The Socialist 3 April 2019 |
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Socialists say we need a workers' Brexit at Young Labour debate
No worker in Britain, the EU or anywhere else should be made to pay for the bosses' economic and political crisis, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Leicester Socialist Party member Tom Barker put the case for a socialist Brexit at an EU debate, organised by Leicester Young Labour, on 21 March. Blairite MP Liz Kendall and MEP Rory Palmer were due to speak, but unfortunately both backed out at the last minute.
However, the Labour Parliamentary candidates for Loughborough and Nuneaton, Stuart Brady and Zoe Mayou, and De Montfort University politics lecturer Alastair Jones, were on the panel.
Tom was the only speaker to put forward the case for a workers' Brexit. All the other speakers expressed illusions that the EU helped protect workers' rights, and put forward a Remain position.
Most tellingly, when asked if they would prefer a Tory victory with Remain, or Brexit with a Labour government, the other panellists avoided the question.
When it was argued that trade unions were responsible for gains made by workers, rather than these being protected by the EU, the response of Zoe Mayou was to lambast the Tory anti-trade union laws for making it difficult for workers to take strike action.
There was no acknowledgement, other than from the Socialist Party speaker, of the critical role of the working class or that workers can fight back, particularly if given a lead.
The Socialist Party pointed out the strikes by homecare workers and refuse collectors in Birmingham against a Labour council. The bin workers have won £3,500 for every worker, while the home carers are still fighting.
Tom raised the despicable use of false accusations of antisemitism by right wingers in an attempt to discredit supporters of Jeremy Corbyn like left-wing MP Chris Williamson. He was sadly met with comments of "shame", and "anti-semite apologist", but only from a few, more vocal members of the audience. Our socialist arguments got an echo with many of the young people attending.
It is clear, if this meeting represented a microcosm of the Labour Party, that it remains two parties in one. Mandatory reselection of MPs could clear out those who oppose Corbyn's anti-austerity programme.
A real people's vote is not a re-run of the EU referendum, but a general election to kick out the hated Tories.
We need to continue the fight for socialism, through fighting, democratic trade unions, both within and outside of the Labour Party.
Andrew Walton, Leicester East Socialist Party