Jeremy Corbyn, Noam Chomsky, Yanis Varoufakis, Tariq Ali and Julian Assange give the lowdown on Britain’s EU referendum vote.
1. Noam Chomsky: Against ‘Brexit,’ Says It Would Make U.K. More Dependent on the US
“I’m unenthusiastic about either, but I think probably the worse choice would be ‘Brexit.’ My sense is that it would probably turn Britain—or maybe England, if Scotland pulls out—into even more of a dependency on the U.S.,” acclaimed linguist, philosopher and social critic Noam Chomsky told The Guardian back in May.
“There are a lot of good things that have happened in Europe since the Second World War. Those should be salvaged, and I think they can be,” he added.
2. Jeremy Corbyn: ‘Remain—and Reform’ in Europe
“Britain needs to stay in the EU as the best framework for trade, manufacturing and cooperation in 21st century Europe. Tens of billion pounds-worth of investment and millions of jobs are linked to our relationship with the EU, the biggest market in the world,” Jeremy Corbyn wrote in an official statement on the Labour Party website in April.
“But we also need to make the case for reform in Europe—the reform David Cameron’s government has no interest in, but plenty of others across Europe do.
That means democratic reform to make the EU more accountable to its people. Economic reform to end self-defeating austerity and put jobs and sustainable growth at the center of European policy, labor market reform to strengthen and extend workers’ rights in a real social Europe. And new rights for governments and elected authorities to support public enterprise and halt the pressure to privatize services.
So the case I’m making is for ‘Remain – and Reform’ in Europe.”
3. Yanis Varoufakis: UK Must Stay in EU for Sake of Bloc’s Future
While Syriza’s former Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis described the EU as being in a “disgraceful state” and a “disintegrating mess,” he told The Guardian in April that Britain leaving would not be the solution.
Speaking in apocalyptic terms, he said a vote for “Brexit” would hasten the collapse of the bloc. “The only people who will benefit from that will be the ultranationalists—the Marine Le Pens, the Golden Dawns.”
“Last time we crashed and burned in Europe we produced the Holocaust, we produced tens of millions of dead people. The disintegration of the European Union will push us in to the…1930s,” he said.
4. Tariq Ali: EU Is “Cuckoo Land,” Britain Better off Without It
Journalist and filmmaker Tariq Ali called the EU a “machine for neoliberal capitalism” and said a U.K. departure would not result in economic chaos.
Speaking to The Nation, he noted that the bloc is working “extraordinarily” well from the perspective of global financial capitalism.
Blaming the EU for the rise of the far right, he branded the recent refugee deal with Turkey as “squalid” and pointed to the multiple crisis’ rocking the continent, from some of the biggest strikes in France since 1968 to German hegemony over the bloc.
“I was undecided at the beginning of the campaign, but now I believe a tactical vote to get out would benefit all and could permit even a mildly radical Labour government to carry out its policies,” he concluded.
5. Julian Assange: Yes to ‘Brexit’ as EU Makes Member States Less Democratic
“The U.K. is bad for the EU but also the EU is bad for the U.K.,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told ITV in June.
“It permits a lack of democratic accountability in this country by permitting successive governments in this country to simply say ‘oh, we are forced into doing things because of EU legislation’ when it is precisely these governments that have been behind the EU legislation in the first place,” he added.
Speaking about the David Cameron government, Assange accused the administration of “laundering” decisions to the EU then claiming it can’t do anything about it.