Kate Hoey: The Left-Wing Case For Brexit

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By Kate Hoey | 3:28 am, June 8, 2016

People assume that the Left supports the EU.

It doesn’t.

The middle-classes who have colonised the Left support the EU not because they are the Left, but because they aren’t.

They support it because they are middle class. No wonder they support it – it’s a middle class autocracy.

But on June 23 they should consider whether it is right or wise to exclude the working classes from politics by voting to stay in a system of government without electorate.

They can ask: is the EU building a safe and certain future or is it attempting a coup?

The EU is part of the global movement to remove democratic resistance to capitalism.

The project is to govern without having to face elections.

That is fascism.

Propaganda by the big capitalist interests – the IMF, the OECD, the US President, the World Bank – threatens economic disaster.

Meanwhile the socially democratic media – namely The Guardian and BBC – has tried to characterise the choices falsely by identifying opposition to the EU as either Right-wing or as nationalist.

This is a deliberate lie.

At stake is the very foundation of all workers’ rights, and of all freedoms throughout Europe, not just in the UK.

This Brexit referendum couldn’t be a clearer choice for the Left.

An obsession with Tory-bashing makes the Left talk of “a bonfire of workers’ rights” if we quit the EU, as if all social welfare comes from the EU.

But it doesn’t. What world do they live in? The fire is already burning, but it’s no bonfire – it’s a Europe-sized wipeout.

In defence, the working classes are demanding democracy, power, a say in how their own countries are governed and control over their communities.

In Britain we have 8 million people (including immigrants) on low pay who would like a decent life. These are people who do need democracy. Yet the EU wants to drive their wages down still further.

In 1988, Jacques Delours offered the TUC the ‘social chapter’ instead of democracy, and everybody fell for it.

He bribed us with something we already had, or were going to get anyway.

Now, inequality is at least as bad as it was in 1988.

Middle class Left wingers have always rather liked the EU, because it delivered just the right degree of social democracy to suit them without disrupting their wealth advantage over the poor – the EU and the middle-classes being resolutely devoted to the idea of cheap labour.

And, because it neatly by-passed the electorate, it defeated the man with a white van whom they hate and don’t understand.

It allowed them to take Left-wing politics that used to be about getting higher wages for the less well off, and turn it into a game about middle-class identity.

Central to that is the new middle-class religion of so-called non-racism.

It became “racist” for the working classes to ask why white European cheap labour was allowed to come and drive wages down. It takes a real middle-class invasion of Labour politics to put that trick across.

What do the middle classes really care about the plight of black families living in poverty in our inner cities? These are the low paid or unemployed whose job chances are threatened by EU immigration.

And what do they care about the plight of the migrants once they get here? What do they say about them after they have settled in and want higher wages?

“British workers (and this must include settled immigrants and sons of immigrants) won’t do the jobs… so we have to get immigrants to do it.”

By which they mean new immigrants, cheap immigrants. And the bit they leave out is… for the low wages offered. They won’t do the jobs for the low wages offered. This is the crux of the EU intentions on labour.

Just as the Victorians tried to make trade unionism immoral, so the present middle classes brand any worker who complains of non-union or cheap labour.

It was immoral to protect your wages in Victorian times, it is immoral now. Morality often coincides with middle class economic interests.

The EU supports the low-wage economy, and tries to create it where it didn’t already exist, for example in Sweden where it prosecuted the unions, and sequestrated their funds (as the Tories did to the miners) when they tried to get union rates for migrant workers.

Where should the Left stand in all this? It’s pretty clear where it would stand if it were working class.

History will surely condemn the attempt to govern 500 million people without elections. Talk of uncertainty! Once again the very values for which millions of Europeans fought and died are being abandoned.

There is scant opposition to it because the Left has virtually ceased to exist, spun off into various issues unrelated to working class pay and conditions of living.

The prosperous class which now controls the Left equates its self-interest with politics that is Left-wing in name only.

The wolf has eaten grandma and wears her clothes.

How else can it be considered to be Left-wing to support something as openly capitalist as the EU?

Some people suggest that we should stay in the EU and “reform it” – a fine example of arrogant self-importance, a miscalculation of our weight.

The EU project is about federalism. Everyone knows this except us – and the EU will pursue it.

The EU is not changeable, that’s the point of it being non-democratic.

A vote for the EU is a vote for the status quo. That’s why the well-off support it.

The purpose of the EU, Barosso’s “antidote to democracy”, is to remove the opportunity to change anything.

Imagine a near-future where we have an elected left-ish government, under Corbyn, whose policies clash with the austerity measures the EU likes to impose on its members (witness its effective direct rule, over-riding the Greek electorate). Remember EU law is supreme and over-rules our own. Then will they realise what democracy means?

This is not about saving British democracy alone. The whole of Europe is in the grip of an autocratic coup by an increasingly powerful governing class which views people only as the functions of an economic system, whose diktats they are made to follow, no matter what the cost.

Theirs is a quietly but determinedly repressive hegemony that creates chaos beneath it.

When, on June 24, the EU is hopefully off Britain’s back, we can get on with the vital work of re-building the Left on working class foundations.

A bright future doesn’t come from vague, glossy impressions. It’s about power and who controls what.

Given the aggressive nature of global corporate capitalism it would be suicidal to give our political power to the EU.

That’s why everyone on the Left needs to vote LEAVE .

  • Kate Hoey is the MP for Vauxhall