I’m a staunch socialist. I used to be a member of the Green party but my loyalty has moved to Labour. This September, I hope to study at either SOAS, renowned for its radical campaigns and protests in the interests of university staff, students and communities, or Wadham College, Oxford, which has a socialist heritage within its walls. I live in Wales, the hotbed of British socialism and the place which set the foundations of the NHS. I go to my nearest city, Cardiff, and walk in the shadow of Aneurin Bevan’s statue almost every week. I park my car just metres from Callaghan Square, named after Lord Cardiff himself. For me, the symbol of British modernity and two lifetimes of peacetime is not Winston Churchill, but Clement Atlee. I believe in the principles of Corbyn and the economy of Keynes. Last month alone, I have been to Barry, Bridgend, Port Talbot, Pontypridd, Aberdare, Manchester and Newport, towns torn by near-poverty but united in one cause: a better standard of living. I understand their struggles.
I understand why they voted to Leave the EU. They were promised that their NHS would be properly funded and that waiting times would decrease. They were promised that their railways would not be owned by Deutsche Bahn (Arriva Trains Wales), or Nederlandse Spoorwagen (Abellio), nationalised companies profiting from our privatised journies. They were promised jobs in the face of centrist- and right-wing austerity. They were promised socialist values, but by divisive ‘Kippers and rich Etonian Toryboys.
I believe that the EU is a centrist body, which, according to May herself has “liberal, democratic values”. I believe that it does not encourage progression towards a more radical, less apathetic polity within the European Community. Whilst it is admirable for its work in protecting the environment and providing grants for poorer communities, there is little room to develop beyond democratic liberalism into democratic capitalism or socialism within the EU.
But they voted for change. They want to be radical. Not radical like Farage; they don’t want to blame immigrants or kick them all out (there is a strong Italian heritage in the Valleys, for example). They want a radical shift in political thinking to focus on poorer communities on a local level.
Unfortunately, however, they voted for this change under capitalist rule. They’ve voted against democratic centricism in favour of democratic capitalism. After all, it is within the Tories’ interests to further capitalism under Brexit.
If the Lib Dems had been in power, voting for Brexit would have only seen democratic centricism live on in the country at a less-than-globalist level.
If Labour or the Greens, or even the Socialist Party (in some upside-down world), had called the referendum, then I would be all for leaving. I believe that socialism can be globalism and outward-looking. It is always democratic. The EU only stops this progression into a social democracy, which is what the people voted for.
So why do I campaign fervently to remain at the moment?
It’s because I don’t believe that democratic capitalism is the right direction for the country. Until we shake-up the Brexit Parliament, social democracy promoting the environment and workers’ rights is off the table. Capitalism is inward-looking and only benefits the rich people and businesses of its own nation. Under capitalism, we don’t look out for our neighbours, our peacetime, our environment, or our workforce. Capitalism is money-driven power for the powerful. Centricism, therefore, is the lesser of two evils at present.
Socialist leavers and remainers: put up with the centrists and Soubry-esque Tories for the time being, and unite behind the cause for peace and globalism!
As a radical pacifist, and someone who believes in globalism, my campaign to remain lives on. And my campaign for an outward-looking Britain without conflict will never, ever end.
Images & Text: Will Durrant.
Please note that the opinions in this article are my own and are certainly not those of other Young European contributors, columnists or editors. The Young European does not take a political ‘side’ and aims to remain neutral, so long as it’s pro-EU.