An anarchist argument for getting the fuck out of the European Union, by Mal Content.

EU bombAll the arguments currently being raised for and against exit are entirely bogus from my point of view, but it was still never going to be a difficult question. Basically, the fewer people rulers have to rule over the less power they wield, the more powerful we are. It makes sense therefore, to cut them down to size by always devolving power to the smallest administrative unit possible. For this reason alone I was excited by the near-miss of Scottish independence in 2014.

The trouble with politics of course, is politicians; their choices depend on precisely whose vested interests they are paid to lobby for. Both campaigns are focusing on what benefits the rich and how best to screw the poor: compromising their health and safety, suppressing their dissent, denying them human rights and benefits, spying on them, stopping them striking or moving about.

Whereas all parties stand for the bourgeoisie, the Tory party strives to represent the landed aristocracy as well. Within it there is a long-standing cognitive dissonance between giving free reign to global capitalism, and the palaeolithic idea that there ought to be some advantage to having been born within a given geographical boundary. Squaring up to pork and pigeon abusers Cameron and Osborne for a theatrical toff-off are posh buffoons Johnson and Gove, and the bungling ghoul Duncan-Smith. Never mind whether you despise any one more than the others, they are all our enemies, as are the proto-fascist Farage, the tankie gobshite Galloway, the parliamentary Labour party and that other bunch that John Cleese likes for some reason.

National interest – well there never was such a thing. What possible common interest could there be between the oligarch in their penthouse and people sleeping in doorways over the road? For the wage-labourers in between, neoliberal capitalism has taken great pains to destroy any commonality of interest by atomising our communities and turning us into a socio-economic continuum with each worker half a point above the next one. Whenever politicians use this term they mean the interest of the ruling elite in maintaining the value of its property and its dominance over the rest of us. The slimy use of the pronoun ‘we’ by hereditary millionaires talking to paupers sets my teeth on edge. I especially detest the phrase ‘UK-PLC’, but it does emphasise that this isn’t your island, you only work here.

“This ideological construct of a unified “national interest” includes the fiction of a “neutral” set of laws, which conceals the exploitative nature of the system of power we live under. Under corporate capitalism the relationships of exploitation are mediated by the political system to an extent unknown under previous class systems. Under chattel slavery and feudalism, exploitation was concrete and personalized in the producer’s relationship with his master. The slave and peasant knew exactly who was screwing them. The modern worker, on the other hand, feels a painful pounding sensation, but has only a vague idea where it is coming from.”

– Kevin A. Carson: ‘The Iron Fist behind the Invisible Hand – Corporate Capitalism as a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege’.

The Economy – fuck that! What has the economy ever done for us? It’s what keeps oligarchs in penthouses and their victims in doorways.

“Businesses hate uncertainty and that’s what we would give them,”

Cameron spluttered, and the I.M.F.’s Christine Lagarde echoed:

“Uncertainty is bad in and of itself. No economic player likes uncertainty. They don’t invest, they don’t hire, they don’t make decisions in times of uncertainty”

The poor bastards! No doubt these arguments will resonate with those in precarious employment, on zero-hours contracts, or under constant threat of sanction by the D.W.P. – You could give the bosses a taste of their own medicine, but Cameron’s probably counting on you being too repelled by their toff wars to participate. Referenda are directly democratic; we’re fine with practical questions being settled this way (with the proviso of course that a majority can’t vote away the freedom of a minority).

Let’s spy on another class enemy; this is from the C.B.I. website:

“The vast majority of CBI members are clear that the benefits of EU membership outweigh the costs, but that the EU must reform to be more competitive. Sir Mike Rake called for businesses to speak out on the benefits at our Annual Dinner in May, which an increasing number of CBI members are doing.”

It goes on to list the benefits to its class:

  • The importance of access to the Single Market
  • The value of EU membership for attracting investment
  • How EU trade deals help to grow exports
  • How EU free movement helps businesses to grow and create jobs
  • How EU reforms like digital single market, TTIP and other trade deals help businesses grow
  • Where reducing EU red tape and fewer rules can help make it easier to do business

Creating jobs – bollocks: ever wanted to do something more useful than making the rich richer? Saving the environment, feeding and housing people, fighting disease? The issue for them is how to reduce the price of labour to its absolute minimum and piss off with the proceeds before they have to give any back.

Cameron claims that ‘all countries friendly to the UK’, want it to stay in the EU.

“That’s what the New Zealanders think, the Canadians, the Indians, the Chinese, everyone. I’m yet to meet a serious friendly country, one that wants a stronger relationship with us, that thinks we will be better outside.”

He blithers on, betraying the infantile level of this debate:

“I say you should listen to your friends about what they think would be good for you and would be right for you.”

Let’s deconstruct that statement a little.

Even Porky couldn’t claim that the entire populations of those territories and this island are on friendly terms, much less that a third of the human race gives a flying fuck about the outcome of his referendum. What he means of course is that the rulers of China for example, a one-party dictatorship that presides over sweatshops in which 70,000 people die at work annually, are sympathetic to his ends. From human rights watch 2015 report:

“The government targets activists and their family members for harassment, arbitrary detention, legally baseless imprisonment, torture, and denial of access to adequate medical treatment.”

Both India and China retain the death penalty for civilians, the number of executions in China is a state secret, but is rarely below 2,000 per annum – more than the rest of the world put together. With friends like those, who needs Iain Duncan-Smith?

Sovereignty – another irrelevance; the sovereignty of a parliament full of crooked millionaires and politics graduates versus a load of crooked political appointees. The market is global, as politicians never tire of reminding you when they fail to deliver their promises. It really isn’t up to them but their corporate sponsors; they need the market and the market needs them. According to Alex Edwards, currency analyst at UKForex, the very fact of proles having a say in such weighty matters will terrify the global bourgeoisie, as it did in Greece:

“It’s going to be a very bumpy ride for sterling in the run up to June’s referendum, and we can expect new lows and increased instability as the rhetoric heightens, polls are released and rumours abound.”


The greatest ever surrender of sovereignty by the British state was its entry into NATO, which has led to the absurdity of professed allies fighting on opposite sides in the Syrian conflict. Although the Turkish state is backing deash against both the Kurds and the Assad regime, the U.S. government will never move against it because it keeps air force bases on Turkish soil, with tactical nuclear weapons.

Some workers fear the loss of social legislation, driven from regions where workers’ organisations are integrated into the state. But stop; if we have to rely for our emancipation on other people’s efforts, we really are in the cart. In the last century liberation movements thought they could get a better deal by being proxies of the U.S.S.R. The German unions have a lot of bargaining power; they also have a vested interest in the stability of the state, thereby supporting prosperity in capitalist terms. The French unions do well because they take to the streets and kick off, we don’t need the common market to do that! In Spain, a wave of political repression is underway that recalls the dictatorships of the twentieth century. Greek workers are at war with their government and the E.U.

Social change that benefits the working class only comes through direct organising with other workers, not through top-down institutions. Activists will continue to work with their overseas counterparts against capitalist globalisation, fascism and environmental destruction. Revolutionary syndicalism is international and does not rely on the political alliances of governments. When we make common cause with workers in European countries, or any others for that matter, we’ll sort it out between ourselves. The E.U. bureaucracy isn’t going to help us organise a Europe-wide general strike, is it?

Freedom of movement within the E.U. is likely to be curtailed in the short term as the squabbling partners all rush to get their fences up. Britain was never going to be in the Shengen zone, and they won’t even let you on the channel ferry without a passport any more. A bilateral agreement between the French and British states places the U.K. border firmly on the other side of the channel. Comrades are regularly accosted by state-terror spooks on their return from oversees events, and political integration of European states facilitates this. For the rich of any zone, travel has never been a problem and never will be, either way. For those of us who want the borders down, don’t worry, that’s going to happen anyway; no force on Earth can stop it. Over the next twenty years large sections of the planet’s surface will become uninhabitable, which is why the ruling class and its client media are relentlessly stoking fear of the ‘other’ to soften us up for some serious crimes against humanity. The very last thing we need is the rulers of Western Europe getting together on this behind closed doors and coming out with a plan.

The EU is nothing more than a bourgeois cartel that can only serve the interests of the bosses and we have an opportunity to break it. We don’t need Brussels any more than we need Westminster; both represent the hegemony of old, rich, white men. What’s more, if the Referendum produces an overall majority for exit this will most likely not be reflected north of the Scottish border* and will re-open their independence debate. It’s unlikely that many in the North of Ireland will want to see a ‘hard border’ with the South again and will be similarly reluctant to follow Britain. The result could be a move towards re-unification or at least to marginalise the bowler-hat merchants. If we’re very lucky, we could see off the U.K. altogether!

*Not because it’s in their interests, but because many are in thrall to a political movement that postulates a softer social democratic capitalism, and they would understandably rather tie up to the mainland than to England’s toffocracy.

Going back to my first paragraph, an independent England with a guaranteed Tory majority in parliament doesn’t scare me in the slightest; the present government acts with impunity already, despite representing less than a quarter of the population. I’d cheerfully take Dorset out of England if I could – and we’ve got the worst of the worst down here: Chope, Drax, Ellwood and Letwin – but we’d be fighting a ruling class so weakened and demoralised I doubt the toffs would have the front to set foot outside their houses.

Ignore all the fuglies on the out campaign; Cameron wants you to vote in, the U.S. government wants it, the Chinese Communist Party wants it, the C.B.I. wants it, the I.M.F. wants it, Hollande and Merkel want it, what more reasons do we need for voting out?

More thoughts on the EU referendum.


  1. […] An anarchist argument for getting the ***k out of the European Union (Mal Content) –… […]


  2. […] My last post on this subject stirred a lively discussion so I’ll try and answer some of the points raised by people who generally express agreement with anarchist principles. Most activists are maintaining a dignified abstention from what they regard as an internal dispute within the British establishment, and none of the anarchist groups have agreed a policy as far as I can see. The arguments expressed in support of voting for the British state to remain in the EU verge on liberalism. As social revolutionaries we are presently fighting a rearguard action, some are confused and understandably torn between thwarting capitalist globalisation – a cause for which many comrades have lost their lives and liberty – and mitigating its short term effects on individuals. […]


  3. vote!? I don’t think so. whatever the arguments for an against are (and I do not find the above very convincing) I’m not gonna sanction the system of “democratic government” by participating in a referendum or election.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely dude. By taking sides, for or against, we are legitimising their system of oppression.


      • Abstention is a principled position, but only works to de-legitimise the process as part of a mass boycott. I suppose voting on any aspect of the state could be taken as an endorsement of its right to exist, but I don’t think this will carry much weight with either class. What interests me is a chance to hole capitalism below the waterline, it won’t be enough on its own, we’ll need to neutralise the domestic right who will try and interpret it as a mandate. I don’t fear the lunatic fringe of a party that polled fewer than a quarter of available votes. They will not form a stable government, and it’s possible our class will smell blood at last.

        It may involve forsaking our computers for a while.


  4. Even an non action is an action !


    • It’s only an action if it pushes towards a desired effect. In this case, the only outcome that could be furthered by abstention is a turnout so low that the EU and the British state’s relationship to it is shown to be a minority interest.


  5. Friends, let us stand side by side with Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and the delightful Michael Gove and fight for freedom!


    • It’s a binary question, like almost all referenda, and politicians participate, so there is always a chance of making the same choice as one or another.


      • Yes but these are the *leaders* of the choice you have chosen so, in fact, you are not standing side to side with them but lying underneath them. A particularly alarming thought.


      • I find it alarming that some anarchists are voting for the status quo, for reasons that strike me as straw-clutching. Worse is the reduction of politics to the fortunes of parties and personalities, attitudes and misapprehensions. This is the politics of ‘the spectacle’. Yeah it’s a fact that the whole thing has been driven by a row in the tory party, and Cameron’s need to stall UKIP to win the last election. Hardly any of the representatives wanted the people to have a say.

        By restricting the discussion to free-trade versus protectionism and right-wing populism, the media has striven to create the impression there are only two sides, and it was exactly the same last time round. I remember a TV debate being abandoned because Tony Benn wouldn’t sit next to Enoch Powell. There are war criminals and human rights violators on one side, fascists and tankies on the other.

        But I do think the whole edifice will be weaker if the British state leaves the EU, and so do the self-appointed ‘leaders’ of the liberal-bourgeois-military-industrial complex.

        I don’t believe those in the leave campaign are seeking to weaken the British state, as they would like to take it over and wield its power, any more than I believe the Revolutionary Communist Group wants to limit migration. I’m not interested in the reasons given for choices made by people I don’t agree with. Johnson, I.D.S. and Gove are no brighter than they look, they are exactly what they appear to be, a bunch of fucking idiots who don’t know what they’re playing at.

        As for fearing the right, we are going to have to pass them sooner or later to get where we want to be, they aren’t going to pack it in voluntarily.

        Mal C – we haven’t even got a consensus in our group – which is why we’ve reblogged a lot of other angles.


      • I may have been confusing the Revolutionary Communist Group with the Revolutionary Communist Tendency, or the International Marxist Tendency, or something.


      • Sorry me again. Can’t let this pass without another wee word. Whatever we personally or collectively do as anarchists carries *no* weight whatsoever in this vote. All we can do is ‘keep the faith’ and provide an example by a dignified abstention. Will voting leave help “hole capitalism below the waterline”? I have heard the same argument from Trots and Stalinists. They too are sharpening their spears (my Kronstadtian back is already itching). And for just as small a reason. Leave is no threat whatsoever to capitalism. You are quite right, the right will take this as a mandate. This is something you should fear. Nationalism and reaction are already rife. How long before they come for us?


  6. Get your lefty bastards straight, chappy. RCG “Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!”. ICT are the old Millies who stayed in the Labour Party. RCT are kaputt. In the Referendum, RCG are boycotters (right on!) and ICT are non-committal (fair nuff). Could give their reasons but suffice it to say that neither take their stance because they desire the destruction of state and capital. Incidentally, “I’m not interested in the reasons given for choices made by people I don’t agree with” is not a very helpful statement. I like to know what my enemies are thinking. That way I know which way to run. Personally I find it alarming that some anarchists are voting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a confession which nobody I know will ever read, however its burning inside me and needs to be let out. All my life I have obeyed elitist laws and conformed. However since my twenties I felt connected to the views of anarchist writers for their clear truth and humanity to fellow people. No discrimination just a hatred of oppression and enslavement. Isolated and alone in London I have spoken of my beliefs to very few and when I have they regarded me as odd. I conformed to the system and worked hard resenting the unfairness of the elite but not knowing how to initiate real change rather than merely read debates about it. I couldn’t believe it when the people were offered an EU referendum. Our first chance in many years to hurt the rich and bring their system of enslavement and oppression down around their ears without a single act of violence. I know some anarchists urged to abstain for various reasons. Nevertheless the temptation to use the system to bring it down from within was too difficult to resist. I have done it and am delighted with the result. For the first time in my life I feel I made a real difference and stuck it to the system. If friends and family think I am a right wing racist then this is the price I am wiling to pay to topple the elite and their oppressive system of government. Now I have a taste for non violent action in freeing us from our shackles and building a better world. The chaos my vote helped to cause to the political and evonomiv elite feels very empowering


    • Phillip green’s down a third of a billion already!

      What it does mean in the short term is that racists think they’ve been let off the leash and actions speak louder than words, so if you’re sincere in what you say, it’s time to do your bit. Voting is not an answer to anything, get in touch with your local antifascist group and join a union if you haven’t already, and good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dude, I sympathise but “isolated and alone” in London? Wish I was in London rather than Inbredtown. This Referendum has not been part of ‘smashing the state’ or sticking it to the system. It is part of upholding and strengthening that system. Very quickly, as I have to go to work, the effect of the Referendum has been to focus energy on an issue which, though it may well have consequences (and I would suggest that they are likely to be deleterious since the European masters are slightly more unsure of their position and so grant slightly more boons to their slaves), is essentially none of our business. The EU is a organisation of *states*. Our business is their abolition. The precise arrangement of those states is neither here nor there. This “regain control” of the anti-Euros is mere recuperation. Although Wessex says some daft things, he’s quite right when he says voting is not the answer to anything. Have you come across the SPGB? They do voting. You’ll like them.


      • By the way, you can get very isolated and alone in London. I went to college in the capital at 17, didn’t have much in common with the people I was chucked in with but found a different scene because it was time of punk rock and left politics. Got chucked out, came back to coastal town, bored shitless so 5 years later I tried it again and it was all different. mid 1980s all about money, people socialised with their colleagues after work than fled back to the outskirts. I think now it’s even worse, I know people stranded in London with shit jobs and no money and it’s like they’re shipwrecked. No wonder there’s so much depression and mental illness.


      • Yes, quite right Wes, you can only learn by experience. Just that there are so many opportunities of getting involved in a positive way in London that small towns lack. And “voting for change” is ultimately really, really depressing. I’m just getting out of a twenty year relationship and would hate to see anyone get in the same rut. It seems like anarchism but it isn’t. My “take at look at the SPGB” was kind of cynical-ironical but unfortunately no-one seems to share my sense of humour.


  8. sorry the above is for Richard if not immediately obvious


    • Hey, let’s not score points off someone who may just have made a life-changing decision. No one springs fully formed from the womb. We’l see Richard on the streets one day and be glad of it!


  9. Bloody hell, what’s wrong with this thing. That one was supposed to be after yourn! Richard: Get out more. Don’t spend so much time on the internet. Try to make contact with different people. Isolation is a killer. As is passivity.


  10. Are those in favour of free borders in favour of every jewish person on the planet moving to Israel, or how about if the whole of Europe moves to India, free movement is an act of violence, disregards that humans like other animals have personal space, their own territory and a need for their own resources. Free movement does not distinguish need from want it puts the immigrant on par with the refugee and the starving, admittedly better than EU putting the refugee beneath the immigrant but it still is violent does not resolve refugee problems and is itself a creation of violence. Free movement is imperialism at its worst it removes the people’s right to their land and its resources.


    • That comment is bollocks at its worst. Since when did people have rights to land and resources? There’s hardly a piece of horizontal surface on this planet you can occupy and use without being charged for it by some bourgeois.

      Borders exist only to create differentials in prices and wages, they serve only the bosses, whose capital moves around unobstructed.

      It is the borders, and the enforcement of property and debt, that perpetuate violence, for there is no other way to curtail freedom.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep because they have no right to the land and free movement means they never get any rights they never get to be independent – without access to land and enough resources you CANNOT be independent and without independence there is ALWAYS a state


      • you might actually want to discover history it is in removal of tribal right to the land that the state is created it is created when the land is no longer a possession and resource of the people and when the people cannot access the resources they need for either their survival or their offspring there is violence. Whenever their is a community there is violence when the stranger invades it – called OXYTOCIN and your oxytocin does work differently to everybody else’s because you proclaim anarchy your oxytocin is just as likely to commit genocide only it gets a free hand because you don’t want to recognise your oxytocin or its capacity.


    • It fucks you up, astrology. It may not mean to but it does. The “people’s right to land and its resources”? We, the people of the world, are a subject people.”Our” land is their land. “Our” resources are their resources. We do not stand with them to defend their rights to wealth against other people just like ourselves (so-called “immigrants”). We have no rights except those our masters give us. Back to the land? Dirt and turnips! Fuck the land! We want the factories, the shops and all the rest of the stuff that makes life worth living.


      • Really understanding how the Sumerians used symbolism to express the different aspect of their humanity fucks you up. No your resources are not mine and you would piss your pants if anybody acted as if they were, your toilet is your toilet and you don’t expect the world just to come in – act of aggression, just as it would be an act of aggression for everybody just to pile into your bed because your resources are not their resources. Factories and shops DO NOT feed us, provide water, resources for shelter the land does and nothing shops or factories have is not created from the land, the environment and the energy from the sun.


      • I’m looking forward to some nice travellers piling into my bed. One at a time please. They can use my bog on way out. Sumerians! Ha!

        Liked by 1 person

      • exactly why instead of having a vibrant anarchy we have a fucked up discourse instead of being honest, and saying strangers piling into your bed, your sister’s bed or your mum’s is something you would consider a threat an act of violence you think you are being clever and you also think the peasants are fucking stupid just because they have the balls to be honest. YOU ARE WHY TRUMP IS PRESIDENT and you are WHY the poorest in society are being beaten up!


      • They aren’t dumb they know when you say that what you mean is you don’t give a fuck if it is their sister or their mum and that is why they will never give a fuck what you say or any worthwhile anarchist ideas hidden beneath your bullshit


      • And if you had the slightest knowledge of Sumerian mythology either of you you would know why what you are saying is bullshit, hierarchical and definitely not anarchy you don’t know the difference between Eridu and Uruk that means you fail to see what is happening. You fail to learn from thpast so you repeat what has already failed.


  11. No gods, no masters, no mythology!


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