Left Against Brexit committees and campaigns are being launched across the country along with organising efforts for the Left Against Brexit speaker tour (anothereurope.org/tour).
They are organising street stalls, debates, and speakers and motions to labour movement organisations.
With the Tories in trouble — even more trouble after Donald Trump told them that their Brexit plan would block a trade deal with the USA — an active Left Against Brexit campaign has a real chance of shifting the axis of debate.
Many people oppose Brexit. The demonstration on 23 June for a “people’s vote” on whatever final deal the Tories produce drew over 100,000 people. Opinion polls now show a slight but fairly stable anti-Brexit majority.
But so far the themes of workers’ unity across Europe, free movement, migrant rights, and the potential to fight for social and democratic levelling-up across Europe, have not got enough airtime.
The conservative arguments against Brexit — disruption to supply chains and trade, and so on — have got more circulation.
Organise enough of the left Labour and trade union activists committed to reducing rather than raising borders between countries, and we can change that.
With the “Chequers formula” of 6 July, the Tories were going for a relatively “soft” Brexit, compared to their earlier agitation. As we go to press that formula is not holding up against divisions in the Tory party. Whatever, there will be a “transition period” running to December 2020. The one thing the Tories haven’t budged substantially on yet is curtailing freedom of movement.
As we say there are likely to be difficulties and crises along the road to the Tories. Not least in getting their formula or some recognisable variant of it negotiated with the EU, as well as approved by their own ultra-Brexiteer backbench MPs.
That combination, as the Financial Times puts it, opens many variants.
“The possibility arises that in the autumn Mrs May will be unable to secure a Commons majority for either a deal or no deal. In that scenario, she may have no other choice but to appeal to the EU to extend the two-year Article 50 exit process while she tries to resolve the political stalemate.
“The only way out of such an impasse might be to hold a general election, or for Mrs May to put her deal to a second referendum".
We want a left campaign to equip Labour to move on from its current evasive stance to a clear anti-Brexit policy capable of seizing such chances.
The latest opinion polls show UKIP recovering from rates of as low as 1% as recently as March 2018 to 8% now. It remains to be seen whether today’s much-reduced UKIP (it scored 13% in the 2015 general election) can hold that bounce.
In one form or another, though, if the Tories remain fixed on a relatively "soft" Brexit, right-wing nationalists who rallied to the Tories after June 2016 will swing away and become stroppier again. The left must be ready to fight that threat directly.
Even if something like the “Chequers formula” is negotiated with the EU, issues will proliferate. If the Tories restrict freedom of movement and migrant rights, how much will they do that? Will Labour commit to reversing those restrictions? Or reversing Tory measures to withdraw from parts of the Single Market?
Left Against Brexit — onto the streets!