Not every Leave voter is a racist, but every racist will vote Leave - Billy Bragg
Music lovers at the annual Glastonbury festival were stunned, they wanted to remain in the European Union, but it was not to be. Anti-globalisation activists who had protested at G20s and world economic forums from Seattle to Brisbane were shaken. Leave is another form of anti-globalization, but it is anti-people. So what is behind it?
The ideal of European Union has been shaken before. It’s demise did not happen merely because 17 million Britons voted to Leave. Britain was not enthusiastic about joining the European community, it took them till 1973 to join the original six countries that began European economic community after the second world war. Their reluctant partners were France (Charles de Gaulle kept Britain out for 10 years, he saw Britain as a Trojan horse for US intervention in Europe), West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Even after joining, Britain retained its own currency, notwithstanding the 1992 Maastricht Treaty that created the European Union and led to the creation of a single European currency.
The European split is not happening because racists used emotive images of the human march of Syrians to Germany, although that helped the Leave vote in Britain. In the ’80s and ’90s Germany needed immigrants to build its workforce and stoke the fires of economic growth. Ironically leaving Europe may make it easier for refugees to cross the channel to Britain. French guards no longer have an incentive to stop refugees going across hidden in trucks.
The breaking up of Europe did not happen because the central bankers in Brussels refused to extend loans to Greece.
It began long before that.
Remember Yugoslavia. This is where it began in the 1990s … from a populist call from a Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to split the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Post war ruler Marshall Tito was the glue for the federation, he was also the leader of the non-aligned movement, distant from Moscow and Washington.
A Serbian emigre once asked me after defeating me soundly at chess: “What are you? English?” I replied: “I am not English, I am Republican”. He responded knowingly: “Be careful what you wish for, English.” He, like other Serbs, had learned his chess in the army. Who knows what terror he had witnessed, or been party to? It had made him skeptical of the very idea of a republic.
Serbian nationalism reigned supreme. So, in 1999, NATO bombed Kosovo for three months under the slogan ‘Merciful Angel‘. Only five years after bombing Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was the end of Yugoslavia, the beginning of end for the European Union. Even the German Greens supported airstrikes against defenceless people.
Typically, well-off people in London are blaming the rust belt in the North for the Leave vote. Fears in the north that immigrants will take what few jobs there are and their houses are real. The political elite needed to do something about poverty that caused these fears; instead, some proposed a departure from Europe. The financial crisis continues. Even the IMF and the world bank have lost their taste for neoliberalism. Lurching from crisis to crisis is too costly and impedes growth, they complain.
But no one has come up with a solution, the mainstream political parties, the G20, or even the G20 protestors. Meanwhile the haters in the Leave campaign have responded with organization and political resolve.
National socialism has won a racist victory against multiculturalism.
Do they seriously dream of re-building empire?
Surely it is better to have self-determination of different peoples, the preservation and respect for language and diversity of culture?
28 July 2016