Post Brexit, a political crisis has deepened in the UK for both Labour and Tory parties. The majority vote was 52 percent with a turn out of 72 percent (higher than 2015 general election turn out of 67 percent). A majority of older workers and a majority of populations of the northern cities voted to leave. The working class were divided on the issue as were the youth. For example of all the youth who go to university 75 per cent were in favour of Remain, while two thirds of Labour Party supporters voted to Remain.
By Margaret McAdam and Martin Ralph
Cameron, the Tory leader, resigned and the right-wing of the Labour Party are calling for a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. Many members of the shadow Labour cabinet have resigned on the basis that while he campaigned for the EU, his campaign was very weak and that he would not be able to lead the party to victory in a possible imminent election. Of course they have been unhappy since he became leader but his continued appeasement to the right wing on the EU, tuition fees and nationalisation has only served to strengthen them.
Financial and stock markets were hit by the victory of the Leave campaign causing the pound to fall to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985. The referendum has world significance because of the economic crisis in China, the EU and the USA and it could further accelerate the tendency towards world recession. Brexit certainly changes many things far beyond the shores of the UK.
Brexit sent shock waves throughout the UK and Europe, if not the world. A great number of workers voted to leave but also to stay, the class was divided. Many voted to leave because of the propaganda against immigrants.
Three days after the referendum an online petition for a new referendum had been signed by three million people.
The vote to Leave is also an anti-establishment vote, as happened in Scotland where the Labour Party was rejected by workers, there is now a rejection in England and Wales.
The main union leaderships and TUC campaigned to Remain because they saying it was necessary to defend workers’ rigths! What the two million workers on zero hour contracts thought of that can be imagined. In or Out of Europe work and life is getting harder for workers and their families, while the union leadership defends capitalism consistently refusing to mobilise workers against austerity.
The vote to Leave is a great crisis for Europe. No doubt the troika will seek to punish Britain for leaving as a warning to all countries not to go the UK way. But reports indicate that leaving is being discussed much more now in countries as France and Holland.
Behind the vote is deep discontent over austerity, including the demise of the NHS, unemployment benefits and privatisation. But there was no choice to express that opposition in the referendum. The leadership of both the Remain and the Leave was in the hands of the Tory Government, a blue on blue referendum.
Leave leaders who promised an extra 3.5 billion pounds for the NHS throughout the referendum are saying very little about this promise now. Workers will find the promises made by the Leave leaders against austerity mean nothing in reality.
In the so called United Kingdom, Scotland voted to Remain as did northern Ireland. This result may fuel their desire to leave the UK. Many reports state that NO voters in the Scottish independence referendum last year are switching sides.
The EU is not, never has been and never will be a ‘European Community’ of people and workers. In Greece we saw the true meaning of the EU – attacking workers and destroying living conditions to maintain the profits in Europe especially Germany and France. The migrant crisis has shown the true colours of the EU – which intends to send the majority elsewhere, and leave them to drown in the Mediterranean.
The policies of Boris Johnson and UKIP are xenophobic and reflect the backward bourgeois nationalists. But the victory shows that capitalism is increasingly volatile politically as the bourgeois class are spilt on the best way to attack workers, oppose and blame immigrants and safeguard profits. The crisis that begun in 2007 and that continues to this day, almost a decade, is rocking the boat.
The ‘liberals’ (a long strand of people from the right wing to the reformist left) like to come out and say ‘we must start to talk about immigration without accusations of racism’ as a way of pushing a populist anti-immigration policy without confusing themselves with the reactionary right wing.
This capitulates to the idea that immigration is a problem, that the country is flooded and that the migrants are indeed taking our jobs. This is meant to take the blame away from capitalists and scapegoat a section of the population.
The ‘left’ Remain or Leave did not answer the problems posed in the referendum. The Leave did not provide an answer to the attacks on immigrants with a fighting programme in defence of and and pro immigration. The Socialist Party are against open borders and through that position deny the need of struggle now. They talk about socialism but duck the hard issues that have come up in the struggle against capitalism.
What is needed now, and not just in some utopia ‘one day socialism will come’ speak, is a struggle against austerity by workers across all of Europe and indeed the world, a strong and unified movement based on pro-migrant, anti-racist, anti-immigration controls.
The working class can no longer accept the position of Corbyn and the trade union leadership to wait until for the next general election (meaning 2020) even if it will happen sooner. Workers have to fight now.
Workers who voted to Remain, Leave or Boycott must come together against the Tory onslaught.
The Tories are a bitterly divided and organisation. The SWP have said many times the Tories are very weak, but what counts is the relationship of forces and how to unite the working class in struggle to be stronger than the government. For the working class to become stronger it has to fight. All workers in their fight must condemn the xenophobic scapegoating of immigrants. Because xenophobia is used to divide the working class. However, class struggle can clear the fog of any workers’ confusion over immigration.
The previous Labour leaderships led the basis for xenophobia along with the Tories, but Corbyn has no answer as he consistently bows to the right-wing. We do not agree with the SP and SWP that Corbyn offers a way out to socialism.
Neither the ‘left’ Remain or Leave campaign had any desire to talk about the great struggles taking place in France. They had no policy towards bringing European workers together. All the general strikes and struggle in Belgium, France, Italy and Greece made no impact on the thinking of the vast majority of the left in Britain. But it is previously those struggles that show our future and we have to become an organic part of them.
That is a central fight for the ISL and IWL and workers across Europe is to take to the streets and build a mass fight for workers control and socialism.