Anti-EU leftists have abandoned internationalism….
Owen Jones has a quite risible post on LabourList. His call for the ‘left to find it’s [oppositional] voice on Europe’ immediately reminded me of the people who say ‘I’m not racist but…..’. Owen insists it is not nationalist for leftists to call for withdrawal from the EU. However, if he really thinks this is true, then he is deeply self-deluded. Let’s put it another way. How, is it better for the ‘working people’ that Owen is so concerned about to be exploited by British capitalism vis a vie pan-European capitalism? The answer, of course, is that it isn’t but it’s clearly implied in his arguments that it is – why else call for withdrawal?
In reality, Owen’s arguments reflect the Stalinist/Social Democratic abandonment of the internationalist principle. They reflect the abandonment of the understanding that in globalising the world, capitalism is in fact performing a progressive act which lays the foundations for a system of world governance – ie, socialism. Sure, it does it in a reactionary, undemocratic and exploitative way but it is still an objectively progressive process.
In his piece, Owen reflects the mainstream left’s embrace of statist socialism which is best built within the narrow borders of one country. Stalin argued that it was possible to build socialism and indeed communism within the confines of the USSR – he was, of course, utterly wrong and we all know where the logic of his arguments led – to the mass genocide of working people. Realistically, this is where Owen will lead us on this issue, he will lead us not to a socialist nirvana but a Britain run by an extremely nationalist government (maybe an amalgam of UKIP and the Conservative right with elements of the British National Party involved) or run by a leftist Party that would be forced into harsh repression on every citizen in this country – especially as an economic cataclysm would doubtless follow hot on the heels of it marching Britain out of the EU.
Sadly, Owen speaks for the majority of the left but all this tells is not how correct this course it is, but how the left as a mass remains so tainted by Stalinism and statist social democracy and how far it is from the democratic internationalism of the first socialist thinkers.