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From: The Socialist issue 1040, 1 May 2019: Valentine victory: School strike beats council cuts

Search site for keywords: EU - Right-wing - Elections - Brexit - Socialist - Workers - Nottingham

EU elections: Countering Farage's right-wing Brexit Party

'Anti-establishment' establishment politician Nigel Farage, photo by Karl Lang/CC

'Anti-establishment' establishment politician Nigel Farage, photo by Karl Lang/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Clare Wilkins and Gary Freeman, Nottingham Socialist Party

Ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage has launched the Brexit Party to fill the vacuum in British politics for a political party with a definite position to leave the EU amid the Tory meltdown over Brexit and Ukip's implosion. But Farage says it won't publish its manifesto until after the EU elections!

With Labour still failing to put forward a clear programme for a workers' Brexit and a socialist Europe, and working-class leave voters feeling alienated, the danger is that Farage's right-wing party will pick up support. Indeed, on 20 April, over 500 people paid 2.50 each to attend a Brexit Party rally in Nottingham.

Prepared to engage

Outside the rally was a Stand Up To Racism protest, which included socialist Leavers and Remainers.

Nottingham Socialist Party felt we needed to try and engage with alienated workers going to the rally, so we leafleted and talked to people.

We used the slogan "no second referendum - general election now" to catch attention.

And we explained that the longer pro-austerity politicians squabble over EU exit and the Tories are in office, the worse life will be for the working class, whether we voted remain or leave.

Apart from a small number who were abusive, around 50% of people took our leaflet. We also had some positive conversations around our demands.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party need to categorically adopt a socialist EU exit position or some working-class leave voters could be pushed into the arms of the Brexit Party. The Brexit Party has no programme to stop austerity or the hostile environment created by the Tories in most areas of life in modern Britain.

While we call for a properly funded NHS and other services, in contrast Nigel Farage has previously raised that there should be an insurance-based health system run by private companies.

Our leaflet ended with: "We want to see a Jeremy Corbyn-led government with socialist policies negotiating a pro-worker EU exit in the interests of the 99%.

For a government which supports workers' struggles against the bosses in Britain, Europe and across the world.

For unity of workers across Europe - no to racism - don't let the bosses divide us. General election now!"

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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