08/10/2019 by socialistfight
By Gerry Downing
Corbyn’s programme of appealing to everyone in the next general election will end up pleasing no one. If you voted remain vote Labour, if you voted Brexit vote Labour, if you could not make up your mind, vote Labour because we can’t make up our minds either.
The notion that you can unite the country (surely the working class?) by pitching to the Brexiteers is fundamentally wrong.
True the northern and south Wales working-class voted Brexit because they were abandoned and oppressed severely by austerity, particularly since 2008. But Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson persuaded them the problem was immigrants taking their jobs and houses and filling their beds in the NHS. There was a racist dynamic about that referendum that saw a huge upsurge in racist attacks, in nationalist isolationism, English nationalism and consequent programme of import controls and trade wars.
But that dynamic is not set in stone, a big section of that same working-class came back to Labour in the May 2017 general election because austerity and not Brexit was then the issue and the manifesto, despite its weaknesses, at least promised a fightback far better than Ed Miliband’s and so they rallied to their traditional party on the promise and hope.
But even from Labour councils, no fightback happened on the direct instructions of Corbyn and McDonnell. Tory cuts were Labour’s savings’ to decimate the welfare state. And no fightback from the unions, not even the token readoption of Clause 4 was tolerated by the ‘left’ bureaucracy like McClusky lest the working class forge a leadership for their fightback in Labour.
And Corbyn and McDonnell relied on this bureaucracy to shaft their own left-wing as bad as Blair ever did in this year’s conference.
Only 8% of those who voted Brexit now intend coming back to Labour, according to the latest opinion polls.
Only a strong internationalist remain stance could win these voters back to Labour. But only those who continually triangulate and see the class struggle in terms of getting Labour elected at all costs by this method could think this will work.
It will not. Trying to conciliate reaction will only encourage it, as we have seen over the bogus antisemitism attacks and Corbyn’s abject capitulation to it.
A socialist internationalist orientation to the working class in Europe and internationally is the only road forward. The battle for socialism is always national in form but international in content; capitalism, let alone socialism, in a single country is a fool’s illusion.
And fighting for English nationalism first and then passing an enabling bill to forge socialism forgets those northern and south Wales workers now still moving rightwards, Johnson, Farage and Tommy Robinson? It happened in Germany in 1933.
To fightback revolutionary socialist internationalists need to seek to get workers fighting for their own interests, which we are sure they will in the short to medium term. Uprisings on specifically working-class issues in Iraq and Ecuador show an international wind of change is blowing.
The greatest mistake would be to abandon these workers to Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage by conciliating their backwardness.
Trotsky set the correct tone on this back in the early 1920s in his work Their Morals and Ours:
“But the masses are by no means identical, there are revolutionary masses, there are passive masses, there are reactionary masses. The very same masses at different times are inspired by different moods and objectives”.