The majority vote by Britons to leave
the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people
refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their
presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking
oligarchy and the media.
This was, in great part, a vote by
those angered and demoralized by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the
"remain" campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in
Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health
Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is
fighting for its life.
A forewarning came when the
Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain's ancient regime and the banking
mafia in Europe, threatened to cut 30 billion from public services if people
voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.
Immigration was exploited in the
campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the
lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition
of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but
at the top. The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East -- first
Iraq, now Syria -- are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United
States, France, the European Union and NATO. Before that, there was the willful
destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the
imposition of Israel.
The pith helmets may have long gone,
but the blood has never dried. A nineteenth century contempt for countries and
peoples, depending on their degree of colonial usefulness, remains a centerpiece
of modern "globalization," with its perverse socialism for the rich and
capitalism for the poor: its freedom for capital and denial of freedom to
labor; its perfidious politicians and politicized civil servants.
All this has now come home to Europe,
enriching the likes of Tony Blair and impoverishing and dis-empowering millions.
On 23 June, the British said no more. The most effective propagandists of
the "European ideal" have not been the far right, but an insufferably patrician
class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members
see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the 21st century zeitgeist, even
What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes
and ancient instincts of their own superiority. In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day
after day, at those who would even consider the EU profoundly undemocratic, a
source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as "neoliberalism."
The aim of this extremism is to
install a permanent, capitalist theocracy that ensures a two-thirds society,
with the majority divided and indebted, managed by a corporate class, and a
permanent working poor. In Britain today, 63 percent of poor children grow up
in families where one member is working. For them, the trap has closed. More
than 600,000 residents of Britain's second city, Greater Manchester, are,
reports a study, "experiencing the effects of extreme poverty" and 1.6 million
are slipping into penury.
Little of this social catastrophe is
acknowledged in the bourgeois controlled media, notably the Oxbridge dominated
BBC. During the referendum campaign, almost no insightful analysis was allowed
to intrude upon the cliched hysteria about "leaving Europe," as if Britain was
about to be towed in hostile currents somewhere north of Iceland.
On the morning after the vote, a BBC
radio reporter welcomed politicians to his studio as old chums. "Well," he said
to "Lord" Peter Mandelson, the disgraced architect of Blairism, "why do these
people want it so badly?" The "these people" are the majority of Britons.
The wealthy war criminal Tony Blair
remains a hero of the Mandelson "European" class, though few will say so these
days. The Guardian once
described Blair as "mystical" and has been true to his "project" of rapacious
war. The day after the vote, the columnist Martin Kettle offered a Brechtian
solution to the misuse of democracy by the masses. "Now surely we can agree
referendums are bad for Britain," said the headline over his full-page piece.
The "we" was unexplained but understood -- just as "these people" is understood.
"The referendum has conferred less legitimacy on politics, not more," wrote
Kettle. "... the verdict on referendums should be a ruthless one. Never
The kind of ruthlessness Kettle longs
is found in Greece, a country now airbrushed. There, they had a referendum and
the result was ignored. Like the Labour Party in Britain, the leaders of the
Syriza government in Athens are the products of an affluent, highly privileged,
educated middle class, groomed in the fakery and political treachery of
The Greek people courageously used the referendum to demand
their government sought "better terms" with a venal status in Brussels that was
crushing the life out of their country. They were betrayed, as the British would
have been betrayed.
On Friday, the Labour Party leader,
Jeremy Corbyn, was asked by the BBC if he would pay tribute to the departed
Cameron, his comrade in the "remain" campaign. Corbyn fulsomely praised
Cameron's "dignity" and noted his backing for gay marriage and his apology to
the Irish families of the dead of Bloody Sunday. He said nothing about Cameron's
divisiveness, his brutal austerity policies, his lies about "protecting" the
Health Service. Neither did he remind people of the war mongering of the Cameron
government: the dispatch of British special forces to Libya and British bomb
aimers to Saudi Arabia and, above all, the beckoning of world war three.
In the week of the referendum vote,
no British politician and, to my knowledge, no journalist referred to Vladimir
Putin's speech in St. Petersburg commemorating the 75th anniversary of
Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June, 1941. The Soviet
victory -- at a cost of 27 million Soviet lives and the majority of all German
forces -- won the Second World War.
Putin likened the current frenzied
build up of NATO troops and war material on Russia's western borders to the
Third Reich's Operation Barbarossa. NATO's exercises in Poland were the biggest
since the Nazi invasion; Operation Anaconda had simulated an attack on Russia,
presumably with nuclear weapons.
On the eve of the referendum, the quisling
secretary-general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, warned Britons they would be
endangering "peace and security" if they voted to leave the EU. The millions
who ignored him and Cameron, Osborne, Corbyn, Obama and the man who runs the
Bank of England may -- just may -- have struck a blow for real peace and democracy