Leaving the EU is in itself no defeat, or victory, but it does open up the possibility of the latter, in a way a remain vote never could. It was a victory for Democracy against an institution that is fundamentally anti-democratic. The vote demonstrates that many diverse working-class areas voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU but realistically forces calling for a left-exit were not dominant due to the mass media largely being in the hands of monopoly capital with no wish to publicise the radical left.
The EU is inherently anti-socialist, it arose from the USA’s Marshall Plan (the European Recovery Programme) which also acted as a precursor to NATO. This plan required of members commitments to free trade, agreements to US imports and removal of communist and socialist parties from governments of western European countries that were widespread at the end of the Second World War. This was part of the economic offensive against socialism in Eastern Europe. This organisation snowballed and consolidated itself into the EEC and then the EU we know today. Leaving the EU gives us the option to implement socialism.
The fact that the Labour Party, sided with this bulwark of neo-liberal capitalism highlights a disconnect with the Party’s policy and the working-class electorate. A clash between the Corbyn leadership and the Blairite faction of the Labour Party now seems likely. There is a pressing need for the left, labour and progressive movements to re-learn lessons of struggle, how to make a positive case for the future, and develop a serious strategy for socialism. This must begin with supporting Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party.
Leaving the EU in itself will not offer change, change as it has always done relies on the working class fighting to drive progressive change. Outside of the EU Britain now has the potential to pursue socialism. It is up to the vanguard of the working class to to pave the way. This will not be easy, and new battles are already upon us. We must stop the right from having a free hand across the political board whether they be in the national government or the Parliamentary Labour Party the labour movement must take control.
Fortress Europe and its imperialism may be behind us but friends and allies of the labour movement have a duty now, more than ever, to steer the UK government away from imperialist actions, we must welcome refugees fleeing destabilisation of the Middle East. We must work to defend the rights of migrant workers to live and work where they choose; to organise immigrant workers into our labour movement and to reach out further to existing migrant worker associations to defend those rights. Additionally, the labour movement must prevent a knee-jerk pivot towards a position that opposes migrant workers. In this atmosphere of increasing legitimisation of racist views and racist attacks, the left and the labour movement must fight for the rights of migrants and struggle against racism, both in our communities, and from the state and we must inspire in people the vision to reverse austerity, to bring back the welfare state, to nationalise industry, to improve our democracy and to fight for socialism.
This new phase of struggle needs clear cut analysis, reflection and thought to identify how to advance and exploit the fissures in the capitalist class. We stand with the same working class militants who backed a left exit alongside us, including Britain’s most militant and internationalist trade unions, who believe fundamentally, that the working class can change things. We can either give up and do nothing, or do something better, something transformational. We can take those feelings, of fear, of anger, of living in a country where working class people are denied a voice, that frustration of our needs never being met by the capitalist system that exploits us all, and we must channel it into a fight for a better future for all.
Before this referendum, it was already clear to Britain’s Communists that polarization, as a result of the capitalist crisis was occurring. In the lifetimes of YCL members, the polarization has never been clearer between have and have nots, although the political polarization is certainly less clear cut. We come to the old choice though again, that of Socialism or Barbarism. The YCL, the Communist Party, the wider left, labour and progressive movements must now redouble our efforts to agitate, educate and organise, to ensure unity, a vision of hope, and be ready to fight with everything we have for Socialism.
(YCL Executive Committee)