GORDON Brown began his Mansion House speech to the City of London on Monday night with a ringing but empty declaration.
He said: ‘I want to speak about Britain’s unique place in the new world. And where, as a result, our responsibilities lie; how our national interest can be best advanced; and what we can achieve by working together internationally and by contributing to building the strongest and broadest sense of common purpose.’
He continued to speak adopting the pose of an internationalist. ‘Our international institutions built for just 50 sheltered economies in what became a bipolar world are not fit for purpose in an interdependent world of 200 states where global flows of commerce, people and ideas defy borders. With such transformative change comes a clear obligation, but also a great opportunity, to write a new chapter – to set down for a new era a better 21st century way of delivering peace and prosperity.’
Here Brown is in fact damning the United Nations, the major bourgeois international institution of the 20th century.
After hailing the world-wide development of the productive forces under the capitalist system for ‘defying borders’, and that a ‘new chapter’ has to be written in the 21st century, Brown rapidly backpedalled before his city audience.
He hastened to assure them: ‘Of course the first duty of Government – our abiding obligation – is and will always be the safety of the British people, the protection of the British national interest. . .’
He is gripped by powerlessness before one of the major contradictions of the capitalist system, that Karl Marx first drew attention to.
That is the contradiction between the needs of the productive forces to develop on a world scale, and the reactionary barrier of the capitalist nation state.
Since he cannot resolve this contradiction, he is forced to try to reconcile the opposites. While he supports the right of the employer to export capital world wide, pauperising British workers, in practice he resurrects and legitimises the old National Front slogan ‘British jobs for British workers’.
He proves – a remark of Hegel that Lenin enthusiastically approves in his Volume 38 – that ‘if an existent something cannot in its positive determination also encroach on its negative, cannot hold fast the one in the other and contain Contradiction within itself, then it is not living unity or Ground, but perishes in Contradiction.’
Only the world socialist revolution can resolve the contradiction between world economy and the nation state. Brown as a major imperialist politician cannot, and will perish in contradiction.
Thus he is only able to bring forward Blair’s position, slightly adjusted, to try and obtain a little wriggle room for British imperialism, after the pasting that the imperialist powers are taking in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He declares that he is ‘a life long admirer of America . . . and I believe that our ties with America – founded on values we share – constitute our most important bilateral relationship.’
He is forced to acknowledge that in this ‘new world’ British imperialism has the bite of a flea saying, ‘And while no longer the mightiest militarily, or the largest economically, the United Kingdom has an important contribution to make.’
However he was unable to state just what this important contribution would be except to give Iran the same choice as his very big brother Bush: ‘confrontation with the international community leading to a tightening of sanctions or, if it changes its approach and ends support for terrorism, a transformed relationship with the world. . .’ However with the British military publicly declaring the pain it is already suffering, he had to refrain from threatening military action.
There was not a single mention in Brown’s speech of any of the problems that millions of workers face, underlining that his government is a bankers’ government that must be brought down by workers, in the period ahead, in order to go forward to socialism.