By Simon Andrewes
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 435

Fight austerity in or out of the European Union

This article is over 6 years, 2 months old
Issue 435

I disagree with Keith Cargill’s letter (April SR) about voting leave being the wrong decision in the EU referendum.

I have some sympathy for his uncertainty about what a “workers’ Brexit” might be like, because unfortunately the question of class has hardly got a look in in the discussion pre- or post-referendum.

Otherwise, Keith’s arguments fail to convince. Racism is indeed on the increase since the Brexit vote, but it is throughout Europe.

I fail to see how attacks on Muslims will be reduced by being a member of the EU where their status, it hardly needs saying, is generally speaking no better than in the UK.

Nor do I see how opportunities for international solidarity will be reduced being outside the EU. For the EU is hardly a bastion of class solidarity, is it? Instead it raises a wall against outsiders, making global solidarity that much harder.

Last but not least, Tory rule, savage austerity, poorer public services, low wages, vicious cutbacks — we’ve got all that in the EU, so how can EU membership benefit us there?

Arguments in favour of the EU tend to tie the interests of ordinary working people to those of the nation’s capitalist class.

Mind you, there’s no denying Keith’s arguments about the priority of fighting neoliberalism. And that fight, I’m sure Keith agrees, is between classes.

But to say this fight is better fought inside the set-up that promotes the interests of the most prosperous and aggressive sections of the ruling class a) doesn’t make sense, and b) turns my stomach over.

So, Keith, let’s drop this fruitless argument about the pros and cons of the EU, and focus on the campaign against our own governments’ warmongering and in defence of our public services: urgent things that really matter.

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