First, the people of the U.K. voted, albeit by the slightest of majorities, to leave the European Union. As predicted, additional countries — now at least eight by some counts — have joined in the ‘Brexit contagion’ and accept the ensuing financial and civil chaos as a sign to consider similar referendums. Northern Ireland, Italy, France, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Hungary, and even Belgium — the seat of the E.U., itself — have varying levels of exit sentiment, a few even planning potential referendums.
But the eschewing Big Government contagion also spilled over to the United States — with a serious call for Texas secession, dubbed ‘Texit,’ and a less boisterous demand the U.S. withdraw from New Hampshire, somewhat awkwardly called ‘NHexit.’
What is going on here?
If you ask those who voted in favor of Bremain — for Britain to remain in the E.U. — the answer is racism, as if those voting to exit could only have the immigration crisis and anti-immigrant sentiment in mind.
Though indisputably true for some Brexiters, that simplifies and obfuscates the issue; and for many, lumps complex feelings about the pitfalls of government overreach, globalism, and central banks under a label that simply doesn’t apply to their perception of the ‘state of things.’
In other words, to call the Brexit an issue of racists versus everyone else would be obstinately reductive. And, truth be told, affirming racism as the only possible motivation also plays into the big government establishment narrative dictating the Big Lie — that the people have no business governing themselves and must be coddled by an overarching, parent governing and economic body.
Consider a Pew Research poll earlier this year which found the E.U.’s favorability among Europeans at just 51 percent — a paltry figure considering its role in each nation’s government, and thus, their lives as individuals. Obviously, an additional factor besides racism and xenophobia must be at play.
“The impact of the great recession in Europe has been exacerbated by monetary union, a policy blunder of epic proportions,” wrote Larry Elliott in the Guardian. “The euro has been responsible for the slow growth and high unemployment that has angered the French, and the high debts that have alarmed the Germans. Stir in the unexpectedly large flows of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, and you have a toxic mix.”
As Elliott notes, the progressive side of the Brexit (and other exit campaigns) simply isn’t heard over the din of accusations of racism — but it must be considered, both as the U.K. moves forward and as other nations and states consider their own moves for independence.
In large part, the intermarriage of economies, once deemed an effective means to maintain individual nations’ power and clout, has proven a complete disaster. Intended to stave off financial control of centralized Big Banks and corporate conglomerates, instead, the E.U. became those entities’ servant, with benefits slowly evaporating for the people while blossoming for the elites at the helm.
By that assessment, alone, Brexit constitutes a sound business decision. As Elliott contends, despite an economic upturn over the past year,
“Europe’s growth performance since the launch of the euro has been pitiful. Talk of protecting workers’ rights is meaningless unless you have a job, and millions of Europe’s citizens do not. The structural adjustment programmes forced on those countries that have required financial bailouts have involved savage attacks on workers’ rights, including collective bargaining. The EU has not taken the fight to the multinational capital. Rather, Brussels has become a honeypot for corporate lobbyists demanding deregulation and the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP).”
In that context, the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment — however disgusting and wrong it might be in its own right — can be understood with clarity. Just as racism and xenophobia has exploded in Europe, the United States must grapple with its own version of hate of the other.
With wages stagnating, or by some estimations actually sinking, since the 1970s, as corporate powers work in concert with the government to ensure their success no matter the peril for the workforce, the middle class backbone of society has all but disappeared. Enthusiasm for Trump’s wall along the Mexican border and idiotic ‘ban on all Muslims’ should better be viewed as misplaced fears over stark economic stratification fueled by job loss and declining employment opportunity.
But, as in the case of Europe, it’s the corporate-government alliance — not the immigrants — directly responsible for societal woes. Those who blame immigrants and refugees perhaps haven’t examined the bigger picture of oppression by the establishment elites — or the war machine, another corporo-government amalgamation, which lines their pockets while directly causing that very immigration crisis.
“The EU and NATO are evil institutions. These two institutions are mechanisms created by Washington in order to destroy the sovereignty of European peoples. These two institutions give Washington control over the Western world and serve both as cover and enabler of Washington’s aggression. Without the EU and NATO, Washington could not force Europe and the UK into conflict with Russia, and Washington could not have destroyed seven Muslim countries in 15 years without being isolated as a hated war criminal government, no member of whom could have traveled abroad without being arrested and put on trial,” former secretary of the treasury and economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts explained last week.
Consider this chain of potentialities. People, fed up entirely with what amounts to economic slavery, eschew Big Government, knocking out its maniacal control over nearly ever facet of their lives. Big Government, now reduced in authority and ability to act without negative repercussions, must provide qualitative and quantitatively viable reasons to send military across the world for aggressive or interventionist missions.
Should Medium or Small Government be unable to proffer tangible benefits for the populace in initiating such a move, the people put their collective foot down — and where previously the people held minimal clout, the lessened government now understands its grasp on power only extends as far as people’s favorable view. Minimal power to the autocrats, after all, is better than none.
Theoretical though the previous point may be, the Brexit and waterfall of others to follow, represent the people reclaiming power — a people so corralled into economic and political corners they would rather suffer paralyzing economic difficulty temporarily than financial hardship and austerity indefinitely.
None of this intends to discount growing racism, nationalism, and xenophobia as a dangerous force to be reckoned with — that aspect continues to be handily manipulated by the elitist ilk who only have their own best interests in power and control in mind.
But bigotry can best be fought by people on stable financial ground, whose government doesn’t bomb foreign lands causing people to flee for of their lives. If xenophobia rises during periods of economic and social hardship, as evidenced by history, acceptance and tolerance contrarily rise during periods of peace and stability.
It could be argued successfully globalism benefits many by bringing cultural awareness, understanding, and technological and other breakthroughs. But from an economic, corporate, and geopolitical perspective, globalism and the move toward ever larger government clearly has not.
We can’t break the chains of corporate and political control by validating the system enabling it. We can’t fight xenophobia, bigotry, and racism by turning to government for censorship of unacceptable thought. Just like we can’t, at this point, expect political, governmental, and economic reform when we continue voting to allow the autocrats to retain their positions of authority over us.
Similarly, we can’t continue falling into the polarization trap, with #Brexit, #Orlando, #terrorism, or anything else, if we want to expose the invisible chains holding us back — or the invisible bonds uniting us all.
Now, the reckoning — and the choice — will come to the people whose governments remain members of the E.U. An ultimatum looms from European Union officials as they plan to offer a last-gasp — likely fear-infused — plan to retain the conglomerate, de facto State.
Whether the people will look to the future benefits of lesser government and alleviated financial strictures found in relegating those in power to a less sizable commodity or will instead fall for the argument against racism, so agilely wielded as a weapon, remains to be seen.