TNM’s Legislative Action Workshop returned for another edition in how to make a difference in the 2019 Texas legislative session. This time, moderator Claver Kamau-Imani was joined by Great Britain’s George Konstantinidis, a former regional chairman for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), in a session entitled, “BREXIT to TEXIT: Turning Pressure into Electoral Success.”
In 2016, George Konstantinidis, Greek by birth and a naturalized citizen of the UK, was part of a group that helped their country get a referendum on leaving their own intractable federation, aka the European Union. That move, known as BREXIT, won the day, and though the struggle is far from over, it was a great example of how a first world state can exercise their right of self-determination, a lesson that we here in Texas can learn much from as we work towards a TEXIT from the American union.
“The people feel that they have lost something,” observed Konstantinidis, drawing a parallel between the UK and Texas. “[They] felt uncomfortable in a union that takes [away] their ability to determine the future of their own children… People started to recognize a problem… that was getting bigger and bigger.” Certainly, this is true in both cases: the EU makes law for Britain without any real representation, and Texas has their will thwarted by the unconstitutional actions of both a federal activist judicial system and an army of U.S. bureaucrats that are not directly accountable to the voters. Both Brits and Texans feel helpless to affect their own destinies, with each day bringing greater losses in economic and political power. “’This is not right’… something [needs] to be done.”
In undertaking an enormous effort like TEXIT, the most important thing is to connect with the average citizen and show them how they’re getting a raw deal from Washington, that what they signed up for is not, in fact, what is being delivered by their union. “Eventually,” according to George, they will agree that “something needs to be done,” and enough people will be jogged out of their apathy and denial to achieve real change.
Another key to gaining an independence referendum is to threaten the establishment’s hegemony. Using former UKIP head and MEP Nigel Farage as an example, Konstantinidis related how Nigel was able to peel away enough support from the two main UK political parties. This in turn forced the thinly-balanced and increasingly panicked establishment to try to placate the UKIP base with a referendum that they never, in a million years, thought would win. However, much the same as we saw with the election of Trump, they didn’t count on the “silent voter,” who was just waiting for the right opportunity. As a result, the British people overcame their own establishment to win back their freedom.
Some specific advice that George had for Texans seeking a TEXIT was that donations should in part be used to have key-salaried people, but then use the bulk of the money for an information campaign (leaflets, meetings, rallies, etc.). He stressed that it’s better to rely more on volunteers rather than risk trusting in someone who wants to earn a living off an on-going cause. Also, having competent and charismatic leadership is key. You must have people that can articulate the message effectively and with passion, if you want to move the people to action.
You can watch the full video below.