EU Referendum: a disastrous outcome

Left Unity Executive Committee has issued the following statement on the outcome of the EU Referendum:

Left Unity deplores the Leave outcome of the EU Referendum. This referendum came from pressure from the far right – driven by anti-immigration sentiment, fuelled by racism. This has been the most reactionary national campaign in British political history, resulting in an open emergence of the extreme right.

In Brexit Britain, we still face austerity, poverty and extreme inequality: the rotten policies of our government are still here. Brexit will not be a loosening of the shackles of neo-liberalism as some on the left have argued. It will be an unmitigated compounding of the same policies by the British ruling class. We deeply regret that the working people of Britain have been deceived and manipulated into believing that Brexit will bring about relief from the grinding austerity that is destroying lives and communities. We will now work tirelessly to oppose those who would divide us further. We will fight to defend the rights of working class communities and rebuild support for socialist ideas.

We will step up the fight against neo-liberalism here – opposing all cuts, defending the NHS, fighting for decent housing – and across Europe, because the problems we face cannot be solved on a national basis. These are international problems faced by the working class internationally and this requires solidarity and cooperation across national boundaries. We cannot cut ourselves off from our allies: the peoples of Europe in our shared and common struggles. Unity is strength and that means unity of working people, poor and exploited people, across borders.

We call on all those who reject this disastrous turn in British politics to unite to oppose racism, to defend the rights of migrants and to fight to protect and extend workers’ and other rights that are now under threat. We reject the ‘divide and rule’ methods of our ruling class, setting one worker against another, wherever they come from, and turning one community against another. The problems we face result from the neo-liberal, deregulatory, anti-working class policies imposed by successive British governments, not from immigrants and refugees – our fellow working people. We have been proud to share this position with the Labour leadership, the TUC and the overwhelming majority of trade unions and we will work together to take these principles forward.

We may be heading out of the EU but it is more important than ever to work in solidarity with other workers and communities. Movements and left parties throughout Europe are mounting their own massive political opposition to neo-liberalism, against austerity and poverty. We stand a better chance of defeating our own ruling class by working together with the people of Europe with shared strategies in common campaigns.

We watch the advance of the left in Europe – particularly where there is newfound cooperation and unity in Spain and Portugal – with our hearts filled with hope. We send our solidarity and best wishes to Unidos Podemos in Spain for success in their election this weekend. We see the struggles of the French workers against the imposition of the new labour laws and convey our solidarity to these and other struggles. But we also watch with grave concern the rise of the far right across Europe as well as in Britain. We need urgently to consolidate our forces against this growing tendency.

Left Unity emerged from the struggles of the European working class and is proud to be part of the European Left Party. We must unite the working class across Europe, to defeat neo-liberalism and the far right. We are in a period of profound economic and political crisis – both in Britain and across Europe – with increasing political polarisation and intensifying class struggle. The basis on which that struggle can be fought and won has to be absolutely clear. We will fight to rebuild the British left on uncompromisingly anti-racist, pro-immigration terms, making no concessions to the false narrative that has dominated the referendum debate. We appeal to all those who share this perspective to join us and work with us.

23 June 2016






22 responses to “EU Referendum: a disastrous outcome”

  1. winmarie greenland says:

    Thankyou for this BUT couldn’t stop the tears.
    Love and solidarity

  2. Marius Kwint says:

    Agree with this position.

  3. Olga Athaniti says:

    Dear friends
    In this extremely fragile situation we have to struggle more than ever in solidarity and persistence till our final victory against neoliberalism, xenophobia, racism, fascism and all the results of austerity policies all over Europe. Nothing has been lost
    United we stand !
    In comradeship
    Olga Athaniti
    SYRIZA -Greece

    • Felicity Dowling says:

      Thank you for your response. We need now to build strong links right across Europe. The youth of Britain are so upset by this result.

  4. Why such a hard-line position on an issue where the class lines were not so clear? There was a substantial left Leave position that had great merit in my view.

  5. Zarina Bhatia says:

    I stayed up till late and began to see the outcome of this Referendum. Very sad for our City of Birmingham. I got a message from Momentum and I daresay I replied to it and have copied it on our Closed Group. I will be mortified if the Workers and others in Labour Party call for Jeremy Corbyn to resign as overwhelmingly supported Leader of Labour Party. I also dread who will succeed David Cameron.
    A sad, very sad day for every citizen in UK.

  6. Michael Demetriou says:

    ‘Left Unity deplores the Leave outcome of the EU Referendum’. How can you ‘deplore’ the democratic verdict of the people? You can deplore Farage, you can deplore the racist undertones of much of the leave campaign, but to deplore the outcome? Please re-write that sentence before anyone else notices. I am embarrassed to be an LU member.

    There is so much else that’s bad about this statement from our national executive: ‘In Brexit Britain, we still face austerity, poverty and extreme inequality: the rotten policies of our government are still here’. What exactly have millions of people in Europe faced from the EU? Look at the way they have created mass unemployment in Greece and elsewhere and beaten into submission the democratically elected government of Syriza. The difference is we have the power (yes we have the power!) to affect the policies of our government through mass protest and through the ballot box.

    At the end of the day, it boils down to whether you think the EU is reformable. To get the unanimous agreement of 28 states for a new treaty, replacing all others, for a democratic, social Europe? Good luck with that!

    But let’s face it, LU’s position has never been about that. Apparently we mustn’t support what we believe because a nasty bloke called Farage wants the same thing.

    Millions of working class people in Britain who are fed up with politicians, bureaucrats and bankers have spoken out and said they will not continue to suffer the austerity policies of our government or that of the EU. The sad truth is we, along with the Labour leadership, have misunderstood them and let them down.

    One more thing: when it come to racist immigration policies, how exactly do you describe a system that allows freedom to enter for Europeans (who are predominantly white) but not for those from Africa, Asia or elsewhere? Do we really believe freedom of movement is about being welcoming to foreigners? Or is it a system for the exploitation of cheap labour?

    • Sam Howells says:

      Hear, hear.

      Also “opposing all cuts”: does that extend to supporting Trident replacement rather than cutting that expense?

      You’ve jerked your knee today instead of thinking things through.

    • Felicity Dowling says:

      We also deplored the results of the last election! We deplore the rise of UKIP. We deplore xenophobia and attacks on migrants. we deplore the danger into which this puts so many people.

  7. Tim says:

    I cant believe all the liberal lefties weeping and ripping their clothes. Cameron has resigned; Boris and Gove have no mandate. A general election beckons and Labour has the most left wing leader since Kier Hardy. You should be popping open the Prosecco

    • Felicity Dowling says:

      We can truly hope you are correct Tim. we fear you are very wrong. The struggle continues.

  8. Mark Parker says:

    Sorry to say LU have got it very wrong.

    I agree with Michael. The European Union is an austerity machine, it is undemocratic to the very core, and as we have seen in Greece and elsewhere across the continent, has allowed the Banks to feed off the working class in a way that we have never before experienced.

    The Brexit vote has stopped the advance of the Brussels dictate regime. Here in France the Parti de Gauche has belatedly woken up to the truth that sovereignty is not a dirty word and is not in contradiction with internationalism.

    The future is in creating new democratic governance across every sector of society and above all in the workplace. This will bring about the overthrow of the dictatorship of money/capital.

    It is rather sad to see the British Left so out of touch with what is happening both in Europe and now in it’s own backyard. Back to Marx and get the basics right!

    • Felicity Dowling says:

      Neoliberalism is a global project. It is working in the USA in Brazil, in Indonesia, in Russia in South Africa, in India, in Pakistan and more. Only an organised working class can defeat it. It is our considered opinion that this campaign has been far from helpful in building that unity and the need for socialism in the UK or in Europe.
      However the struggle continues. We truly hope you optimism proves well grounded

  9. Peter Wicks says:

    It seem that LeftUnity have lost the plot those of us who vote to get out of the EU are not the far right, we are the people that YOU forgot, the poor and underclass that your lot have crapped on for far too long.
    Its people like you who sit there picking fluff out of your navels and having highbrow discussions on how the poor of Britain should vote to save the status quo .It’s time for YOUR organisation to revaluate your core principle because none of it encompasses REAL people of our divided nation

    • Michael Demetriou says:

      The core principles of LU are why I joined and am sticking by this party which has so much potential. It’s the strategic thinking that’s poor. Solidarity with migrants apparently means taking up a contrary position on the EU to Farage, whatever the arguments. The prospect of Johnson as PM means siding with Cameron. Solidarity with other Left parties means sticking with the vain hope that the Left might one day forge a majority in the European Parliament, as if the EU bureaucracy would shudder at the prospect. Sloppy thinking. Sad.

    • Felicity Dowling says:

      Our organisation is based in the cities and towns of the urban poor.

  10. mike dunford says:

    Apparently Left Unity now thinks that the british working class is suffering from false consciousness, a patronising position if ever there was one. This demonstrates how deeply failed the left is in this country and how out of touch with working people it really is. And how deeply allied Left Unity is with the metropolitan elites, the rich, the EU beaurocracy, and Washington’ s interests. It may interest Left unity leadership to know that large numbers of Leave supporters did so out of solidarity with European workers, and their hardships under the neo-liberal regime carried out by Brussels and the ordo-liberals in the ECB. And to oppose TTIP the blueprint for global corporatocracy that is supported by Brussels.
    It was for these progressive ideals that we voted Leave in the hopes to speed up the collapse of the Eurozone dictatorship.
    It will be a stormy outcome, and a difficult future, but caused by the crisis created by the EU, not by british working people.

    • Felicity Dowling says:

      We discussed our ideas in detail long before this campaign. We simply disagree with your position.

      • Michael Demetriou says:

        Yes Felicity I know the decision was made a long time ago but what stirred me to comment was the tone of this statement particularly the use of that word ‘deplore’.

  11. Ruth says:

    The Tories and Ukip have combined to sow toxic division across the country. If we allow these divisions to seep into Left Unity, we will be dancing to their tune. In Camden and Islington branch, cogent arguments were made prior to the Referendum for remain, leave and abstention, and all positions respected. I voted remain, but with a heavy heart because I don’t really believe the EU is reformable. The Referendum called for a binary choice on a multi-faceted issue. If Left Unity can’t respect the choice of those who felt they couldn’t vote to remain in an unreformable EU, it’s founding purpose appears under threat.

    • Michael Demetriou says:

      Good point Ruth. If Labour implodes/Corbyn is forced out were going to need to present something worthwhile to those who will look to us as an alternative. Just a bit baffled why you want to remain in an unreformable EU!!

  12. Johna329 says:

    Really enjoyed reading ur blog. kedgedcadbcd

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