WHEN Donald Tusk, the European Council President, speaking in Brussels came out with his comment that there is a ‘special place in hell’ for those who called for Brexit it was immediately shrugged off by Downing Street as being simply ‘unhelpful’ to May’s doomed attempt to negotiate with the EU.
Others dismissed it as a slip of the tongue by a frustrated bureaucrat. In fact, it was a carefully scripted intervention by Tusk which revealed the total contempt of the bourgeoisie and its political lackeys for the working class.
Tusk clearly thought he was being clever threatening the working class in Britain that they would burn in hell if parliament did not reverse the Brexit vote on the eve of May’s trip to Brussels yesterday to beg for concessions on her ‘deal’ with the EU. Even before she arrived, Tusk had ruled out any possibility of renegotiating this deal and now he was threatening a retaliation to make life a living hell for the working class which voted to leave in the 2016 referendum in defiance of the wishes of the capitalist class and in defiance of the instructions of their own leaders in the TUC and Labour Party.
In fact, the overwhelming vote by workers in 2016 was precisely because the working class had already experienced the hell on earth inflicted on them by a Tory-led coalition driving an austerity programme to cut the national debt – a debt caused by pumping trillions of pounds into propping up a collapsed banking system in the wake of the 2008 crash.
Workers and young people saw their lives being shattered by Tory austerity with wage freezes, Universal Credit cuts to benefits, homelessness increasing to unprecedented levels while the bankers and privateers reaped billions in profits at a time when four million children in the UK suffered from extreme poverty.
The working class in 2016 demonstrated their hatred of the Tories and the whole bankrupt capitalist system they served by voting to break decisively with the EU of bankers and bosses. Tusk’s threats will only intensify this hatred.
His words reflect not only the arrogance of the ruling class but also the underlying fear that the Brexit vote is being enthusiastically adopted by workers across Europe.
Across the continent from France, Italy and increasingly in Germany itself the working class are demanding an end to capitalist austerity.
Faced with this uprising, the ruling class are clearly determined to punish British workers as an example to the rest and teach them that they must passively accept poverty and starvation as the price for keeping a bankrupt European capitalist system staggering on.
Tusk deliberately aimed his threat at the Labour leadership for not doing enough to whip the working class into line, saying: ‘Today, there is no effective leadership for Remain.’ In fact, Jeremy Corbyn is clearly doing all he can to help May to knife Brexit in the back.
Yesterday, Corbyn wrote a letter to May outlining his proposals for ‘finding a deal that can command support in Parliament and be negotiated with the EU’. These proposals amounted to five demands centred on a legally binding ‘permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union’, and a ‘close alignment with the single market’.
In his letter Corbyn stresses that a customs union is supported by big business and most of the trade unions. This comes as no surprise as staying permanently tied to a customs union and a part of the single market is no different from staying in the EU, except the UK would not have a vote or say on any matters, becoming in effect just a vassal state of the EU forever.
If May agrees to these demands, then Corbyn commits the Labour Party to supporting May and the Tory government in some coalition of the willing to save the nation from Brexit and hand it over to the bosses and bankers of Europe.
The working class must answer this treachery and Tusk’s threats by immediately mobilising to bring down this Tory government and unite with the working class of Europe in the struggle to smash the capitalist EU and replace it with the United Socialist States of Europe.