Tendance Coatesy

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Labour and Brexit: Corbyn Promises “Credible” Leave Option in Referendum.

with 46 comments

 

Image result for Another europe is possible 2019 protest

Stop Boris, Stop Brexit!

The latest Labour announcement  on Brexit.

 

And here:

On Labour List  Sienna Rodgers says,

. Labour’s current position was summed up by Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the TUC congress 2019 yesterday: “And in that election, we will commit to a public vote with a credible option to leave and the option to remain.” No more, no less. That is pretty straight-forward, but it does leave a couple of key questions unanswered. What is the credible Leave option? And would Labour back Remain in that referendum?

A “credible Leave option” means no deal wouldn’t be on the ballot paper. That in itself does attract some criticism, because it excludes a position held by a significant chunk of voters, and it has led a number of Labour MPs opposing a referendum. (They argue that a public vote could not include such a destructive option, but couldn’t be legitimate without it either.) On the whole, however, Labour is agreed on that front.

The debate that has sprung up recently is whether Labour would renegotiate and establish its own Leave option, or just stick Theresa May’s deal on the ballot paper – as some interpreted John McDonnell as saying last weekend.

On the second question regarding Labour’s referendum position, the unions are winning the argument so far. They want the official stance to be dependent on the quality of the deal negotiated, not confirmed before the election, as set out after a crunch meeting in July. McDonnell, Thornberry, Diane Abbott, Keir Starmer and other shadow cabinet members have pledged to campaign for Remain in the referendum, but as a whole Labour hasn’t nailed its colours to the mast. As yet, the ‘1975’ approach of allowing Labour figures to campaign as they wish hasn’t been ruled out either. This could all change at conference, however, when members may be able to force the leadership into unequivocally backing Remain – even against its own deal.

For ‘the unions’ read UNITE, advised by the pro-Brexit Andrew Murray.

The Straight Left recent member of the Communist Party of Britain, has influence not just on UNITE’s ageing boss, Len McCluskey but on Corbyn – his expertise won by supporting Russia’s President Putin no doubt indispensable on how to negotiate disputes between nation states.

A good guide to the thinking behind the turn to a ‘credible’ Leave option can be seen in Murray’s house journal, the Morning Star.

Its  editorial on the same speech (Corbyn’s speech shows where Labour’s true priorities should lie) says,

The permanent bureaucracy of the EU seems keen to work with Britain’s Remain-at-all-costs crowd to annul the referendum result.

..

some see Britain’s never-ending Brexit saga as a source of further destabilisation they could do without.

The above side-show, the “melodramatic spectacle” of left wing MPs protesting against prorogation, and Labour support for a referendum, stands in the way of a united front from below,

Labour’s unhelpful insistence on rerunning the referendum may be an obsolete policy by election time. Whether it is or isn’t, the labour movement mobilisation against Boris Johnson’s government should build throughout September and aim at a huge demonstration for democracy outside the Conservative Party conference, focused on forcing an election to address the catastrophic social, economic and environmental crises afflicting our country and the world.

This hope, barely hiding annoyance at their own inability to offer any “credible” Leave politics, is followed by this call.

A purge is needed to make the Party stronger. The Boycott Labour (in this year’s European elections) Morning Star advises,

Constituency parties meeting to discuss trigger ballots against serial saboteurs such as deputy leader Tom Watson must carry on even as we gear up for a looming battle with the Conservatives.

Counterfire adds an attack on John McDonnell.

(The Boris burnout – weekly briefing)

if, however, it declares as a Remain party in full and puts ‘country before party’, in John McDonnell’s unfortunate phrase, if it seems indistinguishable from the ‘extreme centre’, then it will lose.

Engaged in this united front from below, the Shut Down The Tories – Protest the Tory Party Conference (I assume they mean against) organised by  The People’s Assembly Against Austerity,  the two Brexit Bolshevik forces, and their red-brown allies, have yet to offer a “credible Leave” option.

None whatsoever.

There is only one actually existing Brexit, the Johnson one and no effort to conjure up a jobs first, People’s Brexit, run by Care Bears, has any credibility.

It is hard not to agree with comrade Paul Mason:

A return to the folk politics of the old anti-austerity protests cannot avoid the clash between internationalists who wish to Remain and Transform and the Lexit Left.

There is no ‘credible’ Leave option for the left, only for the Trump backing deregulating backing fractions of capitalism and their national populist allies, including the red-brown front.

Will Labour come out clearly for Remain?

The row is just developing.

Brexit: Tom Watson to break Labour’s uneasy truce

Deputy leader will argue party must ‘unambiguously and unequivocally’ back remain

The struggle continues…

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 11, 2019 at 11:55 am

46 Responses

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  1. “”At the other end of the scale, at a meeting between Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and TULO — the trade union-Labour co-ordinating group — in Brighton, Unite’s Len McCluskey pushed for the party to commit to a three to six month-long attempt to negotiate its own Brexit deal following a Labour election victory. McCluskey is said to have demanded that shadow cabinet members stop declaring their support for Remain in a second referendum, calling it a breach of discipline.”

    “This, for me, is the only way Labour can give itself a chance in the coming election. Because Johnson’s coup has changed the game. We are no longer in a battle between Leave and Remain. The battle is to stop Britain becoming a colony of Trump’s America. If Remain loses the referendum at least a hard Brexit, with a Canada-style free trade agreement, is avoided.

    The labour movement does not need the party conference to be a showdown between the pro-Remain and union bureaucrats inspired by the Morning Star. It needs to be a shop window for the party’s offer on social justice and democracy. I believe the above compromise could be agreed and composited before a single pint of Guinness is poured among the delegates arriving in Brighton.”

    “For it to work, one important person has to buy it, and that is Jeremy Corbyn. He is now almost alone among the shadow cabinet’s big hitters in failing to declare that he would personally vote Remain in a second vote. That can’t go on.

    Once it’s clear there will be no “jobs-first Brexit”, no unicorn deal, there is no further excuse for Corbyn sitting on the fence. Labour members will want to know where their leader would stand in a second referendum — and the issue is suddenly non-theoretical.”

    Andrew Coates

    September 11, 2019 at 4:26 pm

  2. In October 2018, Andrew Murray argued for Labour to back May’s Deal to stop No Deal Brexit. To be fair, I think this is a credible position if, like Mr Murray, you supported Brexit and oppose having a People’s Vote.

    In which case, if Labour aren’t going to back a ref before a GE (my preference), why not just say we’ll have a vote between the “credible leave option” of May’s Deal and Remain?

    The answer being that if it were May’s Deal vs Remain, Corbyn and Labour would be under great pressure to back Remain against a “Tory Brexit”.

    Instead now we will have a policy that Labour can get a “better Deal” than May’s. The only way this could happen would be possible is if Labour stated they would aim for being in the Single Market and Customs Union (Norway Plus) which would mean no hard border and the smooth continuation of the present supply chains.

    Of course this is anathema to those in Labour who oppose freedom of movement. And that’s why it looks like Labour will be saddled with another farcical Cake and Eat It Brexit Policy (à la “exact same benefits”) which will be torn apart in the GE.

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2018/10/how-end-austerity-presents-challenge-labour-party#amp

    John Rogan

    September 11, 2019 at 4:56 pm

  3. Corbyn has sealed Labour’s fate. It looked like Labour was dropping its reactionary pro-Brexit stance, but at the last gasp, Corbyn has reinstated it with a vengeance. Not only is his position reactionary, but it and the acrobatics that other Labour leaders have performed around it are nonsensical.

    Firstly, Brexit is a reactionary nationalist agenda. Secondly, Labour’s “Jobs First Brexit” is a fantasy. Labour before or after a General Election cannot negotiate such a deal. So, however much Corbyn and others may promise to negotiate this “Jobs First Brexit” it is not on offer. They could come back only with May’s Deal, or a deal – which May’s Deal ends up in – in which Britain is in the Customs Union, Single Market, and subject to the ECJ etc., but with no seat at the table. What sane government would want to be in that position of all the costs and responsibilities and none of the rights? The only other alternative is indeed to come back with the option of No Deal. So Labour would be in a position having wasted all that time and effort putting to the voters a referendum in which the actual choice was No Deal or No Brexit.

    But, even if Labour could negotiate some kind of deal it will not be as good a deal as currently exists. Labour’s position already tacitly accepts that because Labour’s nonsensical position is to spend all this time negotiating a deal – and almost certainly failing for the reasons set out above – only then to have said in advance that it will recommend to voters that they reject the deal they have painstakingly negotiated, in favour of voting for remain anyway! This is totally bizarre, and what comes from opportunist politics as an alternative to putting forward a principled position that may not be popular amongst some of your voters.

    Even worse for Labour, in such a situation would be if voters voted for No Deal, because Labour would then be in the invidious position of having to implement a reactionary No Deal decision, because that is what voters had vote for in a referendum that Labour had insisted be held! Tom Watson’s position and that of the Blair-rights and PV’ers is even worse, because by holding a referendum first, it means that Johnson would dictate the terms of the referendum. In the worst case, then, Johnson having used all of the advantages at his disposal to get a No Deal result, would then lose in an election to Labour, who would then have to implement that No Deal decision.

    But, the likelihood is that, Johnson will resign come October 19th. advising the Queen to call on Corbyn to form a government. Labour has disintegrated within its own ranks already. The chance that the Liberals and others would give Corbyn backing as PM is highly unlikely as they scramble for their own party advantages. Its highly likely that 14 days after Johnson resigns the rabble alliance will have proved incapable of forming a sustainable government, and so a General Election will be held anyway.

    In that election Johnson has already carved out the Tories winning strategy. The Tories on 30% are likely to hoover up the remaining Brexit party votes, whilst Corbyn’s pro-Brexit stance will, as we speak be sending Labour’s Remain supporting voters scurrying in the direction of the Liberals, Greens, SNP and Plaid. The split Remain vote, means that Labour will lose large numbers of marginal seats, as its vote goes to these other parties, whilst the Tories using a core vote strategy will win large numbers of Labour marginals, with as little as 30-35% of the vote share.

    A more truly abysmal political strategy it is hard to imagine any Labour politician adopting than the one tht Corbyn has followed for the last three years.

    Boffy

    September 11, 2019 at 7:19 pm

  4. ‘Remain and transform’.

    It looks like the new European Commission are indeed ‘transforming’.

    However, are they transforming in the right direction, or rather in the right-wing direction?

    See

    https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/european-union-accused-of-fascist-rhetoric/

    petrel41

    September 11, 2019 at 9:58 pm

  5. @Boffy, a very interesting analysis that most us would hold as entirely plausible. One question though. If Corbyn was to throw in the towel and a General Election was called on 20th October this would take us past the cut-off date of 31 October? How would BoJo wrangle this? And the denouement: Johnson winning a General Election with a landslide sometime in November and taking us out of the EU on a no-deal tout de suite?

    R Peston

    September 11, 2019 at 10:14 pm

  6. @ petrel41, why do many people assume that the EU is some benevolent ‘left-wing’ organisation. Do they never check out the composition of the EU Parliament?

    Granny Smith

    September 11, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    • I do not know enough about British views on that.

      I do know that when there were referendums in France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; not on EU membership; but on the draft European constitution, written by Giscard ‘Bokassa’ d’Estaing; and containing militarism and making capitalism mandatory (which is not in the constitution of the USA, often called ‘world’s most capitalist’ country’); the more working-class voters were, the more they voted No to the Giscard constitution. And the more toff voters were, the more likely they were to vote Yes.

      https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2007/01/02/dutch-pro-eu-constitution-voters-toff-voters/

      In France and the Netherlands, the majority of the electorate voted No. Even in Luxembourg only a small majority voted Yes. Then, no more referendums in other countries. Instead, the Lisbon treaty, basically the same as the Giscard constitution.

      petrel41

      September 11, 2019 at 10:40 pm

  7. petrel: For decades, most of the British was anti-EU as a matter of faith. In Britain’s 1975 referendum on withdrawing from the EU, almost the whole left, outside AWL’s forerunner Workers’ Fight, campaigned for withdrawal. Since then the UK left (with the partial exception of the Morning Star and hard-line Stalinists) has avoided spelling out that it advocates the break-up of the EU. It has generally limited itself to “no to bosses’ Europe” agitation.

    The agitation has allowed the left to eat its cake and have it. The left can chime in with populist-nationalist “anti-Europe” feeling, which was always stronger in Britain than in any other EU country. It can also cover itself by suggesting that it is not really anti-European, but only dislikes the “bosses’” character of the EU.

    As if a confederation of capitalist states could be anything other than capitalist! As if the cross-Europe policy of a collection of neo-liberal governments could be anything other than neo-liberal!

    As if the material force behind neo-liberal cuts was the relatively flimsy Brussels bureaucracy, rather than the mighty bureaucratic-military-industrial complexes of member states. As if the answer is to oppose confederation and cross-Europeanism as such, rather than the capitalist, neo-liberal, bureaucratic character of both member states and the EU.

    As if the EU is somehow more sharply capitalist, anti-worker, and neo-liberal than the member states. In Britain more than any other country we have seen successive national governments, both Tory and New Labour, repeatedly objecting to EU policy as too soft, too “social”, too likely to entrench too many workers’ rights.

    As if the answer is to pit nations against Europe, rather than workers against bosses and bankers.

    When Socialist Worker, in a Q&A piece, posed itself the question, “wouldn’t things be better for workers if Britain pulled out of the EU?”, it answered itself with a mumbling “yes, but” rather than a ringing “yes”.

    “Socialist Worker is against Britain being part of a bosses’ Europe”. Oh? And against Britain being part of a capitalist world, too?

    Britain would be better off in outer space? Or walled off from the world North-Korea-style? “But withdrawing from the EU wouldn’t guarantee workers’ rights — the Tories remain committed to attacking us”. Indeed. And just as much – if not more so – as the EU leaders !

    Jim Denham

    September 12, 2019 at 9:32 am

    • At the 1975 referendum, the predecessor of the AWL campaigned neither for Remain or Leave, but for ‘a plague on both their houses’.

      ‘Britain would be better off in outer space?’ The AWL still supports the 1917 October revolution leading to withdrawal from the alliance with World War I Russian allies like the UK and France, and to the founding of the Soviet Union. Was the Soviet Union then ‘in outer space’? It certainly was relatively isolated, and lots of foreign armies attacked it.

      And what is your reaction to the new European Commission’s xenophobic rhetoric, to which I linked in my comment?

      petrel41

      September 12, 2019 at 9:46 am

  8. One of the central tenets of the EU is the free movement of labour. Who does this benefit? The bosses?, the workers?, the bankers?

    Ms Smith

    September 12, 2019 at 9:44 am

  9. Since Leave supporters are by de facto ‘far-right’ surely they should be campaigning to Remain. Why Leave just as the EU swings to the ‘far-right’?

    Badia

    September 12, 2019 at 9:58 am

  10. Here’s your Leave mates in action.

    “The far right “see themselves as the shock troops of Brexit now,” as Hope Not Hate’s Matthew McGregor puts it. That self-perception must be challenged: when media outlets describe these thuggish extremists as “pro-Brexit activists”, they not only insult millions of leave voters who abhor their perverse ideology, they also confer a legitimacy the far right otherwise lacks. Just as the Eurosceptic Tory right saw Brexit as something bigger than reconfiguring Britain’s relationship with the EU – a blunt instrument in a cultural counter-revolution – the far right also spot an opportunity. For Robinson and his supporters, the goal is nothing less than driving out of public life those they regard as “traitors” – including anyone espousing any sort of progressive politics.

    Outside a Brexit party rally in Kensington, west London, on the eve of the European elections, an angry crowd shouted that Nigel Farage’s movement would remain “until you’ve gone away … the Guardian class, the whole political class”. When Saturday’s far-right mob plotted to charge a leftwing rally, this grand purge of “traitors” – through thuggery and intimidation – was what they had in mind. The murder of Jo Cox by a far-right terrorist, who later bellowed, “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”, should have led to a national reckoning; instead it was followed by three years of media outlets screeching about “saboteurs” needing to be crushed and “enemies of the people”. Those responsible aren’t naive. They understood the political consequences – specifically, fuelling and providing legitimacy for far-right extremists – but they simply did not care.”

    Andrew Coates

    September 12, 2019 at 11:46 am

    • Andrew Coates

      September 12, 2019 at 12:39 pm

  11. @ R Peston,

    I assume you meant if Bojo resigned and a GE was called on 20th October, not Corbyn.

    Firstly, a GE could not be called immediately that Bojo resigns. He will advise the Queen to call Corbyn to form a government first. She will comply because that’s what the constitution says.

    Corbyn will become PM. As I wrote recently, that is where the fun starts. The Liberals have said they won’t support him, nor will the Chukas, Independent Tories, and its suspected 100 or more Blair-right Labour MP’s. Will they be called out, and a civil war in Labour and between Labour and he rest of the rabble alliance break-out, will the rest of the rabble alliance have to eat humble pie and back Corbyn after all, will Blair-right MP’s be cowed in the face of splitting from Labour, and/or deselection after not backing Corbyn? What is sure, is that Bojo would immediately put down a no confidence motion in Corbyn’s government to put all of them on the line.

    As I set out in that post, Johnson had two main problems. He could not push through a No Deal Brexit before a GE, because he knows the consequences would be catastrophic for him and the Tory party. The chaos following No Deal would lead to rapid disorder, the government falling, and an emergency request to scrap the whole thing. But, he also cannot go into an election having asked for an extension either, because that would mean he was under threat inside the party, and the party was under threat from Farage.

    He had to ensure that he was not held accountable for the chaos of No Deal, whilst not being seen to be asking for an extension. That is what he has done, and the rabble alliance have facilitated him. He can now proclaimn himself for the next 7 weeks to be the champion of No Deal, prepared to die in a ditch to that end. But, by passing the legislation demanding he ask for an extension, and denying him a GE, he can now resign on 19th October. So, he preserves his authority of fighting to the last to stop an extension. Either Corbyn will get the extension, adding to Johnson narrative about the enemies of Brexit, whilst Corbyn’s own ridiculous gymnastics on the issue do nothing to win militant Remainers to Labour’s banner, or he won’t.

    If Corbyn fails to get an extension, then Corbyn, Labour and the Rabble Alliance own the responsibility for the disaster. It plays entirely into Johnson’s narrative. In the subsequent GE, Johnson would win a landslide whilst shouldering no responsibility for the catastrophe. If Corbyn did get an extension, say till January, it will be difficult for the rabble alliance not to agree to a GE before then, and in any case the internecine fighting inside Labour let alone between Labour and the other parties will ensure that this rotten bloc collapses pretty quick. So, Johnson would win a sizeable majority in an GE held some time before Xmas. Once he has that majority the constraints on him are released.

    He could ditch the DUP and go for a NI only backstop for example. He could now with a five year safe majority, himself ask for an extension to undertake further negotiations on that kind of basis, which enables him to put forward a Canada Plus style FTA agreement as the basis of Brexit, which Tusk already proposed previously.

    Boffy

    September 12, 2019 at 2:21 pm

  12. petrel: the “fascist” rhetoric you refer to is, of course, a reflection of the anti-federalist, isolationist right which is, sadly, on the rise throughout Europe. Its reflection in the UK is Brexit. The way to combat it is not by withdrawing from the EU, which can only strengthen the right throughout Europe, but to combine with our left-wing and even social democratic, comrades within the EU.

    As for your strange question: “Was the Soviet Union then [ie in the years immediately following the 1917 revolution] ‘in outer space’? It certainly was relatively isolated, and lots of foreign armies attacked it.”

    But, petrel, Lenin tied the very fate of the Russian Revolution, even in its bourgeois-democratic form, to the European socialist revolution.

    Despite the later distortions of the Stalinists, the Bolshevik leaders did not have any perspective of “Socialism in One Country”, but regarded the Russian Revolution as the beginning of the world revolution. If the revolution were isolated, it would be crushed. The material basis for socialism did not exist in one country, let alone backward Russia. Only world revolution could save the Russian Revolution, as Lenin repeatedly explained on numerous occasions.

    In March 1918 Lenin explained, “At all events, under all conceivable circumstances, if the German Revolution does not come, we are doomed.” A few weeks later: “Our backwardness has put us in the front-line, and we shall perish unless we are capable of holding out until we shall receive powerful support from workers who have risen in revolt in other countries.” The following month, in April, he stated, “But we shall achieve victory only together with all the workers of other countries, of the whole world…” In May, Lenin stated yet again, “To wait until the working classes carry out a revolution on an international scale means that everyone will remain suspended in mid-air… It may begin with brilliant success in one country and then go through agonising periods, since final victory is only possible on a world scale, and only by the joint efforts of the workers of all countries.”

    Such was Lenin’s internationalism that he was even prepared to sacrifice the Russian Revolution for a successful revolution in Germany. The Stalinist idea of “socialism in one country” never entered his head.

    Jim Denham

    September 12, 2019 at 6:59 pm

  13. Hi Jim, this ‘fascist’ rhetoric (so called by pro-European Union members of the European parliament) is not by ‘the anti-federalist, isolationist right’. It is by the right wing alright. But it is by the new European Commission of German ex-‘defence’ minister Ursula von der Leyen. Hardly an ‘isolationist’ and no equivalent of right-wing British Brexiteers. And the new Greek European Commissioner for Xenophobia and Razor Wire along the Outer Borders of the EU also is a rightist, but hardly wants Greece to leave the European Union. The most racist prime minister in the EU, Orban, also does not want Hungary to leave the EU. Quite the contrary, he spent Hungarian taxpayers’ money on advertisements in Britain, urging voters to vote Remain.

    It is true that Lenin intended the Russian revolution to be the start of a world revolution. To achieve that, he left Russia’s military World War I alliance with Britain, France, etc. Should Lenin have rather opted for ‘remain’ in that alliance? In Russian politics, the far right and also the right wings of officially left parties like the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries advocated and practiced that.

    petrel41

    September 12, 2019 at 7:48 pm

  14. Hi petrel: you seem determined to miss the point: I said the “fascistic” rhetoric is a *reflection* of rise of the isolationist right within Europe, which has, sadly infected the “mainstream” (exactly the same has happened in the UK with Johnson). It’s no argument whatsoever for breaking up the EU – quite the contrary.

    I now realise that you are comparing the EU with the anti-German alliance during WW1: a nonsense comparison! The EU (and its forerunners) was formed precisely to *prevent* war! Lenin’s stance on WW1 has absolutely *nothing* to do with the present-day socialist attitude to the EU. It’s clear from all serious Marxist literature (eg the Communist Manifesto) that the correct position for serious socialists is to support remaining in the EU.

    Jim Denham

    September 13, 2019 at 8:16 am

    • Hi, the EEC, forerunner of the EU, was formed during the cold war to preserve capitalism. And to stop ‘*war between France and Germany*; but not to stop any other wars, like neocolonial wars in the third world, on Yugoslavia, etc.

      The EU has a military branch, which was led by a Greek Golden Dawn neonazi gene

      I have looked up the Communist Manifesto again, but did not found a mention of the EU. Marx foresaw lots of things, but not the EU.

      petrel41

      September 13, 2019 at 8:26 am

  15. Jim,

    “Despite the later distortions of the Stalinists, the Bolshevik leaders did not have any perspective of “Socialism in One Country”, but regarded the Russian Revolution as the beginning of the world revolution.”

    Quite right, and, of course, Lenin himself went to extraordinary lengths to try to get western capitalist firms to set up in the USSR, though he only had any rel success with Armand Hammer of Occidental petroleum, with whom he became quite good friends. Trotsky made the same point 10 years later in relation to Mexico’s Second Six Year Plan emphasising the need for the country to attract foreign capital to invest in the country, because as Trotsky put it “even to build state capitalism, first capital is required”!

    But, Lenin’s argument about Socialism In One Country, and its impossibility goes back even further back to his devasatating critiques of the economic romanticism of the Narodniks and Legal Marxists. The Narodniks in particular saw capitalist development in Russia as somehow alien to its natural path of development, based upon the village commune. Rather like the “anti-imperialists” of today, they saw capitalist development in the backward Russian economy as something unnatural that was being imposed by external “imperialist” intervention. They put forward a Sismondist view that sought to hold back or prevent this “unnatural” path of development, and instead to have Russia develop within its own national bounds on the basis of the existing village communes.

    Lenin in his series of devastating analyses, which I will be examining in the near future in a series of blog posts, showed that there is no “natural” path of economic development for countries, as Marx makes clear on the basis of his theory of historical materialism, because all social development occurs ion the basis of a series of natural laws as materially determined as is Darwin’s theory of evolution. Capitalism was developing in Russia not as some abberration, but as a necessary consequence of the material conditions that existed in Russia, which resulted in the differentiation of the peasantry, the growth of commodity production, and thereby the conversion of a section of the peasantry and direct produces into capitalist producers, and of the rest into wage labourers.

    Lenin makes clear that whilst this development of capitalism arises purely on the basis of these endogenous causes that does not at all mean that the development of capitalism within a single country can proceed isolated from the fact that capitalism exists as an international global system. Moreover, as Lenin goes on to say, echoing Marx in the Preface to Capital Vol I., the interests of workers, particularly those in countries where capitalist development occurs later, is that such development occurs as quickly as possible, because otherwise, the workers suffer both from the effects of capitalist industrialisation, and simultaneously from capital not being developed enough so that all of the disadvantages of the old system are also heaped on to the workers.

    As Marx makes clear, a fundamental basis for the more rapid accumulation of capital is the existence of free movement of capital, labour, and goods and services, and for more than 200 years capitalist development has been based upon an international economy, and division of labour. The idea that social-democracy, which continues to operate within the constraints of capitalism, let alone Socialism which requires that the accumulation of capital ha reached the highest possible levels, and requires the existence and potential further development of the division of labour, and cooperative labour on a much expanded international scale, could be possible in an already declining, and relatively small British economy on its own, and which would inevitably be isolated by deliberate capitalist action and intervention is ludicrous.

    Its only necessary to look at every instance of where such economic nationalism has been attempted to see how ludicrous it is, with the latest example being Venezuela, where even with the benefit of the world’s largest oil reserves, and a period during which global oil prices were at historically high levels, the attempt resulted once more in economic chaos, followed by the familiar resort to authoritarian mesures to suppress the rebellion of he working-class.

    Boffy

    September 13, 2019 at 9:10 am

  16. Jim,

    “Despite the later distortions of the Stalinists, the Bolshevik leaders did not have any perspective of “Socialism in One Country”, but regarded the Russian Revolution as the beginning of the world revolution.”

    Quite right, and, of course, Lenin himself went to extraordinary lengths to try to get western capitalist firms to set up in the USSR, though he only had any rel success with Armand Hammer of Occidental petroleum, with whom he became quite good friends. Trotsky made the same point 10 years later in relation to Mexico’s Second Six Year Plan emphasising the need for the country to attract foreign capital to invest in the country, because as Trotsky put it “even to build state capitalism, first capital is required”!

    But, Lenin’s argument about Socialism In One Country, and its impossibility goes back even further back to his devasatating critiques of the economic romanticism of the Narodniks and Legal Marxists. The Narodniks in particular saw capitalist development in Russia as somehow alien to its natural path of development, based upon the village commune. Rather like the “anti-imperialists” of today, they saw capitalist development in the backward Russian economy as something unnatural that was being imposed by external “imperialist” intervention. They put forward a Sismondist view that sought to hold back or prevent this “unnatural” path of development, and instead to have Russia develop within its own national bounds on the basis of the existing village communes.

    Lenin in his series of devastating analyses, which I will be examining in the near future in a series of blog posts, showed that there is no “natural” path of economic development for countries, as Marx makes clear on the basis of his theory of historical materialism, because all social development occurs ion the basis of a series of natural laws as materially determined as is Darwin’s theory of evolution. Capitalism was developing in Russia not as some abberration, but as a necessary consequence of the material conditions that existed in Russia, which resulted in the differentiation of the peasantry, the growth of commodity production, and thereby the conversion of a section of the peasantry and direct produces into capitalist producers, and of the rest into wage labourers.

    Lenin makes clear that whilst this development of capitalism arises purely on the basis of these endogenous causes that does not at all mean that the development of capitalism within a single country can proceed isolated from the fact that capitalism exists as an international global system. Moreover, as Lenin goes on to say, echoing Marx in the Preface to Capital Vol I., the interests of workers, particularly those in countries where capitalist development occurs later, is that such development occurs as quickly as possible, because otherwise, the workers suffer both from the effects of capitalist industrialisation, and simultaneously from capital not being developed enough so that all of the disadvantages of the old system are also heaped on to the workers.

    As Marx makes clear, a fundamental basis for the more rapid accumulation of capital is the existence of free movement of capital, labour, and goods and services, and for more than 200 years capitalist development has been based upon an international economy, and division of labour. The idea that social-democracy, which continues to operate within the constraints of capitalism, let alone Socialism which requires that the accumulation of capital ha reached the highest possible levels, and requires the existence and potential further development of the division of labour, and cooperative labour on a much expanded international scale, could be possible in an already declining, and relatively small British economy on its own, and which would inevitably be isolated by deliberate capitalist action and intervention is ludicrous.

    Its only necessary to look at every instance of where such economic nationalism has been attempted to see how ludicrous it is, with the latest example being Venezuela, where even with the benefit of the world’s largest oil reserves, and a period during which global oil prices were at historically high levels, the attempt resulted once more in economic chaos, followed by the familiar resort to authoritarian mesures to suppress the rebellion of he working-class.

    Boffy

    September 13, 2019 at 9:13 am

  17. petrel: the fact that the EU was not set up to stop neo-colonial wars doesn’t change the fact that it was set up to stop wars in Europe. In the interests of capital, of course: but that’s something we support, surely?

    With all due respect: try actually reading the Communist Manifesto: it’s *all* about Marx supporting capitalist development and integration and getting rid of outmoded reactionary earlier forms of exploitation. It’s Marxist a-b-c that we support integration and breaking down borders under capitalism. The CM’s section on “Socialist Literature” and – especially – the sections on Reactionary Socialism and True Socialism really describe people like you.

    Jim Denham

    September 13, 2019 at 9:23 am

  18. What borders are you talking about breaking down, Jim. Do you mean borders between countries a la John Lennon “Imagine there’s no countries, a brotherhood of man”? One world full of shiny, happy people? 😉 Or do you mean borders between the EU or more specifically between the UK ans the rest of the world?

    Ms Smith

    September 13, 2019 at 10:17 am

  19. It would of course, be good to be able to immediately break down all the borders between countries throughout the world. It should be our aim, but we also shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We already have removed borders between countries in the EU, a starting point to getting rid of the other borders is not to restore those that have been dismantled in the EU!

    That is why Lenin thought that the slogan for a United States of Europe was a good one. His initial objection to it was that whilst on any rational basis is was one that socialists should support, the divisions between the imperialist powers in Europe, meant that they would never succumb to it short of the socialist revolution. But, he changed his mind.

    Trotsky in the Programme for Peace made the argument that if, for example, the Kaiser were to enforce a single European state upon the continent, it would be no part of a socialist programme to seek to destroy the unified state it created. We would of course, seek to carry through a revolution against such a state, as a capitalist state as we seek to do with every other capitalist state. Lenin gives the analogy of large scale corporations and trusts. Its an argument he also makes in “Imperialism” against Kautsky. In Imperialism, Lenin argues that Kautsky’s argument for breaking up monopolies was utopian, reactionary and reformist. We don’t seek to break up monopolies – a policy that the Stalinists do advocate as part of their cross class, reactionary “anti-monopoly alliance” – because those monopolies are the basic form of enterprise that workers will seek to utilise as part of building large-scale planned production. Trying to go back to free market competition in the form of a larger number of smaller companies is reactionary in that it seeks to turn the clock back to a less mature form of capital, it is utopian, because as Marx sets out the monopolies arise out of that very competition, and so restoring competition would only result once again in the formation of monopolies, and it is reformist because it implies accepting this continued dominance of capital but in an ameliorated form, rather than seeking to push through this more advanced form of capital to socialism, via workers control of those very monopolies.

    It was on that basis that Lenin came round, along with the rest of the Comintern to support for the demand for a United States of Europe as a transitional stage to the Socialist United States of Europe.

    Boffy

    September 13, 2019 at 2:35 pm

  20. Can the working class reform the EU in its own interests?

    When the First World War broke out, Marxists began to speculate on whether they should utilise the slogan of a “United States of Europe” against the warmongers.

    Lenin rejected this slogan, arguing that:
    “—a United States of Europe, under capitalism, is either impossible or reactionary.”
    (Sotsial-Demokrat No. 44 1915)

    In this article, he also wrote that
    “the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone.”
    (This wasn’t an endorsement for Stalin’s subsequent position on the subject
    -in 1915 Lenin still didn’t think that a socialist revolution was on the agenda in Russia, a semi-feudal country)

    From 1914 Karl Kautsky, the leading theoretician of the Second International was pondering on whether:
    “ the present imperialist policy (could) be supplanted by a new, ultra-imperialist policy, which will introduce the joint exploitation of the world by internationally united finance capital in place of the mutual rivalries of national finance capitals?”
    (Die Neue Zeit, April 30, 1915)

    Rather like the English Liberal JA Hobson (who later joined the I.L.P), Kautsky saw imperialism as a “policy”, rather than an inevitable consequence of capitalist accumulation.
    Therefore, Kautsky regarded “Ultra Imperialism” as a theoretical possibility, due to the cost of the arms race reducing the rate capital accumulation.
    Thus he thought that the self-interest of capitalists might lead them to drop the “policy” of Imperialism.

    Lenin accused Kautsky of
    “obscuring and glossing over the fundamental contradictions of imperialism and …striving to preserve at all costs the crumbling unity with opportunism in the European working-class movement.”
    (“Imperialism-Highest Stage of Capitalism” 1917)

    In his Foreign Policy Report (1918) Lenin criticised
    “wiseacres with a high opinion of themselves … even calling themselves socialists, who assert that power should not have been taken until the revolution broke out in all countries. They do not realise that in saying this they are deserting the revolution and going over to the side of the bourgeoisie. To wait until the working classes carry out a revolution on an international scale means that everyone will remain suspended in mid-air”

    He had in mind Kautsky and the Mensheviks in Russia, who had failed to oppose the war and argued against the Soviets taking power in 1917.

    After the war was over, Kautsky supported the League of Nation, suggesting it could be reformed by the working class into an instrument acting on its behalf.
    Kautsky approvingly cited the British Labour party’s support for the League, whereas the Liberal Hobson was far more critical of it, despite supporting the idea of international governance.

    Writing in 1923, Trotsky wrote that the slogan of a United States of Europe should be used as a transitional demand:-

    “The United States of Europe”, is a slogan in every respect corresponding with the slogan “ A Workers’s Government”.

    But he warned that:-
    “….if we isolate this slogan from slogans of a “Workers’, Government”, of the united front, and from the class struggle, we shall certainly end in democratised Wilsonism, i.e., in Kautskyism”
    (Pravda, June 30 1923)

    It could be argued that the existence of the EU proves that Kautsky’s conjecture on Ultra Imperialism was in fact correct;
    that it’s possible for the capitalist EU to be reformed into a “Social” Europe-
    This is what Euro communists and social democrats have argued for years.

    But the process whereby the EU emerged out of the Common Market was hardly democratic.
    Its history has been retrospectively re-written, but the original Treaty of Rome was a trade agreement between France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries, to prevent the overproduction of Coal, Iron and Steel.
    Prior to this, Germany was still subjected to economic restrictions similar to the Versailles Treaty, with the Saar and Ruhr regions under French supervision.

    The current EU only really emerged after Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and Lisbon Treaty in 2007
    Only France, Ireland and Denmark held referendums on the Maastricht Treaty Denmark initially rejected it.
    Ireland was the only country to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, which it also initially rejected.
    When people in Britain finally got a referendum on the EU, they voted against it.

    It hasn’t even been possible for the programme of one subjectively socialist government (Syriza) to be implemented within the framework of the EU.
    Having won the Greek election, the Euro-Communists of “Syriza” formed a coalition with ANEL and dropped their Thessalonica programme.
    Now the Greek right is back in power.
    (The Greek Communist Party’s failure to propose a Workers Government with Syriza made this outcome easier)

    Furthermore, the enlargement of the EU has gone hand in hand with NATO expansion into Eastern Europe.
    (Poland joined NATO before it joined the EU)
    This hardly supports the argument that “Ultra Imperialism” has resolved the contradictions of capitalism on an international level.
    Nor does Trump’s growing trade war against China.

    Conclusion:
    Any real socialist government would need to break with the EU in order to create a socialist Europe.

    prianikoff

    September 14, 2019 at 2:48 pm

  21. petrel: on the particular issue you raised (“fascist rhetoric” van der Leyen, the “European way of life” etc), I recommend this, by Sabrina Huck: https://newsocialist.org.uk/socialist-europe-below/

    Jim Denham

    September 15, 2019 at 11:47 am

  22. Hi Jim, thanks for the interesting Huck link. It parallels many of my views.

    As for Boffy: I have not read Trotsky on if Kaiser Wilhelm would win the war and create a European superstate, that socialists should then supposedly not restore previous independent states.

    Lenin disagreed (as he disagreed on the Irish 1916 uprising), favourably mentioning the anti-German occupation clandestine Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique.

    Trotsky would very probably not extend his World War I Kaiser view to Hitler in World War II. In the occupied countries like the Netherlands: there were everywhere signs: Germany wins for Europe on all fronts. After the war, neo-nazis like Belgian Thiriart and British Mosley advocated pan-Europeanism. Their slogan was Against Moscow. Without Washington. For Europe..

    Contrary to that right-wing ‘internationalism’, internationalist socialism should we worldwide, not stopping at the waves of the Mediterranean and the European Union razor wire.

    It should not support an European army, and European refugee concentration camps, like the Hungarian racist government wants:

    https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/jail-refugees-more-harshly-european-union-demands/

    As for wars in Europe: The logical consequence of supporting not breaking up a Kaiser Wilhelm superstate would be not supporting the separatist Kosovo UCK in the NATO war on Yugoslavia. Idem on Ukrainian independence etc.

    petrel41

    September 22, 2019 at 8:56 am

  23. @Prianikoff,

    I don’t think your conclusion flows from your premises. You are right that Kautsky’s theory of ultra-imperialism proved correct ultimately as against Lenin’s theory of Imperialism, which was wrong on pretty much every count you could mention. Lenin’s theory as set out in his pamphlet “Imperialism” was really just a polemical piece written for factional purposes at the time.

    The real cause of WWI, was the age old attempt at forging a single European market and state, as had happened with the Napoleonic Wars, Franco Prussion War, and as had happened with the creation of European nation states themselves in the 19th century, as separate kingdoms and principalities were formed into nation states. Lenin’s original objections were already overcome when he backed the Comintern position of calling for a United States of Europe.

    In fact, the creation of the EU, disproved his original objections. The fact that the formation of the EU was not “democratic” in no way alters this. As Trotsky says in the Programme for Peace, had the Kaiser brought it about militarily in WWI, it would not have been a part of our programme to try to revert things back to their previous condition. Trotsky much later adopted the same position in respect of the Stalinist take over of Poland prior to WWII.

    If we arrived at a situation in which there was a revolutionary situation in Britain – and not just a situation as in Greece where it is a question of a left social democratic government – whose programme came into conflict with the constitution of the EU, what would then be the position? Well, first of all, given the intererlationships that now exist across Europe, as a single economy, it is pretty inconceivable that such a situation would arise only in Britain, without there being similar developments in at least a number of other countries. The first line of attack would be to link the struggles in these different countries together. Indeed, the weakness of the left, including what happened with Syriza is precisely that they do not already proceed as a united European labour movement, but continue to operate on a national basis. Its a consequence of there being no functioning socialist international. Read what Lenin says about that in attacking Mikhailovsky (What The friends of the people Are), in relation to the Paris Commune.

    Of course, in such a revolutionary situation, we would first simply breach EU laws, and call on other EU workers to support us, and follow suit. But, as with Lenin, we should point out that if they do not then any such action in Britain alone would be doomed to failure, and the onset of reaction. But, we are not talking about a revolutionary situation, we are talking about a traditional social-democratic government under Corbyn! That in itself looks very unlikely to happen.

    Boffy

    September 22, 2019 at 11:13 am

  24. @Petrel,

    Trotsky would indeed have extended his position to the unifying of Europe under Hitler. Trotsky makes clear that Marxists should never be misled merely by the mask that imperialism wears, sometimes using a bourgeois democratic mask, sometimes that of fascism. These are merely superficial political forms not to be confused with the underlying class relations, and states that arise upon them.

    The regime of Kaiser Wilhelm itself of course, was not democratic, and for those that would have been under its boot in other European countries that would have been even more apparent. The solution to it was not to go back to less mature forms of national capitalism and class oppression, but to move forward to overthrow it across the piece.

    Yes, of course socialist internationalism should be worldwide, but how is that assisted by calling for a huge move backwards from the dismantling of borders that ha already occurred within the EU?? For example, not only did the EU move forward by bringing in all of the additional countries of Central and Eastern Europe, but prior to 2011, and the Arab Spring, the EU had created a similar relationship with countries in MENA, with the prospect that they would eventually gain the opportunity to join the EU too. The EU has just negotiated a free trade deal with Mercosur, a similar bloc to the EU in Latin America. Last week saw African countries follow the example of the EU and create an economic union covering 1.3 billion people with a programme for a single market, and single currency, along with the kind of free movement of labour within it that exists within the EU. The development of such blocs and then the negotiations between these blocs for free trade, and then free movement is precisely the way in which that internationalism can rationally proceed.

    Boffy

    September 22, 2019 at 11:24 am

    • Hi Boffy,

      No borders within the EU? Why then the French government’s razor wire at the Italian border to stop refugees who survived the Mediterranean slaughterhouse from coming to France? ‘No borders’ activists very correctly demonstrate against that.. See

      https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/french-italian-governments-conflict-on-refugees/

      The difference between the Hitler regime which butchered six million Jews and ten millions of others and other capitalist states who don’t do that is so far, far more than a ‘mask’.

      When the Hitler regime collapsed in 1945, not anyone, including Trotskyist and other socialist groups in the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, France, Czechoslovakia and other occupied countries, advocated continuing Hitler’s Greater Germanic Reich on a non-nazi basis.

      petrel41

      September 22, 2019 at 8:17 pm

  25. The UK-France border is the only border within the EU. Why hasn’t it been dismantled?

    Freda

    September 22, 2019 at 11:30 am

  26. @Freda,

    There is no border between France and UK. UK is not part of Shengen – one of he many concessions that the EU has already given to the UK as a member – which means that there are passport checks, but those passport checks do not prevent EU citizens coming into Britain, or settling into Britain. Nor are there any restrictions on EU produced goods coming into the EU, and vice versa. Incidentally, on the many occasions I’ve gone through the Chanel Tunnel to France, its only on the UK side that I have any passport check, and of course once inside the EU, I have travelled from country to country, on one occasion visiting six countries in a week, without any such checks.

    I’m glad that Junker has eventually had to come clan and say that however much the EU does not want to do it, the consequence of a No Deal Brexit is that the EU will have to erect a hard border in Ireland to protect the Single market. It was obvious that was the case, and the reluctance of the EU to say so has allowed the Brexiters to try to claim that the EU would not erect a border come a No Deal Brexit so that the backstop was not necessary.

    Obviously a hard border will have to be established and that will destroy the Northern Ireland statelet which depends on trade across that border. The inevitable consequence will be a border poll in short order that is likely to go in favour of a United irelend.

    Boffy

    September 22, 2019 at 12:20 pm

  27. @ petre141 It is no surprise given that a seal-declared fascist in power and fascsit in all but name in power in France. But why are these poor people even exposed to the dangers of the Mediterranean in the first place? Why aren’t they rescued in their home countries and brought directly into Europe? The RAF could play it’s part and make use of those huge Tornado jets. And only today we have received the good news that the planet-destroying, environment-polluter Thomas Cook has went bust. Yay for Mother Earth! In Thomas Cook’s fleet of aircraft should be appropriated and put to good use for a change rescuing immigrants and bringing them to our shores. The UK should be running 24/7 rescue missions.

    Pamela

    September 23, 2019 at 8:31 am

  28. Petrel,

    You seem to always misunderstand the points that are being made to a degree that it suggests that your misunderstanding is deliberate. The point about no borders WITHIN Europe, is no borders for EU citizens to move around freely, and for no borders to the movement of goods and capital. That does not extend either to non-EU citizens i.e. refugees, or non EU goods or capital. That is something which socialists aspire to, and which even the EU in its present state negotiates with other non-EU blocs and countries.

    Of course, socialists oppose the way refugees have been treated, but that has nothing to do with the fact that within the EU there are no such borders. Moreover, how on Earth do you think that Brexit would make things better??? A UK outside the EU would impose an even more harsh “hostile environment” not only for refugees, but also for all migrants. Just as anyone in Britain who does not look or sound like a white British citizen about that, and how things have deteriorated for them since the Brexit vote!

    On Hitler and the Holocaust, the British Empire, established by that paragon of democratic virtue the British state, butchered and enslaved far more people than did Hitler’s regime. Many of the things that Hitler adopted, such as concentration camps had been pioneered by Britain, for example, during the Boer War. Churchill argued that using poison gas against Afghans would be a good way of instilling fear into them to bring their rebellion under control. He proposed lining up several hundred of Gandhi’s followers against a wall and shooting them with machine gun fire, and proposed that Gandhi himself should be bound, and then trampled by the Viceroy’s elephant. As Trotsky says, imperialism whether it wears a democratic mask or a fascist mask remains imperialism, and acts accordingly.

    No one is talking about a proposal to continue a Germanic dominated Reich on a non-Nazi basis, but taking the existence of a unified state as he starting point and not going backwards to go forwards. The reality is that you are wrong, because after WWII, European leaders did talk about doing precisely that, which is why they set up the European Coal and Steel Community, and then the EEC on the way to setting up the EU.

    The logic of your position is that someone starts at A, and wants to get to C. They have progressed to B, but because B is not C, they decide to go back to A. With that kind of logic its no wonder the nationalistic Left have few supporters amongst the working class.

    Boffy

    September 23, 2019 at 10:38 am

    • Hi Boffy,

      ‘no borders for EU citizens to move around freely’?

      I personally went on a bus full of EU citizens from Calais to Dover, the Channel tunnel. On one side, very authoritarian border ‘security’, including strip searching. Which side? The French side.

      In no way am I defending the British empire and its crimes. By the way, it did have concentration camps during the Boer War, but it did not invent them (that is part of Afrikaner white nationalist mythology, and later neonazi mythology). Spanish colonialism in Cuba invented concentration camps, which they called ‘re-concentration’ camps:

      https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/cuban-art-exhibition-in-the-netherlands/

      Churchill did defend using poison gas. However, not against Afghans, but against Iraqi Kurds.

      Neither French, nor British nor Dutch imperialism ever contemplated and tried hard massacring all Jews and/or all Roma in Europe. So, for the people in the Hitler occupied countries and in camps like Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, the difference was more than a ´mask´.

      petrel41

      September 23, 2019 at 7:22 pm

  29. Last time we took the ferry from Calais to Dover we had to hand our passports over to a couple of French blokes sat in a grey booth beside a barrier. We were only detained for a few seconds. Can’t remember what happened on the way out but think the only checks were on the UK side on the way out, and the French side on the way in. We certainly weren’t strip-searched – we would definitely remember that.

    Gertrude and Fred

    September 23, 2019 at 8:05 pm

  30. Come to think of it we are not even sure if we were checked on the way out. But we definitely remember the French blokes in the grey booth. We just handed our passports through the car window.

    Gertrude and Fred

    September 23, 2019 at 8:12 pm

  31. Gertrude and Fred,

    I’ve crossed many times on the Channel Tunnel and ferries. The only times I have been checked is by British officials, who also operate in Calais for traffic coming to Britain.

    Petrel seems to operate using their own “facts”.

    Boffy

    September 24, 2019 at 4:59 am

  32. Hi Gertrude and Fred,

    Only two blokes in a booth? Then you were lucky. Maybe buses get ‘special treatment’.

    For our bus, twelve blokes with uniforms and guns. We all had to leave the bus with all suitcases to go to a police building. Where all suitcases were opened.and rummaged.

    petrel41

    September 24, 2019 at 7:01 am

  33. Hi petre41

    It seems we are in agreement then. Checks only on the French side to enter the UK? The officials could very well have been British. Your brain is expecting and is already tuned in to hear a French accent. And of course British officials could put on a fake French accent. And in any case, it is hard to tell when the wind is blowing, you are a few feet away, in the outdoors, there are the sounds of ships horns going off, noise from the ferry terminal and the only words they utter is “your papers please” and “thank you”.

    Gertrude and Fred

    September 24, 2019 at 7:55 am

  34. Petrel,

    And, after they had done that, which was presumably because they were actually looking for something such as drugs, or guns, were any of you actually prevented from entering France? That is what open borders actually means, i.e. that you are free to move from one country to another, unless you are going to be apprehended for having committed an offence. The answer to the question is, no, unless any of you actually were carrying something illegal or were wanted for some offence, you would not have been prevented from continuing into France, because there is no border for EU citizens between the two!

    Compare that to the situation were you to want to go to the US. You would have to get a VIsa, you would have to go through border controls, where, for example, if you are a Muslim you might be denied entry, if you are a Communist you might be denied entry, and of course, if you were wanting to actually go there to live, you would not be allowed to. That is he difference between borders and no borders.

    Boffy

    September 24, 2019 at 7:56 am

  35. Hi Boffy,

    You seem to misunderstand. This was not about ‘entering France’. It was in Calais about LEAVING France. I expected bureaucratic controls in Dover, but instead, they happened in Calais. Though illogical even from a bureaucratic control freak standpoint.

    No, there were not any drugs or guns on our bus. But the ‘war on drugs’ and war on ‘illegal’ immigrants are pretexts in many countries for people with uniforms to bully all people without uniforms.

    This was in November 2011, during this journey:

    https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/this-blog-is-back/

    petrel41

    September 25, 2019 at 7:46 pm

  36. Hi Gertrude and Fred,

    They were very definitely French uniforms of French speakers in a building with signs in French. I don’t think the French government would allow English armed uniformed men there in Calais.

    petrel41

    September 25, 2019 at 7:50 pm

  37. Hi petrel41

    We are almost 100% certain it was two French blokes in dull grey uniforms sat in a grey booth. And we are almost 100% certain this is the only time we had to show out passports on the trip.

    Gertrude and Fred

    September 26, 2019 at 10:27 am

  38. And just to be clear, this was at the Calais ferry terminal leaving France.

    Gertrude and Fred

    September 26, 2019 at 10:30 am

  39. And just to be clear, this encounter was at the Calais ferry terminal leaving France.

    Gertrude and Fred

    September 26, 2019 at 10:32 am

  40. We remember thinking it was odd at the time on the way in to France thinking that the UK must have joined the Schengen Area and we had missed the news. We then drove straight into Belgium, not a border post in sight, and visited the Chocolate Factory. Very tasty chocolate. We were expecting the same on the way back home. It did give us a bit of a fright when we spotted the barrier and the booth. As far as we can recall we just rolled of the ferry back in the UK. So it appears after all that the only check is on the way in to the UK on the French side.

    Gertrude and Fred

    September 26, 2019 at 10:46 am


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