Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 49 Number 13, June 22, 2019 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Third Anniversary of the Brexit Referendum

Necessity to Reject the Attempts to Antagonistically Divide the Polity

It is three years since the Referendum on whether to Remain in or Leave the European Union took place on June 23, 2016.

The crisis in the political system and the contradictions among the ruling elite that the Referendum exacerbated has become very open in these three years. Theresa May's handling of the situation has only deepened the political crisis and demonstrated the contempt of the sections of the ruling elite for the concerns of the people and their opposition to austerity.

At the same time, contradictions within the EU are sharpening, notably between France and Germany, who dominate the European project. They are increasingly at loggerheads, and internally increasingly in turmoil.

As regards the stand of the EU leaders on the Withdrawal Agreement or the prospect of a further Brexit extension after October 31, the European Council summit which closed on June 21, briefly threw cold water on any change.

"I am afraid that you (the UK) are wasting time. I am not happy with this, but I have to accept political reality," European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters at his post-summit press conference.

The summit had been earmarked as an opportunity to discuss progress at the near halfway point of the six-month extension secured by Theresa May. In the event, leaders spent only ten minutes discussing Brexit, sources told the website Euractiv.

"On Brexit, there is nothing new because we repeat unanimously: there will be no renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker added.

The Irish premier, Leo Varadkar, told reporters on Thursday night that there was "enormous hostility" among European leaders to any further Brexit extension, adding that it would only be considered to allow a general election or a second referendum to be held.

The unseemly scramble for leader of the Conservative Party, and hence Prime Minister, is demonstrating that the crisis is not going to be resolved within the parameters of a cartel party system in which the people have no say over the decisions which affect their lives. Objectively, the way out of the crisis is the one which genuinely empowers the people to have a say in those decisions. The peoples of Britain from all walks of life have to unite to change the situation where the powers-that-be ignore them when they speak in their own name.

The conclusion must be drawn that the Westminster system is anachronistic, incorrigibly dysfunctional and in need of a fundamental re-haul so that those elected answer to the people, not a relic from medieval times. Current arrangements, which are the product of the English Civil War 1642-51, and which created a state to combine medieval privileges, a definition of rights based on ownership of property, and of sovereignty based on territoriality, are not conducive to the conditions today, which have surpassed those limitations. Who does Parliament represent in this current civil war raging in Britain? Why would the English, Scottish and Welsh working class side pro or con any of the contending interests rather than speak in their own name and elaborate their own interests?

Within this discussion, it has to be recognised that the political set-up is one in which the people are not empowered to implement or even arrive at decisions which affect society, and that the economic set-up is dictated by narrow private interests. Deal-making has given rise to many proposed variants of Remain/Leave, whether it be a Customs Union, full membership of the EU, exiting on WTO rules, or some other proposition, many of which refer to institutions and arrangements which are themselves racked in crisis and irrationality. The set-up of a party-in-power and a party-in-opposition is not capable of negotiating anything because of the absence of a pro-social aim. Cabinet government is dysfunctional and with it the exercise of prerogative powers. Parliamentary votes have ceased to mean anything at all. To even try to give a rational explanation to irrational proceedings is to become irrational oneself. To hold up the Westminster system of rule as the paradigm of democracy and a civilised world is to not see that the sun has already set and preparations must be made for a new dawn.

As passions are stoked up, and especially as the frustration and disillusion with the impasse over Brexit take hold, how the working people work out how they can intervene in the situation in a manner which favours them continues to be key to the outcome. The split in the polity when the people feel unable to control the course of events does not favour their sorting out what is what. The working class and people must reject the attempts to divide them into two antagonistic camps.

The polity needs a mechanism to resolve the interests of individuals, collectives and countries, harmonise them and sort them out, instead of sections of the people being at each other's throats claiming that justice and progress rests with their side.

New arrangements are required. How else can such issues as international trade on the basis of mutual benefit, the respect for the sovereignty of all nations, the settling of international issues through peaceful means, the implementation of the rule of law - how else can they be achieved?

The people must resist the temptation to make Remainers or Leavers into things rather than human beings with their own rights and interests. What the people of Britain sorely need is to be the decision-makers, empowered to set the direction of the economy and politics of the society. This is the common issue facing the whole polity and indicates what perspective to take in providing a solution to the Brexit crisis which favours the people. New forms are required, forms which translate the people's voices into the determining factor.

For a Solution to the Brexit Crisis Which is Forged by the People!
For a Solution in Which the Peoples Speak in their Own Name!


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