Leave – Fight – Transform: Founding Statement

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Leave – Fight – Transform

From Amazon warehouses to Belfast’s shipyards, workers are demanding a break — a break with the failed system of austerity, neoliberalism and capitalism.

The last 40 years have been an era of declining real wages, attacks on trade union and workers’ rights, austerity, abuse of migrants, the hollowing out of democracy and an escalating environmental crisis.

Working-class people across the world are demanding an alternative to this failed status quo.

History shows that if the left does not offer a transformative alternative to capitalism in crisis, the false prophets of the right will step in with their empty promises and reactionary utopias.

To offer a serious alternative, the left must demand and lead a rupture with a system of global capitalism that is irreformable and rotten to its core.

For socialists today in Britain that means calling for a break with the EU, breaking with the logic of neoliberalism and building a radical alternative.

Leave – Fight – Transform

Leave – Fight – Transform: The LeFT Campaign is a grassroots network of socialists, trade unionists and community activists, committed to democracy, internationalism and socialism.

We recognise that the failed neoliberal economic model helped produce both the vote to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum and the surge in support for a left-led Labour Party in the 2017 general election with a radical manifesto, promising genuine change.

To develop the potential of this moment, the left must ensure the 2016 referendum result is implemented, so that the UK breaks with the treaties, institutions and laws of the EU as well as the structural racism of Fortress Europe.

These institutions promote and sustain the very system that working people are demanding a break from.

We must build a transformative movement that begins with the popular rejection of the EU within many working-class communities and that advances genuine internationalism with allies in the labour movement across the world.

To shape the 21st century in a way which advances the interests of the working class, in all its rich diversity, to begin to turn the tide on the environmental crisis, and to extend democracy into all aspects of people’s lives, the left must demand a break with the status quo. We need to leave the EU and transform society.

To join and support the campaign, or to add your name to the founding statement contact us on LeFTCampaign@gmail.com, or follow us on Twitter: @LeFTCampaign.

The new LeFT Brexit campaign is a force for solidarity and understanding

The launch of a new Labour movement Leave campaign is important for three reasons.

First, it defends our democracy. Second, it provides the base we need for opposing pro-big business, neoliberal policies — whether these come from the EU or Boris Johnson. Third, it supplies much-needed support for Labour’s own socialist programme.

How does it defend democracy? It does so by providing a left-wing voice for the millions of working-class Labour voters who supported Leave in the referendum.

Currently only two perspectives are being projected in the press. The pro-EU position is portrayed as internationalist and liberal while Leave supporters are identified with Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump.

This stereotyped division is both dangerous and incorrect. It is producing a polarised debate in which Leave supporters find themselves identified with alien perspectives, ideas that have as little to do with the working-class movement as those of the bankers and monopolists who back the EU.

And anything that divides the working-class movement and weakens its unity also threatens our democracy — because in a class society like ours it is only this collective solidarity that provides a barrier against the wealth and power of the few.

The new Leave campaign provides a voice for that class solidarity. It represents the silent workplaces denied state aid because of the EU’s competition laws. It explains that our derelict regions and crisis-ridden social services, in Britain and across the EU, are the result of EU austerity policies that imposed the costs of the bankers’ crisis on working people.

And these same arguments will be critical for the future. The next few months are very unpredictable.

We may face Johnson negotiating trade deals with the US or Saudi Arabia on neoliberal terms. Or we may see a “national coalition” seeking to restore EU membership. Equally neoliberal.

In both cases the arguments that are needed to arm the labour movement will only come from a much strengthened left campaign against the EU.

The pro-EU side has focused almost exclusively on the supposed consequences of leaving. It has looked at effects not principles.

It has never acknowledged the problems of big business control, the denial of public ownership, the erosion of collective bargaining, the insistence on marketisation and EU trade treaties that are often grossly exploitative.

It is, however, around these issues that the labour movement will have to unite if we are to see a Labour government committed to socialist policies.

After a decade of defeat, Labour almost won the 2017 election with a programme that accepted the result of the EU referendum and called for democratic, socialist control over the economy.

Since then this programme has been further developed — most notably in Jeremy Corbyn’s Coventry speech in 2018.

Labour’s policy for economic transformation currently includes the comprehensive public ownership of key utilities, mandatory collective bargaining, the proactive use of public procurement to promote regional development and the use of state aid and a state investment bank to revive a dangerously stagnant economy.

Not one of these policies is compatible with EU regulations or with the EU’s single market terms as incorporated in Theresa May’s deal.

The new campaign is therefore an important first step. It will be successful if it is firmly based in the trade union and Labour movement and linked to active campaigning against industrial closure, precarious working, community impoverishment and the defence of services.

In doing so it will be a force for solidarity and understanding and thus for redeveloping the power of working-class unity essential for our democracy.

The consequences of not doing so, of a working class divided, should be a concern to all.

Founding Statement signatures

  • Sarah Cundy (Labour, Momentum and Unite)
  • Dr Paul O’Connell (UCU, SOAS University of London)
  • Mary Addosides (Chair Brent TUC (personal capacity))
  • Nisar Ahmed (Chairperson, Bangladeshi Workers’ Council (personal capacity))
  • Andy Bain (Former President TSSA)
  • Harsev Bains (Association of Indian Communists GB)
  • Joginder Bains (National Secretary, Indian Workers Association)
  • Marcus Barnett (Young Labour International Officer (personal capacity))
  • Dave Berry (Sheffield Central Labour (personal capacity))
  • Mollie Brown (Executive, National Assembly of Women (personal capacity))
  • Sean Byers (Trade Union Educator, Belfast)
  • Michael Calderbank (Secretary, Brent Central CLP)
  • Kristian Carter (Unite Northampton)
  • Jack Chadwick (Labour, University of Cambridge)
  • Tony Conway (Anti-Racist Activist, Coventry)
  • Dr Philip Cunliffe (University of Kent)
  • Prof Mary Davis (London)
  • Eddie Dempsey (RMT)
  • Lovepreet Dhillon (Labour)
  • Rachel Eborall (Unite)
  • Eli Edwards (Labour)
  • Sam L Edwards (Southampton)
  • Dr Sai Englert (UCU, SOAS University of London)
  • Dan Evans (Cardiff)
  • David G Evans (Cheltenham CLP)
  • Prof John Foster (University of the West of Scotland and ROSE)
  • Simon Foster (Hampstead & Kilburn Labour and Unite)
  • Sarah Friday (Labour and Camden Momentum)
  • Matthew Giles (North East Regional Coordinator, Green Party)
  • Holly Rigby NEU (pc)
  • Alex Gordon (Former President RMT)
  • Tony Green (Unite and Liverpool Trades Council)
  • Bill Greenshields (Derby TUC (personal capacity))
  • Moz Greenshields (TUC Trades Council Joint Consultative Committee)
  • Robert Griffiths (General Secretary CPB)
  • Dr Martin Hall (UCU, Salford)
  • George Hoare (Writer)
  • Feyzi Ismail (UCU, SOAS University of London)
  • Joshua Jackson (Aylesbury Labour and Unite)
  • David Jamieson (Journalist, Glasgow)
  • Dr Lee Jones (UCU, Queen Mary University of London)
  • Phil Katz (Designer and Author)
  • Deborah Keay (Vice Chair Stretford CLP)
  • Paul Knaggs (Labour Heartlands)
  • Prof Costas Lapavitsas (UCU, SOAS University of London)
  • Robert Laurie (ROSE)
  • Gawain Little (NEU Executive (personal capacity))
  • Tommy MacMartin (Unite)
  • Alan McDonald (Labour and Momentum)
  • Phil McGarry (RMT, ROSE)
  • Lara McNeill (Labour NEC Youth Rep and GMB Young Members National Committee)
  • Raymond Mennie (Dundee TUC and Unite)
  • Vince Mills (Scottish Labour Left)
  • Raymond Morell (Branch Chair Unite Edinburgh)
  • David Morgan (Rhyl People’s Assembly Against Austerity (personal capacity))
  • Tommy Morrison (Secretary Clydebank TUC)
  • Dr Eva Nanopolous (Labour, Momentum and UCU, Queen Mary University of London)
  • Prof Danny Nicol (University of Westminster)
  • Steven Nolan (Writer and Trade Union Educator, Belfast)
  • Kevin Ovenden (Journalist and Writer)
  • Brian Parkin (Unite)
  • Jack Pearce (Stafford Labour and Unite)
  • John Penney (Vice Chair of Oswestry and District Labour Party)
  • Patricia Pino (Labour)
  • Mike Quille (Newcastle TUC (pc))
  • Beth Redmond (Unite and North West Young Labour Women’s Officer)
  • Max Shanly (Labour)
  • Tanbir Siddique (Cheltenham CLP and Unite)
  • Richard Shillcock (CPB, UCU, University of Edinburgh)
  • Jim Slaven (James Connolly Society (Edinburgh) and 107 Cowgate)
  • Sean Shirley-Smith (Labour, Cambridge Socialist Society and GMB)
  • Dr James Smith (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Joseph Sucksmith (Cheltenham CLP and UNISON)
  • John Swinburne (EIS National Council)
  • Prof Richard Tuck (Harvard University)
  • John Jeffrey Walker (UCU, Oxford)
  • Jen Wilkinson (NEU)
  • Robert Wilkinson (Oxford TUC)
  • Colin Wilson (LGBT Activist)

Join us and add your support to the campaign

To join and support the campaign, or to add your name to the founding statement contact us on LeFTCampaign@gmail.com, or follow us on Twitter: @LeFTCampaign.

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