Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials - 8 February 2017

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
8 February 2017

Thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s support, Theresa May finally got MPs' backing to trigger the Brexit process by the 31st March.  Well, almost - since, in fact, she still faces no fewer than 287 amendments to her bill, which still needs to be endorsed by the House of Lords.  But then, she shouldn't complain.  Didn't she want Parliament to be "sovereign"?
    In the meantime, she has produced a White Paper entitled "The United Kingdom’s exit from, and partnership with, the EU", which is supposed to outline a strategy for the coming negotiations with the EU.  One point it makes is that May will give MPs every opportunity to have a say in the issues involved in these negotiations.  It says that she will "put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and the EU to a vote".  Except that this is exactly what she has repeatedly said she wouldn't allow - given the on-going overbidding of the Brexiters within her own party.
Between a fairy tale and the truth
In fact, this White Paper is an exercise in complacency and wishful thinking.  It's all about May wanting to have her cake and eat it.  It underlines all the advantages which Britain has within the EU that she wants to retain for British business.  So much so, that one has to wonder what the point was in leaving the EU in the first place!
    A large part of this document is devoted to how much of a "leading", "world class" economy "Great" Britain is  - presumably to convince the reader that it is fit to stand on its own feet.  But then, how come Britain has been running a growing trade deficit for so many years?  You won't find the answer to this in this White Paper.  But the truth is that British capital's addiction to making a quick buck on financial markets has starved the economy of productive investment for decades.
    And there's much more that this White Paper conveniently "forgets" to say, when it hails Britain's "greatness" compared to the rest of the world.  For instance, it doesn't mention the fact that while Britain has more super-rich and more bankers earning over £1m/yr than any other EU country, it also has the highest level of inequality and the worst level of poverty among the rich European countries!
    Nor does it say anything about the abysmal state of Britain's public infrastructure - neither about its antiquated, over-expensive rail network, nor its chronic housing crisis.  There's not a word either, about the catastrophic state of the NHS, nor about the fact that Britain has fewer doctors and hospital beds per inhabitant than any other rich European country.
    Of course May wouldn't admit any of this.  Because this would be acknowledging an uncomfortable truth:  that for decades, successive governments have been cutting social expenditure and public investment, in order to feed the parasitism of British capital.  Something that May has continued, cutting public expenditure by £3.5bn, while companies were awarded £6.7bn in tax cuts!
Enough of this parasitic system!
Yes, it is the capitalists' parasitism which has led to the degradation of living and working conditions for the working class.  Contrary to what politicians have been telling us for years, this had nothing to do with the EU, nor with immigration, as they still dare to claim.
    No, it has everything to do with the greed of a capitalist class which owns everything and keeps squeezing more and more profit out of our labour and out of public funds, with the help of their politicians.  And the Brexit process promises to be just another exercise in helping these fat cats squeeze even more out of us.  So, May's White Paper says: "we have already acted quickly to give clarity about farm payments and competitive grants".  In practice, this means that a whole lot of these fat cats will carry on getting their previous EU subsidies.  So, a "pauper" like the Duke of Westminster will carry on netting £407,000/yr, not to mention the poor Queen, who will still get her £730,000/yr EU subsidy!
    Except that this money will now be paid by the Exchequer, so something else will have to give - meaning more cuts in social expenditure so that the rich can get even richer!
    And there's worse coming.  May's White Paper talks about considering "how employment rules need to change in order to keep pace with.. the rapid recent growth in self-employment; the shift... from hiring to contracting... and the emergence of new business models such as on-demand platforms."  In other words, the Brexiters want underpaid, non-jobs to become the norm in order to maximise big business' profits!
    So, no, the working class has nothing to expect from Brexit nor from a profit system which is based on exploiting its labour ever more viciously.  It has no interest in raising more borders, but every interest in getting rid of the profiteers!