While European Union states erect border fences, suspend free movement, and demolish refugee camps, and while the EU tolerates and encourages the far-right parties across Europe, ‘Remainiacs’ (as those who reject the leave vote have been dubbed) insist the vote to leave was flawed due to the anti-immigrant, xenophobic media circus that surrounded it.
“From the standpoint of the economic conditions of imperialism—i.e., the export of capital and the division of the world by the “advanced” and “civilised” colonial powers—a United States of Europe, under capitalism, is either impossible or reactionary.” – V. I. Lenin
While, deliberately, the politico-media campaign around the EU referendum in Britain has been confusing and misguided, it cannot change the material nature of the formation and running of the EU, an imperialist effort to subjugate labour both within Europe and without, and to export capital, both within Europe and without. The European union functions by exploiting cheaper labour from European states and by exploiting cheaper labour internationally. Not only that, the exploitation of labourers within and outside of the EU, but it must maintain the imperialist foreign policy of its member states, for how else can it guarantee the supply of cheap goods and raw materials it requires to fuction?
As Marxists we understand the relationship between base and superstructure. “The changes in the economic foundation lead, sooner or later, to the transformation of the whole, immense, superstructure.” Our superstructure is obsolete. It is the capitalist superstructure, replete with racism, sexism, and ultimately the oppression of the working class. All oppression is based on this economic exploitation. The same exploitation that begets child soldiers in Africa, millions of Syrian refugees, and sweatshop labourers across the world. The cause of all these is the same: imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism.
While those who campaigned on the streets for remain did so for the best of intentions, economic security, human rights, internationalism, and so on, so did a majority of those who voted leave. Those who have seen whole communities gutted, with no educational prospects or job opportunities to replace the destruction of industry that formed the heart of many towns and cities. It is no coincidence that areas with the highest percentage of leave voters were also the areas with the lowest percentage of university graduates and the lowest house prices.
“Many liberal commentators hostile to the working class have assumed that the votes in favour of leaving the EU in working class parts of northern and central England that traditionally vote for the Labour Party were due to racism. In fact, those votes represented more a protest against the neglect of these areas over the last four decades or so by both Conservative and Labour governments.” – Gerry Grainger, Workers’ Party of Ireland
Internationalism is a serious cause, one at the heart of proletarian politics. Workers across the world have more in common with each other than with their own bourgeoisie. It is a fatal misconception, however, that bourgeois internationalism, i.e. that of the European Union, is the same as proletarian internationalism. Proletarian internationalism recognises that the free movement of capital necessitates the free movement of labour, and as such Red Youth promotes an open borders policy. Proletarian internationalism recognises that in a communist world we will have no need of borders, as opportunity will be equally available everywhere.