The British voted to leave the European Union. But the referendum has split society in two. Many younger Brits have turned against the racism and xenophobia of many Brexit supporters and now dogmatically support the EU. In their anti-racism, they fall pray to the propaganda of the European Union, which tries to portray Europe as ”democratic” and ”progressive”. But there is nothing progressive about the EU nor its leaders, who have enforced brutal austerity cuts on workers and their families. However the lack of socialist alternatives have let to a rise in right-wing nationalism, which far-right parties exploit. Now Britain is deeply divided as racist incidents grow and opponents of Brexit, mobilize to keep the United Kingdom inside the EU!
In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition offered a socialist exit plan. Unlike the nationalist camp led by the far-right; UK Independence Party, TUSC stands for a socialist exit from the EU. This means that only a Britain build one genuine democratic socialism, can stand against the mighty European ruling class and its political puppets in the European Commission. Unfortunate, the nationalist camp was getting far more media attention and the deep anger in British society over lower wages, austerity cuts and growing poverty was directed not against the capitalists and their politicians, but against foreign workers and the EU!
Racists claim that because of European free movement, foreign workers from Poland, Bulgaria and Romania come to Britain to ”steal” the work of British workers. This racist idea is enforced by a lack of socialist counterarguments, presented to those who believe this nationalist lie. The Labour Party has become a vehicle of austerity and capitalist exploitation, workers no longer look at Labour as their party. Although Jeremy Corbyn calls himself a socialist, he has not turned the party away from its right-wing style of ruling. Local Labour councils still cut social services and impose austerity. This has led to a general believe that the social democrats are not the allies of the working class and revolutionary socialists agree!
Nationalists use the lack of political representation as a weapon against the left-wing. Far-right politicians like Nigel Farage claim that the left in Britain, support waves of immigrants who reject British society and wish to live off unemployment benefits. The racists of UKIP used to be a tiny party, but have grown in the last years because of the massive anger among British workers. Still it is very dangerous for the working class to think that UKIP stands for their class. Farage and his gang are supporters of classic capitalism meaning that they wish to enforce the rule of greed. This means more privatizations and more deregulation, strengthening the capitalist class!
The younger generation is more positive about the European Union. Teenagers born after 1996 see the EU as a project for ”unity” and ”social harmony”. Although their struggle for a united Europe is not what we reject, they look at the wrong institution. This European Union was constructed to unite only one class: the capitalist class. With its free movement of goods, people and money, European capitalists enjoy a common market were low income nations are used for cheap labour. Many production work moved to the east, especially after 2004 and 2007 as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria joined the union. With former Yugoslavian republics also joining, the capitalist class may find more nations to exploit. Because, there is no common European social safety program. No single minimum wage and no common laws that protects workers from capitalist exploiters!
Some young supporters of the EU claim that we must work together to build a ”social” Europe. We see this line among many moderate leftist parties like the Scandinavian socialist parties, the Left Front in France, The Left in Germany or the Socialist Party in the Netherlands. These political parties wrongly believe they can change Europe for the people. Social democrats, liberals and conservatives do the opposite. Since 1992, the three major ideologies of capitalism carry out politics that are good for big business. The European People’s Party (conservative), the Party of European ”Socialists” (social democrats) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (liberals) wish to create a strong capitalist Europe, that competes with America, Russia and China!
Those who supported Brexit are now faced with growing racism and xenophobia among themselves. Hatred against people from India and Pakistan has increased as racists now dare to publicly spread their hatred of migrant workers. A Pakistani male was told that he would soon be deported and colored British are told to get back to Africa. This racism is exploited by the European media who by large supported the STAY camp. Now they portray all supporters of Brexit as racists and nationalists. This is not only false but also insulting, because many workers voted against the EU not out of racism or ethnic nationalism!
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition had to struggle to fight against both the nationalist side and the so called ”internationalist” side, which claimed that staying in the EU was good. Many who voted to stay say they did so out of internationalism. Although we revolutionary socialists are internationalists, we reject the EU because it is a capitalist creation and has not created equality for the workers of Eastern Europe. 26 years after the collapse of the people’s republics, the workers of Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the former Yugoslav republics still have a much lower income then most workers in Western Europe. For comparison: The average French worker is paid 2.180 euros a month (2.457 U.S dollars) before income taxes. A Romania worker with a average job gets 463 euros (510 U.S dollars) a month before income taxes. The minimum wage in Romania is only 237 euros (260 U.S dollars). 26 years of capitalism and ”European Unity” have not led to more equal payment!
Our alternative is a socialist Europe, build on a complete different idea then the current EU. In a socialist Europe, the means of production would be owned by society and democratically run by workers councils or ”soviets” in Russian. These councils are the backbone of the new socialist society in which the need for profits will be replaced by a need to grow and improve yourself. This mentality may seem idealistic, but we have seen that humans can grow far beyond what their rulers said is possible. We revolutionary socialists believe that we can build a better world, free from the inequality and poverty that capitalism creates!
In Britain the struggle continues. The next government will impose austerity to pay for Brexit. Workers will be faced with more attacks on their wages and social security. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will continue the fight for a socialist alternative and reject both conservative and social democratic governments that are build on the same capitalist logic as the EU. The Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn is not yet a force for the working class as long as right-wing Labour officials enforce budget cuts and capitalist dogma. This is why we cannot trust social democracy in both Britain or Europe!