The fundamental mistake in the entire approach of the L5I leadership is their complete misunderstanding of the central issue in the referenda on EU membership. This organization justifies its political turn to the right by saying that EU membership is beneficial for the development of productive forces and the internationalist consciousness of the working class. In the next chapter, we will demonstrate that these arguments have little to do with reality, and actually contradict Marxist method.
But even if the L5I’s arguments were true, this still in no way would justify the political somersault performed by its leadership vis. à vis. pro-EU social imperialism; because, in the final analysis, the referenda have nothing to do with the development of the productive forces. Nor are they about the international class struggle.
The fundamental issue is rather about whether an imperialist nation state (such as Britain) should continue to be part of the EU – an imperialist confederation – or whether it should revert to being an "independent" imperialist nation state. Consequently, the question is only about of the form of the imperialist state organization – either being a (relatively) smaller imperialist nation state or participating in a larger imperialist confederation. It is this question alone which revolutionaries must take a position on and adopt an approach to. The allegations of the L5I leadership regarding the impact of EU membership on the forces of production and the consciousness of the working class in reality only serves to distract us from the true heart of the matter: which imperialist state organization should a given country adopt?
Therefore, the leaders of the respective campaigns for or against membership in the EU are dominated by factions of the imperialist bourgeoisie. In general, the predominant fraction of the big capital is clearly for joining or remaining in the EU, and is therefore often supported by the elite of the social democratic bureaucracy. This is reflected in the fact that, usually, the openly bourgeois main parties lead such campaigns.
The campaigns against joining or in favor of leaving the EU are usually dominated by political representatives of the weaker, small and medium factions of the capitalist class. These are usually reactionary nationalist forces as UKIP in Britain, Le Pen in France, the Freedom Party in Austria, etc. They are often supported by Stalinists and various centrists.
Of paramount importance is that, in both cases, on the two opposing sides of the question, the leading forces are always different factions of the imperialist bourgeoisie.
Therefore "tactical" support for one of the two options – YES or NO – inevitably means political support for one of the two forms of imperialist state organization, both of which are equally reactionary.
Therefore, it is neither possible for authentic Marxists to call for an exit from the EU, nor is it legitimate for them to vote to remain inside the EU.
As the quotations we have cited above clearly demonstrate, such an understanding of the EU has for decades been a central component our Marxist analysis as well as the revolutionary tactics we have derived. Today, the L5I leadership has broken with this fundament Marxist position with a single stroke of the pen, without even attempting to explain, even partially, why their own decades-old tradition suddenly became null and void, and if so why it should have been preached by them all this time until now!