22:02 GMT13 April 2021
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    The vote-counting has started in UK referendum to depart from or stay within the European Union. Prominent figures from the British left discussed on Radio Sputnik the potential impact of the outcome of the referendum on the country’s future.

    Writer and analyst John Wight told Loud & Clear host Brian Becker, that Britain should stay in the EU so as to defend the country from increasingly xenophobic and anti-immigrant organizations, as well as right-wing populist parties. Although not everyone who supports Brexit is on the far right, the political context of this referendum is extreme-right, Wight believes.

    "My vote is not for the EU today, my vote is against Brexit, because Brexit is arguably the UK manifestation of the resurgence of the far-right that's been taking place across Europe, and response to the economic depression and austerity. This resurgence has been taking place in Western Ukraine and Hungary, Germany, France, across Scandinavia, and has taken place in the UK under the auspices of Brexit."

    Alex Gordon, former president of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union, noted that far-right parties are on the rise across Europe because they have stepped into a "vacuum that has been created by the failure of the mass social democratic parties."

    "In Britain we have a very clear choice before us, which is whether we want to continue to remain in a European Union, which is fanning the flames of fascism, or whether we want to come out of the European Union, show a lead to…workers across Europe who are suffering from these policies, and start to put something better in its place," he said.

    Robert Griffiths, the chair of the Left Leave (Lexit) campaign and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, agreed that it is primarily EU austerity and privatization policies that are creating conditions favorable for the rise of a far-right.  

    "Don't forget the pro-EU campaign in Britain is dominated not just by a different set of Tory politicians," he stated. "It's dominated by…the bankers and big business, they are overwhelmingly in favor of remaining in the EU because they understand it's a big business neoliberal project."

    Gordon asserted that the British government is one of the driving forces of neoliberalism within European political institutions, and is the same government calling to remain in the EU.

    "The European Union is perceived by British neoliberals as being a core part of their strategy for extending the power of the City of London," he said. "A vote to come out of the European Union is directly against the interests of the City of London, the biggest banks in the City of London, including many American banks — Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley — who are funding the remain campaign, it is against the interests of the NATO, EU, IMF."

    According to Gordon, the EU is an "anti-democratic entity driving forward world imperialism." To act in opposition of the interests of imperialists, he suggests, Britain should vote to leave the EU. He noted that the UK is not the only eurosceptic nation, and that a similar sentiment can be observed in other countries within the bloc.

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    Tags:
    European Union, neoliberalism, Brexit, United Kingdom
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