests, and the financial bounty reaped by elites has to end up somewhere. That somewhere, overwhelmingly, is the City of London.
Britain’s private bankers, largely headquartered in the UK capital’s square mile – an institution which is itself shielded from most forms of democratic accountability through an archaic web of legal exemptions and historical conventions (the City is one of the only urban settlements on earth where businesses help elect the area’s political representatives, and control votes which vastly outnumber those of local residents) – manage $1.65 trillion of client assets between them, covering wealth from all over the planet. That money is protected from meaningful oversight through extraordinarily generous laws on tax, trusts, secrecy and domicile status, and a consistently lax enforcement regime. Nicholas Shaxson, author of the book Treasure Islands, which explores tax havens, argues that “financial services companies have flocked to London because it lets them do what they cannot do at home”.
This has led Transparency International itself to label the City of London the world’s “number-one home for the fruits of corruption”; anti-mafia journalist Robert Saviano believes the practices of the City have transformed the UK into the most corrupt nation on earth. It is impossible to analyse urban corruption in any form without placing London and its financial industry at the heart of the problem. Via its deregulatory impulses and unparalleled influence on the global economic system, London’s financial core has exported the conditions necessary for wide-scale corruption to countless other cities around the planet, while at the same time offering a safe haven for corrupt money that makes the job of tackling urban corruption in all those other cities far more difficult.
Marx and later Engels and Lenin, (see Imperialism - the highest stage of capitalism) pointed to the transformation of banking and finance from being secondary backup services which grew up to facilitate early industrial capitalism – looking after and consolidating the cash accumulations which become additional capital – to being the dominant element of late monopoly capitalism, the only sector able to wield the huge funds necessary for gigantic modern industrial investment (building oil refineries, or steel mills etc).
Its power then means it can suck in the lion’s share of the profits from the production sector where all value is created by exploited human labour (the only source of value) becoming increasingly a parasitic monster riding the back of industry and almost contemptuous of the actual business of doing things (which leads to divisions between the industrial and finance wings of the ruling class).
Things have gone so far in Britain that it is now totally dependent on siphoning off “fees”,“bonuses” and “emoluments”, sustaining a huge network of dependent “jobs” like computer services, legal practice, accountancy etc hanging from this hugely distorted finance economy - and all living off the real work done in the Third World in the sweatshops and plantations, and the increasingly slave level exploitation being imposed on workers here, forced to compete via “outsourcing” or imported cheaper workforces also driven down to near slave levels of exploitation, as in the Fenland farm gang-workers and numerous factories.
All this is has borne down on the working class.
It will implode, and sooner rather than later, as the reality of unstoppable and intractable world capitalist overproduction crisis catches up with this completely valueless QE “money” massively diluting the already historically polluted world dollar reserve system.
At which point the hollowed out UK “real” industrial and agricultural economy will prove totally inadequate in the teeth of world cutthroat competition from bigger and more efficient rivals like Germany, Japan and above all the huge US.
And to make matters worse, even the most powerful of the capitalist blocs face disaster too, as became clear in the “global credit crunch” when worldwide the banks were less than 24 hours away from shutting down their all their cash dispensers and credit lines – a near Armageddon of financial collapse which would have seen all the major world cities in anarchic turmoil and unavoidable social breakdown.
It is a disaster which was only deferred by the creation of huge piles of valueless new credit (on top of the non-stop inflationary dollar printing that has kept the Western US-led “boomtime” going throughout the post-war and Cold War decades).
The ruling class knows very well that catastrophe must inevitably return, collapsing the temporary suspension of the crisis engineered eight years ago
Much of the referendum argument in fact is one within the ruling class over how it can be best placed to try and ride out the devastating and epochal failure of world capitalism - sheltering within the Europe as a large enough trading bloc to try fend off the massively intensifying competition from the other capitalist powers, albeit having to play second fiddle to German imperialism, – or trusting that it can somehow forge alliances elsewhere, most particularly with the US.
Staying in Europe has given it easy access to this huge area, and helped the moribund and useless British ruling class survive by selling itself as a “gateway” for more successful imperialist powers, be they Swiss or American banks or Japanese and Indian carmakers.
And it has allowed otherwise inefficient and ill-managed British industry and agriculture - deliberately run down as part of the turn to financial parasitism encouraged by the Thatcherite doctrine of boosting “service industry” (out of fear of a powerful working class like the miners) - to stagger along by using the near slave labour from Eastern Europe in particular, to which it is now addicted.
But for the ruling class interests the oncoming crisis has also shifted the balance.
The vicious international competition to survive the 2008 meltdown has seen the rest of the world hammered by the financial firepower of the dominant US top-dog imperialism, swamping the world with QE credit to bolster its own industry (rescuing near collapsed car firms etc, and dropping the dollar value etc to increase exports) and cheapening the real price it pays even further for the commodities and labour-value it sucks in from the Third World.
The other major capitalist powers have gone along with it because -
a) the “shock and awe” warmongering by Washington to destroy Iraq, and much more of the Middle East since, has nothing to do with the lying pretence of “stopping the tyrant Saddam” (a Western stooge in the first place) but was to show the world what ruthless savagery could be expected for any challenge to its position not only by “upstart rogue states” but by capitalist rivals
b) the alternative was instant world credit meltdown anyway with a domino toppling of banks
c) they get some smaller share of the Third World booty (supplemented with the output from the giant Chinese economy, itself taking a giant hit as its vast dollar reserves have been devalued) which temporality keeps things going.
But the European bloc has been forced to pay a huge price by this inter-imperialist competition, forcing the German dominance at the centre to impose the savage austerity “discipline” which has devastated tiny Greece, wiped out jobs throughout Spain and Portugal and brought Italy and France almost to their knees.
The current bank turmoil in over-borrowed Italy is the latest manifestation, a potential trigger for renewed world collapse and as much a reason for the world Stock Exchange panic as the British exit plan.
Part of the empire-arrogant British ruling class, which has always found deferring to Germany almost unbearable, now calculates that the advantages of its European membership are outweighed by the danger of being caught in this European finance maelstrom.
But this is a desperate move, reflecting the reality of the cutthroat nastiness of capitalism and its vicious competition which will erupt eventually in World War as twice in the past.
Leaving gives the British economy the chance to play the international competition much harder, by the plunge in the value of the pound for example.
It will force domestic inflation higher as oil and imports go up, including the cost of 50% of food, all imported.
That will hammer the working class and add to the burdens of the slump.
And even if the “Leave” wing of the ruling class proves able to form new alliances for the future, or rebuilds the European alliance in some form, to try and ride out the oncoming world trade wars and collapse, it will not stop the disintegration of the world into ever worsening slump and war.
To the question “how much worse can it get” asked in the first press quote above the answer is - a lot, as the epochal failure of the system intensifies into all-out world Slump and trade war and the destructive conflict beyond it (with warmongering flashpoints being readied for Europe over issues like the Gibraltar “British” colony and much else, backed up by the “kill them all” mood and acceptance of war re-established by the Western imposed horrors of the Middle East and Ukraine etc and endless demonisation of “jihadists” and the meaningless “war on terror” etc).
The just commemorated Battle of the Somme centenary can make all the pious international brotherhood wishes it wants about “never again do we want such slaughter” but war is unstoppable for as long as capitalism continues.
The real battle must be to develop the deepest scientific revolutionary theory which explains why the world is collapsing and what really needs to be done about it – the all-out class war struggle to end this vicious exploitation system for good, overthrowing private ownership of production and establishing the firmest possible rule of the working class to supervise the building of planned world socialism.
It needs to tackle all the difficult questions of the past, educating and informing the working class, and guiding the huge debate that needs to be held, most of all on the huge achievements of the twentieth century workers states, and above all the titanic Soviet Union, exposing all the lies and anti-communist distortions pumped out by capitalism (and echoed by the fake-“left” in various ways) while assessing and understanding the philosophical errors and retreats which finally led to their liquidation.
The turmoil which underlies this vote is only a start as the ruling class knows only too well and has long been preparing for (not least by the state surveillance and repression measures pushed through by now leading Tory leader candidate Theresa May).
But to go anywhere such inevitable upheavals (already tasted in the UK in brief and as yet shallow outbursts like the 2012 riots) will need serious revolutionary leadership, building a Leninist party of conscious struggle for the scientific understand needed, using the methods of open polemical struggle and debate to advance and develop all the titanic revolutionary achievements of the past from Marx and Engels to Lenin, and the EPSR’s own understanding fought for over 30 years in over 1000 papers and a score of books).
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