Britain should leave the EU on March 29, liberating a future Labour government from EU Single Market rules and trading with EU and other countries on WTO terms if necessary, Britain’s Communists declared at the weekend.
At the first meeting of its new Executive Committee elected at the 55th Congress, the Communist Party said that the ‘pro-EU Tory minority regime’ and the EU Commission could not be trusted to reach any withdrawal agreement that did not serve the interests of big business and the capitalist class.
‘Britain’s political crisis is deepening by the day and it reflects a more profound crisis for the ruling class and state-monopoly capitalism’, the party’s general secretary Robert Griffiths reported.
‘Their efforts to derail Brexit have not been successful so far, despite having a majority in the House of Commons and the House of Lords’, he added, ‘EU supporters have been divided between those who would settle for a Brexit that would keep Britain aligned with the EU Single Market and Customs Union and their pro-big business, anti-working and anti-socialist rules; and those who believe that Brexit can be prevented and full EU membership retained’.
The Communist Party executive concluded that any revamped Withdrawal Agreement would continue to bind Britain to the ‘big business freedoms’ of the EU Single Market, which would obstruct any future British government’s efforts to promote infrastructure investment, manufacturing industry, economic planning, public ownership, regional development, public sector procurement and VAT reforms and a labour market that ensures full rights for all workers.
‘Locking Britain into the EU Customs Union would make any such agreement even worse’, Robert Griffiths explained, ‘because it would outlaw import regulation to protect strategic industries such as steel, while also impeding a mutually beneficial fair trade policy with developing countries’.
He pointed out that more than four-fifths of the British economy had little or no relation with international trade and the EU accounted for less than half of the difference and was in decline.
Britain’s Communists urged the labour movement to reject ‘anti-democratic manoeuvres’ to extend Article 50 in order to delay and possibly cancel Brexit. Instead, the CP executive called for a ‘People’s Brexit’ to leave the EU, its Single Market, Customs Union and new pro-NATO military structures so that a left-led Labour government will be free to pursue left and progressive policies that benefit the workers and the people by investing in transport, the environment, housing, productive industry and public services.
Communist Party international secretary John Foster condemned ‘yet another violent unconstitutional coup attempt’ in Venezuela, backed by ‘the major imperialist powers, notably the US Trump and British governments and the EU’ who have, he charged, brought about the current crisis through economic sanctions and other machinations. He urged support for the solidarity rally called by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign for Thursday, January 31, at the National Education Union headquarters, London, at 6.30 pm.
The CP also condemned the repression of Communists and other progressive and democratic forces in Sudan and demanded that the British government dissociate itself from US plans for military intervention in Iran.
The new executive elected its officers for the next two years, including Liz Payne (chair), Ruth Styles (vice-chair), Robert Griffiths (general secretary), Andy Bain (trade union organiser), John Foster (international secretary), Carol Stavris (women’s organiser) and Martin Levy (Communist Review editor). The party’s new political committee comprises Payne, Griffiths, Bain, Foster, Stavris, Ben Chacko, Steve Johnson and Tony Conway as standing members and Mollie Brown and Alex Gordon as alternate members.