The Devil and the Dark Blue Sea: The EU Referendum and Classism

From the point of view that the EU has aspirations to be an imperialist empire albeit under the guise of A democratic neoliberal capitalist monetary ideology, those choosing to side with devil can be differentiated as those on the right (Tories) whose political and economic interests align with those presently governing the EU empire to form what can be considered inhumane imperialism with those on the left (Social Democrats) who to varying degrees wish for reform so that the EU empire becomes more of a humane imperial project.

Those that wish to abandon the EU empire and explore the deep blue sea can similarly be differentiated as those on the right who wish for a more nationalist outcome for the UK (far right) and the more moderate but libertarian right that aspires for the UK to have a more global perspective for the UK. Within the libertarian right perspective, this may or may not include the strengthening of global institutions to achieve more liberal/constructivists global relations as opposed to purely realist relations as is the aspiration of the current EU empire. On the left there is the democratic socialists and themore radical leaning libertarian left that envisages a more bottom up self governance decentralised political system for both the UK and Europe as a whole.  This too can form the basis of strengthening a ‘networked’ global system that benefits all and not just the capitalist few - a project that is considered impossible within the existing structure of the EU empire whose imperialist agenda involves both the uneven development of Europe as a whole and so the over-concentration of both human and ecological resources within the overdeveloped EU states.  Lastly, there is those who do not align with any ideological underpinnings but feel that the EU empire has negatively impacted on their lives or the lives of close others.

In view of the diverse reasons for wishing to leave the EU, it has been argued by those wishing to remain in the EU empire that these diverse reasons for Brexit do not result in a coherent and coordinated strategy of how to reshape relations with the EU empire. However any reasonable person would see that the diverse reasons for leaving will also result in different exit strategies. How they will become apparent if Brexit actually happens is hopefully going to be a well-informed democratic process. However it also needs to be pointed out that a similar argument pertains to those wishing to remain, since they to fail to acknowledge that they too represent diverse reasons for wishing to remain which in the main all seem to agree for the need of reform. As such neither do those who want to remain have a coherent and coordinated strategy of how they wish to reform the EU empire nor do they have a coherent and coordinated vision of how the EU will look in 10, 15 or 20 years time considering the EU agenda of ever-closer union.

Now that the background of the debate has been covered, the question that remains is whether it is possible for classism and the class-based discrimination that arises from it can be eradicated in relation to the EU empire.  By design imperialism is the attempt to subjugate populations in order to rule over a greater scale of territories. As such this requires a ruling or governing class. In the present context, the EU empire's imperialistic aspirations are achieved through the logic of capitalism by maximising controlling interests and appropriating surplus labour, both of which require a bourgeoisie class over and above the proletariat class. Therefore, the institutions and the structures of the EU empire entirely depends on a class-based system in order to pursue a policy of extending its power and influence, largely through economic capitalist means.

For those on the left that wish to reform the EU empire in order to eradicate the inherently unjust class-based system therefore needs to radically reform the institutions of the EU empire in order to begin the process of making obsolete the private ownership of the means of production and making obsolete the corporate division of labour, both of which are the direct means by which the EU empire pursues imperialist power. This therefore will require the complete transformation of the treaties since the Treaty of Rome including the EU constitution - - and effectively start from scratch. However only the EU triangle of the Commission, the Council and the Parliament has the legitimate right to initiate such a revolutionary act and can only do so within the remit of the existing treaties - The Law Making Processes of the EU. In this respect any transformation of the EU empire that is aimed at incorporating class-based discrimination and the required institutional changes that are required to accomplish that needs the full democratic approval of existing and future EU member states. This is a daunting task and can only be conceptualised by imagining that every existing and future member state has a majority government that represents this point of view all at the same time!

Considering that the EU empire with its imperialistic (although conducted through a ‘weak’ democratic process) is by design an institution that is based on the corporate division of labour and achieves its goals through the private ownership of the means of production, the alternative position on the left is to leave the EU empire with the view that it is considered impossible to reform the current EU empire which is on a path of ever closer union and so ever more concentrated centralisation. Instead, it is envisaged that it is best to leave and consolidate efforts to begin the political process of creating institutions that avoid classism within the UK foremost, and perhaps secondary also at either the global/international institutional level which for all intent and purposes has a higher level of legislative power than the EU or else by attempting to kickstart the creation of EU 2.0.

Although it can be argued that regardless of whether the UK choose to remain or leave the EU empire, this political process can still be initiated within the UK and the EU, by choosing to remain the incorporation of classism within the EU constitution can only be achieved by gaining the full consensus of all the other member states. However by leaving, the political process of instituting classism can begin as a bottom up grassroots project which can form the basis of an alternative EU 2.0 which member states may decide to join instead of remaining in EU 1.0.  In this regard, by leaving the UK becomes a pioneer showing the way for others to follow.

Can this chicken and egg dilemma be resolved in terms of whether it is better in or out of the EU empire in order to institute classism. Yanis Varoufakis, who considers himself to be an advocate of Libertarian Marxism, which forms part of the family Libertarian Socialism which includes anarchists and libertarian communists, has recently launched DiEM25 whose “medium-term goal is to convene a constitutional assembly where Europeans will deliberate on how to bring forth, by 2025, a full-fledged European democracy, featuring a sovereign parliament that respects national self-determination and shares power with national parliaments, regional assemblies and municipal councils”  In this respect DiEM25 have taken on the role of a pressure group as well as an umbrella group to coordinate grassroots movements and rebel nations stating that “One simple, radical idea is our motivating force: to democratise Europe in the knowledge that the EU will either be democratised or it will disintegrate at a terrible cost to all.” DiEM25 has envisaged the year 2025 by which this will eventually happen one way or the other.

In effect this project is an attempt to revolutionise the EU empire from an international movement level as opposed to a national level and may be the synthesis of the chicken and the egg dilemma that Socialists on either side of the Brexit debate are looking for. But it remains to be seen whether DiEM25 does include the project of changing EU architecture so that it incorporates classism or not and in this respect does not adequately inform the EU debate of whether remaining in the EU empire or leaving better supports What about Classism?

What do you think?