WHAT IS BREXIT FOR?

Discussion around Brexit and the Withdrawal Agreement has concerned the Irish border and the Backstop, the loss of tariff-free access to the EU and the implications for the movement of people across borders. Remainers occasionally express concern about a potential loss of employment rights but this has little substance other than to attract naïve social democrats to the Remain cause as the EU has done nothing to resist the increasing casualisation of labour, the erosion of collective bargaining rights or anti-trade union legislation. The Big Issue that no one is debating is what sort of country will Britain be post-Brexit.

Neo-liberals tend to keep quiet about their ambitions for a post-Brexit Britain. Their dream is for a Singapore style economy twenty miles off the coast of France. This means an economy that is exploitative, de-regulated, minimally taxed, gutted of its social services and open to capital from across the world with no questions asked. Close ties with a USA are called for if only to ensure that we can continue to rent Trident and its up-grades.

Communists have a different ambition. If we are quiet about it, it is simply because the mass media does a good job ensuring that our views are not reported. We want a socialist Britain run for the benefit of those who live within its shores, not the owners of footloose international capital. To get there we will need a progressive tax system incorporating many of the ideas in our pamphlet From Each According to Their Means  (1). But as we point out in this pamphlet, many of these ideas – a land value tax; varying rates of VAT with rebates for workers to address social needs; unitary taxation of corporate profits to nullify the use of tax havens; and a tax and dividend carbon tax as advocated by  James Hansen to address global warming – would be impossible under continued membership of the EU or the Single Market.

So in the end the complexities melt away and the choice is a straightforward one: accept the block on progressive reforms that are a pre-requisite of social revolution or seize the opportunity to begin building socialism – provided, as Marx recommended in the Communist Manifesto, that we first “settle matters with our own bourgeoisie”. 

 

  1. Available from the Communist Party Shop at http://www.communist-party.org.uk/shop/pamphlets/2025-from-each-according-to-their-means.html

 

 

 

Croydon – Heart of the World Revolution?

Red Croydon
Why have I modified the classic poster Moscow – Heart of the World Revolution this week to substitute Croydon for Moscow? Well, the skyline depicted in the original does look a bit like Croydon’s, does it not? More significant, however, there were two events of some significance in our town over the weekend. On Saturday the Croydon Assembly, sponsored by Croydon TUC, held a day of speeches, workshops and discussions at Ruskin House. The day was opened by John McDonnell MP and Philipa Harvey, Vice Chair of the NUT. At lunch time it was addressed by Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS union. Thus at one meeting Croydon hosted the leading socialist parliamentarian, a rising star in the NUT and the country’s most prominent left wing trade unionist. In between there were a series of dynamic workshops on topics as diverse as how to save the NHS, democracy and trade union rights, education, climate change and welfare cuts. Most of these workshops agreed to meet again in the New Year to press on the political parties standing in Croydon at the forthcoming General Election the need for progressive reform and an end to creeping privatisation, cuts and austerity. If they want our support and our votes, they can no longer rely on the old argument Vote for us, we are the least bad option.

The other big event in Croydon over the weekend was the 53rd Congress of the Communist Party, held at friends Meeting House on Saturday and reverting to Ruskin House on Sunday. The keynote speech by General Secretary Rob Griffiths took a similar line. Mr Griffiths said that “if Labour is serious about winning the General Election” it must commit to “taking the railways, Royal Mail, gas, water and electricity back into public ownership.” Resolutions passed by Congress included commitment to step up campaigns to save the NHS and oppose discriminatory policies against the disabled.

Perhaps Croydon – Heart of the World Revolution is a little over the top, but it was a moment of optimism and hope in Croydon last weekend. Revolution? Not yet perhaps, but the fightback against the rich and powerful is just beginning.