May’s government facing Brexit endgame

May’s government facing Brexit endgame

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With the Tory government in crisis we republish below the editorial from the latest issue of The Socialist newspaper.


With just ten days until the date of departure from the EU at the time of writing, there is unprecedented daily turmoil in parliament on what will happen. The government’s position has become so intractable that a complete government collapse is possible in the coming days or weeks, with a general election becoming the only solution.

Alternatively, prime minister Theresa May is now so discredited and ineffectual for the Tories that a no-confidence vote in her government might again be moved, with enough Tory MPs voting for it this time to bring about success. Then parliament would have 14 days to come up with another government, or a general election would be called.

Either way, a trade union-headed workers’ movement – with a plan of action – needs to be launched to help sweep the Tories out of power. It’s also needed to prepare a massive campaign to get Jeremy Corbyn in as prime minister, with socialist policies.

This outcome is greatly feared by the capitalist class. “The top 0.1% in Britain are doing very well”, wrote the economics editor of the Sunday Times. They want no obstacles to their hoarding of vast wealth, which could be created by the election of a government proposing to take measures in workers’ interests.
But the capitalists’ political representatives in Westminster are mired in such an acute and protracted civil war over Brexit that now is the time to turn the tables on them. Now is the time to take full advantage of their weakness, kick out the Tories, and inside Labour turn seriously to the task of deselecting the Blairites.

From crisis to crisis

On 12 March, Theresa May had her withdrawal plan decisively defeated in parliament for the second time. The week included Brexit minister, Stephen Barclay, summing up a debate in parliament in which he called – on behalf of the government – for a short extension to the withdrawal deadline.

He straightaway bare-facedly defied May by voting against the extension himself. Seven other cabinet ministers also voted against it and Tory chief whip Julian Smith abstained.

They had allowed their MPs a ‘free vote’ on that motion, but on one which ruled out a no-deal Brexit, the government whipped Tories to reject it after it was amended to apply indefinitely. The government lost that vote, with 13 ministers abstaining and one voting against. Cabinet members were among them, but the government is so powerless and fragile that May felt unable to take any action against them.

These votes were not binding, but no plan has yet been passed and May’s government has been sinking more and more deeply into crisis. When Attorney General Geoffrey Cox didn’t assist May’s deal by giving a legal assurance against the UK becoming stuck in the EU Customs Union, there were frantic attempts to get his ‘opinion’ altered.

Faced with threats that Brexit might not otherwise happen – or could be softened further or long delayed – there is a small possibility that May could end up getting a variant of her deal voted through.

But the parliamentary arithmetic doesn’t yet add up for that and many different scenarios are possible over the coming weeks. A new factor is a ruling by the Speaker of the Commons John Bercow that May can’t have a third vote on her deal if it remains the same.

Pressure is escalating in Tory and establishment circles for May to be removed. Although she won a confidence vote in December, an attempt to force her to resign could come.

Who would replace her? Numerous Tory ministers and MPs are flaunting themselves as leadership candidates and canvassing for support, but none have a position or strategy that could bridge the chasm over Europe in their party.

Extent of division

Certainly, there’s sharp division on the EU among MPs, in many cases reflecting their careerist ambitions. But the Socialist Party strongly counters the idea – repeated ad nauseam in the capitalist media – that working people are fundamentally divided on this issue.

A dangerous and inciting example of this was shown in Will Hutton’s 17 March column in the Observer. He argued that on the one side in society are pro-EU Remainers who recognise the “interdependencies” between European countries, realise the need for EU institutions that can tackle climate change, want a strong public

sector, effective trade unions, and are not hostile to other cultures, languages and people. On the other side, are those who support Brexit, who want “a world of closure, intolerance and suspicion of the other”, according to Hutton.

The idea that useful and desirable cooperation between people across Europe is only possible by supporting membership of the EU is complete fiction and pro-capitalist propaganda. The EU is, in essence, an alliance of the ruling classes across Europe, to serve the interests of big business, not those of working-class and middle-class people across the continent.

A socialist confederation of European states would be able to achieve levels of cooperation and mutual benefit for ordinary people way beyond what is possible on a capitalist basis.

Public ownership of the top companies that dominate the economies, together with democratic socialist planning, would mean the raising of living standards for all working people. This, and the removal of profit-making and market competition as over-riding forces, would also lay the basis for resources and cooperation to stop environmental disaster and enable rapid progress in useful technology and medicines.

It would be the very opposite of a Europe of ‘intolerance and suspicion’. Rather, it would be one where the removal of poverty and austerity would cut the ground from beneath distrust and racism.

Working-class people, whether they presently identify with the Remain or Leave side, have the same class interests. Corbyn recognises this. For instance, he said in Wakefield in January: “The real divide in our country is not between those who voted to Remain in the EU and those who voted to Leave. It is between the many – who do the work, who create the wealth and pay their taxes, and the few – who set the rules, who reap the rewards and so often dodge taxes”.
He must cut across the confusion and scepticism arising from the manoeuvrings in parliament and get out this message loud and clear, along with a promise of pro-working-class measures both regarding Brexit and irrespective of it.
This also means standing firm against the Labour Blairites who want to reverse the EU referendum result. Corbyn needs to stick to the demand for a general election, and help to mobilise the labour and trade union movement to urgently bring it about.

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“People’s Vote” or Socialist Brexit?

“People’s Vote” or Socialist Brexit?

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No to EU capitalist austerity

The below letter was sent by a local trade unionist and socialist to the Coventry Telegraph in response to the “People’s Vote Coventry” campaign.

In your article about “People’s Vote Coventry” its’ chair claimed their campaign “appeals to everyone”. I can confirm that it certainly doesn’t appeal to me, and a lot of other people who still oppose the EU.

I voted to Leave the EU and I would vote the same way today. I support the likes of Tony Benn, Bob Crow and Coventry’s own Dave Nellist, who consistently opposed the EU because it’s a bosses club designed to support the interests of big business across Europe.

The EU lets refugees drown in the Mediterranean Sea, the EU enforced brutal austerity measures on Greece, and the EU opposes public ownership of important industries. It’s Thatcherism on a continental scale.

In Ireland when the people voted against the Lisbon Treaty, they were made to have a second referendum so they gave “the right answer”. We already had our “People’s Vote”, and we voted to Leave the bosses EU. I believe it’s time to leave the EU, and build a socialist society here and across the world that puts ordinary people before profit.

To find out more about the Socialist view on Brexit, read this

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2018: more upheavals loom

2018: more upheavals loom

We are pleased to publish the following article by Socialist Party General Secretary Peter Taaffe from the forthcoming issue of The Socialist.

“Biggest fall in living standards for a generation.”

“Sharp rise in child poverty as cuts bite.”

“700,000 young people and pensioners join ranks of Britain’s poor in four years.”

“Stoke proposes £1,000 fine for homeless using tents.”

“Budget signals longest squeeze on living standards since 1950s.”

“OECD: Britain state pension is worst in the developed world.”

“Nursing ‘in peril’ as number of student applications falls below 18%.”

“Food banks stock up as reforms to welfare add to fears of cold winter.”

These are just some of the recent headlines gleaned from the capitalist press, as they regale us daily with a blizzard of facts, which unconsciously indicts their profit-driven system and their callous political representatives, the Tory government of Theresa May.

It is also a fitting testimony to the failures of capitalism in 2017, in Britain and worldwide, as well as a pointer of what is to come unless this system is seriously challenged in 2018, laying the ground for system change to socialism.

Worldwide capitalism is still in the grip of the enduring economic crisis, resulting from the meltdown of 2007-08.

Sure, the capitalist soothsayers seek to reassure us that the ‘worst is over’ that a ‘recovery’ is underway which they claim if not guaranteeing a return of the economic sunny uplands of yesterday, indicates significant improvements in the position of working people.

It is true that some countries have experienced an increase in the number of jobs – such as the US, here in Britain and a few countries in Europe.

But contrary to the propaganda that the future looks rosy, this recovery is not broad-based and certainly has not significantly improved living standards.

They have been largely concentrated in low-paid, part-time and precarious jobs. In Britain this means that the working poor are so low paid, increasing numbers are forced to resort to food banks – a confession of bankruptcy by capitalism.

It is also a criticism of right-wing trade union leaders in particular, who still fail to effectively fight for desperately urgent, substantial increases in wages.

Bank of England strikers marching for a pay rise, 3.8.17, photo Sarah Wrack

Bank of England strikers marching for a pay rise, 3.8.17, photo Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

It is no accident that retail trade has been flat – spending is therefore down – because of the limited purchasing power of the working class, in turn due to chronically low wages.

In other words, the working class cannot buy back the goods that it produces, one of the inherent contradictions of capitalism that Karl Marx drew attention to 150 years ago.

The capitalist economists and their institutions – the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank – are actually bemoaning the lack of ‘demand’.

They are ‘theoretically’ urging the bosses to increase wages and, in some instances, even urging the trade union leaders to fight harder for increases.

But individual and groups of capitalists and governments resist this ‘advice’ and continue to viciously oppose workers fighting even for small increases. Witness the ferocious resistance of Serco, one of the numerous ‘privateers’ who leech off the NHS, to Unite hospital workers in the Barts Health Trust for an increase of 30p an hour!

They are not likely to respond to the demand of the unions in the public sector – including nurses and other hospital workers – for wage increases beyond the 1% ‘limit’ without trade union mobilisation and effective unified action.

So it has always been and will always be under capitalism. Even a wage increase of 2%, given the remorseless rate of increase in the cost of living, will leave most working people with continued reduced living standards.

This requires bold and decisive leadership from the trade unions, which is unlikely to be forthcoming from right-wing trade union leaders.

Their policies amount invariably to ‘compromise’ and endless postponements of struggle, in the hope that the anger of low-paid workers will be dissipated and resignation will set in.

Yet the anger of working people is at boiling point – as the rash of small strikes indicates. These include civil servants in the PCS, RMT rail workers and more.

They have brushed aside the recent anti-union legislation by taking action after record turnouts and majorities in strike ballots.

This can mean that if the union tops are not prepared to lead, then they can be pushed aside to make way for those militant leaders who are prepared in this urgent situation to fight the government and the employers.

Crisis of system

However, this struggle – as with all the other battles on housing, education, etc. – is closely connected with the current crisis of capitalism.

In the past, the capitalists were prepared to give reforms – crumbs off their very rich table – to the working class.

But those days have gone, with boom conditions having been replaced by an organic drawn-out crisis of capitalism.

In order to safeguard their profits and interests they have conducted an offensive against all the gains of the past.

The capitalists and their governments do not resist demands for change just because they are greedy and cruel – which they are.

They see no alternative but to savage living standards in order to safeguard their system. This means endless poverty – disguised by the anodyne word ‘austerity’ – which will be inevitably resisted by the working class.

May herself, in the honeymoon period after she became leader of the Tories, appeared to sympathise with the ‘left behind’ and with poor families, and promised an end to austerity.

But the demands of those she represents, the capitalists, dictate otherwise even if she did ‘sincerely’ want to lessen misery and suffering.

This is a system based upon production for profit not social need. It is founded on inequality by virtue of the fact that, individually and collectively, the capitalists exploit the labour power of the working class to create what Karl Marx called ‘surplus value’ – which is then divided among the different exploiters into rent, interest and profit.

The struggle over the surplus between the capitalists and their governments on the one side and the working class on the other drives the class struggle and is the key to understanding history.

Historically, the capitalists used this surplus value to reinvest in industry, create new means of production – the organisation of labour, science and technique – and drive society forward.

This is largely what happened in the upswing of capitalism, when it was a system which was relatively progressive in laying the economic foundations for a new social system of socialism.

This, Marx wrote, was the historical mission of capitalism – to drive forward the growth of the productive forces.

But today it is betraying this ‘mission’, failing to invest. The capitalists are now more interested in piling up their own personal wealth through the massively inflated salaries of CEOs, stoking up ‘shareholder value’ rather than retooling and investing back into industry.

This also undermines productivity – which is static, if not falling, in Britain and throughout the advanced capitalist countries.

In the US for instance, a colossal total of $2.7 trillion from investments abroad is kept ‘offshore’ – outside of the US and not invested in US industry itself.

Following Trump’s so-called ‘tax reforms’ – a bribe to big business, together with the loosening of some state supervision of the banks – some or all of this could be ‘repatriated’ to the US.

But it is unlikely to be reinvested into industry, thereby rewarding Trump’s base of unemployed industrial workers and others with improved job prospects and living standards.

It will inevitably go into the pockets of the rich, pushing up shareholders’ wealth, the loot of the 1% and, in particular, the fabulously rich 0.001%; the plutocrats who ultimately call the shots under capitalism. Eight individuals control the same wealth as half the world’s population!

This indicates the increasingly parasitic character of modern capitalism in Britain and worldwide. The earlier Panama Papers and now the aptly named Paradise Papers – which means hell for the rest of society and heaven for the super-rich – have revealed this in great detail.

The Financial Times aptly described such tax havens as “getaway cars” for the super-rich.

And capitalism has demonstrated beyond all doubt that it is incapable of taking society as a whole forward.

Another economic crisis in the manner of 2007-08 – which only genuine Marxists, like the Socialist Party and the Committee for a Workers’ International (the international organisation that we are part of), fully anticipated – could take place at a certain stage.

The timing of such a crisis is impossible to predict but the inevitability of an economic breakdown is inherent in capitalism.

Moreover capitalism has not fully recovered from this crisis which, we should recall, resulted in the loss of ten million jobs in the US and Europe alone and the wrecked lives that flowed from this.

As Jeremy Corbyn said at the Labour Party conference – echoing the analysis of the Socialist Party – 2017 was the year when this crisis saw a delayed political expression of the crash.

The political earthquake of the general election, as well as many other recent upheavals such as the Scottish referendum in 2014, Brexit in 2016 and Trump’s accession to the US presidency, were rooted in this.

Developments in the US

Subsequently, Trump has rampaged on the US and the world stages, breaking the crockery of world capitalism in the process.

Rather than the usual ‘official’ role of US presidents as an international ‘stabilising’ force, he has acted as a firebug, fanning the flames of already inflammatory situations.

His ‘recognition’ of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel promises to reap a whirlwind in the Middle East and worldwide among Palestinians and Muslims in particular.

He has proved to be a disaster for the American ruling class as he bypasses the normal channels of capitalist democracy, preferring to rule by tweet in a special expression of US parliamentary bonapartism.

Even the New York Times has used unprecedented language by describing him as the “liar-in-chief”. The growing opposition to Trump has resulted in an open discussion about his removal from the US presidency, similar to that which preceded the overthrow of Nixon in the 1970s.

Even a right-wing commentator like Anne Coulter can write: “Who isn’t in favour of his impeachment?”

The Republican Party is split, which may result in a complete cleavage between Trump and his outriders like Steve Bannon on one side and the Republican establishment on the other.

This could lay the basis for a new right-wing nationalist Trump party and the increasingly alienated ‘moderate’ Republicans organised in their own party.

The Democratic Party may also itself split between the right wing and the supporters of Bernie Sanders – the ‘Berniecrats’ with their ‘Our Revolution’ movement – resulting in a new mass radical left formation.

Socialist Alternative, our cothinkers in the UK, has played the role of a catalyst for the left. This was shown by the electrifying effect of the election and re-election of Kshama Sawant – the first socialist councillor in 100 years in Seattle – and now with the spectacular performance of Ginger Jentzen in Minneapolis, who led among working class voters after the first round of the recent election.

Therefore, the US could be faced with an unprecedented four-party set up, which would have colossal repercussions not just in the US but worldwide.

The ideas of socialism are spreading like a prairie fire among young people in the US in particular, at a faster rate than even in Europe at this stage.

The earlier emergence of Podemos in Spain, the Corbynista surge in Britain, a similar movement around Mélenchon in France, and the Sanders revolution in the US are all part of the political awakening of a new, radical generation.

Corbyn surge

In Britain this is tending to fuse with the reactivation of older layers of the left who were discouraged by the previous move towards the right within the labour movement.

It represents a rejection of sell-out Blairite ‘social democracy’ and is potentially a powerful agent for socialist change.

However, programmatically it has not yet reached the same political awareness, consciousness, as the 1980s Bennite left within the Labour Party – which Militant, now the Socialist Party critically supported – with its demand for the nationalisation of 25 monopolies.

If implemented, Benn’s programme from that time would make serious inroads into the power of big business but would not completely eliminate it.

It would provoke the capitalists to mobilise to bring down a left Labour government, similar to the events in Chile with the Allende government in the 1970s.

We therefore proposed the nationalisation, with minimum compensation on the basis of proven need, of the top 200 monopolies and the implementation of a democratic socialist plan of production.

But Corbyn’s programme does not even go as far as Benn’s proposals for large-scale nationalisation.

Betrayal in Greece

Unless economic and political power is taken out of the hands of the capitalists, they will use this to sabotage any threat to their system.

Is this not the lesson to be drawn today from the experience of Greece, where the Tsipras government raised expectations with the clarion call that “hope is coming”? Instead, all the hopes of the Greek working class were dashed on the rock of the Troika (IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank) and its demands for a further round of savage austerity – cuts in wages and pensions, mass privatisation – which the Tsipras government is presently implementing.

This retreat is comparable to the infamous betrayal of the German social democrats with their support for their own ruling class and the bloody World War One.

The Syriza government had a clear choice. It could bend the knee to capital, or break the hold of big business and move towards a democratic socialist Greece; at the same time appealing to the Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and European working class to join Greece in a great socialist confederation of the region, linked to socialism in Europe as a whole.

This same dilemma could be posed before a Corbyn government, maybe as soon as this year, 2018.

Brexit

An immediate collapse of May’s Tory government seems to have been averted through the recent negotiations on Brexit.

There were congratulations on all sides of the Tory party when May returned from Brussels with the latest deal consisting of ‘studied ambiguity’ on key issues like the border between Northern and Southern Ireland and the single market. This represents a colossal fudge.

May has stolen some of the clothes from Jeremy Corbyn, who on all the fundamental issues relating to the EU – the single market, migration, etc. – appeals to both those opposed to the EU and those who wish to remain in it.

The Socialist Party believes that it would still be possible to appeal to both with a class and socialist approach.

This would involve clear opposition to the neoliberal aims of the EU by emphasising trade union rights and opposition to policies like the posted workers directive, which furthers the process of a capitalist race towards the bottom for all workers in all countries.

We stand for a socialist united states of Europe as the only lasting solution to the problems facing working people.

The strategists of capital – such as Lord Heseltine – were seriously considering support for Labour and Corbyn, despite his programme, as an electoral alternative to May and the Tory Party, which seemed wedded to a ‘hard Brexit’.

They were prepared to consider this despite their fears that a Corbyn government, once in power, could be propelled under the pressure of a politically aroused working class to go much further than the mild social democratic programme on which Corbyn successfully fought the the election.

These issues have not been solved by kicking the can down the road, which is what the latest agreement amounts to.

They could return once more and May could yet flounder, with splits within the Tory Party widening and breaking out, resulting in a general election being forced. Labour is eight points ahead in the polls and could be pushed into office this year.

Moreover the radicalisation which we have witnessed internationally will be fuelled further by the underlying continuing crisis of capitalism – more like a series of crises, rather than a sudden collapse, although a repetition of the 2007-08 crisis cannot be completely ruled out.

2017 represented an important stage for the labour movement, for the working class and for the Socialist Party.

In November we had the largest Socialism rally yet – Socialism 2017. We continue to draw some of the best fighters for socialism and the working class into our ranks, particularly of young people and workers.

This has allowed us to forge ahead in all fields, in the trade unions and the daily battles of working class people. 2018 promises to be an equally successful period for the struggle for socialism in Britain and worldwide.

Passport furore can’t hide Tory rifts

Passport furore can’t hide Tory rifts

notobosses

For a Socialist Europe

The announcement from Theresa May and the Tories regarding the changes to our passports may have been designed to hide the deep rifts that have developed within the Tory party; however neither this move, nor the recent deal on Brexit made before Christmas can succeed in healing the Tory divisions. We are reproducing the editorial from the current issue of The Socialist newspaper which we believe provides a socialist way forward for Brexit


Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

No divorce bill to subsidise capitalist elites of Europe

For a socialist, internationalist Brexit

For a while it looked like Theresa May might be about to crash out of office, as her fractured, divided party, propped up in government by the DUP, seemed unable even to reach agreement on a deal on the ‘first stage’ of Brexit negotiations. This time, however, the crisis did not prove fatal. A deal, involving numerous concessions by May, and a lot of deliberately ambiguous wording, has been cobbled together and acceded to by the DUP, keeping the show on the road for now. This so-called victory for May’s negotiating skills has solved none of the problems that May and her government face; it has only ‘kicked the can down the road’.

The most important conclusion for the millions of working and middle class people in Britain is that this government remains extremely weak and can be defeated. For as long as it remains in power, however, the norm will continue to be wage restraint, a catastrophic housing crisis, and endless cuts in public services.

Raised hopes

For the majority of Britain’s capitalist class, despite their horror at being represented by a party as dysfunctional as the Tories, the deal has raised their hopes. They now dare to dream that the ‘soft’ Brexit which would suit their interests might be achieved, despite the hard Brexiteers on the Tory right. After all, the government has acceded to the EU’s demands for an exit bill of at least £36 billion, shamefacedly abandoning their previous posturing that the EU could ‘go whistle’.

They have also agreed that, in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, there would be ‘full alignment’ between Northern Ireland and EU law. In reality this would only be possible in one of two ways – either a divergence between the laws of Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which would be unacceptable to the majority of Protestants in Northern Ireland, or remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union: that is, within the EU in all but name.

However, the welcoming of the deal by the Tory right does not mean they accept ‘full alignment’ by whatever means, but only that they had no choice but to agree it in order to prevent a complete collapse of the Brexit negotiations and hope, Mr Micawber-style, that something will turn up further down the road. It is likely that what will turn up will be the Tories repeatedly being forced to bang their heads against the reality that British capitalism is third rate, and that they have no choice but to make concessions to both the institutions of the EU and any of the other major powers with which they hope to negotiate favourable deals.

The nationalist ‘hard Brexiteer’ wing of the Tory party, which is fuelled by an utterly utopian dream of a return to Britain’s past as a pre-eminent world power, offers absolutely no way forward for working class people in Britain. Brexit on their terms would undoubtedly mean job losses, economic crisis and further steps towards Britain becoming little more than a global tax haven. Nor, however, do the pro-EU capitalist politicians, who represent the interests of the major corporations, have any common interests with the majority of people in Britain.

Jeremy Corbyn should be leading the campaign against paying a penny for a divorce bill that will subsidise the capitalist elites of Europe, declaring instead that the money should be spent on the NHS, raising public sector pay and abolishing tuition fees.

Instead, the pro-capitalist Blairite wing of the Labour Party is campaigning for Labour to adopt – hook, line and sinker – the position of the capitalist class on Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn and those on the left of the party need to clearly reject this.

It is ludicrous to claim, as the Blairite Labour MP Chuka Umunna has, that the EU single market is, “uniquely, a framework of rules that protects people from the worst excesses of globalisation and unfettered capitalism.” It certainly doesn’t protect those fleeing war in the Middle East and largely kept outside of the borders of ‘Fortress Europe’. They face the unimaginable horror of slave markets in Libya and risk drowning in the Mediterranean. But nor does it protect those already inside the EU’s borders from the ‘worst excesses’ of capitalism. On the contrary, the institutions of the EU have inflicted terrible hardship on the workers of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and elsewhere. In Greece wages have fallen by an average of a third. In every country, including Britain, EU directives are used as a means to implement privatisation and drive down wages.

Rip up neoliberal rules

If Jeremy Corbyn were to launch a campaign for a socialist Brexit it would transform the situation. A socialist Brexit would mean ripping up the EU bosses’ club neoliberal rules – not in order to create the more isolated and even more exploitative neoliberal vision of the Tory right, but to begin to build a society for the many not the few. It would mean taking socialist measures so that the enormous wealth in society could be harnessed to provide everyone with the prerequisites for a decent life: a high-quality, secure home, a good job, free education, a top class NHS, a living pension and more. Such a programme could unite working class people in Britain, regardless of how they voted in the referendum.

It would also act as a beacon for workers and young people across Europe to take the same road, opening the path to mass opposition to the EU bosses’ club – and towards a democratic socialist confederation of Europe. Jeremy Corbyn should urgently use his international anti-austerity authority to help establish a new collaboration of the peoples of Europe on a socialist basis. Only this approach can cut across the confusion created by the lies of all wings of the Tory party.

 

2016 – a year of growing discontent

2016 – a year of growing discontent

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Marching to defend youth clubs in Coventry

2016 has been a year of growing discontent and anger at the political and economic system across the world. This has been expressed in many different ways – in the UK with the Brexit vote and the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, in Italy with the referendum vote against Prime Minister Matteo Renzi  and in the US with the election of Donald Trump and the massive protests following his election.

These developments pose challenges, such as the fight for a socialist Brexit in the UK, and building resistance to Trump’s racist and divisive agenda in the US. But they also show the growing anger at the “establishment”, reflected in different ways. A clear anti-austerity message can win people over to a socialist programme.

Here in Coventry there have been campaigns against cuts to local services and the Socialist Party have helped to support these, for example the ongoing battles to save libraries in the city and youth clubs which are so vital for ordinary people in our city. We continued to build opposition to cuts in the health service gaining great support for campaigning to defend the NHS from privatisation and look forward to a big national demonstration on 4th March.

There has also been increasing interest in our socialist ideas in 2016. We held big meetings on the question of Jeremy Corbyn, Trotskyism and the real ideas of the Militant (our forerunner) as well as a public rally putting the socialist case for leaving the EU.

We have been involved in innumerable campaigns and supporting many issues from practical support for workers on strike to honouring the victims of the Orlando massacre and supporting LGBT rights at Coventry Pride.

2017 marks the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and we will be posting material to mark it. It looks set to be a year of struggle against the Tories, the Blairites, the far-right and the capitalist system as a whole. If you want to join that struggle, fill in the form below!

Four months since the EU referendum

Four months since the EU referendum

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For a Socialist Europe

It is now four months after the referendum result that saw a majority of voters choosing to the leave the European Union.

We publish this detailed article by Clive Heemskerk from the September issue of Socialism Today, the monthly magazine of the Socialist Party explaining our position on the EU, why we supported an exit vote and importantly the sort of programme and policies that the labour and trade union movement should adopt in the current situation.


Corbyn’s Brexit opportunity – by Clive Heemskerk

The EU referendum result was a massive rejection of the capitalist establishment but voting Leave was not a vote for a governmental alternative. Now Jeremy Corbyn has the opportunity to use his Labour leadership re-election campaign to rally both Leave and Remain voters behind a programme for a socialist and internationalist break with the EU bosses’ club, argues Clive Heemskerk.

The main forces of British and international capitalism did everything they could to secure a vote in June’s referendum to keep Britain in the EU. President Obama made a carefully choreographed state visit. The IMF co-ordinated the release of doom-laden reports with the chancellor George Osborne. And then there was the shameful joint campaigning of right-wing Labour Party and trade union leaders with David Cameron and other representatives of big business. A propaganda tsunami of fear was unleashed to try and intimidate the working class to vote in favour of the EU bosses’ club.

But to no avail. Pimco investment company analysts mournfully commented that the vote was “part of a wider, more global, backlash against the establishment, rising inequality and globalisation” (The Guardian, 28 June). The Bank of America said that “Brexit is thus far the biggest electoral riposte to our age of inequality”.

If it is carried through, Brexit will be a debilitating blow to the efforts of the separate national capitalist classes of the EU member states to create a cohesive economic and political bloc. Britain is responsible for 16% of EU gross domestic product (GDP), has a seat on the UN Security Council, and accounts for a quarter of non-US NATO military spending. The EU and its institutions can continue – as the League of Nations, established after the first world war, had become a shell long before it was formally dissolved in 1946. But the aim that the EU could engage as a unified power on equal terms with the other regional global powers, the US, China, Japan, Russia and the emerging economies, would have been severely undermined.

US imperialism in particular favours Britain’s continued membership of the EU. It has not been adverse to periodic disruptive diplomacy to weaken EU unity in particular disputes – in 2003 US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously counterposed ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe to gain backing for the invasion of Iraq. But, especially since the collapse of Stalinism in Russia and Eastern Europe in 1989-91, the EU has become an integral part of the system of international relations which mediate the different interests of the world’s capitalist powers.

Faced with the referendum blow against them the task now as far as the majority of the ruling class is concerned is to try and “walk back” the result, in the words of US secretary of state John Kerry. At worst they hope for a ‘Bino’, a ‘Brexit in name only’. But if it can be accomplished, after a suitable delay and the ground prepared, the goal would be to reverse the result, through a general election or a second referendum.

The need for the capitalist establishment to try and regroup its political representatives around this goal explains the rapid defenestration of Andrea Leadsom’s Tory leadership bid, with her supporters – the Brexiteer ‘true believers’ – complaining of ‘black-ops’ sabotage. But the Labour Party also needed to be straightened out.

Even as the coup against Jeremy Corbyn had barely begun Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s former chief of staff and an ex-British diplomat, was demanding the new leader “run in the general election on an explicit promise to negotiate with our partners to salvage our position in Europe rather than to leave it” (The Guardian, 30 June). Despite seeking a compromise with the right and mistakenly abandoning his past EU-exit position for the referendum, Jeremy Corbyn had to go.

In his immediate response on 24 June Corbyn unequivocally accepted the result and, in subsequent statements, correctly identified it as “a vote by the people of left-behind Britain against a political establishment that has failed them” (The Guardian, 8 July). What was needed, he argued, was to “negotiate a new relationship with the EU… that protects jobs, living standards and workers’ rights… an end of EU-enforced liberalisation and privatisation of public services – and for freedom for public enterprise and public investment, now restricted by EU treaties”.

Dealing with the EU, he rightly said, ‘cannot be left in Tory hands’. But the capitalist establishment had already concluded that negotiations ‘cannot be left in Jeremy Corbyn’s hands’. On cue Owen Smith, while claiming to be ‘as socialist as Jeremy’, has made as a key point of differentiation in the leadership campaign his “ambition to reverse the vote to leave” (The Guardian, 28 July) in a second referendum. The battle lines are clear.

A working class revolt

In his call for a new Labour leader “who represents the pro-Europe mainstream” Jonathon Powell blithely dismisses “warnings that a pro-EU stance would risk losing working-class voters to UKIP… we will lose them anyway unless we run on an anti-EU manifesto”. The Labour right-wing are not concerned about representing the working class but defending the interests of their big business backers.

This aspect of the challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership causes problems for those on the left who supported a Remain vote in the referendum. Where do they stand now? Rejecting the result would massively weaken working class support for a Corbyn-led Labour Party and, most importantly, throw away the chance that exists to give direction to the working class revolt which the leave victory represented. Unfortunately, one solution some lefts have adopted to this real risk of ‘losing working-class voters’ is to minimise the class content of the leave vote.

The argument that the referendum was not, at bottom, a working class vote against the establishment, draws on, amongst other analysis, the comprehensive Ashcroft exit poll survey showing that 63% of Labour voters backed Remain, while 58% of Tory voters, and 96% of UKIP voters, supported Leave. This shows that the majority of Leave voters were ‘reactionaries’, the argument goes.

But this is a superficial analysis, even in its psephology. Firstly referendum voters were categorised in the Ashcroft poll by how they had voted in the 2015 general election when Labour, for the third time since 2001, polled less than ten million votes. It provides no information, therefore, on how the 4.2 million voters Labour has lost since 1997 voted on 23 June. They are predominantly working class, as all surveys have shown.

Moreover, the 2015 general election Ashcroft exit survey showed that one in four UKIP voters had ‘usually voted Labour in previous elections’. Additionally, 54% of UKIP supporters opposed further austerity or agreed that ‘austerity was never really needed but was an excuse to cut public services’. Consciousness is more complex than what is expressed in a binary referendum.

There was a higher turnout for the referendum, at 72.2%, than there has been for any general election since 1992, with the number voting compared to 2015 rising by an average of 6.1%. But this national picture conceals a higher than average spike in turnout in many Labour-held areas where Leave was victorious – for example, Stoke plus 12.3%; Middlesbrough 12%; Walsall 11.2%; Swansea 10.6%; Hartlepool 8.7% – suggesting that working class voters were more motivated to come out and vote in the referendum. A University of East Anglia analysis had seven out of ten Labour-held parliamentary constituencies voting Leave.

The Ashcroft survey also showed that Remain voters were a majority only in the AB social group (professionals and managers), by 57% to 43%, while 64% of working class C2DE voters backed Leave. Two-thirds of council and housing association tenants voted Leave, a majority of the unemployed who voted, and two-thirds of those retired on a state pension. Leave voters agreed by 61% to 39% that life will be worse for most children growing up today than it was for their parents, while a (small) majority of Remainers thought it will be better. What is this but a profound alienation from the economic and political relations that dominate British society today?

And not just on the Leave side. The single most important reason for how they voted given by Remain supporters (43%) was that “the risks of voting to leave looked too great when it came to things like the economy, jobs and prices”. The tragedy of the referendum is that this product of Project Fear could have been cut across by the organised labour movement and a lead given to working class voters if Jeremy Corbyn, as he did in 1975, had called for a vote against the capitalist elite and their EU. The trade unions could also have played that role, particularly those on the left, but only the RMT transport workers’ union, working alongside the Socialist Party in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition  (TUSC), the train drivers’ union ASLEF, and the Bakers’ Union (BFAWU), came out for Leave.

But Leave still won and the ruling class are scrambling to deal with the resultant crisis. Jeremy Corbyn should stand firm in his respect for the referendum result and use his Labour leadership re-election campaign to rally both Leave and working class Remain voters behind a socialist and internationalist break with the EU.

What does ‘Brexit means Brexit’ mean?

The new Tory prime minister Theresa May supported a Remain vote in the referendum. Now she repeatedly states that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ but this is a flat tautology, a way to avoid giving a definite position.

Even the fervently pro-EU Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has said that he ‘accepts the verdict’ of the June referendum, albeit while arguing for a second ballot on the terms of exit that would include “the option of remaining within the EU” (The Guardian, 27 July). He also makes the point that there can be no definitive view of what Brexit means and that the relationship to be negotiated between Britain and the EU could be on any model “ranging from Norway to North Korea, and all the points in between”.

Although May’s smooth ascension to the leadership temporarily calmed establishment nerves, the Tories are bitterly divided over what the terms of Britain’s relationship with the EU should be. She will not be able to indefinitely avoid saying what her programme is.

Already May has clashed with her new trade secretary, Liam Fox, over whether Britain would remain part of the EU customs union, with its common external tariffs, as distinct from the European Economic Area (EEA), which gives access to the single market but allows separate trade deals, with the US for example.

Fox resigned from the Con-Dem government in 2011 after his promotion of US corporate lobbyists arguing for privatisation and deregulation was exposed. Fox supported a Leave vote not because the EU treaties mandate the compulsory tendering of public services above a certain threshold – they do – but because the segment of the capitalist class he represents wanted ‘first bite’ at the contracts ahead of European competitors. That’s what Brexit means to Tories like him.

Another section of the Tory Party oppose the EU on ‘patriotic’ ideological grounds, reflecting the persistence of the nation state as a historically-rooted political and cultural entity as well as an economic one. All capitalist politicians, defending a system based on the exploitation of the majority by a small minority, to some degree rest on nationalism – with racism as its most virulent expression – to maintain a social base for capitalist rule. It is always there in the background as a weapon to try and divide the working class – look at how Jeremy Corbyn was attacked for ‘mumbling the national anthem’. But it must not interfere with the essential interests of the system. The majority of the British capitalist class, for example, want to retain the EU’s free movement of labour which, as part of an EU-wide ‘race to the bottom’ in workers’ wages and conditions, has contributed to their record profits.

So during the referendum the former Tory premier John Major warned Tory Brexit campaigners about their anti-migrant rhetoric, but only to say that in expressing ‘pride in their country’ they should “take care” not to ‘cross the line’ (The Guardian, 13 May). Not every MP, however, is a direct and immediate representative of the wider interests of capitalism and the Tory ‘True Brexiteers’ will use the debates over the terms of a new relationship with the EU to try and reinforce their social base. The organised workers’ movement must take an independent class position on the EU free movement of labour rules that will be raised in the EU negotiations (see box).

With over 450 MPs who supported Remain still in place there is wide scope for a ‘delay to stay’ campaign. One battleground will be whether a parliamentary vote is necessary to trigger Article 50 formally notifying the EU of Britain’s intention to leave, which is already subject to legal action. Tory peer, Lady Wheatcroft, openly states that “insistence on an act of parliament before Article 50 is activated buys time” for conditions to develop to “stage the second referendum many would like to see” (The Guardian, 5 August). The Irish EU referendums which rejected the Nice Treaty in 2001 and the Lisbon Treaty in 2008 were reversed in second referendums, but only after a 16-month gap each time.

If Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour leadership election while standing firm against Owen Smith’s second referendum call he will be in a powerful position to exploit the Tory divisions, give a socialist content to Britain’s Leave vote, and appeal to workers across Europe for a common struggle against the EU bosses’ club.

What does Lexit mean?

The most important ‘Brexit negotiation policy’ Jeremy Corbyn could adopt would be to declare that a government he leads would take whatever decisive socialist measures are necessary in defence of the working class, from a £10 an hour minimum wage and the abolition of zero-hour contracts, to public ownership of the banks and the major companies that dominate the British economy.

This should be accompanied by an enabling declaration that all EU treaty provisions and regulations which go against policies that advance working class interests – like the rules on state aid or the posted workers’ directive – would no longer apply and that any attempts by the EU institutions to legally enforce them would be annulled.

Ultimately the EU is a series of treaties between 28 different capitalist nation states, comprising 80,000 pages of agreements and including 13,000 regulations. But these are enforced, or not, by national governments. The majority of EU regulations, on standardisation, consumer protection, environmental safeguards, workplace rights and so on, are unobjectionable. But some of the EU treaty stipulations and regulations, if they were adhered to, would constitute serious legal obstacles to the implementation of socialist policies by a Corbyn-led government. But why should they be adhered to? And if they were not implemented who could impose them?

The fabled ‘EU bureaucracy’ is much exaggerated. The main legislative and executive EU institutions, the European Commission, the Council of the EU, and the European Parliament, have less than 45,000 staff, compared to 392,000 British civil servants for example. Most pertinently, in assessing the ultimate power they could bring as an enforcing state, none of them have any tanks.

It is true that, during the Greek crisis last summer, there were ‘unattributed briefings’ from EU officials that if the initially defiant anti-austerity stance of the Syriza government of Alexis Tsipras led to a Grexit it would precipitate a ‘state of emergency’. In a country with living-memory experience of a military coup this was a warning of how claims to be defending ‘EU legitimacy’ could be used to justify an internally generated judicial or military intervention against a democratically elected government.

Tsipras, the finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, and the rest of the Syriza leadership, had not popularised a counter sentiment to that – never mind that they left the defence ministry in the hands of the right-wing ANEL (Independent Greeks) party – because, despite critical noises, they had never come out in opposition to EU membership. Varoufakis, unfortunately having learnt nothing from the Syriza government’s abject capitulation to the EU’s austerity dictates, actually toured Britain to argue for a Remain vote in June’s referendum.

In Britain the EU, even before the referendum, has never held the same place in consciousness as it did in Greek society, associated as it was there for a period – but no more – with the rapid modernisation of the country. But fundamentally what the Syriza government lacked was not ‘legal permission’ from the EU institutions to implement socialist policies like capital controls and nationalisation of the banks but a programme, and the will to carry it out, to take decisive measures against capitalism in Greece and appeal to the European working class for support.

A programme for a left exit, in other words, starting on the national terrain, refuses to accept the limits prescribed by the EU. It proposes bold socialist measures to take control of the domestic economy and builds concrete international workers’ solidarity and collaboration. But it relegates to a secondary if not tertiary consideration the observing of EU institutional ‘formalities’ when they impede bilateral international agreements. That is the opportunity which has opened up for a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party after the Brexit vote, if a clear socialist and internationalist position is adopted.

Building a European socialist alliance

The EU institutions would without doubt receive diplomatic support from most of the EU member state national governments in a stand-off with a Corbyn-led government. Some EU officials are approaching the coming negotiations with the intention of ‘punishing Britain’, as ‘an example to others’. But in reality there is no such thing as ‘an EU position’, but the different positions of 28 capitalist nation states and the working class in each of those states. And it is the working class, with no permanent interest in capitalism and its institutions, which has the greatest possibility of reaching a common position across the EU countries if a bold lead is given.

The British referendum result has given an enormous impetus to the developing discontent against the EU in every member state. In response, instead of accepting appeals from capitalist politicians to ‘give Britain a lesson’ to ‘save the EU’, workers in each EU country could be mobilised to demand that their government join the rebellion and defy the pro-market, anti-worker, austerity-driving EU directives and rulings. A Labour Party with a renewed mandate for Jeremy Corbyn, and thoroughly transformed into an anti-austerity socialist workers’ party, could play a pivotal role in building such a movement.

But this raises the need for new vehicles of mass political representation of the working classes of Europe. The Labour Party is part of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group in the European parliament, which is affiliated to the Progressive Alliance (and includes the US Democratic Party). This was set up in 2013 at the initiative of the German Social Democratic Party in a split from the Socialist International, which is chaired by the former PASOK prime minister of Greece, George Papandreou. Neither of these ‘internationals’ represents the working class. The process begun in the 1990s of the transformation of social democratic parties into capitalist formations was not confined to the Labour Party – before the new and still to be consolidated opening created by Jeremy Corbyn’s initial leadership victory – but was the product of an era, following the collapse of Stalinism.

The new left parties that emerged in the 1990s in response to that process have not taken a clear position against the EU but, particularly after the brutal lessons of Greece, a new questioning has developed (see: Left Parties Turning Against Bosses’ Europe, by Danny Byrne).

A bold stand by Jeremy Corbyn against the anti-working class treaties and policies of the EU could electrify the debate across Europe. Why not propose as negotiation ‘red lines’ for a new relationship with the EU the abandonment of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks with the US, the scrapping of the European Fiscal Compact, the write-off of the Eurozone debts, etc? Other demands could also be raised to rally working class support.

It is now eight years since the ‘great recession’ began after the financial crisis of 2007-08 and there has been no sustained and broad recovery for global capitalism. The trend towards zero or even negative interest rates is a sign of the desperation of the central bankers and the strategists of capitalism as they try to stave off an era of deflation and the danger of depression. Eurozone unemployment has remained at over 10% since 2009, 20% for young people.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s £500bn infrastructure investment reflation call for the British economy is actually a relatively modest Keynesian programme, which chimes with the calls from the IMF for fiscal policy, government spending, to ‘do some lifting’. Why not propose as a negotiation demand to tackle unemployment a European-wide programme of public investment, for example in an integrated green energy system, a European super-grid to develop and connect different sources of renewable energy from Danish wind to Greek solar?

The problem for the capitalists is that by representatives of the workers’ movement raising such ideas of state intervention, a programme of public works, etc, workers’ appetite will grow for more fundamental encroachments upon capitalism, like socialist public ownership and international planning. But in this way the Brexit negotiations could be used to push the process of developing independent working class political representation and socialist consciousness on a continental scale, a vital preparation for creating a new, socialist, Europe.

The leave vote was a shattering blow to the capitalist establishment, in Britain, Europe and globally, a blow administered by the working class even if it was delivered through the distorting prism of a referendum vote. It has created new opportunities for the working class to put its stamp on society, in Britain and across the EU, which the movement around Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election campaign must seize. But the first step is a clear programme for a socialist and internationalist break with the EU bosses’ club.

The single market and free movement

Big business in Britain wants to remain within the single European market even if the referendum result cannot be reversed. The single market was established in 1993 following negotiations inaugurated by the 1986 Single European Act, an EU treaty signed by the then Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher. If Britain does formally leave the EU it could still be in the single market by retaining membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), comprising the EU member states plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The left-wing journalist Paul Mason, an advisor to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership team, is unfortunately arguing for this ‘Norwegian model’. “The only question the leaders of British parties have to answer”, he has written, is “will you strive to keep Britain inside the EEA or not?” (The Guardian, 28 June). But why should the workers’ movement be committed to the EU single market?

The single market is based on the so-called ‘four freedoms’, the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour, and is policed by the European Commission, which takes infringements of market rules before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This is the framework underpinning the neo-liberal, pro-austerity and anti-worker character of the EU directives and rulings.

It is behind the public contract procurement regulations, the European Postal Services Act (used to justify the privatisation of Royal Mail), and the anti-union rulings by the ECJ in the notorious Viking and Laval cases, putting business ‘rights of establishment’ ahead of workers’ right to strike. The EU posted workers’ directive, which does not recognise collective agreements between unions and employers, was at the heart of the 2009 Lindsey oil refinery construction workers’ dispute.

The Socialist Party opposes the EU because its laws and institutions, while they ultimately could not stop a determined workers’ government supported by a mass movement from carrying out socialist policies, are another hurdle to overcome, including in many day-to-day struggles. We oppose the EU, including the single market, in order to defend working class interests in those struggles and to take forward the fight for socialism, in Britain and Europe.

In contrast, there are capitalist politicians who argue for withdrawal from the single market and its free movement provisions on nationalist and racist grounds, playing on the theme of ‘out of control’ immigration. They do so the better to try and divide and weaken the working class.

The Ashcroft exit poll asked voters to select what the single most important reason was for why they voted in the referendum as they did. Not unexpectedly, given that by backing Remain the Labour Party and trade union leaders had allowed the Tory Brexiters and UKIP a clear run to define what Leave meant, 33% of Leave voters chose immigration.

But interestingly nearly half (49%) selected instead “the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK” as the biggest single reason why they voted Leave. What is this, in the context of how the referendum debate was framed, but an expression of alienation and powerlessness in the face of remote and uncontrollable forces? The task is to find a way to turn the anger at this feeling in the workplaces and communities that working class people do indeed ‘have no control’ against the pressures bearing down on them, into a positive programme.

The socialist and trade union movement from its earliest days has never supported the ‘free movement of goods, services and capital’ – or labour – as a point of principle but instead has always striven for the greatest possible degree of workers’ control, the highest form of which, of course, would be a democratic socialist society with a planned economy. It is why, for example, the unions have historically fought for the closed shop, whereby only union members can be employed in a particular workplace, a very concrete form of ‘border control’ not supported by the capitalists.

The closed shop was banned in Britain by the Tories in the 1990 Employment Act. It is surely significant that the Labour Party, despite opposition from left-wing MPs, abandoned its support for the closed shop in 1989 citing, in the words of the then shadow Employment Secretary – one Tony Blair! – the need to “bring our law into line with Europe… in the run up to the single European market”.

Repealing the 1990 Act and the other anti-union laws, banning zero-hour contracts, lifting the restrictions on secondary action or sympathy strikes, trade union control of agencies, enforcing collective agreements negotiated in sectors to all workers in those industries – all this, which would completely blow away the single market rules, could unite workers and really restore an element of control in the workplace.

This would need to be combined with a programme to bring control back to local communities over public services and amenities. The ‘big nine’ house-building companies, for example, hold enough land to start building 600,000 new homes immediately and have a cash pile of over £1bn. They should be nationalised and their land banks handed over to local councils to build homes, regardless of what the EU treaties and single market rules say about state aid or competitive tendering.

Such an approach to the Brexit negotiations would no doubt unite Boris Johnson, UKIP, Theresa May and Owen Smith in opposition. But it would give a clear socialist content to the Leave vote and attract massive working class support, in Britain and in Europe.

 

Coventry Socialists campaign for a general election – say NO to a Tory coronation!

Coventry Socialists campaign for a general election – say NO to a Tory coronation!

Cov

Signing the petition in support of a general election

In the days following the result of the EU referendum, members and supporters of Coventry Socialist Party have hit the streets to campaign for a general election and an end to the Tories. With the referendum delivering a leave vote, within the space of a couple of hours David Cameron had gone, as the Socialist Party predicted. The Tories now want a coronation with the leadership of the country passed from one former Etonian to another. We think that this is totally undemocratic and believe that there should be a general election now, not in 2020.

Our stalls have been very popular with people signing petitions and taking away leaflets, including supporters of both remain and leave.

The Socialist Party are energetically throwing ourselves in to getting rid of the Tories and stepping up the fight against austerity, racism and the capitalist system. We urge you to get involved in this struggle. Interested? Fill in the form at the end of this article and we will be in touch.

For further analysis click here to read an article from our national website

We are holding an open meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation after the referendum and how we can get the Tories out.

Wednesday 29th June

7.30pm. Charterhouse Club, David Road

Facebook event

Agree? Then join us! Fill in the form below