Socialist Worker

Brexit crisis should be shaped by action on the streets

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2637

We need much bigger demonstrations—and strikes

We need much bigger demonstrations—and strikes (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The Tories are in crisis and they have no easy way out. There ought to be a general election and the fall of not just Theresa May but the whole Tory regime and its rotten policies of austerity and racism.

Socialist Worker went to press before Tuesday’s votes on the Brexit deal. But all the signs were that May would lose.

Finding an acceptable way for Britain to leave the European Union (EU) has dominated British official politics for more than two years.

It has been the central task of May and her cabinet.

If she fails she ought to go immediately and voters, not Tory members and MPs, be allowed to decide what government they want.

In an effort to bolster May, EU leaders sent what was supposed to be a “reassuring” letter on Monday, signed by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council chief Donald Tusk.

It repeated previous hopes that the plan to keep Britain tied to EU customs rules would be temporary and only until a British-EU free trade deal is concluded.

But it did not move many votes.

Time is now short for MPs to settle on an alternative ahead of Britain’s scheduled 29 March departure from the EU.

MPs were set to consider further options this week.

They range from a no-deal Brexit to a divisive, anti-democratic second referendum offering the very limited choices of May’s deal or staying in the EU.

Thousands protest in London to demand a general election
Thousands protest in London to demand a general election
  Read More

It is crucial that working class people and their organisations seek to shape the outcome of this massive political crisis.

But neither Labour nor the unions have actively pushed for mobilisations on the streets and in workplaces.

Instead, as the march last Saturday showed, Labour and the unions have shied away from any call to act.

When they do act, they seem to believe that workers can be turned off and on like a tap—demobilised one day, then called onto the streets at 24 hours’ notice.

Meanwhile pressing issues from the state of the NHS to Universal Credit are ignored.

Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s biggest car maker, said last week that 4,500 jobs will be lost in Britain.

The redundancies represent around a tenth of its 44,000-strong British workforce.

A day later Ford said it was ­planning to cut more than 1,000 jobs in Britain over two years.

More than half the workforce at its plant in Bridgend, South Wales is likely to be axed.

The long-term future of the Bridgend engine plant must be in doubt.

The argument about Brexit has been confined almost completely to different versions of big business’ arguments.

Instead there has to be a fight for an anti-austerity and anti-racist Brexit tied to a war on poverty, ­bigotry and climate change.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.