By Tomáš Tengely-Evans
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Lexit campaign to put workers and migrants at heart of Europen Union debate

This article is over 8 years, 1 months old
Issue 2501

Workers and migrants need their voices heard in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU), socialist Leave campaigners said today, Thursday.

Left Leave

Rob Griffiths, chair of the Lexit—Left Leave campaign, said, “The depressing thing is that the referendum campaign is dominated by right wingers.

“But our stance is based on what’s in the interests of working class people and their families, socialism and the internationalism we believe in.”

The Lexit campaign is for Britain leaving the EU on 23 June on a clear socialist and internationalist basis. It shows there is space for a left wing campaign, in solidarity with workers, refugees and migrants.

The EU is a bosses’ club that forces austerity on working class people. And “Fortress Europe” is responsible for the murder of migrants in the Mediterranean.

Charlie Kimber, Socialist Workers Party (SWP) joint national secretary, slammed the “financial water boarding” of Greek workers as an example of the “EU’s neoliberal DNA”.

He said, “We want to appeal to people on the left to break with the idea that the EU is on the side of working class people.”

Feyzi Ismail from Counterfire said, “The European Union isn’t just undemocratic, it’s anti,-democratic. The European Central Bank and European Commission are responsible for imposing austerity on populations that didn’t vote for it.

“Even progressive governments are not able to challenge the power of unelected bodies—the EU is unreformable.”

Despite the EU’s brutal assault on Greece, many union leaders and left wingers claim the EU guarantees workers’ rights in Britain. But Kimber said, “The rights we have come out of the struggle from below.

“It was the great struggle of the 1970s the produced the Health and Safety Act.”

Nor is the EU a defender of migrants’ rights. As Ismail said, “People who are for Remain think the EU is a part of delivering a progressive solution to the refugee crisis.

“But the EU signed a scandalous deal with Turkey that’s seen the forced deportation of refugees.”

Kimber added, “None of us will share a platform with Ukip or the Tories. People who are anti-racists should be for migrants’ and refugees rights and against the EU.”

Jeremy Corbyn has come out in support of Remain. Alex Gordon from the RMT union said, “It’s undeniable that Jeremy Corbyn’s pact with the right wing in his party, with the people who want to unseat him, is a blow.

“But I don’t think Labour voters are taken in by the position, and this is about more than the Labour Party.”

A vote to leave the EU would be one in favour of workers and migrants—and would finish off David Cameron and leave a weak rump government. If that happens in an atmosphere of working class resistance, the argument will be to keep going.

As Griffiths said, “It could temporarily lead to a Boris Johnson or Michael Gove leadership, but that would be at the head of a government tearing itself apart.”

Kimber said, “A Leave vote would mean the resignation of David Cameron—and it will create new opportunities for the left.”

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