Britain: Corbyn and Brexit

The Crisis of British Imperialism


Article by Joseph Adams, RCIT Britain, 15.09.2017,


On Monday 11th September 2017 the Brexit Bill passed its second reading in parliament by 311 votes to 296 votes, which is a majority of 36 for the May minority government. As well as starting the process of separation from Europe, the bill gives enormous executive powers to ministers through ‘Henry XVIII’ clauses. Jeremy Corbyn, the left wing leader of the Labour Party has continued to twist and turn changing his position on Brexit. Originally he was an opponent of the Common Market in the 1970’s but now like the rest of the party he remains a committed supporter of the EU at the time of the referendum.


Corbyn accepting the result of the referendum has argued for what is termed a ‘soft Brexit’ position as opposed to the Euro sceptic’s including Teresa May who supports a ‘hard Brexit position’. Corbyn was hoping through amendments to May’s Great Repeal Bill to soften the impact of Brexit hoping to continue to support the European Single Market.


“Jeremy Corbyn will use his first speech of 2017 to claim that Britain can be better off outside the EU and insist that the Labour party has no principled objection to ending the free movement of European workers in the UK”. [1]


The pro-European Blairites who oppose Brexit are now demanding more immigration controls for all EU nationals. This was revealed in an interview given to the BBC by Tony Blair, the indicted war criminal and ex-leader of Labour.


“Tony Blair has defended his call for new controls on EU migration as a cabinet minister accused him of a belated "epiphany" on the issue. The ex-PM said the UK could stay in the EU after all with new curbs in place. He claimed this would address people's "grievances" without the "sledgehammer" of Brexit. Critics have pointed to his Labour government's decision not to apply transitional controls to eastern European migrants in 2004”. [2]


Blair’s call for restriction on immigration is confirmed by the most extreme racist elements in Britain coupled with islamophobic attacks against both migrants and EU nationals. The Blairites are by far the most reactionary, social-imperialist wing inside of Labour. Their racist politic serves the interests of the ruling class as it disunites the working class and weakens it potential to fight back successfully against austerity measures. It also pushes away a number of militant migrants and blacks who would be willing to organize themselves in the trade unions and the labour movement as such. This is especially problematic as racist attacks increased in the recent past in a particularly aggressive form. There has been a recent spate of acid attacks against migrants since the referendum.


“The government equalities office is to examine growing evidence that EU nationals in the UK are being illegally prevented from renting or buying properties, getting jobs and booking holidays. Rental properties advertised for UK citizens only or outlining different terms for EU nationals.


Travel agencies declining to take bookings from non-British or non-Irish citizens and cancelling the holidays already booked by EU nationals from other countries.


A law firm advising that employment contracts incorporate clauses that specify that the loss of right to work will result in immediate dismissal” [3].


No support to any of the to imperialist camps


Corbyn has now changed his position and advocates a Customs Union within the EU citing the examples of Norway and Iceland who are not in the EU but enjoy some advantages from the EU. It shows Corbyn's way of thinking as he obviously tries to comfort the interests of imperialist Britain. This has nothing to do with an authentic socialist position . In the history of revolutionary socialism the tasks of revolutionaries living in imperialist countries is to fight mainly against the ruling class of their country. Like it was formulated by the German revolutionary Karl Liebknecht: “The Main Enemy is at Home!


“Jeremy Corbyn has provoked confusion over Labour's Brexit position by suggesting the UK could remain a member of the EU's single market indefinitely after leaving the bloc.


The Labour leader appeared to soften Labour's stance on the issue, saying he wanted the UK to "trade within the single market" after Brexit.


He said it was "open for discussion" as to whether this should involve formal membership.


"I want a relationship which allows us to trade within the single market," said Mr Corbyn, when asked about the UK's long-term arrangements with the EU. Norway, Iceland and Lichenstein are all outside of the EU but are inside the single market”. [4].


Corbyn, the left reformist is continually changing his position because of his adaptation to the Blairites. He has capitulated to their position although they have organised several coups to remove him and his supporters from the Labour Party.


The RCIT has taken a principled stand on Brexit and the way forward for workers and the oppressed. Instead of heading towards Brexit or arguing in favour of Remain (which means to argue in favour of staying in a imperialist structure, the RCIT maintains that authentic Marxists must refuse to support either of these two equally reactionary Imperialist Camps.


The political independence of the working class and the oppressed means independence of both Imperialist camps. It means to mobilize against racist politics and to fight for a socialist perspective, not trying to get imperialist Britain in a better position outside or inside the imperialist EU. Joint forces of the migrant, the black, the Asian and white working class and youth is highly important in the class struggle against Britain’s rulers. This multinational class struggle must include the participation of these workers and oppressed in a unified international struggle, with the European working class against the EU bosses.


The RCIT in Britain advances the following transitional demands to unite the oppressed and working class in a common struggle against both camps of imperialism. Corbyn and the lefts must lead a struggle in the Labour Party to expel the pro-austerity and pro-war Blairite wing.


* Call on Corbyn and the TUC to organise and lead an indefinite general strike to bring down this weak and unstable May Government.


* Expel and purge all Blairites from the Labour Party.


* For open borders for all refugees, full equality for all migrants, equal wages, full citizenship and the right to speak their own language.


* Call on all Labour MPs to vote against austerity, racism, chauvinism and war, those failing to do so should be immediately deselected.


* For self defence guards of workers and migrants to defend their communities from police or fascist provocation.


* For the right to Self-determination for Scotland.


* For a United 32-County Irish Workers’ Republic as part of a federated section of the United Socialist States of Europe.


We call on all workers and youth as a first step to join the RCIT in Britain and help build a pre-party formation. Our goal is the building of a new World Party for Socialist Revolution, the Fifth International.




For our analysis and perspectives of Britain, BREXIT and the EU, see, among others, the following articles:


The European Union and the issue of the accession of semi-colonial countries, Oct 2012,


Boycott Cameron’s Trap: Neither Brussels, nor Downing Street! For Abstention in Britain’s EU-Referendum!


August 2015,


LIBERATION#3, Bulletin of the RCIT Britain, Issue No.3 (August 2015),






1) Corbyn on Brexit: UK can be better off out of the EU, by Anushka Asthana, The Guardian, 10 January 2017,


2) Tony Blair defends call for EU migration curbs, BBC, 10 September 2017,


3) Europeans need not apply: evidence mounts of discrimination in UK, by Alan Travis, The Guardian, 11 September 2017,


4) Corbyn prompts confusion over Brexit position, SKY News, 12 September 2017,