Warning Signs: Fear, Fascists and Hate Win in Britain - Heads Up, USA

Election '16

Waking up in the Hackney neighborhood of Britain, a neighborhood heavily populated by Jews and immigrants, the mood on the streets this morning is shock and fear. London, and basically any wee corner of England that has an immigrant population, voted for the “remain” position. The entire British countryside, largely devoid of immigrants, voted to “leave.”

The demographic breakdown of the voting should heighten our concerns in the United States about Donald Trump, and the success of a strategy of fear, racism and hate.

It's noteworthy that people under age 25, those who have to live with the decision the longest, voted overwhelmingly to remain. Like America's younger voters overwhelmingly in favor of Bernie Sanders, the views and interests of the British EU-supporting youth were not taken seriously by anybody.

So, urbanites, youth and immigrants voted to stay. White folks voted to leave. The working class, sick and tired of being sick and tired, voted to leave. Furious at their own political party abandoning them for decades as the Blairites, like the Clintons, embraced neoliberalism, workers ignored the desperate last-minute appeals of their party and their unions to vote to remain in the EU.

Unions in the USA, note to self: The base isn’t listening, for plenty of good reasons—and here in Britain, like Wisconsin, the results are diabolical.

There’s plenty wrong with the European Union. Yes, it is an institution advancing so-called market reforms, aka neoliberalism, throughout the region. Dismantling the lobbying agents of neoliberalism is a fine goal, but not when nationalism and racism and teaming up with the far right is the strategy. As a movement, we aren’t good at thinking about short-, medium- and long-term implications of our tactical decisions. The left here was mostly united in the remain camp, but some were either abstaining or supportive of the leave position. I have yet to be persuaded of the international working-class benefits from nationalism. Looking at the faces of the immigrants in the streets of Hackney, and the Jewish shopkeepers, should give people pause. I am solidly with the 25-and-under crowd, here and in the USA, and with people of color and immigrants.

Marine Le Pen of the far-right party in France, who has been steadily gaining at the polls, announced first thing Friday morning that France should vote to pull out of the European Union next. And so on.

David Cameron resigned at 8am Friday morning. He and the slick operatives in his election campaign are to blame for dividing the country and encouraging a level of racist rhetoric similar to what Trump produces. Cameron won his election by dodging pressure from the far-right wing of his party by stating he’d put the question of leaving the EU to the voters; that cowardice, that pandering, led to Friday. An electoral campaign gimmick. 

It’s not an exaggeration to say this vote has massive implications for the U.S. and the world. 

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