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The real reason Boris Johnson pushes for a no-deal Brexit

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The UK political landscape looks increasingly chaotic, especially after Boris Johnson's ultimatum for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. It looks like the whole country suffers from a general nervous breakdown through a "bellum omnium contra omnes" situation. But if you "follow the money", you will, eventually, see the whole picture quite clearly. And you will realize that this whole Brexit issue, is primarily the product of a merciless war among rival factions of the British capital.

In the mid-July, Reuters "exposed" some key supporters of Boris Johnson who have poured hundreds of thousands of pounds into his campaign. As Reuters reported:

          More than half the donations came from financiers and businessmen who funded the campaign to leave the European Union. The two biggest backers are Anthony Bamford, the billionaire chairman of the construction equipment maker JCB, and Jonathan Moynihan, chairman of venture capital fund Ipex Capital, both vocal backers of Brexit. Robin Birley, a private members’ club owner, has previously donated to Nigel Farage’s former anti-EU group, UKIP. 

Of the three, Jon Moynihan is a case of particular interest. He most clearly represents the faction of the British capital that seeks to survive from the underground war between capitalists that has become much harder after the eruption of the 2007-08 global meltdown.

It appears that Moynihan is a key contributor to the brexitcentral.com website, which gathers the most pro-Brexit business community and intelligentsia. Through an article, which clearly reflects the positions of the pro-Brexit British capital, two years ago, he wrote:

What was also apparent was how on the economy, the (now increasingly discredited) arguments to Remain were mostly put forth by the Corporate Welfare mob – the rent seekers; those who believe that the best way to move their organisation forward is to cosy up to the government and extract favourable terms and conditions which will allow their organisation to do better than their (often smaller, usually more innovative and forward-looking) competitors.

One almost felt sorry for David Cameron, George Osborne and their civil servants and Treasury officials: they were in a vast echo chamber where large companies forecast woe and American and other investment banks, at the same time as donating 7-figure sums to the Remain campaign, assailed them with forecasts of immediate job losses and threats to move their operations to the Continent (note: employment in the City up 17% in the year since the referendum result); and where the CBI poured further tales of imminent woe into the government’s ear (Brussels was, it became known, most likely the CBI’s largest donor over recent years).

[...]

A large corporation usually grows exogenously, by merging with another company, or buying a smaller company. The company’s total number of people employed has as a result grown, but in fact there are almost always redundancies as a result of the merger or the acquisition, so that the economy as a whole has lost jobs. Numerous academic studies have demonstrated this. It’s not a controversial thing to point out. New endogenous employment comes from the entrepreneurs: the SMEs, the individuals who have staked all on starting up a business, the scientists who drop out of university to pursue their dream of a new technology. Overwhelmingly, these entrepreneurial classes were in the Brexit camp. [...] The majority of new companies fail; no entrepreneur wants to be in that losing group.

[...]

Talks of ‘transition’ disguise a hunger to put the moment of truth off as long as possible, perhaps (listening to HMV James Chapman’s shrill jeremiads on the Today programme, and his former master George Osborne’s equally batty disaster predictions in the Standard), hoping to avoid for as long as possible the moment when their complete discredit arrives when their forecasts of doom are conclusively shown to be wrong. What they are hoping for, were they to accomplish the (actually impossible) fantasy of some kind of halt to Brexit, is yet another aspect of their incoherence. If they expect a Jeremy Corbyn government in 2022 to save them, they must be sadly deluded – as well as stupendously foolish in hoping for such a catastrophically dangerous political outcome.

[...]

You, as you read this, may not be the CEO of some large FTSE 100 company, climbing the corporate career ladder all your working life, with complacent shareholders and a large PR department to push your special pleading. You are actually more likely to be someone who is growing jobs and growing the economy. It’s essential your voice be heard.

Moynihan couldn't make it more clear. These paragraphs essentially unfold the key aspects of the civil war that is taking place between the factions of the capitalist class. We can identify at least three of these aspects in Moynihan's words:

1) The pro-Brexit faction of the British capital senses an existential threat from the globalist faction, which is represented mostly from the City financial capital and the CBI (Confederation of British Industry).

2) The pro-Brexit faction attempts to take on its side the small-medium business sector, in order to form a stronger coalition against the globalist faction.

3) The pro-Brexit faction sees a potential Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, also as a major threat. This is one of the few common views it has with the globalist faction.

As a consequence, we may consider Boris Johnson as the personification of the pro-Brexit capitalist faction that senses an existential threat.

In the previous major financial crisis of 1929, the big capital eliminated competitors and redesigned the new global power structure through a world war. This time, it cannot do the same. A world war would probably mean the end of civilization, therefore, the process is much longer and slower. It extends in time through a peculiar, ongoing semi-recession until the next big financial meltdown.

This gives time to the anti-globalist capitalist forces to reorganize and fight back against the onslaught of the globalized capital. So, the UK is probably now the most crucial field of this war and the anti-globalist capitalists marked a first big victory through the outcome of the Brexit referendum.

Despite the capitalist civil war, both major factions of the British capital remain deeply neoliberal in their ideological core. However, it seems that the pro-Brexit faction has adopted a Thatcherian form of neoliberalization, in which the nationalist factor is quite evident. This is necessary in order to attract conservative voters who feel abandoned, or even threatened by the globalist elite.

On the other hand, the faction of the globalized capital has adopted an international form of neoliberalization. It has bought the politicians of the political center which includes representatives of all types of minorities. In this way, the globalized capital attempts to attract the younger and most progressive voters. Of course, there is nothing progressive behind its deeper goal, which is the unlimited global expansion and elimination of all competitors by all means.

It appears that, for now, the globalized capital has lost all the battles. As the - once powerful - neoliberal center has essentially collapsed in the political field, the international capitalists attempted to create their own political vehicle, using the remaining centrist material from both major UK parties. The result of the latest euroelections showed that this attempt too has failed miserably.

Then, Boris Johnson came to make things worse. He purged all the Remainers from the conservative party and now, the pro-Brexit capital is ready for a merciless counterattack against the globalist faction of the City/CBI capitalists who seem to be running out of time and options.

So, the big question now is, why Boris Johnson is pushing so hard for a no-deal Brexit? Why not compromise with the globalist faction of his class through, for example, a smooth Brexit, in order to fight together the common enemy called Jeremy Corbyn?

A probable answer would be that the 31st October is a deadline given by the pro-Brexit capital faction through Johnson. If the globalist faction wants a smooth Brexit through a deal with the EU, it will have to proceed in a permanent truce with the pro-Brexit faction. If it wants to postpone and even reverse Brexit, it will have to give much more. That is, give a privileged position to the pro-Brexit capitalists, in order for them not only to survive, but even gain significantly from one more transformation of the global capitalist system. The transformation that will occur after the next global financial meltdown.

Yet, this is a unique opportunity for the real Left. It must take advantage of this capitalist civil war and exploit the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn. A Labour government under the Corbyn leadership after Brexit, could bring real change and prospect for the majority of the British people, who, otherwise, will suffer again from another ruthless capitalist game.


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