Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Socialist Statements on Cameron Resignation and EU Referendum Results.

with 15 comments

After Cameron Us, Say pro-Brexit ‘left’. 

I am a European democratic socialist, an internationalist, a Labour Party member, a trade union activist.

The Tendance has nothing but love and solidarity with our European comrades and their – our – fight for a better EU and a socialist Europe.

David Cameron’s resignation (Prime Minister David Cameron is to step down by October after the UK voted to leave the European Union.) will only bring more reaction in its wake.

It will do nothing to help our battle for a better world and advance the interests of the workers and the oppressed.

Those who backed the Brexit campaign are the least able to offer an alternative.

Like many on the left the result of the referendum does not means abandoning our democratic Marxism for populist talk of a rejection of  “metropolitan elites” and poisonous anti-migrant language.

To underline this point it is profoundly worrying that a reactionary campaign, marked by racism and xenophobia had been joined by some of the left – the so-called Lexiters – who mobilised  people against “cheap foreign labour”.

This divisive campaign  will paralyse their response to the Tory crisis.

It leaves a bitter legacy.

Democratic socialists will not forget the role they played in the promotion of the agenda of the most reactionary elements in British capitalism.

I can only echo the views of these statements:

Another Europe is Possible.

‘It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness’
Statement in response to the Leave vote.

Another Europe is Possible worked tirelessly over the past few months to forge a movement that could progress an alternative vision for Europe. Britain’s decision to leave the European Union opens a world of uncertainty that campaigners in the UK must now try to steer in a positive direction, in spite of the divisions that have been stirred. We don’t pretend that this will be easy. The mainstream campaign to leave the EU has pandered to nationalism, has encouraged a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and has fostered a notion that outside the EU we can return to an age when Britain was the world’s foremost ‘great power’.

We understand and share the distrust many people feel towards the institutions of the EU. The EU lacks proper democratic accountability, negotiates exploitative trade policies like TTIP, visits economic destruction on its own member states, and at times has treated refugees as if they were criminals.

Our argument for remaining in the EU was that, together with the hundreds of millions of fellow Europeans, we have the power to transform Europe and, in so doing, to control corporations, halt climate change and overcome the nationalisms that have haunted our continent for centuries. The campaign to leave the EU has demonised some of the poorest people in Europe. We share the sense of fear that many of those people must now feel.

That’s why many of us who have worked to build “Another Europe is Possible” will not stop working towards forging a better Europe, and a better country, with allies and friends across the continent. We commit ourselves to fighting the rising tide of nationalism and racism across Europe and building a campaign to defend the rights and dignity of immigrants in Britain. We will work for the most just transition out of the EU possible, campaigning against the erosion of human and workers’ rights and the type of extreme free trade deals which the leaders of the Leave campaign have threatened.

We will not give up in our attempts to build a very different sort of world based on equality, democracy and humanity. In this new Britain, we believe our movement is even more important. In coming weeks we will revisit our work and propose new priorities with those who have worked so tirelessly in the past few months, pounding the pavement across the UK to make our voices heard. We hope some of those who campaigned for a left-wing exit will also join us in this work.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. In the months ahead we will try to ensure that we lay the foundations for a better country. We must prove to the world that Britain will not become a byword for intolerance, insularity and despair. Another Europe is possible. Another Britain is necessary.

See signatories here.

Momentum. 

Yesterday, the British people voted to leave the European Union. Momentum, which campaigned to remain in the EU to transform the EU, respects the decision taken by the electorate.

We recognise that people voted ‘Leave’ for many reasons. Much of this vote reflected anger in communities which have experienced many years of industrial decline with the subsequent loss of secure employment. Many such working class communities have been utterly neglected for years by those in power. Millions appear to have chosen ‘Leave’ to vote against the unfettered globalisation that has seen living standards stagnate or fall, as the cost of living rises. We share this scepticism of big business dominance, austerity and distant elites, be they British, European or Global, and share that demand for a country where working people have control.

Many ‘Leave’ voters usually vote for Labour or are working people Labour should represent. Now the Party and the whole labour movement needs to show the country that it alone can offer working people genuine control over their lives, workplaces and communities.

Labour must clearly demonstrate how it will improve lives through policies that will increase wages, tackle the housing crisis, and give people a greater say at work and in their communities.

If we do not, we will not only be failing to advance the policies that will benefit working people but also could enable the populist right, who blame immigrants, not the powerful for the problems in our country. Part of the Leave campaign empowered these racist, reactionary forces, who peddle hatred and offer false hope. We must redouble our efforts to stop migrant scapegoating, focus our attention on the needs and desires of the overwhelming majority, and offer a real programme of hope for our people.

Although we will leave the EU, our movement remains an internationalist one. We must continue to work with our friends, partners and allies across Europe in the shared struggle against austerity, to tackle climate change and to build a sustainable economy with full employment for all the peoples of Europe.

In solidarity,

Team Momentum
http://www.peoplesmomentum.com/

15 Responses

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  1. There’s a lot of small minded people out there, never seeing the big picture. not only do they not think of their future but don’t care about anybody Else’s.

    enigma

    June 24, 2016 at 1:01 pm

  2. Those are good statements. Inside or outside the EU, the things the left needs to be concerned about remain the same, and the people we need to work with remain the same.

    Francis

    June 24, 2016 at 1:29 pm

  3. That awful, soul-sucking buzzard Corbyn has to go. Never mind the complete apathy he displayed during his ‘campaigning’, the suspicion that he’s a crypto-Brexiter; it’s the prospect of a resurgent, unshackled, emboldened Tory right controlling the direction of this country with essentially NO OPPOSITION whatsoever that worries me most.
    Cameron’s clucking, naive concession to UKIP demands for a referendum has resulted in this. This really didn’t need to happen at all, there was no genuinely widespread demand for a vote on the EU, and it was only when Leave rhetorically converted this flawed but necessary institution into a synonym for every single thing wrong with the UK that people felt particularly passionately about it. From a cheap attempt to nibble away at the UKIP vote we get this, and yet I still don’t find myself as angry with Cameron as I am with Corbyn. I don’t agree with the former on quite a few things but I can at least respect him as a man. He’s behaved relatively decently throughout his time as PM. Now he’s been swallowed up by the real nasty party – the crocodiles who always resented his pulling the Conservative brand towards the centre. They have won the argument and their authority seems to have exponentially increased. They know what they want and now they’ve got it.
    More and more I get the suffocating feeling that centrist liberals are entering an era in which they will be an endangered species. Democratic societies are peeling apart: left further left, right further right, and an ever smaller centre ground as time goes on. If there is any hope of arresting this polarisation, at least in this country, Corbyn has to go. Right now Britain is essentially a one-party state. We are crying out – at least 48% of the fucking population is crying out – for some kind of effective, viable, vaguely plausible alternative to UKIP and the Tory right. At the same time Labour is being led by a charisma-less, desiccated amoeba whose principles(such as they are) are completely unsuited to public office.

    Thanks Andrew for consistently fighting the good fight. I’ve been very impressed by your measured, reasonable interpretation of events. Blogs like this are particularly valuable now.
    It’s all rather depressing at the moment. The one ‘lighted candle’ is that almost half the UK populace weren’t persuaded by the manichean narrative of the Leave side. That is a significant number of people, and – as the SNP did after the Scottish referendum – the Brexiters will make a big mistake if they assume that Britain is now behind them. It’s therefore all the more important that the 48% have an effective, realistic political party which represents them. Considering the fact that our government will soon be controlled by unapologetic free-marketeers, unshackled by any kind of stuffy old EU red-tape or namby-pamby workers’ rights legislation, the Labour party is in a unique position to capitalise…if they shake off the fug of the last few years and make some serious, necessary decisions. Starting with one very obvious one.

    Saul Sorrell-Till

    June 24, 2016 at 1:50 pm

  4. Dean

    June 24, 2016 at 2:01 pm

  5. @pplswar

    June 24, 2016 at 2:47 pm

  6. […] arrangements that don’t work for them. The Brexit referendum put internationalists and left-wing forces in the difficult position of defending an indefensible status quo alongside our opponents, British […]

  7. Dear friends,

    After last night’s shock result, for which we must hold responsible the European establishment’s deep contempt for democracy and reason, DiEM25 is more important than ever. It is our democratic movement that will have to forge the bonds of pan-European solidarity necessary to pick up the pieces from the EU’s disintegration.

    Brussels-Berlin-Frankfurt (the triangle of real power) will no doubt double down on authoritarianism-with-austerity and just offer a few inconsequential sticks and carrots along the way. We need to confront them before they destroy everything

    Meanwhile, the London Tories are in disarray, as is Labour. DiEM25 must be present throughout the UK and Europe, pushing in the direction of anti-austerity, anti-racism and toward a pan-European anti-Brussels block.

    I ask all of you, comrades, that you become involved, that you share our message widely: through Twitter, Facebook, other networks and email as well as offline. It is pivotal that you help transmit our sense of urgency and get as many people as possible to support DiEM25’s agenda for a democratic, social and open Europe.

    Let us not allow what happened last night demoralise us. On the contrary, let’s strengthen our stance, let’s go out to defend it and promote it now more than ever.

    Our time has come and it is essential to involve ourselves with all our strength.

    Regards

    Yanis Varoufakis

    Andrew Coates

    June 24, 2016 at 5:31 pm

  8. Dear friends,

    isn’t it about time to beg Galloway back into the Labour party?

    Dean

    June 24, 2016 at 5:43 pm

  9. According to ‘Lexit’ (ie the SWP, ‘Counterfire’ and the CP/’Morning Star’) a Brexit would trigger a general election, that would be won be Corbyn’s Labour party: when is that going to happen?

    Jim Denham

    June 25, 2016 at 4:11 pm

  10. Reblogged this on Redvince's Weblog.

    vincenzo

    June 25, 2016 at 5:35 pm

  11. To Brexit or Regrexit? A dis-United Kingdom ponders turmoil of EU divorce.

    The House of Lords has discussed how any Brexit would work. In May, it published a report after consultations with legal experts.

    In the report, Derrick Wyatt, one of the professors involved, said that while it would be politically difficult, the law allows the UK to change its mind after invoking Article 50.

    “In law, the UK could change its mind before withdrawal from the EU and decide to stay in after all,” said Wyatt.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-brexit-insight-idUKKCN0ZC103

    enigma

    June 26, 2016 at 9:14 pm

  12. By Martin Thomas

    On 24 June, as the Brexit referendum result hit the school where I work, both students and teachers were aghast. The idea that this was a “working-class revolt” inflicting “a massive reverse” on the rich and powerful had no takers in a school whose catchment area is among the 5% poorest in the country.

    Some students told me “I have dual nationality, Slovak and British [or whatever it might be], so I’ll be all right. But…” And they’d sigh. Yet some on the left are jubilant.

    The Socialist Party claims “the fundamental character of the exit vote… was a working class revolt” causing “the anger and despair of Britain’s elite” and probably “the collapse of the Tory party”.

    The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is less fantastical, acknowledging that “the Left Leave campaign we were part of had only a marginal effect”. But somehow, it claimed, “the rich and the powerful… have suffered a massive reverse” – through the bit of the “Leave” campaign which had a not-at-all-marginal effect, the right-wing bit. (One survey before the referendum found that active “Leave” campaigners were broadly 60% Tory, 40% Ukip. Odd leaders for a “working-class revolt” against the “rich and powerful”).

    The SP, the SWP, and the anaemic Lexit/ Left Leave campaign have all responded by demanding an immediate general election and predicting a left Labour Corbyn victory in that election.

    In fact, this moment of high dismay for the left has quickly been seized on by the Labour right to launch the motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn they hadn’t dared to push until now. They could see things moving their way when, even before referendum day, left-wingers like Paul Mason, cowed by the Brexit surge, had started arguing for Labour to propose blocks on immigration from Europe.

    Jeremy Corbyn’s and John McDonnell’s statements since the result have been sadly weak, and most of the left has been pushed back into a defensive stance against the attempted Labour-right coup.

    The very rapid online support for Corbyn suggests we can beat the coup. But the direction of movement, for now, is not from Corbyn surge to a super-surge pushing the Tories out, but in the other direction.

    “Cameron out” is no left-wing slogan when it is actually happening, and he is due to be replaced by a more right-wing Tory! The Tories will now proceed with more right-wing business. Possibly some pro-EU Tories will choose to fade out of politics, but they won’t launch a party split now, which would be on a hiding to nothing.

    There will be Tory tensions over the terms of Brexit, but those are for the years to come, not the next few weeks. And they will be over adjustments and calibrations, easier to manage than the sharp in/out conflict over the EU which has divided the Tory party for 20 years.

    There is little prospect of a general election. Why ever would the new right-wing Tory leadership respond to the democratic mandate they now claim, not by pressing ahead, but by nervously provoking a vote of no confidence?

    Maybe Gove and Johnson will overreach themselves, and the left can rally and quickly turn things round. But not if the left tells itself that things are already going the right way!

    The core argument of the Brexit left is that any disruption that causes dismay among the majority of the ruling class must automatically be good for the working class.

    It was most exuberantly expressed in an article by former SWP leader John Rees on his Counterfire website on 15 June. The SWP, Lexit, and SP commentaries are only toned-down versions of Rees’s argument.

    The tactical rule, so Rees argued, must be: “if we want to start dismantling the actually existing centres of power and so weaken the real and currently operative engines of exploitation and oppression that means opposing the main enemy: the ruling class currently embedded in the EU”.

    Gove, Johnson, and Farage are ugly? “Sometimes your ugliest enemy isn’t your most powerful enemy”. The rule must be to set ourselves against the “most powerful enemy”. “Only someone entirely wedded to the linear school of historical analysis could fail to see an opportunity for the left in this situation. Minds uncomfortable with contradiction always have difficulty with social crises, of course”.

    But if a more-reactionary minority of the ruling class can construct populist support to prevail over the majority, it does not thereby cease to be more reactionary. Revolutionary political crises inevitably come with some chaos and disorder, but the converse does not follow: that chaos and disorder bring revolution. Read Naomi Klein’s book on The Shock Doctrine, which chronicles many cases in recent decades where episodes of social chaos have been used by the right to push through devastating policies which they could not have implemented in calmer times. Rees’s argument, and the SWP’s and the SP’s, that “crisis” of any sort must be good, reflects their demoralisation. Having lost, or half-lost, their belief in the possibility of a real social-revolutionary crisis, they cast around for “crises” of any sort as substitutes.

    The referendum result has brought disarray in the ruling class, but, as Bank of England governor Mark Carney says, they “are well prepared for this”. The 1992 Swiss referendum vote not to join the European Economic Area, the 1994 Norwegian referendum vote not to join the EU, and the 2005 French vote to reject the draft EU constitution (by a bigger majority than the narrow Swiss and Norwegian votes) all caused disarray: but no ruling-class collapse, no left-wing surge. The disarray in the working class caused by a political event in which Gove, Johnson, and Farage have managed to draw a sizeable chunk of the class behind them is not so easily managed.

    Donald Trump has drawn in plebeian support to beat the Republican establishment. He might even win the presidential election. That will be a setback, not a great opportunity, for the working class and the left.

    The clerical hierarchy in Iran channelled mass plebeian support in 1979 to defeat the pro-US majority of the Iranian ruling class. The result was terror against the working class, not socialist advance. There are dozens of other examples in history of the folly of Rees’s scheme.

    Even the examples he himself cites about advances for the right being opportunities to “to start dismantling the actually existing centres of power” show nothing of the sort.

    “No-one assumes that the English Defence League is as powerful an enemy as the Tory government, though both must be opposed. The same applies here: the mainstream ruling class block is the main enemy”. But no-one on the left argues that we should ally with the EDL to cause chaos for the Tories, or that, if only we could think as non-linearly as John Rees, an EDL triumph would really be a working-class victory!

    “We need to seize the opportunity a crisis gives us (as we did when we formed the Stop the War Coalition the week after 9/11, when it would have been so easy to just say ‘the right will benefit’)”. But the right did benefit! The Islamist right gained prestige by showing its power, and the US right gained by getting its mandate to make war in Afghanistan and Iraq. That the left was able to organise some big (though unsuccessful) demonstrations against that right-wing surge doesn’t change the overall picture.

    And the analogue to forming the Stop the War Coalition then – leaving aside the considerable arguments about how that campaign was run – would be to form a “Stop the Anti-Migrant-Drive Coalition” now, not to celebrate Brexit.

    The Socialist Party and SWP statements discuss a matter which does not bother Rees in his dialectical constructions: the character of the working-class element in the vote for Brexit.

    They insist at length that it was not all racist, and not all pro-Ukip. That is surely true. Little of the feeling against East European migrant workers is based on racial stereotypes. Many people of relatively recent immigrant background have been persuaded that the gates should be closed against new migrants: they are often very aware of the awkwardness of the argument, but have been convinced that migration is now just “too much”. To think of the numbers of jobs, or houses, or hospital beds, as fixed quantities, and respond by saying that the limited numbers must be kept for those already in Britain, is narrow-minded and false, but not racist.

    Some people with no hostility to migrants were drawn in by the demagogic argument that Brexit would allow “us” to make “our own laws” or to “take control”. (The Brexiters were tactfully silent about which laws originating from the EU they objected to. In fact they are such laws as those implementing EU protections on working hours and agency workers, and even those were not “imposed”, but voted through by the Blair-Brown Labour government – rather reluctantly, but voted through – after Tory obstruction).

    And some people were swayed by the same sort of argument as the left Brexiters: that, whatever about migrants, whatever about laws, any protest against the status quo, the “elite”, must be good. Very few of those will have been swayed by the left; but in any case, this argument, the most “left-wing” of the Brexit arguments, not really left-wing at all. Going for an incoherent kick against “the elite” is a substitute for and a diversion from real class-struggle mobilisation, not an example of it. The feeling may not be racist or pro-Ukip, but it is such that can be, and has been, channelled by racist, by Ukip, and by Tories.

    (Rees claims that Ukip support fell during the referendum campaign. The poll figures bounced up and down a lot, but Ukip’s percentage rose from an average of 14% in polls between mid-March and mid-April to an average of 16% between late April and early June. The Tories’ lead over Labour rose from tiny between mid-March and late April – an average of 1.7% – to an average of 4% between late April and early June. No “collapse of the Conservative Party” there!)

    The whole train of thought here, despite or maybe because of the manifest anxious desire of the SP and SWP to show themselves in tune with what they reckon to be working-class feeling, is patronising and manipulative, an example of what Marxists call “middle-class workerism”.

    That many older workers in depressed areas of low migration voted “Leave” does not mean that the whole working class, or even a majority, voted “Leave”. That many people in the worst-off sections of the working class voted “Leave” does not make “Leave” a more authentically working-class response than the “Remain” stance of younger, more educated (and often more educated precisely because younger), big-city, working-class people.

    Socialists will best serve our class brothers and sisters who voted “Leave” by arguing with them – not caricaturing them, not dismissing them, but treating them as intelligent women and men who have gone off course, as people do, but can and should be convinced by reason. When they are convinced, class-conscious and socialistic elements in their thinking, now suppressed and overwhelmed by the Brexit demagogy, will come to the fore.

    The SP and the SWP, by contrast, seem to have given up on convincing workers. They look, awe-struck, at the Brexit surge with its “anti-elite” overtones, and scrabble to suggest ways in which that surge, as it is, can be managed, manipulated, redirected, so as to channel into their desired outcome of a general election and a Corbyn victory. Their approach is similar to a common caricature of the Trotskyist transitional-demands approach (one promoted both by opponents of the approach and some who consider themselves supporters of it): that transitional demands are those which appear “realistic”, not-specially-socialist, not-specially-radical, but lend themselves to mobilisations which can, in a way unknown to the workers involved, slide into socialist revolution. In the SP’s and the SWP’s constructions, Brexit has become a sort of fake “transitional demand” by which the dialectically-attuned can manoeuvre the working class into desired channels.

    As Frederick Engels explained: “Where it is a question of a complete transformation of the social organization, the masses themselves must also be in it, must themselves already have grasped what is at stake, what they are going in for with body and soul. [And] in order that the masses may understand what is to be done, long, persistent work is required…”

    What is to be done now is to conserve and extend workers’ unity, between workers in Britain of all origins and between British and European workers; to defend migrant rights and the worker rights which have entered British law under pressure from the EU; to fight to redirect the social anger expressed in Brexit votes towards social solidarity, taxing the rich, and social ownership of the banks and industry; and to stand up for socialism. None of that can be done if the left falls for the fantasy that the Brexit vote is already taking things our way.

    Jim Denham

    June 26, 2016 at 10:34 pm

  13. Dean

    June 27, 2016 at 12:01 am

  14. Galloway’s referendum special.

    Dean

    June 27, 2016 at 12:03 am

  15. Andrew thanks for the info regarding DiEM25, interesting manifesto & very much needed..

    I have got many flyers which I will hand out to many people.

    enigma

    June 29, 2016 at 10:31 pm


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