I want today to reflect today on the legacy of the Lexit left of June 23rd of 2016. Many of its supporters quite legitimately describe themselves as Marxists or value as I do the massive contribution of Marxism to analysis and critical theory. However Marxism is a product of European thought and forms the bed rock of continental philosophy, resistance and cultural analysts . The traditions of the Marxist left in the UK has a problem with our background of analytical thought and legacy of Methodism as a dampner of radical change. The European Marxist tradition with its aims of equality of power and access to information to all and of a new classless society..is a vital current that we all gain from a close contact with Europe.
I have traveled extensively in Europe I have met political activists from all of its regions.. When I speak to such people about the Lexit Left they smile sadly and tell me that they do not understand the Lexit outlook. The traditions of Europe are more socially transforming, more able to challenge and is more likely to succeed. It is Europe that has a long history of revolution , and of social transformation. It is the Europe of the Commune of Rosa Luxembourg , Lenin was in exile in Switzerland and it was the domain of Tito, of Gramsci and of course Marx. There has been no radical figures transforming British society, Methodism, Cromwell and Ramsey MacDonald saw to that.
The institutions of the E U are bureaucratic and powerful and have much wrong them, they protect wealth and privelege and yet the powers of reaction and dominance are far more powerful in the UK and our * special relationship” with the USA entrenches them more. The radical and left wing parties of Europe are closer to power than the left in the UK and in North America. The chances for transformation to a people’s Europe is closer than it is in the UK. Corbyn has great promise and great opportunity to build an Ecosocialist society here but it would be easier had we remained. A linked European economy would have made transformation easier, change in one of the European countries would allow change, equality and transformation to cross into other members of the EU.
The Lexit Left campaign while understandable gave confidence to the right. It allowed the growing intolerance to move up a gear and develop a new confidence. The rise of hate crime sped up over Brexit, it gave impetus to allow people of the right to argue for a continuation of the Thatcherite revolution. In many cases the Lexit Left were largely but not exclusively linked to the old Brit Left that failed to understand Welsh ethnicity and mistook it for crude right wing nationalism. The Ecosocialist and Republican thinkers in Wales and other parts of Europe and the UK have a legitimate anxiety over the blind spots of the old Brit left. Europe and the EU offer greater chances of transformation to a classless socialist society than that of a UK tied to a Trump USA.
Europe created Marx, Gramsci, Tito and others the blind spot of the Brit left is their Freudian like denial that they have a Eurosceptic I’d that bares a resemblance to that of the right. Our blind spots teach us more about ourselves.. the Lexit Left has much to reflect upon…The EU is far from perfect and exists often to defend in equality and capitalist rule…..NAFTA is far worse and there is worse to come….Europe was a bette rhope….the Lexit left and the unintended consequences of their campaign has put the transformation of our society back several generations..it may even have adverted a revolutionary change as effectively as English Methodism did..