Brexit positions: neoliberalism, austerity and immigration—the (im)possibilities? of political revolution
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The UK referendum on European Union membership exposed profound social and political divisions, rooted in the establishment of a neoliberal consensus that eclipsed the left and arguments against inequality, and intensified over several years of post-crisis austerity’s assault on the working poor, the disadvantaged and the immigrants. The narrow vote to leave confounded expectations on both sides of the referendum campaign, provoking a political crisis that has empowered a far right unlikely to address grievances, incited intense hostility between triumphant ‘leavers’ and dismayed ‘remainers’, and produced profound uncertainty about the future. This paper argues that while ‘Brexit’ has been characterized as a ‘people’s revolt’ against capitalist globalization, the decision to leave the EU has been aligned by a discourse of nativist nationalism and attempts to re-entrench an authoritarian Conservative hegemony; these attempts are, however, floundering which poses both opportunities and challenges for a resurgent parliamentary left and for radical grassroots politics going forward.
KeywordsAusterity Immigration EU referendum Conservative hegemony Labour resurgence
Compliance with ethical standards
This study complies with the Journal’s ethical standards.
This study received no funding.
Conflict of interest
The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.
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