European Union

Norwegian, Swiss, or workers' road Matthew Wed, 12/13/2017 - 12:00
UK border

Editorial from Solidarity 457

The Tories' deal with the EU to open talks on future trade links suggests that they are headed on the Norwegian or Swiss road.

In February 2014 Switzerland voted in a referendum, by a narrow majority based outside the big cities, to mandate a constitutional amendment imposing quotas on immigration. Switzerland is currently in the Schengen passport-free area, and has a much higher rate of immigration than Britain.

Labour: Come out against Brexit! Matthew Wed, 12/06/2017 - 12:35
vote remain

Editorial from Solidarity 456

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott declared last month: "I will argue for the right of the electorate to vote on any deal that is finally agreed" (on Brexit). On 2 December, Jeremy Corbyn added: "We’ve not made any decision on a second referendum". An opinion poll on 1 December showed that a 68%-19% majority of Labour voters want a referendum on whatever Brexit deal the Tories produce. A 50%-34% majority of the whole electorate also wants a referendum before a deal can go ahead.

For a workers’ united Europe! cathy n Fri, 11/24/2017 - 09:53
Flags of Europe

At the meeting of the European Council — the prime ministers or presidents of the EU countries — on 14-15 December, the Tory government hopes to wrap up the preliminaries of Brexit and get agreement to start discussing post-Brexit transitional periods and trade deals with the EU.

As we go to press on 23 November, the Tories are reported to have agreed among themselves to double their “divorce payment” offer to the EU to £40 billion so as to improve their chances.

The bankers’ let-out cathy n Fri, 11/24/2017 - 09:14
Wall Street bull

The big banks — UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Barclays, HSBC, and others — are nearing a deal with the EU over their rigging of foreign-exchange markets.

They have already paid American, British and Swiss authorities more than $10 billion for the rigging, and the EU over $2 billion for rigging interest rates.

The 2008 crash has been followed by a cascade of investigations and scandals, triggered by resentment built up against the banks by government authorities and non-bank capitalists.

Catalonia: rights and unity Matthew Wed, 11/15/2017 - 11:00
Catalonia protest

Editorial from Solidarity 454

On Saturday 11 November, 750,000 people (on the city police’s count) demonstrated in Barcelona to demand the release of Catalan government ministers and pro-independence association activists jailed by the Madrid regime to await trial on charges such as sedition. A general strike called by a pro-independence union confederation, Intersindical-CSC, under the slogan “Defend Our Rights”, on Wednesday 8 November, also had impact.

Letters Matthew Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:41

Paul Vernadsky in his review of my book, The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution 1918-21 (Solidarity 453), is right to highlight the importance of this period for today. And he comes to the heart of our disagreement at the very end of his essay when he refers to the idea that “an impoverished, backward society cannot skip historical stages”. He calls this “Menshevik dogma”. No, Paul, that’s not “Menshevik dogma”. That’s Marxism.

Letters Matthew Wed, 11/08/2017 - 09:14

I’m entirely with David Pendletone (Solidarity 452) that we should seek to win the labour movement and the Labour Party to a programme for a workers’ Europe.

But what if we fail to win a majority for that before March 2019?

We should assume no “inevitability of gradualness”. But even if we, around Solidarity, increase our forces twenty-fold in the next year — twenty times more activists, twenty times more readers, twenty times more influence — we may not win Labour conference 2018 to that programme.

Stop Brexit! Matthew Wed, 10/18/2017 - 11:21
Stop Brexit

Opinion polling on 10-11 October showed 64% saying that the Tory government is doing “badly” in negotiating Brexit, and only 21% saying it is doing “well”. 47% said that, with hindsight, they thought the vote for Brexit in June 2016 was wrong, 40% that it was right.

How to get the Tories out Matthew Wed, 10/11/2017 - 11:06

After May’s woeful Party conference speech, the Tories are more divided than ever. But their conference has also left them in an impasse. They can’t easily sack Theresa May because she was the unity candidate for Leader and the Tories who supported her don’t yet have a plan B. There is no sign of an acceptable alternative to May.