FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class

Islamabad.

There is an essential condition in the European Union’s charter of union according to which the under-developed countries of Europe that joined the EU allowed free movement of goods (free trade) only on the reciprocal condition that the developed countries would allow the free movement of labor.

What’s obvious in this condition is the fact that free trade only benefits the countries that have a strong manufacturing base; and free movement of workers only favors the under-developed countries where labor is cheap.

While joining the EU, Britain compromised on the rights of its working class in order to protect the interests of the industrialists, because free trade with the rest of the EU countries spurred British exports.

I am of the opinion that the British working classes must have overwhelmingly voted in favor of Brexit, because after Britain’s entry into EU and when the Schengen Agreement on abolishing the internal border checks among the EU member states became effective in 1995, the cheaper labor force of Eastern Europe flooded the markets of Western Europe; and consequently the wages of indigenous British labor force dropped and it also became difficult for them to find jobs because the foreigners were willing to do the same job for lesser pay, hence raising the level of unemployment among the British workers and consequent discontentment with the EU.

The biggest incentive for the British working class to vote for Brexit is that the East European workers will have to leave Britain after its exit from the EU, and the jobs will once again become available with better wages to the indigenous workforce.

Keeping in view the principle of reciprocity enshrined in the EU’s Charter that free trade should be made contingent upon the free movement of labor, now, when the international financial institutions, like the IMF and WTO, promote free trade by exhorting the developing countries all over the world to reduce tariffs and subsidies without the reciprocal free movement of labor, whose interests do such institutions try to protect? Obviously, such global financial institutions espouse the interests of their biggest donors by shares, i.e. the developed countries.

Some market fundamentalists who irrationally believe in the laissez-faire capitalism try to justify this unfair practice by positing Schumpeter’s theory of ‘creative destruction’ that the free trade between unequal trade partners leads to the destruction of the host country’s existing economic order and a subsequent reconfiguration, somehow, gives birth to a better economic order.

Whenever one comes up with gross absurdities such proportions, they should always make it contingent on the principle of reciprocity: that is, if free trade is beneficial for the nascent industrial base of the underdeveloped countries, then the free movement of labor is equally beneficial for the working classes of the developed countries.

The policy makers of the developing countries must not fall prey to such deceptive arguments, instead, they must formulate policies which suit the interests of their working classes. The only trouble is that the governments of the Third World are dependent on foreign investment and the global loan sharks, that’s why, they cannot adopt an independent economic and trade policy.

The so-called “multinational” corporations based in the Western financial districts make profits from the consumer markets all over the world and pay a share of those profits to their respective governments as bribes in the form of taxes. Every balance of trade deficit due to the lack of strong manufacturing base makes the developing nations poorer, and every balance of trade surplus further adds to the already immense fortune of the developed world.

A single large multinational corporation owns more assets than the total GDP of many developing nations. Without this neocolonial system of exploitation the whole edifice of supposedly “meritocratic” capitalism will fall flat on its face; and the myth of individual incentive would get busted beyond repair, because it only means incentive for the pike and not for the minnows.

Although, the champions of globalization and neoliberalism all over the world must be mourning the fate of EU after Brexit, but the recent success of right-wingers all over the world: like the rise of Trump in America, Brexit in Europe, the success of Modi and his hardline BJP in India, the emergence of Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka and Myanmar and the ascendancy of Islamic hardliners in the Muslim-majority countries, all of these are not the success of conservatism, as such. Conservatism is an outdated political ideology which is simply not a match for the more refined liberal worldview.

The aforementioned reactionary anomalies signify only one thing: the failure of neoliberalism as a political and economic ideology. Social liberalism of ‘60s and ‘70s used to be an inclusive and egalitarian philosophy while neoliberalism, ‘90s-onwards, with its exclusive emphasis on economic growth and elitist values, and without any regard for social justice and class equality, is losing its appeal among the masses all over the world.

In fact, politics has become such a comic business after the onset of neoliberalism that actual comedians like Jimmy Morales won a resounding victory in the Guatemalan elections last year; similarly, the Italian comedian Beppe Grillo’s “Five Star movement” also secured more than 100 deputies in the last Italian elections; and the biggest tragicomic of them all, Donald Trump, too, is all set for a victory in November this year.

Finally and in the nutshell, I would contend that Brexit is actually a blessing in disguise for the EU as well as Britain. The latter always closely identified with the American interests and foreign policy, while France and Germany took the lead in managing the affairs of EU. After Britain’s exit from the EU, it will align itself more closely with the American policy; and the member states of EU too, in the absence of pro-US Britain, might be able to form a more cohesive and coherent union.

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and MENA regions, neocolonialism and Petroimperialism.

More articles by:

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and MENA regions, neocolonialism and Petroimperialism.

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail