Chris Marsden, national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party, delivered the following speech on "The Brexit referendum and the struggle against nationalism and war" to the International Online May Day Rally.

For an active boycott of the Brexit referendum!

SEP logo

  • No to the European Union—No to British nationalism!
  • For the unity of the British and European working class!
  • For the United Socialist States of Europe!

Socialist Equality Party Statement

1. The June 23 referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union raises issues of immense international importance. The outcome will have implications for workers not only in the UK, but far beyond its shores.

2. The Socialist Equality Party urges workers and young people to boycott the referendum. The Remain and Leave campaigns are both headed by nationalist forces that stand for greater austerity, brutal anti-immigrant measures and the destruction of workers’ rights. Their differences are over how best to defend the interests of British capitalism against its European and international rivals under conditions of economic slump and the escalation of militarism and war.


EU referendum coverage

Read our extensive coverage and analysis of the Brexit referendum campaign.


UK: Left Leave campaign lays out its nationalist agenda in Brexit referendum
25 May 2016
In speech after speech at a recent Left Leave meeting, the national division of the working class was portrayed as the sole means of opposing imperialism.
Julian Assange challenges anti-democratic “no platform” campaign
24 May 2016
The Sheffield meeting was a victory over efforts to silence Assange and close down debate on fundamental issues surrounding the escalation of militarism and war.
George Galloway backs “Left Leave” and urges alliance with UK Independence Party
23 May 2016
”Left Leave” is a mechanism for transmitting the most degraded and right-wing nationalist sentiments into the working class.
Retired British general predicts war with Russia, denounces Cameron government as “semi-pacifist”
21 May 2016
Shirreff urges class war at home and public spending cuts to fund massive increases in military spending.
Local campuses disaffiliate from British National Union of Students
21 May 2016
The ahistorical, irrational and racialised policies of the pseudo-left have opened the way for an assault on the NUS from the right.
Queen’s Speech 2016: UK Conservatives continue agenda of austerity and repression
19 May 2016
The government’s legislative programme for the next year includes new powers for the state under the guise of tackling “extremism” and the abolition of the Human Rights Act.
One third of London renters sinking into debt
18 May 2016
Last year, one in five families was forced to move home in the capital. Rent has soared 20 percent over the past five years, while average pay has increased only 2 percent.
UK: Gap in life expectancy between rich and poor widens for first time since 1870
18 May 2016
The growing discrepancy in life expectancy between the rich and poor is the result of decades of attacks on jobs, wages and living standards.
UK: Manchester United ground evacuated in false terror scare
17 May 2016
No explanation has yet been provided by Manchester United, the police or the company that left a dummy explosive device in a football stadium, of Sunday’s extraordinary events.
Jeremy Corbyn appeals to UK Labour’s Blairite wing for unity
17 May 2016
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s lofty pretence at being above personal insults would carry more weight if it was not routinely employed to justify his latest political capitulation to the right wing.

Read more

Further coverage of developments in Britain on the World Socialist Web Site.