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Thursday 21 July 2016

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TUSC discusses 'what now?' after EU exit vote and Labour leadership challenge

Last week the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee held its first meeting after the EU referendum. The committee discussed a report from the national agent, Clive Heemskerk, on TUSC's EU campaign and political developments in the aftermath of the Leave victory.

Meeting a day after the Labour Party NEC had put in place the timetable for a new leadership election, the steering committee agreed with the argument made in the TUSC report that the challenge to Jeremy Corbyn was "intrinsically linked to the capitalist establishment's attempt to regroup politically after the blow they suffered from the EU referendum result".

Jeremy Corbyn has correctly made the call that 'negotiations on Britain's relationship with the EU cannot be left in Tory hands'. But as the TUSC report argues "the capitalist establishment is saying - and this includes their supporters in the Labour Party - that 'negotiations on Britain's relationship with the EU cannot be left in Jeremy Corbyn's hands'". This is an important reason why they are so determined to unseat him and why they moved when they did.

TUSC campaigned in the referendum for a Leave vote. We did so in the tradition of the late Bob Crow, the RMT transport workers' union leader and one of the co-founders of TUSC, who was well known for his support for international workers' solidarity while opposing the EU as a body that was pushing anti-worker and pro-austerity policies.

While Jeremy Corbyn supported a Remain vote he did so with a critical position towards the EU's neo-liberal agenda. And unlike the Labour right he has accepted the referendum result.

Now the task is to campaign for a socialist, internationalist exit from the EU treaties - linked to a defence of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership and opposition to the pro-capitalist majority in the Parliamentary Labour Party, who are already looking to row back from the June vote.

Since last summer TUSC has not stood candidates against Labour representatives who have supported Jeremy Corbyn and carried out a real anti-austerity policy. In last year's leadership election the RMT transport workers' union, one of the constituent organisations of TUSC, was the second biggest donor to Jeremy's campaign (after Unite).

Now the steering committee agreed once again to do everything possible to help Jeremy's campaign - but also to join in the discussions that will need to be had to prepare for the different outcomes that are possible from Labour's unfolding civil war.

A full copy of the report, including a detailed account of TUSC's principled Leave campaign which made no compromises with the reactionary Leavers, is available as a PDF at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/382.pdf