The Brexit Fiasco

Solutions Require the People Speaking
in Their Own Name

With every move she makes, British Prime Minister Theresa May has deepened the political crisis over Brexit. But the underlying crisis is something much more profound than May's politics of self-harm, denial and plain irrationality. In other words, even if May were to be replaced as Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister, the crisis is not going to be resolved, certainly not within the Tory Party and in the House of Commons as a whole, or even within the parameters of a cartel party system in which the people have no say over the decisions which affect their lives. Far from it. Objectively, the way out of the crisis is the one which genuinely empowers the people to have a say in those decisions. Already, the peoples of the entire country from all walks of life are very vocal as to what they want but nobody listens despite everyone speaking in their own name. This is what has to be made to change.

Demonstration, October 20, 2018.

It does not matter which option is taken, Remain or Leave, or indeed the different varieties that MPs are voting for with indicative votes, in the sense that they are not solutions to the political crisis. That was an inescapable component of the problem with the referendum in the first place. The question facing the polity did not pose itself as Remain versus Leave. The truth is and has been that workers themselves have to start dealing with the issue of resolving the crisis in their favour by having their independent program based on their own vantage point.

Within the circumstances of this crisis, no matter what position MPs take on the European Union, it is not likely that the solutions on offer will settle the matter for those with differing opinions and indeed different interests, on Brexit. Indeed, the experience of MPs as a whole, rather than the government, and Executive, "taking control" of the business program or the House of Commons suggests the opposite.

As passions are stoked up, and especially as the frustration and disillusion with the impasse over Brexit take hold, how the working people work out how they can intervene in the situation in a manner which favours them continues to be key to the outcome. Theresa May is hopelessly stuck in irrational rhetoric such as saying that she sides with the people against the Legislature. While this is a definite admission that "the people" are not in the Legislature -- that the Legislature of not "of the people" -- it seeks to get the people to forget that the Westminster system is anachronistic, incorrigibly dysfunctional and in need of a fundamental rehaul so that those elected answer to the people, not a relic from medieval times. Current arrangements which are the product of the English Civil War 1642-1651 which created a state to combine medieval privileges, a definition of rights based on ownership of property and of sovereignty based on territoriality are not conducive to the conditions today, which have surpassed those limitations. Who does the British Parliament represent in this current civil war raging in Britain? Why would the English, Scottish and Welsh working class side pro or con any of the contending interests rather than speak in their own name and elaborate their own interests?

Workers' Weekly, the newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), points out the options the people are offered. It is said that "to support Brexit is to be xenophobic and courting economic disaster, or that to favour Remain is to be indifferent to the interests of the working class; while on the other hand, it is said that a 'people's Brexit' would stop the European monopolies dictating to the British economy and exploiting cheap imported labour, while revoking Article 50 would safeguard rights which are supposedly guaranteed by the EU and enable people to freely travel throughout Europe."

What the people of Britain sorely need, Workers' Weekly points out, is to work out their own vantage points within the situation which will empower them to set the direction of the economy and politics of the society. "This is the common issue facing the whole polity and indicates what perspective to take in providing a solution to the Brexit crisis which favours the people. New forms are required, forms which translate the people's voices into the determining factor," Workers' Weekly writes.

"The reality of Britain, its ruling elite and its role in the world must be taken into consideration. This is the crucial question taking precedence over whether the EU's relationship to Britain is one of benefactor or dictator. Indeed, it can be said that the overall neo-liberal agenda of the Westminster government is consistent with that of the oligarchs of the EU. What must be recognized is that British imperialism is responsible for many, many crimes since this parasitic stage of capitalism came into being. And before that the British colonialists built their empire on which 'the sun never set' and enslaved and devastated the peoples of this empire, extracting fabulous wealth from their peoples and resources," Workers' Weekly points out.

It is clear that what is at stake is how to control and expand the spoils of a "Great" Britain. "In particular, the City has been built up as the hub of financial markets the world over. This is parasitic finance capital par excellence, and one which Brexit or no Brexit the ruling elite jealously attempts to guard for themselves," Workers' Weekly writes.

"[T]he fierce and ongoing dogfights in the ruling circles also represent the differing calculations within their ranks over the future of NATO, for instance, over the defence and the militarization of the economy, cloaked in declarations over the national interest, and over which direction the economy should take," Workers' Weekly says and adds:

"Britain owes it to the Irish people too to settle things in line with the aspirations and struggles of the people of Ireland. The ruling class of England has dominated the island of Ireland for centuries. In the midst of the inter-imperialist First World War, the Irish heroically fought for their independence, and were brutally slaughtered by the British. But it lit a spark, and in the course of the Irish people attaining their independence the British manoeuvred so as to annex six counties in the north of Ireland. The Downing Street Declaration affirmed that the whole people of the island of Ireland must decide their future, and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 represented a major political development and a binding peace treaty involving the British and Irish parties. It is this agreement which the DUP [Democratic Unionist Party] is prepared to flout and Theresa May is willing to tear up in maniacal pursuit of her Deal.

Thousands march in London in support of the NHS, March 4, 2017

"A further indispensable ingredient to the solution of the political crisis into which the various factions of the ruling elite have led Britain, and which the Brexit referendum has cruelly exacerbated, is to build the unity of the people of Scotland, Wales and England, one working class, one programme. This requires entirely different arrangements between the three countries, not to mention Ireland itself, on the basis that Scotland and Wales need their own nation-building projects, while the colonialist nation-building project in England has long since had its day, and under the rubric of the Mother of Parliamentary Democracy has a toxic legacy which betrays its colonialist roots and history."

Workers' Weekly decries the attempt to set people at each other's throats based on the claim that justice and progress rests with one side or another of the Brexit fiasco. And a fiasco it is -- "a thing that is a complete failure, especially in a ludicrous or humiliating way."

The working class in England, Scotland and Wales, comprised of their own nationality and peoples of all nationalities from the world over, constitute one working class which is indeed speaking out on its own behalf against the anti-social offensive, in support of a pro-social program which upholds the dignity of labour and puts human beings at the centre of all development. "The two strands of this demand, relating to the collective of the working class and to the rights and well-being of all sections of the people, are part of the one whole of a Brexit solution. The unity of the people must be safeguarded, Brexiteers and Remainers alike. The right to conscience demands that each has the right to push for their positions on the basis of how they serve to resolve the crisis. Naturally, no-one should have the right to organize on the basis of treating other human beings as not worthy of rights. The resolution of this apparent conundrum is to affirm that all the positions from whatever side are well and fine, and that everyone is entitled to speak up and organise to garner support, but this must be done within the politics of social responsibility as opposed to the irresponsible politicization of vested interests."

Workers' Weekly says attention should be paid to asking those who put forward this or that position to strive to answer the question as to how problems facing the people are to be provided with solutions and how the positions taken on Brexit will contribute to that cause. The solutions must be justifiable.

Workers' Weekly points out that within this discussion, it has to be recognized that the political set-up is one in which the people are not empowered to implement or even arrive at decisions which affect society, and that the economic set-up is dictated by narrow private interests. Deal-making has given rise to many proposed variants of Remain/Leave, whether it be a Customs Union, full membership of the EU, exiting on WTO rules, or some other proposition, many of which refer to institutions and arrangements which are themselves racked in crisis and irrationality.

"The goings-on in the House of Commons have not only been unseemly and have lowered the level of politics, but are not directed at resolving the problems created by the results of the Referendum so as to provide a way forward." The set-up of a party-in-power and a party-in-opposition is not capable of negotiating anything because of the absence of a pro-social aim. Cabinet government and its prerogative powers are dysfunctional and lie in tatters. Parliamentary votes have ceased to mean anything at all whether 'meaningful,' 'indicative,' based on motions presented to MPs through their twitter accounts or other social media. To even try to give a rational explanation to irrational proceedings is to become irrational oneself. To hold up the Westminster system of rule as the paradigm of democracy and a civilized world is to not see that the sun has already set and preparations must be made for a new dawn.

Workers' Weekly calls for attention to be paid to the fact that today, "the budget goes to war production, instead of going on hospitals and social programmes, and every justification is given to promoting austerity. Deals are struck behind closed doors. Big business and the City rule the roost."

Rational deliberations are required on these issues, the newspaper points out. Instead, people "are being deprived of the conditions to form rational and informed conclusions and unite around them. It can be said with confidence that the issue facing the working class and people is not the issue of Brexit or no Brexit. It is not such a false binary issue. The issue facing them is how to bring the wisdom of the peoples of Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England into play."

"Whether or not Britain remains in or leaves the European Union, itself beset with crises and with growing disunity between the component states and with unaccountable decision-making, and on what date it leaves, there is a demand for turning things around in a manner which favours the working class and people, in a manner which settles scores with all that is being demonstrated as so rotten with the old way of doing things. New arrangements are required. How else can such issues as international trade on the basis of mutual benefit, the respect for the sovereignty of all nations, the settling of international issues through peaceful means, the implementation of the rule of law -- how else can they be achieved?"

"In the face of the all-round crisis, the alternative that is required is to empower the peoples to have a decisive say on all those matters which affect their lives," Workers' Weekly concludes.

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 13 - April 13, 2019

Article Link:
Solutions Require the People Speaking in Their Own Name


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