One of the major themes of that talk was the need for Right and Left to collaborate on an issue of massive importance to the general population of the country. A secondary result of our discussions in November was the realisation of thedegree to which the Labour Party had been appropriated by a 'soft left' Euro-socialist machine dependent on Brussels and, on this issue, by the Old Labour Right.
My own experience and that of others of being dismissed, of falsehoods about our position and even something close to bullying of dissent within the Party has led some of us to (in effect) suspend our engagement with the Party until June 24th and concentrate on the issue of Brexit. This issue is existential as far as this country and its democracy are concerned and it trumps mere party advantage.
Previous posts on this blog have supplied some of the reasoning behind a commitment to Brexit from a Left perspective but it was quickly recognised by myself and others that something more was required than individual protest. The issues raised by the rise of a pseudo-democratic European Left were far bigger than Brexit alone.
Earlier last month, a number of activists, all Labour Party members, combined to create the Democratic Left Network [DLN] which now has its own web site, blog, twitter account and Facebook Page after herculean efforts by dedicated members of the younger generation with real world jobs to hold down. This in turn has been nurtured and supported by the non-partisan Democracy Movement although DLN is wholly independent.
Although I have stuck to my guns in being distanced from direct activism in Leave.EU, I made a point of attending the last Advisory Board Meeting to explain what the Democratic Left Network was, how it would work and how it would collaborate with older Labour Movement organisations such as the Campaign Against Euro-Federalism [CAEF] and the Trades Unions Against The European Union [TUAEU]. We found an atmosphere of collaboration and support on all sides.
Our ideas have been tested in public meeting since and have not been found wanting. Liberal-left and democratic socialist opinion is confused, feels led by the nose and is beginning to ask some serious questions about where we are heading if we Stay in the European Union. In fact, DLN, whose Editorial Board will be confirmed on April 14th, does not exist solely to fight for Brexit from the Left. It exists to fight for improved political education and for democratic socialism on the Left.
The DLN intends to continue to exist and to grow stronger after June 23rd regardless of the result. Its position on the European Union has emerged logically out of a democratic socialist position that stands against the capture of the Labour Party and Labour Movement by a failed liberal-left on the one hand and by pseudo-democratic rightists on the other. Democracy and socialism are seen here as equal parts of the same whole in defiance of both Liberal Democrats and latter-day Bolsheviks alike.
Our concern is two-fold in the current debate. The first to raise the status of political education and free and open debate and to stand up and show those overwhelmed by propaganda but who have doubts about the technocratic neo-liberal and barely competent European Project that they are not alone and that they should feel free to speak out and raise issues of concern. The second is to expose the absurdity inherent in the posture of Varoufakis and his muddled associates that Britons should vote to stay in the European Union on the dubious grounds that it can be democratised and socialised - as DLN has pointed out in robust terms.
Varoufakis himself describes the crisis of the proto-State in devastating terms. It is puzzling that he continues to believe that his band of idealists could persuade the middle classes of Northern Europe to vote for their own demise when the most logical outcome for Europe, if it survives the crisis, is to become an integrated empire where its citizens are reduced to fodder for the neo-liberal project.
Our view is that the vote on June 23rd is an opportunity to transform not only Britain but also Europe by showing Europeans that they can escape from the machinery of liberal federalism and neo-liberal economics through national self-determination and internationalism in preference to supranationalism. In understanding this, they can then escape from a deep pessimism about the possibility of social change within the United Kingdom, one that seems to have affected depressive left-wing intellectuals and made them give up on the project of empowering the people to take command of their own destiny.