The Conservatives remain desperately clinging to power and face turbulence in their efforts to leave the EU, even with Theresa May going. People across the country, whether in support of Leave or Remain, are withdrawing their support from the mainstream parties who are unable to agree a consensus on EU membership.
Martin Ralph and Matt Prittlewell
In the recent European Parliamentary elections the Brexit Party got 32% of the vote, Lib Dems 20%, Labour 14%, Greens 12% and Conservatives a mere 9%. The government came fifth. The election results were the worst in 180 years of Tory history.
Many have turned away from the traditional parties to the populist Brexit Party of Nigel Farage. However, Farage is a former commodity trader. His Brexit is not in the interest of the worker. Only the working class can lead the British people, along with the European people, to a Brexit in the interests of the workers.
Labour are also in turmoil with Jeremy Corbyn for neither ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ in the EU elections, yet proposing a customs union that will be dominated by the interests of the EU and the City of London. He now supports a second referendum. That is three positions in two months.
Corbyn’s idea of a customs union repeats the same old rubbish of the EU – which is a war machine against workers and the peoples of Europe, refugees and for the pillage of African resources.
The submission of the official left to the EU and the complicity of the union bureaucracy with employers and governments gives space to far right parties. These reactionary parties try to take advantage of the worsening of living conditions among the socially hardest hit sectors to stir up their confrontation with the immigrant workers, who are blamed for social degradation, while exonerating the true culprits, banks and big capitalists.
Labour do not have a workers’ and socialist answer, they are a tale of two parties with two capitalist programmes, one for Remain and one for Brexit. That is the reality of Corbyn’s broad church and inevitably there will be further splits.
Workers are resisting
There has been resistance. In 2018 strikes increased against the attacks by the bosses and their government. The railway workers have waged a long struggle across many of the train companies across Britain over safety in campaign to keep guards on trains. There has been strikes in United Utilities over pensions, in IT giant Fujitsu over job losses and amongst cleaners, porters and security officers in London colleges.
Some of the most precarious workers have struck for basic employment rights in Deliveroo and Uber, and for better pay and working conditions in McDonalds. At the beginning of the year 50,000 university staff at 65 universities had a 14 day strike (organised by UCU) against proposals that would cut pensions by 40%, and a number of important college strikes won. Bus drivers across Lancashire have struck for better pay. It is impossible to keep up with all the strikes taking place.
EU attacks workers
Attacks on workers are driven by the world and European financial and economic crisis, the City of London and the EU’s defence of big business. In Britain austerity policies have led to a stark deterioration in the living standards of the poor. Attacks will deepen because there is no drive to organise and to unify resistance by union or Labour leaders.
Following the 2008 crash the EU directed their crisis onto the backs of the European working class particularly in the ‘peripheral’ countries and hit the workers in central Europe. The ruling classes of the main imperialist states of Germany, France and Britain, applied vicious austerity attacks on the working class in those countries. The attacks on Greece, Portugal and Ireland were brutal, and like Eastern Europe they are now semi-colonies of the EU.
For a workers’ and socialist way out of the EU!
Like workers in Britain, Spanish, Italian and French workers are fighting against austerity. We have to unite and build with them. The French yellow vest movement is a response from workers to austerity and attacks by Macron and the EU. They have taken to the streets and formed thousands of struggle committees across France. This needs to happen here.
We must give full support to these movements and the initiatives of militant unions and social struggles against the bosses, the capitalist governments and the far right. We need a movement like the yellow vest movement to push the unions to fight.
It is impossible to reform the EU. It has to be destroyed. We have to leave the EU on a workers’ programme that combines the workers of Europe against the capitalist institutions that are pushing back living conditions and creating poverty amongst the majority of Europe’s working class.
Rank and file union branches demand TUC call a general strike to defeat the Tories!
Unite with European workers to leave and destroy the EU!
For a working class and socialist United Europe