Brian Holmes on Sun, 26 Jun 2016 03:32:15 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> England leaves Europe

On 06/25/2016 03:56 AM, Keith Hart wrote:

For some time now Europe's political leaders and financial cities have
threatened to abolish the City's immunity. That was the issue. The City
wanted out, but didn't wish to make it obvious. See Nicholas Shaxson's
Treausure Islands for the gruesome story of the offshore system and the
City's part in it.

Keith, this is a strong and surprising interpretation, I am totally curious what you base it on. I have read Nicholas Shaxson and agree it is a great book. Indeed, the last thing the City wants is even the slightest regulation - and more broadly, the capitalist world economy has always thrived on cutthroat competition between national capitals, which is an inevitable outcome of any breakdown of the the EU and a relatively familiar position for the City, you're right about that. Yet the big money in the City bet on Remain, and all the figureheads campaigned for it! What's more, a lot of press claims that voters rejected the financial elites who did the continual campaigning (the famous "experts"). I am totally willing to revise my view, but I guess I would need some more convincing...

On 06/24/2016 08:43 PM, Michael H. Goldhaber wrote:

> But what about the fact that those under 50 voted to stay by sizable margins?

Well, it shows that a majority of those born since the Sixties are not dreadful nationalist bigots! Thank heavens!

But the danger and promise of democratic systems is that decisions are made by the numerical majority of those who vote in any given election. And when you lose, you lose. Right now the Left is losing, despite a few positive signs. I think a progressive egalitarian ecological politics is waiting to be invented. It's useless to grasp at this or that straw. There's a basic problem, we have to face it.

The proletarian Old Left is almost meaningless in the developed world, the minoritarian New Left is relatively vibrant but still a small minority, and the cyberlibertarian politics of the Nineties is just a delusion, since the "weary giants" of the old industrial nation-states still rule through the very networks that were supposed to displace them. The developed countries face yet another classic capitalist crisis of automation, deskilling and widespread redundancy, and the reactions of racist fear and nationalism are as crude as ever. But the traditional liberal cure - industrial expansion through increased global trade driven by volatile finance - now risks killing the patient. Ecology has become a matter of survival, but survival can only be won through a new political economy, with all the programmatic rationality, and also, all the rhetorical appeal that characterized the old one.

What's really crucial - and maybe this is what you're getting at, Michael - is how do younger people analyze this disastrous situation? Do they fall back on the capitalist reflex embodied by Hillary Clinton that says, push through the recession to another growth wave that will solve all the problems? Or do they create a genuine response to the current situation?

I'm over fifty, so I would rather put it this way: Can we cut across all the identity divides, interest groups and zip-code blocks to constitute a majority around a viable logic of development? The answer so far is clearly no. But it's really the only thing worth working on.

In response to the last poster, maybe I'll use my next art-funded junket to the UK for exactly those purposes!

best, Brian

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