Socialist Worker

Launch of united left campaign to leave the EU

by Joseph Choonara
Issue No. 2499

Greek workers fought austerity, but would have been forced to break from the EU to win (Pic: Workers Solidarity)

Greek workers fought austerity, but would have been forced to break from the EU to win (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


Britain will see a united left-wing campaign to exit the EU on 23 June. A number of groups, including the Socialist Workers Party, the RMT union, the Communist Party and Counterfire, agreed yesterday, Wednesday, to launch #Lexit: The Left Leave campaign.

The initiative provides an alternative for those faced with an unpalatable choice between David Cameron’s pro-business campaign to stay in the EU and the existing Leave campaigns dominated by the xenophobic right.

The founding leaflet for the campaign—set to be distributed on this Saturday’s People’s Assembly demonstration in London—sets out a number of left reasons to vote to exit. These include the EU’s support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the limitations it imposes on renationalisation of the railways or the steel industry, the austerity programmes imposed on Greece and other countries under the Troika, its treatment of migrant workers, its persecution of refugees attempting to reach Europe and its lack of democracy.

The majority of capitalists, both here and abroad, support British membership of the EU. The International Monetary Fund is the latest capitalist institution to warn of the dangers of Brexit. If the capitalists are now panicking over the potential breakup of the EU, for the Tories the sense of crisis is even deeper.

Corbyn

That why it’s disappointing that Jeremy Corbyn, who used to argue powerfully against the EU and voted against its weaker predecessors in 1975, is today making a major pro-EU speech to pledge Labour’s support. This will help Cameron—indeed he is relying on Labour to deliver him the vote he needs to survive.

The Lexit campaign rejects the pessimism of those who see the consequences of exit as an automatic shift to the right. More likely it would result in the departure of Cameron and a fatally weakened government.

So far, though, many of the left have objected that there is no radical voice arguing for an exit. With the launch of this new force in the referendum campaign we have a chance to change that.

Lexit will be organising a series of rallies around the country in the run up to 23 June.

Ukip's Nigel Farage said today, " We in UKIP, as I've said from the start, will work with anyone that wants to leave the EU." That is not the SWP's position. We will not work with racist and pro-bosses forces. We want an anti-racist, internationalist and anti-capitalist campaign.   

We agree with the critique from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition of the Electoral Commission's decision to make the the Tory-dominated Vote Leave group the official exit organisation.

Pick up leaflets for #Lexit: The Left Leave Campaign at this weekend’s People’s Assembly demonstration. The website for the campaign is coming soon at: http://leftleave.org

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