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Monday 5 February 2018

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TUSC conference to discuss Brexit negotiations stance

The February 2018 Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) conference includes a forum session entitled 'TUSC and the Brexit negotiations'.

Following extensive debate within our coalition, TUSC decided to campaign for a Leave vote in the June 2016 EU referendum. This included a '20-city tour' of public meetings under the heading, 'The Socialist Case Against the EU', and a campaign against the official recognition and public funding of the right-wing dominated Leave organisations.

Not every TUSC member or supporter backed a Leave position in the referendum. We had wide agreement on the neo-liberal and anti-working class character of many EU directives and regulations but this did not necessarily mean agreement on how to vote in a 'yes or no' referendum in the specific conditions in which it was held.

A new debate

But now, twenty months after the referendum, the points of debate are different. As the process towards EU exit reaches a critical conjuncture, the question must be: where do trade unionists and socialists stand on the various issues raised in the Brexit negotiations?

This is why the TUSC national steering committee has proposed a forum session at the February conference. To see if a consensus position can be reached - which is the way TUSC works - on issues like the so-called 'divorce payments'; the EU single market (and its rules on state aid, public sector procurement, the 'free movement of labour' etc); customs union membership, and so on.

To help prepare for the conference session and the continuing debates to come, the steering committee also agreed to produce a Discussion E-Bulletin.

The first one comprises four items: the report to the July 2016 meeting of the TUSC steering committee on the TUSC campaign during the EU referendum; two submissions explicitly for the bulletin, one from the TUSC Individual Members' elected representatives on the steering committee and the other from the Socialist Party; and lastly, a TUSC press release from February last year, supporting an appeal from socialist TDs in the Irish parliament to Jeremy Corbyn to use the Brexit process to launch an international anti-austerity campaign.

The TUSC Brexit Discussion E-Bulletin is available at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/410.pdf.

For details of the TUSC conference, go to http://www.tusc.org.uk/events. All TUSC supporters are welcome. No pre-registration necessary.