People in Britain will be given a mockery of choice in the upcoming European elections. If the Leave campaign wins, they will be faced with a repeal of worker’s and human rights, a good possibility of even more restrictions on union laws and less movement around the continent. Additionally the Conservatives and future governments may be able to set their own carbon emission targets, which will probably be lower as the European Union has been enforcing the targets, albeit through ineffective fines. This is of course at a catastrophic time for the earth’s climate with overwhelming evidence revealing, that industrial capitalism is destroying the planet.
The flow of immigration will undoubtedly be reduced as the Leave campaign have continuously used immigration issues as a centrepiece, with scare stories of the masses of migrants swamping Britain and taking peoples jobs. The usual bullshit that once was UKIP’s sound bite has now become a real factor in the discourse of the Leave campaign. If the Leave campaign win we can expect to see lower immigration numbers through harsher and nationalist entry restrictions, perhaps even more worryingly a rise in xenophobic rhetoric and policies.
Additionally another real prospect is a surge in renewed nationalism. Nationalist rhetoric has already been whipped up by the Leave campaign and has been wrapped up and partly disguised under a pseudo pro democracy banner. By this democracy banner we hear mainly right wing politicians talk of the Union being undemocratic and unaccountable. However, their vision of sovereign democracy is more capitalist dictatorship but with a new nationalist dress over. A democracy where the politicians, CEO’s, business owners and the general rich conserve their power and wealth by making everyone else work for them and their progress. Effectively a continued system of what we have now but with even stricter boarder controls and a possibility of worse material conditions. For these reasons alone it may be worth voting against Leave to keep nationalism at bay.
The other prospect is a vote to remain. The more “progressive” side, mainly championed by the left, along with a considerable number of neo-liberals including David Cameron. The remain side is being encouraged by World leaders, Obama, Francis Holland, Angela Merkel and a host of big businesses.
The major concern about Remain is the Translantic Trade Investment Partnership deal (aka TTIP). The proposed new trade deal is the ruling class’s attempt to curb “interference” from governments regulating the market and in particular profit. Effectively TTIP will allow corporations to sue governments for regulating profits. Of course from an anarchists perspective the CEO’s and bosses running the corporations belong to the same class as the politicians governing countries. However, TTIP will allow the more ruthless greedy capitalists to maximise their profit at a larger expense. This is a real possibility if Remain campaign wins.
Additionally, a new surge of racism could form under Remain in Europe victory. Large proportions of the debate have been focused on keeping Briton competitive by keeping the market locked into European partnerships and trade.
Historically it has been Europe’s conquest of the world that still to this day keeps nations in poverty and props up new forms of dictatorship and exploitation. A large percentage of people around the world are enslaved to make way for Europe’s profit.
From African workers (often children) forced at gun point to mine to find materials of I-phones, to land grabs off indigenous people in order to export vegetable and palm oils to people in the west and industrial nations, to Bangladeshi garment workers locked into deadly factories to produce cheap clothes that can be sold in Primark and BHS. There are countless examples of the southern hemisphere’s working class and indigenous peoples being exploited or killed for Europe’s gain. Whilst we live in class ridden societies and are exploited on a daily basis in Europe, we need to recognise that Europeans are not the survivors and victims of colonialism and imperialism that has had lasting effects to this day to so much of the world.
Yes the profiteering class is international, as in the rich will work with the rich where ever they are from but historically and still predominantly the profiteering class stem from White Supremacy and Eurocentricness. Will voting to remain be legitimising this to a degree?
Even the lefts “alternative” vision to Europe panders to racism. It ties into and reinforces the historic view that Europe is the centre of the world. Voting to remain is not internationalism, it is Eurocentric. Already with the European Union razor fences are erected that migrants die trying to cross. Already migrants are held up in camps like the Jungle in Calias. Can we vote for this to continue and hope for it somehow and someday be reformed? More importantly can the migrants wait for these reforms to take place?
However, even if this is not the case the proof is in the pudding that either way the rich will remain rich and the referendum is only a choice between two slightly different kinds of capitalism. Everything is in place for the ruling class to keep their dominance whether voters choose to leave or remain. They will continue to exploit us and attempt to divide us whilst simultaneously destroy the planet. Voting in or out will not make a difference to migrants attempting to cross the borders and it will not change material conditions here. There are more positive actions that we can do than participating in the referendum.
There are many reasons to remain positive. Paris, for example, is a bright beacon of hope. Quite literally. Currently Paris is experiencing nothing short of an insurrection, with a million workers on strike, the youth rioting frequently and night time gatherings and debates challenge the status quo and in particular the new labour law. It has already been noted that the movement goes far deeper than just protesting just one law and is now self described anti capitalist.
Whilst England may not be experiencing the same level of anti capitalist consciousness as seen in France, there are many real ways which people can go about challenge the European system and make a difference.
No borders have shown amazing courage and participated in real solidarity by challenging the cop’s brutal treatment of migrants, to standing up to fascist threats and violence and challenging the socially constructed archaic idea of borders. No borders have been holding consistent demonstrations against detention centres and actively helping migrants by informing them about their rights and undertaking direct action to further their plight.
This is the real example of making a difference and challenging the European system. Voting in the referendum won’t dismantle fortress Europe. Cutting the fences and making solidarity with the migrants, fighting fascism and racism in all its forms, and building a living egalitarian alternative to Capitalism that is truly international with no place for borders and continents will.