Saturday, June 25, 2016

Some Left-Wing Reactions to Brexit

Of course, we’ve been flooded by them now. I’m afraid most of the left fails to properly understand Brexit. Yes, the anger at the economic malaise since 2008 has had something to do with it, and no doubt the sense of anger that democracy is being stolen by the EU as well. But there is something missing from the various analyses.

A sample follows.

Yanis Varoufakis, whose pro-EU dream world I have no time for, weighs in here. He says that, while campaigning for the UK to remain, arrayed against him were the UK Treasury and the City.

Umm, what? They were both pro-EU. You were, broadly speaking, in the same camp as them, Yanis.

Matias Vernengo gives his thoughts here, and argues that neoliberalism looks resurgent to him, especially in Latin America.

He states:
“At a minimum the European Union provided an environment in which people could move freely, in which petty nationalism gave way to acceptance of foreigners and immigrants, something particularly relevant with the refugee crisis in the neighboring region.”
The free movement of people by open borders combined with mass immigration from the Third World has not made people in Europe give up nationalism for “acceptance of foreigners and immigrants” – precisely the opposite has happened. It’s the bitter rejection of open borders by ordinary people that was the main issue driving this Brexit result.

Mark Blyth gives his thoughts here:

Well, yes, this is all very well, Mark, but have you not considered that genuinely decent and normal people voted against the EU because they don’t like the terrible economic and social effects of mass immigration?

Over at Pravda – err, I mean the Guardian, that bastion of left-wing, bubble-world, middle-class delusion, we have this piece by Alan Travis, in which he argues that it was only “fear” of immigration that drove the leave vote, but, inexplicably, not immigration itself!

This is the issue that won’t go away. The mainstream Left is so isolated, arrogant and divorced from reality on this issue, it stinks to high heaven.

However, you can already see a change is underway. Over at Counterpunch, which is firmly left-wing, there is this breath of fresh air, which actually goes so far as to state the truth: yes, it’s the immigration, stupid.

Finally, this is some of the finest analysis of Brexit I have seen so far:


  1. I'd have thought that there wouldn't be much change in immigration given over half of of it towards the UK comes from outside the EU, as well as the fact that the mayor of Calais is also cooking up a fuss: What do you think?

  2. is frustarting when its so hard to find reason sometimes on the left but still LK its important to show an alterantive to the modern postmodern left which sadly sometimes influence even good post keynesian economists as well.

  3. I am glad there are some leftists, although I count you more as an honorary leftist actually, who are not wallowing in oikophobia. The spitting contempt I see elsewhere sets me on edge.

  4. In Spain, social democracy has simply disappeared. any movement similar to Brexit against immigration doesn't exist. PSOE is for immigrants, and Podemos is that ardently. All the city halls governed by Podemos exhibit a colored "Welcome" ro refugees & immigrants. It is quite possible that on this Sunday Podemos & allies win general elections. Spain doesn't exit really since a lot of time. That is the consequence of Maastricht.

    1. I very much doubt Spain has a problem with immigration, more so a severe lack of fiscal policy and lack of it's own currency.

  5. I don't care for anti-immigration sentiment, and I feel that the countries involved in the destabilization of the Middle East (as Michael Hudson has pointed out) should be the first to step up and take in refugees. However, the reasons for getting out of the EU outweigh those negatives and the people who feel they are being forced to deal with strangers - they might be more willing to open up once some of the pressure is taken off. It's more than worth the gamble.

    1. Kevin,

      When I say "immigration", I'm not talking about a few hundred or 1000s of refugees from Syria. I am talking about the UK's total immigration from

      (1) the open borders EU migration, and

      (2) non-EU mass immigration policy which is also extreme.

      E.g., in 2015 630,000 migrated to the UK, and of these:

      (1) 270,000 from the EU and

      (2) 277,000 from the non-EU.
      This is an extreme policy, causing chronic problems of overcrowding, failing social services, causing housing and rent prices to soar (admittedly in addition to other factors), holding down real wages, and causing intense competition for scarce jobs. That is before we get to the serious issue of culturally incompatible people with regressive and illiberal views.

      Do you think this policy is wise?

    2. LK, thanks for that info. It does draw a clearer picture of what's going on and I can use that to better explain it to others.

      Steve Keen OTOH, seems to concur with what I'm getting at:

      "However, as even the IMF has recently admitted, globalisation under the banner of Neoliberalism was certainly not a victimless crime (see “Neoliberalism: Oversold?”), and compensations to losers have remained theoretical constructs rather than actual policy. The losers have now struck back politically. Their blow may have been messy—mixing jingoism and xenophobia with a justified frustration of an economic system that humiliates them, and a political system that ignores them—but political leaders need to understand the root causes behind that blow, rather than simply denigrating its wielders as reactionaries and racists."

  6. I don't even know if my last reply went through.

    To be blunt, no I do not think it's wise. But as I've mentioned before Bernie Sanders doesn't like open borders and Cesar Chavez was for limiting immigration because of Strike Breakers. I was just referring to a general vibe I've picked up on, not meaning you or anyone who participates in this blog.