Build a Europe-wide labour movement!

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By Nik Barstow, Stretford and Urmston CLP

The Tories’ divisions on the EU and “Brexit” date back over 40 years. Edward Heath argued for accession to the EEC, but many of the ‘knights of the Shires” and the Powellites hated it.

The issue never went away, even though the Tory paymasters in big business reaped the rewards of an integrated market.

The labour movement has been similarly divided. Is still, with some who are fighting for “British sovereignty” despite fact that EU arrangements and ECJ laws give workers better rights than the UK courts… As socialists we should simply say – both sides of this have their own interests. We trust neither. Our position is simply to ensure the best bargaining position for our class and our activists.

Remaining in EU is clearly the best thing in terms of our rights, laws on the environment, laws on discrimination.

But we should be self-critical. The UK labour movement has done virtually nothing, at a grassroots level, to build solidarity, joint action and European-wide policy with our sisters and brothers in other European trade unions. We are reaping what we didn’t sow… Time now to build those links, build them fast and build them strong.

The working class in Europe is, potentially, an incredibly powerful world force. We are punching way below our weight!

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1 Comment

  1. It not clearly not the case that the UK should remain constrained by a politically Conservative or even ultra Right EU. A future UK parliament could not act to ‘transform’ the UK, when treaties designed to prevent such an occurrence are in place, i.e the treaty definition of the EU.

    No superficially constructed articles which restate this opinion (only) will make the slightest impact.

    EU law is no protection – have you ever tried to use it? A very very superficial analysis of the state of working class standing across whole swathes of the Southern Europe show that you shouldn’t be fooled by supposed rhetoric.

    It is strange that at the time of the weakest state of workers’ solidarity internationally there could emerge a totally bazaar call for workers solidarity across nations that does even exist in a single one of those nations. Quite fanciful!

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