January 31, 2018
Brexit has nought to do with either the British workers and British people taking back control (as the ‘Leavers’ would have you believe) or preserving the EU as a beacon of international cooperation (as the ‘Remainers’ would have you believe), it is all to do with a conflict between different factions of Capitalism, the British Leave faction and the EU faction, especially in Germany and France.
Both factions want the same thing, control over (and profits from) lucrative Europe and world resources, workers and markets including the financial markets that are dominated by the City of London. Both the EU and UK are happy to sacrifice laws, regulations and rights, indeed they seem happy to risk everything but open war (at least in Europe) to do so.
London’s financial markets and Brexit
There have been previous attempts by the European Central Bank to bring the London markets under their control but were blocked by the European Court of Justice. And UK governments have tried to milk the EU for all it’s worth to their own advantage. They now engage in an open and hidden struggle, while workers, and oppressed both in the UK and the EU pay the price.
The Brexit negotiations are based in a conflict over ruling class factional interests but are camouflaged to masquerade as a dispute over democracy and protection of people’s rights in the UK. The UK wants to remain the world’s leading finance centre, while Luxembourg, Paris and Frankfurt compete for extremely lucrative areas including foreign direct investment and money exchange. So, the central question of Brexit is, which imperialism will dominate these areas? Already many UK and international banks and financial institutions have stated that they plan to relocate some business into the EU-27. While Paris, Luxembourg, Dublin and others are rolling out the red-carpet treatment to financiers based in London.
However, London has built up a series of reinforcing advantages that are difficult to replicate elsewhere. London has very many more international connections than rival financial centres, for example in offshore financial centres and a myriad of shell companies that grew rapidly in the last few years and are involved in international fraud, arms trade, child pornography, corrupt dictators and all manner of organised crime. Off-the-shelf companies registered in Scotland were identified not just in the Panama Papers expose, but in the Global Laundromat too – one of the biggest criminal conspiracies in recent history. Somewhere between $20bn and $80bn was stolen from Russia and laundered through a vast network of shell companies – and Scottish Limited Partnerships were implicated in $5bn of that.
British shell companies have been linked to 52 money laundering scandals involving £80bn in the past 14 years. The EU made a ruling that Britain cannot use shell companies in the EU when they leave. Along with Hedge fund organisations they were big players in the push for Brexit, with the City of London continuing to pull Theresa May’s strings.
May wants workers to pay
The EU has forced the UK to pay a £40bn separation bill. Who will pay this bill? It will be paid by the working class who will face greater cuts and the privatisation of more services. Just as we are already picking up the massive bill from Carillion’s operations following its collapse on 15 January 2018.
In or out of the EU, only the “Master changes”. Either the Troika (EU commissions, ECB and IMF) or the banks, the British parliament and the Queen. None serve the interest of workers
The International Socialist League argue that the EU and UK government stand for neoliberalism, soaring inequality, environmental destruction and neo-colonisation, as with Greece and Portugal. An alternative can only come from mass mobilisations of the working class in the UK linked with masses of workers mobilising across Europe.
Workers, and oppressed people from the UK and the EU, should not support either faction of capitalism, they should join combative trade unions and social struggles, and in the task of building revolutionary parties will be able to provide strong working-class leadership. Our aim is to help organise a massive struggle to destroy the EU and for workers’ government in Britain and Europe.
Rise in hate crime
Oppressed people in the UK have experienced increased levels of attacks and assaults since the Brexit vote. ISL comrade Ashley Walker has responded to this saying, “As a gay man I share these grave concerns and in Stockport we have been doing a lot of work to try and get people organised to combat this, but anyone who thinks this problem would magically go away if we no longer decided to leave the EU is quite frankly deluding themselves, this problem will only go away when we join together to defeat it, linked with the class.”
Only the class struggle can end oppression and fight for equality, justice and workers’ democracy. Division is inherent in capitalism, socialism can build a society that will eliminate hate crime. “So, in the UK, in the EU and in the world, workers, peasants and oppressed people rise up and fight for socialism.”
Originally published @ Socialist Voice #30.