The following article was published in the Socialist Voice. No 35 (April/May).
Prime Minister Theresa May is leader of her party and the country in name only – her party want her to go but her promise is now linked to blackmailing MPs into supporting ‘her’ deal. She must go now!
International Socialist League Editorial Board
On Wednesday 27 March, following a vote by parliament to ‘take control’ of the Brexit process, eight motions were put and not a single motion was passed. So much for taking control! Parliament knows what it is against but not what it is for. Unfit for office, all should resign!
Parliament is in a state of paralysis. One Labour MP summed this up in The Times saying that, “ I sit uselessly and helplessly trapped in a Commons that is falling to pieces at a time of national crisis. I’m one of the 650. We’ll all get the blame when the ship sinks, but in truth you might as well have put a dead cat in there instead of me; it would have had as much of a role as I’ve had in the Brexit discussions.”
The International Socialist League believe that the need for a general strike is urgent. A general strike where workers can express their opposition to austerity and the issues which continue to blight the lives of so many as cuts continue and wages are forced down, failing to keep up with ever increasing bills. Austerity must end now.
The policy for a second referendum is nothing more than a policy of distraction to divert the potential eruption of workers’ struggles. The Left parties that refuse to fight now for a general strike and opt to wait for a Labour government under Corbyn are betraying workers and allowing the capitalists to drive this political crisis in their own interests.
Unify the strikes for a general strike
While the political parties squabble about which Brexit deal they support, it is the interests of this or that wing of capital they focus on. Workers’ interests are excluded.
The reality for workers and young people in Britain 2019 is of food poverty, homelessness, precarious work, low wages, increasing bills and endless cuts to social security, the NHS and education. It is a future in which environmental destruction now looms large. All of this has happened under not only the Tories, but all the parliamentary political parties including Labour.
Parliament may be in paralysis but austerity is not. The government and parliament continue to devastate communities with cuts and the destruction of public services and workers’ rights, including many Labour councils who have implemented austerity with the written consent of the Labour leadership since 2015.
The British and European working class can demand a joint exit from the EU with a programme in workers’ interests and for socialism.
There are powerful fights being waged now. In France, the second most powerful country of the EU, the Gilets Jaunes movement (Yellow Vests) have been mobilising on the streets since 17 November 2018, against cuts and austerity- they have had enough! Yet Macron is not listening to them, he has implemented brutal methods of repression by the police and military to try and hold back the movement. However, the protests continue and the workers’ anger is growing even deeper. Brutal military repression against workers’ fighting for their rights, that is the true face of the EU!
Socialist Party and Socialist Workers Party
The Socialist Party (SP) and Socialist Workers Party (SWP) talk about the need to co-ordinate strikes but they are failing to agitate for it to happen. Despite the chaos and turmoil that is exposing the Tories (and parliament) to defeat, the SP and the SWP have failed to grasp this critical moment and demand that the TUC call a general strike.
For more than year now there have been many strikes against austerity and cuts with RMT, the Bakers’ Union, UCU, Unison, Unite and the new unions (IWGB and UVW) against job losses, outsourcing and precarity. The conditions exist to unify strikes and build a mass movement in support of a general strike to bring the government down, to end austerity and for a workers’ exit from the EU and its draconian and anti-worker institutions.
We have to fight this sham of capitalist democracy and not just talk, as the SWP do, in a propagandistic way. We have to fight for socialism and not talk about it as some distant aspiration.
For a workers’ exit
The working class are becoming increasingly impoverished and the leave vote was an expression of the huge social tensions experienced over many years.
The media is dominated with wall to wall coverage on Brexit but there is no mention of what the EU is. The EU institutions exist solely for the interests of big business, big banks, and against the interests of workers. They have become even more undemocratic since the 2007/08 financial crisis. The EU Commission, European Central Bank and the IMF further removed sovereign rights, dictated immense cuts and enforce austerity throughout Europe, as well as privatising large swathes of services and infrastructure purely in the interests of the profiteers.
If we can overthrow May, and we can, we can also agree a socialist programme. This can be achieved by the democratic organisation of workers’ and students’ assemblies that are open to all, to discuss and agree: a workers’ exit from the EU; to stop the Tory government and EU attacks on workers and refugees; to end all austerity and cuts; to end the destruction of the environment. We must force the banks and big business to pay!
Workers’ and students’ assemblies must fight for an anti-capitalist programme, to help to develop a European working class struggle, and fight for the destruction of the capitalist and anti-working class EU.
Kick the Tories out
We can kick the Tories out with a mass struggle of workers, through a general strike uniting the unions and working class communities.
The UK must leave the EU, but not on terms imposed by the ruling class, but through a struggle fighting for a class programme and against anti-working class attacks. We say:
- Build student and workers’ assemblies
- No to any payment to the EU
- End austerity
- Kick private companies out of the NHS and all public services
- Nationalisation of banking and democratic workers’ control of the economy
- Production according to the needs of the majority not for the benefit of a few
- Free movement and all immigrants welcome
- Build a workers’ government
- European workers’ united struggle to destroy the EU
- For a free Socialist United States of Europe.