We are approaching ten years of the international crisis of world capitalism, which started with the financial crisis of 2007-2008. As there is no real recovery in sight, people everywhere start to realize that it is a structural crisis, not the typical cyclic sort.
Conventional revolutionary wisdom predicts that the chain will break in its weakest links. We have witnessed the weakening of grip of imperialism over Latin America. We went through the biggest and most violent upheavals in the Middle East, starting with the Arab Spring of 2011. We have seen Europe on the brink with the Greek crisis.
But the last break in what used to be Great Britain took many of us by surprise.
I must quickly admit of two mistakes.
First I assumed that the political establishment was strong enough to have its way.
The first lesson from the victory of Brexit is that, because of the depth of the crisis, many things that were unthinkable are now possible and sometimes inevitable. It comes on top of the rise of Podemos in Spain, the election of a Muslim as a mayor of London, the election of an anti-establishment women candidate to head Rome, and much else.
Second, I tended to favor the “Remain” campaign. I had two reasons, one positive and one negative.
The positive reason was that I see the development toward one world as basically progressive. I think we should object to imperialism and exploitation, not replace it with objection to the mixed term of “globalization”.
The negative reason was the racist motive behind the leave campaign, the objection to immigration.
For these reasons I’m happy to see that most of the younger voters voted “Remain” for a better future – for a more integrated world and against racism.
But Brexit is a blow to the world imperialist order, and it opens some perspective for changing the world and even England to the better, for good and bad reasons also, as I will explain below.
Everyone have the right to care for himself. The Palestinian people, like our good neighbors the Kurds, remained stateless and completely marginalized in the world order that was decided by the Great Powers after the First World War. Those who have nothing have nothing to fear from the unmaking of the world order, and everything to win from the opportunities that a new order opens. Depending, of course, on their having an organization and struggling resolutely and wisely in order to get results within any new redrawing of the world map.
Just days before the referendum, Britain’s conservative Prime Minister Cameroon spoke about the need for Britain to remain within the EU in order to defend… Israel’s interests! This is only a tiny example how Britain, with its heavy and long imperialist tradition, is a force of evil on the world scale.
This was a timely reminder that the referendum is not only about Britain’s internal politics and economics, but about Britain’s place in the world. After centuries of direct imperialism by gunboats, Britain continues today the same exploitative policies through its influence in international institutions, not least the EU. A vote for Brexit is a vote against The Empire, and as such it will have a positive international influence, even if taken for the wrong reasons.
And the reasons for voting for Brexit are not all bad. The subjects of the British Queen have all the rights to feel that the system is not serving them as well as it used to. They used to be happy to live off the crumbs from the table of their capitalist masters, as long as these masters could exploit the whole world unchecked. But now the masters are sending their hands under the table to gather crumbs to fill their insatiable appetite, cutting welfare and health services.
Also, within the EU the dominance of capitalist institution, managed by faceless unelected bureaucrats, is even more alienating than the capitalist system in each country alone. People have the experience of influencing policy making through protest and elections in each country. They feel this power lost in the EU framework.
One more comment about the poor immigrants. I do believe in the right of any Human being to move freely all over the world and work and live anywhere where he or she chooses to. But within the current context of the uneven world division of power and wealth and selective immigration policies, the best brains and hands of the poor third world go to build the wealth of the wealthy nations, securing better lives for themselves. It is a huge drain on the resources of the poor nations, enhancing the gaps and world poverty. By some distorted way, the racism of the rich nations is turning (or at least limiting) this tide and forcing more people in the poor nations to look for ways to build their future within the framework of working to improve the lot of their native countries.
Down with Britain, Welcome back England
Counting the costs and benefits of EU membership, it is clear that the costs are more obvious, especially as much as they can be counted in budgetary transfers. The benefits for the leading economies are through their preferred position in the common market. They are not only invisible – but they tend to be benefits for private enterprise while the costs come from the state’s budget.
The pro-capitalist economists, whose birthplace is mostly Britain, will preach that the benefits somehow trickle down to the masses. Maybe it used to be so, but capitalism is also developing and improving its ability to stem the unwanted leaks.
When the people of England recognize that they can’t trust the system to work for them, the people in Scotland and North Ireland remember that they have no reason to be part of Great Britain under English dominance. Independence for Scotland and re-unification of independent Ireland can be the next steps for the dismantling of the British Empire.
After they will get rid of the weight of the empire, the people of England will start again to be an integral part of Humanity, and can start working with all the other people of the world for a better future.