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Europe, Uncategorized

Brexit is an opportunity for the Europe of Rights

Alessandro Somma | Micromega

A united Europe, which many had equated to a dream, has long turned into a nightmare. We are now united only in the material and cultural misery caused by austerity, unable to rebel because attracted by the sirens of an increasingly violent nationalism, which only divides us.

In all this, for too long, the solutions advanced are diametrically opposed, but fatally identical in terms of inadequacy. Some want disintegration, an exit from everything, fuelling the nationalist climate that prevents you from seeing the texture of the European demos: unavoidable prerequisite for the construction of a Europe of Rights. Others are asking for more integration, but they do it uncritically, invoking a vaguely defined action for change from within. Without stating how, without identifying the steps required to prevent Europe from remaining a machine of nightmares.

The concessions to the United Kingdom to prevent Brexit are part of that long series of episodes that destroyed the European dream. To persuade the British to stay, we granted privileges to the City of London, the European economy’s financial capital, the origin of the crisis that has been oppressing us for eight years. We agreed not to extend the British welfare state to European workers, nakedly encapsulating the project for which Brussels has tirelessly works: building the Europe of markets and destroying the Europe of Rights.

Brexit could be a wholesome shock, bringing onto the agenda the perspective of real change, capable of making us go back to dreaming. It will first require all of us to consider European politics not as a private matter for parliaments, and more often simply governments, but as a story that must be returned to the sovereign people. And if this is a risk for Europe’s survival, it is only because it is currently anti-popular, seen as a catalyst for poverty and a war between the poor: if it wants to continue to exist it has to change.

But that’s not all. The United Kingdom is notoriously the long man of the United States in Europe, so  much so that Obama personally entered the field to prevent Brexit, and so to promote the infamous TTIP: the treaty for trade and investment between Europe and the United States which if approved, would end up definitively burying the European dream. Well, here too: Brexit offers a terrific opportunity to overturn the current balance of power, until now favourable to the outcome desired by the Americans.

In short, Brexit could shake us up and put us on the road of the Europe of Rights. If, however, it represents yet another milestone on the path towards the Europe of the markets, it is best to finish the project as soon as possible.

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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