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Brexit fan March 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Thanks to JM for pointing me towards an interesting letter from Nick Wright of the CPB in the Irish Times critiquing Fintan O’Toole from a British Lexit position. He argues that ‘The most important issue for half of all Leave supporters was British sovereignty. Only a third put control over immigration first, although both sovereignty and immigration as well as the economy were important to the majority of anti-EU voters.’

Given that in current polling 61% of voters demand immigration control one would wonder if the sovereignty issue was used by some, at least, as a means of coming across in a more positive light at a time when outright immigration control sentiment was less publicly acceptable, and given the fact of the win for Brexit now they feel less compunction in being, shall we say, tactful about it.

But even that point about how ‘immigration’ was important to the majority of anti-EU voters beyond those who prioritised it as number 1 should be deeply troubling for leftists of all stripes.

Then he writes:

A third of black and ethnic minority voters opposed EU membership, including a majority of Sikhs and Jews.

Perhaps, but two-thirds supported it.

Then he argues that…

The political outlook of Leave voters was equally mixed. More than a third of Labour and SNP and a majority of Plaid Cymru supporters opted to leave the EU, along with a quarter of Greens and almost a third of Lib Dems.

I guess I could argue that that’s not equally mixed but why be pedantic. Even so it indicates that the majority of supporters of all parties bar PC mentioned voted to remain. Significant majorities in all cases. He continues:

Just under half of voters described either capitalism, globalisation or both as a force for ill in society, and the majority of them voted Leave. In fact, they comprised around a third of anti-EU voters.

It’s odd having to point out in a critique of a letter by a Marxist that a strong strand in conservative (and reactionary, and fascist) thinking holds precisely those views.

And odd too this concluding paragraph…

As part of the Lexit (Left exit from the EU) speaking tour currently in Ireland and talking to audiences in Cork, Dublin and Newry, it struck me that there are two kinds of unionists on this island – UK unionists and EU unionists – and I am surprised to find people who stood against the Lisbon Treaty as an outrage against Irish sovereignty now find it expedient to suggest that, because a majority of people in the Northern Irish statelet voted to remain in the EU, that this should trump the expressed will of people in another country.

I’m not quite sure what he’s saying there at the end, but it seems to be that those who are anti-Brexit (in Ireland) seek to frustrate Britain’s exit from the EU. But that’s simply inaccurate and a misrepresentation of the reality.

If England and Wales, and note he doesn’t bother to mention Scotland directly (telling that too given how Brexit is impacting on the actual UK), want to exit that is their absolute right. We’ve long stated on this site that Brexit must occur – that is that the UK leaves the EU as a member (though we’ve also argued for the softest possible Brexit in order to minimise disruption to workers on all these islands).

But I think by contrast most people in this state and on this island don’t believe that a vote in relation to “the expressed will of people in another country” should impact undemocratically on people on this island and that the British government seeks to impose it on Northern Ireland (and arguably Scotland) over a democratic vote in that ‘statelet’ is deeply problematic. Not his problem, I guess.

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1. CL - March 30, 2017

“Although Lexiteers have little patience for the national nihilism of “Davos Man,” the globalist elite, we are no xenophobes. We voted Leave because we believe it is essential to preserve the two things we value most: a democratic political system and a social-democratic society. We fear that the European Union’s authoritarian project of neoliberal integration is a breeding ground for the far right.”

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WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2017

Curious piece from the NYT. The social democratic impulse in the UK has long diminished – the LP is in very serious trouble. The idea it is going to reappear in a context of a Tory Brexit (and the loss of Scotland to the SNP) seems optimistic in the extreme – and the evidence points to Tory hegemony for a good decade if not more. But a key element is the sheer London centricity of the piece. No mention of Scotland. None of Northern Ireland. Nothing about the border on this island. It’s as if yet again for British, as noted today in comments elsewhere we don’t exist, and the ramifications don’t exist. It’s a sort of weird egocentricity, as Michael Carley noted, on the part of both Brexiteers,Bremainers and as seen here Lexiteers.

One other thing. He – as others in the Lexit position always tend to do – utterly overstates the inability of social and left wing counter measures against neoliberalism that are available even in the context of the EU. Significant nationalisations, municipal and regional and other social ownership forms, etc, etc. It’s simply wrong to say it social democratic tools are illegal in Europe.

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CL - March 30, 2017

Excellent points.
But the notion of the ultra-right wing upsurge as a response to neoliberalism should be further explored.

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WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2017

Yes, I agree completely. And tentatively I’d suggest in the US as well. What do you think?

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CL - March 30, 2017

Yes, certainly

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GW - March 31, 2017

There’s not question that austerity and neoliberalism have assiduously prepared the ground for the growth of the fascist spectrum politics.

There’s a temporary abatement of support, due partly to voters seeing what Trump and Brexit bring in fact and due to internal problems within the fascist-spectrum parties, but if the EU continues in its current course, they are going to keep on popping up.

That’s why proposals like DiEM25’s New Deal for Europe are the only effective counter to the growth of the ultra-right.

Grillo in Italy is currently making eyes at the Fascist northern league – Italian politics are a perfect preview of what TINA leads to.

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Ed - March 31, 2017

The source of this NYT article seemed slightly bizarre: Johnson was best known, for those who follow such things, as a British partisan of the Cruise Missile Left/Euston Manifesto crowd who tried to put a left-wing gloss on Bush-Cheney foreign policies. He’s obviously still that way inclined (he now works for a pro-Israel lobbying group); I thought that whole crew had stopped even pretending to be on the left a long time ago and gone the way of Nick Cohen et al.

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2. Aengus Millen - March 31, 2017

I totally agree with your last point that Britain’s desire to leave shouldn’t be allowed to have irrevocable consequences on Ireland. This is an interesting corollary to something I’ve been thinking about socialism. One of the things that makes real socialism so difficult in the west is the interconnectedness of markets so that if one country raises corporate taxes or attempts to impose workers rights companies can move to other countries. Tony Benn was basically laughed out of the labour party for advocating a socialist “fortress Britain.” Similarly the EU hoped that the interconnectedness of markets would make the process of leaving so painful that no country would ever do it. This notably worked on Greece. In this sense Britain has done something on the right that is as radical as anything Corbyn or Syriza could do or has done.

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GW - March 31, 2017

Shouldn’t – but it will have irrevocable consequences, I fear.

It’s the global networks of capitalism and any post-capitalist society in general, not just in the EU, make the whole implicit socialism in one country perspectives of Lexiteers just unworkable.

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3. GW - March 31, 2017

I think the next three years or so will verify or disprove the asserted benefits for the British working class of Brexit and thereby test Lexit position in fact rather than theory.

Here’s Laurie Penny’s fine piece in the Baffler. She has a lot of interest to say:

This is going to hurt, however you slice it. The cost of the Brexit negotiations that begin today will include, at very best, a leap in the cost of living and further cuts to already decimated public services as the country struggles to foot the bill over years of political uncertainty. The Prime Minister is clearly banking on the prospect of making Britain a naked tax haven, which will be disastrous for the working classes. Major banks and businesses are already toddling off to the continent, stupefying the willy-waving Brexit apologists who were convinced they were all here for the weather. Those promised 350 million pounds a week for the National Health Service are not coming. In fact, the NHS—the real institutional pride of the nation, beloved of everyone apart from the very wealthiest, and already on its knees after years of deliberate Tory defunding—will struggle to survive as more cuts are imposed and thousands of foreign doctors and nurses face deportation or are simply harassed and overworked until they leave. Why would anyone want to stay wiping bottoms and washing wounds in a country that claims to hate you? The last time a victory was this Pyrrhic, there were thirteen thousand bodies on the battlefield at Heraclea, and nobody went home happy.

and

The mood in Britain since June has been one of numb shock teetering into ugly bickering. Racists are blaming immigrants, Blairites are blaming Corbyn, Tories are blaming each other, Scotland is blaming England, London is blaming Cornwall, the middle classes are blaming the poor, the poor are blaming “metropolitan elites,” Europeans are blaming all of us, and Boris Johnson has farted and left the room.

Racists and bigots have got braver as the Brexit vote was interpreted as a license to act on prejudice—reported incidents of hate crime have more than doubled, from attacks on mosques to migrant families’ letterboxes clanging with missives calling them scum and telling them to go home. Most of them were under the impression that they were home. Now, immigrants are not the only people realizing that home is nowhere they can get to without a plane or a time machine.

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4. Nick Wright - March 31, 2017

Your correspondent World by Storm seems blind to the main point I was making in my letter to the Irish Times.

In arguing that “…the majority of supporters of all parties bar PC mentioned voted to remain. Significant majorities in all cases” World by Storm misses the critical point that the referendum vote was rather higher than is normal in British elections which suggests that the considerable part of the British electorate that usually does not vote, and thus cannot easily be put into party categories, was motivated on this issue to do so. Thus it was a majority that voted to leave.

My personal experience living in a part of the country that voted overwhelmingly to leave, is that the normally abstentionist constituency mobilised to vote leave is substantially working class in composition and seems likely to include many of the four million Labour voters lost during the Blair Brown years.

Elements in both the leave and Remain campaign played on the issue of migration. The bourgeois leave campaign was particularly toxic but the remain campaign played to a Euro-centric mindset that wilfully obscured the essentially racist nature of Fortress Europe’s migration policy which privileges white Europeans with no familial ties to Britain over long established families from,Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian sub continent.

It is not particularly original to point out that anti-capitalist sentiments can be found among people of a conservative (even reactionary and fascist) tendency. Indeed, it was Lenin, writing a few weeks hence and a century ago who pointed out that the Bolsheviks fish in the same waters as the Black Hundreds. When John Heartfield created his photomontage of Hitler donning a Karl Marx face mask he was alluding to the same phenomena.

Given that my party, from its foundation in 1920, has always accorded the highest priority to Irish sovereignty and independence, I find the participation by Irish Republicans, normally abstentionist in relation to the UK polity, in the referendum, rather perplexing.

Membership of the EU entails compliance with, among others, the Lisbon Treaty which, as I recollect, the Irish originally voted to reject. Irish politicians who now accept the notion of ‘shared sovereignty’ have surrendered a vital part of their claim to the guardianship of Irish independence.

Voters in Scotland voted first to remain part of the Union and later, as citizens of the United Kingdom as part of the minority that wanted to stay in the EU. It is hard to see the logic of the view, implied in World by Storm’s contribution to this discussion, that this particular category of UK voters should be privileged above say, Plaid Cymru voters, Jews or Sikhs.

Perhaps, rather than arguing the toss over what is now, since Article 50 was invoked, is a done deal we should bend our collective efforts to the real battle to secure a united, independent and sovereign Ireland.

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sonofstan - April 1, 2017

‘Sovereign’

I remember when commies were internationalists who believed the nation state would wither away

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WorldbyStorm - April 1, 2017

Cheers for getting back. Here’s some thoughts.

Your correspondent World by Storm seems blind to the main point I was making in my letter to the Irish Times.
In arguing that “…the majority of supporters of all parties bar PC mentioned voted to remain. Significant majorities in all cases” World by Storm misses the critical point that the referendum vote was rather higher than is normal in British elections which suggests that the considerable part of the British electorate that usually does not vote, and thus cannot easily be put into party categories, was motivated on this issue to do so. Thus it was a majority that voted to leave.

I’m not sure that’s a compelling argument. let’s look at the next part….

M

y personal experience living in a part of the country that voted overwhelmingly to leave, is that the normally abstentionist constituency mobilised to vote leave is substantially working class in composition and seems likely to include many of the four million Labour voters lost during the Blair Brown years.

For a start if these are people who vote in referendums but not elections then they’re not much use to the BLP. It seems unlikely they’ll be brought back to the BLP given its grievous situation – a situation exacerbated by a Tory/UKIP Brexit (and by the way why are we talking about a party neither of us are members of – though I was a member of it in the early 1990s. I’m often at a loss when discussing matters with SPEW or whoever members about these matters why there’s such a reification of a party none of us actually want to join). I think a reasonable proposition is that different impulses drive rerefendums. Again look at the polls. 61% see immigration control as most important. Enoch Powell would be proud of that.

There’s another thought. Why assume that it’s just BLP voters who aren’t voting outside of the referendum. Why not Tory voters disenchanted by the Cameron years, or UKIP voters who can’t be pushed to vote for UKIP during elections. And given this is just anecdote on your part then what objective aspect can we place in it?

Elements in both the leave and Remain campaign played on the issue of migration. The bourgeois leave campaign was particularly toxic but the remain campaign played to a Euro-centric mindset that wilfully obscured the essentially racist nature of Fortress Europe’s migration policy which privileges white Europeans with no familial ties to Britain over long established families from,Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian sub continent.

The obvious response is this. Immigration into the UK is a function of the UK. If the UK wanted more of the latter that was entirely up to it.

It takes but a moment to see how much leeway the UK had in this respect. If you genuinely prioritise immigration into the EU from outside the EU then you’d actually want the UK to remain a part of it and wave as many people as could be accommodate by planes and ships to enter it. Because that’s all it takes.

Let’s look at what the EU itself says:

Exceptions to EU-wide rules

EU-wide immigration rules generally apply in 24 out of the EU’s 27 countries. The following exceptions apply:

Denmark does not apply EU-wide rules which relate to immigration, visa and asylum policies.

Ireland and the United Kingdom choose, on a case-by-case basis, whether or not to adopt EU rules on immigration, visa and asylum policies.
All your concern over Fortress Europe – while correct as far as it goes – is as nothing given the UK could within the EU bring in as many people pretty much as it liked while within the EU. We could push for a progressive UK government inside the EU. We could push for a progressive government within in the EU undermining EU policy rather than an isolated progressive government (not likely any time soon in the UK though is it?) outside the EU with no impact whatsoever on the EU and its many negative aspects whatsoever.

I’m for as liberal an immigration policy as possible, but that is up to individual states in the EU. The EU doesn’t force states to follow a minimalist line as we know from the German experience last year. It’s entirely possible for states to go for a maximilist line should they so choose. But there’s more. How does erecting barriers – which is what a Tory led Brexit does – to EU citizens possibly assist in diminishing any racist aspect of Fortress Europe. What’s happened is not a decrease in racism and racist attitudes but a heightening of same. Consequent on Brexit is the erection of barriers against Europeans would objectively appear to raise those barriers. Doesn’t seem to me to be a progressive feature.

It is not particularly original to point out that anti-capitalist sentiments can be found among people of a conservative (even reactionary and fascist) tendency. Indeed, it was Lenin, writing a few weeks hence and a century ago who pointed out that the Bolsheviks fish in the same waters as the Black Hundreds. When John Heartfield created his photomontage of Hitler donning a Karl Marx face mask he was alluding to the same phenomena.

I’m not claiming originality. You’re the one who argues that the Brexit vote has an anti-capitalist aspect as if that per se means that those who hold that view are progressive. I’m merely pointing out that that anti-capitalism doesn’t have to be progressive. I’m not sure why you’d complain about the critique given I’m merely engaging with something you’ve raised originally. Again I draw your attention to the importance placed on immigration. And again I suggest you consider how the vast majority of those on the left (and Black and ethnic minority voters) voted for Remain. Not against, for. I don’t understand why you dismiss that as unimportant – which is implicit to your position – i.e. the actual majorities against Exit from progressive and ethnic minorities you attempt to wave away by recourse to pointing out x number (a minority of those voters) were pro-Brexit as if that invalidates the idea that most of those groups regarded Brexit as deeply problematic.

Given that my party, from its foundation in 1920, has always accorded the highest priority to Irish sovereignty and independence, I find the participation by Irish Republicans, normally abstentionist in relation to the UK polity, in the referendum, rather perplexing.

Really? See below.

Membership of the EU entails compliance with, among others, the Lisbon Treaty which, as I recollect, the Irish originally voted to reject. Irish politicians who now accept the notion of ‘shared sovereignty’ have surrendered a vital part of their claim to the guardianship of Irish independence.

I think you misunderstand the Lisbon vote. I think many of us saw Lisbon as a disgraceful process. But. For there is a but. The point is that despite being against a re-run we weren’t for leaving the EU even despite our criticisms of same. Those are two completely different positions. I’m not pro-EU. But I am adamantly against states leaving it it can be avoided because my belief is that short of a functional alternative of a significant group of state with a left orientation it is pointless to move into isolation – particularly led by right forces – from other Europeans. I want a parallel shadow socialist EU to develop which can supplant the EU from within it. Your approach of walking away through Brexit functionally plays to the most nationalist and reactionary forces. And the evidence of that is all around you and is visible even from this distance across the Irish Sea to almost all of us. Brexit as is, as against what you want it to be, is a disaster. Tories in the ascendent. UKIP egging them on and a BLP not even at the races. No thanks a chara.

And I’d ask where was the analysis prior to Brexit? Where was the CPB’s research about potential outcomes both for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland? Where was the cost/benefit analysis? Did any such research exist before simply exhorting people to follow a Lexit? I see no evidence of any substantive efforts to engage with those issues and particularly not in relation to Ireland (I’ve looked through some of the CPB stuff online. One that followed on foot of the referendum didn’t mention Ireland at all. Perhaps there are others). And the old line ‘you broke it, you own it’ comes to mind.

Voters in Scotland voted first to remain part of the Union and later, as citizens of the United Kingdom as part of the minority that wanted to stay in the EU. It is hard to see the logic of the view, implied in World by Storm’s contribution to this discussion, that this particular category of UK voters should be privileged above say, Plaid Cymru voters, Jews or Sikhs.

That’s an interesting analysis given your adherence to Irish sovereignty as stated below (and if you deny Scotland autonomy and sovereignty – something I wouldn’t deny England – as well as also not denying England and Wales the right to leave the EU if they see fit, why do you give it, rhetorically, to Ireland?). But Scotland is lost for a generation. The SNP is dominant – the BLP is gone – in exactly the same way as we saw inIreland both pre and post partition. I suspect sooner or later it will go independent. Maybe later. And I’m a bit staggered at how you can wave away the fundamental shift in the situation given Brexit and dismiss Scottish concerns. The SNP is right, the material conditions have changed for Scotland. The SNP have every right to call for a new referendum. And I think many of those of us who consider ourselves Republicans (in the Irish sense) will stand with them every step of the way.

Perhaps, rather than arguing the toss over what is now, since Article 50 was invoked, is a done deal we should bend our collective efforts to the real battle to secure a united, independent and sovereign Ireland.

After Brexit the real battle is Ireland? Really? Though let’s park that for the mo.

What’s most notable is how little you engage with what Brexit is actually doing to this island (let’s put the UK aside – they’ve their problems, we’ve our problems). In fact you don’t mention it at all. Partition back in play. A hard border entirely possible. The most reactionary forces in the North given heart – the DUP sure ain’t complaining. And on the other side Sinn Féin’s approach taken up by FF and FG and even the LP in terms of agreeing that what is happening is a disaster. I’ve spoken to SF TDs who tell me that Irish workers on my side of the border have lost jobs already due to Brexit and that they’re deeply concerned at what happens next on both sides of that border. Likewise with other TDs and Senators… And no plan, no thought as to the future, just vague aspirations.

So, no, I don’t think I – or a fair number of us here, will take the attitude that this is just arguing the toss. Brexit is a disaster for many workers on this island. People have already lost jobs. More will do so. We’ve the very real threat of a hard border. And all that functionally stymies a united independent and sovereign Ireland.

One of the things that is most telling is just how badly this plays in Ireland. You seem unaware of just how much a disaster this seems to the majority of us – Republican, not Republican, whatever.

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Nick Wright - April 1, 2017

I think a socialist migration policy is needed not a liberal one. That is one that serves the aim of the working class, as it actually exists in actually existing state entities, to become the ruling class and lead the process of establishing socialist relations of production. If this entails ‘free movement’ I would be in favour of it. Experience suggests otherwise.

Your (subjective) impression that the Labour Party is ‘a party none of us actually wants to join’ does not correspond with reality this side of the water. Labour is now the biggest party in Europe and bigger than all other parties in Britain put together. Even after the ultra-Blairite leadership led it to defeat in Scotland it still polled a quarter of the votes

It is nonsensical to challenge the Communist Party’s long-standing opposition to the EU (and before that the Common Market) on the basis of inadequate research. This isn’t a term paper it was the developed in decades of class struggle around issues such as PFI (a consequence of Maastricht) privatisation (driven by Lisbon) and war.

Perhaps the prospects of your preferred stratey – transforming the EU into an instrument of working class power – could be subjected to your research process. First project: How are the remaining states going to be persuaded to simultaneously revoke those aspects of the treaties which systematise privatisation, force marketisation, drive financialisation and underpin the common defence policy?

You researches into the Communist Party’s position on Scotland (actually for a federal British republic) seem to have missed the point that the party is in favour of Scottish self determination. That is why we accept the referendum result and we would have accepted it if it had gone the other way.

Your comment “What’s most notable is how little you engage with what Brexit is actually doing to this island” seems to me to encapsulate West Brit thinking.
If Britain leaving the EU is a disaster for Ireland that is because the relations between our countries are not grounded in equality but in real relations of imperialist domination and submission conditioned not just by history but by the ways in which the treaty obligations of the EU have shaped these relations. The EU crisis occasioned by Brexit is Ireland’s opportunity

Brexit is the settled desire of the British people. That is what popular sovereignty means. If it has a negative impact on Ireland that is because Ireland has surrendered its sovereignty and remains a member of the European Union. Job loss is a serious problem throughout the EU and in capitalist countries generally. One of the reasons why there are so many migrant workers in the Britain and Ireland is because they lost their jobs in their own countries.

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WorldbyStorm - April 1, 2017

I think a socialist migration policy is needed not a liberal one. That is one that serves the aim of the working class, as it actually exists in actually existing state entities, to become the ruling class and lead the process of establishing socialist relations of production. If this entails ‘free movement’ I would be in favour of it. Experience suggests otherwise.

I think a socialist migration policy is needed too. I want a socialist world. But wishing for it and having a balance of forces able to implement it are two different things. And to see a route from where we are to where we wish to be is another again and Brexit (for this is not, whatever you may wish, a Lexit) is not that.

Your (subjective) impression that the Labour Party is ‘a party none of us actually wants to join’ does not correspond with reality this side of the water. Labour is now the biggest party in Europe and bigger than all other parties in Britain put together. Even after the ultra-Blairite leadership led it to defeat in Scotland it still polled a quarter of the votes

My point being that the BLP even as is is not a party either you or I want to join. Me because I’ve been in enough parties (Including the WP and the BLP) and it is insufficiently left wing and you because, well, you’re in the CPB.

It’s actually not subjective the point re the LP – by any reasonable measure the BLP is in no position to contest for state power, its support amongst the general public is appalling low, the loss of Scotland alone presents a monumental challenge to bid for state power, I hardly need outline the rest of the issues (and just to be clear I’m supportive of Corbyn) – and by the by, on a slight tangent re joining why doesn’t the CPB simply fold into the LP?

It is nonsensical to challenge the Communist Party’s long-standing opposition to the EU (and before that the Common Market) on the basis of inadequate research. This isn’t a term paper it was the developed in decades of class struggle around issues such as PFI (a consequence of Maastricht) privatisation (driven by Lisbon) and war.

It’s perfectly reasonable to challenge any party that seeks to change the status quo in such a fundamental way. I would – at a minimum – expect a party that lobbies for such an outcome to work through not just the negative and positive aspects of the EU (again let me stress no one here is an uncritical supporter of same to put it mildly) and also what the outcomes for actual workers are. The EU isn’t a static entity, the relationships that would come after an exit are different in every period. It’s basic stuff really. And I’m not simply taking the CPB to task in this respect. I feel precisely the same about the spectrum of those who called for a Lexit.

Perhaps the prospects of your preferred stratey – transforming the EU into an instrument of working class power – could be subjected to your research process. First project: How are the remaining states going to be persuaded to simultaneously revoke those aspects of the treaties which systematise privatisation, force marketisation, drive financialisation and underpin the common defence policy?

Indeed. I’m all for precisely such an analysis (I’ve concerns about DIEM25 etc but some of what they appear to be trying to do make sense to me), but I think it reasonable to argue that leftists across the EU stand a better chance of working in unity together than stuck in isolated nation states, particularly given the complexion of those forces who are in the majority seeking Exits who tend to be profoundly right nationalist and reactionary. And let’s not ignore history. In the 1980s and 1990s there was precisely a push back against the ‘social’ aspects of the EEC/EC as was from the right because it was from their perspective too social democrat oriented. If it can work one way it can work another. Nothing is fixed. And it is still possible to push for social outcomes despite EU strictures. Indeed it is absolutely necessary.

Moreover this sunny upland post-Brexit. How does that come about? I seem to recall it was Britain standing shoulder to shoulder in the 2000s with the US in relation to Iraq and the EU and EU states (other than Portugal) standing back from it. The UK will remain in NATO. It’s not going anywhere.

You researches into the Communist Party’s position on Scotland (actually for a federal British republic) seem to have missed the point that the party is in favour of Scottish self determination. That is why we accept the referendum result and we would have accepted it if it had gone the other way.

A federal British republic is in an of itself not the same thing as an independent Scotland, England etc. And as someone who is in favour of that independence clearly I’m not going to see the CPB’s approach in a particularly favourable light or feel it is the full exercise of self-determination. But more to the point in this very discussion you deny autonomy and self-determination to the Scottish people in relation to the EU. For you the referendum trumps all else, and indeed not just Scotland, but Northern Ireland.

Your comment “What’s most notable is how little you engage with what Brexit is actually doing to this island” seems to me to encapsulate West Brit thinking.
If Britain leaving the EU is a disaster for Ireland that is because the relations between our countries are not grounded in equality but in real relations of imperialist domination and submission conditioned not just by history but by the ways in which the treaty obligations of the EU have shaped these relations. The EU crisis occasioned by Brexit is Ireland’s opportunity

I point out that workers on this island are already suffering impacts and will suffer more because of a decision taken in England, and I critique and criticise same and somehow I’m a West Brit? I do not think the term West Brit means what you seem to think it does.

You’re seemingly arguing from a position where somehow it’s not a UK led by the Tory right with UKIP egging them on, but some other more happy situation. Except it’s not. It is Tory led Brexit. Bad enough all that, and my sympathies are with workers on the island of Britain. But my immediate concerns are with workers on this island both in this state and the North. And the basic structural economic political and other aspects of the the relationship between the RoI and UK are such that achieving an equality of relatinships in the context of individual nation states under capitalism and short of socialism would be extremely difficult if not in reality actually impossible. We can’t help but be dominated by the sheer weight of our largest neighbour. Of course the relations between the states aren’t grounded in equality. They never have been. And it’s not due primarily to the EU. If anything EU membership has evened out the relationships to a degree.

Brexit is the settled desire of the British people. That is what popular sovereignty means. If it has a negative impact on Ireland that is because Ireland has surrendered its sovereignty and remains a member of the European Union. Job loss is a serious problem throughout the EU and in capitalist countries generally. One of the reasons why there are so many migrant workers in the Britain and Ireland is because they lost their jobs in their own countries.

Well here’s the thing. I’d argue strongly it is not the settled desire of the British people. It was a narrowly won referendum and in two specific areas it was lost by the Brexit side. The nature of Brexit, what it meant, was never articulated fully at the time of the referendum and is now being pushed to the hardest of forms by the simple fact of Tories having state power.

The CPB argued in the case of the Scottish independence referendum that self-determination necessitated respecting that decision. But not in the instance of Brexit? And what of the North of Ireland?

The idea that negative impacts are due to the RoI being a member of the EU is profoundly unconvincing. The negative impacts are because the UK has decided to leave the EU, has decided not just that, but also to leave the single market, the customs union etc. And it goes quite some way beyond unconvincing to argue that job losses in this instance are just the ‘normal’ outworkings of capitalism.

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Nick Wright - April 1, 2017

A socialist migration policy is a theoretical and practical impossibility within capitalism. That is why our NHS is staffed by skilled migrants who should be working for the well being of their own people That is why the wall enclosing West Berlin was built.

It is not the ‘balance of forces’ within capital;ism that is the key to winning a better migration policy it is the global system of enforced underdevelopment and force movement of labour. (The CP calls it imperialism.).

It is true that the British Labour Party is only slowly recovering its opinion poll ratings (these plummeted with the so-called ‘chicken coup’ by the Labour right in parliament. However, it still outpolls every other social democratic political formation in the EU by a good margin.

The implication that left forces in the EU working together depends on all being members of the EU does rather set unnatural limits on the exercise of proletarian internationalism and solidarity.
The (NATO, the IMF and the ECB) are a matrix of institutions that are designed to lock countries into a straitjacket of financialisation, privatisation, forced limits on public spending, forced marketisation of services and a common ‘defence’ policy grounded in commitments to NATO.

The EU is, indeed, not a ‘static entity. It is becoming more reactionary. I might give some credence to the likes of DIEM25 or the Party of the European Left if they were able to map out a convincing path to winning working class power within the constraints imposed by the EU, or a way of overcoming these constraints. All we have so far is the suggestion that some reforms might be possible although the direction of travel, (ECJ rulings on employment rights, diminishing social chapter etc) is in the opposite direction.

You may be in favour of Scottish independence but the Scots are not. It is not me, or the Communist party denying the Scots autonomy and self determination in relation to the EU. It is the Scots themselves, they had just voted to remain part of the Union. They exercised their individual votes in the EU referendum on that basis. Same as the Welsh and the rest of us.

It is not simply the ‘sheer weight’ of your nearest neighbour but the imperialist nature of the relationship. Incidentally, arguing that negating the effects of Brexit on Irish workers trumps the British voters exercise of their sovereign rights is precisely what I mean by West Brit thinking. It is a mindset conditioned by an acceptance of the immutability of capitalist relations of production and the permanence of the actually existing (imperialist) EU.

It is not the Tories that have state power, it is the ruling class, which nowadays is a multi-party formation. The tories are in office, when Blair and Brown were in office the capitalist class still held state power.

You are wrong about the vote being the settled opinion. A sizeable chunk of remain voters don’t want a second referendum. Both sides in the debate made the point that membership of the single market was the issue. Remainers because they wanted to scare people about trade and jobs, Leavers because it is the “free”/forced movement of labour which they thought was a powerful mobilising factor.

The most powerful section of our ruling class (big banks, monopolies, transnationals etc) want above all else to retain the City passport to integrated banking (only a minor section of hedge funds want out) and access to the Single Market. Lexit supporters want out of the Single Market because this is indissolubly linked to the provisions of the Lisbon Treat.

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GW - April 1, 2017

WTF have the IMF and NATO to do intrinsically with Brexit? Is Britain going to exit from them as part of Brexit? But to my main point to supplement WBS’s excellent replies:

I love the canard repeated by every British Leninist party about anti-immigration policies stemming from the EU’s ‘Fortress Europe’. Where is that policy written into any EU treaty?

No, that’s not how the EU works – it works mainly by custom and practice agreed between member states and often the rules are bent and ignored (if you are large enough nation state like Germany, France or Britain). The current murderous policy arose after two member states (Germany and Austria) had taken in a large number of Syrian refugees and the rest of the EU refused to do their part. Nation states like Britain were horrified by the prospect of the capital that could be made by the fascist spectrum from these events and quickly moved to take up the right wing ground.

It was member states that insisted on the increased patrolling of the Mediterranean all the way up to the North African coast and blocked the Balkan route. The EU didn’t order Hungary and Macedonia to put up fences. There is no reason to suppose that the British navy will not happily continue the patrolling of Mediterranean and intervening in North Africa long after Brexit, if it isn’t occupied with some war with a European neighbour. Cod-wars II anyone?

Point me to a vocal campaign by any British Leninist party to force Britain or Ireland for that matter to take it’s fair share of refugees from Syria – and I don’t mean vague catch-all anti-racist sentiments and campaigns – worthwhile though they themselves are.

Is it EU ‘imperialism’ that is bombing the crap out of Syria, Northern Iraq, Yemen etc? I thought the USA, Russia, Turkey, France and the usual enthusiastic follower of any NATO-led mass-murder namely the British national state had something to do with it. Was it the EU that turned most of North Africa into a place where anyone who can tries to get out of? No – it was aggressive me-too nation states interventions after the failed popular uprisings carried through by the likes Britain who followed as always on the coat-tails of the US militarism and covert intervention heaped upon the longer-term destructive effects of global capitalism.

To pretend that the British state will act any less aggressively after Brexit is a nonsense. (Actually it may be forced to because of lack of funds after the economic consequences of Brexit- but military spending always comes before feeding and housing the poor for the British ruling class and there is no reason to suppose that that will change after Brexit).

And to pretend that racism and anti-refugee sentiment and policies will not get worse after Brexit is to ignore the evidence we already have in the last nine months.

But go ahead, theory always trumps actuality for the central committee.

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WorldbyStorm - April 1, 2017

+1 GW to your comment.

Meanwhile… and I do want to say how useful it is to engage on the issue, not least to get some sense of where you are coming from Nick.

A socialist migration policy is a theoretical and practical impossibility within capitalism. That is why our NHS is staffed by skilled migrants who should be working for the well being of their own people That is why the wall enclosing West Berlin was built.

It is not the ‘balance of forces’ within capital;ism that is the key to winning a better migration policy it is the global system of enforced underdevelopment and force movement of labour. (The CP calls it imperialism.).

Yes, and that was precisely the point I was making in relation to wanting a socialist world. But an amelioration of the status quo is possible. Not perfection but something better on the way to best.

It is true that the British Labour Party is only slowly recovering its opinion poll ratings (these plummeted with the so-called ‘chicken coup’ by the Labour right in parliament. However, it still outpolls every other social democratic political formation in the EU by a good margin.

Come on now. The BLP is in huge trouble, possibly existential trouble. The idea it is slowly recovering? The polls do not bear that out whatsoever. And outpolling other SD formations is hardly an achievement if its polling ratings are so poor (even compared with the Miliband period).

The implication that left forces in the EU working together depends on all being members of the EU does rather set unnatural limits on the exercise of proletarian internationalism and solidarity.

I’m not sure that any one is setting any limits on solidarity and internationalism but simply stating the obvious. That within a given environment logistical and other aspects will be easier than outside it.

The (NATO, the IMF and the ECB) are a matrix of institutions that are designed to lock countries into a straitjacket of financialisation, privatisation, forced limits on public spending, forced marketisation of services and a common ‘defence’ policy grounded in commitments to NATO.

Uh huh and yet the UK post-Brexit will still be part of two of that matrix. Indeed one of the very reasons put forward for leaving was that the EU was too socially oriented in labour and other regulations.

The EU is, indeed, not a ‘static entity. It is becoming more reactionary. I might give some credence to the likes of DIEM25 or the Party of the European Left if they were able to map out a convincing path to winning working class power within the constraints imposed by the EU, or a way of overcoming these constraints. All we have so far is the suggestion that some reforms might be possible although the direction of travel, (ECJ rulings on employment rights, diminishing social chapter etc) is in the opposite direction.

But again, that’s not a given that that travel has to be in that direction in perpetuity. It certainly hasn’t been in the past. So why is there this assumption that it has to be in the future? And more to the point the reality is that in no other state in the EU as presently comprised is there anything like a serious push towards an exit. Those forces remaining in it have to work within it. There’s no alternative practical option.

You may be in favour of Scottish independence but the Scots are not. It is not me, or the Communist party denying the Scots autonomy and self determination in relation to the EU. It is the Scots themselves, they had just voted to remain part of the Union. They exercised their individual votes in the EU referendum on that basis. Same as the Welsh and the rest of us.

Actually that remains to be seen as regards Scots. Given that the material circumstances changed in regard to Brexit and the arrangements of the UK the SNP had ever right (and indeed had explicitly promised) to bring the question before them again. So let’s say that issue is parked until that referendum.

The rest of us I presume include the inhabitants of NI? An issue you seem averse to addressing in any concrete fashion.

It is not simply the ‘sheer weight’ of your nearest neighbour but the imperialist nature of the relationship. Incidentally, arguing that negating the effects of Brexit on Irish workers trumps the British voters exercise of their sovereign rights is precisely what I mean by West Brit thinking. It is a mindset conditioned by an acceptance of the immutability of capitalist relations of production and the permanence of the actually existing (imperialist) EU.

Again you clearly are unfamiliar with the general meaning of West Brit as a term. Though carry on with the contortions designed to try to fit my position into that supposed category. But are you now saying that the relationship between the RoI and UK is an imperialist one?

And to reiterate the point I made in the OP – and it’s a bit tiresome having to say this again and again and have my position unconsciously misrepresented – I have not once argued that Britain does not have a right to leave the EU (again, I’ve said that it is entirely legitimate and necessary for the UK, or at least England and Wales, to leave the EU on foot of the referendum). However I continue to argue that in relation to areas with local representation where the marjojity of those there, as in NI and Scotland voted to remain there’s an argument for alternative structures, and in the case of NI that is actually much more the case given the dispensation on this island, the nature of the GFA/BA, etc, etc. Because your ‘exercise of sovereign rights’ directly impinges on the sovereignt rights of people on this island. That’s the funny thing about sovereignty, a bit like democracy it is a limited and perishable resource, not an infinite one.

It is not the Tories that have state power, it is the ruling class, which nowadays is a multi-party formation. The tories are in office, when Blair and Brown were in office the capitalist class still held state power.

And yet there’s a contradiction in your position here (while in one sense yes, of course all these are manifestations of capitalism in one way or another, it does ignore the very real distinctions between different forms of captialsm). Above you’re pinning your hope on the British Labour Party – which by your logic above is merely a manifestation of the ruling class and capitalist class. It can’t be otherwise. And given I’m old enough to remember Jim Callaghan’s LP rather well I’d easily hazard that the programme the Corbyn LP is putting forward is quite some way less radical than even old Jim’s traditional rightish LPism.

You are wrong about the vote being the settled opinion. A sizeable chunk of remain voters don’t want a second referendum. Both sides in the debate made the point that membership of the single market was the issue. Remainers because they wanted to scare people about trade and jobs, Leavers because it is the “free”/forced movement of labour which they thought was a powerful mobilising factor.

I think you mean I”m wrong about the vote not being the settled opinion. And I’ve been very careful to point out, specifically said so above, that it’s not settle din relation to Scotland and NI. As to Remain voters in England, I agree there’s no point in them pinning their hopes on a rerun (something I wouldn’t support in any case for a good decade or more).

Not quite sure what point you’re making re single market. But let’s be serious, immigration was really the one, wasn’t it?

The most powerful section of our ruling class (big banks, monopolies, transnationals etc) want above all else to retain the City passport to integrated banking (only a minor section of hedge funds want out) and access to the Single Market. Lexit supporters want out of the Single Market because this is indissolubly linked to the provisions of the Lisbon Treat.

But I want the UK inside the customs union and single market in order to minimise disruption to this state and this island post-Brexit. I’m not trying to turn the clock back on Brexit. It is a done deal. I want its negative impacts of which there are legion, to be mitigated as much as possible in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. And it is precisely because I do not feel a right to impose a view on those who voted for Brexit in England and Wales that while I will continue to point out its aburdities and malign effects I don’t agree with rerunning that referendum.

I have to make the observation that one real problem in this discussion is the tendency on your part to seek refuge in abstraction when presented with actual impacts upon the working class. The working class isn’t a thing, a piece, to be moved about the board according to supposed immutable precepts. Any strategy (or tactic) recommended to it by those who seek to represent it should, at a minimum, not cause it more damage than the status quo. Nor can airy predictions of the future replace serious materialist and objective analysis.

Unfortunately the sheer lack of detail, the lack of interest in detail, the reality that the left has no traction whatsoever on this issue in the UK, the dominance of the Tories, etc, doesn’t give me hope.

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Nick Wright - April 1, 2017

How far can ‘an amelioration of the status quo’ go within the EU. Can the flow of capital be controlled? No. Can the emigration of publicly educated medical and scientific specialist be controlled? No. Can judgements on employments rights by the ECJ be disregarded? No. Can defence obligations under the common defence policy be evaded? No. Can states support vital industries without restraint? No.

The fact is that the only EU institution that is elected has no effective power to legislate except by agreement of the Commission. And the defining treaties of the EU institutionalise capitalist relations of production and the ‘free’movement of labour and capital.

If ‘On the way to best’ means an irreversible shift in wealth and power from the rich to working people and ‘the establishment of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange and the most equitable distribution’ let us hear from those who think the EU is the best terrain for achieving these objectives how they think it might come about.

Given that ECJ rulings mean that employers can import labour at, say Lithuanian rates of pay, it might be difficult to sustain the argument that solidarity ”within a given environment logistical and other aspects will be easier than outside it.”.

“Increasingly Europeans are being tempted by a type of national withdrawal and this phenomenon is clearly linked to a weakening in support to the European Union. In a bid to restore support, more now than ever before, the European Union must act and show that it is supporting the citizens of Europe.” Not me but the Robert Schuman Foundation. And that some time ago.
http://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/european-issues/0277-the-europeans-attitudes-about-europe-a-downturn-linked-only-to-the-crisis.

Lets go with the NI question. Concretely.
789,879 people voted in the Northern statelet.
349,442 VOTES to leave, 440,707 VOTES to stay.
The total votes were 17,410,742 VOTES to leave, 16,141,241 to stay. NI made little difference.

If we understand West Brit to refer to that state of mind and ideology, where, as Daniel O’Connell said: “The people of Ireland are ready to become a portion of the empire” we can readily understand that, in contemporary circumstances, a willing embrace of the EU is the modern iteration of that subaltern status.

I do indeed argue that the relations between Britain and Ireland, and not only in relation to that part of Ireland where Britain exercises state power, are relations of imperialist domination and submission. That Brexit complicates this is a bonus.

In relation to the constitutional status of Scotland you may speculate in internet discussions but the Scots have already settled this matter for the moment.

Of course the sovereign rights of the Irish people are violated by partition. Which is why the participation of people in the northern statelet in the EU referendum and the exceptional status some people demand for the vote in that entity undermines the claim for a united Ireland and reinforces unionism?.

You say “I want the UK inside the customs union and single market in order to minimise disruption to this state and this island post-Brexit.”
But this means accepting the constraints imposed by the EU treaties. You cannot get off this wicket.

Your suggestion that that one real problem in this discussion is the tendency on my part to seek refuge in abstraction when presented with actual impacts upon the working class is as impudent as if I had suggested that your tendency to seek refuge in idealist abstractions about the class nature of the EU were the essential problem.

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WorldbyStorm - April 1, 2017

How far can ‘an amelioration of the status quo’ go within the EU. Can the flow of capital be controlled? No. Can the emigration of publicly educated medical and scientific specialist be controlled? No. Can judgements on employments rights by the ECJ be disregarded? No. Can defence obligations under the common defence policy be evaded? No. Can states support vital industries without restraint? No.

All this is entirely familiar to us (albeit some aspects are over stated – vital industries can be supported by states if they’re willing to be imaginative). It took a process of years to arrive at a point where these were active. It will be a task of years to ensure that they are pushed back successfully. Again, there’s no state other than the UK where anything like a critical mass of voters was or is or is likely to be in play any time soon in regard to an exit. No one is arguing this is easy – but this is the situation those of inside an EU that only the deluded believe is suddenly going to collapse are stuck with. We have no choice but to push back.

The fact is that the only EU institution that is elected has no effective power to legislate except by agreement of the Commission. And the defining treaties of the EU institutionalise capitalist relations of production and the ‘free’movement of labour and capital.

Well that’s actually one thing I actually like about the EU – free movement of labour (or people within it) and I’d expect any successor to uphold that.

If ‘On the way to best’ means an irreversible shift in wealth and power from the rich to working people and ‘the establishment of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange and the most equitable distribution’ let us hear from those who think the EU is the best terrain for achieving these objectives how they think it might come about.

Yeah all of that would be great. But to be honest – and once more I examine the actual balance of forces, there’s no alternative. Ireland isn’t about to go to the exit. France (short of catastrophe) neither. German ditto. And so on. Even Greece who have suffered grievously still has a significant majority in favour of continued EU membership, so this isn’t about who thinks the EU is the ‘best’ terrain, though as I’ve suggested there are logical logistical reasons why it would appear to be better than isolated nation states.

Given that ECJ rulings mean that employers can import labour at, say Lithuanian rates of pay, it might be difficult to sustain the argument that solidarity ”within a given environment logistical and other aspects will be easier than outside it.”.

Really? Making common cause with all workers across the EU is more difficult than in a situation, say like the UK as is, where immigration control has shot to the top of the political agenda, where majorities 60% and more support immigration control and all this on foot of a reactionary exit? I think you’re way off beam here Nick.

“Increasingly Europeans are being tempted by a type of national withdrawal and this phenomenon is clearly linked to a weakening in support to the European Union. In a bid to restore support, more now than ever before, the European Union must act and show that it is supporting the citizens of Europe.” Not me but the Robert Schuman Foundation. And that some time ago.
http://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/european-issues/0277-the-europeans-attitudes-about-europe-a-downturn-linked-only-to-the-crisis.

Except… except that’s not the actuality when one examines actual political forces in relation to exits. Show me one state where there is a majority in favour of exit and a political context where it can come about.

Lets go with the NI question. Concretely.
789,879 people voted in the Northern statelet.
349,442 VOTES to leave, 440,707 VOTES to stay.
The total votes were 17,410,742 VOTES to leave, 16,141,241 to stay. NI made little difference.

Your last sentence seems to betray a complete lack of understanding of the point I keep making.

I’m unable to understand why, given your oft stated adherence to Irish unity, you seem to believe it is appropriate that voters in England (or England and Scotland were that the case) can impose their will on Northern Irish voters who voted against. What national democratic principles are being upheld here? Do English and Welsh voters have a right to impose their will on voters on this island? For all the talk about a ‘statelet’ you clearly believe they do.

And yet again I’m not demanding that Brexit stop because NI voters (or even Scottish voters) voted in favour of Remain – I’m saying that at the least respect should be given to the democratic vote in those particular polities and particularly in the one on this island.

If we understand West Brit to refer to that state of mind and ideology, where, as Daniel O’Connell said: “The people of Ireland are ready to become a portion of the empire” we can readily understand that, in contemporary circumstances, a willing embrace of the EU is the modern iteration of that subaltern status.

I wish you’d stop using that term in that way. It’s a very specific term with a very specific meaning which frankly, top tip, doesn’t map onto other issues in the way you seem to think. And your statement is an absurdity. There is no willing embrace of the EU. There’s a strongly critical position taken to it, but a line that bad and all as the EU self-evidently is the effects of Brexit are worse.

I do indeed argue that the relations between Britain and Ireland, and not only in relation to that part of Ireland where Britain exercises state power, are relations of imperialist domination and submission. That Brexit complicates this is a bonus.

A bonus for you perhaps. We who actually live here and see our democratic rights and sovereignty impinged by English voters with no regard for the ramifications here don’t have the luxury of such sanguine aspiration (and by the by what of the GFA vote, an all island vote effectively here, where does that fit in your democratic and self-determination calculus?). It’s as if you sort of recognise there is an imperialist aspect but you can’t quite come to terms with the implications so the relationship has (as you correctly say) elements of imperialism but suggest that the vote itself in Brexit is imperialist in its working and no way no sir, you’re out the door in regard to that analysis. It doesn’t add up Nick. It really doesn’t.

In relation to the constitutional status of Scotland you may speculate in internet discussions but the Scots have already settled this matter for the moment.

We shall see. It would strike me as an observer that it is a lot less settled than you propose.

Of course the sovereign rights of the Irish people are violated by partition. Which is why the participation of people in the northern statelet in the EU referendum and the exceptional status some people demand for the vote in that entity undermines the claim for a united Ireland and reinforces unionism?.

How does that undermine a United Ireland? That’s an abstraction – although to be honest I don’t clearly understand your point, it seems fuzzy at best. But I’ll tell you what does undermine a UI, the imposition of a hard border, the imposition of controls on this island which at this point do not exist, the imposition of political differentiation and the removal of a context (an EU one unfortunately, but that’ how is developed) that allowed for a broader engagement. You may not value these things, you may dislike them, but frankly your view is a minority of a minority.

You say “I want the UK inside the customs union and single market in order to minimise disruption to this state and this island post-Brexit.”
But this means accepting the constraints imposed by the EU treaties. You cannot get off this wicket.

So what? I’ve never suggested I have to get off a wicket. I don’t have to accept those constraints in any greater sense that I accept that I live under right wing government and it is my task and that of all leftists to push to change that.

Your suggestion that that one real problem in this discussion is the tendency on my part to seek refuge in abstraction when presented with actual impacts upon the working class is as impudent as if I had suggested that your tendency to seek refuge in idealist abstractions about the class nature of the EU were the essential problem.

Nick – you’re the one who resorted to name calling in this discussion with terms like West Brit. Frankly I’ve treated you with a considerably greater degree of respect than you have with me given ex cathedra statements, etc, etc. I wouldn’t get too precious about it if I was you.

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Nick Wright - April 1, 2017

Let us try a reset.

I think that the prospects for advance to working class state power is best served by nation states exiting the EU and this for the reasons I have detailed in earlier exchanges.

I infer from your contributions that you think that significant advance towards progressive aims can be achieved within the framework of the EU.

I argue, in some detail and with reference to the provisions of the treaties, the prerogatives of the EU Commission, the limited powers of the parliament and the overweening powers of the Council of Ministers, the judgements of the ECJ and the admitted and shared facts, that there are limits to what can be achieved even in regard to the now much reduced Social Chapter.

There seems to be little prospect of agreement here.

You seem to argue that the legitimacy of the British vote to leave the EU is lessened because, as you speculate, it may have negative effects for some Irish workers.

On the issue of individual nations attitudes to the EU I have at least the evidence that the main proponents of euro-federalism seem worried about it. Certainly, none of the experts thought the British people would vote for Brexit. The same calculus may be at work in other EU states. We will see.

I don’t understand your point in relation to people in the northern statelet. I don’t think people living there should be subject to control from Britain and I don’t think they should expect British people to determine their own course of action by reference to what people there think. In as far as people in the northern statelet remain, whether willing or not, within the UK we will just have to accept the reality. But this cannot mean a veto on the popular sovereignty of the British.

The GFA vote was two separate votes in separate jurisdictions based on an agreement between two states with international mediation. This is not analogous to the Brexit vote which was a single vote in one jurisdiction.

The participation of people in the northern statelet in the EU referendum does not undermine the legitimacy of the demand for a united Ireland. It does undermine the republican credentials of those who, in that entity, voted and who now claim that the vote should be negated because the the vote went the other way in their patch.

You cant have your abstentionist cake and eat it.

If I didn’t respect the plurality of Irish opinion I wouldn’t have toured Ireland to explain Brexit and I wouldn’t be in this exchange rather than tending my allotment. (Which my Irish wife is rather insistent upon.).

On the issue of our collective impudence you will just have to accept my apologies and understand that we communists are sometimes ruder than we should be. I wouldn’t get to precious about it if I was you.

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WorldbyStorm - April 1, 2017

Let us try a reset.

Excellent.

I think that the prospects for advance to working class state power is best served by nation states exiting the EU and this for the reasons I have detailed in earlier exchanges.

In the UK the left, even the social democratic left which isn’t much to write home about, is in dire straits. The idea state power by the left, even the social democratic left, can be achieved is unlikely in the near to near medium term (say a decade). So how does that serve the working class? How does the very fact of Brexit rupturing yet further a Labour support base already ruptured by the decamping of a significant portion of it to the SNP possibly advance matters? Should decisions be taken wit such far reaching consequences given that lack of a positive environment. What about the impacts of Brexit and the sort of identity politics it brings into operation on the left? Etcetera.

And then what? I’ve already pointed out the reality that there is no serious perspective in which there can be the numerous exits from the EU that would be necessary in order to have some sort of alternative or successor structure emerge. Absent that we’re talking about at most two or three individual states.

How does that make the situation of the left better? Let’s look at something concrete. If you’re right and the BLP is the best placed formation to capitalise on matters due to size surely in the EU is better than out of it where it can deal more directly, it can join joint EU wide campaigns, etc?

I infer from your contributions that you think that significant advance towards progressive aims can be achieved within the framework of the EU.

No, not really. Indeed I’m pessimistic in the extreme about the space for progress full stop in or out. But I believe, and the example of the impacts on this island and on Britain lead me to believe that we have an object example of same, that the negative outcomes for workers in Europe and in individual nation states is worse if the EU collapses at this point.

I argue, in some detail and with reference to the provisions of the treaties, the prerogatives of the EU Commission, the limited powers of the parliament and the overweening powers of the Council of Ministers, the judgements of the ECJ and the admitted and shared facts, that there are limits to what can be achieved even in regard to the now much reduced Social Chapter.

There seems to be little prospect of agreement here.

It’s not that I deny any of that, I think that – as noted before, the limitations say for example on state enterprise are often over-reified in these discussions and far too often the EU and treaties are portrayed as unnameable to any change whatsoever which seems odd because the right surely hasn’t had that view, but put that caveat aside. I am arguing that given the reality of the point that there are unlikely to be any other exits, that the EU isn’t in a state of collapse itself, then functioning within the EU is where most of us are. To say the loss of British working class organisations from this context is going to be a loss is undeniable. To see the supremacy of the right and a very reactionary right indeed there is appalling for most of us.

You seem to argue that the legitimacy of the British vote to leave the EU is lessened because, as you speculate, it may have negative effects for some Irish workers.

No completely not arguing that. That vote is entirely legitimate in respect of England and Wales. It is problematic in respect of Scotland but that is to be determined ultimately by the Scottish at a second independence referendum. In respect to this state and island it’s a potential catastrophe and already impacting negatively.

On the issue of individual nations attitudes to the EU I have at least the evidence that the main proponents of euro-federalism seem worried about it. Certainly, none of the experts thought the British people would vote for Brexit. The same calculus may be at work in other EU states. We will see.

Well that’s an intangible that worry – I wouldn’t build anything on that perception. And worried about what? Contagion? Ain’t going to happen. Britain due to isolation, an imperial legacy, a strong separatist element in its right and so on was the only serious candidate for exit. You’re right, few thought the vote would go through, but it wasn’t built on no sentiment, UKIP was a diffuse force unable to win general elections but able to get a brace of MEPs (ironically). Then there’s the late 00’s crash, the pivot by UKIP in relation to emphasising immigration over sovereignty, etc in the last few years. So many factors that aren’t or only in part or imperfectly replicated elsewhere.

I don’t understand your point in relation to people in the northern statelet. I don’t think people living there should be subject to control from Britain and I don’t think they should expect British people to determine their own course of action by reference to what people there think. In as far as people in the northern statelet remain, whether willing or not, within the UK we will just have to accept the reality. But this cannot mean a veto on the popular sovereignty of the British.

But if you think they should not be subject to control from Britain then why do you accept, indeed here strenuously argue, they must accept the result being imposed on them? What I find odd is that you cannot seem to see that no one is saying they should veto the sovereignty of the referendum but that it should not apply to them because they voted to remain. Or is it that if that was applied to the North that would be inconvenient in respect of Scotland?

The GFA vote was two separate votes in separate jurisdictions based on an agreement between two states with international mediation. This is not analogous to the Brexit vote which was a single vote in one jurisdiction.

A jurisdiction which you yourself say shouldn’t apply to the North! How can you then support a vote applying to the area of the North when the North voted against the the proposition in the vote? And functionally it was an all-island referendum in 1998- there’s precious few in Ireland who would take a different view.

The participation of people in the northern statelet in the EU referendum does not undermine the legitimacy of the demand for a united Ireland. It does undermine the republican credentials of those who, in that entity, voted and who now claim that the vote should be negated because the the vote went the other way in their patch.

Republicans who like you don’t believe that that jurisdiction should apply and that the vote should only be negated in the North, not across the UK as a whole! Again we keep coming up to this point.

You cant have your abstentionist cake and eat it.

But your own logic suggests that Republicans have every right to argue against and campaign against Brexit.

I don’t know. I’m at a loss.

If I didn’t respect the plurality of Irish opinion I wouldn’t have toured Ireland to explain Brexit and I wouldn’t be in this exchange rather than tending my allotment. (Which my Irish wife is rather insistent upon.).

And perhaps it is because I’m half English and born in London that I accept the legitimacy of the vote in England and Wales and as I say to a lesser degree in Scotland (though we will see).

On the issue of our collective impudence you will just have to accept my apologies and understand that we communists are sometimes ruder than we should be. I wouldn’t get to precious about it if I was you.

I won’t, don’t worry about that, de nada. Still, I think we’ve reached an impasse. I simply cannot understand the framework you’re using in all this and how it can apply consistently and I think you believe I have attitudes to the EU that I don’t.

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CL - April 1, 2017

“What’s going on with capitalism is fairly clear. It is ten years into a period of stagnation, mitigated by the life-support mechanism of central bank money. Since quantitative easing (QE) fuels the asset wealth of the rich but not the incomes of the vast majority, consent for the situation is draining away. Large numbers of people – far more than those who vote for xenophobic parties – have begun to pressure political elites in the direction of national economic solutions. That’s what the Brexit vote was”-Paul Mason
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2017/04/paul-mason-after-brexit-even-labours-radical-left-may-not-be-radical-enough

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5. Alibaba - April 1, 2017

I would have abstained in the Brexit referendum vote because I reckoned to have taken either side would always have meant supporting a section of the big capitalists. Socialists can best argue in or out the fight goes on.

As for British exit from the EU, it will probably bring chaos. But it is also possible for capitalism to continue nearly as well as before in the UK and in the EU, even after Brexit. We don’t know. But on a historical time-scale the ‘bloc’ of nation-states must take priority over individual nation-states. Only in this way can capitalism grow in the advanced countries.

With these caveats aside, I find myself in complete agreement with WbS’ exact point:

‘I think it reasonable to argue that leftists across the EU stand a better chance of working in unity together than stuck in isolated nation states, particularly given the complexion of those forces who are in the majority seeking Exits who tend to be profoundly right nationalist and reactionary.’

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - April 1, 2017

“But it is also possible for capitalism to continue nearly as well as before in the UK and in the EU, even after Brexit. ”

Spot on I think.

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Nick Wright - April 1, 2017

How then do we explain the great efforts made by the most powerful sections of our ruling class, those of the European states and the USA to keep Britain in the EU?

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oconnorlysaght - April 1, 2017

The media was for Brexit

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WorldbyStorm - April 1, 2017

Yes, and another thought – sheer inconvenience alone would mean few would want the effective hassle of it. As one comment I read somewhere noted, the huge complexity of trade and other relations between states, customs, borders, tariffs, pan EU orgs, etc etc, means we all, those of us with an interest know a damn sight more today than we did last year about these matters. For the real experts it is clear reading them that this is an incredibly complex and difficult process that has been embarked on.

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6. sonofstan - April 1, 2017
7. CL - April 1, 2017

“The UK has said it will stand up for Gibraltar’s interests after the territory accused Spain of using Brexit to forward its territorial aims…
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has insisted Britain remains “implacable and rock-like” in its support…
Theresa May had not mentioned Gibraltar once in her 2,200-word letter, starting the Brexit process….
Clare Moody, Labour MEP for Gibraltar and south west England, told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme it was the government’s job to “represent the people of Gibraltar”.”
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39465631

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8. Jim Monaghan - April 2, 2017

I am passing this along as I regard it as erudire and cogent.
“Dear friends and comrades,

Today, Theresa May’s Brexit minister David Davies introduced the “Great Repeal Bill” announced by May long time ago in the British parliament, the “House of Commons”.

This law, called by cynics also as the copy-and-paste law, is to convert the “acquis” of several decades of EU (and predecessors) rules and regulations into national British law, thus effectivly making it British law that the UKoGBaNI is a part of the EU internal market.

Remember: the creation of an internal market was and is the basic task of and driving force for the creation of a national bourgeoisie, the accomplished internal market constituing the economic mode of existence of the national bourgeoisie.

Common weights and measures was a basic requirement, same measures for length, for weight, and for volume for all products, so that the price per unit would be identical in all parts of what would then become an “internal market”.

Five centuries ago, the brighest minds of the German Peasant War of 1525 proposed a program for reform of the “Reich” (“realm”, the area ruled or rather represented by the (elected) emperors of the Holy Roman Realm (of German nation). This 12 point program proposed in article 11 to establish common measures for all kinds of goods, and in article 10 what is today called a currency union, concretely that all gold and silver mined be controlled by a central authority, that coins should be standardized by weight and with a standard alloy per denomination, that the coining prerogative should be accorded only to a number of mints, that the the realm’s eagle, on the other side with the mint’s mark, and a standardization of the names of the various coins with their subdivions of large values into smaller ones. Just like the creation of the Euro as common currency, except that the Euro has — as other modern currenices — only two levels, the Euro and the Cent. Other articles proposed political reforms. Unfortunately the latest big defeat of the peasants at Würzburg made the planned congress in May 1525 at Heilbronn impossible, and Germany sunk into the dark of history for a couple of centuries.

Today, in the age industry and of technical products of increasing complexity, common weights and measures are no longer sufficient. More detailed specifications are being needed, beginning on how to measure the power of a steam engine, and then the combustion engine, the electrical engine, electrical current, voltage etc. Rules for certifying that a given product actually conforms with the specifications etc etc. In the USA, Herbert Hoover as commerce secretaray (before becoming POTUS) was rationalizing US industry by creating nationwide standards, and in Germany, the DIN or “Deutsche IndustrieNorm” helped rationalise industry there.

What the European Union and their predecessors created as the modern form of common weights and measures is now being made into national British law, thus making sure that on the economic side of the Commn Internal Market, the British economy remains a constituent part of the European common marked (here without capital letters).

Except that the British ruling class will have no more say about those common rules and regulations which they have to follow if they want to have this deep integration with the economy on the other side of the English Channel. Great independence that is, eh?

Margaret Thatcher achieved two important victories for the capitalist ruling class: the assaulted the working class on Great Britain, and she led the UKoGBaNI into the European Union, thus triggering a process of modernizing and rationalizing British industry and commerce – there would today be much more misery on Great Britain without this, and e.g. an automobile industry in the UK would probably non-existent.

Today there is no “British automobile industry”. All car makers besides some tiny manufacturers as Morgan are foreign owned, the British content of the finished car does not exceed one third, and all manufacturing is actually only part of a Europe wide distributed production process. A single country is just too small for a self-sufficient automobile industry, unless that country’s internal market has the size of China, the USA and … the European Union.

Modifying those rules and regulations which the “Great Repeal Bill” turns into national British law would break those integrated production process, or at least throw sand into the gears of that machinery.

In a certain sense, the future will tell us that for the EU internal market the same rule applies as for the Hotel California: “You can check out any time, but you can never leave.”

While the creation of the internal market is the economic motor of creating a national bourgeoisie, and with the class struggle of this emerging bourgeoisie its opposite the proletariat, and thus the nation, this economic side is not enough for a national bourgeoisie to exist. It also needs its political mode of existence, and that is the capitalist state as the watchdog over the capitalist relations of production, and the monopoly of the national capitalist class over its national internal market. And the state is, as Frederic Engels said, in final analysis a gang of armed men with some material appendices like prisons.

But this whole process of creating a national capitalist class with its two modes of existence, the internal market and the national state, is not a sunday picknick and does not occur with a certain amount of violence. Not only violence to pauperize farmers and artisans, depriving them of the property of their own means of produciton, but also among groups of emerging capitalists aspiring to establish their rule as the national state.

In Germany, Brandenburg-Hohenzollern (“Prussia”) had to expel their south eastern competitor the Habsburgs ruling Austria-Hungary from German, and overpower the lesser competitors form southern Germany via the common war against France, and proclaim “Großdeutschland” as little Germany — in Versailles, France.

In France, the northern kingdom overpowered their southern competitors. In England, they had Cromwell, in the USA the civil war which despite all intentions resulted in the end of chattel slavery.

Why the inter-imperialist wars of the first half of the 20th century? Besides the redivision of the colonial empires, the cause was that the capitalist mode of production burst the national borders. The German national bourgeoisie as the strongest in Europe, could not escape the fate and had to try to “organize Europe”, by the force of arms.

The USA intervened 1917 in the European war to settle the question, and to avoid that a competitor for world domination could a arise in Europe, and by that token became a major power on the European scene. In the so called 2nd World War, the USA established herself as the dominant power in Europe.

And only under the US domination could the lesser European powers begin and try to overcome the far too narrow national borders and create the ever growing European Union (BTW, the US politcal strategist George F. Kennan called already in 1944 for the division of Germany and the creation of a European Union).

Now, the integration of the European economies in the European Union has reached the point where the creation of a central political power is on the agenda.

But all EU member states have their own national bourgeosie. And nobody has ever seen two established national bourgeoisies to merge. Nobody has ever seen two hermit crabs residing in the same shell.

There are only two ways to advance, either one national bourgeoisie overpowering another or all others, which I can’t imagine without a shooting war. It is not imaginably that e.g. the French bourgeoisie gives the German bourgeoise the keys to their Force de Frappe, the French nuclear arms, or the control over the two central banks managing the two Franc CFA areas for former French colonies in West and Central Africa respectively.

The first casualty is the British ruling class which is rather avoiding to fight and which is embarking on a road into the unknown, as The Guardian put it on its title page.

The other, and the only one avoiding mayhem is that the proletariat winds power out of the hands of each and every national bourgeoisie, which would not necessarily be a simultaneous process in all countries, but would certainly be closely intertwined.

While an isolated socialist revolution in Luxemburg would probably be crushed by French and German intervention, a socialist revolution in either France or Germany would induce a follow-up in Luxemburg on its foot steps. But, of course, we can’t look into the future.

The victorious proletariat would not unwind the creation of this European wide internal market, since this is part of the rationalisations of production and distribution of the products which the proletariat would have to achieve anyway.

I falls upon us to work for the creation of the proletariat’s necessary instrument, i.e. the revolutionary parties to lead the taking of power out of the hands of the capitalist dictatorship.

There is no other way.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Lüko Willms”

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WorldbyStorm - April 2, 2017

That raises some very interesting points, not least the one that rational exchanges and distributions requires large transnational agreements in the context of actual socialism.

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9. Nick Wright - April 2, 2017

Far from ‘Brexit rupturing yet further a Labour support’ it is Labour’s lack of clarity (only partly mitigated by Corbyn’s swift acceptance of the referendum result and support for Article 50) that is inhibiting Labour’s growth. With the improving composition of the Scottish Labour Party’s leadership and the SNP’s internal divisions and difficulties in adjusting to the changing mood Labour’s prospects look better in Scotland.

If the Remainers Second referendum tendency — an unholy alliance of right wing, liberal and ultra left — wins in Labour’s internal battle the party’s prospects of recovering its lost working class voters is greatly damaged.

There is nothing stopping joint campaigning with working class and progressive formations inside or outside the EU. Middle Eastern wars are a good example as are anti-Nato actions. But if the EU institutions remain impermeable to change — as I have asserted and as yet have not been challenged convincingly — then fighting forlorn battles in the EU’s politically impotent representative parliament is a wasted effort. Indeed, you seem to agree on this.

The argument for a people’s Brexit doesn’t hinge on a new bloc of secessionist states or an alternative EU, rather that the sovereignty of nation states provides a more productive environment for changing the balance of class forces. While it is true that some elements on the left think a Latin American-style alternative common currency for PIIGS might work there is no enthusiasm for a common currency in Britain (or Scotland). See http://www.manifestopress.org.uk/index.php/publications2/58-piigs-awakening

On the issue of state enterprises you are right to point out that there is no blanket ban on state enterprises existing. Indeed many of Britain’s railway franchises are in public ownership, by Dutch, German and French State rail companies! But this is because such ienterprises are forced by treaty obligation and the successive Railway Packages to function as commercial operations and thus are compelled by the tendency towards monopoly inherent in capitalist market relations to bid for work.

On the Northern Ireland question it is not that I am insisting on the vote applying to the North it is an inescapable fact of life that it does. The case for saying it shouldn’t is inescapably linked to the issue of partition. The only way for the north to opt out of the Brexit vote is to exit the UK.

Even though the NI margin of support for remaining in the EU was too small to affect the total vote I would be happier if those who want a united Ireland had kept to their abstentionist principles.

The framework in which British communists shape their analysis of the EU – and our tactics in relation to Brexit – is conditioned by our conception of contemporary imperialism and state monopoly capitalism, the interests of British capital — as the key ally of the US within the EU – and the divisions within it.

As our aim is working class political power and socialism and that our experience of the EU is that it is not even a very fruitful environment to winning and retaining basic reforms we think that our working class’s chances of defeating our class enemy are rather better out than in. Our belief in this is strengthened by the fact that the most powerful section of our ruling class, the section most closely allied to the US, most implicated in imperialism’s wars and exploitation, most tied to the military industrial complex and the security and intelligence apparatus is most keen to subvert the vote.

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WorldbyStorm - April 2, 2017

Far from ‘Brexit rupturing yet further a Labour support’ it is Labour’s lack of clarity (only partly mitigated by Corbyn’s swift acceptance of the referendum result and support for Article 50) that is inhibiting Labour’s growth. With the improving composition of the Scottish Labour Party’s leadership and the SNP’s internal divisions and difficulties in adjusting to the changing mood Labour’s prospects look better in Scotland.

So a party that is composed in the very significant majority of members who were pro-Remain and whose support base was again to a very significant majority i.e. 2/3s to 1/3 pro-Remain isn’t ruptured by Brexit? And the prospects are better in Scotland? Nick, this is just rhetoric on your part. There’s no basis for what you say when there’s an objective analysis of the material conditions, the polls etc.

If the Remainers Second referendum tendency — an unholy alliance of right wing, liberal and ultra left — wins in Labour’s internal battle the party’s prospects of recovering its lost working class voters is greatly damaged.

Except that problem of pro-Remain and pro-EU sentiment in the BLP still exists. That’s the rupture, people who feel left behind. And that working class vote itself – those who actually vote for the BLP at elections in the last decade are themselves more rather than less Remain.

There is nothing stopping joint campaigning with working class and progressive formations inside or outside the EU. Middle Eastern wars are a good example as are anti-Nato actions. But if the EU institutions remain impermeable to change — as I have asserted and as yet have not been challenged convincingly — then fighting forlorn battles in the EU’s politically impotent representative parliament is a wasted effort. Indeed, you seem to agree on this.

Saying EU institutions are impermeable to change is indeed an assertion. The history of the EU and its development actually suggests the opposite, that in the 1980s the EEC/EC had a markedly social democrat tinge, that this was then pushed back against by neoliberalism and with the obvious consequences we see today. And yet for all that there remain social aspects of EU legislation and this was precisely what the right Brexit approach pushed back against in their campaigns. I’m pessimistic but I believe that given the realities I’ve outlined previously re the sentiment in the r27 states the idea of exits is moonshine. So we work with what we’ve got.

The argument for a people’s Brexit doesn’t hinge on a new bloc of secessionist states or an alternative EU, rather that the sovereignty of nation states provides a more productive environment for changing the balance of class forces. While it is true that some elements on the left think a Latin American-style alternative common currency for PIIGS might work there is no enthusiasm for a common currency in Britain (or Scotland). See http://www.manifestopress.org.uk/index.php/publications2/58-piigs-awakening

It bloody well should hinge on a new bloc because otherwise it’s a pointless exercise. A bunch of independent states offer nothing at all. It’s a complete cul-de-sac in every respect when facing capitalism that is transnational in every respect.

On the issue of state enterprises you are right to point out that there is no blanket ban on state enterprises existing. Indeed many of Britain’s railway franchises are in public ownership, by Dutch, German and French State rail companies! But this is because such ienterprises are forced by treaty obligation and the successive Railway Packages to function as commercial operations and thus are compelled by the tendency towards monopoly inherent in capitalist market relations to bid for work.

But the point about states not being allowed to own public enterprises is one you yourself brought up as an anti-EU point earlier in the discussion. And my point is that the absolute rhetoric that x or y is impossible in relation to the EU is simply wrong and simplistic. Yet that is the argument that Lexiteers continue to present. If it’s wrong and simplistic it reflects poorly on the rest of their approach.

On the Northern Ireland question it is not that I am insisting on the vote applying to the North it is an inescapable fact of life that it does. The case for saying it shouldn’t is inescapably linked to the issue of partition. The only way for the north to opt out of the Brexit vote is to exit the UK.
Even though the NI margin of support for remaining in the EU was too small to affect the total vote I would be happier if those who want a united Ireland had kept to their abstentionist principles.

‘It is an inescapable fact of life that it does’. That’s where many of us fundamentally differ. Our belief is that the nature of the dispensation in relation to the GFA/BA is such that Britain should not have a blanket right to impose its sovereignty on this state.

What’s obvious here is that you reify British sovereignty over all else. It’s the only real sovereignty in all this in your view. And the practice of it is more important to you than the outcomes, or Irish sovereignty (or even Scottish sovereignty). You pay lip service to Irish sovereignty but woe betide us for having the temerity or ahem impudence to actually want to assert it here. And then what you do, and this is particularly telling, is to berate us for wanting to assert ours or saying that our right to assert it in whatever way we democratically see fit is wrong – because that’s essentially what you are saying. The people of this island and this state have every right to asset their wish to be in or out of the EU. They want in. The people of NI have every right to assert their wish to be in or out. They want in too. Their democratic rights and rights of self-determination should, at the very least, be recognised and upheld as fully as is possible and frankly to hear you talking about their being ‘too small to affect the total vote’ just underscores how little you seem to grasp the democratic aspects of this situation.

It’s a travesty of sovereignty and democracy – particularly in the context of the relationships between the RoI, NI and GB. It is precisely because sovereignty has been if not shared then partly diluted and the recognition that this was necessary for the dispensation on this island to succeed that the past twenty years has functioned relatively well in relation to the North. Yet here you are, dropping by to lecture us that we’ve got it all wrong, that British sovereignty is paramount, and not merely that but we are implicitly fools and West Brits for not seeing it the way you do.

The framework in which British communists shape their analysis of the EU – and our tactics in relation to Brexit – is conditioned by our conception of contemporary imperialism and state monopoly capitalism, the interests of British capital — as the key ally of the US within the EU – and the divisions within it.
As our aim is working class political power and socialism and that our experience of the EU is that it is not even a very fruitful environment to winning and retaining basic reforms we think that our working class’s chances of defeating our class enemy are rather better out than in. Our belief in this is strengthened by the fact that the most powerful section of our ruling class, the section most closely allied to the US, most implicated in imperialism’s wars and exploitation, most tied to the military industrial complex and the security and intelligence apparatus is most keen to subvert the vote.

“the most powerful section of our ruling class, the section most closely allied to the US, most implicated in imperialism’s wars and exploitation, most tied to the military industrial complex and the security and intelligence apparatus is most keen to subvert the vote.”

Brilliant. That of course would so different from the…er… Tory party that is utterly wedded to Trump and NATO! All I can say is best of luck Nick with the future, with this analysis we’re presented I’m not sure I’ve any great confidence in it going well. And if it was just your problem, well that would be one thing. But of course it isn’t. It is most definitely ours as well.

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10. Nick Wright - April 2, 2017

Every party is divided over Brexit. The point is that a growing majority, including a high proportion of Remain voters, accept the result and don’t want a second referendum.

Even right wingers in Labour have retuned to majority views and only a Blairite rump and the Lib Dems (who themselves are divided) plus an element of he Cameron tendency in the Tory Party think there is any mileage in rerunning the vote.

Sturgeon seems to have miscalculated over Brexit.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/30/scots-back-sturgeon-brexit-polls

It is true that the EU has changed. The social chapter which so entranced gullible trade unionists when Jacques Delors addressed the TUC is diminishing with every judgement of the ECJ and every stricture issued by the ECB. The EU is, however, impermeable to the kind of change which would result in state power in any of its constituents passing to the working class.

On the NI issue we will just have to remain incomprehensible to each other. I want the Irish to assert their sovereignty over the whole of Ireland, I want Britain to get out of Ireland. Not for the Irish but for us.

Asserting the incontrovertible fact that the margins in the NI vote on Brexit were too small to affect the total vote is not to deny the democratic rights of self determination of people in NI. These rights cannot be asserted given NI current constitutional status. To suggest otherwise is just hot air.

The invitation to visit Ireland was to discuss the significance of the Brexit vote. I only ventured an opinion when my Irish interlocutors misunderstood what Brexit means for people in Britain. For me the popular sovereignty — of both the Irish and British people — is paramount which is why, among other things, I want to see Britain out of Ireland.

Incidentally, the Tory Party is not utterly wedded to Trump. Those decisive sections of capital to which I earlier referred fear trhat the unpredictable effect of Trump’s foreign policy initiatives may well disrupt the strategic aims they share with the main sections of US capital. They fear Trump may weaken the Atlantic alliance and compromise the viability of the EU as an instrument for resolving inter imperialist contradictions and projecting US power — the promotion of which is part of the function US capital ascribes to Britain within the EU. This is why Obama intervened in our affairs during the campaign.

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WorldbyStorm - April 2, 2017

Every party is divided over Brexit. The point is that a growing majority, including a high proportion of Remain voters, accept the result and don’t want a second referendum.

But the problem is that not every party is the party which you here have invested your hopes in as expressed in comments earlier in this thread. Nor is it clear what if anything the BLP can do to soften Brexit to the satisfaction of 2/3rds of its voters (and the overwhelming majority of its membership). And it’s not clear how this particular rupture coming on top of the break with Scotland can be forgotten or particularly dealt with.

Even right wingers in Labour have retuned to majority views and only a Blairite rump and the Lib Dems (who themselves are divided) plus an element of he Cameron tendency in the Tory Party think there is any mileage in rerunning the vote.
Sturgeon seems to have miscalculated over Brexit.

I’m not talking about rerunning the referendum even, I imagine that the penny must be dropping that that’s a no go. It’s the reality that members and supporters are stuck in a situation and with a party leadership that seems tilted in the opposite direction entirely, that British politics is now shaped by Brexit and in ways that are inimical to the growth of that party.

I don’t see how Sturgeon has miscalculated. She’s managed to point out the contradictions in the vote being imposed on Scotland… we’ll see anyhow.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/30/scots-back-sturgeon-brexit-polls
It is true that the EU has changed. The social chapter which so entranced gullible trade unionists when Jacques Delors addressed the TUC is diminishing with every judgement of the ECJ and every stricture issued by the ECB. The EU is, however, impermeable to the kind of change which would result in state power in any of its constituents passing to the working class.

Well so are bourgeois parliaments impermeable to that sort of change too, many of us believe. But yet you me and many here will staunchly argue that we need to get people into them. I mean Marxists are usually adept at working political contexts, not walking away from them and arguing that they contain some near religious imperviousness to any change.

On the NI issue we will just have to remain incomprehensible to each other. I want the Irish to assert their sovereignty over the whole of Ireland, I want Britain to get out of Ireland. Not for the Irish but for us.

And yet you continue to argue the vote should be applied to the NI in precisely the same way as it is applied to England. I’m amazed you cannot see the contradiction.

Asserting the incontrovertible fact that the margins in the NI vote on Brexit were too small to affect the total vote is not to deny the democratic rights of self determination of people in NI. These rights cannot be asserted given NI current constitutional status. To suggest otherwise is just hot air.

Well then what is the point of asserting that fact? It is simply to underline that you expect me to accept that vote as legitimate in relation to NI. I don’t accept that. I think that at a minimum any degree of actual solidarity and fellow feeling would (assuming as we do, accept the legitimacy of the vote in Britain – albeit with caveats in respect to Scotland, particularly in allowing a second independence referendum on foot of Brexit) see you taking a position where its impact and effect would be ameliorated in ways appropriate to this island.

The invitation to visit Ireland was to discuss the significance of the Brexit vote. I only ventured an opinion when my Irish interlocutors misunderstood what Brexit means for people in Britain. For me the popular sovereignty — of both the Irish and British people — is paramount which is why, among other things, I want to see Britain out of Ireland.

And yet in this vote we don’t just have Britain in Ireland, we have more Britain in Ireland. Much much more. That’s a fact too.

Incidentally, the Tory Party is not utterly wedded to Trump. Those decisive sections of capital to which I earlier referred fear trhat the unpredictable effect of Trump’s foreign policy initiatives may well disrupt the strategic aims they share with the main sections of US capital. They fear Trump may weaken the Atlantic alliance and compromise the viability of the EU as an instrument for resolving inter imperialist contradictions and projecting US power — the promotion of which is part of the function US capital ascribes to Britain within the EU. This is why Obama intervened in our affairs during the campaign.

In all functional ways the Tories will – particularly in the context of Brexit, associate even more closely with the US (and let’s not elide administration and US too closely. It’s not that simple as we both know).

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11. CL - April 2, 2017

“A senior Tory has been criticised for saying the prime minister would defend Gibraltar in the same way as Margaret Thatcher defended the Falklands….
On Twitter, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson questioned how “senior Tories raising the prospect of war in Europe” would help the UK’s Brexit negotiations.”
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39472207

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