Saturday, June 25, 2016


Long post but maybe worthwhile for us political junkies.

Why would some left wingers want Britain out of the EU? To answer that we need to understand neo-liberalism. But first let’s see the term used in context:

ALTERNET: “Voting to leave the EU is a no-brainer for the Left. The European Union is remote, racist, imperialist, anti-worker and anti-democratic: It is run by, of, and for the super-rich and their corporations. A future outside austerity and other economic blunders rests on winning the struggle to exit the EU, removing us from its neoliberal politics and institutions. Corporate bureaucrats in Brussels working as agents of the big banks and transnationals’ now exert control over every aspect of our lives. Neoliberal policies and practices dominate the European Commission, European Parliament, European Central Bank, European Court of Justice and a compliant media legitimises the whole conquest. This has left the EU constitution as the only one in the world that enshrines neoliberal economics into its text. Therefore the EU is not—and never can be—either socialist or a democracy.”

What is neoliberalism? Again, If we don’t understand it, we can’t know what’s happening in the world. It’s a Reagan-Thatcher economic doctrine essentially. It’s core beliefs are:

Economy is a self-regulating entity that always balances out.
Government is inefficient and costly. There must be limits on public spending.
Private business is efficient and therefore the best way to solve our problems.
Wealth trickles down from the wealthiest to the middle class and the poor because businesses create jobs that then put more money into the economy leading, in turn, to more jobs.

SOCIALIST WORKER.ORG: The EU uses rule-bound policies--on limits to public spending, on debt as a proportion of GDP, on competition--to limit what national politicians can do at the behest of their electorates. Since the rules do not allow for devaluation or the levels of state expenditure or debt that would have been necessary to stimulate the economy, the only remaining response to the crisis of 2008 was austerity.

“In this context, it is incredible to me how lightly how some Remain supporters are prepared to pass over the experience of Greece. In Yanis Varoufakis's revelations about his encounters with the so-called Troika, it was the two EU institutions--the European Central Bank and the European Commission--not the International Monetary Fund, which were most relentless in pushing for austerity.
“And what did these upstanding upholders of European values tell him? We don't care that that the Greeks voted against austerity. It is no concern of ours if Greek children are suffering from malnutrition. It is irrelevant that Greek hospitals are running out of pain-killing drugs. These are the rules. Get with the program and start cutting pensions, privatizing services and increasing taxes for low-wage earners.”