Socialist Worker

Left won’t make gains without class politics

Issue No. 2656

Marching to save jobs at Honda last month

Marching to save jobs at Honda last month (Pic: Guy Smallman)

There’s a howling political crisis in Britain—and the left is missing out.

The field has been cleared for charlatans such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

In the area around Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire the Brexit Party took 47 percent of the vote in the elections.

That’s a sign of the despair in the area—and the danger that the bitterness could be turned against migrants.

There’s a desperate need for something that unites working class people against their real enemies.

And there’s a clear example—the threat to Scunthorpe’s steel works and 25,000 jobs.

If there was a serious fight to save the plant in the town, the situation could be transformed.

The trade unions have said there will be resistance. But there’s no sense of urgency, no talk of an occupation, no campaign to force nationalisation.

Meanwhile, in the area around Swindon 36 percent of people voted for the Brexit Party.

The closure of Honda in the town threatens the livelihoods of over 15,000 people. At the moment Honda workers are faced with two sets of useless advice from the Brexit Party and Remainers about what to do.

Former Tory Ann Widdecombe, and now Brexit Party MEP for the South West, was asked what she would say to Honda workers. “Listen to your management,” she responded. “Factories close all the time or they move.”


Her insulting dismissal of people’s concerns gives a glimpse into the reality of the Brexit Party. On the other side Green MEP Molly Scott-Cato, said, “The best way to put an end to business uncertainty and ensure a prosperous economy that safeguards jobs is to stop Brexit.”

The message is to either line up with the bosses, or line up with the bosses’ European Union (EU).

Neither offers the slightest hope of success.

Socialist Worker is against the neoliberal, racist EU and thinks it will be disastrous if Labour comes out for a second referendum.

But instead of endless arguments about the precise phrasing about Brexit, the left ought to fight to change the terms of the debate.

Nobody should talk about Brexit without saying that—whether we supported Leave or Remain—we have to fight now against austerity, racism and climate chaos.

That requires a break from the impoverished imagination of far too many union leaders and Labour MPs.

It means constructing a confident, fighting and socialist left—not a cringing and defensive one.

Rage against Trump next week, protest at the Tory conference in Manchester in September, fight the racist Farage, and push for action from the unions and Labour.

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