DONATE TODAY HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    

  July 5, 2016

Narrative of Brexit 'Leave' Voters as Racist and Anti-Immigrant Ignores Real Anti-Austerity Sentiment

Economist Michael Hudson argues that a vote for Europe is not a vote for socialism, but for a very right-wing, hard right, corporatist Europe where the laws will be made by bureaucrats acting on behalf of the large financial centers
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

I support The Real News Network because it is not Conservative, it is not Liberal; it is Real. - David Pear
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Michael Hudson is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is the author of many books, including The Bubble and Beyond, and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents, Killing the Host- How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy, and most recently J is for Junk Economics: A Survivor's Guide to Economic Vocabulary in an Age of Deception.


SHARMINI PERIES, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TRNN: It's the Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

Britain's referendum to leave the European Union, also known as Brexit, is still being agonized over by liberals as a vote of ignorance riddled with racism and anti-immigrant sentiments. But what is lesser known is an argument that the left used to oppose membership in the European Union due to its adaptation of neoliberalism and the surrendering of countries' most important thing, which is macroeconomic policies, to the European Central Bank.

On top of that, many are concerned about the EU signing into place the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also known as TTIP, which our next guest argues would eliminate government regulatory frameworks and place them in the hands of corporations.

Joining us now to discuss this is Michael Hudson. Micheal is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri Kansas City. His latest book is "Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroyed the Global Economy."

Michael, thank you so much for joining us.


PERIES: So Michael, take us back. You're referring to in some of your recent thoughts of a Maastricht and Lisbon treaties which stifled the ability of the ECB to engage in expansionary economic policies. What was stipulated in these treaties? Tell us more. And why is it being ignored now?

HUDSON: Well, what's in the treaties is really exactly what has been ignored by the US press coverage since the Brexit vote last week. There's been a treatment as if, look at these dumb British. They don't know what's good for them. It's as if the vote against remaining in Europe in England is just like the supporters of Donald Trump here against Hillary. It's as if, well, we're dealing with a racist movement.

They don't like immigrants. The actual reasons given by the British tabloid press that was against Europe, for leaving Europe, not for remaining, was, well, we can't make the rules. There are bureaucrats in Brussels, Ross Perot would have called them pointy-headed bureaucrats in Brussels, making the rules, and we want to take back control. But the problem isn't really just that there are bureaucrats in Brussels making the laws that are going to bind England. It's the kind of laws that the bureaucrats are making. And the kinds of laws are really to impose austerity.

And what the, both voters against Europe, for Brexit in England, were voting for was the fact that they're not having many job opportunities. They're not having an ability to afford rents, to live near where they work if they're anywhere near London. They realize that the economy is being stacked against them and the reason the economy's being stacked against them in England is, and in Europe, is because of what you mentioned: the mass Maastricht and the Lisbon treaties.

And these treaties, along with the German constitution, force the actual policies, the text policy and the spending policy in European governments to be determined not by voters but by bureaucrats who are appointed by the banks. And the banks' fiscal philosophy is, well, you want to support the banks. You want to support the creditors. If you want stability you have to have deflation. You have to have wages going down. You have to sacrifice the pension funds in favor of spending on bailing out the banks.

And on the second, the sort of compliment to the TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is NATO because NATO turns out to sort of being, dominating the whole bureaucracy there, and under NATO agreements two percent of gross domestic product of every European country has to be spent on buying arms from American manufacturers or a few French manufacturers. They have to be spent on military. And the way that this is maintained is pretending that Russia is about to invade Europe, and you have to protect Europe against the Russian invasion or an invasion of elephants from Iran by buying American military industrial complex products.

So, there's a lot of discussion in England of, why do we have to support the American military industrial complex with the budget instead of supporting labor, instead of supporting public health? In the US press, the New York Times and the others, they say, well, the voters against Europe didn't like the fact that they have to wait for long lines before national health service because there are immigrants there.

Well, the reason there are long kinds is because the budgets have all been cut back on health spending and on other social spending in order to support the financial city of London and other creditors and in order to support US-dictated military policies. So the problem isn't that Europe is run by bureaucrats. It's that the bureaucrats are right-wing and that there's a lot of pressure, even in today's paper, to push for the transatlantic agreement that essentially is Mussolini's corporate state.

It says that if a government passes any law that causes that deprives a company of making the profits that it would have made without a law--For instance, if they put cigarette warnings on and Phillip Morris cannot sell cigarettes, Phillip Morris gets to sue to make as much money as it would have made selling as many cigarettes as people would have bought without the health warnings.

Also this week you have the Canadian pipeline from the tar sands suing the United States and the Obama administration for over $100 million because they said, well, your environmental regulations prevent us from polluting your environment, so you have to pay us tar sand producers and pipeline producers, the financiers, as much as we could have made if you would have let us pollute your environment. If you have anti-fracking laws we can sue you because you're protecting the water and your protecting of your water costs us a lot of money.

Well, the way in which the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is done is, you have referees. Now, any of your listeners who have ever gone to a court with a credit card company or anyone else where they say you can't have a jury trial, you have a referee, you know that the system's fixed because the referees basically get their jobs by working for the plaintiffs.

PERIES: Right.

HUDSON: And the plaintiffs in this case will be the companies. The company gets--They're a three-man panel. The company gets to appoint one referee. The governments get to appoint the other, and if there's a tie, and obviously in a conflict of interests there's a tie, there's a third referee. The third referee is the head of the World Bank that's appointed automatically by the Americans, almost always from the defense department. from McNamara and John McCloy, [Sellick], everybody on. And obviously the World Bank is going to side with the American exporter and the American company or just with the transnational company in every case because that's where their mindset is.

So, a vote for Europe really is a vote for not the kind of socialist Europe that people talked about 50 years ago, but for a very right-wing, hard right, corporatist, almost to say a fascist Europe where voters won't count, where the laws will be made by bureaucrats acting on behalf of the large financial centers, on behalf of their clients, which are the large corporations, against the people.

And that's why the British opposed, the theory on which they opposed it. It's why Podemos in Spain urged people to vote itself into power this week. And despite the fact that the exit polls showed Podemos winning very heavily, somehow the machines reported that Podemos did not vote to reflect the exit polls but the Socialists won.

This is the other strange thing that's happened in Europe, and it affects all of this. That the parties calling themselves socialist are the opposite of what socialism used to be.

PERIES: A lot of things to think about there in terms of building new political systems. I thank you so much for joining us today.

HUDSON: Happy to be here.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at

latest stories

Guns, Toxic Masculinity, and the Alt-Right
Zuma's Catastrophic Presidency Ends in Forced Resignation
Brother of Crooked Cop Says He Knows Who Killed Detective Suiter
Israeli Strikes in Egypt Kept Secret for Years
As the Opioid Crisis Deepens, Will Maryland Democrats Vote to Save Lives?
The Free Market Threat to Democracy
Finding a SALT Tax Deduction Workaround
Leader of Neo-Nazi Militia Says MAGA Hat-Wearing Florida Shooter Trained with Them
Charter School Principal: No Evidence Privatization Is Better For Students
Max Blumenthal in Gaza: Netanyahu Faces Scandal, Palestinians a Crisis
Trump's Infrastructure Fantasy a Gift to His Donors
Netanyahu Could Fall for Corruption, Not War Crimes
Climate Change Costs Insurance Companies Billions, And Price is Rising
Trump's Budget Declares War on Forgotten America
West Virginia Woman Removed From Legislature After Exposing Fossil Fuel Contributions to Lawmakers
Leftist Hopeful's Lead Signals Upheaval for Mexico
Wilkerson: From Trump Parade to Budget, There's 'Too Much Military'
Trump's Budget and Infrastructure Plans Threaten Environment
Catharsis and Corruption in Wake of Dirty Cop Conviction
Confronting Trudeau on Climate Lies and Kinder Morgan Pipeline
Two Cops Found Guilty In Massive Police Corruption Scandal
In First Black Police Chief's Appeal, Judges Weigh Prosecutorial Misconduct, Discrimination
City Council Committee Advances Styrofoam Ban, But Delays Implementation
Trump Privatizes America
Is the Oil Industry Canada's 'Deep State'?
FBI Says It Has No Records on Violent Neo-Nazi Group, While Surveilling Antifascists and Black Activists
Democracy in Crisis: The FBI and Dirty Cops
'Normalizing' Britain's Interest Rates by Raising Them May Slow Economy
Koreas Talk Peace, But Does Trump Want War?
Guilty Verdict in Gun Trace Task Force Corruption Trial,, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting