JOHN HILARY, jhilary[at]waronwant.org, @WarOnWant
Executive director of War on Want, Hilary is author of the book The Poverty of Capitalism: Economic Meltdown and the Struggle for what Comes Next. He said today: “The vote in favor of Brexit has been a rejection of the EU’s vision of a world run by and for big business. It is also a rejection of the European political elite and their contempt for ordinary people, clearly seen in the promotion of the EU-US trade deal, TTIP, in the face of massive public opposition. The EU must now take a long, hard look at itself and consider a fundamental change of its policies in favor of social justice. If it seeks to continue as if nothing has happened, it will disintegrate.”
NICK DEARDEN, via Kevin Smith: kevin.smith[at]globaljustice.org.uk, @GlobalJusticeUK
Dearden is the director of Global Justice Now. He said in a statement just after the vote: “Britain’s decision to leave the European Union opens up a world of uncertainty in which we must now navigate in a positive direction. It’s hardly surprising that people have voiced such distrust towards the EU when it negotiates exploitative trade deals like TTIP, visits economic destruction on its own member states, and treats refugees as if they were criminals. But the mainstream ‘leave’ campaigns have done a great deal of damage by pandering to nationalism, building a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and fostering the spurious notion that outside the EU we can return to an age when Britain was the world’s foremost ‘great power’….”
TOM BARKER, tom.p.barker[at]googlemail.com
Barker recently wrote the piece “How ‘Left Remain’ Campaigners Abandoned the Working Class: Lesser Evilism in the EU Referendum” for CounterPunch just before the vote.
He said today: “One of the main reasons so many people defied so-called ‘expert’ advice is that the EU referendum was seen as a stick with which to beat the establishment politicians, whether in Brussels or the UK.
“People are understandably angry at the lack of principles in politics, fed up with lies and doublespeak of those elected to represent them. More than that, however, they are incensed at years of austerity. This referendum was a way of passing verdict on these issues.
“In this respect, Left Remainers made a huge miscalculation.
“By sidling up to the forces of world capitalism — the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Confederation of British Industry, and bourgeois economists, as well as all the leaders of the pro-austerity parties — Left Remainers lined up alongside the enforcers of the oppressive status-quo.
“Cameron has aleady been forced to resign and the weak mandate and division within the Tory party opens up the real prospect of a general election. This is not an answer in itself, as without a clear anti-austerity alternative the door will be left open to the right.
“The task now, as the Socialist Party have said throughout the EU campaign, is to build an organised, unified movement against austerity and the dictat of the banks.
“A general election can be a huge opportunity for the left and trade union movement to rally working class anger in a direction that can change society, a mass movement against austerity, to hold the super-rich to account and defend the rights of workers and immigrants.”
Barker is an independent journalist and PhD student in aesthetics and politics. See his papers, including: “The War for the British Labour Party: Re-selecting Socialism,” and “Corbyn’s Enemies Within: Working Class Heroes or Right Wing Populists,” at durham.academia.edu/ThomasBarker.