The shock of the Brexit vote one year ago left the world in disarray. I must admit that i took no position on the issue because i thought that it was lose/lose no matter what the outcome.

The EU is an institution responsible for pushing massive austerity on the nations of Europe, this body had only just finished forcing huge cuts of public spending on Greece a few months prior to the vote. It is an institution that protects, first and foremost, the interests of the capitalist class, while squeezing the most vulnerable for everything they have through policies such as austerity. If we consider the rules governing the countries within the European Union, the most striking is that it is against the rules for a nation to nationalize one of its industries. This is a bankers club that enforces their rules of private business and free markets upon the nations that enter into the union.

When i first heard about the referendum, i thought this was a club i would want to leave. A regime of bankers and financers who are running the show across Europe, UK would be smart to get out while they still can.

But as time progressed, it soon became clear that the leave campaign was a hotbed of xenophobic nationalists and right-wing bigots. This was nothing but a reactionary movement against capital flight and the outsourcing of labor. The miners of the north who saw first their right to unionize destroyed and then their jobs shipped overseas, and I do believe that everyone can sympathize with their pain.

However, the answer is not racism and discrimination, these are rather, the divisions that the ruling classes seek to insert within the toiling masses so they never have the ability to become organized. I saw the referendum on Brexit as a ballot to accept or reject the capitalist regime that had made the crisis so hard on the population. This system that bailed out the banks in need of the regular people in need, and forced nations to make massive cuts in public spending. But the shift to make this vote about immigrants and free movement was just nothing that i could agree with at all. It really left a bad taste in my mouth.

Politically, i do still feel quite connected to the Trotskyist tradition that i came into world consciousness believing.

A large part of this doctrine is embracing what is known as the Proletariat International, supporting a worldwide class struggle as a single entity. Rather than looking at borders and nationality as making the differences between people, it is class that is the real differentiation.

The American working class has more in common with the Iraqi working class than with the American elites. While time has passed, and my devotion to Trotsky with it as it has to be accepted that we are living in the age of global capitalism, i still cannot support anything that limits the movement of any persons because of national borders. With the capturing of the leave narrative by white xenophobic nationalists, it soon became clear that if this group won the election, a push to close the borders would be made. Closing borders of any kind and denying refugees the safe haven when fleeing from war zones is just wrong, and I couldn’t embrace any movement that would limit people’s movement. The dilemma was a tough one, embrace authoritarian capitalism or embrace xenophobic nationalism. One cannot be asked to choose between the lesser of those two evils.

The European Union is an institution that cannot keep functioning in the way that it has been. The economic monopoly that it has constructed over the continent is undemocratic and it has failed to help the working and toiling classes.

Instead, it serves the interests of the rich and punishes those who are most vulnerable. A workable globalization cannot be based on economics, but on social movements and social forces. If the forces of labor came together and organized as well as the capitalist class has, the state of the world would be much different. The future of European interaction depends upon a massive transformation of the current institutions. A confederation of European cooperation would fair much better than the current European Union, a system where nation states had economic sovereignty and citizens had the right to cross borders as they please. Closing borders is not the answer, but neither is a capitalist class that borders do not apply to.

The truth about Brexit is that it was a reaction to the elite classes of capital destroying, not only jobs themselves but also, workers rights that once ensured stability in life. In the past, prior to the period of globalization, young people were able to obtain not just jobs, but careers at a very young age. They could get married, start a family, and buy a house all while in their early to mid-20s – All of this while having a career they could depend upon to provide enough money to support all of these developments.

This path is practically impossible today.

To put it plainly, this is just wrong because as the economy develops, technology develops, wealth develops, the life possibilities of those who are making driving these developments should be further developing as well.

The answer is not to blame immigrants or those who are portrayed as ‘stealing jobs’. Simply, it is the capitalists who are making this happen in their increased drive for obtaining profits. Brexit was a rising of the people who expressed their discontent in the only way that was available to them. The left is to blame for not capturing the narrative and making this about the real issues and allowing the right, in the form of UKIP, of leading this campaign. They made it about entitlement, hate, and xenophobia.

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  1. This is not a reasoned analysis. The author admits to being a semi-Trotskyist and then demonstrates this with unsupported assertions. To him it is obvious that the “ruling classes” divide the “toiling masses”, setting them against each other so denying them the ability to organise effectively and challenge the capitalists. He presents no evidence but presumably doesn’t think he has to since it’s all there in Das Capital.
    Yes, Brussels is a great place for corporate lobbying and the EU takes a firm approach to state aid and other market distortions but it’s protectionist on the outside so is not globalist but supra-nationalist. It is also strong on employment rights, in fact it is highly susceptible to pressure groups from all sides. (By the way, how would those miners be faring now when nobody wants their coal?)
    There was and is a great deal more to the Referendum Leave campaign than anti-immigrant and nationalist feeling. You will find many of the arguments here: We (the authors) have a point of view but our analysis can be challenged in detail since we attempt to provide evidence.

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