The Labour Party’s basic denial of the opportunity for the British people to vote in a referendum on the European Union is the most serious extension of the authoritarian, undemocratic direction of neoliberalism. No political party has a right to deny the fundamental democratic right of the British people to determine who governs their country. At the moment it is the EU and the City of London, with the US in charge of foreign policy.
The people cannot be trusted it seems. To say as Ed Milliband did that there would not be a referendum unless sovereignty is ceded denies the reality of the fundamental loss of sovereignty that has already occurred following the cluster of Treaties from Rome to Nice and Lisbon. These have in effect turned a British elected Parliament into a very poor second fiddle player to the diktats of unelected bankers and Commissioners in the EU.
The EU is driven by the needs mainly of Germany and generally in the interests of finance capital. This a form of capital that has no national root, no national interest and no concern for the people. This is why 30 million people are unemployed in the EU and why whole economies like Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal and others have been pulverised against the wishes of the people. German imperialism’s post war drive for power and domination of eastern Europe gave us the destruction of Yugoslavia and now the fascist putsch in the Ukraine. It gave us too the appalling spectacle of financiers running Greece into the ground for the benefit of gangsters.
Capitalists once demanded the creation of nation states. They now use the remains of the national state to destroy national sovereignty. Some in the past extracted so much surplus value from their workers at home that they could become international imperialist powers. They clashed and killed millions. They lost powers as national liberation struggles and revolutions swept the world to put an end to war and public sector led, social democratic organisations and economies grew in countries like Britain.
Capitalists reorganised in desperation and built the neoliberal global economy based on transnational structures like the EU. Such structures merely oiled the import and export of capital, goods, labour and services, the perfect environment for finance capital which is foot loose and fancy free and disinterested in long term manufacturing based economies – it prefers gambling and fast food.
No one had a chance to vote for membership of this modern bloc of capitalists. Some trade unions even thought it might offer a few more crumbs when domestic governments seemed so nasty. The illusion of a social Europe blessing workers and supporting their unions has well and truly crumbled. We are left with rubble. We need at least a chance to vote to get out of the mess and rebuild.
Self determination in Britain is what is urgently needed. This would enable us to fight for a world at peace and with genuine international co operation as in the ALBA structures in Latin America. And this year we must focus on keeping Britain together and opposing the option of fake ‘independence’ for Scotland.
Keep Britain together, rebuild workplace union organisation, get out of the EU, bring all banks and finance houses into public ownership, build new structures of political and economic governance – these are the key demands of our times. The wealth of the country in the hands of the people governing themselves through a new democratic national assembly.