Saturday, June 25, 2016

Editorial From The New Worker on the British EU Referendum
Weekly Paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 24th June 2016

In the aftermath of the referendum

THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) referendum campaigns are now over.

The whole issue has shown up a vast rift amongst the ruling class — one that most of them would have liked to keep under wraps. David Cameron certainly did not want this referendum, which has split his party apart. But promising it was the only way he could keep enough of his flock from voting UKIP to get a majority in the House of Commons — and a very narrow majority it is.

Reneging on his promise would have blown Cameron’s majority away and his government would already have fallen. As it is, he has had to duck and dive and back-track on a score of issues just to hold on this long.

Ironically one of his best allies in pushing voters towards the Remain camp has been Nigel Farage, who, like so many of the ruling class, made the mistake of believing their own propaganda that the working class in Britain is deeply and inherently racist.

The Islamophobic English Defence League (EDL) also learned this the hard way. Ten years ago they were convinced that the majority of working class England supported their campaign of hate and fear against immigrants. But they were continually disappointed, and felt betrayed when up and down the country local people turned out to repel their vile invasions and the violence and hatred they brought with them. The truth is that most working class people in a town, wherever they may have been born and whatever faith they follow, face the same problems. They just want to get on with their lives, make a good future for their children and live peacefully with their neighbours. On the whole migrants and locals get on well together.

Farage’s campaign was so racist and vile it drove many good people into the arms of the Remain camp.

The leaders of both camps used mindless fearmongering — fear of uncontrolled immigration on one hand and fear of the unknown economic future on the other — to prevent their followers from examining the more fundamental issues — the issues of the class struggle.

Before the referendum campaigns began most people found EU issues boring — over and over again the media had subtly told them these issues were boring — like the dodgy salesman telling the gullible buyer: “You don’t want to bother yourself with the small print of the agreement.” So, few delved into the depths of the growing, undemocratic, increasingly aggressive and militaristic behemoth that the EU has been evolving into.

The violent and brutal break-up of the former Yugoslavia, more recent strikes and riots in Greece, catastrophic unemployment in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and a civil war in Ukraine have been presented on the news with no explanation of the role of the EU — along with the United States imperialist agents — in causing all this grief.

After the fall of the Soviet Union the peoples of Eastern Europe have been incited to retreat into narrow nationalisms and ethnic hatreds of their former neighbours, and new fascist movements have been fostered. There is plenty of scope for this. Over the previous millennium wars have been fought all over Europe, borders have moved back and forth, empires have sprung up and fallen. Everywhere there are minority enclaves feeling surrounded and under pressure and defensive. This has been used to suppress class consciousness and solidarity between workers. The EU has fought against the most powerful force there is for workers’ rights — the solidarity that crosses ethnic, racial and religious boundaries.

The EU and the ruling class that created it have consistently used the tactic of divide and rule against workers. Now they are divided it is time for us to take advantage and our first strike must be to get rid of Prime Minister David Cameron and push for a new general election.

The previous week on June 17, the NCP published this editorial supporting an Exit vote

Say No to EU on Thursday

NOW IS the time to make a massive break with the Treaty of Rome. Next week’s referendum could decide whether Britain remains or leaves the European Union (EU). Even though the opinion polls put the “Brexit” camp in the lead, a massive vote to leave on the day is needed to negate any parliamentary attempt to negate the decision.

During the campaign the deep divisions within the ruling class have come out into the open, splitting the Tories, whilst both sides appealed to the working class for support on the day. But the level of debate during the run-up to the vote has barely risen from the gutter, with the “Remain” camp resorting to “Project Fear” scare stories of mass unemployment, high taxes and even world war if Britain leaves; whilst the “Brexiteers” bang on about immigration and the supposed threat to national security posed by continued EU membership. This is not surprising because the leaderships of both camps directly serve the interests of the rival wings of the ruling class.

The principled working class opposition to the EU has barely been heard above the hubbub of the bourgeois media that seeks to limit the discussion to the confines set by the bourgeoisie themselves.

Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of the Labour leadership talk about a future “Social Europe” and that “Another Europe is possible” — the line of most of the Left social-democrats, Trotskyists and revisionists inside the EU. Another Europe is indeed possible — but not within the EU.

The Treaty of Rome that created the original Common Market in 1957 was always about making businesses as profitable as possible. It was drawn up by Franco-German imperialism to protect capitalism and provide the machinery to exploit the working class to the hilt. Subsequent treaties and enlargements have taken the EU from the Atlantic to the borders of Russia.

The EU is neither democratic nor genuinely federal. Decision making is dominated by unelected bodies such as the European Commission and European Central Bank. The much-vaunted “social contract” that some of our union leaders drool over was a meaningless sop designed to provide an alibi for the class-collaborating European social-democrats who have gone along with every stage of EU enlargement.

They accepted the abolition of internal borders to allow the free movement of labour and capital. They did little or nothing to stop the undermining of collective bargaining at a national level, and they have refused to support the mass resistance to austerity and the EU-wide bourgeois offensive against union rights designed to put the entire burden of the current economic crisis on the backs of the working class.

The New Communist Party (NCP) has opposed EU membership from the start. We believe in a principled fight that will build international class solidarity and not undermine it. We have always refused to work alongside the likes of UKIP, whose opposition to the EU is based on xenophobia and barely-masked racism. We also have welcomed the establishment of “Lexit” — the Left Leave campaign for a UK Left exit from the EU — whilst maintaining our own independent communist campaign.

A huge anti-EU vote could bring down the Cameron government and give a major boost to the anti-austerity struggle in the rest of Europe. Let’s make it be so on Thursday!

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