Brexit: imperialist Britain faces existential crisis


We are reproducing here an interesting article on the probable demise of “imperialist Britain” as a result of the Brexit crisis.There is no doubt that the whole space of Western Europe and North America, including its states and the EU are imperialistic formations, in both economic and military ways.
This imperialism has to be resisted and if possible defeated internationally. But, at the same time, one has to propose something of an alternative to their peoples. “Chaos among the enemies” is not the solution, because it will push the popular classes of the West towards supporting reactionary “solutions”, that is to a sui generis repetition of the Nazi project, to War with the rest of the planet.
The West is not maybe able to win such a war, but humanity, both its North and its South, can very much loose it.
The destruction of nation – states or of the EU is not good or bad in itself (look to the example of USSR). It is progressive only in the context of a struggle for a better European order.


Brexit: imperialist Britain faces existential crisis

By John Smith
Jun 24, 2019

This article was first published in Nuestra America XXI #31 (Spanish). The following is a translation provided by the author (with slight modifications).

“In capitalist society… democracy is curtailed, wretched, false, a democracy only for the rich, for the minority” – V.I. Lenin. Westminster, the so-called ‘Mother of Parliaments’, perfectly illustrates the truth of this. Parliament is paralysed because the ruling class is hopelessly divided. The result—an hilarious farce;the whole world is laughing, and slapping its forehead in astonishment. A toxic brew of humiliation, seething factionalism and panic incites politicians to increasingly irrational behaviour and fuels civil wars within the two functionally capitalist and imperialist parties that have dominated British politics for more than a century: the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.

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This article briefly examines three aspects of the Brexit crisis: why it threatens to accelerate Britain’s decline; why it portends the demise of the ‘social contract’ that binds workers in Britain into an alliance with their imperialist rulers; why it hastens the reunification of Ireland and the breakup of Britain. Put these together, and it becomes clear that imperialist Britain truly does face an existential crisis.

Brexit Britain, adrift in the Atlantic Ocean

Britain is a declining and increasingly decrepit imperialist power. The plutocrats that rule this country sit on a vast global empire of wealth accumulated from centuries of plunder. Their foreign direct investments are second-only in size to those owned by US capitalists. Relative to the size of its economy, Britain’s banking ‘industry’ is enormous. Matt Taibbi’s famous description of Goldman Sachs—“a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”—is an even more appropriate description for the City of London.

Britain zealously hangs on to its seat on the UN Security Council and to its nuclear ‘deterrent’, yet the time has long passed since its navy ruled the waves and its industries ruled world markets. To protect their wealth and power, Britain’s ruling families need allies, as well as the continuing patriotic support of its citizens. They are deeply divided about how to achieve these objectives.

Their strategic dilemma is acute: should they throw in their lot with European imperialists, or should they count on their ‘special relationship’ with the USA? Both options are fraught with risk: the EU (European Union) is being torn apart by its own uncontainable contradictions, while the USA, Trump or no Trump, is guided not by sentiment but by ruthless pursuit of its own capitalists’ interests.

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The Brexiters’ fantasy of a virile Britain freed from the straitjacket of EU regulations—many of which, e.g. those relating to working hours, health and safety, environmental protection etc, are designed to prevent capitalists in one member nation from unfairly competing with others—are crashing against harsh reality: Britain’s dependence on the European market compels it to maintain close alignment with the EU, whether or not it is formally a member. But if it is ceases to be a member of the EU, it will have no seat at the table where decisions are made. And if it isn’t sitting at the table, it will be on the menu.