[Marxism] Brexit

sandy McBurney tomtom7122000 at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Nov 4 07:18:35 MDT 2016

Yesterdays court judgement poses some difficult questions for Corbyn and the labour movement. If the labour right had been removed from its dominant position in the PLP I would advocate Corbyn calling for a general election and fighting the election with socialist policies including not leaving the EU but linking up with socialists in the EU to fight for reform of the EU. But in the present situation it is likely the labour party would suffer a heavy defeat in an early GE because everyone can see that the party is badly divided and the labour right would continue to sabotage Corbyn's leadership and the election campaign and then use the defeat to remove him and purge the left. In this situation it is right for Corbyn to call for parliamentary scrutiny of the Tory Governments Brexit" plans" and a vote in parliament to decide if article 50 should be invoked. I think as it becomes clear that a Brexit under the Tories will be very bad for ordinary people there is a loss of support for brexit from the mass of people. At what point does the "democratic" mandate to leave given by the referendum become redundant? How democratic was it in the first place when EU citizens working here were not allowed to vote? And should there not be another referendum once the terms are negotiated to see if they acceptable to the british people? At present I think Corbyn is broadly correct in his approach of arguing at present for a pro working class brexit in order to respect the referendum vote to leave but as the tide turns it may be the case that the labour party should refuse to vote to implement article 50 since brexit is a british nationalist dead end with the Tories in power and that will become clear to more people as time passes. The trouble is that the Tories could use any defeat in parliament on article 50 to call an election and trounce labour and then have a big majority to go for Brexit on a very reactionary basis. A fast moving situation to be sure. But if there is a vote on article 50 in parliament I think Labour should vote against invoking it. If there is a general election it will be difficult for labour but at least we will be taking a stand against the reactionary right wing Brexit the Tories will provide. I think a Tory led brexit is setting off a british nationalist dynamic. The aggressive stance being promoted on the alleged war danger with Russia is one example. The attacks on "foreigners" is another. A small example is the "red poppy fascism" where everyone must wear a poppy or face the wrath of the populist right. At base the social crisis is being blamed on immigrants . Why do we have genuflect before the referendum result? It is not democratic if people cant change their minds and vote again once they see the results. And the result was close and a section of the population of Britain was excluded from the vote- non british EU citizens who were living and working here. The left should have highlighted the inadequate nature of the referendum at the time. A tide of reactionary right wing populism is sweeping Europe and the UK. We have to stand against it even if it loses us some support in the short term. The Brexit process is going to hit jobs and living standards. Another world slump looks around the corner which will only make matters worse. As social conditions deteriorate the Tories can only respond by upping the nationalist and war like propaganda. Corbyn needs to promote a clear international alternative to the nationalist dead end of Brexit.
 I dont think Owen Smith's idea of a second referendum on the terms of exit is viable. It would give Brussels an incentive to make the terms so harsh as to make a remain vote likely. In that situation reactionary British nationalism would flourish during the negotiation period. With today resignation of Tory MP Stephen Phillips a general election seems likely soon. In that situation it is likely the right will regain control of the labour party leadership after labour's defeat. The Corbyn movement will be over. The old labour left can return to its role of a tame and ineffectual opposition to the labour right. But what way forward for the rank and file of the Corbyn movement?

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