As socialists we believe that only by the whole of the working class ridding ourselves of the employers, their policies, their parties and their system, can people build socialism and begin to take control their lives. Things do not happen automatically, but only by people understanding the actual conditions and consciously fighting to change both the conditions and themselves. No existing British political party other than ourselves in the Socialist Party represent working people’s real interests and ambitions.
The current discussion on the European Union and whether to stay or go has become one of the most heated arguments taking place. The strategists of European capital see America, Asia and China as economic rivals. Thus to project themselves on a world scale they must band together. From being a source of the development of society, capitalism and the nation state have become a terrible drag and impediment to the full and harmonious development of the productive potential. The capitalists are attempting on a capitalist basis to try and overcome the basic problems with which they are faced. The debate over EU finds the capitalist class profoundly divided.
British capitalism is always searching for a panacea. The CBI and Big Business are the most intent and determined to keep Britain in the EU. The City of London, banking, insurance and transportation interests, which have a decisive say in British foreign policy, hope that staying in the EU will maintain the primacy of their interests. They see rich pickings ahead and that is their “interest” and they care little if others go to the wall. Everything they do starts from the capitalist premise. They see the exit camp as simply just nationalistic myopia, with “national sovereignty”, “the nation”—with all the myths of capitalism of the past finding echoes in their propaganda. “Let us have a rich and sovereign Britain”, is what the Brexit supporters are saying. Proponents of withdrawal argue that Britain could have its cake and eat it outside the EU. They claim that British companies could participate in the EU, exporting to the Continent and continuing to attract inward investment. At the same time, they can enjoy the benefits of their involvement in the rest of the world economy, trading with and investing in North America and the Far East. A powerful group of capitalists who back the Euro-sceptics are those who represent off-shore interests – firms which though based in Britain operate on a global rather than a European basis. This hard anti-European wing of British capital is undoubtedly a minority of the ruling class, but its right-wing media power greatly amplifies its voice.
The stay in the EU camp make great play about “the terms” of Cameron’s new deal. The terms the British ruling class are getting are the best they can get in their interests, given the weakness of British capitalism at the present time. It was a bargain between gangsters, each striving for some advantage over the other. Britain is probably already the most internationalised of the major capitalisms. Because British capital’s interests are more globally dispersed than those of its main competitors, it is harder for the ruling class to arrive at a consensus about what line they should take over Europe.
Everything is forgotten in a blind, unenlightened debate. However, the Socialist Party can see that if there is no solution inside the EU, there is less of a solution outside it. Both pro- or anti-EU campaigners, there must be placed the class internationalism and cross-border solidarity of the working class. The problems facing the working class can only be solved by socialism. There is no magical way in which this issue can be avoided. Workers everywhere must engage in struggle against the common enemy—capital, by expropriating the ruling class. We call upon our fellow workers in different countries to stand shoulder to shoulder against the phony internationalism of supporting one’s own ruling class in any temporary arrangements they make with the ruling class of other countries.