“The Left after Leave – Jacobin”


Brexit offered the Left bad choices, and its aftermath has emboldened a racist right. What do we do now?

Ben Chapman / Flickr

Ben Chapman / Flickr

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In a debate that was, from the beginning, dominated on both sides by the Right, there was only ever going to be one winner in last month’s referendum on British membership of the European Union — the Right.

Given that the original decision to call the referendum was intended as a political maneuver on the part of David Cameron to outflank an insurgency from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) the basic coordinates of the campaign were never in much doubt. This was always, in effect, a debate structured as an internecine contest within and among the Right over issues identified and framed in largely right-of-center, neoliberal terms.

On the one hand the mainstream Remain camp cohered a range of political forces under the hegemony of the “moderate” Cameron wing of the Tories and leading sections of capital. On the other, Leaveorganized a motley alliance under the domination of the Tory hard right and UKIP.

Operating on a political terrain not of its own making, in a struggle in which major camps on both sides were dragooned under the leadership of opposed factions of the Right, it was predictable that the Left would exert little influence over the contest.



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