When the British people voted to leave the dysfunctional European Union on June 23, 2016, I saw it as a massive opportunity for progressive forces to shed the neo-liberal chains that they have become enslaved by and narrate a new, inclusive manifesto for the future. The Brexit referendum was really a fork in the road for progressives – they could go one way and stay irrelevant and cede legitimacy to the rabid Right, or, go the other route, and reinvent themselves as the force of the future. The signs are they have opted to remain irrelevant. In doing so they have essentially conflated financial responsibility and competence with neo-liberal principles relating to the conduct of fiscal surpluses and the role of government in mediating the conflict between workers and capital. In the former sense, they have bought into the myths such as the need to run fiscal surpluses etc. In doing so, in relation to the latter, they have supported policy environments that are heavily biased in favour of capital and undermine the prospects for workers. And when the workers revolt, and, for example, use the Brexit referendum as a voice amidst their powerlessness, the progressives have turned on them accusing them of being ignorant and racist. The reality is that the lack of leadership within the political Left and their deep sense of inferiority (in the face the so-called mainstream economics experts who they mimic to sound smart) has left the door open for the Right to harness the working class anxiety and steer it in a very retrogressive direction.Note: The Guardian is positioned on the left in the UK media lineup and The Telegraphy aka Torygraph on the right.
The UK Guardian seems to be conducting a daily war against the Brexit outcome with its onslaught of articles each day about the doom that Britain faces if they do not reverse the decision.
Neil Wilson posted this highly relevant comment in the comments thread there:
The activist Left is trapped in a false ideology that is rapidly becoming a religion.The problem with this philosophy of globalization so dear to the left it is that is based on a neoliberal world view and as such constitutes a recipe for technocracy and transnational corporate totalitarianism aka "inverted totalitarianism."
It appears that the problem stems from the philosophy, which swallowed the neoliberal myth hook, line and sinker. So not only is the economics nonsense, but all the philosophical principles built on top of that are nonsense too.
The left cling to an Open Borders, One World, One Government, One currency viewpoint – extreme centralisation – run by elite, indoctrinated hierophants in perpetuity. Democracy is tolerated to quell the masses but really they don’t want any genuine democratic state at all. Tax is a statement of how morally pure you are – a religious devotion that shows sacrifice. Hence the obsession with taxing anything that isn’t nailed down. It is a purifying device to drive out sin – like fire was to the medieval priest. The poor are patronised in an act of virtue signalling rather than genuinely helped out....
Until the specter of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair are exorcised from US and UK politics on the left, this false ideology will prevail. It is a false ideology for the left to embrace in that it is a triangulation to the right that was adopted in order to counter Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. The strategy was to adapt to the left their neoliberal position. This position is based on putting Hayek over Keynes and by extension Friedman, New Classicalism and New Keynesianism over Post Keynesianism, Institutionalism, and MMT in economics and liberal interventionism in foreign policy.
The left has therefore taken over the heroes of the right and consigned the heroes of the left to the dustbin of history. The left much recover its roots and create an environment in which new blood can flow into a now sclerotic body that is moribund.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The Left lacks courage and is riddled with inferiority complexes
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia