By Justice Markandey Katju
Britain has decided to exit from the European Union and European Common Market.
What is the implication of this ?
In my opinion it has profound historical importance, not only for England, but also for India, Europe, Asia, Africa, USA, and indeed for the whole world. It marks a drastic reversal of the process of internationalism which had been going on for quite some time after the Second World War. It is a step towards extreme nationalism and right wing politics, which is bound to spread everywhere, and create great disorder. Let me explain.
The extreme nationalism which was prevailing in the developed countries before the Second World War was replaced after the War by internationalism. Multi national corporations cut through national borders after the War in search of markets, raw materials and cheap labour, to increase profits. This process included hiring workers from other countries, particularly from underdeveloped countries, who were available at lower wages/salaries. It also included export of capital and outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries. Cost of labour is a big chunk of the total cost of production, and by getting foreign labour at lower wages/salaries the corporations could cut down their cost of production drastically, thus enhancing profits.
In Europe and America there are millions of foreign workers working at lower pay than local European or American employees. Also, many of the jobs in America and Europe have been outsourced to underdeveloped countries where employees are obtained at much lower pay.
This process has no doubt increased the profits of these multi national corporations, but has also led to great unemployment among the local people in Europe and America, resulting in massive discontent there. Europeans and Americans feel that the jobs in their own countries which should have gone to them have been taken away by foreigners. This is further exacerbated by the world wide economic recession which has been going on for quite some time. Unemployed people, especially the youth, are feeling that the jobs which should have gone to them have gone to foreigners.
The recent killing of the British Labour M.P. Jo Cox who supported immigrants, by a man who shouted ' Britain First ', is an example of the widespread strong feelings in this connection not only in England, but also all over Europe and America.
Germany, which already had many Turks, admitted 1 million refugees from Syria and Iraq recently, which is bound to have repercussions. In fact feelings against foreigners is growing in Germany. These are statements of foreigners which bear this out :
" I was told by a taxi driver to 'go back to Japan'. I was scared because it was just me and him and it was late at night, so I got out, paid him and walked away as quick as possible.
" I was followed by a middle aged German lady who heckled 'stinkende chinesen hore!' (stinking chinese whore) at the top of her voice- for about a block ".
In America Donald Trump's rhetoric against Hispanics, etc and outsourcing of jobs is striking a chord, and he may well win the election for President.
Britain's decision to exit the EU should be understood in this light. It is not just exiting the EU. It is drastically reversing the process of internationalism, and is the first step towards going back to virulent nationalism.
There are 1.4 million people of Indian origin living in England, and many from other parts of Asia and Africa. Soon attacks on them by right wing goons will start, and the same is likely to happen in Germany, France ( which has a large Muslim population, mainly from North African countries which were earlier French colonies ), etc. Businesses of Indians in England ( Mittals, Tatas, Hindujas, etc ), and their Indian employees, may also be attacked, and so also of other Asians and Africans. They will all be told to get out and go home.
The step taken by England will sooner or later be followed by Germany, France, Italy, etc
So we are going back to the era of virulent nationalism, which was resolved in Europe by wars ( the First World War, Second World War, etc ). But after the development of nuclear and other such destructive weapons, such wars are unlikely to be repeated. So how then will the crisis be resolved ?
Moreover, Europe and America are heavily dependant on foreign labour, both inside these countries and abroad. If these are driven off or laid off, much more expensive European and American labour will have to be employed. This will drastically reduce the profits the multi national corporations are earning, leading to further recession, and so more lay offs and discontent.
In my opinion the world is heading for a prolonged period of great chaos, extreme nationalism, and fascism.