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The Internationalist Anti-Brexit Left faced with Trump and Johnson, Popular Front Government or United Front Against Brexit?

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‘Taz’s Angle on Johnson-Trump ‘Deal’.

One of the many fairy tales that self-identifying left-wingers who back Brexit tell themselves is that the dispute between other Brexiteers and Remainer is just a dispute between “two nationalisms”.

One of the contes de fées  that toadies of Boris Johnson tell each other is that the British Prime Minister is standing up for Britain in the famous trade negotiations with the US President.

There is little doubt that nationalism is one of the commonest traits in politics today.  That and whingeing about vaguely defined “elites” and “oligarchies”.

But what is really at stake in Brexit as comrade Paul Mason explains, is that the British bourgeoisie- a class which rules this country in the Marxist and democratic socialist point of view,  is divided.

The moneyed elite of Britain are split along the same factional lines as in the US. There is a coalition of interests that needs to break down the rules-based multilateral global order that was built during the previous 30 years: the frackers, the hedge-fund managers, the casino owners, the property developers and, above all, people who’ve sunk money into fossil fuels.

They need climate science to be proved wrong and for the multilateral commitment to reduce carbon emissions to break down. They need central banks to underwrite their business strategies but states to allow them to evade tax. They need governments to permit monopolies, speculative development and rent-seeking business strategies. And they need democracy to be a sham.

Above all, they need chaos. Because chaos is the environment in which people with money make more money. Johnson’s cabinet is basically a hand-picked team of yes men and women for this faction of British capitalism. Johnson, like Donald Trump, understands that to succeed he must become a chaos engine.

By contrast,

On the other side there are, of course, the real bosses of real businesses based in Britain, like Airbus, Honda, BMW – and the vice chancellors of the big universities, plus the major law and accountancy firms. They are terrified of no deal, and the atmosphere of xenophobia it will bring. Plus, there’s tens of thousands of small firms – from the metal bashers to the care home chains to the local garden centre – who will see their access to finance evaporate in a no-deal crisis.

The Tory Party which gives voice to these interests has, Mason argues, has changed over the decades,

Instead of being a tool for protecting the interests of British capitalism, the Tory party has, over the 30 year period of neoliberalism, become the tool for protecting oligarchic global capital in Britain: it represents the Saudi monarchy more than it represents Suffolk.

The traditional business elite won’t stop a no-deal Brexit — only Labour can be trusted to

The problem with Mason’s view is that he considers that Labour can be ” be trusted with the national interest even where the capitalist elite is split and factionalised. ” He believes in a coalition of the left and centre to carry this forward, a “popular front”.

This is different to the views of many radical internationalist left-wingers.

For a start Trump’s use of tariff wars suggests that the picture of globalisation as the inevitability of ever more fluid capital and good flows is flawed.

Capitalism may be accelerating but nationalist politicians can put spokes in its wheels.

It is also the case that Labour needs to build an electoral  coalition, a left bloc, that appeals to a majority by expressing the views and interests of those who are in conflict with both wings of the bourgeoisie, the global chancers and those based in “real Britain”.

There is a lot of attention on Mason’s call for a “popular front”.

There is many problems with this.

It is not because Mason uses the term refers to a period of history – past – where the European left was urged by Communist parties and their left allies, to unite with liberals against fascism – with degrees of success. One such electoral alliance  in 1936, in France, the Front Populaire, achieved some of the kind of social democratic reforms (workers’ rights, working hours, holidays and security) that Attlee’s post-war Labour government did, and is warmly remembered for its achievements.  Nor that it evokes images of the Spanish Frente Popular which ended, after heroic resistance to Franco, in tragedy, events which still sear in the hearts of the left across the world.

This is the past.

Today we have to create a left that is open-looking, internationalist, that is not just an electoral coalition, but has the politics that can challenge not just the backward looking nationalism of the Tories and the Brexit Party. We have to refound our politics on outward politics that avoid the trap of the “rooted” “somewhere” left, part of which has fuelled, if not participated in a “red-Brown front” with the right wing pro-Brexit bloc.

There is not doubt, however, were the principal contradiction lies.

The ‘trade deal’ with Trump  under which we will have to accept this, illustrates it.

With Boris Johnson as PM the ‘thriving through chaos’ wing have taken off.

The issue of Brexit calls for unity on stopping it, not on a whole programme for an election aiming at winning office.

All are welcome in the United Front Against Brexit!

March separately, strike together.

As in here:

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 25, 2019 at 12:33 pm