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The Brexit mythos… April 6, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This was linked to in comments but I’m bumping it up again just so anyone who missed it gets a chance to read it. Got to say Laurie Penny is excellent when writing about class issues. https://thebaffler.com/blog/brexit-austerity-penny

And this is compelling:

Brexit was it. Brexit was flogged by the exact people who wanted more neoliberal austerity—less regulation, fewer workers’ rights—to all the millions who wanted the opposite, and the shady salesmen were able, in the process, to sell themselves as champions of “the people.” It was a simple story. Fairytales usually are. And it worked. We needed not to be the victims that had reckoned with the pointless pain of years of austerity, and not to be harboring the half-formed guilt of centuries of imperial destruction. The attempt to rewrite history has been quite literal. At the height of the austerity years, there was a public push to change the history syllabus to remind our young people of all the good things about the empire, with less of this politically correct nonsense. This was then led by Michael Gove, Brexit’s oiliest propagandist and a one-man argument for sneering, mediocre newspaper hacks to be barred from public office. 

And:

Apart from anything else, they got the Blitz Spirit wrong. They forgot that years of fear and rationing and deprivation, even in the name of beating Hitler, were not borne silently forever: when the war was done, the people of Britain wanted their share of the peace that was promised, and they swiftly elected a left-wing government that put in place sweeping social reforms that took seventy years to undo. Even in the rubble of the Blitz, people wanted more: education, healthcare, and welfare for everyone, freedom in more than name, and they got it, at least for a little while. They wanted it all to have meant something, all the hardship and human waste. They wanted it to matter.

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1. GW - April 6, 2017

There’s a lot in this rich essay on ‘late fascism’ by Toscano that relates to the libidinal aspects of the dominant and decisive national-racist component (there were other components) in Brexit that intersects with Penny’s analysis.

For instance on the phoniness of its leaders:

T3 (after Adorno): late fascism operates through a performance of fanaticism devoid of inner conviction, though its “phoniness” does nothing to lessen its violence;

Or on the conflation of the nostalgic (racialised) national interests for class that so confused British Leninist parties:

T6: the racialized signifier of class functions in the production and reception of late fascism as a spectre, a screen and a supplement – of the racism which is in turn a necessary supplement of nationalism (a minimal definition of fascism being the affirmation of the supplement, and its more or less open transmutation into a key ingredient of the nation-state);

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2. GW - April 6, 2017

He asserts that a fascist-spectrum political phenomena are:

best met not by abetting the sociologically spectral figure of the “forgotten” white working class, but by confronting what collective politics means today, in the understanding that accepting this racialized simulacrum of a proletariat is not a stepping stone towards class politics but rather its obstacle, its malevolent ersatz form.

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3. sonofstan - April 9, 2017

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