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I guess Ireland is just collateral damage… June 26, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…in the imagination of some who want a Lexit. As exemplified by this contribution from former Syriza MP Costas Lapavitsas. As with Larry Elliott and others on the Lexit side in the UK it is telling, and in a way remarkable, how the issue of Ireland is simply not addressed by them. It’s not even at the races. Indeed one could suggest that vile as the Tories are at least there’s a sort of rudimentary acknowledgement, albeit evasion and deflection, that this island has some sort of part to play.

Thing thing with Lapavitsas is that he should know better – he has been a long-standing and useful commentator on financialisation amongst other matters. But he too deflects, as when he writes;

The radical change promised by Corbyn is impossible to achieve within the regulatory structures of the EU. These structures are designed to serve the interests of big banks and large corporations. Brussels would not tolerate socialist policies in the UK (or anywhere else). It would use its extensive powers to undermine them, in cahoots with domestic British interests, thus also impeding the democratic renewal of Britain.

This is quite simply incorrect. Either he is unaware of the stated programme of the BLP or he is being disingenuous. The programme that the BLP stood on at the most recent election was indeed radical, timely and entirely possible within current EU rules. And while radical that programme is a fair bit more centrist oriented than Syriza’s original one.

And then there’s this which on the face of it seems credible…

As for “remaining and reforming” the EU, this is a wild goose chase. EU institutions are designed to be impervious to expressions of popular democratic will. Any treaty reform would require unanimity among member states, while any reform via secondary legislation would need the consent of the commission, the majority of governments and the majority of MEPs, before jumping the hurdle of the European court of justice. There is just no chance.

But that’s to suggest that those who seek remain and reform (and actually I don’t want the UK to remain within the EU, but rather I want a mitigation of the worst impacts of Brexit by a soft Brexit), see that as the only arms of their approach. A tranche of us want the space, the common space, opened up by lack of internal borders etc within the EU to be used by the left and progressives by constructing parallel approaches and campaigns which will in part bypass or in the longer term supersede certain aspects of the EU. That is impossible in an atomised Europe where national borders are reimposed – but more to the point it doesn’t fall in to the trap of believing in ‘reform’ as either an end or possibility in and of itself. Some reform is possible, but genuine reform will need a longer deeper struggle.

Finally he appears utterly unaware of the realities of the demographic and other support for the BLP.

Britain certainly needs a fresh start, and its people demand it. The radical transformation promised by Corbyn – especially to the young – is possible only if Labour does not become attached to remain.

He really should look at the membership of the BLP, look at the sentiment within it, and so forth. Subtract that out, as his argument seems to suggest and then there’s a much reduced BLP and that has obvious implications for the feasibility of the BLP taking power.

But again, all those are in a sense tediously familiar Lexit tropes whose reiteration has not given them any power. It is the lack of engagement with the proximate issue of Brexit and Ireland that demonstrates just how adrift of the actual realities and power dynamics in play that his analysis is.


1. tafkaGW - June 26, 2019

Lexiteers: they may have lost the argument by now, but they may win through facilitating a Tory Brexit.

I’m might weary of it but just this:

EU institutions are designed to be impervious to expressions of popular democratic will.

Nation states were also designed to be ‘impervious to the popular democratic will’. And they were, until the collective action of the growing capitalist class and then an organised working class and organised feminism forced (a certain degree of) democratisation on those jurisdictions.

Just look at the history of the Prussian electorate/kingdom and the loose German federation followed by a united German state, for an example of how this has happened in the past in a shifting political geography.


2. FergusD - June 26, 2019

Corbyn’s programme isn’t that radical, unless you regard Harold Wilson as a dangerous leftie.

‘Socialism in one country’ is alive and well it seems amongst lexiteers, even among some who claim to be Trotskyists, even after the collapse of the USSR and western CPs.

These lexiteers are not Marxist, even if they claim to be, if they think capitalist nation states won’t resist any attempt at ‘socialist’ measures, just as much, if not more so than the EU.

If a Corbyn led government is elected and if it does try and implement a ‘radical’ programme (both big ifs), and if the EU tries to stop it (still an if, given it isn’t that radical) you fight it on a pan-EU scale reaching out to the working class of Europe. Workers of the EU unite!

To those lexiteers who claim to be in the Trotskyist tradition I would say, could you imagine Trotsky as a brexiteer? Coat tailing nationalism. I can’t.


WorldbyStorm - June 26, 2019

Very much agree, and also about Corbyn’s programme. It really is just about what we’d expect with Harold Wilson. No harm there, better than what came after, but not as you say very radical.


tafkaGW - June 27, 2019

I’m less interested in ‘Corbyn’s’ programme, than that of John McDonnell’s setting off in the direction of a green and democratic economy.

As Paul Mason notes here, this is only an opening shot in the necessary democratisation and public ownership of large parts of the economy needed to tackle catastrophic global heating and bio-system destruction.

We need to re-invent democratic economic planning – ‘the market’ will never get where we need to be in 20 years time, even if it could be coerced to try.

Which is why it will be a significant loss if Lexiteer dogma has lost so much trust among the potential Corbynite coalition that McDonnell never gets a chance to try to implement his proposed programme. Let’s hope that coalition can be rebuilt, when push comes to shove.


WorldbyStorm - June 27, 2019

McDonnell is very impressive!


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