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Journal Articles Observatoire de la société britannique Year : 2020

Nationalism, internationalism and anti-capitalism : left-wing opposition to the European Union

Abstract

Right-wing opposition to the European Union has frequently been in the headlines in the past two decades and has dominated debates about the future direction of the United Kingdom regarding Europe. However, some strands of the labour movement have been fiercely opposed to the United Kingdom’s membership of the E.U. and have preferred withdrawal. Leading figures of the left wing of the Labour Party campaigned in favour of a ‘no’ vote in the 1975 referendum, and in the early 1980s Labour officially championed withdrawal, before adopting the aim of reforming European institutions from within. The Communist Party of Great Britain evolved in a similar manner. Consequently, by the early 1990s, organised opposition to the E.U. came mainly, but not solely, from Trotskyist groupings. In the 2009 and 2014 elections to the European Parliament, the No2EU lists brought together trade unionists, Trotskyists, Communists, Socialists, and left-wing ecologists. The 2016 referendum on British membership of the E.U. also saw left-wing alliances advocating withdrawal. This paper will situate these alliances in the context of long-standing left-wing opposition to the EU, establishing the specificities of its positions and analyses in relation to right-wing Euroscepticism. It will then examine the difficulties it has faced in making itself heard and its relative lack of success in influencing public debates about the UK’s membership of the E.U.

Dates and versions

hal-03855847 , version 1 (16-11-2022)

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Jérémy Tranmer. Nationalism, internationalism and anti-capitalism : left-wing opposition to the European Union. Observatoire de la société britannique, 2020, 25, pp.87-108. ⟨10.4000/osb.4759⟩. ⟨hal-03855847⟩
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