Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Anohni on Brexit

Poor and working class people have been used by nationalists and racist mavericks and the uber wealthy, even by the most corrupt corporations and big oil. Britain's break from the EU disempowers one of the only international governing bodies that has any agency to effectively regulate the activities of multinational corporations. Corporations celebrate the weakening of any democratic face of international governance; Brexit only increases multinational corporate sovereignty. The UN has almost no power to enforce laws. They can only make weak tea suggestions.The EU, however imperfect, is the only international governing alliance that holds power sufficient to regulate multinational corporations, for instance by enforcing international laws that could arrest the oil, coal and fracking industries in an effort to limit global warming. The EU has enough power to affect the nuclear and weapons industries. The EU is also the only international governing body capable of having any significant influence over the United States and its actions. We forfeit a seat at the table of those conversations with volatile power at our own peril.
The legitimate frustrations compelling poor and working class people to vote "leave" are not going to subside as a result of this catastrophe. It is exactly during the cover of a crisis such as Brexit that the richest get even richer and bury their spoils in some far away land, while the poor eat each other's faces. The grievances of England's abandoned working classes are going to become even more brutal as a result of Brexit. The divide between the rich and the poor has much less to do with the EU and much more to do with the systematic dismantling of domestic legislation that was put in place after World War II to protect people from the worst impulses of capitalism. People haven't lost their jobs and securities over the last 30 years because of the EU. They have lost them for the same reason that they have lost them in US, because legislation protecting the interests of the majority of people has been cruelly and systematically thinned, while a corrupt mogul media, wearing the lambskin of the poor, advocates for the stinking rich exactly by misleading and manipulating working class minds and votes. Corporations will simply move their business to more willing countries, and their beneficiaries will just build higher walls.
Working class people blaming poor people (in this case, immigrants and refugees) is exactly the war that the most corrupt elements would have them fight. And poor people voting "against" the wealth of London and "against" the privileged political class are only succeeding in making the lives of other poor people worse. In order for real change to occur, the poor and working classes will have to be more meaningfully engaged than just voting occasionally as Rupert Murdoch and his cronies have told them to. But how do the increasingly disenfranchised working classes do that without access to an empowering education, or decent healthcare, or a reasonable quality of life, or job security, or a safe place to live, or freedom from violence, or an honest media, all of which they have been systematically denied? Why do you think that all the world's populist racists have come out in support of Brexit? Brexit is not the wisdom of the poor at work. This is a prison riot, and those with the keys always win.
The elephant in the living room, of course, is the United States, and the country's quarter-century campaign of "mistakes" in the Middle East, which has led to over a million US sponsored deaths in the region, and which has now led to the haemorrhaging of millions of refugees, fleeing for their lives, into Europe. When will we see an international court of law hold the United States accountable for its crimes against humanity? The crisis in the Middle East remains an infected wound that the US has tried to sew closed without cleaning. The infection has now spread across Europe in the form of terrorism, fear, and a refugee crisis. Brexit is the latest casualty in 25 years of United States' criminal foreign policy, lack of accountability, and grotesque international negligence in the Middle East and neighboring states. Until the world perceives justice has been done, no balance can ever be restored. When will those responsible be held to account?

People of the EU; citizens, students, immigrants, and refugees, today my thoughts are with you, in hopes that you will remain strong in the face this nationalist British decree. This day may be remembered as a terrible turning point, and an affirmation of the extent to which fear in Britain has now given way to blame and desperation and xenophobia. It reveals how half of British people have little insight into the actual causes of their own struggles, or awareness as to the true extent of their interdependence with others throughout Europe and beyond. Brexit has revealed that the majority of British voters are now willing to imperil their own well-being and even the well-being of others in an infantile bid to try and shore up their own defenses. Other countries following suit will exponentially magnify this disaster. Please don’t let it happen to you. I feel ashamed of being British today.
- Anohni

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