The Tories are divided over their approach to Brexit, but from both sides of the argument it’s a bogus Brexit for working people.
Theresa May, like the majority section of Britain’s ruling class, wants a ‘soft’ Brexit where Britain is closely ‘aligned’ to the European Single Market, which means respecting most of the Market’s ‘4 freedoms’, in particular free movement of capital and outlawing nationalisation, or state aid for industry, except in very restricted circumstances.
While May’s plans may lead to restrictions on movement of (especially ‘low-skilled’) workers into Britain, there would continue to be free reign for the movement of capital, plus some ongoing jurisdiction for the European Court of Justice. The ECJ has prevented trades unions from taking industrial action to protect locally bargained wages and terms and conditions when EU employers have brought in overseas contract workers.
The Tory Brexiteers, whose chief spokesperson is Boris Johnson, want no transition agreement or no permanent alignment with EU rules and institutions as the final outcome. This is commonly referred to as a ‘hard’ Brexit. But it’s bogus too because they also want extensive deregulation, particularly on employment rights, consumer protection and environmental standards – and that isn’t what the majority of people who voted ‘Leave’ wanted.
But the solution isn’t a second referendum on EU membership. If Labour were to fall into that trap, it would set back all the progress that has been made in winning back support from formerly disillusioned Labour voters who opted for ‘Leave’. It would be a signal that Labour, like much of the rest of the ‘political class’, is cynical about democratic decisions. It would be a boost for racist and xenophobic forces.
The only solution is for the labour movement to formulate and unite around its own agenda for a left-wing Brexit, a ‘worker’s and people’s Brexit’ option. It must be based on the understanding that the EU and its Single Market have been constructed to serve the interests of the capitalist monopolies, not those of workers and their families.
Access to the European market is vital, but it does not require membership of the European Economic Area (the EU plus Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland), or a customs union, or a free trade agreement which perpetuates Single Market rules and ECJ jurisdiction.
Come and hear:
- Rob Griffiths – Communist Party general secretary
- Mollie Brown – National Assembly of Women
- Craig Johnston – RMT regional relief officer, North West (personal capacity)
argue the case for a Left Brexit and how to achieve it.
7 pm Thursday 11 October
Room 20, 2nd floor, Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QE