Britain: Boris Johnson makes last attempts for an agreement with the European Union


Workers and Oppressed – do NOT wait but Organize Demonstrations and Strikes up to an Indefinite General Strike against this hated Tory Government!


Article by Joseph Adams, RCIT Britain, 10th October 2019,




Boris Johnson, who is on a visit to Brussels to negotiate a final agreement of Brexit has been forced by the terms of the supreme court judgement to pirogue parliament and accept the terms of the BENN ACT. The act commits Johnson that if there is no agreement, a no deal is cancelled and Johnson must revoke article 50 and leave the European Union in January 2020 rather than Johnson’s preferred date of October 31st 2019. The remain section of dissident Tories, Labour, the SNP and  the Liberal Democrats are in the majority in parliament and Johnson leads a minority government where at the moment his hands are tied. His attempt to progue parliament failed after the supreme court found against him. This is a constitutional crisis where the legislature and the judiciary are lined up against the executive represented by Johnson. It is a deep crisis for British imperialism.


“Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans look to be falling apart as the European commission said there are no grounds to accept a request from the UK for intensive weekend negotiations two weeks before an EU summit.


EU sources said there was no basis for such discussions, given the British prime minister’s insistence on there being a customs border on the island of Ireland. In response to the UK government’s admission in court documents that the prime minister accepted he would have to ask for an extension to Britain’s membership of the EU if a deal were not secured, Vardakas said he would support such a Brexit delay.”[1]


The Sticking position is whether there is a hard border as Johnson wants or the EU position as detailed in the Good Friday Agreement that the Irish option and the views of Eire and Northern Ireland were considered. If the extension of Brexit happens as the remainers have insisted then there may be a vote of no confidence in Johnson and a caretaker government. The leader of which is in dispute. Jeremy Corbyn, the official leader of the opposition, has said he will call for a vote of no confidence in Johnson as soon as Brexit has been officially delayed.




Corbyn and a Caretaker/National Government




The reformist Jeremy Corbyn and the Leaders of the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Welsh Nationalists, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and the Independent/Change group of Blairites and dissident Tories recently met in Jeremy Corbyn’s office to discuss the possibility of a Caretaker government once the vote of no confidence is moved. Corbyn himself wants to move to a general election but this assorted group of pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist MPs want a referendum on Europe and are quite happy with the Tories. Most of them are opposed to Corbyn because of his general anti-austerity position and either wants the Blairite Margaret Beckett or the dissident Tory Kenneth Clarke.


“Labour has continued to insist Jeremy Corbyn must be the leader of any temporary government to secure a Brexit extension, despite the Liberal Democrats’ leader, Jo Swinson, suggesting he would be unable to secure a majority.


Speaking to reporters outside parliament after cross-party talks, the Liberal Democrat leader said there would not be a vote of no confidence in the government this week as opposition parties continue to disagree about the best way forward.


Swinson reiterated her insistence that a temporary government could not be led by Corbyn, saying the Labour leader “simply does not have the numbers” among MPs to become interim prime minister”. [2].


Jo Swinson is a Tory in all but name. She served as first Parliamentary secretary to Nick Clegg and then Business Secretary in the 2013-2015 Coalition government led by David Cameron. She supported Zero Hours Contracts and agreed with students having to pay £9,000 fees a year reneging on a Liberal Party pledge to defend students. She is also like Tony Blair a Thatcherite and praised her when her statue was being erected.


“In September 2012, Swinson was appointed Under Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs in a reshuffle by then Prime Minister David Cameron. [She maintained this role for the remainder of the Cameron-Clegg coalition except for several months of maternity leave between 2013 and 2014. In the area of employment, she was supportive of both zero hour’s contracts and flexible working seeking to promote the latter especially. On minimum wage, in February 2013 Swinson joined calls by other ministers to warn that "caution" was required when increasing it any further amid claims that minimum wage could be cut or frozen if it began costing jobs. In a March 2018 article for The Mail on Sunday, Swinson came out in favour of erecting a statue of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Parliament Square. She justified her position on feminist grounds and claimed that Thatcher was able to “single-handedly transform the fortunes of women”, accusing opponents of the Thatcher statue as being “pretty sexist”. Swinson praised Thatcher for her skills negotiating the UK rebate.”[3]


It is clear that this so called Caretaker/ National government has its parallels in history with the National Government of Ramsey Macdonald in 1929-30 and the Lib-Lab Coalition towards the end of James Callaghan’s Labour government. Corbyn remains a prisoner of the most right wing and pro-capitalist elements in British politics. He should strike out his own independence and break out of this parliamentary charade of uniting with his most reactionary forces in British politics. Together with Swinson, Clarke and Beckett who are hostile to Corbyn’s initial anti-Austerity position that drew the workers, the oppressed and the youth to the Labour Party. What is happening now is that the Blairites still remain and the witch-hunts continue against Corbyn’s own supporters. There is still no move against Watson, Starmer and all those other traitors who are contemptuous of rank and file labour party members. Corbyn must break with this charade and support a movement through protests, demonstrations and strikes leading to a general strike to remove this hated government.




The Role of the Trade Union Bureaucracy




The role of the trade union bureaucracy is either to tie itself to one side or another of the Brexit divide. It protects the the role of capitalism in the workers movement. It is the agent of the Bourgeoisie and has failed in the recent period to defend workers locked in dispute with the capitalist state. At every turn they have mediated and negotiated to ensure that capitalism remains intact even throug massive changes in the world capitalist order leading to redundancies crashes and jobs being lost. Their main role has been to defend their own privileged position and of that aristocracy of labour that Lenin mentioned in his pamphlet “Imperialism, the Highest stage of Capitalism”. Social inequality remains in Britain with the masses of workers and the oppressed accepting handouts from the state when they are able. Many of the oppressed from semi-colonial countries living as migrants in Britain face hardship, racism, bigotry and Islamophobia as well as poverty and homelessness leading to starvation and begging on the streets. We should heed Leon Trotsky’s advice that “The crisis of Humanity can be reduced to the crisis of Revolutionary Leadership.” [4]




Abolition of the Monarchy and the Call for a General Election




The question of the Monarchy and its constitutional powers and rights has been recently exposed as Boris Johnson sought permission to progue parliament and suspend its sitting. This of course produced an absolute furore from the strong remainer presence in parliament who represents that section of the Bourgeoisie who were opposed to a no-deal Brexit on the 31st October. These parliamentarians and their supporters resorted to the judiciary unelected judges and justices appointed by and approved by the state and accountable to no one but themselves. Their cries of democracy under attack by sections of the Bourgeoisie and these judges delivered a verdict against Johnson. Parliament had to resit. The Benn Act was passed to prevent Johnson going for a no-deal Brexit. The Judiciary entered politics on the side of the Remain faction of the Bourgeoisie and Johnson had no alternative but to accede to their demands. Elizabeth Windsor has the power to appoint or dismiss Prime Ministers give a speech at the beginning of a Parliamentary session. In fact she has emergency powers to decide on a variety of constitutional issues. She and her family squander huge sums of money paid out of the public purse and of course she claims to rule by divine right. In a period of recession and slump this Monarchy continues to be subsidized for doing precisely nothing and engaging in worthless jamborees.


The great Bourgeois revolutionary Oliver Cromwell decided in 1649 that Kings were not infallible and Cromwell and the English revolutionaries executed Charles 1st and established a republic and a Commonwealth and Parliament ruled. After Cromwell and his son Richards’s death there was a coup d’état whereby another King Charles 11 became King but with many of his former powers controlled by parliament and so it has remained to this today. But in a modern 21st Century we should get rid of this ancient privileges of Kings and Queens, smash the monarchy and the capitalist system and establish a workers democracy. We should dispose this Elizabeth Windsor, remove all her wealth and redistribute it to those most in need. All castles and estates should be levelled and public housing should br built for the neediest instead.


A number of centrists and pseudo-Trotskyists have been calling for a Corbyn-led anti-austerity government and have been pressuring Corbyn to call a general election now to get rid of the hated Boris Johnson. The irony of this position is that Johnson has been goading Corbyn to move a vote of no-confidence so that we can have a general election. The polls are heavily in favour of Johnson and the Tories together with Farage’s Brexit party with its message of racism, Islamophobia and chauvinism. Johnson is hoping to win support from brexiteers who see the role of parliament as frustrating, the will of the people as the 2016 Referendum did produce a result for Brexit.


All shades of centrism voted for Brexit or for remain. Most of them remain tied to a reformist and unprincipled position. Jeremy Corbyn is a left reformist and the main centrist groups in Britain like the SWP, The Socialist Party and Socialist Appeal are all fostering the illusion that Labour with its anti-austerity message can win a general election and is right to focus on this electoral battle instead of what is really needed: Mass mobilisations on the street up to a general strike in order to bring the government down. These centrist groups are moving further right politically. They have given up to lead the way towards a Workers Government and are supporting Corbyn quite uncritically, nourishing illusions of the vanguard of its rank-and-file that a labour government will nationalize the means of production and introduce socialism. This shows their true reformist colours. Nothing is said about the repression apparatus of the capitalist state with armies and police forces ready in a crisis to establish martial law in the event of a breakdown. This should certainly not be the position of revolutionary socialists!


“The longer Labour delays a general election, the easier it will be for the right to pretend they are ­defenders of democracy against elites. Any form of Brexit—soft or hard, deal or no-deal—will be bad for working class people if it’s based on Tory policies.


The best response is to unite Leave and remain working class voters in a battle to get the Tories out now.


Labour can win a general election—but not if it becomes a moderate party of Remain”. [5]


“For the workers' movement, however, these serious splits at the top should lead to only one conclusion; to take full advantage of their weakness to fight a general election and for the election of a government that stands in the interests of the working class. In order to decisively break the ability of the capitalist class to sabotage a democratically elected socialist government it would be necessary to nationalise the major corporations and banks that dominate the economy under democratic working-class control, combined with full government control of incoming and outgoing foreign trade. Provided this was backed up by the power of the worker's movement outside of parliament, the capitalist class would be powerless to stop it.


This would lay the basis for the development of a socialist planned economy, and a democratic workers' state, that would really be able to use the huge wealth, science and technique created by capitalism to build a society for the many not the few.”[6].


The RCIT Britain does not believe in these so called panaceas of a peaceful transition to socialism. All these centrist groups fail to raise the question of state power and an infinite general strike at tne right time. The contradictions of world Imperialism mean that Britain is not immune from these developments. There is revolutionary uprisings all over the world and what the working class and the masses need is a programme to resolve the crisis of capitalism through revolutionary struggle and a fight to take state power not some peaceful transition as the centrists would have us believe. What the working class and the oppressed in Britain need is a revolutionary force which does not side with Brexit or Remain but which concentrates on the crucial questions of revolutionary struggle against austerity, racism and imperialism.


The RCIT Britain puts forward the following programme to unite all sections of the workers and oppressed in such a struggle:


* Rank-and-File in Labour must put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to end these cross-party talks. National Governments are a disaster. Organize and support demonstrations, strikes and occupations at workplaces to show the working class that its own power is the answer to the Tories hatred and racist propaganda. Expel and purge all Blairite MP’s and reinstate all Pro-Corbyn Labour Party members expelled or suspended. Put Corbyn under pressure to support mass mobilisations of the workers and oppressed not only in words but also in deeds and with the ressources of the Labour Party. Labour under leadership of Corbyn must be forced to neither support Brexit nor Remain!


* For a country-wide, indefinite general strike. The TUC must immediately organise its members to organise communities in a showdown with Johnson and the ruling class! Fight for a Workers Government based on the support of all opressed!


* For popular assemblies to be organised in all areas, workplaces, schools and universities, districts and villages of Britain! For the building of strike commitees up to armed defence guards to defend communities from racist or police provocation!


* For a convocation of a Constituent Assembly where revolutionaries shuld argue for an indefinite general strike that should be transformed into an armed insurrection of the working class in order to take power in Britain!


* Abolish the Monarchy, redistribute the wealth of the royal establishment to the most needy and impoverished in society! For the levelling of all castles and the Queens estates and a programme of Public Housing works instead!


* Neither Remain nor Brexit! For Revolutionary defeatism! No support for Imperialism but for the smash of imperialist Britain and the imperialist EU! For the formation of the Socialist United States of Europe!


* Join the RCIT and help us to march forward in the building of a new World Party of Revolutionary Socialism - the 5th International!












4)            Trotsky. L The Transitional Programme and the tasks of the 4th International. New Park publications