Dear Jean-Claude Juncker
…and David Cameron
In a few hours time I will vote to Remain in the European Union. I will do so through gritted teeth because I believe the EU to be an anti-democratic construct dedicated to the interests of large global corporations.
If Remain wins, I fully expect the oligarchy that runs Europe to claim this is a mandate for all kinds of neoliberal policies and anti-democratic arrangements.
So I want to be clear about my own vote.
It is not a mandate for the Lisbon Treaty. It should be scrapped and replaced with a new arrangement that forbids the EU to impose austerity; forbids the use of economic coercion within Europe; and which mandates the ECB to pursue full employment across the Eurozone as its main target.
It is not an endorsement of your decision to crush Greek democracy in the Summer of 2015; nor is it an endorsement of your policy of refusing Greece substantial debt relief.
Nor is it a mandate for you to pull the same kind of tricks against an incoming left government in Spain.
It is not an endorsement of free movement. Free movement is creating a race to the bottom in the UK labour market; I will ask the UK government to promote vigorous micro-economic measures to deter the expansion of Britain’s cheap labour economy.
I will support the Labour Party in its avowed intent to renegotiate free movement in a way beneficial to workers, and detrimental to slave-labour empoloyers.
It is not an endorsement of the UK government’s inhuman policy on refugees, or of those European governments that have defied humanitarian logic in refusing to take their share. I want Britain its full quota — tens of thousands of those who have arrived since the mass migration from Syria began.
It is not an endorsement of your policy on national self-determination — the Commission’s arrogant refusal to grant nations such as Scotland and Catalonia the right to secede while remaining within the EU
Above all, it is not an endorsement of the institutional structure of Europe. It has an inbuilt democratic deficit, lack of transparency and is substantially unaccountable to the electorate.
Nor is it an endorsement of rapid Turkish accession, or the illegal deal you have done with Turkey over the return of refugees. The best thing democrats in the EU can do for secular Turkish democrats is to build their capacity to resist and remove Erdogan’s AK Party regime. Europe should place severe trade sanctions on Turkey until it stops bombing the Kurds and jailing journalists.
It is certainly not a mandate for your alliance with the platform monopolies Uber and AirBnB against the local democratic administrations trying to regulate and control them.
My vote is simply a practical expression of preference: I would rather not hand power to a right wing cabal inside the Conservative Party, co-operating with the right wing racist party UKIP. I have been sickened by the racism and xenophobia of the Leave campaign and said from the start I would not join it.
On Friday, with the referendum over, I will join with radical and progressive movements across Europe to oppose your austerity strategy and the political cant that justifies it — aka neoclassical economics. And I will go on fighting the austerity imposed by the UK government.
If a Labour government comes to power committed, as Syriza was, to radical social justice, I expect you will try to crush it. I look forward to the clash that will trigger.
I hope Remain wins tomorrow. But the problem will still be there: neoliberal austerity promoted by the European Union is destroying the values of Europe. A generation of young people is being taught to despair and fear the future.
For this reason I will push for a mandatory re-run of a referendum on EU membership every seven years. I encourage the peoples of all other countries to exercise this right regularly.
Yours in solidarity with the workers, youth and refugees.