The following was written by Steve Topple | @MrTopple
I sometimes agree with UKIP.
There, I’ve said it.
Not the racist, xenophobic, misogynistic or homophobic bits (although I do sometimes wish I had the opportunity for the bad weather to be my fault), but the fundamental reason they came into existence – a “Brexit”. Because if you cut through all the disgusting and nefarious vitriol that (many of) their members and supporters espouse (not all, I hasten to add – I have some good friends that are “Kippers”), they are fundamentally right regarding the European Union – but for the wrong reasons.
To understand why we need to facilitate a Brexit, and why ultimately the EU in its current form needs razing, you not only have to look at its present configuration as an undemocratically corporatized leviathan, but at its conception as a proxy for the agendas of the Western Establishment.
The European Union (as we now know it) was created as a post-war response to Europe’s economic devastation and the socialist/military rise of the USSR. The primary agreement between France, West Germany, Italy and others in 1951 (the Treaty of Paris) was used as leverage to create the “European Coal and Steel Community” – essentially an act of appendage-swinging at the East, as this enabled these countries to work in co-operation to manufacture weapons.
Everything else we now recognise – the EEC, free trade agreements, free movement of people, the ECB – have all been installed as nothing more than levers to further (and protect) the rise of globalised capitalism.
As Robert Griffiths, general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, put it: “The drive to construct a monopoly capitalist United States of Europe with a common foreign and military policy has the same three-fold purpose identified by Lenin in 1916: to promote monopoly capitalism and suppress socialism at home, to exploit neo-colonies abroad and to compete against rival imperialist powers”.
A “monopoly capitalist United States of Europe” is essentially what we now have. Take the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Initially a secretive deal being brokered between the EU and US, its highly dubious nature has been brought to the (near) forefront of the public’s attention in the past year, and serious concerns have been rightly raised – namely the exploitation of workers (although the EU is more than capable of doing that by itself), GMO products entering our food chain, the right of multinational corporations to sue governments and the possible impact on wages.
But, the likelihood is the deal will still go ahead and with the most reprehensible aspects still in place. For example, the “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” mechanism or ISDS (the bit which allows a corporation to sue a government if it thinks its lost money) may have been excluded from negotiations, but the law surrounding this was quietly updated in September in readiness for the signing of the deal – and history shows us that any attempt to block ISDS in other trade agreements have invariably failed.
It is, however, no surprise that the unelected heads of the EU wish for TTIP to be steamrollered through – the majority of them are sharing their marital beds with financial institutes and corporations.
Take Mario Draghi, president of the ECB – the man directly responsible for this year’s €1.36 trillion worth of quantitive easing by the bank. In 2002, he was appointed Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s largest (and most unveracious) investment banks. Goldman Sachs naturally have reserves in many of the companies that the ECB have been buying debt from to spur the effect of the QE program, profiting from the increased share prices that have been seen – and to think that Draghi didn’t leave them with a substantial share portfolio is, at best, naïve.
But the rot within the EU autocracy appears to run deeper than that – even as far as its official “independent” auditors.
The European Court of Auditors are responsible for checking the finances of the EU on a yearly basis, to identify discrepancies, fraud, misspending and monitor the general efficiency of the workings of the Union and its institutions.
Proclaiming themselves as “Guardians of the EU Finances”, they caused somewhat of a furore late last year, when they identified a black hole in the EU budget until 2020 which would result in member states paying an additional total of €326 billion (the UK’s liability being £34 billion) in charges (furthermore, they also found “significant errors” every year, for the past 19, in the EU’s budget).
However, the “independence” of the ECA is dubious, to say the least. Its President, Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira (a Portuguese economist) is also Vice President of the “Bridge Forum Dialogue”, a Luxembourg-based think-tank of prominent Europhiles from the world of finance, politics and the civil service. Regularly schmoozing with the very people he is supposed to independently scrutinise (the President of the European Investment Bank, the Director of the EU’s official statistics agency, Eurostat), the group operates under the Central Bank of Luxembourg – the lever for enabling the country to be one of the world’s top tax havens.
It is interesting to note that the ECA has no auditing powers over the ECB, bar that of the “examination of the operational efficiency of the management” – i.e. the bank has an unfettered reign to do as it pleases (see above re. Goldman Sachs).
So, if we object to any aspects pertaining to our membership of the EU and many of the laws which come with it, what exactly can we do about it?
From 2017, virtually nothing.
Because quietly being kept from broad public knowledge is the fact that in March that year, every member state is losing its veto rights over 43 areas of legislation, which previously under the Nice Treaty we can block as a country if we wish.
Before new voting rules under the Lisbon Treaty came into force in November 2014, decisions surrounding these areas of law (which include social security, immigration, freedom of movement and energy) were subject to a unanimous vote in the European Council (i.e. if one member state objected, the law would not pass). But from March 2017, all of these areas will now be legislated upon using the “Qualified Majority Voting” system – in layman’s terms, if 55% of member states (representing 65% of the EU population) agree with a law, it will pass.
We have essentially lost our right to self-determination over some of the most crucial areas of everyday life. EU laws can be forced upon us, even if our parliament objects. But moreover, there is a new area of legislation within the 43 policy areas, which is perhaps the most concerning of all: “Withdrawal of a member state”.
It essentially is what it says on the tin. If a country wants to leave the EU it will, from March 2017, need a majority of the other member states to agree to the conditions of its withdrawal – and the country in question can take no part in the debating or voting process. If we wish to leave, we have little control over what happens.
All of this is of course without mentioning the repeated murmurings about an EU army, the recently launched European Drone Program, the Union’s complicity in the US’ imperialistic energy proxy war with Russia (via Ukraine), the intentional creation of open borders to supply industrialised western Europe with cheap labour from the south, and the length and girth of cucumbers.
It is fundamentally ludicrous for anyone on the left who fights against the rise of globalisation, the exploitation of countries by corporations, the nefarious nature of autocratic control and the gaping chasm between rich and poor that still exists on the planet, to argue in favour of staying in the EU.
The European project is crony-capitalist exploitation personified: a gargantuan juggernaut of corporatization, corruption and creaking cutting-edge czarism, masquerading under a thinly veiled, trademarked, made-in-a-Taiwanese-sweatshop façade of “values”.
So yes – I do agree with UKIP. We should leave the EU, but we should build in its ashes an international workers union – not a micro-dicked, uber-tattooed, perma-tanned, scared-of-anyone-who’s-different, 1950’s fascist revivalist island off the coast of the continent.
We underestimate the power we have in our hands in the UK. London is now back at the top of the world financial tree, so if any domino was best suited to fall and start the rally towards revolution many crave – we would be the perfect domino.
There isn’t anything that the EU provides that couldn’t be better realised from a borderless, socialist union with the interests of its citizens, and not its stock markets, at its heart – and if you are a Corbyn supporter, surely the chance of a “socialist” government may finally be within reach? The obvious answer in 2020 would be to fight for a Labour majority, or a coalition government of Labour, the SNP, the Greens and Plaid (if, of course, you are a supporter of any of these parties).
Jeremy Hunt said this week he’d like us Brits to start grafting like the Chinese.
One can only assume he means wanting 1,600 of us to die each day due to overworking.
Be it the with EU or the Tories we have a fight on our hands – so we may as well take on both.
Let’s wage war on the Tories, and let’s Brexit.
We may as well go out, guns-a-blazing.
By Steve Topple | @MrTopple
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