Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Eurosocialist and Antifascist

My readers will have noticed by now that this blog is headed by the European flag under which is stated that Chimes of Freedom is both Eurosocialist and Antifascist.

Non-British readers may not be aware of the ongoing campaign by the extreme Right against Britain's membership of the European Union. These Europhobes --more kindly described as Eurosceptics-- are a motley group of Little Englanders, mainly of a xenophobic and reactionary right persuasion.

But, having lost an Empire and any sense of raison d'etre, it is not only the usual blimpish right that lays a claim to exercise British xenophobia. The malaise stretches right across the social and political spectrum to include a lot of lefties lost in a political wilderness and without an ideological home.

Whereas the concept of a united, European Left is both a popular and normal phenomenon in continental Europe, the British Left has retained its traditional aloofness and pukka attitudes by not joining that common European front. 'Europe' is referred to as 'somewhere over there' as if Britain is somehow separated from Europe.

Of course this is nonsense. Britain is and has always been indivisibly part of Europe in its geography, its culture, its religion, its politics and its language. Only in a strangely schizophrenic British attitude of mind will you find Britain to be a separate entity, where when fog obscures the Channel it is the Continent that is cut off, not this overcrowded little island.

And due, no doubt, to the dumbing-down of the British mainstream media (MSM) even the Continent is no longer referred to as such. It has become 'Europe', something which Britain is not part of. The traditionally conservative outlook of the Brit has become so insular it would rather cut off all contact with the non-English speaking world to live in an artificial bubble of unreality which it hopes will be forever England.

It is part of a serious social malaise that is now so advanced it is eating at the imperial foundations upon which the very United Kingdom itself was built. Britain is in post-imperial collapse and in denial, projecting instead its unhappiness with itself on 'Europe' and immigration.

This social malaise (or is psychosis a more appropriate description?) is now so widespread that Britain provides the Basil Fawlty-type xenophobic Right with a breeding ground for the narrow-minded, petty bourgeois attitudes that Mrs Thatcher implanted in the susceptible British psyche.

The so-called demand for what is referred to as a referendum on Europe perfectly describes the spell of reactionary-minded xenophobia the British (predominantly the English) have fallen under. Disguised by a blimpish indignation against having to use metric measurements instead of imperial ones and driving 'on the wrong side of the road' (it appears that most of the world has been driving on the wrong side) this xenophobia is currently expressing itself as (i) Europhobia, (ii) a general hostility towards immigration, and (iii) an Islamophobia fuelled by the Bush/Blair fake 'War on Terror'.


As an ex-colonial Brit, I am able to gauge and understand the British mentality both from a peculiarly British view of things as well as to perceive it from an arm's-length-view of one who still has a colonial memory of being at the receiving end of British attitudes.

The world-famous Canadian author of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, is a fellow expatriate of mine. His father, Mervyn, a planter in the old colonial Ceylon of the 1930's, was a pal of my old man who was also a planter. The Ondaatjes used to visit my family from time to time and my elder sisters have a memory of Michael as a rather tubby, aloof little chap who used to love scoffing on a can of condensed milk.

Michael Ondaatje

In his book, Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje writes of an occasion when Mervyn, who rather worse for drink, held up the Colombo to Kandy train by running along the top to the engine, getting the driver drunk on arrack, leaping off the hotplate to strip off his clothes and run naked into a tunnel from whence he refused to emerge, thereby playing havoc with the Ceylon Government Railways' wartime schedule.

But why did a Ceylon Army Light Infantry officer have to run along the top of the train?

Because, as a dusky Eurasian, he with every other non-white officer was forbidden to walk through the train's corridors where there were compartments occupied by pukka white officers of the stiff upper lip British raj. That kind of mixing simply wouldn't do. It just wasn't British.

Eurasians of my ilk grew up with a memory of the precious white attitudes of Brits who walked around Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) with a permanent, invisible wall of separateness that kept them in a constant state of undeclared apartheid from the rest of the dark-skinned rabble. Fortunately for me, any fake ideas of British or white superiority that might have been implanted within by colonial conditioning was soon knocked out in the nationalist upsurge of the 1950's when British colonialism was thrown unceremoniously out of the window.

That nationalist reaction to four hundred years of colonial rule, first by the Portuguese, then by the Dutch and finally by the English, was understandable. But sadly, like all extreme reactions, it too was destructive leading to the fifty-year civil war that Sri Lanka experiences to this day. But that's another story.


Returning to the white, pukka attitudes of the British mentality: really, nothing has changed very much since it lost its Empire. The pukka attitudes simply submerged into a quite artificial, Basil Fawlty-type 'Britishness' and continued to emerge as a desperate distaste and even hostility towards 'coloureds', foreigners in general and now, together with the rest of Europe, as Islamophobia.

But none of these things can be admitted to. The British believe themselves to be far too tolerant and fair-minded for that. So they have to be thinly disguised by entirely nonsensical rationales such as a pretend 'Euroscepticism' which hides a fully-blown Europhobic, xenophobia.

A xenophobia which is a sign of an endemic mental weakness or malaise, exposing Britain as the perennial sick man of Europe. A sickness which right-wing politicians, 'neo-liberals', Atlanticists and Washington's Neocon, closet fascists fully use to their advantage to drive a wedge between Britain and the rest of the European Union.

It is highly significant that an anti-EU Referendum rally is to be held in London next week, preceded the day before by the blimpish racists of the No Sharia Here SIOE, led by the Fawlty-like Stephen Gash and masterminded by the ubiquitous political opportunist, the Danish Anders Gravers. You can be sure that a lot of the Islamophobes marching on October 26 will also be marching in the EU Referendum rally. The same petty-bourgeois closet-racists are behind both Islamophobia and Europhobia.

Stephen Gash out of Fawlty Towers

And these phobic types are being supported by media tyrants like Rupert Murdoch who, like the criminal Conrad Black, not only support the Bush fascists but would have Britain out of the EU and into the economic hegemony of the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA).

Ever since the end of WWII, Britain has been under the military hegemony of the US and its foreign policy. During the Thatcher years, Britain became 'Airstrip One', a forward base for US imperialism and potential nuclear attack in a European Theatre of War. But it remained, on the whole, within the economic hegemony of the European Community, later Union.

Thatcher never like that idea and cashed-in on the natural anti-European sentiments of Britain's Basil Fawlty mentality by keeping Britain out of the Euro and the Maastricht treaty.

Homegrown xenophobic, Europhobia also provided the Thatcherites and their successors, the Blair/Brownites, with the political clout to opt out of various areas of European legislation meant to protect the rights of trades unions and, through the Working Directive, to provide a maximum limit of 48 hours to the working week.

Using Newspeak and by turning reality on its head, this socially progressive legislation by the European Union was presented to a wholly prejudiced and tranced-out British audience as somehow a threat to British liberties! And this in a country which remains the historical cradle of trades unionism and the struggle for a 40-hour week which, when finally obtained, was done in by Thatcher and her peculiarly British form of fascism.

Thus, in today's dark ages, even a 48-hour week is presented by British capitalists as something that we progressive Brits would rather not have! And, together with having opted out of that social legislation, the closet-fascists and their Tory fellow-travellers in the Cameron party of Neocons would have us give away our human rights as well, the Human Rights Act of 1999 being presented by Britain's lying media as something which militates against and threatens our human rights!

A Human Rights Act, by the way, which it took 49 years for the complacent Brits to get around to legislate into its own laws, such was the reluctance of the British ruling classes to deal with anything that smacked of rights for the lower classes! And now the Brits are being conned into believing that 'Europe threatens its independence'! In the 51st State what independence does Britain have? The British bubble of unreality again!

Reich Fieldmarshall Hermann Goering was right in one thing at least when he predicted in 1940 that in twenty years time Britain would become an overcrowded little island living on the glories of its past.

Overcrowded, yes. But not by immigrants. By a breakdown of infrastructure and public transport and an overpopulation of private transport. Living on the glories of its past, yes. But where the Neocon fascists in Washington are calculatedly using British xenophobia, nostalgia and an entirely false belief in its independence to stir-up racism, religious hate and persecution and to persuade a generation of British working people, ignorant of their past struggles, to forsake all their hard-earned rights by turning its back on protective European social legislation.

The call for a Referendum is a fake, carefully packaged by the Right to sound as if it were something to do with free speech. The same free speech which the Right constantly abuse by using it to promote xenophobia, race hate and to attack the people's social and civil rights.

It is for these reasons that Chimes of Freedom remains solidly Eurosocialist, in defence of the people's rights, and Antifascist against the pukka white nonsense of xenophobia and imperialist racism.

1 comment:

  1. Cerne Abbas, abusive comments such as your last two will not be published on this blog.

    Abusing 'kaffirs' in apartheid South Africa was one thing. But times have moved on and you really must catch up with the changes! ;-)