Historical Crisis in the European Union: The British People have voted for Brexit

We publish here a statement on the Brexit vote by  Lucha Internacionalista (International Struggle) from Spain.-SC

Español |  Statement in French by Groupe Socialiste Internationaliste (France)

Cameron announced his resignation, although, a few months before he had won the election by an absolute majority. The government’s Project Fear relied on threats of economic turmoil.  As the stock market began to fall and the pound and euro started to depreciate, central Banks established preventive measures to avoid the crash. It is an unprecedented crisis in the European Union. Other nations fear that this situation could spread.  The unsolved national old problems in Britain (Northern Ireland or Scotland) have returned. The European press explains  Brexit as a result of growing racism. But the European Union does not guarantee solidarity with immigration or respect for the rights of workers. On the contrary, it is an agreement convenient to both large corporations and states.  Brexit deepens the crisis in Europe.

The working class has said NO to: Cameron, large companies, financial markets, political leaders of the EU and Obama. Owen Jones wrote: “ perhaps the most dramatic event in Britain since the war – was, above all else, a working-class revolt. It may not have been the working-class revolt against the political establishment that many of us favoured, but it is undeniable that this result was achieved off the back of furious, alienated working-class votes”[1] . The youth voted overwhelmingly to continue in the  EU, but traditional sectors of Labour voted Leave. If London voted remain in the EU, in working class areas of East Midlands,  Nord-West,  South-West, Yorkshire and Humber, East and Wales, “Leave” won. The same happened around Manchester.

Brexit was a majority in West Midlands, a traditionally Labour area with little preminence of UKIP and without a significant amount of immigration. Therefore, it will be misleading to think Brexit as  lack of solidarity with immigration  and not as the result of the worsening of  living conditions of workers and popular classes for decades of austerity and destruction of  workers’ gains. It is from this rebellion against the establisment tha we must  set the debate on immigration. If the left fails to see the analysis of the referendum from this angle, workers will feel they have been cast adrift and alienated, being a prey to the far right.

It is the policy of European Union and Britain to protect and let develop the far right. The scoundrel murder of Labour MP Jo Cox was used emotionally to prevent people from voting for  Brexit. When an attack is connected to Islamism, it is terrorism; when it is clearly commited by members of the extreme right, as Breivick in Norway  or Jo Cox in England, then it is a crime commited by a mentally disturbed person. This is the result of political manipulation: due to jihadist threats, governments  limit democratic rights, as it is the case in France with the state of emergency and  demonstrations  against labour reform banned.  Extreme right actions are taken more lightly and somehow encouraged by  governments.

The Austrian Social Democratic government has given a red carpet welcome to the far-right Freedom Party, which was on the verge of winning when it raised fear of immigrants in presidential election, being Austria a country of 8.5 million people, with 90,000 immigrants.  Everyday people witness the brutality of Macedonian and Greek police raids gassing immigrant families in Idomeni, the drowned families in the Mediterranean, the walls and concertinas. Then,   who will be horrified with extreme right ideology?

The European Union wobbles: fear of contagion

The balance is so unstable that there is a feeling that as a piece is disengaged the whole puzzle cracks. In Northern Ireland and Scotland the vote is crossed by the national reality, thus the vote Remain . The result of the referendum opens a new crisis: Scotland wants a second referendum for independence. Sinn Fein proposes the referendum for the reunification of Ireland with similar arguments. What will  European politicians do?

Indeed the British popular sectors that imposed Brexit  have opened an unprecedented crisis in the European Union. The fear of contagion in other states of the European Union is clear. Why don’t Greece, France or the Spain  ask the people if they want to continue under the dictates of the troika? The criticism raised in Europe against  Cameron was on the referendum itself  . The same happened with Alexis Tsipras and  the OXI (No)  memorandum. For them, the best thing to do is not to ask,  people should not expressed themselves.

The desperate cry of people to break with the European Union, reflects the legitimate hatred and despair of popular classes. They are submitted to the extreme right and for the worst, as a tool of their hatred of immigrants, oppressive nationalism, its anti-labour policy.  Many on the left defends the European Union and its reform. But  the European Union is an instrument  of capital and states, to undermine working conditions and standard of living of workers and popular classes, to stifle democratic rights and move to stronger police states. There is no possible reform of the EU. Therefore, from internationalit left, we must promote workers and peoples to mobilise in order to break with capitalism and its regional instrument that imposes their plans: the European Union. Our unity goes hand-in-hand with people’s determination, not chains and impositions. Workers union can be developed under an economic system based on the needs of the working majority to build the United Socialist States of Europe.

Internationalist Struggle, section of the IWU-FI, Spain.

June 26, 2016