Beyond Referendum

Bharat Dogra

Areferendum is supposed to help a nation to resolve difficult issues, but in the case of the Brexit referendum it seems likely that the real issues could not be debated properly and so probably the aspirations of the people could not be reflected accurately in the results.

This happened partly because the ilI-effects of inequality based globali-sation were confused with the impacts of the membership of the European Union. The second and related reason was that the referendum was held at a very inappropriate time when the doubts arising from the influx of refugees could be easily inflamed by the right-wing and racist elements who had earlier also been igniting feelings of local people against immigration and now found the ground particularly fertile to spread paranoia about being swamped by refugees and immigrants.

Of course the uneven and unequal impacts of capitalism led globalisation have alienated and marginalised several people in developed countries also, particularly the working class and relatively lesser educated sections. Parts of these sections were convinced by right-wing parties that their problems were related mainly to European Union membership.

However after the results of the referendum came out more people are realising fearful implications for Britain—falling value of Pound, diminished exports to European Union and possible secession of Scotland arid North Ireland (who had voted to remain in the European Union).

On the other hand the European Union can also suffer greatly if the exit demand is taken up by the right-wing parties of other countries as well, including Holland, Austria and even France. If the EU starts disintegrating, then the basic idea of avoiding war and creating conditions of common prosperity among groups of nations in addition of peace and stability will also suffer.

So one must learn from the weaknesses of the European Union which tried to create some reforms within the basically unjust framework of capitalism led globalisation based on many-sided inequalities. Due to this basic weakness, the European Union is also associated with many ventures including trade treaties which basically harm ordinary people and environment while promoting the interests of multinational companies. Hence EU also needs reforms based on equality and justice, and future efforts at creating of nations should have a much broader vision of economic well-being, peace, equality and environment protection.

Vol. 49, No.3, Jul 24 - 30, 2016