By Chris Shaw
I’ve made it clear that I don’t see the EU referendum as particularly important. The major economic questions surrounding the modern world, from banking fragility and capital creation, to huge levels of private and sovereign debt and politico-economic centralisation are not remotely addressed within this debate, except maybe on the peripheries. If we leave, economic and political power will simply be moved from unaccountable elites in Brussels to those in Westminster and its parasitical institutions. Democracy is not important in this debate as some have emphasised, as realistically the kind of representative democracy we have has led to many of the ridiculous problems the UK faces today, from failing social systems to a debt-led economy. Representative democracy relies on mass ignorance and the ability to debate non-issues among non-representative parties.
The only important area this debate touches on is the concept of secession. By voting to leave, we are hopefully seceding from the EU. This is more hopeful when the powers that be (Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, etc.) have proposed leaving the Single Market, thus actually decreasing our involvement in the EU instead of simply renegotiating it through EFTA or the EEA. Such proposals are potentially important and even radical, particularly when put in the frame of a “people’s choice” which is currently defining this referendum. This reinterprets what were meant to be the realities of the referendum (that of a debate about how good or bad the EU has supposedly been), and has instead reoriented it toward questions of what constitutes nationality and the character and ownership of a nation.
By doing this, questions of power and where it is held are raised. With this comes the potential for a wider debate over the whole concept of how we shape our polities and economies. Fundamentally, a discussion of this sort allows for a move away from the corporatised economies and centralised governance structures which cast the current paradigm.
Many forms of these structures are found within the European Union, as with trade agreements and stringent regulatory apparatuses which create artificially large economies of scale and large arenas for corporate lobbying and influence. TTIP is the culmination of these processes, as evidenced by the fact that 90% of the meetings surrounding TTIP has been done with corporate interests in both Europe and America. But let’s not kid ourselves into believing that the Cameronite elements of the Conservative Party that want to leave don’t believe in the same things.
A debate that moves discourses and discussions away from this paradigm allows the British people to move toward ideas of true secession, as described by Hoppe and Kirkpatrick Sale. Decentralising power from a European bureaucracy to a British bureaucracy may not quell the worries and fears of British people surrounding immigration, the economy and political representativeness. Hopefully, questions of unaccountable power continue to the point where many are at least calling for more localism and individual and community sovereignty. Some of these ideas can already be found in UKIP, as evidenced by their local manifesto and their proposals for local democracy reform.
It has to be remembered that while the EU obviously has massive issues with increasing debt levels and the desire for economic centralisation, the UK itself has huge public spending levels as well as massive private debt and issues of capital movement. This then limits the capability for any national government to take back control from the EU. Much of legislation, trade law, intellectual property and national and transnational transport infrastructure become untenable in these dead, hollowed-out states. There are already warning signs of a crash with a British housing bubble and the inability to create meaningful employment, with much of current job numbers being concentrated in low-pay sectors and the increasing difficulty employed individuals are finding in affording the cost-of-living.
By removing ourselves from these centralising mechanisms of the state, a potentially agorist future presents itself. Independent contractors in decentralised economies surrounding their community and their region, with international trade as a factor of economies but not their focal point. Political representation based on the desires of local communities and counties, which can range from incorporated cities to rural agrarianism and the return of aristocratic duties and rights, both of which have historical roots in English identities and communities. Immigration controlled by local communities based on their tribal identities, rather than the interests of big business and international economic interests.
The only way for individuals and communities to get back control from centralised power structures is to push for proper secessionism from both the EU and the UK. More political and economic power and decision-making needs to be returned to the counties and cities of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for things that matter to be changed by the communities and peoples affected. Returning to the idea of subsidiarity is key in changing the direction of economic matters. Local public infrastructure is lacking in this nation, yet the government chooses to waste money on HS2 and other large-scale projects which invariably benefit large businesses. Mass immigration is negatively effecting many communities in the Midlands, North and East of England, as well as in the cities of Wales, yet British politicians pay lip service to such concerns while doing very little in actually controlling migration. Meaningful work is lacking, and the government decides subsiding corporations through a National Living Wage and the encouragement of temporary work is the best idea.
Many of the problems people in the UK face today do not emanate from the EU, but from the ignorance of politicians and political parties in Westminster. While the ideas I’m advocating may well seem outlandish, the discourses of this referendum are already changing toward how the concept of a British nation is defined, and where national power should lie. Leaving the EU alone will change nothing. True secession from centralised power will.