UK European Union referendum

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Steven.
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Jun 22 2016 20:17
UK European Union referendum

New thread for discussion of the EU referendum tomorrow. There was a previous thread here but that got derailed. So please do not resurrect the derail discussion. This thread is for continued discussion of the EU referendum and its ramifications.

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Steven.
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Jun 22 2016 20:20

So, what do people think?

My main feeling on the whole thing is depression. Depressing that basically migration has become the issue, and the racist Leave campaign is dominating the agenda. And almost as depressing the number of "anarchists" and radicals supporting one side of the capitalist class over another. Usually accompanied with the same sort of denunciations which they themselves decry in others when it comes to bourgeois elections (namely that you should choose the least worst option, and that refusing to do so is not "pragmatic")

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Jun 22 2016 20:35

In a fit of madness I decided yesterday that for only the second time in my life I would cast my vote in a British election. Thankfully, a young proletarian woman showed me the folly of my intentions. Thank fuck for that: without our principles we are nothing.

Scallywag
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Jun 22 2016 20:42

I've avoided it like the plague, thank fuck uni finished up before the referendum and I don't have to be around annoying liberals arguing over it 24/7 grin

I think most people don't know what to make of it, feel really disgusted and alienated by the whole thing.

The leave side is horrific, but the remain side seems to be really middle class to me, naive and out of touch from the material concerns of working people whom they are really patronising towards.

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Jun 22 2016 20:37

I agree that the whole thing has been depressing. On a personal level the right to live in the country I live in is based on the UK being an eu country. I am thus worried about the consequences of a leave vote.

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Jun 22 2016 20:45

I almost cracked and asked for a postal ballot when they extended the deadline by a day. I'm in the same boat as D so I'm going to have to think about citizenship.

I think the whole campaign has been relentlessly negative, it encourages disengagement from the political process, they're offering us nothing, just trying to scare us into doing what they want.

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Jun 22 2016 20:55
Quote:
The leave side is horrific, but the remain side seems to be really middle class to me, naive and out of touch from the material concerns of working people whom they are really patronising towards.

You are describing the footsoldiers in this election. Who are the generals and what interests are they serving? My instinct is that the Brexit party is essentially the petit bourgeoisie and the Bremain party represent the grande bourgeoisie. As in all elections, the working class is not represented at all.

radicalgraffiti
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Jun 22 2016 21:04

leaving the EU's has been a project for the far right and the most right wing section of the tories for decades, a leave vote or a close remain will empower them. I don't think over welling remain vote is likely, so i expect boarder controls to get harsher and an increase in racist violence

2 W
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Jun 22 2016 21:22

I think the key thing for us is how do we respond, it's also difficult to know which way it will go cos I think the media thrives on a closely fought contest so the reality and facts that could help us prepare are at the moment being kept from us.

Either way the far right will get momentum from this confidence if there's a Brexit and a rallying call if people vote Bremain. It seems to have become a battle ground between the far right and those left and centre of capital. Right now it's not our fight but the winner will probably be the one that comes after us, or more than likely both of them.

I'd be interested to get people's thoughts on how we respond to Brexit or Bremain. Personally as I've been exiled in North America sad I've been quite inspired by indigenous resistance to colonialism. We're fighting over borders that were created out of elite European plunder....the legacy still continues today...this phoney debate is the remnants of that. This article touches on it a bit.

Don't agree with all of it and the Lexit - sounds a bit nationalist still in my mind

http://criticallegalthinking.com/2016/06/19/brexit-nostalgia-empire/

But feel like if we can counter attack the kicking we'll get tomorrow with dialogue, discussion and action around decolonising Europe and link that in with other countries whose proles are feeling the same we might be able to counter this race to the bottom. Whoever has the power to ask the questions can create the answers. The elite have created a squabble for we the rabble....if there's one thing it's taught me is not to hide our politics now....the mainstream left, centrists, right wingers and the fash have had a good olde ding dong, the answers they've come up with have been as shit as the questions they were given....our turn now. Real talk ....peoples.

Migrant solidarity.
The guts to reject England and Europe.
Visions of a post colonial Europe.
Tackling class snobbery within the white community.

and a big

F.ck....the lot of ya party.

This has been a negative campaign I think if we can counter attack with hopeful solutions that shift the conversation from the lesser of two evils to fuck these two evils....we'll be good. That's no easy task though.

Watching the two political sides Brexit and Bremain has been I agree throughly depressing, after tomorrow I think they'll both be coming for the rest of us. Which might not be a bad thing, get the feeling we're a bit out-resourced and numbered though....nowt new there though.

We rise.

2 W
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Jun 22 2016 21:24

I think a resounding bremain vote will empower them too, this whole conversation has been a rallying call for bigotry and liberal capitalism.

We need a rallying call for something better....where's Geldoff and Bone when you need them wink

2 W
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Jun 22 2016 21:24

Bono sorry my bad.

Sharkfinn
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Jun 22 2016 21:28

Brexit would potentially be a life changing event for EU migrants living in the UK, endangering the current status of loads of people there. It would also be a watershed moment for nationalist parties gaining ground (or for the most part already in power) in other EU countries. As a political backlash the right to free movement within EU would probably be renegotiated and internal border checks within EU brought back within couple of years. How are these not material conditions of working people?

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Jun 22 2016 21:29

I voted remain (postal, I'm away). I don't think it's necessarily a queston of principle with yes/no referenda (depending on the stakes), so a consequentialist approach is fine. I mean I think either way things are getting worse, but as it's a de facto vote on open xenophobia that swayed me. Ofc Frontex are gonna keep killing migrants either way, so voting pales in comparison to practical solidarity [insert direct action boilerplate].

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Jun 22 2016 21:35

This is how I voted:

On a side note, I hope to see some of you at Friday's migrant solidarity demo (and thanks for sharing it on the libcom FB page btw).

Look-out for a 22 year-old with a red scarf (or not, depending on the weather).

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Jun 22 2016 21:53
Joseph Kay wrote:
but as it's a de facto vote on open xenophobia that swayed me.

I kind of agree with you here and I've been back and forth on the issue, but you could also make a similar case for voting against Zac Goldsmith in the London Mayoral election (I didn't see much of the campaign but when the Tories are claiming their own candidate is too negative and racist then I take it as read that he is)

To be honest I feel a bit ashamed of not voting and also annoyed about feeling that.

Sharkfinn
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Jun 22 2016 21:59

Sorry Jef, but if you feel ashamed about it why aren't you voting then? Sorry if I'm being forward with this but I'm just trying to understand what people think is the rationale for this heroic communist inactivity of not voting in this case?

2 W
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Jun 22 2016 22:04

....but now that the squabble in the Cons club has spilled out onto the streets, before there was covert racism, now that there is overt racism, there is also the opportunity to confront it. How do we support those who wish to remain and have now been illegalised? Can we ramp up our pressure to open the borders? Could this be a rallying call away from electoral and voting responses? Can we have a people's referendum on Europe and England and can we start to leave both in solidarity with other nations. Can we hijack their shit like they hijacked ours?

The great exodus from capitalism....sorry trying to be positive sad

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Jun 22 2016 22:13
radicalgraffiti wrote:
leaving the EU's has been a project for the far right and the most right wing section of the tories for decades, a leave vote or a close remain will empower them.

Leaving the EU has also been a project of the far left and the left-wing section of the Labour party for decades. That doesn't really mean much.

Sharkfinn wrote:
Brexit would potentially be a life changing event for EU migrants living in the UK, endangering the current status of loads of people there. It would also be a watershed moment for nationalist parties gaining ground (or for the most part already in power) in other EU countries. As a political backlash the right to free movement within EU would probably be renegotiated and internal border checks within EU brought back within couple of years. How are these not material conditions of working people?

On this, a couple of points. In terms of free movement, that is pure conjecture. And on this and in terms of nationalist parties, you could use this as a justification for voting for left-wing social democratic parties, or doing some sort of "anti-fascist" tactical voting in general elections. However we argue against this as being a false choice. The same is the case here.

I am really worried about EU migrants in the UK (including loads of my friends/family), and UK citizens living abroad (again including loads of my friends and family). However despite this doesn't justify me voting for a murderous, anti-immigrant, bureaucratic capitalist entity, the EU.

I'm also worried about EU-imposed austerity, neoliberalism and things like TTIP, which are clearly "material conditions of working people". However that doesn't mean I support voting to leave the EU: I support using direct action and solidarity to ameliorate things in all of these areas.

Scallywag
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Jun 22 2016 22:18
Sharkfinn wrote:
Heroic communist inactivity of not voting

I don't think any anarchist has ever claimed that.

For me not voting in this case has nothing to do with 'sticking by my principles', it's because there not offering us anything, the whole thing has been so negative and alienating that like a lot of people I don't see the point in voting in it. I've seen leftists argue in favour of leaving and leftists argue in favour of staying, but I don't think either of them really knows what to make of it. None of them really know how things will play out whether we leave or stay and they have too many ifs and buts about it.

radicalgraffiti
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Jun 22 2016 22:19
Steven. wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
leaving the EU's has been a project for the far right and the most right wing section of the tories for decades, a leave vote or a close remain will empower them.

Leaving the EU has also been a project of the far left and the left-wing section of the Labour party for decades. That doesn't really mean much.

not in the same way, this referendum is the result of decades of propaganda against immigrates and the EU, it doesn't in anyway come from leftist antagonism to the EU, in fact i've literally never seen or heard a leftist advocate leaving the EU before this referendum

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Jun 22 2016 22:23
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Steven. wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
leaving the EU's has been a project for the far right and the most right wing section of the tories for decades, a leave vote or a close remain will empower them.

Leaving the EU has also been a project of the far left and the left-wing section of the Labour party for decades. That doesn't really mean much.

not in the same way, this referendum is the result of decades of propaganda against immigrates and the EU, it doesn't in anyway come from leftist antagonism to the EU, in fact i've literally never seen or heard a leftist advocate leaving the EU before this referendum

I don't disagree in terms of saying that this referendum has not happened because of the left, it has happened because of the Tory right. However the left has historically been a bigger opponent of European integration than the right. The Labour Party (especially the left-wing of it: see Tony Benn etc) were officially in favour of leaving up until 1983, when they changed policies under Kinnock.

That you haven't seen it doesn't mean it wasn't there

Sharkfinn
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Jun 22 2016 22:34
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In terms of free movement, that is pure conjecture.

Can you elaborate what you mean by this.

Scallywag
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Jun 22 2016 22:39

Is there even a left case for leaving which isn't tarred by anti-immigration? All I've seen from left exiters is anti-immigration and socially conservative politics painted 'left' and 'working class'.

radicalgraffiti
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Jun 22 2016 22:40
Scallywag wrote:
Is there even a left case for leaving which isn't tarred by anti-immigration? All I've seen from left exiters is anti-immigration and socially conservative politics painted 'left' and 'working class'.

Apparently the EU is capitalist

S. Artesian
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Jun 22 2016 22:58

couple of things to keep in mind. Even MSF (Doctors Without Borders) "opted out" of the EU, returning the millions (e63million if I recall correctly) awarded by the EU. MSF stated it would not accept funding from a source which had imposed such a inhumane policy upon refugees. So those who think voting to "remain" is a vote for "solidarity" or a vote against xenophobia, should think again because remaining in the EU is remaining in a union that quite clearly is shredding all its high-sounding principles and enshrining xenophobia.

Secondly, if there was an actual social revolution in Britain, with a government of workers' councils, would you still want Britain to remain in the EU? Of course not. Would xenophobia wither and die overnight? Also of course not. So.... a) you have to separate the anti-confederacy European capitalist aspect from the xenophobia, by opposing the xenophobia, by linking exit to open borders for all workers and b) you can't do that by ceding that by "remaining" or remaining silent; by not opposing the EU in all its manifestations.

If you wouldn't want Britain to remain in the EU after a revolution how can you advocate for remaining in it prior to a revolution?

Those who vote to remain are voting for a confederacy of capitalists; it's just that simple. You can certainly oppose that and oppose the xenophobia at the same time. The approach should be, EU OUT, Migrants WELCOME

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Jun 22 2016 23:04
S. Artesian wrote:
Those who vote to remain are voting for a confederacy of capitalists; it's just that simple. You can certainly oppose that and oppose the xenophobia at the same time. The approach should be, EU OUT, Migrants WELCOME

I know we had extended discussion on the other thread about this. But I think perhaps in the US it's not coming across how much this referendum is just being seen as a vote on immigration. Basically the entire public face of the Leave campaign is outright racism and hatred. So pretty much everyone I know (from apolitical friends to anarchists) is voting Remain to support migrants.

Anyway on this note, got a good contender for cunt of the day, with "red" Len McCluskey (who is prominent in the Remain campaign weirdly enough), slagging off EU migrant workers: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/20/len-mccluskey-unite-eu-r...

radicalgraffiti
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Jun 22 2016 23:09
S. Artesian wrote:
If you wouldn't want Britain to remain in the EU after a revolution how can you advocate for remaining in it prior to a revolution?

after a revolution we want wage labour to be abolished but right now, we want workers to get paid more, aren't we fucking hypocrites

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Jun 22 2016 23:19
Steven. wrote:
S. Artesian wrote:
Those who vote to remain are voting for a confederacy of capitalists; it's just that simple. You can certainly oppose that and oppose the xenophobia at the same time. The approach should be, EU OUT, Migrants WELCOME

I know we had extended discussion on the other thread about this. But I think perhaps in the US it's not coming across how much this referendum is just being seen as a vote on immigration. Basically the entire public face of the Leave campaign is outright racism and hatred. So pretty much everyone I know (from apolitical friends to anarchists) is voting Remain to support migrants.

Anyway on this note, got a good contender for cunt of the day, with "red" Len McCluskey (who is prominent in the Remain campaign weirdly enough), slagging off EU migrant workers: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/20/len-mccluskey-unite-eu-r...

No, that has come across. But it's a myth to think that voting to remain is going to do a single thing to quell the outright racism and hatred. To argue that way is to just put another spin on the dead bottle of US politics-- "vote the less evil."

Suppose for example there was some movement in the US to dismantle the NAFTA accords; accords which have been pretty effective in accelerating the dispossession of Mexico's smaller rural producers and (along with the "war on drugs," and maquilladoras and other 'benefits' of modern capitalism) have just about brought Mexico to collapse.

Wouldn't Marxists be opposing NAFTA but welcoming migrants? Wouldn't we link our opposition to NAFTA to protection of migrant workers and abolition of the distinction between "legal" and "illegal" migrants? Demanding an end to deportations? An end to workplace raids? I think so. It's not an easy thing to do, given the racism that will accompany "End NAFTA," but there's no alternative to confronting that racism.

And there's no alternative to confronting the hypocrisy of the pro-EU or remain group; the "soft" racism that propels the EU's concern that Greece hasn't been aggressive enough in deporting refugees to Turkey. I mean if MSF can take a principled stand an "opt out," why can't the "left"?

potrokin
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Jun 22 2016 23:20

I was all for abstaining until yesterday when I thought about it long and hard. Basically, not only am I voting against the racism and xenophobia of UKIP, Boris Johnson, Gove and the tabloid press, but also because austerity will be alot worse if Brexit happens. I've heard some anarchists say they will vote leave to create a more 'revolutionary' atmosphere but these are people's lives we are talking about and I'm not sure we should be looking at people as pawns in a chess game. We don't have a significant worker's movement anymore. Working class people, and people in general, will be worse off if Brexit happens, in so many ways. I will be voting remain, I don't like the EU, but being left alone with the British state will be worse, I don't expect my life to be easier or to improve, but atleast it has less chance of getting worse.

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fingers malone
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Jun 22 2016 23:29

I've been in some ferocious arguments for several days with left wing people taking an anti migrant position. One of them is the secretary of my local trades council and someone I've known for twenty years. Him and loads of other people are saying that arguing for freedom of movement is assisting bosses in driving down wages and conditions, and a whole load of other really horrible stuff. There is a really worrying separation being made of 'working class' and 'immigrants' as if immigrants are not part of the working class. The whole thing is terrible.

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Jun 22 2016 23:30
radicalgraffiti wrote:
S. Artesian wrote:
If you wouldn't want Britain to remain in the EU after a revolution how can you advocate for remaining in it prior to a revolution?

after a revolution we want wage labour to be abolished but right now, we want workers to get paid more, aren't we fucking hypocrites

No, you're not a hypocrite. Just indistinguishable from a union bureaucrat, a Labor back-bencher, a Corbyn-ite, a Fabian, a social-democrat--- etc etc ad infinitum.

Oh wait, you're going to tell how you distinguish yourself from them because you don't limit your actions to simply the struggle for higher wages?

Very impressive. But somehow you can't find a way to distinguish yourself from Farage if you dare suggest workers should oppose the confederation of European capitalists? That's a pity. A failure of imagination, vision, or nerve, but not a reason to endorse abstentionism.