The EU - Vote to Leave

The Communist Party in Britain has always opposed membership of the EU. This page brings together all of the articles on our site, past and present, that relate to the EU. The most recent items appear at the top of the list.
  • Communists condemn Brexit phase one deal.

    The Communist Party of Britain has condemned the Brexit Phase One agreement between the British government and the EU Commission announced on the 8th of December this year.

    'This pro-big business, minority Tory regime is loyally carrying out the instructions of its EU Business Advisory Council to tie Britain to the EU single market for the foreseeable future, while paying through the nose for that dubious privilege', CPB general secretary Robert Griffiths declared.

    'The Irish border question is being used as the pretext for Britain's continuing subjection to EU rules and institutions in the guise of so-called "regulatory alignment"', he argued. Mr Griffiths called instead for Britain's commercial border with the EU to be marked by the Irish Sea rather than submit to an 'Ulster loyalist veto'.

    The CPB general secretary recalled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's warning in a BBC interview on September 24 that EU single market rules would prohibit a future Labour government from implementing its policies on public spending, state aid to industry and public ownership of the railways.

    'The list is even longer than that', Mr Griffiths claimed, insisting that Labour's manifesto pledges to raise investment funds through central bank bonds, end the super-exploitation of 'posted' workers, radically restructure VAT and reform public procurement contracts would all fall foul of EU treaties and directives.

    Maintaining alignment with EU single market rules would also hugely restrict the basis on which a future British government could negotiate trade deals with China, Australia, Canada and other countries.

    'The labour movement in Britain must wake up to the threat posed by EU "regulatory alignment" and any similar transitional arrangements to Labour's plans to invest in public services, industry and infrastructure and to promote social justice', the CPB leader urged.

    He also attacked the 'extortionate' financial divorce settlement outlined in the Phase One agreement.

    'The EU Commission had originally demanded around £100bn, Prime Minister May then flew to Florence and offered £18bn - and now that has doubled to somewhere between £35bn and at least £39bn', Mr Griffiths pointed out.

    'This will come on top of Britain's net contribution of £21bn over the next two years and will mean extra public spending cuts unless we elect a left-led Labour government that will end austerity and tax the rich and big business', he added.

  • The Labour Party has the potential to mobilise progressives from both LEAVE and REMAIN camps to challenge Tory orthodoxy.

     

    Dear Comrades & Friends,

    Here's what I think we should do in light of Brexit:

     

    • Oppose membership of the EEA, EU Single Market and European Customs Union and their free market fundamentalism.

    • Reject any transitional arrangements with the EU which prolong rule by the EU and its institutions.

    • Join the WTO and trade with the world, including the EU, on mutually beneficial terms.

    • Continue all possible cooperation with the EU in such fields as travel, education, science, security and the environment.

    • Grant permanent residency rights to all EU citizens who have settled in Britain before March 2019 - no deportations.

    • Negotiate an agreement with the EU in consultation with the Dublin and Belfast governments, which does not require customs or immigration posts along the North-South border.

    • Repeal all sections of EU law which restrict government powers to pursue left or progressive economic, financial, environmental and social policies.

    • Resist any attempt to repeal progressive provisions in transferred EU law.

    • Replace the free movement of labour by legislation to enforce equal terms for migrant workers within a framework of collective bargaining.

    • Repeal Britain's racist immigration, residency and citizenship laws which discriminate against non-Europeans.

    • Devolve powers repatriated from the EU to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh National Assembly and local government wherever possible.

    • Replace the Common Agricultural Policy with a system of direct support for production, investment and conservation.

     

    I believe that the labour movement which now, thanks to Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn includes the Labour Party, should campaign for these policies. They have the potential of mobilising progressives from both LEAVE and REMAIN camps to challenge Tory orthodoxy.

    Britain was taken into "Europe" by the snobbish, vindictive, perverted Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath. To prepare for this his government of very odd people first enacted the disgustingly racist Commonwealth Immigration Act and then gave away British fishing rights which a previous Labour Government had rightly or wrongly gone to war over.

    During the referendum campaign I deliberately did not share a platform with UKIP and I only got the one chance to speak publicly. I ask the local Labour Party to revisit the discussions held at Labour Party conferences prior to the 1975 referendum, to read the treaties of the EU and to take note of what I have been saying for the past four decades.

     

    Yours in comradeship

    Gerrard Sables

     

  • Tory disarray on Europe

    UNDERSTANDABLY, much media attention has been devoted to divisions within the Tory Cabinet over Brexit.

    As the Communist Party in Britain points out, these reflect differences of perspective within City and big business circles.

    This lack of a united, coherent Tory government strategy has been evident from the day after last year’s referendum when prime minister David Cameron, chancellor George Osborne, the heads of the CBI and Institute of Directors and the governor of the Bank of England woke up to find that a majority of Britain’s voters had rejected their scare stories and opted to leave the EU.

    It took a new Tory government nine months to cook up enough of a half-baked strategy that would enable them to formally trigger Article 50 and begin the exit negotiations.

    Since then, Prime Minister Theresa May has established an EU business advisory council to help work out a way of keeping Britain as close as possible to the EU and its monopoly capitalist single market.

    Meanwhile, a number of Tory Cabinet ministers and prominent MPs have been resisting any divorce, “transitional” or future arrangements that would threaten City “freedoms” to engage in exploitation, speculation and fraud around the world.

    Not surprisingly, the resulting tensions and contradictions have produced the Theresa and Boris show that has entertained and appalled people from Bettyhill to Brussels.

    They have also made it easier for the EU and its — for want of a more accurate description — negotiating team to appear united in its arrogance and obscurantism.

    Yet the reality is that there are divisions within the EU, too.

    Some member state governments place more emphasis on the size of the divorce bill than others, either because they may have to fill the huge funding gap left after Britain’s net budget contributions cease, or because they are substantial beneficiaries who don’t want to rely even more on German, French, Dutch and Italian generosity.

    In terms of citizenship rights, several eastern European states are keen to ensure that their elderly citizens will be able to join relatives in Britain after Brexit, enjoying privileges here that are wrongly denied to (mostly non-white) family members in the Asian sub-continent and Caribbean.

    In Ireland, the realisation is beginning to dawn that it is the EU “Fortress Europe” whose rules demand a customs and immigration border along the north-south divide.

    Left to their own devices, the British and Irish governments would almost certainly settle upon a virtual border down the middle of the Irish Sea, operating only at ports and airports and permitting the continued free movement of Irish and British citizens that has occurred since the early 1920s.

    Unfortunately, the Irish Republic is no longer empowered to negotiate these matters for itself.

    Most tellingly in the longer run, EU member states are divided about the future of the whole EU project itself. French President Emmanuel Macron wants to accelerate financial and military integration within the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is more cautious, while other governments adopt one or other of the four possible permutations.

    Whether on Brexit or the future direction of the EU, such divisions were on display again in Brussels yesterday.

    The people of Britain desperately need a strong and united team to negotiate a Brexit that serves their interests. The Tories cannot provide it. Labour can — but it will have to distinguish between access to the EU single market and submission to that market’s pro-big business rules and institutions.

     

    This article appeared in The Morning Star Saturday 21st October 2017.

  • Corbyn Makes Correct EU Call

    JEREMY CORBYN is right to resist the blandishments of pro-EU Labour members to back the pipe-dream of Britain remaining inside the internal market and customs union after leaving the EU.

    His preference for wanting continued friendly relations and friction-free bilateral trade in the interests of all current EU members is more honest and more workable.

    Signatories to the Observer letter know that membership of the internal market and customs union brings with it accepting EU directives and European Court of Justice rulings.

    In other words, Britain would remain in EU membership in contradiction to the 2016 referendum result.

    That suits the Liberal Democrats, who make no secret of their contempt for democracy, mirroring the time-dishonoured European Commission tendency to demand repeat ballots whenever electors in member states vote the wrong way.

    But this “EU membership whatever the voters say” position was trounced at the general election when both major parties asserted that the referendum position must be respected.

    Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who is always assured of an unchallenging interview on BBC TV, had the temerity to tell Andrew Marr that it is impossible to oppose austerity without rejecting Brexit.

    This charmer, who drove the Tory austerity agenda with David Cameron and George Osborne, also suggested — “And how can I put this politely?” — that another referendum was necessary because “the high point of the Brexit vote has already passed,” meaning that older voters who backed Leave most strongly are dying out.

    He also claimed a second bite was justified because the Leave campaign told lies to win the vote.

    Clegg could revisit Project Fear’s warnings by political, banking and other corporate leaders forecasting erroneously that the roof would fall in immediately following a Leave vote.

    Politicians have a tendency to overstate the benefits of their own policies and exaggerate others’ shortcomings — what’s new? Some even lie about tuition fees.

    The Observer open letter stresses that “migrants are not to blame for falling wages, job insecurity, bad housing and overstretched public services” — a point made constantly by Corbyn.

    But Corbyn insists correctly that Labour’s economic plans, involving state aid to industry and returning privatised services to public ownership, would fall foul of the EU “four freedoms” founding principle that individual states cannot interfere with free movement of goods, capital, services, and labour.

    Many workers from the other 27 EU states already live and work in Britain and there should be no change to this.

    But the Labour leader is clear that there must be no persistence of the dirty deals whereby employers bring workers to Britain to suffer poor pay and conditions and thereby undermine trade union-negotiated rates.

    Both Corbyn and the Morning Star wanted a residency guarantee offered to EU citizens immediately after the referendum rather than the Tories’ heartless decision to use them as bargaining chips.

    Internationalism is at the heart of left-wing rejection of the neoliberal EU project, yet propagandists for the EU superstate have succeeded in conning too many people into believing that EU free movement of labour equates to internationalism.

    Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of people from Asia and Africa seeking political asylum in Europe and denied entry because Fortress Europe buys off Turkey and Libya to clamp down on them.

    Labour should leave attempts to subvert the referendum vote to the Liberal Democrats and support the party’s anti-austerity programme that has so enthused members and supporters.

  • The Brexit Bill

    LABOUR’S decision to oppose the government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill encourages Tory claims that the opposition has reneged on Jeremy Corbyn’s insistence that the EU referendum must be honoured.

    Whatever amendments Labour proposes, the Bill’s bottom line is repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act — an essential requirement to Britain leaving the EU.

    Blocking a second reading of the Bill would not represent a victory for parliamentary scrutiny. It would create a chaotic situation beneficial only to die-hard opponents of the electorate’s referendum decision.

    That pro-Brussels fanatic Kenneth Clarke pronounces himself minded to back Labour’s position, as do the Scottish nationalists, speaks volumes for the anti-Leave thinking behind it.

    The voters’ decision in June last year was achieved despite an overwhelming parliamentary majority against leaving the EU, led by David Cameron’s proCity Tory government and supported by broadcast media, liberal capitalist papers, the Confederation of British Industry, most trade unions and key bastions of the Establishment.

    Whatever weasel words are voiced about accepting or noting the people’s voice, the pro-EU Establishment has not altered its position.

    It will champion a supposed “Brexit” position that involves Britain remaining subject to EU jurisdiction through the single market, a customs union, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) or any other EU-compliant mechanism.

    City of London FTSE 100 companies’ chief executives’ refusal to sign up to Theresa May’s letter of support for her government’s approach, as revealed in yesterday’s Financial Times, the City Bible, indicate that they don’t believe the game is over yet.

    They know that she was a strong supporter of Cameron’s Remain stance and believe that her position can yet be resuscitated, especially with support from pro-EU true believers in the opposition.

    Labour’s “nuclear option” amendment risks portraying the party as the potential core of such a tendency.

    Those wishing to frustrate the people’s voice on leaving the EU have been assisted by the May government’s foot-dragging that saw almost a year dissipated on unfocused chatter, indicating a dearth of political preparation and possible mandarin-level procrastination.

    EU officials and politicians reacted far more quickly to the referendum result, pouring derision on it first as though expecting the traditional follow-up of a reballot until voters get it right.

    When this didn’t materialise, they set ongoing financial contributions to the Brussels budget, postexit rights for EU citizens living in Britain and Irish border arrangements as issues on which major progress must be made before substantive trade terms are discussed.

    There is no reason why David Davis and company should have swallowed these conditions, but they did.

     

    This article appeared in The Morning Star, Friday 8th September 2017

    After softening-up offensives based on extravagant and unsubstantiated financial claims and demands that the ECJ retain judicial superiority in an independent Britain, Ireland is the current focus.

    Michel Barnier’s team insists that the onus is on the UK to find a way to avoid a hard border even though only Brussels threatens such an outcome.

    Britain and Ireland have shared a common travel area for nearly a century and both Dublin and London want ongoing close relations and a frictionless intra-Irish border, but Barnier rejects a compromise to benefit all Irish people and is intent on imposing EU authority on Northern Ireland, effectively extending the bloc.

    Labour’s legitimate opposition to Tory Party austerity policies must not translate into giving succour to EU power grabs or undermining the electorate’s clear choice to leave the tottering EU superstate.

  • Party Line No. 10. August 10th 2017

    NO TO THE SINGLE MARKET

     

    There is a determined cross-party drive among MPs, backed by big business, to enmesh Britain and any future Labour government in the rules of the Single European Market after leaving the EU. This could be done in a number of ways:

    • Through membership of European Economic Area via the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (which negotiated its own agreement with the EU). This would mean continuing free movement of capital, goods services and people. In the EEA, Britain would have to adopt EU company law and social, consumer and environmental policy (but not the agricultural or fisheries regimes). Some financial obligations to the EU would continue, while others would be voluntary. EEA rules are enforced by the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court.
    • Through membership of the European Customs Union like Monaco, the Channel Isles and Isle of Man and - by their own agreements with the EU - Turkey, Andorra and San Marino. Unlike the EEA, this would mean accepting the EU external tariff wall and EU representation in all international trade negotiations (including representation at the WTO).
    • Through a separate bilateral treaty with the EU which would almost certainly mean accepting free movement (possible with transitional limits on immigration from the EU), most if not all Single Market rules, full or partial or joint jurisdiction for the EU Court of Justice and continuing financial contributions to the EU.

    Jonathan White and Alex Gordon have set out the left and progressive case against membership of the European Single Market here.

     

    On August 3, the CP Political Committee issued the following statement:

    Beware Tory EU exit trap, Communists warn

    The Tory government is preparing to bind workers and a future Labour government with EU market and competition rules after Britain leaves the EU, according to the Communist Party.

     

    'Big business is putting huge pressure on Prime Minister May and her negotiating team to reach a settlement with the EU that would prevent any form of democratic intervention in the economy through an alternative economic and political strategy', International Secretary John Foster told the party's Political Committee on Wednesdayevening (August 2).

     

    He warned that any transitional or post-exit treaty with the EU that accepted existing single market or customs union rules and institutions would outlaw policies to support industry, control capital, regulate trade or use public procurement contracts to promote local employment, trade unionism, upskilling and R&D investment.

     

    Mr Foster pointed to the European Free Trade Association court judgement in the Holship case as an example of how EU competition and 'right of establishment' law is used to undermine trade unionism and workers' terms and conditions. Last year, the EFTA Court ruled that a collective agreement protecting the pay of Norwegian dockworkers was invalid under EU treaty law, despite the views of Norway's own supreme court.

     

    'More trade union leaders need to speak out about the dangers that the single European market and its super-exploitation of "posted" workers pose to jobs, living standards, local communities and strategic industries', the CP international secretary suggested. He welcomed, therefore, the recent decision of Britain's third biggest union, the GMB, to oppose continued membership of the European single market.

     

    Britain's communists said it was now urgent to bring down the minority Tory government before it could commit Britain to rejoining EFTA and its European Economic Area with the EU, or accepting any further jurisdiction here of the 'anti-trade union' EU Court of Justice.

     

    The Communist Party also warned that the Tories and their big business paymasters are seeking trade and investment deals with the USA, Canada and other countries that would enshrine capitalist free market principles, putting corporate profit before the interests of workers and consumers.

     

    On the controversial issue of the so-called free movement of people, Mr Foster accused the EU of hypocrisy and racism.

     

    'The main concern of the EU has always been to ensure that businesses can employ desperate workers from one part of Europe on terms that undermine pay, conditions and trade unionism in another', he declared, 'Free movement has never been extended to people outside "Fortress Europe", most of them non-white, who have been kept out by ever rising barriers'.

     

    The CP political committee called on the British government unilaterally to grant residency rights to foreign nationals living here and to repeal all discriminatory immigration and nationality legislation passed since 1980.

     

    SOLIDARITY WITH VENEZUELA!

     

    Reactionary forces and the right-wing media are doing their utmost to misrepresent the struggle in Venezuela and use it against Jeremy Corbyn's left leadership of the Labour Party. CP General Secretary Rob Griffiths has appeared twice on Talk Radio in recent days to challenge the lies and distortions and on August 3 the Political Committee issued this statement:

    Back democracy against violent subversion in Venezuela

    The Communist Party of Britain has welcomed the results of last Sunday's referendum in Venezuela to create a Constituent Assembly under article 347 of that country's democratically adopted constitution.

     

    The support from more than eight million electors indicates the continuing scale of popular backing for the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.

     

    Despite the boycott of the referendum by some opposition parties and the orchestrated campaign of street violence, bombings and the assassination of election candidates and supporters, independent observers have verified that 41 per cent of all eligible electors went out to vote.

     

    Britain's communists condemn the refusal of President Trump and the US administration to recognise the referendum result. Their decision to impose yet more sanctions will inflict further hardship on the people of Venezuela, who are already suffering the grave impact of domestic and external economic sabotage and the collapse of world oil prices.

     

    The Communist Party also condemns the announcements from the president of the EU Parliament, Antonio Tajani, that the parliament would follow the US in refusing to recognise the results and that 'it is the will of the people of Venezuela to change the regime'.

     

    CP general secretary Robert Griffiths urged people in Britain to lobby their MEPs to repudiate these statements.

    'Mr Tajani, a member of disgraced ex-President Berlusconi's right-wing Forza Italia outfit, cannot be allowed to pass himself off as a representative of the peoples of Europe to back Donald Trump's programme of violent regime change in Caracas', Mr Griffiths declared.

     

    'The elected government of Venezuela has made great strides in giving voice to the hitherto excluded and unrepresented, redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor - and it is our duty to defend it'.

     

    ALL OUT FOR MANCHESTER!

     

    The Communist Party is urging all members and supporters to come to Manchester on Sunday, October 1. A march and rally called by the People's Assembly and trades unions will mark the opening day of the Tory Party conference there. It will be important to be there in numbers not only to distribute the Morning Star and Unity! on a mass scale, but also to have an attractive and substantial Party contingent on the march, to show the extent of the demand for alternative policies and to marginalise the LibDem-backed 'pro-EU' protest planned for the same day.

     

    The CP Executive Committee will be meeting in the city over that weekend, when members look forward to meeting local comrades at the International Brigades commemoration on Saturday afternoon and at the demonstration on Sunday.

     

    Party members are urged to help organise and fill transport, making sure to order copies of the Morning Star for distribution at departure points (contact Morning Star circulation manager Bernadette McKeaveney on 0778 022-0391).

     

    CELEBRATE THE CENTENARY OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION!

     

    Communists and socialists should make a note in their diary of an exciting event to celebrate the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917.

     

    On Saturday, November 4, the Russian Revolution Centenary Committee is holding a day of discussions and exhibitions featuring speakers such as Aleida Guevara (daughter of Che), Indian communist MP Brinda Karat, German Left Party MP Johanna Scheringer-Wright, historian Mary Davis, Richard Leonard MSP, leading Russian communist Vyacheslav Tetekin (known by African liberation movements as 'Comrade Slava') and other guests from Cuba, the USA and elsewhere.

     

    Sessions will look at the history of the Russian Revolution, its impact on Britain and the labour movement and the international relevance of the revolution today.

     

    The event will take place at TUC Congress House, Great Russell St., London WC1B 3LS and tickets are available online and from the Marx Memorial Library.

     

  • BEWARE TORY EU EXIT TRAP, COMMUNISTS WARN

    The Tory government is preparing to bind workers and a future Labour government with EU market and  competition rules after Britain leaves the EU, according to the Communist Party.

      'Big business is putting huge pressure on Prime Minister May and her negotiating team to reach a settlement with the EU that would prevent any form of democratic intervention in the economy through an alternative economic and political strategy', International secretary John Foster told the party's Political Committee on Wednesday evening (August 2).

      He warned that any transitional or post-exit treaty with the EU that accepted existing single market or customs union rules and institutions would outlaw policies to support industry, control capital, regulate trade or use public procurement contracts to promote local employment, trade unionism, upskilling and R&D investment.

      John Foster pointed to the European Free Trade Association court judgement in the Holship case as an example of how EU competition and 'right of establishment' law is used to undermine trade unionism and workers' terms and conditions. Last year, the EFTA Court ruled that a collective agreement protecting the pay of Norwegian dockworkers was invalid under EU treaty law, despite the views of Norway's own supreme court.

      'More trade union leaders need to speak out about the dangers that the single European market and its super-exploitation of "posted" workers pose to jobs, living standards, local communities and strategic industries', the Communist Party international secretary suggested. He welcomed, therefore, the recent decision of Britain's third biggest union, the GMB, to oppose continued membership of the European single market.

      Britain's communists said it was now urgent to bring down the minority Tory government before it could commit Britain to rejoining EFTA and its European Economic Area with the EU, or accepting any further jurisdiction here of the 'anti-trade union' EU Court of Justice.

      The Communist Party also warned that the Tories and their big business paymasters are seeking trade and investment deals with the USA, Canada and other countries that would enshrine capitalist free market principles, putting corporate profit before the interests of workers and consumers.

      On the controversial issue of the so-called free movement of people, John Foster accused the EU of hypocrisy and racism.

      'The main concern of the EU has always been to ensure that businesses can employ desperate workers from one part of Europe on terms that undermine pay, conditions and trade unionism in another', he declared, 'Free movement has never been extended to people outside "Fortress Europe", most of them non-white, who have been kept out by ever rising barriers'.

      The Communist Party political committee called on the British government unilaterally to grant residency rights to foreign nationals living here and to repeal all discriminatory immigration and nationality legislation passed since 1980.

  • THE CONFLICT between the EU Commission and the misnamed Law and Justice government in Poland is a case — to adapt Oscar Wilde — of the unedifying in pursuit of the unspeakable.

    The irony of an unelected elite of bureaucrats in Brussels, together with the unelected President of the European Council, lecturing an elected national government on the virtues of democracy would normally occasion at least a wry smile.

    However, in this case the EU Commission is objecting to yet another reactionary move against Poland’s judiciary by a very reactionary regime in Warsaw.

    The sweeping powers to dismiss and appoint the country’s judges backed by the ruling Law and Justice Party do not bode well for civil and political liberties in Poland.

    The EU Commission professes concern about the “rule of law” and threatens to invoke Article 7.

    That would involve all EU member states unanimously agreeing to warn the Polish government about its conduct.

    This in turn could lead to Poland losing its voting rights in various EU institutions.

    Of course, it could be that all the fearsome pronouncements by Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU Council President Donald Tusk — a bitter political rival of Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski — are merely a melange of hot air and blether.

    The EU Commission has never lifted a finger to block anti-democratic measures taken against immigrants, trade unionists, socialists and communists in numerous EU member states.

    And as Kaczynski points out when calling the EU’s bluff: “Too many interests, including economic ones, want the possibility to further exploit Poland.”

    It’s certainly true that German big business led the way in buying up large parts of the former socialist economies of eastern Europe at bargain basement prices, followed by the capitalists of France, Britain and Italy.

    Western Europe’s capitalists also value that region’s position as a source of cheap migrant labour too much to expel Poland from the grip of EU free market fundamentalism.

    It would be a triumph of naivety over experience to imagine that EU bureaucrats and politicians would willingly destabilise these lucrative arrangements in the cause of civil and political liberties.

    At the same time, many thousands of Poles are protesting against their power-hungry, authoritarian regime in Warsaw.

    They deserve sympathy, but should drop any delusions that they have a staunch pro-democracy ally in Brussels or Strasbourg.

    If the EU Commission fights and wins this struggle over the Supreme Court Bill now before the Polish parliament, it will confirm the bureaucracy’s view that it should and can exercise sovereignty over democratically elected governments, whether the latter are progressive or reactionary.

    Should victory go Kaczynski and his right-wing MPs, they will feel encouraged to dismantle more of the fragile democratic and social rights of the Polish people.

    Ideally, therefore, victory needs to be won by the people of Poland, supported by democrats and progressives everywhere.

     

    This article appeared in The Morning Star on Saturday 22nd July 2107

  • Class Politics and the SNP

    In a multinational state, a degree of national autonomy is vital for any people wishing to express their own distinctive culture and identity. As nations, Scotland and Wales also have the right to determine their own futures, up to and including separation from England or Britain.

    These are questions of principle to which we adhere without qualification.

    However, when and how people should exercise their rights is a matter of judgement. As Lenin put it, advocating the right to divorce is not the same as proposing that a particular couple — let alone all couples — should actually get divorced.

    For socialists and communists, the fight for social justice and the transformation of society are paramount considerations. Would Scotland’s separation from Britain assist the working class in achieving a radically fairer society? Would it take the people of Scotland — let alone England and Wales — further down the path to a socialist society? Would it help create the conditions for socialist revolution?

    Moreover, there is a strong case for arguing that separation would divide the political class struggle — and what has been a largely united labour movement over the past 120 years — in two if not in three. This might create problems for the monopoly capitalists whose interests dominate the British state, but they would remain united in their ownership and control of the economy in all three nations.

    Most seriously for the working class, separatism weakens class consciousness and class politics, as shown by the SNP spring conference in Aberdeen at the weekend.

    There, the platform politics were entirely those of identity and grievance. Every significant problem faced by the Scottish people is, apparently, the fault of the Westminster government and the union. Capitalism with its class division of society was not mentioned. Big business is blameless.

    The SNP does not advocate socialism, nor steps towards it, nor even real independence.

    What kind of “independence” craves for continued membership of the European Union?

    This is the same EU whose rules have forced the Scottish government to hand over its Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) infrastructure projects to private-sector finance and control. The cost of resulting delays and extra unitary charges will have to be met by the Scottish government, the NHS and local authorities over the next 30 years.

    Five major projects must be retained on the publicsector balance sheet, diverting £1 billion from other spending plans.

    Despite all SNP pledges to the contrary, PFI is back with a bang in Scotland, where the public will end up paying more than £9bn for SFT projects — three times their capital value. Scotland’s official auditors are investigating.

    Yet so desperate is the SNP to leave Scotland’s biggest single market by far, namely Britain, and stay in the marginal European one that it emits not a squeak of protest about these EU diktats.

    Its “independence” in the EU means no Scottish sovereignty over public finances, the movement of capital, international trade, the importation of super-exploited labour, VAT or public-sector contract compliance; a Scotland bossed around by the EU Commission and European Central Bank, inside an EU wedded to Nato.

    How different that is from the perspective of progressive federalism in a Britain where wealth and power is redistributed to the working class in every nation and region.

    This article is from The Morning Star, 20th March 2017

  • The EU's commitment to capitalism.

    ALLOWING immigration to overshadow the EU referendum debate is not only bad for community relations — it’s bad for those who want the public to make an informed decision on June 23.

    EU membership should be about much more than how many people can or should enter Britain every year, however important that question is.

    Thus the Morning Star makes no apology for asking other important questions: how and in whose interests does the EU function?

    What does this mean for people’s jobs, living standards and quality of life?

    Does EU membership help or hinder strategies to develop a balanced, sustainable economy that serves the interests of working people, their families and communities?

    We have condemned the neoliberal, free market and monetarist economics cemented into the basic treaties of the EU.

    As the late Tony Benn once pointed out: “The EU has the only constitution in the world committed to capitalism … it destroys the prospect of socialism anywhere in Europe, making capitalism a constitutional requirement of that set-up.”

    Such a set-up also requires that enormous powers lie in the lap of unelected and — in practice where not in law — unaccountable bodies, namely, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Court of Justice.

    Remain campaigners point to the powers of our own unelected Civil Service, Bank of England, House of Lords, Supreme Court and monarchy.

    But the crucial difference is this: in Britain, these institutions are not constitutionally beyond the reach of our elected representatives. They can be reformed and even abolished.

    The recent Queen’s Speech raised the prospect of Britain having a Bill of Rights in the near future, drafted by this Tory government.

    What if this Bill were to specify that Britain shall have a “competitive market economy” based on the free movement of capital, goods and services? Any steps towards a planned economy would, in effect, be unlawful.

    Neither the Westminster, Edinburgh or Cardiff legislatures would be allowed to direct or impede the movement of capital in, out or within the countries of Britain.

    What if clauses in the Bill made it unconstitutional for elected governments to run an “excessive deficit” in their public finances, or to subsidise public or private enterprises for strategic economic, social or environmental reasons?

    What if another clause banned governments from using our central bank to fund investment projects through the purchase of public-sector bonds (what shadow chancellor John McDonnell calls “people’s quantitative easing”)?

    Indeed, the Bill would make clear that the central bank must be independent of Parliament and government altogether, guaranteed by a constitution that can only be changed by near unanimous agreement.

    Furthermore, this Tory draft Bill would also grant sweeping new powers to the Civil Service, including the sole right to propose legislation, draft the national budget and monitor the compliance of the British, Scottish and Welsh governments with strict limits on their borrowing and debt.

    The Civil Service would also have the right to intervene in the legislative process, address MPs on its own insistence and prevent the establishment of a parliamentary committee of inquiry.

    Henceforth, too, as a matter of constitutional imperative rather than government policy, security and defence policy would have to be compatible with Nato policy. Indeed, it must “contribute to the vitality of a renewed Atlantic alliance.”

    Who on the left in Britain would vote for such a Bill of Rights? Yet such clauses are to be found in the two basic treaties of the EU and apply to all member states. This is what socialists and trade unionists will be endorsing on June 23 if they vote to remain in the EU.

    This article is from The Morning Star, Monday 30th May

  • A letter of support for Lexit

    Published below is an edited extract from a Lexit supporter which shines some light on the 'special relationship' between the UK and US governments. The author of this is a relative of one of our branch members and has asked to remain anonymous.

     

     

     

    I am 79 years old and wish to speak out. I am not yet a communist party member but support your parties stance on both the Lexit campaign and opposition to TTIP. USA’s Special Relationship with the UK is of a controlling capitalist force; far from a friendship. This is historically true and in fact worse than the public know. I mentioned history so here's some to think about.
    First the War of Independence 1774 – 1793. A result of the 13 British Colonies in North America rebelling against Britain imposing Taxes, Laws and General Control of their lives and living. Today Britain is in the same position with the EU dictating what we can and cannot do.

    How dare Obama tell us to stay in when it has nothing to do with the USA and his country went to war over the same issues in 1774. He quoted the special relationship between our two countries yet the USA only entered WW2 because of the invasion of Hawaii by the Japanese in 1942, three years after the start of the war.
    There is also the w
    ar on the 'Red Empire': How America planned for an attack on BRITAIN in 1930 with bombing raids and chemical weapons• Plan Red was code for massive war with British Empire•
    In 1930, a mere nine years before the outbreak of World War Two, America drew up proposals specifically aimed at eliminating all British land forces in Canada and the North Atlantic, thus destroying Britain's trading ability and bringing the country to its knees. Previously unparalleled troop movements were launched as an overture to an invasion of Canada, which was to include massive bombing raids on key industrial targets and the use of chemical weapons, the latter signed off at the highest level by none other than the legendary General Douglas MacArthur. 

    America only wants to control. We must fight TTIP and vote how we choose to. I'm for Lexit.

    Name and address supplied

     

  • Twelve Myths About the EU

    This pamphlet from the Communist Party exposes twelve common myths peddled about EU membership.

    Is the EU a source of employment? Is the EU a source of workers rights and benefits? Has the EU really brought peace to Europe? Can the EU be reformed?

     

     
  • Time for Trade Unionists to Wake Up from a Long Slumber

    John Haylett explains in the Morning Star, why the only sensible vote in the referendum for trade unionists and socialists is to withdraw from the EU.

    Twenty-eight years since French diplomat Jacques Delors was invited to the TUC Congress at Bournemouth to schmooze delegates about the delights of a "social Europe" the penny still hasn’t dropped with many in the trade union movement.

    Only rail unions Aslef and RMT, together with the bakers’ BFAWU, have thrown their weight behind the movement to leave the EU. The rest either play the Emperor’s New Clothes game of claiming still to be able to discern a "social Europe" or accept that things aren’t too good but suggest they can be changed.

  • EU Membership Prevents Socialism

    As the dust settles on the Prime Minister’s much-vaunted "renegotiation" of the terms on which he hopes Britain will remain a member of the European Union, the media have quickly moved on to the soap opera of which leading Tories will end up on which side.

    Pundits can hardly be blamed for not focusing on the detail of the supposed concessions David Cameron has snatched from Brussels.

    The "emergency brake" on in-work benefits for migrants who are working and paying tax in Britain is not only a demonstration of the Nasty Party’s nastiness, but is also of a piece with the Tory war on all workers, whether born here or abroad: the Institute for Fiscal Studies says 2.6 million families will be an average £1,600 worse off each year as they are moved from tax credits to universal credit.

    As for the celebrated treaty amendment, stating that the commitment to "ever closer union" does not apply to Britain, this certainly does not mean Britain "can never be forced into political integration."

    Provisions in the Stability and Growth Pact preventing governments from borrowing to invest in their country's economic future, clauses in the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties prohibiting state aid for industry and demanding the privatisation of public monopolies - such rules have political repercussions.

  • Solidarity with People of Greece Against EU Diktats

    THE working class and people of Greece have shown great courage and fortitude in voting against the austerity and privatisation measures demanded by EU finance ministers, the EU Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF.

    But, despite fine words about respecting “democracy” and the Greek nation, this referendum result will be treated with the same contempt by politicians, bureaucrats and bankers as all the others which do not agree with proposals from the EU Commission.

    The Greek people’s defensive salvo will now meet with a renewed offensive on behalf of the Commission, the eurogroup and the ECB to impose the kind of anti-democratic, anti-working class and anti-people programme tabled by unelected EU Commission “president” Jean-Claude Juncker.

  • Unite Against Fascism or Kip

    Faragerine 
    The Racist Spread 
    Made for crusty, British bread 

    Farage, Farage 
    You suave fromage 
    Mad white folks messiah 
    A Mosley visage 

    Your followers, bland 
    Eat the flavour of fear 
    We will never forget 
    The last time you were here 

    Faragerine 
    The future is bold 
    We have taste, we have vision 
    You out-of-date-mould 

    Farage, Farage
    We are neighbours and friends
    Your elite-white-collage?
    Marx my words is at end!

    Mrs BJ Treglown