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Achieving Trade Justice For After Brexit – For All


Achieving Trade Justice For After Brexit – For All

Mark Dearn

For the past three years, War on Want has been proud to be at the forefront of one of the biggest social movements we’ve seen in Europe for a generation. That movement came together and grew with one intention: to stop the secretly negotiated EU-US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).


Eco = home
Logos = logic
Nomics = law

Ecologosnomics = maybe a chance


There's no chance of being able to restore a measure of sanity to the "free trade" agenda as long as we refuse to have a legitimate discussion about the consequences. Focusing exclusively on "working families" has been toxic -- divisive and misleading. Workers are doing comparatively well. Those masses who have been pushed out of the workforce, in an era of class warfare (middle class vs. the poor) are the ones for whom justice needs to be found.

To change the destructive economic course that the Western world has followed, we need to make an all-out effort to shine a light on the Thatcher/Reagan agenda (and philosophy) that got us to this point. This requires legitimately examining the consequences -- the ongoing increases of poverty, and the impact of years of unrelieved poverty on the whole of the economy.


Trade Justice... great idea! Let's hope with so many citizens pushing for it, the elites are forced to relinquish their grip on IT ALL and allow THAT to happen.


Just to remark that rejection of 'free' trade treaties simply protects the status quo and the existing entrenched interests. To achieve your goals you have to do more than 'reject 'free' trade treaties'.


Considering UKIP, who led the 'leave' campaign have said of TTIP "If we’d been a free and independent country, I rather suspect we’d have had such a deal with the US ten years ago, if not twenty," and that the choice of the two possible neo-liberal Tory leaders likely to be doing the negotiating is between an ex-hedge fund mananger who wants to make a bonfire of 'red tape,' get rid of maternity leave, minimum wage, employment rights etc, (Andrea Leadsom) or an liberal conservative, free trade fundamentalist, ex-Bank of England worker, married to a City banker, (Theresa May) I've got to admire the sheer ostrich-head-in-the sand, desperately blind optmism of this article. That's one very thick pair of rose tinted glasses the writer is wearing.

Post Brexit the UK is fucked. Now the Tories can really get to work dismantling the Welfare State. You can almost see them licking their lips.

The positive for non-British EU citizens is that now the troublesome, toxic, free trade advocate the UK has been purged from the EU, it may make much better progress with its various social democratic programmes, that were largely blocked by the UK.


Post Brexit, I've been thinking along the lines of values and rightly or wrongly have come to the conclusion that Brexit values align with a more communitarian outlook whereas Bremain values align with a more liberal outlook. This points to the dynamic between communitarianism and liberalism with the former evoking a need for community continuity and stability underlied by democracy and resilience and the latter evoking a need for community change and growth underlied by technocracy and wealth.

However, the trouble with liberalism and its inherent need for change and growth is that it is ecologically and socially deconstructive which is a good thing if change and growth is required but also a bad thing since it is inherently unsustainable. Liberalism, whether social or economic, is fundamentally unsustainable because if all living things had the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness then we would all starve or else be immobilised by moral constraint. This belies the fact that the sustainability of life is underpinned by life/death relationships but if not properly managed, these life/death relationships will inherently lead to unmanaged competition even if under the liberal framework of individual rights-based entitlements. In effect then, liberalism facilitates accumulation with few restrictions other than be nice to one another. This is why economic liberalism inherently leads to the formation of monopolies of power and consumerism and why social liberalism hollows out communities and leads to atomisation, loneliness and identity politics.

In this respect liberalism as a social policy tool has been a good thing in terms of deconstructing traditional communities based on entrenched patterns of patriarchy, gender inequality and class inequality but this creative destruction and has been a good thing in terms of improving standards of living now needs to be rolled back in order to allow communities to recoalesce around virtue-based value systems and in particular, ones I argue that are designed to create a sustainable future and so built on a platform of community democracy and community resilience.

This I think is the true nature of the Brexit backlash against the eu and the globalised liberalism that it supports. Unmanaged liberalism is inherently unsustainable and destructive and whilst it is a useful ideology to deconstruct and reform communities as a social change tool, at some point it is necessary to withdraw the use of this tool in order to allow communities to reformulate around different principles. It is therefore with irony that with regards the eu debate, the communitarians (brexiters) were using liberalism (democracy and the right to self-determination including border controls) to support their communitarian arguments whilst liberals (bremainers) were using communitarianism (cooperation and eu safeguards) to support their liberal arguments.

This highlights that liberalism functions as dynamic with communitarianism with the former being used to evoke change and growth through competition wheras the latter is used to evoke continuity and stability through cooperation. As such, yes the competition of liberalism is as important as the cooperation of communitarianism but each needs to be recognised for the benefits and losses they bring in order to manage social change and social continuity. In this respect, progress for its own sake and the constant social change and growth that liberalism brings through self-interested competition is damaging and unsustainable if it is not democratically consented to by all segments of society. In effect, by trying to bring half of a society unwillingly into the liberal mold whether through eu membership or through centralised government imposition that in effect manages eu policy is not only undemocratic but also exclusive of others that might wish for continuity and stability in order to build up decentralised democracy and resilience.

Liberalism does not allow for this regrounding of community values because it relies upon competition or creative destruction in order to constantly change and grow society or in international order terms, liberalism does not allow community cohesion because it requires communities to cooperate in order to compete in order to evoke change and growth on a global level.

In conclusion, without recognising that liberalism (individual liberty) forms an antogonistic relationship with communitarianism (social cohesion) and that the two need to be mediated according to democratic consensus then we are not only damaging our ecological and social relations through imposed competition (which arises because liberalism is unable to reconcile the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when expanded to all living life-forms) but we are also damaging our relation with our self since when this competitive outlook is internalised,it begins to form a divided and antagonistic self which goes some way to explain the bigoted behaviour from both sides of the eu debate.

So whilst liberalism is an important socio-economic policy tool to evoke change and growth through the application of negative rights, the inherently competitive and unsustainable effects of liberalism need to be recognised as such and so in turn, it needs to be recognised that liberalism has as its complimentary opposite a communitarian perspective that evokes continuity and stability through the application of positive rights which allows diverse communities to cooperate on a platform of responsibility and resilience which is mediated by democracy in order that diverse communities can formulate their own identities and values. However, if over time this continuity and stability creates entrenched inequalities, then liberalism again becomes useful to creatively deconstruct these entrenched inequalities. As such liberalism and its inherently competitve outcomes and communitarianism with its inherently cooperative outcomes are social policy tools which can be applied to varying degrees to create a managed dynamic between change and continuity. So, if continuity (and sustainability) is required then communitarianism needs to come to the fore whereas if change (and unsustainability) is required then liberalism needs to come to the fore. At present I would argue that communitatrianism needs to come to the fore in order to ingrain communities with a sustainable development ethic based on stability which I argue would be best achieved by creating a global cooperative network of decentralised democratic communities which is underpinned by an ethos of decentralised community resilience.


Au contraire. I'd say that's way off the mark. The former vote was largely driven by anti-immigrant stance which is certainly not communal or inclined to social unity, in fact xenophobia in some cases, and the latter is inclined to social union, the dissolution of nationalism and national boundaries and previously warring nation states trying to cooperate. As for liberalism, the UK was slightly protected from it under a raft of EU social chapter legislation and post bexit, the Consersvatives will make a bonfire of this and then it's 'chocks away' full on neo-liberalism and globalisation from here on. See above post.


Quite obviously liberalism in the form of the four economic freedoms does not create social cohesion which is why poorer non-metropolitan centres reject it and uncontrolled immigration symbolises this. Metropolitan centres obviously are not socially cohesive which is why when in such a centre saying hello to someone or morning is met with suspicion. London is the epitome of this. Similarly Eu union is not a force for social cohesion but individual liberty and why TEU Art 3 clearly states that the eu is to be a highly competitive social market economy. Social and env protections are simply mitigation measures to avoid the over-toxifying effects of liberalism rhat translates as. Industrialized growth and consumerism.


Long story short, you try and make things fit into your arbitrary pigeon holes, but they don't. In response to the points I made you essentially say absolutey nothing dressed up in a pseudo-intellectual academic jargon. Incidentally, the EU for me is a definite force for social cohesion.


Obviously you haven't thought through your liberal position. You just expect everyone to adopt it no questions asked.


I don't have a 'liberal position.'