David Cameron has resigned, and the Leave vote in the EU referendum has hurled the Tory party, and the British and European establishments, into a profound crisis. Cameron’s desperate referendum gamble has failed, his party is split in half. The pound and share prices are falling and the “masters of the universe” have felt the sting of rejection.
Despite Remain having the support of the Tories, Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Lib Dems, the Greens, Sinn Fein, practically every bosses’ and international finance body, thousands of “top executives” and the leaders of dozens of states including the US, more than half of those voting backed Leave.
It is time for everyone on the left and all anti-racists, however they voted, to unite and fight against austerity, the destruction of public services, the attacks on refugees, Islamophobia and the fascists who created the conditions for the murder of Jo Cox. The politicians, the rich and the powerful who are so used to getting their own way have suffered a massive reverse.
Just as in so many other parts of the world, there is a revolt going on against the people at the top of society. It can be dragged left or right. It is our job to shape it. The right will try to use the Leave vote to deepen racism. This is a danger, but it is far from inevitable.
It is a lie that the millions of workers who voted Leave are all racists. The mainstream Leave campaign was headed by racists and horrible right wing forces, but a large part of the Leave vote was very different.
One poll taken just before the vote showed that the majority of Leave voters thought that immigration had a good impact or no impact or the areas where they lived. And a fifth thought immigration was positive for Britain as a whole. Another poll found that a third of Labour voters at the 2015 general election, and a third of Green voters were going to back Leave.
There are deep pools of bitterness and frustration everywhere across Britain. The Leave vote was for many a rejection of the undemocratic, corporate-controlled EU and the political elites in Britain. This revolt against the rich and powerful must be built on.
It is a tragedy that Labour did not back Leave. If it had done so it would have transformed the debate to be far more about democracy, breaking from austerity and resisting corporate control than about racism. Instead, by campaigning alongside the Tories for Remain, some Labour MPs have cut themselves off from substantial sections of workers.
During the campaign several leading figures in the Labour Party from Tom Watson and Ed Balls to John McDonnell and Len McCluskey called into question the existing right of EU citizens to come to Britain.
Jeremy Corbyn didn’t do this. He should now call openly for actions against austerity and racism, and demand that the trade union leaders do the same. This is the best chance of forcing the general election that he says Labour is ready for.
Socialist Worker campaigned for an anti-racist, anti-austerity and socialist Leave vote. We are pleased that Leave has won. We know that the #Lexit Left Leave campaign we were part of had only a marginal effect. But we were able to make sure there was an anti-capitalist Leave voice that did not pander to racism.
We recognise that a substantial section of those who voted Remain did so because they felt it was the best way to push back the racism of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. Others were persuaded that the EU stands for workers’ rights and that a Leave vote would strengthen vile right-wing forces.We didn’t agree, but it’s crucial that everyone on the left unites to bring down the Tories and to fight racism.
We must come together in the battles against racism, Islamophobia and in support of refugees, build for the march on the Tory conference in Birmingham on 2 October, back the teachers’ strikes in England and all the other strikes, defend the NHS, combat environmental degradation and fracking and much more. We must not let the Tories recover, and have to fight to make sure this crisis ends with the right shattered and the anti-racist left stronger.
At a time of crisis it is actions we need, not just statements. The more strikes and protests and occupations there are, the better will be the outcome of this Leave vote. We say Tories out, austerity out, migrants in, general election now!
This is shared from Socialist Worker (UK)