By Steve Dobbs
‘Chuka Umunna breaks ranks with Labour on Brexit with demand to stay in EU single market‘. Blairite wreckers like the ex-shadow business secretary Umunna want to ride roughshod over the democratic mandate to leave the EU, undermine Corbyn and split the Labour Party over Brexit. They and their super-rich backers in Open Britain, the entrails of the defeated Remain campaign, only want single market membership in order to benefit the banks and multinational corporations that exploit workers throughout this country and the rest of Europe.
The EU single market allows capital to run rampant without restrictions whilst condemning workers in Southern Europe (e.g. Greece, Portugal, Spain) to lower living standards as corporate profits extracted from the local workforce are pumped out and repatriated to the bank accounts of the elites in the imperialist, financialised countries like Germany, Britain and to a lesser extent, France. Far from ‘leveling out’ the playing field, the EU does the exact opposite, creating an internal parasitical relationship between nations and increasing national divisions. At the same time, the EU acts as a protectionist bloc in relation to Africa and Asia and imposes unfavourable free-trade agreements that condemn their countries to continued poverty as barriers to market access are ripped apart for multinationals to bulldozer through.
Billionaire Richard Branson funds Open Britain because he knows that the EU competition law prevents parts of the Labour manifesto being enacted, namely the renationalisation of the railways and removing the internal market from the NHS – both of which companies like Virgin have large stakes in.
Open Britain have been offering their services to support parliamentary candidates around the country in order to stop the so-called ‘hard’ Brexit. Primarily this support has gone to Lib Dem and Labour candidates, but in Vauxhall they are campaigning against Labour MP Kate Hoey. These people, financed to the hilt by the likes of Tony Blair and other corporate hacks, are no friends of Labour, Corbyn or the working class and must be treated with the suspicion and contempt they deserve.
Labour’s agreed manifesto is clear that we are leaving the EU but will seek access to EU markets on favourable terms. This position is obviously a compromise – whether it is enough to satisfy both camps of voters is not clear. If Labour win on 8 June, the contradictions around this will very quickly begin to surface. That’s why it’s key that any socialist programme must include leaving the EU – and if that means leaving without a deal, so be it.
Open Britain’s ulterior motive is to split the Labour Party over Brexit following the General Election. The capitalist class and the establishment are hoping for a semi-formal pact between Blairites, Lib Dems and pro-EU Tories to act as a new de facto ‘centre ground’ liberal party that can both stop Brexit and undermine Corbyn’s Labour and the majority of the 600,000+ members who support him as leader.
The ruling class have been forced to adopt this unorthodox strategy because their otherwise reliable establishment party, the Conservatives, have embraced Brexit as a means of electoral salvation against the will of the majority of the capitalist class! The other party they thought had been tamed, the Labour Party, has a left-reformist at its helm, Corbyn, who they must stop at all costs! The only other possible option would have been to back the Liberal Democrats, but they are unreliable and have had huge blows to their credibilty dealt to them over their coalition partnership with the Tories in 2010 and Tim Farron’s general dodgy character and closet homophobia. Such is the political crisis of the bourgeoisie, which stems from the 2008 economic crisis and the capitalists failure to overcome problems of profitability despite the austerity policies pursued.
As socialists and Marxists we must stand with Corbyn against the Blairites and capitalists, support his programme in as far as it goes but also have no illusions that the establishment will allow Corbyn to carry it out without a fight, or even that it is viable within the framework of capitalist profitability.
This fight will not primarily take place in parliament, but on the streets and in the workplaces. Only the mass mobilisation of the working class and youth, ultimately organised into a revolutionary force, can defeat the capitalist class and their state, and take measures to run society in their own interests based on democratic socialist planning. We must organise at the grassroots level to build for this because parliamentary legislation alone will not stop the capitalists who will still control their unelected and unaccountable state apparatus, loyal to the establishment (e.g. Civil service, judges and courts, police, army, MI5, monarchy etc). We must build support among Labour supporters and workers for popular assemblies in every town and city that can organise for the interests of workers and young people.
Marxist World call for a Labour vote on 8 June in England and Wales without illusions and will continue to propagate the ideas, tactics and strategies we believe can aid the working class in the struggle for a just socialist society.