The left needs a open debate on Europe…
Europe is back on the political map. It is going through a process of fundamental change enforced upon it by the global economic crash. It is having integration forced upon it and the contradictions of capitalist globalisation – uneven, undemocratic and ultimately unsustainable are being played out right on our doorstep. Of course, with regard to our domestic politics this is having a big impact, especially on the government which has troubling internal contradictions of its own to deal with.
Now is the time for the left to a no-holds barred discussion on Europe and not just what our attitude is but to theorise its position in the world and in where we want to take that world. At the moment the majority of the socialist left is eurosceptic while the liberal-left is distinctly europhile. Empty slogans about a ‘bosses Europe’ tell us nothing we don’t already and, in any case, is not already true of Britain. Both Europe and Britain are capitalist entities and the socialist left doesn’t like capitalism.
However, this is to radically over-simplify things. We have made no effort to think about the European Union and what is happening to it in the grand scheme of capitalist development. We are also mistaken in the belief that capitalism ceased to be progressive in about 1900. This is not true. It’s still possible for objectively progressive developments, like the erosion of the nation-state, to take place under capitalism. However, they take place in such a way that makes it impossible for them to realise their full potential and are held back by capitalism itself. Despite globalisation, it is a fetter on the development of greater global governance.
We take the logic of things and drive them forward. Not back. Shattering the European Union would be a step-back for the people of Europe. integrating Europe through the achievement of more political and economic democracy would be a step forward and actually in and of itself complete, logically, the process of integration. The left needs to have an open debate on Europe now because without it, it will be a staggering irrelevance in the significant debates to come.