EU Referendum: A Disastrous Outcome
The following is a statement by the Left Unity Executive Committee following the outcome of the referendum vote in the UK:
Left Unity deplores the Leave outcome of the EU Referendum. This referendum came from pressure from the far right – driven by anti-immigration sentiment, fuelled by racism. This has been the most reactionary national campaign in British political history, resulting in an open emergence of the extreme right.
In Brexit Britain, we still face austerity, poverty and extreme inequality: the rotten policies of our government are still here. Brexit will not be a loosening of the shackles of neo-liberalism as some on the left have argued. It will be an unmitigated compounding of the same policies by the British ruling class. We deeply regret that the working people of Britain have been deceived and manipulated into believing that Brexit will bring about relief from the grinding austerity that is destroying lives and communities. We will now work tirelessly to oppose those who would divide us further. We will fight to defend the rights of working class communities and rebuild support for socialist ideas.
We will step up the fight against neo-liberalism here – opposing all cuts, defending the NHS, fighting for decent housing – and across Europe, because the problems we face cannot be solved on a national basis. These are international problems faced by the working class internationally and this requires solidarity and cooperation across national boundaries. We cannot cut ourselves off from our allies: the peoples of Europe in our shared and common struggles. Unity is strength and that means unity of working people, poor and exploited people, across borders.
We call on all those who reject this disastrous turn in British politics to unite to oppose racism, to defend the rights of migrants and to fight to protect and extend workers’ and other rights that are now under threat. We reject the ‘divide and rule’ methods of our ruling class, setting one worker against another, wherever they come from, and turning one community against another. The problems we face result from the neo-liberal, deregulatory, anti-working class policies imposed by successive British governments, not from immigrants and refugees – our fellow working people. We have been proud to share this position with the Labour leadership, the TUC and the overwhelming majority of trade unions and we will work together to take these principles forward.
We may be heading out of the EU but it is more important than ever to work in solidarity with other workers and communities. Movements and left parties throughout Europe are mounting their own massive political opposition to neo-liberalism, against austerity and poverty. We stand a better chance of defeating our own ruling class by working together with the people of Europe with shared strategies in common campaigns.
We watch the advance of the left in Europe – particularly where there is newfound cooperation and unity in Spain and Portugal – with our hearts filled with hope. We send our solidarity and best wishes to Unidos Podemos in Spain for success in their election this weekend. We see the struggles of the French workers against the imposition of the new labour laws and convey our solidarity to these and other struggles. But we also watch with grave concern the rise of the far right across Europe as well as in Britain. We need urgently to consolidate our forces against this growing tendency.
Left Unity emerged from the struggles of the European working class and is proud to be part of the European Left Party. We must unite the working class across Europe, to defeat neo-liberalism and the far right. We are in a period of profound economic and political crisis – both in Britain and across Europe – with increasing political polarisation and intensifying class struggle. The basis on which that struggle can be fought and won has to be absolutely clear. We will fight to rebuild the British left on uncompromisingly anti-racist, pro-immigration terms, making no concessions to the false narrative that has dominated the referendum debate. We appeal to all those who share this perspective to join us and work with us.