Fight the cuts, fight for a socialist Brexit

Jarrow demonstration: we are the 99% Take the wealth off the 1%, photo Paul Mattsson

Jarrow demonstration: we are the 99% Take the wealth off the 1%, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Tessa Warrington, Leicester Socialist Party

The Tories have used fears around Brexit to lower expectations for Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement.

They will claim that weak growth projections mean they can’t increase taxation on the wealthy, because Britain needs to remain a safe haven for private profit to ‘create’ wealth and jobs – so increased public expenditure is out of the question.

During the referendum campaign, the political establishment understood how few positives there were to sell EU membership on. They resorted instead to Project Fear. Fear of losing meagre workers’ rights, of international political alienation, and that exit would cripple the UK’s economy.

There has been an economic backlash as the big bond and currency traders try to punish the British working class for daring to vote against corporate interests.

However, recent figures show that retail sales have seen the strongest rise in over a decade. The weak exchange rate has also led to a boom in foreign tourist spending in London. And a weakened pound could in fact help reduce British capitalism’s trade deficit.

But neither hope nor crisis for the bosses automatically means good or bad news for us – we have to fight. One of the most important gains we could make by leaving the EU, for example, is no longer being subject to its extremely restrictive treaty agreements on spending and public ownership.

The Socialist has always argued that Brexit on capitalism’s terms would solve none of the problems facing working class people. We do not believe capitalism can be ‘fixed’ for anyone except the super-rich. The incompetency and splits of the Brexit negotiators are laying bare the crisis within the capitalist class.

But the Leave vote means Jeremy Corbyn now has a huge opportunity to fight for what is needed: exit on a socialist and internationalist basis.