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.

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savoir
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail