Post - EU Referendum and the Working Class

Learning from History

The working class has no interest in the EU Referendum result. However they do have an interest in its consequences particularly the need for class solidarity in respect to the danger of divisiveness, nationalism, racism and xenophobia.

The nature of a referendum is essentially divisive - an either A or B vote, and this last one has been arousing a lot of nastiness and intolerance. Neither option offered could ever solve workers' problems. Yet on the radio there were workers telling the interviewer that they "had their country back". Utter nonsense. The means of production and distribution are still owned by the capitalist class to the exclusion of the rest of society.

It is capitalism which causes the problems workers face on a daily basis and it is only the conscious, democratic and political action of a socialist majority that can end these problems once and for all through the establishment of socialism. It is only in socialism that “…the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex” (OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES, Socialist Party of Great Britain)

Socialists also have no interst in the problems of a Labour Party whose MPs seem to have realised that their support base is shrinking fast and believe it can only be made right by replacing one leader with another. It can’t. The history of the Labour Party is a history of failure, as it is for any capitalist party.

Nationalisation programmes, regulation, Keynesianism have all been tried and failed. As too the free trade, free market globalisation policy of the Blairites which came crashing down on their heads in 2008. Shed no tears for the impending demise of the Labour Party. They have always been and still are a serious barrier to the establishment of socialism.

The 'Labour' Party has conned the workers for generations with vote-catching programmes of 'reforms', which are at best mere palliatives. These palliatives are designed to cause minimum difficulty for the capitalist class and are not aimed at solving the real problems of the working class. And the Labour Party denies the class struggle arising out of the exploitation of the working class.. Not to mention its fraudulent claim to be a Socialist party.

We have been told that the working class are not racist but some workers do hold racist views. Workers face innumerable social problems: poor housing, lack of resources, low pay, “zero hour contracts”, overcrowded schools, long queues to see the doctors, crumbling health care and no decent future for the children. Yet they mistakenly believe these social problems are a result of immigration. It is wrong. And it is historically wrong.

During the lead-up to the EU referendum there was clearly a sizeable anti-immigrant vote among the non-socialist working class who has deserted the Labour Party. And it has to be recognised not ignored because it has a history. Remember how Enoch Powell with his "rivers of blood" rhetoric got support from London Dockers - all of them Labour supporters?!

And back in the Thirties Mosley's Black Shirts were recruited from the Labour areas, just as today the Britain First's 'northern brigades' with their thuggish visits to over 60 northern mosques likewise would be mostly from Labour areas. Shortly after the result anti-Polish slogans were daubed on walls and racial abuse was thrown at workers from abroad. A shameful display of class disunity and political ignorance. As Shylock remarked:

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? ... If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?(Merchant of Venice – Shylock, Act III, Scene 1)

The racist Right has always used the "chip on the shoulder" propaganda and is one of the reasons why Hitler and Mussolini got mass support from the working class in the 1930s. Europe is now full of petty little corporals whipping-up hatred against “the other”. More Worrying still is the fashion to describe those who did not vote for Brexit as “traitors”. In the past State violence was inflicted on “traitors”. Traitors were publically hung drawn and quartered. It is a medieval term used by a medieval mind.

For the next two to three months, post-Brexit, workers are going to have to endure party political leadership contests. Workers should not to let themselves be side-tracked into yet more leadership trivia and time-wasting. Workers don't need 'leaders' to organise themselves effectively and democratically: what is needed is class-consciousness, and a clear sense of who we are and where we want to be, and how to get there.

It is clear that we are part of a world-wide working class with a powerful potential for establishing a world-wide social framework based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution by all of society. And how to get there rests with no one else but the world’s working class.

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Object and Declaration of Principles


The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.

Declaration of Principles


1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.

2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.

3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.

4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.

5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.

6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.

7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.

8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.