Strangely, it is the Remainists of the immoderate centre typified by commentary in corporate "liberal" media like the Guardian who so often claim to lament the fact that the left has failed to offer a vision, a political future, that might serve as an alternative to neoliberalism. But how can such a vision emerge from deep inside the leviathan's dark belly?
Hiding in ideological life-rafts
It goes without saying that the Atlanticists cheerleading Brexit are up to no good when they speak of "taking back control" and "reclaiming our sovereignty". They demand those powers only so they can immediately surrender them to a US master.
But the much-maligned leftwing, soft Brexit a version that wishes to distance Britain from Europe without pretending that the UK can stand alone on the global neoliberal battlefield also has use for such language.
This version of taking back control isn't about spitting in the face of Europe, blocking the entry of immigrants, or reinventing the imagined halycon days of empire. It is about recognising that we, like the rest of humankind, are responsible for the crimes we have been, and still are, committing against the planet, against other species, against fellow human beings.
Chaining ourselves to an unelected, distant European technocratic class that simply follows orders implementing the requirements of an economic system that must end in the destruction of the planet is cowardice. We can more easily shelter from that truth when we cede our political and economic powers to those compelled to carry out the (il)logic of neoliberalism.
Standing a little outside Europe is probably the best we can hope to manage in current circumstances. But it might give us the political space and, more importantly, burden us with the political responsibility to imagine the deep changes that are urgently needed.
Change has to happen if we as a species are to survive, and it has to happen soon and it has to happen somewhere. We cannot force others to change, but we can recognise our own need to change and offer a vision of change for others to follow. That can begin only when we stop shielding ourselves from the consequences of our decisions, stop hiding in someone else's ideological life-raft in the forlorn hope that it will weather the coming, real-world storms.
It is time to stop acting like zealots for neoliberalism, squabbling over which brand of turbo-charged capitalism we prefer, and face up to our collective responsibility to change our and our children's future.
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