The outcome of the Brexit referendum is a shock to all of the established political parties and to the British ruling class. The long term political and economic impact remains unclear. For socialists, the concern in taking a position in such referendums that are not of our making should be the outcome for the lives and living standards of working class people in Britain and across Europe; and the strengthening or weakening of the political forces fighting for socialist change.
The EU is a set of inter-state institutions (and a relatively toothless elected parliament) based upon a series of treaties – from which flow rules and regulations on how the member states act internally and in relation to one another. I am opposed to the politics of the EU and have opposed all EU treaties on grounds of their pro-capitalist and anti-social content. Exit from the EU means withdrawal from the EU institutions; it also means re-negotiating or abandoning the previously-agreed rules and regulations. This could be to the benefit of the bosses and the wealthy – or to the benefit of ordinary people, including measures to stop climate change.
In my opinion the content of Brexit is a reactionary break from the neoliberal EU. It was not a break by a government or movement seeking to reverse austerity, towards a Europe of working class solidarity and equality. It has strengthened British nationalist forces which oppose that perspective. The re-negotiation of agreements between the British state and the EU will not be to the benefit of ordinary people in Britain or elsewhere – because they will have no say in the process that will be conducted by their pro-capitalist enemies in the Tory Party who will seek to make gains for capitalists based in Britain.