The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 11th November 2016
THE LABOUR leadership is losing its way over a possible vote in the House of Commons on the terms of Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn initially opposed leaving the European Union but after the result of the 23rd June referendum he declared he would respect the decision of the people of Britain and not obstruct the Brexit process.
But now there has been great confusion within the leadership of the party about the position it will take in a parliamentary vote. Corbyn is still saying he will respect the result of the referendum but at the same time he and John McDonnell have produced a “bottom line list” of conditions they expect to see the Tories win from the terms of Brexit negotiations.
One of these conditions is that Britain should remain in the EU single market. But that single market is the keystone of the EU — the basis of the Treaty of Rome, a joining together of European capitalists to set trading terms to exclude the rest of the world and to exploit the European working class to the maximum in order to make themselves rich. This is what we voted to escape from.
Corbyn and McDonnell know that Labour voting in Parliament against the Brexit negotiations could force a general election. McDonnell has told Labour activists to prepare for a possible May general election. Keeping their word on Brexit Labour just might win such an election. Going into election with a confused policy on Brexit they would be sure to lose it. That would hit the newly awakened confidence and morale of Britain’s workers very heavily. The phenomenon of Corbynism would dwindle and the right wing of the party would take back control.
It would also send a signal to other workers throughout Europe that they cannot win in a battle against EU and IMF imperialism or against the right-wing political grip on most major political parties in Europe.
In the unlikely event that Corbyn would win a general election in May while sending mixed messages about Brexit, and while Britain is half in and half out of Europe, EU neo-liberal economic controls would prevent him implementing his anti-austerity manifesto.
The working class of Britain has, in the last two years, delivered three mighty blows to the grip of imperialism on this country — by voting for Brexit and by twice voting for Corbyn to lead the Labour Party. We need to follow through on these rare successes, not throw them away.