No to their "National Unity" behind Brexit! Yes to working class unity against the profit system!

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3rd April 2019

In the real world, B-day (29 March) came and went, without so much as a whisper.  Yes, in this real world, in which we struggle to earn a living and pay our bills, while producing all the wealth in society, B-day was just another non-event.
    But in the world of Westminster - and faced with a more and more farcical Brexit pantomime in the Commons - May has had no option but to seek more breathing space from the EU and find an alternative course.  How else to end the paralysis which her party’s rival factions have imposed on her government and on Parliament, over Brexit?
    It seems she has finally decided to move the Brexit goal posts, judging from the appeal she issued after a 7-hour Cabinet meeting, on Tuesday.
    In any case, the fact that during this meeting, ministers were ordered to switch off their phones to prevent them from causing more unwanted havoc on social media, probably says it all.
    This was not a "war cabinet" meeting, as some commentators described it.  Rather, it was a last-ditch attempt at holding a peace conference between the antagonists in the Tory party's civil war.  And, predictably, this attempt ended in yet another failure for May, just as did the meeting she held a few days before, at Chequers, with her party's backbenchers.
    This was predictable, because the same causes usually produce the same results.  Ever since she jumped into Cameron's shoes, May has been following his example by conceding to her party's right-wingers, in an attempt to keep them on-board at all costs and to maintain some sort of order in her party.  But, just as this policy backfired on Cameron and eventually caused his downfall, May was bound to suffer the same fate, unless she found new allies against her hard-Brexiteers.
    And this is precisely what her Tuesday appeal was about.  Having failed to get her party factions to agree to some sort of cease fire until the end of the Brexit process, she now seems to have decided that her only option is to appeal to Corbyn and his Labour MPs for help.

Yet again the "National Unity" con

Of course, May hasn't issued just any old appeal to Labour.  She is calling on Corbyn to join her in a show of "national unity to deliver the national interest" by supporting a "single unified approach".  This would involve backing her withdrawal deal with, possibly, adding some sort of sweetener for Labour, which is to be negotiated.
    So far, Corbyn's answer has been to welcome talks with May and to stress that he felt his "responsibility (is) to represent the people that supported Labour in the last election and the people who didn’t support Labour, but nevertheless want certainty and security for their own future". Significantly, even Corbyn's past talk about a "Brexit which will protect jobs" has suddenly disappeared.  And he still makes no reference to workers' interests.
    Not that this should come as a surprise, of course.  Corbyn has always insisted on his willingness to take over the Brexit negotiations in order to defend the "national interest" and the "British economy" - in other words the interests of the companies operating in Britain!
    And this is precisely where the trap behind May's "national unity to deliver the national interest" lies.  There can be no possible common interest and no possible "unity" - national or otherwise - between May's capitalist masters and the workers whose labour they exploit.
    Within the next few days, it will become clear whether Corbyn chooses to play ball with May and to go along with her nationalist Brexit venture.  But, with or without Corbyn on board, the working class has nothing to expect from this Brexit mess and every reason to refuse its "national unity" figleaf!

Putting forward our class interests

This fact is actually strikingly illustrated by what is happening this week in a number of car factories which had planned shutdowns to avoid the disruption of supplies expected after the original B-Day.
    Despite Brexit being postponed, these companies have stuck to their plans.  So, starting last Monday, workers at BMW, Vauxhall-PSA and Jaguar-Land-Rover have all been facing anything between 2 and 4-week shutdowns.  Never mind the very real disruption that these shutdowns might cause to their lives.  Profits come first, in this capitalist society just as under Brexit.
    That is, as long as the working class does not organise to fight back.  Against the bosses' plans to use Brexit to “reorganise” their production on our backs and against the governments which will try to make us foot the bill for Brexit with more austerity, we will need to be ready to react.  We will need to face up to them, as a united class.  This is why we need our own independent political organisation - a workers' party - to ensure that the distinct voice of the working class can be heard loud and clear!