No to EU austerity, photo Paul Mattsson

No to EU austerity, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

  • Fight for a socialist, internationalist Brexit
Mark Best, Hackney Socialist Party

Senior members of the right-wing Vote Leave campaign may have broken election law, allegedly breaching spending limits by donating money to another organisation they campaigned with.

At the time, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) – the anti-austerity electoral alliance including transport union RMT and the Socialist Party – called on the Electoral Commission to use its legal power not to designate an official campaign, rather than hand state funding to reactionaries. This position was also officially backed by civil service union PCS.

TUSC made the point that socialists and trade unionists campaigning for a working class, socialist Brexit represented the real opposition to the capitalists and establishment politicians who dominated the Remain camp.

And the RMT, for example, with over 80,000 members, dwarfed the few nationalist politicians, business owners and journalists who backed the right-wing Brexit position of a tiny minority of capitalists.

But the Electoral Commission rejected TUSC’s appeal. Instead it declared Vote Leave the official campaign, awarding it a £600,000 grant, free postage worth £13 million, TV and radio time for referendum broadcasts, and the use of meeting facilities free of charge.

So it was Vote Leave which went up against big business’s ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ campaign. This cemented the tone we saw in the referendum, with both official campaigns competing to demonstrate who was tougher on migrants, in or out.

The case for an internationalist, socialist Brexit wasn’t heard by a mass audience. Nonetheless, class anger against the capitalist establishment was the main driver of the Leave vote.

The allegations against Vote Leave emphasise that in Brexit, as in all things, workers have nothing in common with the bosses and their politicians. We need to keep fighting for an independent, pro-worker Brexit, and a new collaboration of the peoples of Europe on a socialist and internationalist basis.

  • A full account of TUSC’s principled socialist Leave campaign, which made no compromises with the reactionary leavers, is available at the TUSC website