The formal process of Britain leaving the European Union could start as early as this week, and will definitely happen by the end of the month say the Tories.
Last night MPs threw out amendments that would have delayed the bill to trigger Article 50—the process to start exit talks.
It would have been good if the amendment to guarantee quickly the rights of EU nationals in Britain had been passed. But it was defeated by 335 to 287.
Instead the bill to put Article 50 into effect passed without amendment.
Short of political upheaval, Brexit is happening. The task is to shape it.
The Tories’ and Trump’s racism and scapegoating are obvious. They are why thousands of people will join Saturday’s anti-racism demonstrations.
But the rotten nature of the EU was also underlined last week.
First the Court of Justice of the EU ruled the Belgian government was within its rights to refuse a visa to a family of potential Syrian asylum seekers, even if they were at risk of torture.
This reversed a previous opinion in which an adviser to the court suggested member states should hand out short-term visas to those at risk of torture.
Then the EU did nothing when the Hungarian parliament voted to lock refugees in border camps made of shipping containers while their cases are decided.
We have to oppose both the British government and the EU.
Instead of looking back to who voted which way in the EU referendum, everyone on the left now needs to fight hard for a Brexit that seizes the opportunities of leaving the bosses’ single market and the EU’s anti-migrant laws.
Trade unions and the Labour Party need to fight for a left Brexit, a Brexit that strengthen working class people and their organisations against bosses everywhere.
This should include demands such as:
Defend and extend the rights of migrants and refugees. Full and indefinite rights guaranteed now for all EU nationals.
Let in all refugees, yes to freedom of movement for workers, stop scapegoating.
Guaranteed rights and funding
No reductions in workplace, social or equality rights. Guarantee continued funding for all social projects funded by EU money.
End zero hours contracts. Scrap anti-union laws.
No trade deals that stop nationalisation
No to the single market with its restrictions on nationalisation and no to any return of the TTIP deal or any other that favours the multinationals
Housing and health for all
Fully fund the NHS and stop all privatisation, cuts and closures. Build 1 million new council homes and upgrade existing stock. Control rents and replace the council tax with a local income tax that hits the rich.
Tough action on climate change
Effective action on climate change, a ban on fracking and an agriculture policy focused on access to good-quality affordable food and environmental protection
A new referendum on Scottish independence
Brexit raises the issue of the unity of the British state. People in Scotland should have a choice on whether to stay part of it—unlinked from EU membership. We want a radical independence battle.
Internationalism and global solidarity