EU referendum and sovereign power
By Peter Ewart
Who should have sovereign, decision-making power in a country? The people of that country or supra-national bodies under the thumb of global monopolies and unelected bureaucrats? Many arguments are being tossed back and forth, but this is the core issue in the June 23rd referendum on whether Britain votes to stay or leave the European Union (EU).
The EU is a supra-national body whose structures and bureaucracy overlay the nation state of Britain and the other European nations which are its members. People want to renew and expand democratic processes that desperately need renewal, but instead, increasingly, the opposite is happening under neo-liberal globalization and supra-national bodies like the EU. The decision-making power of the British people, which is already greatly limited, is being further compromised, overrode, and strangled by membership in the EU.
However, this problem is not confined to Britain or the EU. All over the world supra-national structures have been or are in the process of being imposed on the people of various countries in the form of trade agreements, such as NAFTA, CETA and the TPP, and structures such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to name a few.
All of these supra-national structures stifle and override what should be the decision-making power of sovereign peoples and the rights of nation states, and de facto hand these powers over to globalized financial institutions, monopolies and unelected supra-state bureaucrats.
This phenomenon cannot be pigeon-holed as a “left” versus “right” issue. For example, supporters of all the parties in the British Parliament can be found on both the “leave” and “stay” sides.
Indeed, it is becoming increasingly evident that the division of politics into “left” and “right” can be an artificial and dogmatic construct that masks the real issues and real contradictions emerging in this globalized world.
Having sovereign decision-making power in their hands concerns all the people of a country, as does how to achieve, defend and advance this power in the turbulent conditions of today.
Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org