The discovery of intelligent life in the second largest galaxy of the Local Group – a galaxy called the Milky Way – itself in the universe within the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies, is of obvious significance. This life-form exists on a planet located in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way (called the Orion Arm), which lies about two-thirds of the way out from the centre of the Galaxy. Here exists part of the Solar System – a group of eight planets, as well as numerous comets and asteroids and dwarf planets which orbit the Sun. The planet with intelligent life is called earth and it is the third planet from the Sun in the Solar System.
The discovery of intelligent life on earth might seem to be called into question, but is actually confirmed, by the equally brilliant discovery of a Local Group in the island of Ireland, off the largest land mass on earth, by the People before Profit organisation.
This organisation has released a statement on the Brexit negotiations, in which it announces its brilliant discovery – that it is “becoming increasingly clear” that these negotiations will take place between “two reactionary imperialist blocs. On one side are the Tories” and “on the other side are the bureaucrats in the EU Commission.”
Who’da thunk it, eh? Hard to believe, I know. But there you are, it’s true. When the referendum produced a Brexit result, it was the British Government and the European Commission that would negotiate the outcome.
I know the first round of negotiations started in June, but the referendum was only called in February 2016 and held on 23 June 2016, and Article 50 was only invoked on 29 March 2017. It is only now becoming clear that it is the Tory Government and EU bureaucrats who will cobble together the deal (if there is one) and now, or rather on 13 December 2017, when the statement was published, that it became “increasingly clear” that “the Brexit negotiations are a competition between two reactionary imperialist blocs.”
Can we expect a progressive outcome from these negotiations? I don’t think so. People before Profit are therefore surely right to say that this does not bode well for the working class of Ireland. Or Britain for that matter.
But hold on a minute! Did not People before Profit support Brexit? And should it not have been suspicious that the British Government would end up negotiating the Brexit deal with the European Commission?
It is hard not to conclude, after careful thought, that Yes! Yes! is the answer. They should’ve known.
But wait, didn’t People before Profit not support something else entirely? Didn’t they support Lexit? And isn’t this a completely different life-form from Brexit?
Mmmm, I know what you are trying to say, but wasn’t it Brexit on the ballot paper, not Lexit? And didn’t People before Profit vote for it? And isn’t this life form ‘Lexit’ completely unknown to our universe? Is it not, to quote Mr Spock ,“Life, Jim, but not as we know it!”, completely alien to life in our Solar System, never mind the North of Ireland?
Does this really matter? Can’t we change Brexit to Lexit?
I don’t think so – “ye cannae change the laws of physics”, even if you really understood them.
Jesus Christ!, isn’t this politics complicated?!
So, let’s move on. After all, that’s what all politicians do when they’ve f****d up.
So, People before Profit now say that “The question must be asked what use is it to call for an end to the British Empire only to dissolve Irish sovereignty into a new EU empire?”
That’s a good question. But what exactly is “Irish sovereignty” – the sovereign power of the Irish people maybe? But how could this power be exercised in a capitalist Irish State, which seems to care only about rich tax dodgers, corrupt bankers and multinationals? Didn’t this Irish State declare that it would die in the ditch to protect its sovereignty by retaining a 12.5% corporation tax rate, even as it saddled today’s and future Irish generations with €64 billion of debt to bail out the twats who invested in Irish banks?
Isn’t this attachment to an “Irish sovereignty” rather old fashioned, when a really, truly independent Ireland can’t exist in a globalised world? Isn’t that why we are socialists? Because we know that the sovereignty of working people will have no need for borders, just like now the capitalists and their money have no need for borders? Is this not why we are internationalists – we don’t want to be exploited and oppressed by anyone, whether they’re from Baltimore in County Cork or Baltimore Maryland, Dublin Ireland or Dublin Ohio?
Would fighting with our fellow workers in Denmark, Spain and Lithuania etc. not be a better idea than “Irish sovereignty”?
But let’s move on, again.
“PBP continue to call for referenda to be held North and South on any Brexit deal. Ordinary people should have the final say in whatever deal is made, as a matter of democratic principle.”
But what sort of shit deal from the “two reactionary imperialist blocs” can we expect to look forward to accepting? Or are we going to reject all of them, one after another, as they concoct ever more awful arrangements for us to vote on?
Can we maybe expect them to eventually come up with Lexit? So we can vote yes, just as we might expect a monkey, given enough time, to type the complete works of Shakespeare?
Or, are we rather to expect that we would reject every conceivable deal they would throw at us? In which case why should we have supported Brexit/Lexit/whatever-you-want-to-call-it in the first place?
But then, surely this is the point of the People before Profit statement.
They’ve worked out that Brexit (whisper it – Lexit) is a crock of shit, and want to be seen to have nothing to do with it, and to oppose it, without however looking stupid and without, to use the HR jargon employed in my work, ‘showing competency in holding to account’.
What better way of doing this that declare up front the bleeding obvious – that it is “becoming increasingly clear” that these negotiations will take place between “two reactionary imperialist blocs. On one side are the Tories” and “on the other side are the bureaucrats in the EU Commission.”
Then, when you already have them agreeing with you, say that you want to vote again (when you can get it right this time) and cover your tracks with “PBP continue to call for referenda to be held North and South on any Brexit deal. Ordinary people should have the final say in whatever deal is made, as a matter of democratic principle.”
So, far from being cynical, perhaps we should recognise the fact, that People before Profit have recognised the fact, that Lexit is a joke and Brexit a disaster, and should be opposed.
They aren’t all the way there yet, but then, who ever expects a small left group to admit it got it wrong, very wrong?
This statement might therefore be seen as a start – at impulse power rather than warp drive.
Of course, there’s other rubbish in the statement, but it’s less important than this unacknowledged step forward (or should that be backward). As I noted before, the British mothership once refused to engage in reactionary opposition to the EEC, perhaps it’s coming home again, via Belfast.
Some of the more calculating ‘Lenin’ groups like those Internationalists who follow the Internationalists of the World Socialists Web Site and the group that write for the Weekly Worker called for a workers boycott of the referendum vote in June 2016, this seemed to be more in keeping with the spirit of Workers Internationalism than your own position of arguing for support for Remain. This of course is of only small importance. I went the other direction and supported leave but I said that my vote had nothing to do with the letter or spirit of workers internationalism.
There is some play acting with the serious political term sovereignty in your comedy. You mention the ‘old fashioned term Irish sovereignty’. I was puzzled by the usage, previously you had argued that the Republic of Ireland was no longer a colony, that it should be treated by socialists as an Independent Capitalist State, does it not also follow that it should be taken to be a ‘Sovereign’ State?
Perhaps you mean that the Republic of Ireland at some point in the recent past became a ‘sovereign’ and then decided to share its sovereignty with another political agency, maybe the European Union or even another sovereign like the USA that claims ultimate legal jurisdiction over the trans-nationals that operate in Ireland. The liberal position is that the States of the Union are consciously sharing ‘sovereignty’
Speaking about sovereignty is admittedly a complicated matter. As I understand it it is a legal designation meaning the precedent or origin of the laws. The importance of the matter was raised in political theological books by philosophers like Hobbes and Spinoza. Hobbes argued that the origin of the laws lay with the Monarchy, Spinoza argued that the origin of the laws lay with the People, whilst Hobbes was a lifelong Monarchists and Spinoza was a lifelong Democratic they held in common the conclusion that Sovereignty should be undivided, meaning having only one origin. They came to this conclusion on the basis of the observation that great political instability ensued when Sovereignty was contested by rival claims, as it had been in Europe for centuries. The most long standing rival source of sovereignty contending for power existed in the form of the Word of God as understood by the Catholic Church and the Vatican, followed by the reformed Protestant Sects. The only way to ‘resolve’ the problem was to argue that there was no Higher or Divine law that was ‘sovereign’ and therefore no legitimate rival claim to originate the Laws.
In more recent times it became fashionable to depart from the conclusion of Hobbes and Spinoza and maintain that ‘sovereignty’ could indeed be divided without causing civil breakdown. This is the famous liberal doctrine of the separation of powers first spoken about by , Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, in a memorable book called the Spirit of the Laws, this found an important place in the political thought of the American Constitution. The idea of a separation of powers is the primary contribution made by liberalism to our understanding of contemporary political institutions. Liberalism has contributed two stands of our current State philosophy, one is the theory of natural or individual rights, which to be frank is anti-political in intention, the other is the separation of institutional political power. It is on this basis that the EU came into being and has steadily expanded its range and depth.
The argument in support of the EU comes down to the idea that political sovereignty can be shared out like the liberals say it can, but this means that the Laws can have more than one origin. In the debate over Brexit it was stated that over 60 percent of the laws in recent years had originated from the European Union. The fear was raised that British ‘sovereignty’ was passing into the intentions of a rival set of political Institutions. The question of political sovereignty was at the very heart of the matter, I am not a liberal, meaning I don’t think sovereignty ie the sole authority to originate the laws can be shared out without serious conflicts arising and without the formation of intense political rivalries.
It has been possible for capitalist States like Great Britain and the United States to keep in place a distinctive separation of powers only on the first condition that the legislature was first the among the equals, the Executive and the Judicial were not recognized as originators of any new laws and second the established powers were kept largely unchanged. The case of the EU is rather different, the legislature of the EU is not the first among equals, originator of the many new laws and second the bureaucracy of the EU is mandated to expand the range and depth of its claims on sovereignty. The EU was a prop of political stability for the European capitalist States for some fifty years because its claim on sovereignty was very limited and maybe not consciously noted, ie Invisible, this is no longer the case. Recall what Hobbes and Spinoza had earlier concluded, there can only really be one certain source of the Laws, in their mutual analysis the greatest cause of political instability was a ‘fear of a power Invisible’, a rival originator of the Laws, the Divines who can speak on behalf of an invisible power.