In the aftermath of the referendum

THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) referendum campaigns are now over, and although the results are still not known it is time to reflect on the way the campaigns have been conducted and to learn what we can.

The whole issue has shown up a vast rift amongst the ruling class — one that most of them would have liked to keep under wraps. David Cameron certainly did not want this referendum, which has split his party apart. But promising it was the only way he could keep enough of his flock from voting UKIP to get a majority in the House of Commons — and a very narrow majority it is.

Reneging on his promise would have blown Cameron’s majority away and his government would already have fallen. As it is, he has had to duck and dive and back-track on a score of issues just to hold on this long.

Ironically one of his best allies in pushing voters towards the Remain camp has been Nigel Farage, who, like so many of the ruling class, made the mistake of believing their own propaganda that the working class in Britain is deeply and inherently racist.

The Islamophobic English Defence League (EDL) also learned this the hard way. Ten years ago they were convinced that the majority of working class England supported their campaign of hate and fear against immigrants. But they were continually disappointed, and felt betrayed when up and down the country local people turned out to repel their vile invasions and the violence and hatred they brought with them. The truth is that most working class people in a town, wherever they may have been born and whatever faith they follow, face the same problems. They just want to get on with their lives, make a good future for their children and live peacefully with their neighbours. On the whole migrants and locals get on well together.

Farage’s campaign was so racist and vile it drove many good people into the arms of the Remain camp.

The leaders of both camps used mindless fearmongering — fear of uncontrolled immigration on one hand and fear of the unknown economic future on the other — to prevent their followers from examining the more fundamental issues — the issues of the class struggle.

Before the referendum campaigns began most people found EU issues boring — over and over again the media had subtly told them these issues were boring — like the dodgy salesman telling the gullible buyer: “You don’t want to bother yourself with the small print of the agreement.” So, few delved into the depths of the growing, undemocratic, increasingly aggressive and militaristic behemoth that the EU has been evolving into.

The violent and brutal break-up of the former Yugoslavia, more recent strikes and riots in Greece, catastrophic unemployment in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and a civil war in Ukraine have been presented on the news with no explanation of the role of the EU — along with the United States imperialist agents — in causing all this grief.

After the fall of the Soviet Union the peoples of Eastern Europe have been incited to retreat into narrow nationalisms and ethnic hatreds of their former neighbours, and new fascist movements have been fostered. There is plenty of scope for this. Over the previous millennium wars have been fought all over Europe, borders have moved back and forth, empires have sprung up and fallen. Everywhere there are minority enclaves feeling surrounded and under pressure and defensive. This has been used to suppress class consciousness and solidarity between workers. The EU has fought against the most powerful force there is for workers’ rights — the solidarity that crosses ethnic, racial and religious boundaries.

The EU and the ruling class that created it have consistently used the tactic of divide and rule against workers. Now they are divided it is time for us to take advantage and our first strike must be to get rid of Prime Minister David Cameron and push for a new general election.