Brexit and the fight against fascism

anti robinson poster

By Obi Saiq, Hackney South CLP Youth Officer and Picturehouse activist (pc)

I have mixed feelings about Callum Cant’s article on fighting the far right and opposing Brexit.

Firstly, I agree that we need broad left united fronts to oppose fascism. We should accept there are variety of opinions on left, but our immediate goal should be to call out and combat fascists for being… fascists (not Brexiteers).

I also agree this is an attempt by Tommy Robinson and the far right to take over the Leave cause with the Tory leavers in disarray (the far right had significant impact on the Leave narrative before, but were not its leadership). Whether we end up leaving or not, if Yaxley Lennon pulls this off, he’ll have a big boost in his base.

So I agree we should really approach the demo from a purely antifascist perspective. 

However, while I wouldn’t call Another Europe is Possible a full-on socialist campaign, it is definitely not pro-EU Liberalism as the article suggests. Also, the AEIP demo is in the exact same location as the Momentum endorsed one!

Moreover, here is a reminder for the ‘Lexit’ Left:

Although it might be stretch to call Brexit a full on far-right project (not that the far right didn’t support it), the Leave campaign that won is definitely based and dominated by Reactionary politics – the campaign was dominated by hard-right Tories proposing imaginary ideas of a former status quo that is impossible (not without Britain reestablishing a genocidal empire), and rampant xenophobia/anti-immigration rhetoric.

Let’s not delude ourselves and think a few random Orthodox Trots with a few stalls here or there really had a significant impact on the Brexit narrative.

The people who wanted Brexit might not be racist, but I can guess (I know because a section of my family did) they were influenced by this right-wing reactionary current. This included (incorrect) notions of cutting migration to stop wage deflation, rising housing prices, and pressures on public services. All of these myths can be easily challenged. However, say Corbyn becomes PM and delivers a Brexit that preserves free movement – he’ll be seen just as much a traitor by the people we’re supposedly trying to win over, compared to if he opposed Brexit all together.

So why don’t we, the left, just stop and confront Brexit all together, and remove the risk of negatively effecting the material conditions of working class? And the risk to the already limited unity between the European working class.

Yes, the EU is certainly a capitalist institution. I don’t know how they’ll take to a Corbyn government. If they act in a way opposed to Corbyn’s reforms – we deal with it then. Not now though, not when the working class and labour movement are weak, and not when the Brexit narrative has been built on reactionary politics.

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