On 23 June, 52% of British voters opted to leave the European Union. Both the official Remain and Leave campaigns resorted to racist fear-mongering as immigrants were offered as the scapegoat for a public that had experienced years of austerity and economic hardship.
Yet the EU is itself a fundamentally racist and anti-democratic institution, against which a socialist and anti-racist politics must stand in opposition.
The recent agreement by which the EU provides funding to Turkey to prevent refugees from traveling to Europe, as tens of thousands of people who have been forced from their homes have drowned in the Mediterranean, shows the essential racism of the institution, which is based upon the exclusion of those outside its borders.
A protector of business interests, the EU’s laws prohibit policies designed to help the poorest, enforce austerity and privatization and diminish wages and workers’ rights. Last year, this was evident in the EU and European Central Bank’s subversion of the anti-austerity mandate of Greece’s newly-elected left-wing government as they forced through the harshest austerity measures Greece had yet seen.
The British vote to exit and the weakening of the EU should not be left to the racist right to exploit and should instead be seized upon as an opportunity to reclaim public services, improve the living standards of workers, the poor and unemployed and create a fairer, more inclusive society. People Before Profit stands in favour of an alternative Europe, based on solidarity, anti-racism and workers’ rights.