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  • Posted November 17th, 2019
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    Can elections really change anything?

    Can elections really change anything?

    Can elections really change anything? Dave Darby of Lowimpact.org shares his views on the question in the run-up to the general election.


    The phrase ‘cognitive dissonance’ is becoming a bit of a cliché – overused and indeed often misused. But it perfectly describes my feelings towards the upcoming general election. It’s been my position for a long time that elections, and parliamentary democracy generally, are a distraction, to hide the fact that real power does not ultimately reside with government, but with money.

    However, I’m leaning towards giving my vote to a party that promises (I know, I know) to do something that I really, really want to see happen. Maybe I’m a sucker, but here’s my thinking.

    I don’t believe that elections make any difference in the long-run, or even very much in the short-run – but, worse, media saturation makes everyone believe that if their party gets elected, there can be meaningful and lasting change, when in reality, within the current global system, there cannot.

    When I talk about my disdain for elections, some friends have been horrified. Common responses have been:

    • “Lots of people have died over the years so that you could have a vote – you have a duty to use it.”
    • “Elections can bring about change – look at the NHS – and a progressive government could end austerity.”
    • “If you don’t like any of the parties on offer, start one yourself and stand for election.”
    • “If you think liberal democracy is so bad, do you think places like North Korea, where people are not allowed to vote, are somehow better?”
    • “But you’re going to let the **** party in.”

    … and so on.

    But these responses don’t work for me at all. Here’s why.

    Maintaining the status quo

    1. We have a political system that’s designed to maintain the status quo

    The Conservatives are by far the most successful party in the UK. When Labour do win, anything they introduce that the corporate sector don’t like is reversed by the Tories when they return to power.

    2. When it comes to real change, governments’ hands are tied

    Every national government in the world is playing the same game, the point of which is to grow their economy as much as possible, to afford the maximum amount of weaponry in an attempt to enforce their will regionally (and for the big players, globally). The overall winner of this game gets to establish military bases all over the world, and to have its money as the global reserve currency. The US is winning the game at the moment, but it will be just as bad when China takes over.

    Any government that doesn’t welcome international finance capital with open arms will scare it away, and they will do badly in the global game. Frighten international investors away from your country, in a capitalist world, and you won’t stay in power for long. Sad but true – ask Syriza.

    And so we get neoliberal or bland ‘centre’ governments (and the Overton Window has moved so far to the right that Blair and Clinton can be called ‘centre’).

    “States are an integral part of the current system and therefore, the political parties who try to run them, even if with the best intent, end up obliged to follow the logic of “pragmatism” over the values they stand for, as they are called upon to run the state in a way that is efficient for the market economy and guarantees the competitive advantage of the country within the system. Political decisions of our governments have always been strongly influenced by capital, but in a world where finance capital has become the dominant factor, the rapidity with which it can flee a country that does not welcome it, means that it needs to be courted, just as the Tory government is explicitly doing, but also as the left wing parties across Europe, including Syriza, have been forced to do.” – Ludovica Rogers, Co-ops UK

    3. Elections and party politics sap energy and resources

    If we expended as much effort on actively building new economy alternatives (commons, co-operative, free/open source tools and institutions), we’d be on a surer and shorter path to a better world. Any transfer of energy of those people building a new economy from the grassroots into party political campaigning is, imho, a scandalous waste of scarce resources.

    4. Political parties that challenge the status quo will be demonised by the media

    A corporate media is only ever going to respond negatively to any party or movement attempting to move power away from the corporate sector. Most people understand this, but it still has a big effect.

    5. Western governments are awash with corporate money

    I don’t have to persuade anyone that capitalism concentrates wealth, do I? I guess the debate is around whether that concentrated wealth translates into concentrated power. My position is that it does: ‘who pays the piper calls the tune’. So the state props up the corporate sector in many different ways:

    • Politicians listen to corporate lobbyists many times more than they listen to community lobbyists
    • Starbucks (and other corporates) are allowed to avoid taxes, when the independent coffee shop across the road is not
    • Governments spend taxpayers’ money on high-speed rail, motorways and airports that disproportionately benefit national and multinational corporations rather than local businesses
    • If they fail, then ‘too-big-to-fail’ corporations – notably banks – are bailed out with our money
    • The state grants monopoly control of the money supply to corporate banks, along with the right to create money from nothing, and to charge interest on it; and in return the banks buy government bonds to provide the funds to compete in the global game
    • Subsidies for oil companies to find more fossil fuels; no tax on aviation fuel or VAT on flights etc.
    • Giant states will always prefer giant corporations when it comes to government contracts
    • Spending on corporate weaponry that hugely exceeds any ‘defence’ requirements
    • and so on – see here for more

    The neoliberal project

    As David Harvey explains, Neoliberalism isn’t an ideology – it’s a project to concentrate power. And he locates that power in the state/bank nexus. He’s right – look what happened when it seemed that the neoliberal project was going to fall over in 2008/9. Genuinely right-wing people said ‘let the banks die’. The left had no idea. George Bush (obviously) had no idea. It needed Ben Bernanke (Federal Reserve) and Hank Paulson (Treasury Secretary) to step up and say ‘this is how it’s going to be. Ordinary taxpayers all over the world are going to give their hard-earned money to bail out the banks’. And that’s exactly what happened. They rescued the neoliberal project, and no-one could stop them. Least of all presidents or prime ministers.

    Power is now more concentrated than in the time of the British East India Company, the Mongol Hordes or the Roman Empire. And it’s in the bank-state nexus. Can a change of government do anything about this power concentration? Well no, because, they won’t have the power!

    So if voting isn’t going to change the status quo, what is?

    What we’re interested in at Lowimpact and NonCorporate.org is building an alternative economy, that doesn’t have to grow forever and doesn’t concentrate wealth, by sucking it out of communities and depositing in tax havens.

    We want to help build economic units that keep wealth in communities, and don’t have to keep growing, to maximise returns for shareholders. What comprises this economy? Co-ops of all kinds, the commons, sole traders, local businesses, and many others, including mutual credit exchange systems and a range of new digital tools that can allow collaboration and federation in ways that have never been possible before.

    We think this is the way to change the economy and the world – by building it ourselves, rather than waiting for governments to do something. We believe that a new economy is growing that can transcend capitalism (rather than overthrowing it or voting it away), in the same way that capitalism grew to transcend feudalism.

    However (and this is where the cognitive dissonance comes in)

    Labour say they’ll double the size of the co-op economy. That’s a gift horse I can’t look in the mouth.

    But do they mean it? Having seen McDonnell and Corbyn speak – yes, I believe they do.

    Will it make a difference long-term? Yes – it’s not something that can be (easily) reversed by an incoming Tory government, as it’s owned by workers themselves, and not governments. And even if Labour don’t win, and the Tories continue to give the finger to working people, and to facilitate the sucking of wealth out of their communities by the corporate sector, we’ll continue to help build economic units that keep wealth in. It’s the only way, really.

    But Labour had me at ‘doubling the size of the co-operative economy’. I was fooled into believing that Tony Blair’s government might have turned the Tory / capitalist / corporate tide, but far from turning it, they intensified it. However, I believe that Corbyn and McDonnell are honourable, decent people, unlike Blair and his cronies. So I’m going to vote Labour. I know – what kind of an anarchist is that, really? Don’t tell anybody.


    Dave DarbyAbout the author

    Dave Darby lived at Redfield community from 1996 to 2009. Working on development projects in Romania, he realised they saw Western countries as role models, so decided to try to bring about change in the UK instead. He founded Lowimpact.org in 2001, spent 3 years on the board of the Ecological Land Co-op and was a founder of NonCorporate.org. and the Open Credit Network.


    The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's


    21 Comments

    • Jan November 17th, 2019

      Thank you for voicing what I have been heading towards for a while.
      Not sure I agree entirely but yes on politics as a whole.

      My question to you would be how to make provisions for retirement/ future support without investment in the banking system?
      Coop is fine whilst you are active and able to contribute but as someone currently trying to look after 90 year old parents from a distance, it is ruinously expensive and in planning my own future I can see no way of generating enough ‘credit’ other than financial markets & institutions.

      In an ideal world the state would provide. However I think we are in the process of discovering that supporting this unproductive section of society is too expensive to be viable at a national level too. I truly never thought I would come to dread increases in the minimum wage!

    • Mike Pinard November 17th, 2019

      I’m old enough to remember governments of all hues from the sixties onwards and one fact is clear for whatever reason a Labour government leaves the country in a pretty poor state literally.
      Blair/Brown left the famous letter if you remember, Callahan/Wilson needed the IMF.
      The problem is that it’s not a socialist party but labour so has a great amount of union input. Now unions may be good at workplace issues but couldn’t run a whelk stall in business. Remember the Meriden Coop? Look it up it’s a classic case of good idea badly run. The ‘members’ thought as they were bosses they could do SFA and spent most of the time striking against themselves!
      Anything with union involvement means unskilled management and often disastrous results.
      Coops are a great idea but must come from the bottom up not top down. The government has no part in running them merely perhaps making the tax system more benificial to them and some well targeted seed money certainly not a free for all.

      The one political comment I would take issue with you is regarding Corby and Macdonald and old labour of that era. I was involved with a lot of them and met quite a few on student union business. I went to a lot of closed door fringe meetings and I can tell you of all those oldies I came across the only two worth a look were Jack Straw and Mo Molem. The others were absolute dickheads then and are unchanged today.

    • annbeirneanimalwhisperert November 17th, 2019

      I agree to a point with your points, but some friends, my husband and self are not waiting to find the outcome of this election which will as you say in fact make no difference, so we are going off grid, not only from electricity, and gas but building our own community of like minded people, if we wait for government to change there is no hope for this planet at all, we intend to build communities throughout the UK we are also looking into no money at all schemes, as I believe and always have that money is no more than metal and paper which has a mythical value of which we have all been brainwashed into believing, it has no real value only that which the rich and society have put on it.. Yes it will take a long time to do this and I really hope people will wake up and stop pretending everything is alright and reject the politics of this time

      I believe in the moneyless manifesto the book written my Mark Boyle, money no matter what scheme are invented it always ends up with the rich and poor miles apart, and leads to greed which I think is the evil which drives the destruction of this planet, lets face it you have to be a bit dim to believe anything that comes out of a politicians mouth, all the promises leading up to election and then nothing, like declaring a Climate
      Emergency and then just doing nothing at all. I think the only way forward is people power, we are the only ones that can build societies that really matter and run them on real democracy not the farcical so called democracy which has never ever happened in politics in the country or abroad it never has it has only ever been a word bandied about to make people believe the really have a say, what rubbish!

      As a woman who knows how many suffragettes suffered and died to get me the vote, I feel I owe them support, but will I in doing so drop us into a worse scenario, I think yes and since most of our candidates don’t even come from the area in which I live and do not know our communities or what we need, I also really think my vote will be wasted anyway as the outcome is already decided, well before the voting starts so I may have to let my sisters down this time as I know it is going to be a total waste of time once again.

    • Madadam November 17th, 2019

      Dave Derby Phew! Thank christ for that. Any Greens or anarcho libertarians who would risk splitting the anti-Johnson vote by voting any other way than Labour, needs to self refer to a psychiatric unit. Reversing or halting the worst affects of the Climate emergency with a ‘Green new deal’, National Education Service to upskill the next generation and older adults, to adapt to AI Robotics and the greening of our economy, saving the NHS from privatisation, US big pharma and ‘Catastrophe’ -(BMA), taking transport (and greening it) into public ownership (inc co-ops), Energy, Broadband, and other national infrastructure, reuniting a divided country and investing in the ‘left behind’ communities, redistributing economic and political power from the South east to the north and other abandoned regions, building sustainable council and co-op housing and rents at affordable levels. Last but not least, confronting and defeating neo fascism and English Nationalism, on the march in the UK and Europe- See Steve Bannon, Wiki him! ?❤️?

    • Dave Darby November 17th, 2019

      Jan – there are lots of ideas within the mutual credit world for providing social safety nets from transaction fees. A long way off yet of course, but the possibilities are there. Without wealth being siphoned out of communities to pay shareholders, there will be more wealth left in to look after ourselves.

      Mike – Labour are only talking about helping to grow the co-op sector, not running it. Co-op development agency / training / funding etc. Plus levelling the playing field by making corporates pay their taxes would help. Anecdotal abuse doesn’t really work for me, and it’s not about individuals, it’s about growing the co-op sector, which, as you say, has to grow from grassroots.

      annbeirneanimalwhisperert – sounds very interesting. Let us know how you get on. We could blog and help you recruit.

      Madadam – sure, but will all be reversed by a future Tory government, no? Labour governments don’t tend to last long.

    • Steve Gwynne November 17th, 2019

      Under Labour and their intentions towards either EFTA membership or EU membership means UK Co-ops will need to align to EU rules and of course EU neoliberalism.

      A Brexit under the Tories on the other hand is promising to reduce taxes for SMEs and provide better support for SMEs with a shift away from EU rules and EU neoliberalism.

      In a wider context, EFTA or EU membership means the continued alignment with a fundamentally unsustainable economic system that is predicated on importing foreign biocapacity to compensate for its increasing ecological debt.
      https://www.stockholmresilience.org/publications/artiklar/2018-07-03-operationalizing-the-concept-of-a-safe-operating-space-at-the-eu-level—first-steps-and-explorations.html

      Similarly, actively seeking to increase the population size in the UK is further destroying the UK’s State of Nature and thereby its ecological means of survival.
      https://populationmatters.org/news/2019/10/04/uk-biodiversity-report-more-us-less-them

      Brexit is the only available means to create a sustainable, sufficient and resilient future for Britain with an emphasis on population stabilisation, allowing the markets the necessary freedom to innovate and experiment, including cutting edge Co-ops, and to regain the nation state as a shared democratic project in which the electorate can decide on national ecological, economic, social, cultural and political policy.

      https://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/18035820.south-marston-energy-plant-will-put-swindon-heart-low-carbon-economy/

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/27/uks-biggest-carbon-capture-project-is-step-change-on-emissions

      As such I have been actively supporting the Tories to achieve our long awaited Brexit and freedom from the Neoliberal EU.

      In contrast, Labour with their growth adventurism with planned increases in borrowing and therefore huge increases in the national debt and the budget deficit is totally at odds with the dynamics of peak prosperity and the rising costs of surplus energy.
      https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/2019/11/05/157-trending-down/

      In other words, Labour have no hope of ever reducing the budget deficit or the national debt because in reality we have already reached peak growth. This means, Labour are simply laying the ground for another extended period of austerity and cutbacks as they did in 2008.

      Finally, “It takes more than 200 tonnes of metallurgical coal to produce one wind turbine,” Albanese said. “According to forecasts of global growth in wind power capacity to 2030, Australia could be exporting 15.5 million tonnes of coking coal to build these turbines.”
      https://reneweconomy.com.au/another-nail-in-coals-coffin-german-steel-furnace-runs-on-renewable-hydrogen-in-world-first-55906/

      Not only is Labour seeking to keep the UK aligned with the fundamentally unsustainable Neoliberal EU, they are seeking to increase the UK’s massive ecological debt, increase the UK’s budget deficit and national debt and are actively seeking to intensify global carbon emissions in a bid to resurrect a stalling fossil fuel driven global capitalist economy.

    • Paul Jennings November 17th, 2019

      Hey Dave, not only am I turning out and voting this time, despite the fact I’m 30 years an Anarchist, I’ve also been canvassing for Labour. The argument is simple for me: whilst the parliamentary route to socialism is clearly broken, whilst reformism will not build the new society we desperately need, one that is egalitarian, libertarian, ecological and radically democratic in every workplace and community, to see what the Tories have done, and will do ever faster if they win, and to turn away from this chance to put them out of office, would be nothing short of vain egotistical dogmatism. This is a question of immediate suffering, of deaths of cold, of malnourished kids, of the privatisation of the NHS, and I could go on and on.

      130,000 deaths due to austerity policies since 2009 is a good enough reason to ditch the Tories.

      The death toll of Tory misrule aside, it is my feeling that a Labour victory would give the working class a breather, and so a space would open up, a space in which we could dream, a space on the left. Labour’s commitment to a limited democratisation of the economy would open the door a crack, enough perhaps to allow us to push it open all the way.

    • Dave Darby November 17th, 2019

      Steve – yes, Labour are growth fantasists with the best of them. And yes, the EU is a neoliberal institution (and I’m no fan), but then so is NAFTA, the WTO and any future Tory government. We won’t be free from neoliberalism whatever we do, sadly. The only hope I can see for system change is via the grassroots, that Labour will promote via co-ops and the Tories will stifle – because they’re neoliberals, with no fear of monopoly. They will enforce the neoliberal status quo.

    • Dave Darby November 17th, 2019

      “Labour’s commitment to a limited democratisation of the economy would open the door a crack, enough perhaps to allow us to push it open all the way.” – yep, that.

    • Steve Gwynne November 18th, 2019

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/18/labour-real-change-top-down-thinking-westminster?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX0Jlc3RPZkd1YXJkaWFuT3BpbmlvblVLLTE5MTExOA%3D%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=BestOfGuardianOpinionUK&CMP=opinionuk_email

      Clearly, grassroots solutions are not stifled by a Tory government but actively supported with the usual funding streams.

      By reinstating national democratic independence, the country has the option to better support SMEs as opposed to remaining aligned to the Neoliberal EU.

      Exactly how is Labour going to support Co-ops beyond the situation now.
      Cheers.

    • Dave Darby November 18th, 2019

      Steve – OK, I get that you’re not a fan of the EU. Neither am I – for me it’s in the same ballpark as Nafta, the WTO, IMF et al. So no argument there. But that link didn’t at all show that grassroots solutions are not stifled by the Tories. Remember what they did to the building societies? And to mutual guarantee societies? They’re a neoliberal party, and neoliberals have no concerns about corporate monopolies – they’re on the same team. The Labour Party’s full name is the Labour and Co-operative Party. Here’s a labour bill to reintroduce mutual guarantee societies – https://www.christinarees.org/mutual-guarantee-societies/. Here’s a piece by Co-ops UK about Labour’s plans to double the size of the co-op sector – https://www.uk.coop/newsroom/labour-shadow-chancellor-proposes-double-co-operative-economy; and here’s a warning about Tory ‘support’ for co-ops (they only support current public services being co-operativised, but only temporarily – i.e. privatisation by the back door) – https://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/02/proposals-societies-tories. The Tories wound up the last Co-operative Development Agency – https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1990/279/introduction/made. Labour plan to reinstate it; plus set up a local energy taskforce to help set up community energy schemes; plus regional development banks to support SMEs and co-ops; plus ‘right-to-own’ legislation giving workers first dibs at buying their company if it comes up for sale.

      Steve, I’ve been to the UK co-operatives conference (Ways Forward) in Manchester for the last 2 years. I know that people in the co-operative world absolutely do not want a Tory government. You should go – some very interesting conversations – at the conference and in the pub. Don’t tell them you’re supporting the Tories though.

    • Madadam November 19th, 2019

      Ann – I’m afraid you are ‘letting the sisters down’, because you can use your vote tactically. You can see it, not as a 100% endorsement for a party/govt, but as opposing further weakening of environmental regulation and therefore, hastening of the climate emergency. That vote would clearly be anti-Johnson and opposing Trump getting his hands on our NHS, flooding our markets with cheap chlorinated chicken and low environmental standards as part of a US right wing libertarian trade deal. A trade deal, where big pharma and Trump hold all the cards, as we will be weak-desperate to ‘get deals done’ to avoid WTO tariffs and a weakened economy.

    • Mikeo November 20th, 2019

      Dave. It’s not anecdotal I’m afraid. I was on the street, in public meetings and closed sessions with let’s say the last of the old guard?
      The problem was they were so so fixated on the socialist/communist future that every thing revolved or came to end at that.
      We had big issues in those days as well, cold war, apartheid, Vietnam, racial discrimination but nothing was ever more than 30 seconds away from knock down the walls and set the masses free (?).
      This attitude did a lot of harm and painted all protests as just another red rabble.
      Corbyn was always there pushing the crap eventually they alienated too many people.
      He cannot change as we have seen except deny antisemetism ever meeting terrorists and all the baggages from those days.
      Unfortunately he is a dinosaur and is totally unsuitable for office.

      I think the coop that is referred to in the name is not the coop of today but the Rochdale Pioneers who were early founders of the old coop and the labour movement. The modem coop is little more than a n other chain store probably less beneficial than John Lewis.

      Paul. I think that both Labour and Tory are jointly responsible for any problems of austerity. Labour spent all the money and if you just keep on borrowing your kids will love you for it. Someone has to pay the Piper no matter what anyone says.

    • Dave Darby November 20th, 2019

      Mikeo, you’ve missed my point entirely.
      I’m not talking about ‘the co-op’, I’m talking about co-operatives – https://www.lowimpact.org/lowimpact-topic/co-operatives/.
      As part of a new economy – https://www.lowimpact.org/lowimpact-topic/low-impact-economy/.
      To transcend, rather than overthrow – https://www.lowimpact.org/transcender-manifesto-dil-green/.
      Steve knows what I’m saying.

    • Mike Pinard November 22nd, 2019

      Dave I didn’t miss your point that was exactly to what I was referring. The Labour party name came from the (present) coop movement via Rochdale not a more general coop movement of the future.
      I also think that unveiling the Labour party manifesto in Brum on the anniversary of the pub bombings by his mates really showed that running a whelk store is aspirational for Corbyn.

    • Dave Darby November 22nd, 2019

      I just want to make one point clear, because it’s important.

      I’m not a supporter of a particular political party, because I don’t believe that party politics or ‘liberal democracy’ can bring about system change, which is all covered in the article. Wealth and power concentration in the corporate sector means that we don’t get to vote for where the real power is. But system change is essential, because capitalism requires perpetual growth, which is the engine of ecological destruction. So I’m not under the illusion that a vote for any party will bring about the changes that we need – i.e. system change. And I don’t believe that violent overthrow is achievable or desirable either.

      However, there is a current, viable alternative to corporate capitalism being built right now, all over the world, which includes much more than ‘the co-op’. It includes a range of different kinds of decentralised, co-operative and commons institutions, from old-style worker co-ops and housing co-ops to platform co-ops, multistakeholder co-ops, credit unions, community land trusts, community energy schemes, community-supported agriculture, the free/open source movement, and mutual credit, which we’re very much involved in. These things work, but are hampered by a state/corporate alliance that doesn’t want its power to be diluted. Labour’s manifesto includes the re-introduction of a national co-operative development agency, which means that I think they’re worth voting for this time – even though I know that they’re also wedded to the idea of perpetual growth just as much as the Tories are. It’s the ‘mutualist’ / co-op / commons sector that I’m interested in, not the Labour party. You take what you can get.

    • Steve Gwynne November 25th, 2019

      Labour plans to put corporation tax back up to 26%, following reductions over the past nine years.

      We typically think of corporation tax being associated with large companies, but corporation tax is paid by all limited businesses.

      Around one million UK businesses in 2017/18 had a corporation tax bill of up to £10,000, meaning in most cases their profits would have been no higher than £53,000.

      Reversing reductions to corporation tax would affect the owners of these businesses some of whom will earn below £80,000 per year.

      https://fullfact.org/election-2019/labour-manifesto-2019/

      Corporation Tax
      You must pay Corporation Tax on profits from doing business as:

      a limited company
      any foreign company with a UK branch or office
      a club, co-operative or other unincorporated association, eg a community group or sports club

      Profits you pay Corporation Tax on
      Taxable profits for Corporation Tax include the money your company or association makes from:

      doing business (‘trading profits’)
      investments
      selling assets for more than they cost (‘chargeable gains’)
      If your company is based in the UK, it pays Corporation Tax on all its profits from the UK and abroad.

      If your company isn’t based in the UK but has an office or branch here, it only pays Corporation Tax on profits from its UK activities.

      https://www.gov.uk/corporation-tax

      In other words, Labour’s support for Co-operatives is to raise the tax threshold by 8% on all its profitable activities.

      Labour’s manifesto + EU membership = continued EU neoliberalism, a manifesto that encourages a massive influx of unemployed EU citizens, continued destruction of UK’s ecological means of survival and the end of Britain as a nation as we know it.

      Eu Supranational Neoliberal Regionalism is the goal of Labour’s EU Remainiacs.

      A vote for Labour is a vote to Remain in the fundamentally unsustainable EU economic system and fundamentally neoliberal EU Treaties.

      Dave. Brexit is about achieving national democratic independence to create our own low impact national policy. Remain is about achieving the exact opposite.

    • Dave Darby November 25th, 2019

      Steve, we’re not that far apart (except for the fact that you say you’ll vote Tory! – the neoliberal par excellence party). But the EU will exist anyway – along with other huge blocks, China, US and a couple of wannabees, with the UK as a dirty little money-laundering operation just off Europe. It’s the same old nasty game, Brexit or no Brexit. Plus they’re not saying they’ll keep us in, but have another referendum, which will be leave again (why wouldn’t it? People in Barnsley aren’t going to be persuaded by Londoners bemoaning the fact that it’s more difficult to travel around Europe or get a Bulgarian nanny).
      But what they will do is re-establish a national co-operative development agency, and fund it properly. So they’ll get my vote, although I’m really not enthused by party politics, or Labour’s support for perpetual growth, or, as you say, the left’s slavish and idiotic devotion to the neoliberal EU.

    • weavingtheseisles February 14th, 2020

      As ever, i’m very much in agreement with Dave. Labour’s support for perpetual growth/neoliberalism/Remain were not generally shared by Corbyn and McDonnell, and I understood that their proposed National Investment Bank and finance sources were likely part, or the start, of a new order of positive money initiatives. If so, this could constitute transformative paradigm shift without major drama, as per Dave’s lists of mechanisms that would characterise a posst-capitalist non-growth solution to pretty much everything… However I guess they were unable to say so explicitly in case of completely alienating/terrifying the City et al (where Corbynism does or did apparently have some support, at least in 2017), not to mention the silent majority that still exists in the wretched ‘centre’ (to simplify). For these and other reasons I put a month’s worth of data-gathering/number crunching effort into my local Labour GE19 campaign, and was devastated with the result. I will forever be angry that the centre refused to swing with the left, and that Remain, largely centrist, stole the agenda. Without Corbyn/McDonnell or successors that good, I shall concentrate efforts on grassroots solutions. I hope Starmer’s pledges today will become Labour, and indeed government, policy tomorrow, but the centre may still reject even these limited proposals. Here’s an interesting article on the fabric of mutualism that was, Harrington argues, damaged by the creation of the welfare state as well as by the more obvious right wing antagonist, the capitalist programme: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2020/01/working-class-well-being-has-been-assaulted-free-market-right-and-liberal

    • weavingtheseisles February 14th, 2020

      [forgot to check follow-up box]

    • Dave Darby February 15th, 2020

      Eloise – that Harrington article is fascinating – that’s exactly what I’m saying, but it’s a marginal position on the left, who often see the state as the saviour, the counterbalance to coporate power, rather than part of the problem.

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