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What is Internationalism?

18 March 2023

Supporting Brexit,London 29 March 2019. The vote to leave the EU was a blow against globalism. Photo Workers.

Control over what crosses its established borders whether this be capital, labour, goods or services is the best way for a country’s domestic economy to develop for the benefit of its own population.

Ideas about self-sufficiency and self-determination have long been part of an established set of principles embraced by workers. Yet self-styled liberalism – shamefully evident in both trade unions and the Labour Party – has attempted to portray these principles as “reactionary”.


Tested against reality, this liberal untruth is crumbling. The attraction of Britain as an independent country has become evident to the working class. Finance capital loathes and fears workers and independent nations as obstacles to its progress – and it loves a “liberal” outlook.

Central to being independent is independent thinking, which fosters independent actions. But recently workers’ thoughts and political dialogue have suffered from “accepted truths”, dressed up and smuggled into everyday language to sound progressive.


A good example is the expression “globalisation”, which along with its attached connotations has been portrayed as a good thing. The real intent is to be an acceptable substitute for “imperialism”, with its negative connotations of aggressive monopoly dominance. In reality globalisation is the tool of finance capital and not something workers should embrace.

Another falsehood is introduced by the term, “ethical foreign policy”, first floated during the late 1990s. When used along with “globalisation” and the phrase “international community”, it helped temporarily harness everyday language to the chariot of imperialism and military intervention in other countries.


In effect a false sense of international belonging and unity was promoted to act as an imperialist springboard. That’s what globalist reactionary idealism leads to.

The same happens with the talk of open borders and welcoming all migrants – the great majority of whom arrive in Britain by legal routes. Sympathy for the victims of war and conflict – the products of imperialism – is exploited to promote unfettered international movement of labour. That’s only good for capitalists and criminals.

‘The challenge in rejecting imperialism is for Britain to become a non-aligned independent country.’

The combined challenge in rejecting imperialism is for Britain to become a non-aligned independent country with a sound military defence while getting down to class reality. Crucially, that means not being hoodwinked by idealistic or charlatan phrases. And any nonsense about “special relationships” should be dropped at the outset of any debate about the future of Britain.


Independent thinking and actions are refreshing; they represent a process of departure from the cloak of deception. They confront and expose the stultifying weasel words and concepts that have attempted to replace class understanding amongst British workers.

The British working class culture stands on the right side of history – it does not have to apologise for imperialism, which oppresses both at home and abroad. Our actions in 1862 in the Lancashire cotton mills in support of fighting against the establishment of a US Confederate slave republic, right through to our activities from 1936 to 1945 in helping to smash fascism, illustrate our working class internationalism.

The same is true now in leaving the EU. It’s important from a class perspective for Britain’s national development. But it is also internationally important because it represents doing the utmost in one country for the development, support and awakening of workers elsewhere, particularly those in the EU. Surely this is what true internationalism is all about.