Monday, 17 December 2018

Labour Must Vote Down May's Deal Despite Her Threats

Whenever May brings her Brexit deal to parliament, Labour MP's must vote it down. May's tactic appears to be to run events out to the last minute so that MP's will feel they have to vote for her disastrous deal in order to avoid a No Deal Brexit going through automatically on March 29th 2019. Labour MP's must make it clear now that they will not be blackmailed by such an empty threat. May knows she could not actually allow a No Deal Brexit to go through. To do so, would cause catastrophe. It would then mean that she, and the Tory Party bore responsibility for that catastrophe, and would mean the Tory party would be destroyed, and at least unelectable for a generation or more. She will not do that no matter how vociferous she makes blood curdling threats to the contrary to try to bludgeon MP's into voting for her terrible deal. Indeed, the dominant sections of the ruling-class would never allow her to do that. Long before any such collapse into No Deal occurred, there would be a run on the Pound, a sharp rise in UK borrowing costs, and so UK market rates of interest, and a crash in the prices of UK shares, bonds and property. 

If May and the Tories were to continue on that course, there would be civil unrest at the consequences, far in excess of anything the Brextremists are ridiculously claiming Leave voters may undertake if they lost another referendum. In fact, despite all their claims the proponents of Leave Means Leave, have never been able to garner any significant active mobilisations, and are now left relying on a few BNP/EDL activists backing Tommy Robinson, as they take over the rapidly collapsing and completely irrelevant rump of UKIP. And, that is not surprising, because the social forces that backed Leave, are not the kind of social forces that are at all cohesive, are noted for being unable to engage in such organised and structured mobilisations. Indeed, the majority of support for Brexit came from a large number of elderly, middle-class Tory voters. They are not the kind of force likely to take to the streets with their zimmer frames to bring about some revolutionary change, nor are they likely to back the kind of radical socialist politics required to end austerity, and mobilise workers behind any kind of real solution to their problems. 

Under those conditions, of chaos that destroyed the Tories, the door would be wide open for Labour to take the reins. But, it could not be a Labour Party that continues on its current path, and with its current lack of a principled leadership. It would mean that the vast majority of the party, of the 90% that oppose Brexit, would have to sweep the current leadership aside. It would mean drawing in a large army of new more radical, more internationalist members, and on that basis to sweep away also large numbers of current MP's, and to build a new, fighting, socialist leadership. The Tories most certainly would not want to see that either. 

So, the reality is that May will not push through a No Deal Brexit, and Labour MP's should discount it from their calculations. They should vote down her deal come what may, and should make clear that they will do that, whenever she allows them to vote on it. Any Labour MP, wavering, and suggesting that they might back May's deal should be warned now by their party members that they would be removed forthwith. That is the best means of ensuring that May stops deluding herself that she might be able to get through her terrible deal if only she waits long enough. 

Polls show that if Labour were to back another referendum, its support would surge. Some polls suggest that if Labour came out to back stopping Brexit, it could have a 20 points lead in the polls. As things stand, however, the Labour leaderships lack of principled leadership, its failure to push the policy passed at Labour Party conference, its constant vacillations, and the suggestion that it secretly backs Leave has seen Labour's standing in the polls continue to slide, even against May's totally dysfunctional and discredited government. If as Labour's Andrew Gwynne suggested on the Marr show at the weekend, Labour would go into a General Election or another referendum as a Pro-Brexit party, then it would be destroyed. All of those new radical, progressive, internationalist members and voters that swung behind the party in 2017, would rapidly disappear. It would mean that the party leadership was actively driving them away towards the Greens, SNP, Liberals, and opening up the potential for the Blair-rights to forge them together in the kind of new party that until now, has been seen as simply impossible. 

Who could blame them, because the reality would be that, as with Melonchon in France, such a Stalinoid party as Labour would have become, fixated upon the reactionary, nationalist dream of Britain leaving the EU, so as to pursue some policy of economic nationalism, would indeed be reactionary even compared with an internationalist minded, Blair-right workers party, just as the Stalinist party of building “Socialism in One Country”, in the USSR, turned into a hellish nightmare for workers, and set back the cause of socialism for a century, at least. It would not only repeat that nightmare, but that of more recent times in Venezuela, for example, that has driven the workers there into destitution, and provided the right with yet another easy target to point to as to why “socialism” cannot work. 

Had Labour been arguing forcefully against Brexit over the last three years, organising regular demonstrations, building the kind of social movement it committed to, building a real fighting organisation across the EU, drawing in the other radical social-democratic and socialist forces across the Continent, to fight against austerity, and to put forward an EU wide programme for reconstruction and renewal, then Labour would today be in an unassailable position, and they would have strengthened the forces of the left in Europe too. The fact that they have failed to do so is criminal, and stems from the Stalinist influences on the Corbyn leadership. It is not necessary for Labour to present itself as “Pro-EU”. It is quite right to be critical of the EU's current conservative politicians, and their domination of the parliament, the Council of Ministers, as well as the Commission, and other bodies of the state, such as the ECB. The answer to that, however, is not to be “Pro-Brexit”, in other words to be Pro all of those very same conservative forces just so long as they are “British”

It is only necessary that Labour is “anti-Brexit”, in order to simply expose the fact that the problem with the EU is not that it is comprised of foreigners, unlike the British state which is comprised of “our own people”, but that it is dominated by conservative politicians, and conservative politics. The more substantial problem is that the EU, like Britain, is a capitalist state. But, that is precisely the point it is not the fact that the EU is a foreign capitalist state, as opposed to Britain being a British capitalist state; it is not that the EU is dominated by foreign conservative politics as oppose to Britain being dominated by British conservative politics that is the problem. To view things in that light is to allow your politics to be based upon nationality not class, it is what makes such an outlook a reactionary nationalist outlook, not a progressive, international socialist outlook. 

The answer to the problems of British workers cannot be found via Brexit. It can only be found by standing alongside our EU brothers and sisters, in a struggle against conservative politics, and for progressive social-democratic, and socialist politics, against capitalism whether it comes draped in the Union Flag or the EU Flag, for a struggle to build a Workers Europe. Indeed, the problems of British workers can only be increased by Brexit, as it undermines the UK economy, and thereby undermines the demand for labour-power in the UK, thereby pressing down on wages, at the same time that a falling Pound, and rising import costs, raise the cost of living for British workers. 

Against Brexit. Against Reactionary Stalinist Economic Nationalism. Build an EU Wide Workers Movement. For a Workers Europe, on the Road to A Socialist United States of Europe. 

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