with musical accompaniment ...
It has been one of those weeks where I have far too much time to think about things as my body is refusing to allow me to participate in things. Facing various levels of assault on my body by members of the medical profession, I needed a distraction. Whilst, I never believed in a mind-body dualism – I always thought it was a great justification for men to explain their inability to keep their dicks in their trousers – as I have gotten older it has become evident to me that my mind and body are going to war and since divorcing my body is physically impossible, I have too much time to think.
What, unfortunately, has been banging on in my head is elections and why as a revolutionary socialist I spend so much of my time worrying about them. The term ruminating is a good one; I am like a cow chewing its cud over and over again. My having roots in two countries (I have at least 1 and ½ feet in Britain and ½ a foot in the US) has forced me to pay far more attention to this process than I would prefer doing.
Leadbelly “The Bourgeois Blues”
The issue of elections is not confined to the Presidential primaries in the US. In Britain we have the treat of upcoming election contests. In London, there are the Greater London Authority elections which include the London mayoral elections and the London Assembly Elections (May 5th). Outside of London (otherwise known as the rest of the country) there are local government elections in England, elections to the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament.
In many senses, the discussion on the London Assembly has disappeared into the background and that is a serious problem as they are not completely irrelevant. They participate on committees which address important issues for Londoners (although they do not have direct control over policies) such as transport, policing, fire and rescue and land and property which includes housing which is in severe crisis in London. What concerns me is that there is an election in two weeks and I have yet to receive anything from any party on any topic besides the Mayoral elections. The London Assembly is partially proportional representation (run off a list of candidates for parties) and also contains a component where regions in London directly elect candidates. Many electoral parties run for Mayor or London as they get free election broadcasts (that has been a treat) and publicity and for smaller parties; in many cases, their main candidate runs for both Mayor and leads the list for the proportional part of the London Assembly elections.
These elections are happening in a period where Jeremy Corbyn is still consolidating control over the Labour party and his leadership will depend on how well Labour does (and that is independent of his control as his supporters do not control local and regional Labour party organisations).
Then there is the British EU referendum (23rd of June) – to Brexit or not to Brexit, that is the question—i.e., whether to remain in the EU or to actually leave.
One would think that these are uncomplicated decisions, but there are whole hosts of issues which impinge on these decisions which force members of the revolutionary left to think both tactically and strategically about why and how we participate in elections.
The Hard-Left and Bourgeois Elections
Perhaps the most important question is the relationship between the revolutionary left and the Bourgeois democratic electoral process. Why should we participate in what we know to be a charade at all? If, the vast majority of people actually believe in the process, we must participate even if it is only to expose the limits of Bourgeois democracy and to keep pushing the political arena further to the left. In a situation where there are high levels of voter apathy, can it really be said that the vast majority believe in the process? Is it our job to re-engage them? If governments are getting elected with less than 30% of eligible voter participation, can a government born of this actually be said to hold a mandate? Does participation in these elections actually legitimate them? One of my favourite responses on this issue is that we cannot leave the electoral arena in the hands of the class enemy.
Lenin makes this point clearly in Chapter 7 of Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder unsurprisingly entitled: “Should we participate in Bourgeois Parliaments.” Written in 1920, the discussion on why the revolutionary left must participate in the parliamentary process, this section is Lenin’s response to the calls by German (and Dutch) Left not to participate. Specifically, in response to the German Revolutionary Left’s (i.e., the Spartacist League) decision not to participate in Parliamentary Elections in 1919, he writes:
“How can one say that “parliamentarianism is politically obsolete”, when “millions” and “legions” of proletarians are not only still in favour of parliamentarianism in general, but are downright “counter-revolutionary”!? It is obvious that parliamentarianism in Germany is not yet politically obsolete. It is obvious that the “Lefts” in Germany have mistaken their desire, their politico-ideological attitude, for objective reality. That is a most dangerous mistake for revolutionaries to make. In Russia—where, over a particularly long period and in particularly varied forms, the most brutal and savage yoke of tsarism produced revolutionaries of diverse shades, revolutionaries who displayed amazing devotion, enthusiasm, heroism and will power—in Russia we have observed this mistake of the revolutionaries at very close quarters; we have studied it very attentively and have a first-hand knowledge of it; that is why we can also see it especially clearly in others. Parliamentarianism is of course “politically obsolete” to the Communists in Germany; but—and that is the whole point—we must not regard what is obsolete to us as something obsolete to a class, to the masses. Here again we find that the “Lefts” do not know how to reason, do not know how to act as the party of a class, as the party of the masses. You must not sink to the level of the masses, to the level of the backward strata of the class. That is incontestable. You must tell them the bitter truth. You are in duty bound to call their bourgeois-democratic and parliamentary prejudices what they are—prejudices. But at the same time you must soberly follow the actual state of the class-consciousness and preparedness of the entire class (not only of its communist vanguard), and of all the working people (not only of their advanced elements) (Chapter 7, www.marxists.org/...).”
“Even if only a fairly large minority of the industrial workers, and not “millions” and “legions”, follow the lead of the Catholic clergy—and a similar minority of rural workers follow the landowners and kulaks (Grossbauern)—it undoubtedly signifies that parliamentarianism in Germany has not yet politically outlived itself, that participation in parliamentary elections and in the struggle on the parliamentary rostrum is obligatory on the party of the revolutionary proletariat specifically for the purpose of educating the backward strata of its own class, and for the purpose of awakening and enlightening the undeveloped, downtrodden and ignorant rural masses. Whilst you lack the strength to do away with bourgeois parliaments and every other type of reactionary institution, you must work within them because it is there that you will still find workers who are duped by the priests and stultified by the conditions of rural life; otherwise you risk turning into nothing but windbags (Chapter 7, www.marxists.org/...).”
Note that Lenin does not say that we need to join these Bourgeois parties, but instead argues that we should participate in the Bourgeois electoral arena. He practiced what he preached: Lenin and the Bolsheviks did participate and take seats even in a counter-revolutionary Duma that was simply a rubber stamp for the Tsar (1905). Moreover, even right before the Russian revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks took their seats in the Duma in September-November 1917. Lenin feels obligated to remind his German comrades of this and I will do the same:
“In September–November 1917, did we, the Russian Bolsheviks, not have more right than any Western Communists to consider that parliamentarianism was politically obsolete in Russia? Of course we did, for the point is not whether bourgeois parliaments have existed for a long time or a short time, but how far the masses of the working people are prepared (ideologically, politically and practically) to accept the Soviet system and to dissolve the bourgeois-democratic parliament (or allow it to be dissolved). It is an absolutely incontestable and fully established historical fact that, in September–November 1917, the urban working class and the soldiers and peasants of Russia were, because of a number of special conditions, exceptionally well prepared to accept the Soviet system and to disband the most democratic of bourgeois parliaments. Nevertheless, the Bolsheviks did not boycott the Constituent Assembly, but took part in the elections both before and after the proletariat conquered political power. That these elections yielded exceedingly valuable (and to the proletariat, highly useful) political results has, I make bold to hope, been proved by me in the above-mentioned article, which analyses in detail the returns of the elections to the Constituent Assembly in Russia (www.marxists.org/...).”
All of this is surprisingly relevant today irrespective of the fact that we are nowhere near anything resembling a revolutionary situation. In fact, given the global tentacles of neoliberalism, our participation is essential if for no other reason than to shake the global stranglehold of this poisonous doctrine. The point is that we need to help create the subjective factors; they will not fall into our laps. The question is how do we participate? Participation in bourgeois elections does not invalidate or ignore mass struggles; those are essential to actually build opposition in a potentially more democratic manner. Participating even in electoral political parties that are primarily campaigning groups is an essential part of the struggle.
On Bernie, Jeremy, and Broad Left Parties
Continuing the theme of the manner of participation by the hard Left, we are witnessing several interesting things going on these days. With most of the Communist parties left moribund by Stalinism (or having sunk into hopeless reformism) and with the decline of Social Democracy into first Social Liberalism and then Neoliberalism, the issue of how the left can participate is important.
Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, and friends: “We shall be free”
We have 3 different scenarios going on at the moment. First, there is Bernie Sanders’ (a life-long social democrat) participation in the campaign for the Democratic Party nomination. Second, there is an attempt on the part of left-wing social democrats to actually win the British Labour party back to social democracy. Third, there are the victories in Spain and Portugal (among others) to break the two-party consensus by creating Broad Left Parties as social democrats have for the most part abandoned socialism quite some time ago and even when they supported it, the socialism they supported was not really the socialism that so many on the hard-left wanted. There has been a long-term split between the hard-left and Social Democratic parties which began around the First World War and social democratic support for an imperialist war (e.g., Germany) or falling into pacifism (e.g., Eugene Debs). While broad left parties are more noticeable in Europe, they have had varying levels of success. In some cases like Greece, they abandoned a left-wing platform; in other cases, they are forcing the social dems towards the left and breaking a two-party consensus between nominally social democrats and Christian Democrats in some countries, jettisoning redundant neo-liberal Liberal parties and working with the left-Greens in others. Should the left in the US try to help build these? That is the question.
Bernie Sanders and the US
The Democratic Party has never in its history been a social democratic party; at various times in its history it was a pro-State’s rights party and a pro-slavery party. With Franklin Roosevelt, it shifted to a social liberal position and then with the passage of the Voting Rights Act (1965) it attempted for a time to extend the Bourgeois democratic revolution to the most disenfranchised. It has always been a pro-Imperialist party. It then further shifted to the right in the late 1970s and from Bill Clinton forward, it has been advocating a neoliberal economic position.
In many senses, Bernie Sanders’ attempt to run as a left candidate bears a similarity to Jesse Jackson’s attempt to build a Rainbow Coalition in 1988. There are differences obviously (Sanders is running as a socialist, which Jackson never did) and these differences are not limited to the coalition that each has tried to build.
But there is an obvious similarity as well. Both candidates attempted to build a leftish coalition within the Democratic Party against its right-ward drift. In point of fact, Hillary Clinton is further to the right than most of the 1988 Democratic Party Candidates running at the time – with the exceptions of Lyndon LaRouche and David Duke of course.
Many on the hard-left are worried that Bernie’s running in the Democratic Party will have a sheepdog effect and draw people back into a corrupt and degenerate neoliberal Democratic Party. Sanders’ acknowledgement that he will endorse Hillary Clinton if he loses merely furthers their suspicions. They think he should have run as a third party candidate rather than to drain the enthusiasm of the young fighting within the Democratic Party. If/when he loses what will happen to all these disaffected young people? Will they drop out of politics altogether? This is not a small danger. The amount of energy going into a side-show of Presidential primaries and the clear attempts by Democratic Party establishment to even further underscore the undemocratic nature of the Democratic Party could push young people out of participating in all forms of politics.
There is a desperate need for a movement that exists beyond the 4 year cycles of presidential elections which wastes so much energy on results that do not serve the interests of the vast majority. The fundamental question is whether the momentum created by Bernie’s candidacy can be shifted into that form of mass movement instead of dissipating into the ether waiting for the next election cycle.
For that to happen, it will require an enormous amount of effort on the part of the left. But I do believe that it will not happen spontaneously without their participation. So what should the hard-left be doing? Should it be drawn into entryist politics into the Democratic Party itself or should it be advocating critical support for Sanders’ campaign and trying to build a movement lasting beyond the election process? Should it be calling for critical support and then participating in 3rd party politics?
I have already discussed in detail (probably too much detail for people’s tastes even here) my problems with Bernie’s policies as they are not socialist, but rather social liberal. Socialism is not just what a government does, rather it relates to ownership and control over the means of production and distribution by a democratic workers government.
I am concerned about his sympathies for the use of drones (which to me clearly implies an acceptance of an imperialist position). I am happy to see that while being a Liberal Zionist, he does recognise that Palestinians have human rights; this is a major step forward for a mainstream American politician and can be favourably compared to Hillary’s advocacy of Netanyahu’s positions justifying the attacks on Gaza.
So, in the case of the US presidential primaries, there is no question that irrespective of his limits (really if I thought that his economic policies were transitional demands, it would be less problematic), I have voted in NY (rather than in the Democrats Abroad elections which I knew he would win handily) where I was certain Bernie would face more difficulties. I do understand the dangers and recognise them; but I am not going into this blindly. I think that we need to look at this in a similar manner that the ecosocialist and environmentalist groups approached the Paris COP last year. That was that the movement needs to go through Paris and not lose its focus on what was actually agreed at the Paris COP. In other words, use this election as a way of continuing to build a movement and not make the movement hinge on what the final results of the primaries are themselves.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party is a different approach than what Bernie is attempting; in this case the left-wing social democrats are trying to seize control of a formerly social democratic party. The political terrain is different in Britain than in the US, no one needs to revive a word that has not been used except as an insult and has been the subject of Cold War scare-tactics.
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell (his shadow chancellor) have been long-term members of the Labour Party. Like Tony Benn, they stuck it out through the years of Blairism that shifted the party to a neoliberal agenda. Attempting to reclaim a party that has a socialist history is rather distinct in Europe at the moment; most of the new hard-left political movements in Europe have shifted to the broad left party approach instead (SYRIZA, Bloco, Podemos, Red-Green Alliance in Denmark, Die Linke in Germany) as the Socialist parties abandoned socialism a long time ago.
Corbyn’s election to the leadership has brought new young members into the party and old members that left the party under Blair back into Labour. Like Sanders, Corbyn is facing establishment politicians fighting to maintain their control over the party; watching them attack Corbyn one cannot help wondering if they would be far happier losing the 300,000 new members rather than let Corbyn lead the party (actually, I am pretty damn certain that this is the case). Like the Democratic Party, the Labour Party is a fundamentally undemocratic organisation in which members have little say in the workings and positions of the party.
Corbyn won the leadership election because in their desire to weaken the power of the trade unions, the Labour party grandees went for a one-person/one-vote process (previously voting for the leadership was done by an Electoral College in which the allocation of votes went 1/3 to the Parliamentary Labour Party, 1/3 to the affiliated Trade Unions and organisations and 1/3 to Labour party members). Thinking they had control over the party, the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) arrogantly threw him the votes he needed to pass the nominations – he needed 35 votes -- at the last hour of the election process. Once he passed the nominations hurdle, he won the leadership election on the first ballot receiving over 59.5% of those eligible to vote (so, he won 251,417 compared to Andy Burnham who was the runner-up with 19% of the vote – he calls himself an “aspirational socialist” – at 80,462 much to the shock and horror of the Labour centre and right. From the beginning the centre and right have tried to undermine him.
So while Corbyn has the support of the membership (he couldn’t have won otherwise), the levers of power in the Labour party (at the local, regional and national level) are often not under his control. The Parliamentary Labour party is more than hostile and are actually attempting to subvert him. However, if they call a leadership election, there is no question that he will actually do better, so at the moment their hands are tied. This is why the upcoming elections are extremely important.
Corbyn has re-invigorated Prime Minister’s question time actually posing questions from constituents to the Tory leadership, has opposed foreign intervention in Syria, opposes Trident nuclear missile replacement, and has strongly opposed austerity and fought against further cuts. Hey, they have even “supported” the Junior Doctor’s strike; it has been quite a while that a leader of the Labour Party has supported a strike; probably since when Michael Foot was leader back in the 1980s. He is further to the left of Sanders on all issues.
But his claim that Labour is an anti-austerity party is more than a bit debatable. He is the party leader, he is anti-austerity, but the party itself is not under his control completely. So far he has done well; but he is stymied by the centre and right who have not been won over and his unwillingness, up to now, to unseat the right of the party by actually running candidates against them in for MP posts at Parliamentary elections. The difficulty of fighting for democratisation of the LP may come back and bite him on the arse (may is an understatement here folks).
Momentum which was originally set up as an inside-outside group of supporters of Corbyn has essentially become an inside group (Labour party members welcome only). There are also continuing purges of the hard-left that have joined Labour.
The latest steaming pile of crap has been a back-handed attack on Corbyn (who has supported Palestinian rights) in relation to so-called anti-semitism in the Labour Party. Based upon the conflation of anti-semitism and anti-zionism (which has been promulgated by Zionists), criticism of the Israeli government and its policies has been equated to anti-semitism. In the most recent case, Tony Greenstein (an anti-zionist Jew) has been suspended from the Labour party pending a hearing on his supposed anti-semitism. While he has not heard the charges, they were leaked to the Telegraph and The Times who have now insisted that they have not meant to call him anti-semitic). Greenstein’s suspension resulted in some Jewish members of the Labour Party to write in support of Greenstein. You can redbait Tony Greenstein all you want without difficulty; proof is all over his writings. But you will not find evidence of his being an anti-semite and they have bit off far more than they can chew and this have given anti-zionists Jews a chance to fight back on the equation of anti-semitism and anti-zionism. Needless to say, as this is a back-hand attack on Corbyn, those opposed to Corbyn are running with this nonsense, and alas that includes Sadiq Khan, Labour candidate for the mayoral elections.
The London Mayoral Elections
In the case of the London mayoral elections happily there is the ability to vote preferentially. So, essentially, I get a first preference vote and a second vote. The guy from the Labour party who is running, Sadiq Khan, is not a supporter of Jeremy Corbin. However, if Khan loses (to this repulsive Tory toff, by the name of Zac Goldsmith) it will be seen as a loss for Corbyn. This will be used by the centre and right of the Labour party (who would love to find a reason to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn where they will appear blameless) and they will blame Corbyn’s politics for the failure (irrational as that seems as Khan has done everything he can to distance himself from Corbyn who does have wide support in London). But, happily due to preferential voting, I can vote for the Green candidate Siân Berry as my first choice and then when she is eliminated, my vote of Khan as second choice will be transferred to him. My thinking is Khan gets elected (the only thing that would stop that is Goldsmith to win over 50% on the first preferences and that is not going to happen) and knows that he only won because people are supporting him because of Corbyn.
Tactical voting at its best … I get my cake and can happily munch away (chocolate please!). But this rankles, voting for Khan at all is not something I would normally consider … watching members of the hard left canvass for him actually turns my stomach.
The British EU referendum
For those who have not been reading the newspapers or watching the news about things happening outside of the US, Britain is holding a referendum on the 23rd of June to determine whether or not it will remain part of the EU. The referendum itself is actually undemocratic as EU residents living and working in Britain (who are not British citizens) except those from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus (?!!) — the latter two are in the Commonwealth and you should know the history of the relationship between Ireland and Britain) are unable to actually vote on their futures. On the other hand, British expats living abroad (and who have been on the electoral rolls in the past 15 years) are able to vote (those abroad longer have challenged this legally).
This is rather different from the Scottish Independence Referendum which was open to all those that lived in Scotland and who were over the age of 16 – this was specific to this election only. Scots living outside Scotland were not allowed to vote.
Speaking of Scotland, an incredibly important democratic issue is that this referendum covers the United Kingdom (including Scotland, Wales and the North of Ireland). Proportionally England has a far larger population and since the referendum is UK wide, if England votes to leave and ensures a majority (as it is a simple majority), while the other countries in the UK (Scotland, Wales and the North of Ireland) vote to stay in, then you can bet your last dollar that another Scottish independence referendum will happen sooner rather than later. Who knows, maybe the Welsh will finally get fed up?!
Brexit is another interesting discussion and once again the left is divided. Some support advocating exit (e.g., The Socialist Party of England and Wales, the Socialist Workers Party, Counterfire, and the CPB (that’s the Communist Party Britain), others support advocating remaining but arguing for democratisation and reform (e.g., Greens, Left Unity -- see Another Europe is Possible and the Labour party), some support a critical remain vote (e.g., Socialist Resistance) and some support abstention in the election (i.e., Communist Party Great Britain) – ironically as they consider themselves a Leninist party.
While a case can be made for all of these arguments (some more than others), the issue of how this should be approached given the current political situation in Britain and the nature of the EU itself is important. And that, of course, returns us back to the question of “what is the purpose of the left to participating in parliamentary elections and bourgeois democratic processes?”
The EU is a bosses’ club; I do not think that it is able to be democratically reformed. Its whole basis is to enshrine a neoliberal economic programme throughout Europe; this is written into the Stability and Growth Pact, the EU parliament is essentially a rubber stamp without real power and the so-called executive has no power (Tony Blair fought very hard to make this so). All real powers are held by the Troika and governments of the various member states.
While I strongly believe that we need to unite the left and working class across Europe on an anti-austerity socialist agenda; that is a very separate issue from reforming and democratising the EU. However, the Brexit discussion is not independent of the government ruling Britain and the current political situation in Britain.
The British are living under, without a doubt, the most right-wing government in living memory. Their policies [i.e., an anti-union Trade Union bill (still nothing as bad as the US), an atrocious housing bill (eliminating social housing), the forced academisation of all state schools, the continual attacks on and attempted dismantling of the NHS (which includes forcing a contract on Junior doctors and eliminating student nurse bursaries), continual austerity specifically targeting women and the disabled, and, of course, the destruction of public services) would only have made Margaret Thatcher’s whiskey fuelled fantasies; she could never have pulled this off in the real world.
The European referendum reflects a split within the ruling class especially in the Tory party; this is Cameron’s attempt to give the anti-EU right the referendum they have demanded. Cameron does not favour exit; but to avoid further losses to UKIP and to keep the Tory right happy, he agreed.
Woody Guthrie “Working Man Blues”
Speaking of splits within the Tory party and what we can actually call a crisis of the Tory party, we need to just flag them up. It has been one hell of a couple of months for them. They were forced to back down on several key issues, for example, extending further cuts on disabled people. Iain Duncan Smith resigned from the cabinet as Secretary of Works and Pensions actually providing an hilarious criticism that the government had gone too far on cuts to disabled people (this is the man that a week before was demanding an additional £30 cut to benefits for the disabled) as he wanted to undermine Cameron and Osborne on the EU … the term crocodile tears has never been more appropriate. Even more so, he admitted what we all knew: that is, austerity is a political choice. Secondly, Tata Steel (the company that owns what is left of formerly nationalised British Steel) has decided to close down works in Port Talbot due to lack of profitability (the Chinese driving down the price of steel has created a bit of a crisis). The Tory’s refusal to nationalise although the majority (a whopping 62%) in the country supports it. Third, the open and ugly divisions on the EU referendum within the party (see Iain Duncan Smith above) are undermining Cameron’s credibility. Fourth, a stagnant economy and the clear inability of austerity to bring economic growth (this is obvious, since it is not designed for that) and collapsing exports (undermining the fantasy of export led growth) and the hard work of George Osborne to impoverish the working class and destroy the welfare state. Fifth, the strong public support for the NHS, junior doctors and nurses.
And last, but by no means least, the Panama Papers in which several leading members (including David Cameron) of, and donors to, the Tory party are implicated. This has been wonderful as we are watching a Tory MP justify his offshore accounts and investments as demonstrating their acumen, which proves that they are "not low achievers". Really, they want us to believe that their refusal to crack-down on tax havens that the EU tried to organise has nothing whatsoever to do with the number of tax havens that are former British colonies and their (and their crony’s) investments there. It is true that searching around to avoid paying taxes is not illegal (but should it be?) and shows investment sense especially if you want to avoid paying taxes on your investments and shell companies. William Hague actually said that politicians should not be judged on their financial arrangements has been spectacular. Watching billionaire newspaper owners justify tax-havens has been fun. Needless to say this has not helped boost Cameron’s ratings in the least … oops!
Returning to the EU referendum, it is clear that the ruling class is divided, Finance capital does not want to leave as their markets and power would flee to Frankfurt. Industrial and Manufacturing capitalists (what is left of it) also does not want to lose the European market. So who does support it in the ruling class or its sympathisers? The small business owners (and those that represent them) and those dreaming of the old British empire which no longer exists are pushing to leave.
Even more, xenophobia, racism and Islamophobia are rampant and these are pushed by a divide and rule policy employed by the ruling class by both politicians and through the media. The Tories always proudly wore their anti-immigrant stripes, but their constant insistence that other Europeans actually want to migrate here for our welfare state (and for our low wages) somehow misses the point completely as that there ain’t that much of it left. Perhaps they think destroying it will keep immigrants from coming?!
Then there is a complete lack of acknowledgement that somehow it is their foreign policies which have caused the migration from Syria; blaming the “human traffickers” for refugees of war getting into Fortress Europe sort of begs the question. It also begs the question of their (and the EU’s) responsibility to offer assistance to those fleeing a war zone. But let’s put aside their being signatories of treaties following WWII which obligates them to do so. Instead we can talk about the EU paying the Turkish government to repatriate people (who then use this money to conduct a genocidal policy on the Kurds).
Cisco Houston “deportees”
In the context of constant bombardment around these issues, who would benefit from Brexit from the EU? While a left-wing case could be put out there; that is not what people would hear. The left’s criticisms would be drowned out in a sea of xenophobia and calls for Britain to take its power back from Brussels.
Instead what will happen is that an exit from the EU under these circumstances would be a victory for the right-wing and for xenophobia and racism and will enable the Tories to destroy any positive gains for the working class that exist in Brussels. Britain would not be exiting the EU to a socialist Britain; we would be exiting the EU as part of a consolidation of the right in Britain. That is the crux of the matter and that is why I believe in a critical “remain in” vote – we know the enemy, we know how it operates, and we need to think what would be worse for the British working class as a whole.
Something which extends, or increases, the possibility of an even worse result for the vast majority is politically undesirable as an understatement and the British left is not strong enough to fight this even with Jeremy Corbyn in the driving seat of the Labour party. So, is that lesser evilism or is it a case of understanding where we are and where we need to be and what will help make us stronger rather than weaker?
Woody Guthrie “This Land is Your Land”