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.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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7 responses to “Anti-EU leftists have abandoned internationalism….”

  1. Paul Perrin says :

    Your grouping together of UKIP the ‘conservative right’ and ‘BNP’ shows how weak your argument is.

    You are trying to throw up a bogus bogey man to scare eu-scptics into silence for fear of being tainted by the BNP and racism, but UKIP have no truck with racism or racists – BNP is a proscribed organisation in UKIP – no one who has *ever* been a member of BNP can join UKIP – simple as.

    Recently in Kent UKIP picked up 20% of LibDem ‘defectors’ votes. Nationally the figure for LibDem to UKIP movement has been put at around 7%.

    A governments duty is to put its own citizens interests first – race, creed, colour etc is irrelevance to that. UKIP is a libertarian party and welcomes EU-Sceptics from all three established parties.

    It was interesting that on Question Time last night, while the LibDem, Labour and Conservatives all spoke up in support of the increased tuition fees, it was UKIP’s Nigel Farage who, alone, condemned them. UKIP is the peoples party.

    And it is only by having national governments that people can really have any influence over what their government does – and even then it is tenuous, vis the three line whip against the recent ‘listen to the people petition’.

    Any support for the EU is a hostage to fortune – fine until a dictator steps into the driving seat and takes the controls. If you are worried about the UK getting an extremest government, how much more worried should you be that a powerful EU gets one?

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  2. john reid says :

    working people’ that Owen is so concerned about to be exploited by British capitalism vis a vie pan-European capitalism?- and the money that is made in Briain goes back to the British people (state tos pend on us).

    the Stalinist/Social Democratic abandonment -.thats the first time I’ve ever heard those 2 combined.

    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 … left’s embrace of statist socialism which is best built within the narrow borders of one country. (the EEC was et up as An ecenomic trade, we joined in the day’s when we had Industry,)

    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 ..APart form stalin not being A communist (it was state run capitalism.. the Idea that saying stalin was A little USSr perswon, so we should be more international, Well I seem to recall he sanctioned lot more ivasions of other countries.

    So basically your saying the EU that was sewt up for trade has as developed into an politcal legisaltor of red tape, Should allow the destruction of what Industry we’ve got left, as in turn we get redtape on helath and safety and we can get stuff thorugh that Europe wants that even teh left don’t want as we’ve got a few rightss at teh expense of it costing the working man a fortune,( but any one who disagrees, Is a stalinisnt, Like Peter shore, david Owen ,bryan Gould (the orignall person to take on trotskyites in te Laobur party and Kate hoey

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  3. Andrew Ryan says :

    Or could it be that we have an element more democratic control over the capitalist class with our country than we do within the constitutionally remote European Union? Just a thought.

    Stop mud-slinging and name-calling, it does nobody any favours.

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  4. Rhiannon Lockley says :

    Not really sure what effects leaving Europe would have politically in terms of UKIP or a general move right, but I do agree with you in the broad sense that any move to further protect national interests will never ultimately benefit socialism, Europe aside, sweated outsourced labour is the biggest threat to the labour movement, and not just because it undermines local labour. Workers rights have to be for all for workers unity ever to work.

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  5. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Rhiannon,

    Thank you – Cant really add anything there because I totally agree….

    Andrew,

    Do we? Really? How? I really dont see how that works…for the European Commission, for example, read Whitehall, for the Council of Ministers read the Cabinet…there is absolutely no qualative difference and to pretend there is is just smoke and mirrors….

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  6. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Paul,

    UKIP is the peoples party lmao! No errr it isnt, its the party that poses as for being for the people just to get votes.

    Its certainly not the Party of the people who want to protest against auesterity for example, Farage would probably have the Occupy LSX people hanged and flogged for offending his sense of decency….

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  7. LabourPartisan says :

    This is an interesting post, but, as well as, perhaps, over egging Owen Jones’s genocidal tendencies, I think there’s a problem with its Marxism in the second paragraph. Surely the Marxist point would be that capitalism was progressive once but it’s not now.

    The progressive achievements of capitalism are threefold: 1. Development of the productive forces to a point where scarcity ceases to be necessary. Now scarcity is a consequence of social organisation not our ability to produce sufficiently. 2. The development of industry brings together the proletariat in greater masses and in unifying it in this way creates the working class as a class, and, therefore, as a political subject. 3. Capitalism’s tendency towards crisis, the impossibility of the resolution of certain economic problems within capitalism creates political openings for the working class. The second of these progressive achievements is no longer true, the progress of capitalism is tending to break up the working class as an organised class and as a political subject. Further, as 1. has now been achieved (and the environmentally destructive progress of capitalism risks undermining its achievement here), the description of capitalism here as objectively progressive fails.

    This is relevant to the EU because I think your argument relies on the (sorry) vulgar progressive Marxist argument that politics is not necessary to socialism and we can merely rely on the dynamic of capitalism (its third progressive dimension) for its accomplishment. What Jones’s piece doesn’t acknowledge, however, is the intertwining, particularly in Greece at the moment (but its long been apparent in French anti-EU politics too) of far-right and leftist protest. This demands a politics against austerity which is unusable for Fascism. Presumably, (and here, if anything, in where you locate politics, your piece is too statist), this has to be based on an internationalism on the level of people, not on the level of supra-national, state type institutions like the EU. The question then is not really about being pro or anti-EU, it’s about creating an anti-austerity politics absolutely opposed to Fascism and which accomplishes the international organisation of the working class against the progress of capitalism.

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