by Christopher DraperANARCHISTS don’t vote. Only fools believe the rich would ever relinquish power and wealth on the vote of parliamentary puppets. We’ll only get equality when we stop looking for leaders and passing off political responsibility onto others; so I don’t usually vote, but…VOTE LEAVE is different.
If you ask two anarchists for their views on anything you’ll get three opinions but at least we can all agree that GOVERNMENT is a bad idea, and the bigger the government the badder the idea. We’re not keen on CAPITALISM either and like government, the bigger the capitalism the badder.
Multinational CORPORATIONS epitomise big capitalism and the EU is a multinational GOVERNMENT aspiring to become a CORPORATE MEGA-STATE. EU laws are devised by members of the ERT (“European Round Table of Industrialist”) and formalised by an EU COMMISSION of 28 unelected individuals before being rubber-stamped by MEP’s. EU strategy is the creation of the heads of the 48 biggest European CORPORATIONS (headed by Volvo and Philips Electronics) that comprise ERT and its grip on EU policy is revealed by Googling 'ERT Vision.'
The document displayed sets out 'ERT’s Vision for a competitive Europe in 2025'. The CORPORATES claim:
'Europe has to unleash its significant unrealised potential...But the Single Market is far from complete. It should be further extended to cover all goods, services, capital, people and knowledge.'
The plan is to dismantle all barriers to free-trade across Europe and beyond. Countries and communities are to be compelled to offer up all services to the market. Education, pensions, health and everything else, MUST be open to competition and run for profit. The EU is a superb engine of GLOBALISATION, driving through the marketisation of all human activity. The shared EU-ERT Vision is a Europe run by and for CORPORATIONS with social goals subordinated to market forces. One priority is dismantling the NHS, as they plan to, 'Reform social security systems to strike a better balance between social cohesion and financial sustainability by placing greater emphasis on patients responsibility for healthcare costs' (ERT Vision, pg 5).
There are no boundaries to the ambition of EU Commissioners who are about to sign us up to TTIP ('Transatlantic Trade Improvement Partnership'), exposing Europe to the predations of U.S. CORPORATIONS. Under TTIP, CORPORATIONS can sue, in courts of their own devising, elected government that offer its citizens services not supplied on a free-market basis. Price must everywhere and on every occasion trump any social or welfare concern. Vestiges of Britain’s welfare system will be handed over to profit-seeking CORPORATIONS. Anarchists might prefer welfare, education, parks and other STATE services to be operated collectively by workers themselves but we certainly don’t want them handed over, lock, stock and barrel, to CORPORATIONS. The ultimate goal is a world controlled run as one giant CORPORATE STATE. If we get out of the EU it won’t protect workers from CORPORATIONS, only collective action can do that, but it will at least throw a spanner in this headlong drive towards globalisation.
The planet can accommodate people’s needs but not everyone’s greeds. Anarchism proposes small scale communities producing goods to satisfy local need with minimal trading to acquire items otherwise unavailable. CORPORATIONS make money by trading goods and services around the world, cutting themselves a slice of profit from each transaction, so the more transacting, the more profit. This frenetic, wasteful system magnifies inequality and consumes the planet. As Peter Kropotkin long ago explained, anarchists prefer simpler, sustainable patterns of production and consumption.
'Compliance Cost' is one cunning strategy exploited by EU CORPORATIONS to maintain their market dominance. In devising and enforcing a multiplicity of bureaucratic regulations, the big boys overwhelm small firms who haven’t the personnel to ensure compliance. One small, traditional company that carved walking sticks and shepherd crooks for the home market using antique machinery had to close down after it was reported its equipment didn’t comply with the latest EU regulations. It hadn’t caused an injury in over 100 years of production and the cost of a compliant replacement made the enterprise uneconomic so it closed down and a dozen employees became unemployed. Countless other individuals just abandon hope of starting their own business once they discover the trouble and expense of meeting EU regulations. The majority of small UK enterprises trade only within a 10 mile radius and export nothing yet are nevertheless compelled to carry the burden of EU regulation.
The EU serves big business and its sycophants. Professional politicians of all stripes, (including trade union General Secretaries) can’t wait to jump aboard the Brussels gravy train for once on board they may alight at any stop and be guaranteed lucrative careers with lobbying groups, Corporate Directorships or a seat in the House of Lords. Mandelson and Kinnock immediately spring to mind as oleaginous examples.
Wielding enormous power of patronage, the EU ensures that any organisation accepting even a minute grant is thereafter legally obliged to publicise the beneficence of their EU sponsor. A bizarre wooden rabbit statue erected in my local town centre bears an EU logo although the public toilet next to the bunny remains closed, evidencing a perverse misallocation of financial resources. On the 9th May my local library was required to organise a display promoting the merits of the EU and offering a wide range of 'free' merchandise all bearing the EU flag motif (shopping bags, pens, rulers, jotters, books etc). The EU spends 664 million euros a year on such self-promotional activities and librarians were compelled to photograph their displays to prove they hadn’t wasted EU money on library books instead! (I suspect the plastic rulers, and probably the rest, were manufactured in China so I’ve submitted an FOI request).
In 2002, the EU adopted an 'Information and Communication Strategy' which called for “a coherent and comprehensive information and communication policy for the European Union which will improve public perceptions of the Union and of its role”. It’s obviously not working as few EU citizens retain any enthusiasm for the EU and voting figures continue to decline; 1979:62%; 1984:59%; 1989:58%; 1994; 57%; 1999:50%; 2004:46%; 2009:43%.
The empire-building ambitions of EU politicians dovetail with the globalising strategies of EU CORPORATIONS. Both cooperate to fuse political with commercial imperatives in developing a CORPORATE MEGA-STATE, or as Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EU Commission explained it in 2014, 'We need to build a United States of Europe with the Commission as government'. President Nicolas Sarkozy enthuses:
'I believe in political Europe. I believe in the Europe of integration. I believe in a Europe where we have the economy, culture and the politics brought together.'
Ex-President of the EU Commission Romano Prodi is unequivocal:
'We must now face the difficult task of moving towards a single economy, a single political entity…for the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire.'
A few anarchists, including both editors of this website, delude themselves that the EU represents the highest ideals of international libertarian federalism, yet a careful analysis of EU documents reveals the reality is otherwise. The driver of EU policy is a CORPORATISM serving an international elite determined to move across former national boundaries without let or hindrance and contributing little by way of taxes to the public good. Capital and workers are effortlessly shifted about to maximise profit and minimise obligation and a legal system devised to enforce uniformity and pre-empt communities from organising any form of alternative, localised economy. The removal of all semblance of a locally determined policy on pensions, broadcasting, social welfare etc from Greece and its replacement by the dictat of EU Bankers provides a graphic illustration of the real balance of power in the organisation.
Leaving the EU won’t create heaven on earth (nothing will, including anarchism) and admittedly, it will be harder to get Horse Lasagne down the supermarket but there’s plenty of other fish in the fridge (or there was until the EU destroyed our fishing industry). So Comrades Bamford, Pattison, et al, stick two fingers up to BIG BROTHER and - VOTE LEAVE!
For Peace, Love & Anarchy