Vote Yes; fight for the Socialist United States of Europe

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14/10/2015 by socialistfight


The far right are the most Europhobic, the most anti-immigrant, the most racist and by definition the most reactionary in general. They would benefit greatly from a No vote.
By Gerry Downing,14-10-15

On the in-out referendum on membership of the European Union

“The essence of our epoch lies in this, that the productive forces have definitely outgrown the framework of the national state and have assumed primarily in America and Europe partly continental, partly world proportions. The imperialist war grew out of the contradiction between the productive forces and national boundaries. And the Versailles peace which terminated the war has aggravated this contradiction still further. In other words: thanks to the development of the productive forces capitalism has long ago been unable to exist in a single country. Meanwhile, socialism can and will base itself on far more developed productive forces, otherwise socialism would represent not progress but regression with respect to capitalism. In 1914 I wrote: “If the problem of socialism were compatible with the framework of a national state, it would thereby become compatible with national defence.” The formula Soviet United States of Europe is precisely the political expression of the idea that socialism is impossible in one country. Socialism cannot of course attain its full development even in the limits of a single continent. The Socialist United States of Europe represents the historical slogan which is a stage on the road to the world socialist federation.” [1]

We should call for a Yes vote in the coming in-out referendum on membership of the EU. As socialists and Trotskyists we must ask and answer the question, is it in the interests of the working class and oppressed in Britain and internationally for the UK to remain in the EU or to leave it? That is our sole criterion. We are for a Yes vote primarily because we recognise that socialism in a single country is impossible. Indeed as Trotsky points out above capitalism has long ago become impossible to sustain and develop in a single country and socialism must be built on a far higher level of wealth and productivity. An exit from the EU would inevitably strengthen the nationalism and patriotism not only in the British ruling class but also in a big section of the British working class.

Image result for trotsky images

Trotsky, “If the problem of socialism were compatible with the framework of a national state, it would thereby become compatible with national defence.”

Economic Nationalism and Stalinism

Economic nationalism, calling for import controls and the exclusion of immigrants and ‘foreign’ workers, would be enormously strengthened by an exit. This would strengthen the right wing of the Tory party, the United Kingdom Independence party (Ukip) and fascist groups. It would also strengthen the aristocracy of labour, those skilled and privileged sections of workers with relatively good jobs, on whom the trade union bureaucracy rests. As the spokesperson for the trade union bureaucracy and primary ideologue of and defender of this layer of workers the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and their mouthpiece, The Morning Star (MS) are the foremost ideological advocates of exit from Europe in the labour movement.

We clearly saw this danger in the strike wave in 2009 over British jobs for British workers. As we wrote then:

“Socialist Fight (SF) unequivocally opposes the current ‘wildcat’ strikes because they were called on the reactionary basis of ‘British jobs for British workers’ (BJ4BW), it was on this xenophobic basis they were spread, with the assistance of the right wing media and on this basis they were tacitly endorsed by the entire Unite and GMB leaderships. We place the blame for this situation squarely on the backs of the reactionary Labour movement leaders; Gordon Brown and the Labour party leaders for endorsing the reactionary slogan, borrowed from the BNP, the Unite, GMB and other TU leaderships for tacitly endorsing and pursuing negotiations on that basis. A major weight of responsibility also rests on the shoulders of those left groups and organisations, the Communists Party of Britain (CPB), the Socialist Party of England and Wales and others who have acted as left apologists for these bureaucratic misleaders of the working class. When similar demands were made on the French TU leadership they immediately rejected them as reactionary chauvinism and insisted on the demands like ‘we will not pay for the bankers/capitalism’s crises.

“These are reactionary strikes for reactionary ends which can only win by driving foreign workers out of the country and setting in train the destruction of the entire working class and its organisations and all their historical gains. Fight them now, fight the reactionary leadership of the class who are responsible for this appalling situation or it will get worse. Do not try to find the silver lining; it is not there. They do mean what they say. If they occupied the plant and forged international solidarity that would be an entirely different strike, with entirely different leaders. To pretend otherwise is to defend the existing leaders and to prepare more defeats. This is differentiating the left in Britain; it goes to the core of class politics. Fight the reaction without reservations and you will find new revolutionists who will come forward to champion the interests of the class as an international whole.” [2]

In the last referendum in 1975 the MS could boast that they were the only newspaper to support the No campaign then, gathering under their banner Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Barbara Castle, Enoch Powell, Ian Paisley, the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Scottish National party, Plaid Cymru, the Ulster Unionist party and the Democratic Unionist party. A truly revolutionary popular front who shared platforms without regard to class, creed or politics but which nevertheless failed in its endeavours!

As the CPB/MS are Stalinists, the ideological foundation of which is socialism in a single country, they invariable follow the very patriotic line of defending capitalism in a single country too. In fact this is the logical theoretical basis of all who seek the parliamentary road to socialism. The then CPGB adopted the openly reformist programme called The British Road to Socialism in 1951 under the guidance of Joe Stalin himself.

The British Road to Socialism of 1951

It said basically the same thing in 1951 about the United States as it is saying about Europe now:

 ”For the first time in its history, our country has lost its independence and freedom of action in its foreign, economic and military policy to a foreign power—the United States of America. The Labour Government and its advisers dare take no major step without American permission, and the leaders of the Tory and Labour Parties compete with one another in servility to the Americans. The leaders of the Labour and Tory Parties have become spokesmen of a foreign power. Concerned only to defend capitalism and profit, the Labour leaders and the Tories openly betray Britain’s national interests. Such differences as they allow themselves with America are those of the bankrupt junior partner striving to retain what it can in face of American pressure.

“The restoration of British national independence, which has been given away by the leaders of the Tory, Liberal and Labour Parties, is the indispensable condition for Britain’s recovery and political, economic and social advance. The Communist Party declares that the leaders of the Tory, Liberal and Labour Parties and their spokesmen in the press and on the B.B.C. are betraying the interests of Britain to dollar imperialism. Our call is for the unity of all true patriots to defend British national interests and independence.

“We stand for a Britain, free, strong and independent. We want our country to be subordinate and subservient to no foreign power, but to stand in friendly association and equal alliance with all powers that recognise and respect Britain’s national interests. The Communist Party would break with the policy of sell-out to America. It would restore to the British Parliament its exclusive sovereign right to control the country’s financial, economic and military policy, close the country to foreign capitalist penetration and restore the command of the British Armed Forces to British commanders.

“To restore control of its own affairs to Britain, so that Britain’s, power could be used on the basis of an independent foreign policy, would be a great contribution towards the preservation of world peace. The Communist Party therefore rejects all theories which declare national sovereignty to be out of date and thus seek to justify enslavement to American imperialism or aggression against other nations. Real international co-operation can be based only on the sovereign freedom and equal rights of all nations, great and small. Because of this, the cause of Britain’s national independence is bound up with ensuring that all nations in the present Empire also enjoy full national rights and independence.” [3]

It should go without saying that there is nothing socialist let alone genuinely communist about this ultra-patriotic bourgeois reactionary nonsense. The class collaboration that assumes a community of interests between British capitalists and British workers drips from almost every sentence; “our country has lost its independence”, “the Labour leaders and the Tories openly betray Britain’s national interests”, “the unity of all true patriots!!!” “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” Samuel Johnson once said, although Boswell hastily assured us that he was only referring to “false patriotism”. Presumable Joe Stalin and Harry Pollitt discovered the genuine variety, the “we are all in this together” kind espoused by David Cameron.

And to champion the “national sovereignty” of an imperialist power like Great Britain is beyond ‘revisionism’, to use a hackneyed Stalinist word. The fact that Stalin, and not just Khrushchev, endorsed this absolute drivel has given rise to big problems about Khrushchevite ‘revisionism’. Vijay Singh, Editor of ‘Revolutionary Democracy’, an Indian Stalinist publication favoured by many internationally including the New Communist party in Britain, asserts:

“However, in the absence of the relevant documentation the nature and significance of Stalin’s contribution was always opaque. There were clear grounds for supposing that the interpretation of Khrushchev and the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU of the ‘peaceful’ and ‘parliamentary’ path to socialism did not correspond to the known views of Lenin and Stalin on these questions… The methods whereby the organised working class would counter and defeat the resistance of the capitalists were not spelt out but it may be reasonably supposed that the methods adopted by the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution and the Communist and Workers’ Parties in the revolutionary process in the People’s Democracies of Eastern and South-East Europe and the national liberation war in Greece were not unknown to the CPGB.” [4]

Well no, those words are not directly used but they do not have to be. Everything in the extract given above indicates the ‘peaceful’ and ‘parliamentary’ path to socialism by loyal British patriots for even the most naive of political thinkers. And it is difficult to construe “decisive action to win a Parliamentary majority and form a People’s Government” in any other way.

And we would contend that contrary to Comrade Singh it may be “reasonably supposed” that this has nothing to do with the known views (and methods) of Lenin and everything to do with the know views (and methods) of Stalin since 1924 when he imposed the gross revision of Marxism known as socialism in a single country on the former Bolshevist party and extinguished its revolutionary soul.

Split in the Ruling Class

The split in the ruling class over Europe is a historic one which is based on economic factors which have existed since after WWI but have developed strongly in recent decades.

The British economy, particularly since the Thatcher epoch, relies very heavily on the City of London; its manufacturing base has shrunk dramatically since the 1970s, diminished by her assault on the working class and its historic vanguard, the miners. Economics Help tells us:

 ”Manufacturing as a share of real GDP has fallen from 30% in 1970 to 12% in 2010.” [5]

“The UK had the second largest stock of inward foreign direct investment and the second-largest stock of outward foreign direct investment. The UK is one of the world’s most globalised economies… the service sector dominates the UK economy, contributing around 78% of GDP; the financial services industry is particularly important and London is the world’s largest financial centre (tied with New York).” 6]

Britain exited from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), which was preparing for monetary union, in 1992 because the run on the pound showed it could not compete economically with Germany. Germany is a far different type of economy to Britain:

 ”In 2014, Germany recorded the highest trade surplus in the world worth $285 billion, making it the biggest capital exporter globally. Germany is the third largest exporter in the world with $1.511 trillion exported in 2014. The service sector contributes around 70% of the total GDP, industry 29.1%, and agriculture 0.9%. Exports account for 41% of national output. [7]

Britain operates as a junior partner to American imperialism, it basically takes its orders from Washington on all important matters of economy and war. Obama wants Britain to remain in Europe as a counterweight to Germany. If Britain leaves Europe then Germany will be tempted to defy the USA more frequently and to forge alliances which they see as in their interests against the USA. On exiting Europe its manufacturing base will shrink even further, it will become even more reliant on the City of London and more of a tool of the USA and will follow it even more obediently into every war and conflict without the counter-balancing weight of the EU.

A big section of the British ruling class do not welcome this prospect. It is significant that Britain along with Germany, France and Italy defied the USA and joined the China-dominated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The fact that the USA and David Cameron oppose exit from the EU is not an argument for exit, they are opposed to a downward spiral towards WWIII subjectively whilst supporting the system that is driving it. We do not oppose them in order to bring that prospect closer politically.

Who leads the No Campaign?

As the forces on each side line up in the coming in-out referendum there are big differences with the 1975 referendum but also big similarities. The British ruling class itself is seriously split on the question between a section of the finance capital elite and manufactures and so is the labour movement but the MS still leads the No vote on the left and is willing to collaborate with everyone to its right to prove its patriotism yet again.


The No camp MPs includes those on the right of the Tory party (maybe up to 100 MPs if Cameron gets little by way of concessions from the EU, it is rumoured), Labour MPs Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, Kelvin Hopkins and Roger Godsiff and Ukip’s sole MP Douglas Carswell. The campaign is “bankrolled by a string of millionaire party donors, including Labour money-man John Mills, former Tory co-treasurer Peter Cruddas and spread-betting tycoon Stuart Wheeler, who has pumped a fortune into Ukip”, according to The Mirror. MSinfluenced TU leaders and many Stalinists influenced by its socialism-in-a-single-country ideology like Arthur Scargill are for exit as are both the Socialist Party (CWI) and the Socialist Workers party (although the latter is far less ‘patriotic’). Jeremy Corbyn, a long time MS columnist, has voted for exit in the past but now says he is for remaining in.

A leading member of the RMT made the following social patriotic statement to a conference of the Peoples Movement (Ireland) in Dublin in October 2011:

“The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is demanding measures to protect particularly unskilled workers where social dumping is threatening jobs. “It is an iron law of economics that an abundant supply of labour pushes down its cost. It is insulting people’s intelligence to pretend otherwise,” it said in a statement. Across Europe, it is clear that we are witnessing large movement of capital eastwards as labour heads west. And this is happening in accordance to the principles of the single European market, which allow the ‘free movement of goods, capital, services and labour’, regardless of the social consequences. Single market rules, therefore, truncate all forms of democracy, including rights to fair wages, working conditions, welfare and social protection and collective bargaining. These EU policies can only mean a continuation of mass migration and, ultimately, feed the poison of racism and fascism, the last refuge of the corporate beast in crisis. To reverse this increasingly perverse situation, all nation states must have democratic control over their own immigration policy and have the right to apply national legislation in defence of migrant and indigenous workers.” [8]

That amounts to a direct appeal to the ruling class to protect the privileges of the labour aristocracy against the immigrants in the good old tradition of class collaboration pioneered by Joe Stalin in The British Road to Socialism, threading the same road of the German Social Democracy voting for the war credits to the Kaiser on 4 August 1914. “If an employer sacked its workers and employed these c**** on lower wages what would you do Gerry?” as one leading RMTer once asked me. Back in the 19th century the immigrants in Britain were Irish and later, Jews. Karl Marx, in a stance diametrically opposed to that of Joe Stalin and some in the RMT, set out the principles Marxists have adopted toward immigrants ever since:

“Every industrial and commercial centre in England now possesses a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his standard of life. In relation to the Irish worker he regards himself as a member of the ruling nation and consequently he becomes a tool of the English aristocrats and capitalists against Ireland, thus strengthening their domination over himself. He cherishes religious, social, and national prejudices against the Irish worker. His attitude towards him is much the same as that of the “poor whites” to the Negroes in the former slave states of the U.S.A. The Irishman pays him back with interest in his own money. He sees in the English worker both the accomplice and the stupid tool of the English rulers in Ireland. (our emphasis). [9]

What the Morning Star and Owen Jones have argued

On 21 August the MS expressed embarrassment that “the loudest voices against the neoliberal bloc are those of Ukip cranks”. But it does not have to be that way. Farage said: “I don’t care if a socialist heads up the campaign.” But the author, Carl Pacman, thinks things could be different:

“For too long the right have had Euro scepticism covered. However that is starting to change. Ever since TTIP and the treatment of Greece, more people on the left are speaking out over the issue. But why exactly should left-wingers be campaigning and advocating for a British exit? For me there are three main reasons. The first is that the EU is run on secretive decision-making. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has revealed how backdoor privatisation deals can be made through totally above-board bilateral trade agreements between the EU and the US.” [10]

The TTIP is a thoroughly reactionary agreement negotiated by the EU. However Comrade Carl neglects to tell us in what way the British government, or indeed the Labour opposition up to the election of Jeremy Corbyn, has opposed the TTIP. And if Corbyn proves the champion to fight against it would he not be more likely to succeed within Europe? We have just seen an absolutely huge German demonstration in Berlin of 250,000 against it on 10 October. That is surely the united force we need to tackle this global attack. Because along with TTIP is TiSA and TPP, this is a global offensive by global imperialism, its great finance houses and its transnationals. A global response is called for. But Pacman demurs:

“The second reason is the existence of the EU means neoliberalism is here to stay. I recently spoke with some Greek trade union representatives who told me the best they can hope for is a social EU that tones down the neoliberal agenda. This lack of hope is tragic. In any case, it is also fantasy. The troika has effectively won its battle with Syriza in Greece since Alexis Tsipras has backed down. The upshot for the country is more austerity with privatisation measures. The likelihood that the EU is about to go softer on neoliberal austerity measures is highly unlikely.”[11]

The likelihood that we will get a British government to opposes neo-liberalism before 2020 is small. And even if we do it will not be able to do it in Britain alone. This version of two steps back in order to go one step forward will not work. It will be two steps back followed by two more steps back. And reason No. 3:

“Finally, the EU is inherently uninterested in creating European harmony. Contrary to the supposed original principles of a union of European nations, the EU today has pitted richer countries against poorer countries. Countries in the EU are either creditors, such as Germany and France, or debtors, like Ireland and Greece. Loans made to Greece, underwritten by European creditors to the previous Pasok government, were unsustainable. The conditions for these loans — imposed austerity measures — made things even worse and the economy shrank by 25 per cent from 2007-2014.”12]

Again telling us what a terrible thing has happened to Greece without posing anything other than a nationalist solution is worse than useless. Even more so for Greece than for Britain, if in a very different way. An independent Greece in the midst of a raging global financial crisis that could survive without the immediate assistance of the working class of Europe and the world coming to its assistance is a fool’s illusion.

Others to have presented basically the same MS arguments are Owen Jones and George Monbiot. Jones begins his 13-7-15 Guardian article, The left must put Britain’s EU withdrawal on the agenda, thus:

“Everything good about the EU is in retreat; everything bad is on the rampage,” writes George Monbiot, explaining his about-turn. “All my life I’ve been pro-Europe,” says Caitlin Moran, “but seeing how Germany is treating Greece, I am finding it increasingly distasteful.” Nick Cohen believes the EU is being portrayed “with some truth, as a cruel, fanatical and stupid institution”. “How can the left support what is being done?” asks Suzanne Moore. “The European ‘Union’. Not in my name.” There are senior Labour figures in Westminster and Holyrood privately moving to an “out” position too.

“If anything, this new wave of left Euroscepticism represents a reawakening. Much of the left campaigned against entering the European Economic Community when Margaret Thatcher and the like campaigned for membership. It was German and French banks who benefited from the bailouts, not the Greek economy. It would threaten the ability of leftwing governments to implement policies, people like my parents thought, and would forbid the sort of industrial activism needed to protect domestic industries. But then Thatcherism happened, and an increasingly battered and demoralised left began to believe that the only hope of progressive legislation was via Brussels. The misery of the left was, in the 1980s, matched by the triumphalism of the free marketeers, who had transformed Britain beyond many of their wildest ambitions, and began to balk at the restraints put on their dreams by the European project.”  [13]

Having rejected the left wing politics of his parents, who were Ted Grant and Militant supporters, Jones in now busily advising Jeremy Corbyn to tack to the right, to adopt politics in defence of British capitalism and basically abandon any arguments for socialism or real leftism. He wrote the following disgraceful tract in an article on 16 September:

“That means adopting an inclusive, cheerful, positive approach: love-bombing opponents, even. Nearly 4 million people voted for Ukip at the last election. If they are dismissed as racists rather than working-class people who often have unanswered fears over jobs, housing, public services and the future of their children and grandchildren, they will be lost forever.” [14]

The puerile advice to them is that we should be “love-bombing opponents” instead of fighting reaction and demonstrating to them how wrong they are. This is what produced Miliband’s racist immigration mug (logo, ‘controls on immigration, I’m voting Labour 7 May’) that went a long way to persuade those voters that their racist views were legitimate. Enough of the “love-bombing” nonsense, fight the capitalist class and show these backward workers the bosses are the real enemy and not the immigrants.

His arguments in Europe are from the same perspective. A sort of a right wing version of the old Militant programme of Enabling Acts passed through parliaments with the working class as a stage army to assist the real revolutionaries and workers in uniform and defence of ‘British interests’ in foreign wars etc. so as to mollify reaction, reverting to the essential blueprint for all that reactionary nonsense, Joe Stalin’s British Road to Socialism and its global counterparts for almost every country approved by Joe in that period. His arguments on Greece and TTIP are rehashed the MS arguments.

What is the positive case for a Yes Vote?

In 1929 Trotsky explained:

“The basic task of unification (of Europe – SF) must be economic in character, not only in the commercial but also productive sense. It is necessary to have a regime that would eliminate the artificial barriers between European coal and European iron. It is necessary to enable the system of electrification to expand in consonance with natural and economic conditions, and not in accordance with the frontiers of Versailles. It is necessary to unite Europe’s railways into a single system, and so on and so forth ad infinitum. All this, in its turn, is inconceivable without the destruction of the ancient Chinese system of custom borders within Europe. This would, in its turn, mean a single, All-European customs union – against America.” [15]

But surely we must not attempt in any way to confuse the Socialist United States of Europe with the present imperialist cabal that is the European Union? The United States was established in the war of Independence and maintained in the Civil War in revolutionary struggles. France’s internal customs borders were demolished along with the ancien regime by revolution. However both Germany and Italy were unified from the top down basically by reactionary political movements. Trotsky:

“It has happened more than once in history that when the revolution is not strong enough to solve in time a task that is mature historically, its solution is undertaken by reaction. Thus Bismarck unified Germany in his own manner after the failure of the 1848 revolution. Thus Stolypin tried to solve the agrarian question after the defeat of the 1905 revolution. Thus the Versailles victors solved the national question in their own way, which all the previous bourgeois revolutions in Europe proved impotent to solve. The Germany of the Hohenzollerns tried to organize Europe in its own way, i.e. by uniting it under its helmet.

“The leadership of the Comintern, and particularly the leadership of the French Communist Party are exposing the hypocrisy of official pacifism… The slogan of the United States of Europe is not a cunning invention of diplomacy. It springs from the immutable economic needs of Europe which emerge all the more painfully and acutely the greater is the pressure of the USA… In the person of the Opposition the vanguard of the European proletariat tells its present rulers: In order to unify Europe it is first of all necessary to wrest power out of your hands. We will do it. We will unite Europe. We will unite it against the hostile capitalist world. We will turn it into a mighty drill-ground of militant socialism. We will make it the cornerstone of the World Socialist Federation.” [16]

The leadership of the Tory party, the Labour party (with the small opposition above), the Liberal Democrats (almost no opposition here), the Scottish National party, Plaid Cymru (Welsh nationalists), the DUP, UUP, SDLP and Sinn Fein (the four north of Ireland parties) are in the Yes camp. The nationalist parties all hope to attract US investments by low corporate tax and outright tax breaks and that vitally depends on staying in Europe, hence the big change there since 1975. Of the far left Workers Power, the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the CPGB (Weekly Worker) are for Yes. The SSP in Scotland and Left Unity in England and Wales also support a Yes vote. Socialist Resistance are undecided although Alan Thornett is for Yes and has strongly argued for it. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT, British section) are for abstention, on the ridiculous basis that this referendum is the equivalent of an inter-imperialist war on which Marxists must be dual defeatist. [17] Obama has urged Cameron to fight to remain in Europe and Cameron visible strengthened his stance as a consequence, the leadership of France and Germany want the UK to remain in. Opinion polls put the Yes camp in the lead by approximately 39-44%, an insignificant margin.

Of course we acknowledge that the EU is a ‘bosses’ club’ that its structures are undemocratic even in the very limited terms of bourgeois democracy, that it does not have the advantages of a federal capitalist state in terms of bourgeois democracy, that monetary union is not fiscal union so all the weaker states in the EU are at the mercy of German imperialism which exploits the size and strength of its economy to oppress all other nations. But revolution against the British State would be in a far better position to defend and extend itself with the assistance of the European and global working class if they are joined together in the EU.

How will it advance this historic task if we first of all succumb to national socialism, reject alliances with the other working classes of Europe and seek national solutions to the problems facing the working class in Britain alone, which are profoundly global in origins and whose solution is to be found only in the international arena? You may argue that that is profoundly contrary to your intention in voting No but that is what will result as sure as night follows day.


As one comrade commented on this nationalist piece:

“A question for Owen Jones: why is it that the radical left in Greece (apart from the Stalinist KKE) is desperate to remain part of the EU despite suffering at the hands of the European bankers and rightwing politicians. The answer is that the European left are united in wanting to see a peoples’ Europe not a bankers’ Europe. The British left walking away from this fight will only strengthen those who represent the City of London and reactionary, bigoted, backward forces in British society and culture.” Nick Long, London. [18]

Spot on there, Comrade Nick. Of course the collaboration between the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the CPB/MS and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) under late general secretary Bob Crow and now under Mick Cash in No to EU, yes to Democracy and in the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was partly on the basis of their mutual opposition to Europe and softness on immigration controls apart from the SWP who oppose immigration controls but manages to collaborate with the other two without any problem in TUSC. The SWP say “Our role in the referendum is to try to carve out a space for an internationalist No campaign” [19]  Good luck with that one, you’ll need it! The SP have a position of opposition to racist immigration controls, the traditional hypocritical position of the old CPGB. As Peter Manson explained in Weekly Worker:

“In fact the policy of the ‘official’ Communist Party of Great Britain (and, after it, the CPB) has been one of ‘non-racist immigration controls’ for over half a century. Here I am grateful to Dr Evan Smith and his website, Hatful of History, for having collated the statements of the CPGB on this question since the early 1960s. [20] For example, Evans quotes the Communist Party weekly, Comment, which in 1963 stated that the previous year’s Commonwealth Immigrants Act must be opposed, because it was “not an act to control immigration in general”, but constituted “colour discrimination in immigration”. [21]

The SP have not softened their position on immigration control here in their British Perspectives 2013:

“We staunchly oppose racism. We defend the right to asylum, and argue for the end of repressive measures like detention centres. At the same time, given the outlook of the majority of the working class, we cannot put forward a bald slogan of ‘open borders’ or ‘no immigration controls’, which would be a barrier to convincing workers of a socialist programme, both on immigration and other issues. Such a demand would alienate the vast majority of the working class, including many more long-standing immigrants, who would see it as a threat to jobs, wages and living conditions. Nor can we make the mistake of dismissing workers who express concerns about immigration as ‘racists’. While racism and nationalism are clearly elements in anti-immigrant feeling, there are many consciously anti-racist workers who are concerned about the scale of immigration.” [22]

It really does not take a very bright spark to work out where Owen Jones gets his reactionary views from. And what is the source of the labour movement support for EU exit. It is all there in that 1951 British Road to Socialism inspired by Joe Stalin himself. All the more reason to oppose it and vote Yes.


[1] Leon Trotsky, Disarmament and the United States of Europe, 4 October 1929,
[2] Socialist Fight No. 2 Summer 2009, p 10, No support for these chauvinist, xenophobic strikes,
[3] Communist Party of Great Britain, The British Road to Socialism, Programme adopted by the Executive Committee of the Communist Party, January, 1951, accessed 13-10-2015,
[4] Vijay Singh, The British Road to Socialism of 1951: A Programme of People’s Democracy, accessed 13-10-15,
[6] Wikipedia, Economy of the United Kingdom,
[8] Trade Unionists against the EU, Social Europe is a con,
[9] Karl Marx London, 1870, Letter of Marx to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt In New York,
[10] Morning Star, Socialists should lead the bid to leave the EU, the case for why Britain must exit the neoliberal empire of the EU.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Owen Jones, The left must put Britain’s EU withdrawal on the agenda,
[14] Owen Jones, The Guardian 16 September, If Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is going to work, it has to communicate,
[15] Trotsky, Disarmament, Opus cit.
[16] Ibid.
[17]The RCIT maintains that authentic Marxists must refuse to support either of these two, equally reactionary, imperialist camps. The most important task now is to fight for the political independence of the working class and the oppressed vis-à-vis either of these imperialist camps. There is no lesser evil for the working class.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Joseph Choonara, EU referendum: Should we stay or should we go? August 2015,
[21] Peter Manson, Playing a fool’s game, Weekly Worker, Issue 1014, 12.06.2014,
[22] British Perspectives 2013: a Socialist Party congress document, 28 March 2013,

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