Tory cynics exploit Manchester murders

27th May 2017

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Partners in Crime: Theresa May talks with Donald Trump at the G7 summit in Taormina, Italy 

It was inevitable that the Tories would, in their ususal cynical way, attempt to gain political advantage from the murder of twenty two people at Manchester Arena earlier this week.  The suspension of political campaigning in the General Election has allowed Theresa May, as Prime Minister, an almost free run in the media to express horror and outrage at the murders.  A G7 summit in Italy this week also gave May a further platform on which to strut on the international stage and garner more media headlines.

Not content with this, with the resumption of campaigning yesterday May, and her key Tory henchmen, have launched an extraordinary attack upon Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for suggesting that UK foreign policy ought to be part of the debate around how to address the prevention of future attacks.

Corbyn was quite clear in an interview with Andrew Neil, when he said yesterday,

“The attack on Manchester was shocking, appalling, indefensible, wrong in every possible way.  The parallel that I was drawing this morning was that a number of people ever since the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have drawn attention to the links with foreign policy, including Boris Johnson in 2005, two former heads of MI5, and of course the foreign affairs select committee.”

Corbyn made it clear that the UK interventions had contributed to the creation of “huge ungoverned spaces” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

That those spaces have fuelled the rise of al-Qaeda, Islamic State and contributed to the destabilisation of the Middle East cannot be denied.  The unravelling of the Western imposition of borders from 1916 onwards and a policy of supporting a succession of Western leaning dictators across the region, was never going to be easily managed away.  The fact that it has fallen apart so spectacularly is a reflection of the arrogance of Western foreign policy, in assuming that the leaders of the capitalist world could continue to impose leaders in their own image upon the nations of the Middle East.

The people of those countries have, not surprisingly, wanted to choose their own leaders.  However, the exploitation of those countries over the decades by the West has fuelled the rise of fundamentalist politics as the alternative, with devastating consequences.

Western policy has struck a rock in Syria, with the resistance to external intervention by the Assad government continuing to hold off a coalition of US and UK forces, aided by a range of Arab dictators and Islamic State, circling like vultures to carve up the remains of Syria.  The impact upon the Syrian people has been devastating, the migrant crisis which has resulted from the war in Syria continues to impact upon European borders and there can be little doubt that the whole adventure is a foreign policy disaster.

When Jeremy Corbyn suggests that the war on terror is not working these are the realities that he is drawing attention to.  The calamity in Syria did not just happen of its own volition; the migrant crisis did not happen by accident.  These consequences are all tied up with foreign policy choices and actions.  To make this point, to raise this question, is not to be ‘soft’ on terrorism or in any way attempt to justify the actions of those who engaged in murder in Manchester this week.

So, for Theresa May to respond to Corbyn’s comments with such vitriol is either a sign of wilful misunderstanding or an inability to grasp the complexities of international policy.  It could simply be an attempt to muddy the waters in order to reinforce the ‘strong and stable’ message with those voters who will be swayed by the headlines of the right wing tabloids.  In a press conference at the end of the G7 summit May said,

“I have been here with the G7, working with other international leaders to fight terrorism.  At the same time Jeremy Corbyn has said that terror attacks in Britain are our own fault and he has chosen to do that a few days after one of the worst terrorist atrocities we have experienced in the United Kingdom and I want to make something clear to Jeremy Corbyn and to you: there can never be an excuse for terrorism, there can be no excuse for what happened in Manchester.”

Later in the day Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, jumped on the bandwagon with a flurry of trademark rhetorical bluster, stating that it was,

“…absolutely extraordinary and inexplicable in this week of all weeks that there should be any attempt to justify or to legitimate the actions of the terrorists in this way.”

There is no attempt by the Tories to offer any way of addressing the problems of international terrorism, or any hint that considering the bigger foreign policy picture should be part of the debate.  These are not the actions of serious politicians who want to seriously address the issues facing the people of their country.  They are merely the rhetorical rantings of a narrow class wanting to hang onto and defend their privileges.

Behind the Tory cynicism is one crucial reality.  Their campaign is not working.  Labour is gaining in the polls.  The past week has been a hiatus that the Tories are cynically attempting to turn to their advantage.  There is little time left before the 8th June.  We must use that time to make sure that it is still time enough for voters to see through the Tory smokescreen.  The people of Manchester deserve better; the people of the UK deserve better.

Iranian elections – no chance for change

21st May 2017

Rouhani-victory

Heralded as a reformer by certain sections of the Western press, re-elected Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani (pictured), has spent four years in office without doing a thing to improve the human rights record of the Iranian regime.  Rouhani has done nothing to support the development of trade unions or advance the position of women in Iranian society.  His neo-liberal economic policies have seen inflation rampant while unemployment has soared.

In spite of this, following the outcome of the 19th May elections in Iran, Rouhani has secured a further four years in office.  He did not be stand on a platform of extending the misery of the Iranian people, though this is a likely outcome, but as the man who delivered an end to international sanctions through the 5+1 deal with the United States and European Union.  The deal, whereby international sanctions will be softened in exchange for Iran accepting strict controls on its nuclear energy programme, was barely bedded in when the US electorate returned Donald Trump as president.

Trump has been a vociferous opponent of the deal with Iran and, if his foreign policy concerns were not already overburdened, with airstrikes on Syria, bombing Afghanistan and the developing face off with North Korea, rewriting the terms of the deal may have been further up his agenda.  Which is not to say that Trump will not return to the subject of Iran, no doubt he will.  It is likely to form part of the discussions in his current visit to Saudi Arabia.  Rouhani’s second term may well be shaped by how he deals with the US president over the next four years.

The more conservative elements in the clergy fielded little known Ayotollah Ebrahim Raisi as their election candidate.  Regarded by many as a likely successor to Khamenei, but lacking political experience, the presidency was seen as a possible route to paving the way for Raisi to take over as Supreme Leader.  With Khamenei rumoured to be in the advanced stages of prostate cancer the need to locate a successor may come sooner than anticipated.

Raisi as a candidate was however problematic for the regime, bringing his own baggage.  Although little known as a politician, he does have a reputation as a ‘hanging judge’, particularly in relation to the massacre of thousands of the regime’s opponents in an especially brutal episode in 1988.  The commemoration of the executions, known as the national catastrophe, is a significant event, taking place each September in Iran, and Raisi’s role is well known.

Rouhani securing a second term is based on the fact that the Iranian leadership want to continue the normalisation of diplomatic relations and cooperation with the EU and US.  They want to see the sanctions lifted and thus remove an immediate existential threat to the survival of the regime.  A Rouhani administration is considered to be a grouping of mainly able technocrats, many educated in the UK and US, who are best placed to oversee this process of detente.  The attitude of the Trump administration remains a potential barrier to this strategy.

One certainty is that there is little hope in prospect for the Iranian people from the election outcome.  Negotiations with the government have been ongoing for some time in order to set a national minimum wage, based upon an agreed basket of goods and services.  Over the last year the cost of the basket of goods and services that could provide an acceptable living standard for workers has, according to the National Statistical Centre, risen from $863 to $924 monthly.

The government committee setting the minimum wage in March determined the rate for the current financial year at $287, based on the argument that the employers and the government were not prepared to accept an increase of more than 14.5% on the previous year’s figure.  The basis of the decision was the official inflation rate.  The employers have said that they will not consider a higher rate, in spite of the fact that the official rate of inflation is widely accepted as being well below the actual rate in the economy.  So, Iranian workers will be condemned to another year of poverty.

The regime has been trying to open the labour market to foreign capital.  They argue that the Iranian worker is educated, skilled and is cheapest in comparison with similar countries.  However, the labour law, one of the few legal protections for Iranian workers, is an obstacle to inward investment as far as the government is concerned.

Since his election to the presidency in June 2013 Hassan Rouhani’s government has attempted to persuade the parliament to change the law.  Trade unions and workers organisations organised a mass demonstration outside the parliament on 15th November as the law makers were due to start their work.  Under pressure the parliament sent back the proposed legislation to the government.  However, given the outcome of the presidential election, there can be little doubt that the government will once again try to reverse one of the few legal protections afforded to Iranian workers.

The rate of unemployment is a significant factor in generating discontent amongst the people of Iran and in particular the younger population.  While education outcomes remain generally positive in the country the likelihood of finding gainful employment is clearly diminishing.

International factors have no doubt played some part in determining the outcome of elections in Iran.  It may be however, that internal factors will yet play a significant role, as protests against the government become an increasing feature of Iranian politics following the election outcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the many, not the few

Corbyn manifesto

 Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn – thumbs up for a radical manifesto

13th May 2017

The leaking of a draft of the Labour Party manifesto has been the main focus of media interest this week. Much BBC time has inevitably been taken up by the source of the leak and the divisions within the Party that this illustrates. Fuel to the ongoing BBC narrative. The real news however is that Labour have come up with a manifesto which puts before the British people the most radical programme for change in a generation.

Whatever the source of the leak, or the BBC spin put upon it, the raft of changes proposed by Labour should be the main message which emerges from the manifesto, which was confirmed at a Labour National Executive meeting on Friday.

While the manifesto will be formally launched next Tuesday it is already clear that Labour will set out some key promises including:-

  • The abolition of university tuition fees
  • A boost to infrastructure investment
  • Renationalisation of the railways
  • Increase in the minimum wage to £10 per hour
  • The creation of local energy providers
  • New Council house building
  • Investment in the NHS
  • Investment in school budgets
  • A comprehensive defence review

The main source of funding will be from an increase in corporation tax to 26%, from its current tax haven level of 17%, way below the European average. Further tax on the top 5% of earners will also help spread the cost of funding public services more fairly and shift the burden from the poor to those most able to pay. Commenting on the manifesto after the meeting Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn said,

“Our manifesto will be an offer and we believe the policies in it are very popular – an offer that will transform the lives of many people in our society and ensure that we have a government in Britain on 8th June that will work for the many, not the few, and give everyone in our society a decent opportunity and a decent chance, so nobody’s ignored, nobody’s forgotten and nobody’s left behind.”

The Tories and the usual media outlets have wasted no time in attempting to trash the Labour programme, with a particular emphasis upon defence. In spite of Labour policy being in favour of the renewal of Trident, a significant weak spot in the programme, the media continue to press about Corbyn’s personal antipathy to the use of nuclear weapons. Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, has even gone as far as to suggest that Corbyn is a pacifist, an allegation which Corbyn refutes and one for which there is no substantive evidence.

As Corbyn himself has pointed out however, if thinking twice about the indiscriminate destruction of the lives of millions of people and the destruction of large parts of the planet because of pushing the nuclear button is an issue, then he would think twice.

The dynamism and hope of the Labour programme contrasts sharply with the colourless and anodyne approach of the Tories. Hoping that the “strong and stable” leadership of Theresa May is their best bet, the Tories are stacking all of their eggs in that particular basket, attempting to run a presidential style campaign focussing on personality rather than policy options.

May’s lack of personality and her inability to think on her feet under questioning may yet undermine the Tories approach. However, they will hope that the media focus on the character assassination of Corbyn will prove enough of a distraction to take the spotlight from the evident weaknesses of their own candidate. So far the Tory campaign has been significantly policy light, with “strong and stable” leadership being their main focus and delivering on Brexit their main objective.

Labour’s best platform in decades is not helped by anti-Corbyn elements such as Ben Bradshaw suggesting that the focus of the campaign should be to ensure as strong an opposition as possible, or Deputy Leader Tom Watson suggesting that May is heading for a Thatcher style landslide.

The official launch of the manifesto next week should be the focus for a united push to unseat the Tories and give Labour a chance to begin the process of putting the UK on a different path, one which truly will benefit the many, not the few.

 

Make sure the people prevail

23rd April 2017

CorbynRally 

Photo: Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour’s election campaign

Ironically, the snap UK General Election called by Prime Minister, Theresa May, last week seems to have caught everyone off guard, except the Labour Party leadership.  In a series of eye catching policy announcements Jeremy Corbyn had already outlined Labour’s position on a range of issues from free schools meals to housing, transport policy to the arts, the NHS to the environment.  An emerging manifesto, just at the right time.

http://www.jeremyforlabour.com/policies

Corbyn has never equivocated on any of the issues which will no doubt form part of the manifesto once finalised.  An avowed internationalist, peace campaigner and advocate of the rights of the working class, against those of the rich and the monopolies, there is no question that Corbyn will make a strong pitch to put the needs of working people at the heart of Labour’s election campaign.  In his first speech of the campaign Corbyn made clear the scale of the challenge for Labour,

“It’s the establishment versus the people, and it’s our job to make sure the people prevail.”

The extent to which the Labour campaign will be about those on the outside attempting to break the mould of UK politics was further reinforced when Corbyn emphasised the scale of the task faced in tackling both the political establishment and the UK media,

“It is the establishment that complains I don’t play by the rules: by which they mean their rules.  We can’t win, they say, because we don’t play their game.

“And in a sense, the establishment and their followers in the media are quite right.  I don’t play by their rules.  And if a Labour Government is elected on 8th June, then we won’t play by their rules either!”

In one sense, this is an election that Corbyn cannot lose.  After two years of a war of attrition against the backstabbers inside the Labour Party he finally has the chance to cut loose and put a progressive programme in front of the British people.  As Brian Topping, North Shields succinctly puts it in recent correspondence to the Morning Star,

“For the first time in a generation the Left faces a general election which is not only about keeping the Tories out but is also a campaign for a socialist alternative.

Jeremy Corbyn’s “not playing by their rules” speech may not be a socialist programme but it is in every sense a call for fundamental progressive change.  If the Tories are defeated and Corbyn’s approach implemented, mobilization for socialist advance will be on the cards.”

For this generation in the Labour Movement the 2017 General Election is, in many senses, their Miner’s Strike moment.  The historic 1984/85 strike for pits, jobs and communities had the establishment and the media ranged against it.  All the forces of the state were either deployed during the strike, or ready to intervene should the NUM have been victorious.  So far, so predictable.

The real Achilles heel for the NUM however was the weakness and vacillation of sections of the Labour Movement and, in particular, the leadership of the Labour Party under Neil Kinnock.  When the battle was truly joined, and a chance presented itself to inflict a blow against the British ruling class, many on the Labour side not only went missing in action but actively collaborated to undermine the NUM and its leadership.

It may not be politic of Corbyn to say so publicly, as he seeks to maximise Party unity in the campaign period, but he will know that he is facing the same struggle.  Backstabbers in some constituencies have already said they will stand down, in an attempt to create an air of crisis.  All the better for those prepared to take up the fight and provide the bottle needed in the event of a Labour victory.

The Tory line that without Theresa May in No.10 all that will be left is a “coalition of chaos”, constituting the Labour Party and SNP, was trotted out early on and will no doubt be a constant refrain throughout the campaign.  Corbyn’s leadership credentials will be the subject of rigorous vilification and contrasted, no doubt with BBC collusion, with the more ‘statesmanlike’ Theresa May, who will be playing by the correct rules!

However, as Ronan Bennett pointed out last September (The Guardian 16/09/16) Corbyn has shown clear leadership on all of the key questions of the past thirty years.  Corbyn voted against the bombing of Libya, which has resulted in disaster in that country.  Corbyn voted against the deployment of UK air power over Syria, he voted against the disastrous intervention in Iraq in 2003.  As Bennett quite rightly states,

“It is all very well to say, years after the event, that you believed the prime minister when he said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, or that bombing Gaddafi would bring peace and democracy to Libya.  But what counts is what you do in the moment.  What counts is where your vote goes.  That’s when you get the chance to make the right decision.”

Leadership is not an issue for Corbyn.  He has shown leadership and can stick to his principles.  The issue is for his opponents.  A victory for Corbyn might just make life uncomfortable for them.  That, not their new found love of the people, is their real concern.

 

 

 

 

Mélenchon – a step forward

17th April 2017

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 Photo: Jean Luc Mélenchon – offering hope for France?

The upsurge in support for left-wing candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, in the French presidential election, is an illustration of the fact that so called populism is not the preserve of the right-wing.  In many polls the race is too close to call, with four candidates positioned to be in the final two on 7th May, when first round voting is concluded on 23rd April.  Not long ago the contest was regarded as a straight battle between variations on the right, involving official Les Républicains candidate, François Fillon and far right demagogue, Marine Le Pen of the Front National.

The ground first shifted with the rise of centrist, Emmanual Macron, and his self styled En Marche! movement, initially popular with the middle classes as a pro-EU alternative to Le Pen but increasingly looking like a victory of style over substance.  Macron benefitted from the Fillon campaign having to fight a financial scandal and for a while looked like the best option to stop Le Pen.  A recent Le Monde poll however shows support for Le Pen and Macron neck and neck, at 22% apiece, Fillon on 19% and Mélenchon edging into third place with 20% of the potential vote.

These figures must be seen in the context of one third of the 47 million strong French electorate being undecided and a further 30% claiming such disillusionment that they will abstain.  Mélenchon, the candidate of La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), has been able to tap into the disillusionment with the establishment which is common across the EU and communicate policies which appeal to the traditional working class base of the Left.

Mélenchon proposes to raise the minimum wage and the salaries of civil servants.  He is proposing to limit fat-cat pay by fixing maximum salaries and imposing a 90% tax on those earning over €400,000 per annum.  He is proposing that France quit NATO, quit the IMF and quit the World Bank, all instruments of failing globalised capitalism.  Crucially, Mélenchon is proposing to renegotiate EU treaties and put them to a referendum, aiming to break the power of the corporate and banking grip on the European Union.  The rise of the Mélenchon campaign has been based on a programme of traditional mass rallies across France, attracting thousands, and a bypassing of the traditional anti-left media through a direct blog found at http://www.melenchon-2017.fr/pages/blog-melenchon

This combination of modern and traditional methods of reaching the electorate has seen Mélenchon rise from a written off no-hoper to the only credible option for the left, easily bypassing official Socialist Party candidate Benoît  Hamon, floundering in the shadow of the failed presidency of  François Hollande.  Mélenchon also has the support of the French Communist Party (PCF) thus ensuring additional organisational strength to the campaign.

The outcome of the French election will have a profound impact upon the future of the European Union and Europe itself, as well as France.  A Mélenchon victory could see the beginnings of a progressive future for Europe, released from the corporate grip of the EU and working towards a Europe of the people’s.  Such an outcome will not be achieved without a fight but Mélenchon offers the prospect of taking a small step in the right direction.

Shadows and Fog

14th April 2017

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 Pic: Trump announces air strike on Syria

Media coverage of international events over the past week has been an object lesson in obfuscation.  Much of what is going on is confusing.  As far as the West is concerned, in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad is the bad guy.  Over the past five years, a loose coalition of NATO and unsavoury Arab dictators, from Saudi Arabia to Qatar, has poured resources into unseating Assad, to no avail.

Quite whom they are actively supporting is not entirely clear.  The West appear to think that there is a Western orientated liberal opposition in waiting, who would step in should Assad fall.  Experience from the debacles in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya would seem to suggest otherwise.  None has achieved any significant degree of stability since Western intervention.  None shapes up as a Western style liberal democracy.

The Arab dictatorships appear more inclined to arm the jihadi insurgent element of the opposition, whether that is al-Qaeda or Islamic State, as long as they dislodge Assad and minimise the influence of their main enemy in the region, Iran.  Although having one foot in the West, as a NATO member, Turkey would also appear to subscribe to this view of the world.

Then there is Russia, the only foreign power actually to have been invited to intervene in Syria, by the internationally recognised government of Assad.  The Russians have their own agenda, to gain influence in the oil rich Middle East, as well as defeating the medievalism of Islamic State.  Their intervention has seen Islamic State pushed back and the opposition in Syria dwindle.  The main Russian objective is influence in the region which, at the moment, means supporting Assad but he could easily be jettisoned for an alternative, if Russia could maintain its foothold.

With Russian military support, the Syrian government has increasingly been on the front foot in recent months.  Islamic State, in particular, and the fragments of alternative opposition have been pushed back.  Quite why the Assad government would choose such a moment to launch a chemical weapons attack on its own people is a mystery.  It may come down to the assessment of one US diplomat, who stated, “who knows why evil men do evil things?” but international politics is usually more complex.  The Syrians claim that in a legitimate strike against insurgents they hit a chemical weapons dump, which released the gases.

The West rejected this explanation and, without any actual evidence or internationally recognised investigation, not to mention any international agreement or discussion, the United States launched a missile attack against a Syrian air base.  Bizarrely this has resulted in Western liberals vehemently opposed to President Trump on all questions, applauding the US action.  Right wingers such as Nigel Farage have been critical of US intervention, as going against Trump’s stated America First position.

There is a strong body of opinion that the US strike was a one off warning shot, not likely to result in US intervention on the ground.  The fear of a proxy or even direct conflict with Russia seems to be enough to hold the US at bay for now.  Trump has described relations between the world’s two major superpowers as being at “an all time low”, a position it would be assumed that he would want to rectify.

However, given the chaotic nature of policy development in the United States, and the narcissism of its Commander in Chief, anything is possible.

 

 

 

 

Brexit and the dissolving world order

31st March 2017

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Photo: UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, signs up to article 50

It is fashionable in certain circles to think that the UK vote to leave the European Union is the cause of a variety of ills in the world.  The election of Donald Trump as US President has been laid at the door of Brexit, and claimed by right wing apologists, such as Nigel Farage.  The possibility of a Marine Le Pen presidency in France is blamed upon Brexit.  The possibility of Alternativ fur Deutschland (AFD) doing well in German elections later this year is flagged as another example of the spreading Brexit contagion.

The truth however is that Brexit is not the cause; it is one symptom of the changing pattern of alliances in the capitalist world.  It is a consequence of there being no visible alternative model to capitalism, on any significant scale, since the break up of the Soviet Union.  China does present a non-imperialist alternative to post-Soviet capitalism but retains a decidedly nationalist focus in terms of economic development.  Others outside the imperialist orbit such as Cuba and VietNam cannot present economic strength on the scale of the Soviet Union, while North Korea functions as a form of militarist nationalism, which the Chinese have to keep in check.

The emerging threat and opposition of the various strands of Islamic fundamentalism either function as capitalist economies with an Islamic face, such as Turkey, or are more brutal forms of military and ideological dictatorship such as Pakistan and Iran.  The Gulf states such as Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are essentially feudal oligarchies to whom the West can sell weapons while pretending that propping up such dictatorships leaves them without blood on their hands.

In South and Latin America the struggle led by Cuba, taken up at various times by Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador and others, to establish an alternative to US post-colonial domination, has been thwarted at various times by US intervention, either directly or in support of reactionary opposition.  The struggle continues but there is no doubt that the tendency of US foreign policy under Trump will once again shift towards the concept of South America being the US ‘backyard’ in political and economic terms.

The narrative of much of the twentieth century in Europe was to move towards greater support, co-operation and understanding amongst people’s, a narrative which had its roots in nineteenth century socialism and the spread of Marxist ideas.  The defeat of fascism in the Second World War meant such ideas were in the ascendancy across much of Eastern Europe with state ownership of key services and industries common.  Nationalisation of key utilities and industries was common in Western Europe too and the establishment of a National Health Service in the UK marked a significant shift in social policy.

The struggle for national liberation across Asia, Africa and Latin America meant that emerging economies were no longer prepared to accept their roles as mineral providers for capitalism but wanted to take control of their own resources.  It is not surprising that many of these economies leaned towards the Soviet model, given the extent to which their economies had been plundered by capitalism.

Inevitably, it was not a smooth ride.  The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was formed in 1948 to give a cover to Western intervention across the globe.  United States interventions in Korea and VietNam, the latter in particular resulting in the US retreating ignominiously, were evidence that imperialism would not give up without a fight.  The CIA backed coup d’etat in Chile, interventions in Grenada and Nicaragua, the UK adventure in the Falklands, were all part of a pattern of capitalist resistance.  Ongoing support for the apartheid dictatorship in South Africa and the propping up of a variety of petty tyrants across the globe were also used to entrench the capitalist order.

The late 1980’s saw the stepping up of pressure from the Reagan administration in the United States, backed by the Thatcher government in the UK, and a weakening of ideological understanding, represented by the doctrine of perestroika, on the part of the leadership of the Soviet Union.  It was a toxic mix.

The defeat inflicted upon the Soviet Union in 1991 was the hammer blow to progressive forces across the world.  Support and solidarity, both in economic and military terms, had been an integral part of the relationship of the Soviet Union to its allies and to national liberation movements.  That support, along with the technical and scientific expertise the Soviet Union provided to many emerging economies, rapidly disappeared as the twenty first century came into view.

For the twenty first century, the narrative has shifted significantly.  Individualism, nationalism and xenophobia are gaining the upper hand.  The internationalism and co-operation between people’s, which forms the basis of a socialist world view, has been appropriated in a diluted form by the leaders of the EU, and those in the UK Remain camp, who see the European Union as an internationalist project.  As internationalism goes, it is a pale shadow.  There are those on the Left shedding more tears for the prospect of leaving the EU than they ever did for the defeat of the Soviet Union, an event that many of them applauded.

Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, and all of the associated ills the Remainers wring their hands over, are simply the sound of chickens coming home to roost.  Capitalism will always be inexorable in its efforts to defeat socialism and socialist ideas.  In the process it will fight battles within its own boundaries as competing powers struggle to gain the upper hand and dominate markets.  The process is endemic; capitalism is inherently competitive.  To believe that the European Union, or any other coalition or capitalist alliance, could last forever is nothing short of foolhardy.

Unless we cut off its head, the snake will eat itself.  There is no alternative but to go back to basics and renew the struggle to bring the people’s of the world together, not just the leaders of their respective nations.  Until that becomes a realistic prospect, Brexit is neither here nor there.  It is certainly not the cause of the world’s ills.