Brexit

  • One of the myths: Not all people who voted for Brexit are racists, but all racists voted for Brexit; there were a lot of racists for staying the EU
  • 3 honorable positions: not vote for Farage or Cameron, Brexit will increase fascist movement in Britain and make racists feel more comfortable; two, we don’t like the EU, but we’ll stay in; 3rd
  • People were fed up with decisions made by people felt that they weren’t in control; no strong left position created within Britain on Brexit
  • Now is the time to unite against racism and for refugee rights, not for another constitutional provision
  • Julia: Positions on reform, abolishment, or leaving EU
    • First 2 aligned with social movements: Pulse of Europe movement—vague promotion of civil society in a top-down way; made by German PR agencies; idea is the EU isn’t perfect, but to work on lobbying efforts
    • DM25: Movement started by Yannis Varoufakis— countries pre-EU didn’t have that much power, but within the EU countries still don’t have power and there are hegemonic countries that ensure left parties that come to power can’t do big Keynesian projects, for example; ‘pro-democracy progressives’—it’s a bit too large an umbrella idea; migration issue is problematic, so to put in an EU minimum wage that reduces exploitation of inter-EU migrants
      • Can’t do this through traditional policy and governance, etc.—need to use other forms of pressure
      • Don’t want to leave
    • Left Exit Movement: Should leave so that countries can have a wider breadth of options for national economic autonomy; the EU takes away national levels of democracy, and the best way the left can have some political control is still at the nation-state level
    • Melanchon and France Ensoumise: We want a massive amount of reforms, but if these reforms do not occur in the EU, we threaten to leave—concept of disobedience; question about how serious it was, if it was just a bluff, etc.—question is, how can you do that and maintain an idea of the International Left
  • What should Left movements in an international context be doing that have lower margins of maneuverability within the EU?
  • Important to underline that EU≠Europe; European incorporation is much bigger than the EU, for example the Council of Europe which includes other countries like Moldavia
  • Attack-Austria: “The EU is not the answer, but leaving is not an answer”; instead, civil disobedience with the outlines of the rules, to break the treaties, but not militaristically; we have to show that the Die Linke is not a part of the exit movement but to embrace ‘disobedient’ social policy
  • For the Left, we shouldn’t feel anxiety about the rise of the right growing if a country leaves the EU, but to tackle racism, etc. as part of the process of exit
  • With Brexit, no one had any idea how the process would work; EU didn’t have any process for facing crises
  • Europe has always tried to move forward/to progress in unison, national parties that are anti-Europe come back; we are creating another monster (EU) in a world of monsters (Russia, US, China, etc.) that produce crises
  • The big political question of a united Europe is the prime issue of Europe in the next 30 years, and the international left community lacks a serious stance on the question
  • Brexit shows how a small constituency with a serious coherent vision, whether or not it’s stupid, can affect serious transformation; what we need is a coherent vision— a coherent vision of what a constitutional revolution that produces a socialist transformation of Europe, and hence a transformation of the EU
  • The EU is just as much about exclusion as it is about inclusion; the EU needs ‘Fortress Europe’—to bar refugees and migrants’ entry into Europe and Eastern Europe in the EU; it’s a nice idea to take over the EU, but how do we do that? How? We need to fight against the illusion that we either got the EU or the national state through which we can produce socialist reform and transformation of society independently of the EU
  • Fundamentally, the question of the nation-state versus EU, is that structurally putting the necessary reforms in place in the EU; the question should not be about which structure is the better one or the lesser evil, but to look for the spaces that produces societal change, at the national level (and internationally?); the endgame is to be at the level of the EU, but you can’t just jump to that point
  • In order to change the EU, perhaps the focus of the international left should be on building trans-national leftist community structures that can become lily pads and structures of power for a possibility of reforming the EU
  • On taking spaces: What we need to do is simply to take the little spaces that exist, but to create spaces
  • How does the EU prevent the left from acting? Leaving the EU does not guarantee an increase in the powers of the left, despite current restrictions
  • The problem isn’t the EU, but the illusions about the possibilities of the EU; change from within the EU is impossible
  • What the goal of the left as of now is to win power in currently existing structures and institutions; this is of course a long way off; but, it is also undeniable that for EU countries, the left is at odds with the EU—the thing is, interrogating this issue is too early
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