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EU Withdrawal Making the class arguments for a left Brexit

COLIN FOX’S article on April 25 and its “analysis” beggars belief in its naivety.

There appears to be a total lack of understanding of the neoliberal nature of the European Union or an awareness that its treaties are designed to serve the interests of EU-based transnational corporations.

Apparently, those of us who argued for a Leave vote have some explaining to do and should understand that the SSP position for a Remain vote was the lesser of two evils. Also we have “no team on the park.”

The article was totally devoid of developments in the trade union and labour movement.

The recent Scottish Labour Party conference defeated proposals that would have put it in conflict with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership position and voted down support for single market membership.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress recently passed a composite stating the following: “Congress calls for a settlement with the EU that protects workers’ rights and enables the British and Scottish governments to defend jobs and undertake active programmes of economic and industrial development.

“Congress therefore calls for the best possible access to the EU single market without strict adherence to EU competition rules that prohibit all the key components of the industrial policy … and would, therefore, endanger the future prospects of the Scottish economy and Scottish jobs.”

Corbyn in his Coventry speech of February 26 underlined Labour’s intent to negotiate “a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union to ensure that they are no tariffs with Europe and to help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland.”

He stressed that Labour’s terms must enable a Labour government to carry through its programme of comprehensive economic redevelopment. “We would seek to negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions necessary in relation to privatisation and public services, competition directives, state aid and procurement rules and the posted workers directive.”

Britain would need “a bespoke negotiated relationship of its own.” We could not be bound to the terms of the existing EU customs union which involves detrimental treaties such as Ceta.

Corbyn is correct to call for “a” customs union — not membership of the existing EU customs union which involves membership of the single market and all its prohibitions on state aid and comprehensive public ownership — as well as its insistence on outsourcing and competitive tendering.

The only part of Fox’s article that I would agree with is the position put by his conference speaker Asbjorn Wahl who sees “social democracy itself in profound crisis.”

The collapse in the social democrat vote in the likes of Italy, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Spain confirms this. 
Anything to do with their love affair with the EU?

I am sure RMT Scottish organiser Gordon Martin will bring a touch of reality to Fox’s conference on what the EU means to workers, such as the requirements of the EU Fourth Railway Package with which the French government is seeking to comply — a privatisation process which began in 2006 with the privatisation of France’s freight service.

While the Scottish Socialist Party seems to be thrashing about seeking ideas of what the EU and Brexit means for our class, communists have been working with our left allies, such as the RMT, in organisations such as Radical Options for Scotland and Europe (Rose) exposing the class character of the EU and proposing alternatives for working people. 

At the recent STUC, RMT general secretary Mick Cash and Jim Sillars of the SNP, along with others, spoke at the Rose fringe meeting, making the class arguments for a left Brexit.

So the left does “have a team on the park” — it’s called the labour and trade union movement.

Tom Morrison is Scottish secretary of the Communist Party of Britain.

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