Thread: United Kingdom- Out of the European Union?

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  1. #1
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    Default United Kingdom- Out of the European Union?

    Hi Guys,
    Today in the U.K., there is a debate going on about having a referendum about whether we should stay in the E.U. or not. Personally, I'm not completely sure about the European Union; I think it is good for trade, but aside from that, it can be a hinderance at times. Also, that B.N.P. muppet Nick Griffin is an M.E.P. for the north West of England, but he doesn't have a seat in our own parliament. The European Court seems to be having more and more influence (presumably due to the Lisbon Treaty); is there a point in Europe(I should clarify that by "Europe", I am referring to the European Union, not the continent; which Britain is obviously part of) if we have our own currency?
    Anyway, I'd like to know:
    1) Should we be having a referendum about this at this time when Cameron should be focusing on other more immediate issues?
    2) Do you think Britain should remain in Europe(and give your reasons why please).
    3) What is the Euro good for, should we help with the recovery and even join the currency?
    4) I even heard someone on the radio saying we should get rid of our governments, and join a U.S.E.(United States of Europe)! What's Your reaction to that?
    5) finally, do you think that the Conservatives should be using a Whip to avoid the referendum? I have heard that 70-odd Tories are going to vote for a referendum anyhow.
    please include your political affiliations so I can get a gist of who's saying what.
    Thank you in advance,
    Matthias.
    Last edited by M.Ebow//96:; 25th October 2011 at 14:24. Reason: I originally did not state what I meant by 'Europe'.
  2. #2
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    There is a lot of contention on this issue on the left. Broadly speaking much of the left takes a position against the EU being a project of the capitalist class arranging European "unity" on a basis of mutual capitalist interest. I think this position is pretty much ok.

    However, things go awry when the same people try to offer an alternative and get stuck at national strategies. This can range from "radical" Keynesianism to blunt nationalism. All such roads are a dead end however, since capitalism is a global system and as such national roads away from it will lead to disaster: bankruptcy, military invasion, police state... you name it.

    So, instead we have to realise that our positive alternative starts at a continental level. On this level we can start to build towards a better kind of society and transcend the evils of the inherited capitalist society, overcome the rule of value and start to begin a society based on the rule of planning to human need.

    Thus, instead of merely attacking the EU, communists ought to engage with this given playing field and incorporate it into our own project of a united European working class, striving for political power as a class.

    As for your questions:
    1. I think we should generally oppose referendums. Despite their aura of being democratic, they in fact are not. First of all, we do not create the question on the ballot, the elite do and they'll use that position for their own agenda. Second, it might feed into the idea that people actually have a say about anything in society, while they do not. The Irish referendums on the Lisbon Treaty are a case in point: Just hold a referendum again and again until you have the "right" answer.

    2. Britain is a part of Europe, despite that culturally you seem to have this habit of talking about "us" Britain and "Europe", as if it was on a different part of the world

    But seriously, I merely repeat what I've already said: We should not buy into the official pro-Europe agenda, but claim our own pro-European agenda. This not being a far away and abstract thing into the future, but by engaging directly with the given playing field. I.e. demand democratic rights in the EU institutions. This will act as a lever to organise the working class as a class on a European level and let them claim Europe as opposed to falling back into nationalist romanticism.

    3. A tricky debate indeed. I'm leaning to "yes" as it would mean more (political) unity and thus a common enemy. That said, it is a given that the Euro should actually survive its current existential crisis.

    4. I support a European Democratic Republic. That is, a state where the people are sovereign and rule. The "USE" advocates are coming from a more pro-capitalist angle

    5. If the referendum should come, we ought to participate in it and campaign for our cause. I don't see the point of the Tories using a whip. Against whom? Themselves? They will, after all, be the people starting the referendum!

    As for my political affiliation: I'm a member of the Committee for a Workers' International (the English section of which is the Socialist Party in England & Wales) and consider myself an Orthodox Marxist.
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    I totally agree with Q's comment about the role the left should be playing, but I want to add my own answers to the questions:

    1) The government have more important things to attend to than pseudo-democratic propaganda, except I don't believe they will ever be attended to as long as the state and the government exist.

    2) Britain should remain in Europe because I don't want us to become any more nationalistic than we already are, and the ideals of peace and unity that the EU represents are great. I just think that the individual countries of the EU (and in turn the people of the countries, but that's another issue) need to have a lot more freedom in deciding their own laws regarding matters like immigration.

    3) The main perk of the EU is the internationalism and inter-country unity that it promotes, and it definitely started out with good intentions. Being in the EU has put more pressure on Britain to be peaceful and cooperate with its immediate neighbours. I think this is always very valuable and leaving the EU would certainly cause us to drift toward nationalism.

    4) I think we should get rid of our governments, but not to replace them with an even bigger government with control over an even bigger area that will probably be even more corrupt. And the USA isn't exactly a great role model - its system is full of injustice and exploitation and no one gives a shit except a few enlightened souls on websites like RevLeft.

    5) What the Conservatives should be doing is keeping their promises and giving us the referendum they said they'd give...oh but wait, they're politicians and their purpose is to lie to the people.

    And I'm an Anarcho-Communist, if you can't tell by the blatant anti-government sentiment here.
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    I like the concept of a united Europe, Britain is part of Europe geographically and the British have long being historically and culturally bound to Europe, despite our delusions. However, it is true the current EU is nothing more than a network for Bourgeoise interests, that being said there would be little difference between staying in the EU and leaving it (towards the nationalist right views) as Capitalism would remain in place anyway. The only slight advantage of staying I can think of is that we can go on holiday easier and immigrate easier...heh, also I'd rather not see Britain fall to the populist far-right. I do always laugh though when someone says "Britain should leave Europe"...like you can leave a geographical continent. The two constructed options basically have no difference, neither would serve the people, it's a choice of a Bourgeoise Union or Bourgeoise Nationalists, I'd rather have a cooperative and united Socialist Europe. That being said the name isn't too bad :P a 'European Union' could be Socialist, but god, please no "United States of Europe"...
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    Bumping a 3 years old thread. You might as well start a new thread.
    “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.” - Karl Marx
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    Bumping a 3 years old thread. You might as well start a new thread.
    Oops, I didn't realise. Oh well.
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    I think Britain should pull out of the EU, so that it can set its own policies.

    because, there are no socialist countries in Europe and just being a part of it isn't going to make that happen anytime soon, if you ask me
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    I think Britain should pull out of the EU, so that it can set its own policies.

    because, there are no socialist countries in Europe and just being a part of it isn't going to make that happen anytime soon, if you ask me
    Really? How exactly will pulling out of Europe help to get us to socialism?

    Besides my post from three years ago that is up here in this thread, there is also this little blogpost I made about a year ago, which explains why national roads are not to be taken serious at least and are a road to complete disaster at the worst.

    We need to think on at least a continental scale in order to even start questioning the system we live in.
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    how is bigger, necessarily better?

    ie: US is big but far from Socialist, could be more chance if each state were independent, then socialism may happen in that state and gradually spread outwards

    I see the EU as one big playground for the corporations, the bigger it is then the bigger the profits for those companies
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    You've still yet to explain how a UK outside of the EU is more likely to achieve socialism than a UK within the EU. After all, surely none of us is going to pretend that the UK political class wants to do anything but maintain capitalism. In fact - by using your own arguement, the UK is more likely to achieve socialism within the EU given the ability to cooperate with other socialists across Europe. Withdrawal would lead to strengthened nationalism. I have severe doubts about this, but nationalist isolation is a step backwards.

    I'm far from being pro-EU, especially in its neo-liberalist guise, but there are certain elements of the EU that socialists should have an interest in maintaining. Such as labour mobility, the Human Rights Act etc.

    This is the big contraction with socialists who have covert nationalist tendencies - people wax lyrical about the need to support immigration and migrant workers, to fight human rights abuses etc., yet their magical pill for this is to withdraw from the EU and put these decisions in the hands of the UK political class (i.e. the Conservatives, blue Labour etc.). This is misguided.
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    The way I see it , is that since the UK joined the EU the far right and UKIP parties have gained strength, fairly sure that not so long ago the BNP actually recieved 500,000 votes (that is British National Party, far right)- but the Socialist Parties of UK have actually decreased in stature, only about 5000 votes - so can't see any new immigrants voting Socialist anyway - pull out of the EU, and the far right loses it's anti-immigrant platform.

    The EU is just run by unelected technocrats, playing for the bosses - give that man in Brussels more power and he can just rig the system to his heart's content - I see one way of dealing with that is by diversification, ie: smaller nations - no reason for them to turn to nationalism, it wasn't like that before the EU anyway
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    The way I see it , is that since the UK joined the EU the far right and UKIP parties have gained strength, fairly sure that not so long ago the BNP actually recieved 500,000 votes (that is British National Party, far right)- but the Socialist Parties of UK have actually decreased in stature, only about 5000 votes - so can't see any new immigrants voting Socialist anyway - pull out of the EU, and the far right loses it's anti-immigrant platform.
    You're just making a rather obvious non sequitur. That the far left is so weak has a lot to do with its own amateurism, sectarian outlook and lack of an actual programme that aims and educates our class in the democratic republic, that is, working class rule.

    The EU is just run by unelected technocrats, playing for the bosses - give that man in Brussels more power and he can just rig the system to his heart's content - I see one way of dealing with that is by diversification, ie: smaller nations - no reason for them to turn to nationalism, it wasn't like that before the EU anyway
    People making this argument tend to forget that the EU already exists out of capitalist memberstates. The "unelected technocrats from Brussel" are simply working in the best collective interests of the memberstates. Obviously, Westminster is also governed by "unelected technocrats", which are working in the best interests of the ruling elite in the UK.

    I'll restate again that leaving the EU, with this misguided idea that it strengthens a section of the working class (namely that of the UK), is a road to disaster. In the most 'successful' of scenarios, you end up with a state that is under embargo and police state conditions. Look at Greece's economic meltdown, because that is the future if you go down this road.

    What we need is a Communist Party of the EU and a genuine continental workers movement. There lies an important task for communists in this day and age. That the far left is, by and large, not taking up this task is, again, underlining its own failure.
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    The way I see it , is that since the UK joined the EU the far right and UKIP parties have gained strength, fairly sure that not so long ago the BNP actually recieved 500,000 votes (that is British National Party, far right)- but the Socialist Parties of UK have actually decreased in stature, only about 5000 votes - so can't see any new immigrants voting Socialist anyway - pull out of the EU, and the far right loses it's anti-immigrant platform.
    Let's be clear - socialists and the left in general should absolutely not respond to the rise of UKIP and the far-right with similarly isolationist, xenophobic policies.

    Socialists should be more concerned with socialist policies, protecting the rights of workers internationally etc., not merely winning votes by becoming more populist. This is the danger of parliamentarianism. It will be no victory for socialists if votes are taken from UKIP by beating them at their own game and espousing UKIP's own rhetoric.

    Ed Miliband is suggesting that the Labour Party do this, and he is quite rightly being critisised for this idea by everyone who fears a shift to the right.
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    In the most 'successful' of scenarios, you end up with a state that is under embargo and police state conditions. Look at Greece's economic meltdown, because that is the future if you go down this road.
    I'd like to address this point, and I read a blog on this site (perhaps by yourself?) about the problems of Scotland becoming independent and Socialist. The writer made out that would be a bad idea, because that country would be destroyed by the capitalist sharks around it - ergo: that writer would NOT support Socialism there (Marxist variety) , because it reeked of Socialism in one Country, well - hang on a minute! a socialist NOT supporting Socialism due to ideology? no, sir that does not add up.

    Let small countries become socialist and spread the revolution from there - because waiting for 'an EU communist party' just ain't ever gonna happen! certainly not anytime soon at least.

    BTW: I am not a Trotsyist so my views differ here.
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    I'd like to address this point, and I read a blog on this site (perhaps by yourself?) about the problems of Scotland becoming independent and Socialist. The writer made out that would be a bad idea, because that country would be destroyed by the capitalist sharks around it - ergo: that writer would NOT support Socialism there (Marxist variety) , because it reeked of Socialism in one Country, well - hang on a minute! a socialist NOT supporting Socialism due to ideology? no, sir that does not add up.

    Let small countries become socialist and spread the revolution from there - because waiting for 'an EU communist party' just ain't ever gonna happen! certainly not anytime soon at least.

    BTW: I am not a Trotsyist so my views differ here.
    This is where I would disagree, and I feel that a basic look at the existing political makeup of the UK and the EU is in order.

    We can all agree that socialists are essentially unrepresented in mainstream UK politics. Not just in terms of parliamentary politics, but simply at a public consciousness level, socialism has no presence in the UK on a mass level. Based on that alone, I'm not really sure where your assertion that we should "Let small countries become socialist and spread the revolution from there - because waiting for 'an EU communist party' just ain't ever gonna happen!" comes from. It suggests that socialism is more likely if the UK pulls out of the EU, but the briefest glances at UK domestic politics suggest that this is not the case.

    Within the EU framework, socialism actually has more of a presence than within the UK in isolation, the most obvious examples being the Party of the European Left, as well as the European Anti-Capitalist Left. Now we can debate whether or not these groupings are truly revolutionary or socialist, but within the context of the question "is the UK more likely to achieve socialism within the EU or outside of it?", there is evidently more scope for socialist progress within the EU than within an increasingly isolationist UK.

    As a side note, the 20th century demonstrates in the most explicit way the dangers of national-level socialist parties and the rather naive assumption that they will take on a more international character. The 20th century suggests that the opposite tends to happen, as communist and socialist parties with roots in nationalism (in the sense of being focused on a specific nation) tend to reaffirm that nationalism once taking power - this is the basis of their power, after all. The best way to avoid such a scenario is to ensure that efforts towards socialism have an international character. The UK becoming more isolationist, rejecting cooperation with comrades within the EU, as well as opposing labour mobility on the basis of 'British jobs for British workers' is a surefire way to repeat the mistakes of the past.
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    that's a good post, and I have some more head-scratching to do on this topic, back later, cheers

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