Saturday, July 02, 2016

LRB: Where are we now? 

T.J. Clark
I voted Leave, without enthusiasm, mainly because I had promised to do so in Greece last July. What Dijsselbloem and Schäuble did to Greece back then seemed an indication of what the EU was truly for. It remains our best clue to how ‘Europe’ would act if a left government, of a nation less hopelessly enfeebled than post-Pasok Greece or post-Blair-and-Brown Britain, dared, say, to resist TTIP’s final promulgation of the neoliberal rule of law. Certainly the relevant point of comparison for the 17 million Leave votes is the No to ‘austerity’ registered by the Greeks, again in the face of all respectable opinion, a year ago. And everything will now be done, as then, to make sure the scandal of democratic refusal doesn’t get in the way of business. I have no doubt that already, behind the smokescreen of Article 50, Dijsselbloem and Schäuble’s intermediaries are sitting down with Carney and Osborne to settle the outlines of the no-but-on-the-other-hand-not-really.
Pankaj Mishra
‘Sunderland’s citizens,’ the New York Times reports, ‘seem to have voted against their own interests.’ Apparently, the city battered by Thatcherism is ‘a big recipient of European money’ and ‘also the home of a Nissan car factory, Britain’s largest’, and should have voted to remain inside the European Union. Versions of ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas?’ exasperation have proliferated since Brexit; so has the contention that those who voted to exit will not, after all, receive their expected benefits. But the Brexit result is another reminder that individuals and groups, especially those at the receiving end of neoliberalism, may not be inclined to validate rational-choice theory.
Also David Runciman, Neal Ascherson, et al.

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