UK: No to Cameron’s Trap: Neither YES nor NO to UK membership in the EU! For Abstention in the Referendum!
We call on Momentum to create a “Third Camp” and to launch a socialist and internationalist campaign! For international Unity of the British, Migrant and European Workers!
Statement of RED*LIBERATION (Bulletin of Socialists in the Labour Party), 25 February 2016, www.RedLiberation.wordpress.com
1. Prime Minister Cameron has announced that the referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union will take place on 23 June 2016. RED*LIBERATION, a Bulletin of socialists in the Labour Party, calls on all workers, youth and socialists to avoid Cameron’s trap and to vote neither for British nor for EU-imperialism in the referendum. In other words, we propose to boycott Cameron’s trap and to abstain in this referendum. We call on Momentum to launch a socialist and internationalist campaign for “Abstention” together with all the progressive forces inside and outside the Labour Party!
2. We call the referendum a trap because it presents two equally bad forms of capitalist state organization as a pseudo-alternative. It is no accident that both camps – the pro-EU as well as the Brexit camp – are dominated by reactionary, chauvinist and pro-business forces. The referendum asks people to choose between two forms of racism where in fact both camps – Cameron and the EU as well as Nigel Farage’s Brexit – are deeply racist. Cameron calls for the UK to stay in the EU by praising his “success” at the latest negotiations with the EU where the latter adopted massive restrictions for migrants’ access to the welfare system. The EU itself is demonstrating day-by day that it wants to expel as many refugees as possible and that it attacks the democratic rights of migrants (e.g. Hollande’s “state of emergency” regime in France which has resulted in about 3,300 raids on Muslim households since mid-November.) Of course, the reactionary hate-mongers like UKIP’s Nigel Farage are no better but have made racism a cornerstone of their program. This demonstrates once more that those who champion the rights of migrants and refugees must neither support UK’s membership in the EU nor the Brexit campaign.
3. The referendum asks people to choose between two forms of imperialist militarism where in fact both the Cameron government and the EU as well as the right-wing anti-EU forces have a long history of waging wars abroad. British imperialism has always waged war around the world and tried to keep its Empire respectively its global spheres of influence by any means necessary. They did so before as well as after joining the EU.
4. The referendum asks people to choose between two forms of capitalist exploitation where in fact both the Cameron government and the EU as well as the right-wing anti-EU forces are champions of attacking labour rights. Have we not seen the British government and the Brussels bureaucrats calling for deregulation and privatization for years and decades?! And are the leading forces of the Brexit campaign not advocating exactly the same?!
5. RED*LIBERATION therefore calls on all socialists to take an authentic socialist position independent of the Blairite bureaucracy, Jeremy Corbyn as well as the pro-Brexit “Labour Leave” campaign. It is rather necessary to create a third, socialist and internationalist camp. It is obvious why the Blairites will vote YES in the referendum. They always supported the interests of the corporations and voted for the EU and the US’s wars abroad. It is a shame that the party’s leadership around Jeremy Corbyn is working together with them instead of making a clear rupture! How can a party which calls itself a party of the working people tolerate such friends of business and wars in its ranks?!
6. Jeremy Corbyn has joined now the pro-EU camp too. In an article in The Guardian (20 February 2016), he wrote: “It’s because being part of Europe has brought Britain investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment. We are convinced that the EU is a vital framework for European trade and international cooperation in the 21st century, and that a vote to remain in Europe is in the best interests of our people.” He claims: “People will be voting on far more important issues: jobs, investment, employment rights, environmental protection, peace, security and international cooperation.” These arguments are false through and through. Unemployment and poverty have increased inside the EU for many years. So why should the EU-membership help to reduce unemployment in Britain?! The referendum is about “peace, security and international cooperation”? But the Great Powers of the EU have waged a number of wars in the past years (Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Mali, etc.)! The EU has imposed sanctions against Russia – an imperialist rival. In which world is Corbyn living?! It is hardly surprising that the huge majority of Britain’s corporations want the country to remain inside the EU. But why do the leaders of the Labour Party rally behind the bosses’ EU?
7. We say that Corbyn must not again adapt to the Blairites and the bosses’ demands! If the Corbyn leadership really wants to support workers’ rights, they should put their resources to mobilize against the government’s austerity policy. If the Corbyn leadership really wants to support workers’ rights, they should compel all Labour councilors to vote against each and every austerity measures. If the Corbyn leadership really wants to oppose imperialist wars, they should expel the pro-war Blairite Labour MP’s. If the Corbyn leadership really wants to support workers’ and migrant rights, they should publicly denounce their fellow party “comrade” Francois Hollande and his reactionary “state of emergency” regime. We call on the Momentum NC to publicly put such demands on Corbyn and to criticize his pro-EU stand.
8. The pro-Brexit “Labour Leave” campaign is no better. Why should nationalist isolationism be in the interest of the workers, migrants and youth? Why should the creation of new borders be in the interest of workers and refugees?! Why do they believe that an isolated Britain would be more progressive or more peaceful than a Britain as part of the EU?! Are rich capitalist countries outside of the EU – like the US or Japan – more progressive or more peaceful?!
9. We also totally condemn George Galloway’s appearance as a “surprise guest” at a “Brexit” rally and his coalition with Nigel Farage. Such actions totally undermine Galloway’s credit of standing up against imperialist wars and against racism in the past.
10. RED*LIBERATION maintains that socialists must refuse to support either of these two, equally reactionary, capitalist camps. The most important task now is to fight for the political independence of the working class and the oppressed vis-à-vis either of these capitalist, racist and imperialist camps. There is no lesser evil for the working class: On one side are those British capitalists who advocate membership in the war-mongering EU which universally imposes austerity, attacks refugees and democratic rights, who advocate a free trade pact with the US, and who favor waging colonial wars in North Africa, Syria and Iraq. On the other side are those British capitalists who advocate the country’s exit from the EU in order to drive out migrants and refugees, attack labour rights and to effectively become the little poodle of the world’s greatest imperialist power, the US.
11. RED*LIBERATION calls on Momentum to create a “Third Camp” in opposition to the equally reactionary pro-EU and Brexit camp. Such a Third Camp should launch a socialist and internationalist campaign. It should advocate the following issues:
* Fight against austerity both in Britain as well as in the whole of Europe! Force the Labour and the TUC leadership to organize mass demonstrations and strikes to defend our rights! Compel all Labour councilors to vote against all austerity measures!
* Mobilize against Britain’s Wars in Syria, Iraq and other countries! Expel all Blairite MP’s who have voted for war!
* Open the borders for refugees! Equal rights and equal pay for migrants and refugees! Organize migrants and refugees in the unions in order to obstruct the bosses’ attempts to lower the wages!
12. RED*LIBERATION calls upon all socialists in Britain to join forces with us in such a campaign on the basis of
* For a socialist Britain as part of a United Socialist States of Europe!
* Boycott Cameron’s Trap: Neither YES nor NO to UK membership in the EU! For Abstention in the Referendum!
We also want to draw attention to the following statement as well as pamphlet which’s line we politically support:
* RCIT: Boycott Cameron’s Trap: Neither Brussels, nor Downing Street! For Abstention in Britain’s EU-Referendum! For international Unity and Struggle of the Workers and Oppressed! Fight against both British as well as European Imperialism! Forward to the United Socialist States of Europe, 2 August 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/eu-referendum-in-uk/
* Michael Pröbsting: The British Left and the EU-Referendum: The Many Faces of pro-UK or pro-EU Social-Imperialism. An analysis of the left’s failure to fight for an independent, internationalist and socialist stance both against British as well as European imperialism, August 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/british-left-and-eu-referendum/