Time we raised our voice

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
19 June 2019

The Tory leadership puppet show has exposed what really underpinned the past years of Brexit chaos.  In fact it has shed the crudest possible light on the chronic in-fighting, bickering, overbidding and sniping by Tory factions, which has been driving the Brexit saga right from its very inception.
    Significantly, no fewer than twelve candidates made an initial bid for May's mantle.  But these aspiring leaders did not come out of nowhere.  One way or another, all of them had already been using the Brexit process and its underlying guerilla warfare in order to position themselves and promote their own careers.
    Significant too, was the fact that, on the whole, these contenders had no ideas nor policies of their own to defend in this contest.  They proved to be chameleons, adjusting their views - or, more accurately, their lies - to any audience according to what they judged to be the most “popular” line.

A fatal reactionary attraction

Of course, there was one thing that all these contenders had in common: their wholehearted endorsement of the absurd idea that there can be any logic or rational reason for little Britain to cut itself off from the huge European continent.  But their unanimous endorsement of Brexit has other serious consequences.
    Lest we forget, Brexit was originally born out of the attempt by the main parties to divert attention from their policy of getting the working class to foot the bill for bailing big business out of the 2008 banking crisis.  Because the austerity they thus imposed had seriously aggravated social conditions.
    It was therefore convenient to point a finger and blame Britain's economic ills on the EU - and to blame the rise of poverty and deterioration in services on migrant workers.  Never mind that these workers were adding their much-needed labour, skills and in many cases, militancy, to the workforce.  The logical conclusion of all this scape-goating was that Britain would be better off going it alone - hence the whole Brexit lunacy.
    As a result, whether they care to admit it or not, those who choose to support Brexit today, are also de facto condoning the xenophobic scape-goating which underpins it.  And this has consequences.
    It is not for nothing, for instance, if Hunt rushes to support Trump's bellicose threats against Iran - even though they are based on the kind of "evidence" which is strikingly reminiscent of Blair's weapons of mass destruction dossier against Iraq!
    Nor is it a coincidence that the same Hunt makes a point of endorsing Trump's racist slurs against London Mayor, Sadiq Khan!
    Hunt's unconditional support for Trump's policies is merely consistent with the xenophobic logic of a Brexit which he unconditionally supports.  And the same is true, just as much, of Johnson and the other leadership contenders.
    Whatever they may say on "no deal" is not even the issue:  their common support for Brexit, one way or another, determines the reactionary nature of the policies they champion.

A bankrupt system

As the second TV debate highlighted, there was something else that all the Tory leadership contenders shared: none of them had a thing to say on the rise of poverty and foodbanks under their party's watch.  And the same can be said about the threats on jobs, the on-going rise of casual employment and the general degradation in conditions faced by the working class.
    For years now, the issues which directly affect the working class majority of the population have been swept under the carpet.  Instead, the Tories' internal warfare has been allowed to occupy most of the political space, under cover of the Brexit saga.
    Of course, this is largely due to the fact that the political scene remains mostly confined to parliamentary institutions, which are designed to be used by the political personnel of the capitalist class as a means to keep the working class out of politics altogether.
    But the working class hasn't made its voice heard yet.  Nor has it used its fighting capacity, in the streets and in the workplaces, to defend its collective interests.
    It is this capacity that the working class needs to start building up right now, in particular by pre-empting any attempt by the bosses and politicians to divide its ranks along the lines of nationality.
    What matters today is not so much what form Brexit will take, nor whether it will really happen or not.  What really matters is the capacity of the working class to prevent big business from using Brexit as a cover for yet another turn of the screw in the months to come.