[Marxism] Brexit and imperial privilege

marinercarpentry at gmail.com marinercarpentry at gmail.com
Tue Jun 28 03:16:24 MDT 2016


Defensiveness and incomprehension? You either have real issues with arrogance or the sort of dull grasp on reality that comes from belonging to a group of a dozen or so deluded trots with a propensity for looking at their feet when talking to the public. 

It would be a dumb defence indeed that began by personally questioning whether I voted correctly. My messages were intended to be collegial/ anecdotal (I wish I hadn’t bothered) from somebody here rather than somebody else attempting to concoct a party line from afar. In that regard we probably inhabit different universes. I have no pretensions about leading the masses. I voted as an individual and didn’t try to convince anybody else to vote either way (indeed, my partner went the opposite way to me). 

What I am saying is your analysis is dangerously simplistic – not to defend some position that I don’t have – but because it is. For 10 of the 12 week campaign the main focus (from the remain side who made their voice louder) was the economy and not immigration. On a daily basis, ‘captains of industry’, asset managers, business leaders, celebrities and world leaders were wheeled out to tell everybody they were better in and biblical plagues would surely follow withdrawal (‘project fear’; psephology 101 – ‘it’s the economy, stupid’). The remain side consistently polled ahead of leave, and again – because I don’t follow an unbending line like a lobotomised trotbot – I intended to vote remain. It was the daily drubbing from neoliberals telling us all we couldn’t survive without them (without scarcely considering we’ve been lucky to last this long with them) that made me switch to leave. At that last-minute point, voting against Goldman Sachs didn’t seem to me the sort of ethical dilemma you apparently predicted with such prescience.

Your assertion that attacks on the street/ the rise of the right was always a foregone conclusion according to determinations thrown up by the referendum is complete and utter nonsense. As should be clear by now, this isn’t a defence of my vote (that wouldn’t make sense in the context of what I’ve already written) but calling bullshit on the conceit that you saw all this coming in the parameters you suggest. As you’ve rightly said, the campaign was shaped by right-wing opinion from all sides (Corbyn being a nominal remainer but largely absent). And, as I said similarly, both sides were racist to varying degrees (leave more so, particularly in the final stages) meaning this wasn’t a simple binary. Both sides tried to marginalise Farage (think: the relationship between GOP and Trump) but it was the In side that delivered Farage a default platform because Cameron preferred arguing with him to avoid debating fellow Tories and maintain some party unity. When Farage produced an obscene poster reminiscent of Nazi propaganda he was denounced by both leave and remain. Such was the campaign. Add to this huge feelings of resentment from the parts of the country left behind by neoliberalism and it becomes more accurate to say it was the atmosphere of the whole campaign + four decades of an ever declining social safety net that created the situation we’re now in. In short, a pressure keg seeking a release valve which was (stupidly) delivered in the form of the referendum. 

The main point being that the far left throwing their paltry weight behind remain would have made zero difference. Remain winning by a slender margin would have made no difference. The same people would still have channelled decades of grievance – and lashed out violently in some cases - in what has felt like a fleeting moment of enfranchisement, rather than being emboldened, as your analysis would suggest. This would have been the result of a close leave or remain, and as I’ve said, the left were never in any position to alter the vote meaningfully (I.e. at all). Finally, I think you’re wrong to dichotomise the economics of the EU and the right wing reaction they are producing all over the continent – making the argument that remain equalled a simple win for anti-racism even murkier in my opinion. 



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From: MM


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