THERE is a growing demoralisation in the ranks of the paid propagandists for British capitalism about the prospects for the British ruling class.
Two important articles appeared on the same day, Thursday, in the Daily Telegraph last week that deserve attention for the reason that they both express quite openly the fears of the most acute representatives of the ruling class that the entire Brexit issue has created the conditions where the working class is being driven to a socialist revolution.
The article by the Telegraph’s economic writer, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, is headed: ‘Let us have a snap Brexit election to decide on the poisonous customs union’ and opens with the line: ‘This country is in a very dangerous situation.’ The danger that he is warning of is that the negotiations by the Tories with the EU over Brexit have ‘drifted into a Greek Syriza trap’, in other words the EU are treating Britain in exactly the same way as they treated the anti-austerity Syriza government in 2015 – refusing every single request, stringing the negotiations out, and continually upping their demands right up until the point that the reformist ‘left’ Syriza completely capitulated.
This is exactly what is happening to the right-wing May government.
May was told last week by the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier that any deal would be vetoed at the last moment unless ‘Britain accepts EU governance’. By the time the EU vetoes any agreement it would be too late for British capitalism, which would face the choice of being thrown out on its own in a hostile world or ‘capitulation to intolerable EU demands’.
Evans-Pritchard added: ‘Such an outcome would risk a slow slide towards civil war’ as workers who voted overwhelmingly to leave see their vote dismissed out of hand. The working class won’t stand for it as Evans-Pritchard is only too aware.
His only solution is for a snap Brexit election which will ‘ask the voters whether they wish to live in semi-perpetuity as a disenfranchised province of an imperial government that controls their economy, their trade, and much of their law, or whether they are willing to pay the price for clean sovereign independence.’
The other article that day by Allister Heath was equally to the point with its headline: ‘Britain’s elites have a glorious history of absorbing inevitable change. If they rob the people of Brexit, it’s over.’ Heath has seen the writing on the wall when he writes: ‘Until Brexit, our ruling class knew when to back down; it understood that it pays to compromise rather than resist beyond breaking point.’
He even cited the English bourgeois revolution as just a ‘Cromwellian interlude’ that didn’t last long.
In the 17th century the up and coming progressive capitalist class came into irreconcilable conflict with the old social relations of feudalism and was forced to smash it through revolution and establish its own dictatorship.
All the compromises capitalism has made that Heath refers to since then were wrung from them by a fast developing powerful working class. They were compromises that capitalism could afford in the past in order to stave off the threat of revolution. It could afford to make democratic concessions through its position of strength as the world’s pre-eminent imperialist nation wallowing in the vast profits from its exploitation of the colonial people.
But today, with the empire long gone, and British capitalism economically bankrupt, the ruling class are in no position to compromise as Heath rightly fears. With the bosses and bankers desperate to stay tied to European capitalism, even if it means accepting Britain becoming nothing more than a vassal state, they are determined to overturn the referendum result using the unelected House of Lords and a campaign of wrecking motions and votes.
As both Heath and Evans-Pritchard warn this will provoke a furious response from the working class.
This is pitting the working class and the ruling class into irreconcilable conflict with no concessions or compromises possible on either side. It has created the conditions where this crisis can only be resolved by the working class taking the same route as the revolutionary capitalist class in the 17th century and seizing power, this time through a socialist revolution that will smash the capitalist state and replace it with the dictatorship of the proletariat.