Open letter to the deluded pro-Brexit “left”

September 7, 2017 at 12:48 pm (Anti-Racism, Civil liberties, CPB, Europe, ex-SWP, Human rights, immigration, Jim D, left, Migrants, populism, Racism, rights, Socialist Party, stalinism, SWP, Tory scum)

p46 - Potential measures
Above: the leaked Tory plans

Open letter to the deluded pro-Brexit “left”

Yes, I mean you lot at the Morning Star/CPB, SWP, Counterfire and Socialist Party:

I take it for granted that as self-proclaimed leftists, you are knee-jerk anti-racists and internationalists opposed to anything that tends to divide, rather than unite, our class.

And yet you called for a Leave vote in the referendum, and continue to back Brexit! In the case of the Morning Star/CPB, you oppose continued membership of the single market and customs union – in other words you want a “hard” Brexit!

To its shame, the Morning Star continues with this folly, publishing Daily Mail-style editorials that more or less explicitly back David Davis against the “intransigent” Michel Barnier and the “EU bosses in Brussels, Bonn and Frankfurt.”

Some of us tried to warn you about the Pandora’s box of xenophobia and racism that you were opening. Yet even when the Leave vote was immediately followed by a sharp increase in racist attacks and incidents (in fact, hate crime in general, such as attacks on gays), you wilfully closed your eyes and stuffed your ears, mouthing shameful banalities and evasions like “there was racism on both sides” and “racism didn’t begin on June 23rd.”

Well, yesterday we caught a glimpse of what the Tories have planned for EU citizens in Britain, or coming to Britain.

The plans are not yet official government policy, but all the signs are that they soon will be. The leaked document is explicit about ending a rights based approach. EU citizens arriving after Brexit would have to show passports, not ID cards; they would have to apply for short term two year visas for low skilled jobs; they would be prevented from bringing over extended family members and be subject to an income threshold (£18,600 per year) even to bring a spouse.

Employers, landlords, banks and others would have to carry out checks on paper-work. The hostility towards immigrants Theresa May deliberately stirred up as Home Secretary would intensify, and rub off on all “foreigners” and ethnic minorities, whether from the EU or not. British-born people of colour would inevitably find it more difficult to obtain work and accommodation.

As immigration lawyer  Colin Yeo  has commented: ‘The first and most obvious [result] is that the plans would make the UK a far less attractive destination for migrants. This is of course the whole point. The Home Office is protectionist by nature and worries only about security. The economy, consequent tax take, international relations and “soft power” international standing are considered worth the sacrifice. But what would happen to the sectors of the economy dependent on migrant labour, such as agriculture, food processing and hospitality? Are the public ready for a huge recession, massive job losses and reduced funding for public services and infrastructure?’

Andrew Coates, who knows a thing or two about France, has noted that ‘the scheme is a policy of National Preference, close to the demand of the far-right Front National, for jobs to go to first of all to UK Nationals.’

Deluded comrades: how are you now going to explain yourselves and your craven role as foot soldiers for the carnival of reaction that is Brexit? Your original  arguments and justifications for your pro-Leave stance during the referendum varied from the bizarre (after Farage and Johnson – us!) through the deluded (vote Leave to oppose racism!) to the frankly egregious (immigration controls are a form of closed shop!).

There was only ever one argument in favour of Brexit that made any sense from a socialist perspective: that EU membership would prevent a left wing government from implementing nationalisations and other forms of state intervention into the economy.

This urban myth has been perpetuated by left-reformist anti-Europeans and by Tory anti-interventionists for the last forty years.

But it’s wrong, at least according Article 345 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU of 1958, which states: ‘The Treaties shall in no way prejudice the rules in Member States governing the system of property ownership.’ This Article remains in force and makes a nonsense of the claim that existing EU legislation prohibits the kind of nationalisation, or other economic intervention, being advocated by Jeremy Corbyn.

But even if it did, is anyone seriously suggesting that if Corbyn gets elected on a manifesto that includes public ownership, he would not be able to implement it if we remained in the EU? Nonsense. As the pro-Brexit right continually reminded us during the referendum campaign, Britain is the fifth largest economy in the world, and (unlike Greece) would have little difficulty in forcing the EU to accept a Corbyn government’s right to introduce such relatively minor reforms as taking key industries and services into public ownership. Anyone who’s ever taken a train in France or Germany knows this.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say you’re right and I’m wrong: what is the benefit for a social democratic Corbyn-style government, of voluntarily leaving the EU, rather than pushing ahead with its programme regardless, and (in effect) daring the EU to kick the UK out? That’s a question I’ve asked many times in debates with you lot, and to which I have never received a coherent reply.

As the reactionary, anti-working class and essentially racist nature of Brexit becomes more and more obvious, I cannot believe that anyone who calls themselves a socialist, is not appalled. It’s probably too much to ask the self-absorbed, self-deluded, ultra-sectarian groups that comprise the pro-Brexit “left” to simply admit that you’ve got it wrong, and reverse your disastrous policy on EU membership. That kind of intellectual honesty is not part of your culture. But I think internationalists and anti-racists do have the right to demand that you make it clear that you support free movement, oppose a “hard” Brexit and support the maximum possible degree of co-operation and integration between British and European people (and, in particular, workers via their organisations) in or out of the EU.

Is that too much to ask, comrades?

JD

4 Comments

  1. Jim Denham said,

    The Morning Star crosses a line: open support for the Tories against Labour over Brexit:

    https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-60f1-Halting-the-Brexit-Bill-is-no-victory#.WbJmQrsksic

  2. Andrew Coates said,

    Indeed Jim, a disgraceful attack on the Labour leadership by Corbyn’s self-appointed best friends,

    “LABOUR’S decision to oppose the government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill encourages Tory claims that the opposition has reneged on Jeremy Corbyn’s insistence that the EU referendum must be honoured.”

    Put more clearly later,

    “Those wishing to frustrate the people’s voice on leaving the EU have been assisted by the May government’s foot-dragging that saw almost a year dissipated on unfocused chatter, indicating a dearth of political preparation and possible mandarin-level procrastination.”

    “Labour’s legitimate opposition to Tory Party austerity policies must not translate into giving succour to EU power grabs or undermining the electorate’s clear choice to leave the tottering EU superstate.”

    In other words, for the Party of National Sovereignty that runs the Morning Star, Labour must be first and foremost the “party of Brexit”.

  3. socialistfight said,

    Despite my difference with both Jim Denham and Andrew Coats on many other things, this is an excellent article and the correct orientation to the Brexiteers, along the line that Socialist Fight have argued from the beginning of to this brouhaha in 2016:

    Trotsky explained the economic and political basis for Lenin and the Bolshevik’s internationalism in opposition to the Stalinist revisionist theory of socialism in a single country in 1929:

    “The essence of our epoch lies in this, that the productive forces have definitely outgrown the framework of the national state and have assumed primarily in America and Europe partly continental, partly world proportions. The imperialist war grew out of the contradiction between the productive forces and national boundaries. And the Versailles peace which terminated the war has aggravated this contradiction still further. In other words: thanks to the development of the productive forces capitalism has long ago been unable to exist in a single country. Meanwhile, socialism can and will base itself on far more developed productive forces, otherwise socialism would represent not progress but regression with respect to capitalism. In 1914 I wrote: “If the problem of socialism were compatible with the framework of a national state, it would thereby become compatible with national defence.” The formula Soviet United States of Europe is precisely the political expression of the idea that socialism is impossible in one country. Socialism cannot of course attain its full development even in the limits of a single continent. The Socialist United States of Europe represents the historical slogan which is a stage on the road to the world socialist federation.” [1]

    We should call for a Yes vote in the coming in-out referendum on membership of the EU. As socialists and Trotskyists we must ask and answer the question, is it in the interests of the working class and oppressed in Britain and internationally for the UK to remain in the EU or to leave it? That is our sole criterion. We are for a Yes vote primarily because we recognise that socialism in a single country is impossible. Indeed as Trotsky points out above capitalism has long ago become impossible to sustain and develop in a single country and socialism must be built on a far higher level of wealth and productivity. An exit from the EU would inevitably strengthen nationalism and patriotism not only in the British ruling class but also in a big section of the British working class.

    Trotsky, “If the problem of socialism were compatible with the framework of a national state, it would thereby become compatible with national defence.”

    Economic Nationalism and Stalinism

    Economic nationalism, calling for import controls and the exclusion of immigrants and ‘foreign’ workers, would be enormously strengthened by an exit. This would strengthen the right wing of the Tory party, the United Kingdom Independence party (Ukip) and fascist groups. It would also strengthen the aristocracy of labour, those skilled and privileged sections of workers with relatively good jobs, on whom the trade union bureaucracy essentially rests. As the spokesperson for the trade union bureaucracy and primary ideologue of and defender of this layer of workers the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and their mouthpiece, The Morning Star (MS) are the foremost ideological advocates of exit from Europe in the labour movement

    .https://socialistfight.com/2019/07/30/vote-yes-for-the-socialist-united-states-of-europe/

  4. socialistfight said,

    Reblogged this on Socialist Fight and commented:
    Despite my difference with both Jim Denham and Andrew Coats on many other things, this is an excellent article and the correct orientation to the Brexiteers, along the line that Socialist Fight have argued from the beginning of to this brouhaha in 2016:

    Trotsky explained the economic and political basis for Lenin and the Bolshevik’s internationalism in opposition to the Stalinist revisionist theory of socialism in a single country in 1929:

    “The essence of our epoch lies in this, that the productive forces have definitely outgrown the framework of the national state and have assumed primarily in America and Europe partly continental, partly world proportions. The imperialist war grew out of the contradiction between the productive forces and national boundaries. And the Versailles peace which terminated the war has aggravated this contradiction still further. In other words: thanks to the development of the productive forces capitalism has long ago been unable to exist in a single country. Meanwhile, socialism can and will base itself on far more developed productive forces, otherwise socialism would represent not progress but regression with respect to capitalism. In 1914 I wrote: “If the problem of socialism were compatible with the framework of a national state, it would thereby become compatible with national defence.” The formula Soviet United States of Europe is precisely the political expression of the idea that socialism is impossible in one country. Socialism cannot of course attain its full development even in the limits of a single continent. The Socialist United States of Europe represents the historical slogan which is a stage on the road to the world socialist federation.” [1]

    We should call for a Yes vote in the coming in-out referendum on membership of the EU. As socialists and Trotskyists we must ask and answer the question, is it in the interests of the working class and oppressed in Britain and internationally for the UK to remain in the EU or to leave it? That is our sole criterion. We are for a Yes vote primarily because we recognise that socialism in a single country is impossible. Indeed as Trotsky points out above capitalism has long ago become impossible to sustain and develop in a single country and socialism must be built on a far higher level of wealth and productivity. An exit from the EU would inevitably strengthen nationalism and patriotism not only in the British ruling class but also in a big section of the British working class.

    Trotsky, “If the problem of socialism were compatible with the framework of a national state, it would thereby become compatible with national defence.”

    Economic Nationalism and Stalinism

    Economic nationalism, calling for import controls and the exclusion of immigrants and ‘foreign’ workers, would be enormously strengthened by an exit. This would strengthen the right wing of the Tory party, the United Kingdom Independence party (Ukip) and fascist groups. It would also strengthen the aristocracy of labour, those skilled and privileged sections of workers with relatively good jobs, on whom the trade union bureaucracy essentially rests. As the spokesperson for the trade union bureaucracy and primary ideologue of and defender of this layer of workers the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and their mouthpiece, The Morning Star (MS) are the foremost ideological advocates of exit from Europe in the labour movement

    .https://socialistfight.com/2019/07/30/vote-yes-for-the-socialist-united-states-of-europe/

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