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THE fight for socialism must intensify from tonight when Britain leaves the European Union, campaigners and trade unionists have said.
At 11pm, Britain will no longer be an EU member state.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said today that Britain stands at a crossroads and should become a “truly internationalist, diverse and outward-looking” country that protects jobs and rights.
Brexit Day comes more than three-and-a-half-years after Britain voted to leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum.
Alex Gordon, a convenor of the Leave, Fight, Transform (LeFT) Campaign, said Brexit was a “victory for popular democracy and the real People’s Vote over Britain’s political establishment and corporate-sponsored Remain campaign.”
He said the “real political struggle” now begins to end EU-mandated austerity, to boost investment for manufacturing and public services that was “severely restricted under EU state aid rules” — and for the nationalisation of rail and utilities.
Mr Gordon stressed that Labour could have been in government if it had not chosen to adopt the policy of backing a second EU referendum.
Many traditionally Labour constituencies in the north of England, the Midlands and Wales turned blue in last month’s general election, with the long parliamentary deadlock over Brexit considered the main reason.
Mr Gordon said: “Of course as the decline in Labour’s vote share at the 2019 general election showed, it didn’t need to be a Tory government that delivered Brexit.
“Labour’s adoption of a second-referendum policy was a demonstration of bad faith and a self-inflicted wound for which the party was punished by voters.
“Boris Johnson’s Tories may brag they ‘got Brexit done’ but the political battle now moves onto new terrain — the future we make for ourselves as a country outside the constraints of the EU.
“The labour movement and the left have a choice to make between continuing to be cheerleaders for membership of the increasingly authoritarian, neoliberal EU empire, or standing up for the millions of working people in Britain who want the socialist policies that only a Labour government can deliver.”
Trade Unionists Against the EU chairman Doug Nicholls called Brexit the “starting gun to reshape our future” and a “seminal point in the history of Britain.”
He said: “January 31 is a seminal moment for trade unions and the TUC as well.
“It resets the movement to its default position: fighting for the interest of workers not in Brussels, but on the shop floor.”
Communist Party of Britain general secretary Robert Griffiths said Brexit would offer the opportunity to challenge neoliberalism and to rescue key industries.
He said: “We should ignore the defeatists and doom-merchants and fight to turn Brexit into Lexit now and in the future."
Trades Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady said the priority for Boris Johnson’s government over the coming months should be to deliver a trade deal that “protects jobs and rights.”
She added: “He’s got just 10 months to get this right. The deal must guarantee that UK workers’ rights, such as paid holidays, will be as good or better than minimum standards set in the EU.
“In the face of so much uncertainty, working people need to stand together. We urge everyone at work to join a trade union.”
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