Sunday, 24 May 2015
A message to the anti-EU far-left: No one cares that the EU is a capitalist organisation
The big political news today is that Harriet Harman has said that the Labour Party will support a referendum on the EU, making an EU referendum in the next 2 years certain.
Over the next two years, we'll hear a lot on the news from the Out campaign, no doubt led by Nigel Farage and containing such charming supporters such as the BNP and National Front, about how the EU is an institution that promoted mass immigration, leading to evil Romanians "Taking our jobs".
However, there is another kind of Euroscepticism, primarily coming from the far-left. This Euroscepticism denounces the EU as a capitalist institution that somehow "Prevents" socialism from occurring and leads to-you guessed it- evil disgusting foreigners ruling over us.
How dare they? Why should a supranational organisation based on co-operation rather than competition allow evil, non-Brits to rule over this glorious former empire??!?!
I'm going to try and address some of the dubious arguments of the far-left when it comes to Europe. First of all, the belief that Europe is a capitalist institution that "Prevents" socialism. Well, duh. Of course it's capitalist. The UK is a capitalist state. Everything is capitalist. It's not hard to work out. Secondly, this whole idea that the EU "prevents" socialism. They're forgetting about Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, all EU members, and Norway and Iceland which are not part of the EU but have to comply with EU regulations. Definitely ultra-capitalist plutocracies, then.
Plus, I'm sure that nations outside Europe are such socialist paradises. Just look at America, where you have to pay for healthcare, or Australia, or New Zealand, currently ruled by an administration that is considering the privatisation of public buildings. Definitely socialism in our time.
But just look at Greece, I hear them cry. Surely that's proof that the EU is an evil right-wing institution???
In reality, the situation is much more complex. Basically, the European Central Bank (ECB) has been dolling out massive subsidies to the collapsing Greek economy, saving it from total economic collapse. It's the IMF, the international monetary fund, that is demanding problematic "Reforms" and repayments for its loans to Greece. Contrary to popular belief, Herr Merkel the dark lord isn't controlling the IMF, or its actions.
But what about TTIP? Here, the far-left may have a point. Until you consider that numerous trade deals with similar clauses to the infamous clause that supposedly allows corporations to sue public bodies have been included in free trade agreements that have long been in the statute books, signed with nations such as New Zealand and Canada. Once again, this argument falls down like a pack of cards.
Then comes perhaps the most convincing arguments from the loony left. It is that the EU is an undemocratic organisation. On this, they have a serious point. The European Council is unelected. The commission is unelected and has the power to initiate legislation (Though only the proportionally elected parliament can approve it). This is where the pro-EU reform argument can come in.
However, the belief that the EU campaign will be run primarily by people who want to leave the EU because it is undemocratic is absurd. A quick look at some of the parties touted to join the Out campaign gives you an idea of the kind of campaign Out will fight. UKIP. The DUP. The BNP and National Front. These are not parties who are concerned in the slightest about the EU being undemocratic. In fact, they oppose the EU because they see it as a communist institution that allows excessive immigration! I will bet any ultra leftist who challenges this assertion that the main arguments for leaving the EU won't be "Because it's undemocratic". To be frank, ordinary people couldn't give a rats arse about it being undemocratic. Therefore there's no votes in it. The main argument will be "Immigration is too high and Romanians and Bulgarians are coming to steal oue jobs, so let's leave the EU so we can somehow stop immigration and go back to a utopia that never existed in the first place".
In a democracy, during a referendum campaign, it is vital that all views are heard. However, this does not mean dubious views based on misinformation and hearsay should go unchallenged. It is the duty of the mainstream, sensible left to challenge and refute these views.