Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit: Two Lessons, in Leftist Terms

For some, it’s time to look for the enemy within

Brexit: Two Lessons That Need be Learned. The protesters who took to the streets as part of the Arab Spring didn’t do so because they “snubbed” by the “ruling elite” or “the establishment,” which generated a certain “antipathy to the status quo” among them. They did so because, for decades, they have been impoverished, cheated and robbed by it, some have also been imprisoned, tortured or had friends and family members go through these horrible experiences or get killed by members in the Establishment or those acting on its behalf. If in the process of revolting, they demonized their regimes, it’s because their regimes, the Establishment, have long dehumanized them and demonized itself, as its human rights records would attest. The people took to the streets because they wanted to reassert their sense of humanity and dignity, not because they were anti-refugees. In fact, Syrians in particular, have a long history of being hospitable to all different sorts of refugees, their national, religious and social backgrounds notwithstanding. As such, there was nothing in common between Brexiters and Arab Spring protesters no matter what garbage-brained dickheads with à la carte conscience like Patrick Cockburn think.

Having said this, however, I actually do not disdain all the concerns and fears of the people who backed Brexit, because most were manipulated by the pro-Brexit elite who lied, lied, lied and are still lying to the very people they aim to represent motivated by nothing less crass than a raw lust for power. Racism, xenophobia and hate were the main instruments they used to get people to endorse their move. In doing so, the grassroots supporters of Brexit forgot their own erstwhile motives, including the aspiration to have a greater say in the decision-making processes that impact their local affairs. People who were uncomfortable with having these decisions get made in London were definitely not going to feel any better about them when they were made in Brussels as part of a process that seemed increasingly opaque and incomprehensible. EU decision-making processes need to be better explained to the local communities and mechanisms for their involvement in the matter need to be agreed, if further disintegration is to be avoided. This is the first real lesson that should be drawn from Brexit.

The other real lesson is about foreign policy. The tide of refugees will not be stymied without addressing the push factors involved: conflicts as well as authoritarianism, corruption and mismanagement. As the rest of the century unfolds, conflicts, old and new, as well as a variety of natural disasters related to global warming are bound to feed the growing refugee crisis. Unless adequate solutions are found in the immediate vicinity, Europe will remain as the logical eventual destination for most. Addressing this problem calls for a combination of serious diplomatic engagement and occasional military interventions in cooperation with regional actors. The ability to articulate the problem openly and to set certain clear objectives will facilitate the promotion of this approach on the local and international levels.

In Leftist terms, Brexit breaks down to having one wing of the Establishment lead revolt against another, as people pay. Just look who made a killing out of it. Because, in Leftist terms, the Left has been part of the Establishment for decades now. That is, in Leftist terms, there is no Left left, and there hasn’t been for a long time. All these assholes we see around speaking in its name are members of the very Establishment they so vociferously criticize. Yes, even people like Bernie Sanders. But what does Left and Right really mean these days? In Brexit, the working class has come out in droves supporting an essentially right-wing revolt. Yes, they weremanipulated through fear-mongering, because most were xenophobic. But what does it say about the Left when the working class is left to become so alarmingly xenophobic? And what does it say about the Left when the Leftist elite came out in drove protesting strikes against a genocidal maniac like Bashar Al-Assad, leaving him to continue his slaughter against Syrians? The shame of the Iraq War can’t be washed away by turning our back to genocide and refusing to police the world. If we couldn’t see that then, can we see it now? I am not holding my breaths.