Skip to main content

Understanding what just happened in the United Kingdom with the 52-48 percent victory by the "leave" side in the Brexit vote isn't all that straightforward. Particularly when American television requires reduction of everything to a bullion cube.

Britain Leaves EU

Brexited: Now What? —Larry Wines

If you're looking for cable news fare of sound bytes and celebrity quotes about Brexit, look elsewhere. We're going to survey what this means going forward, including why what caused it isn't specific to the British.

The European Union has always been an evolving experiment. One that has brought unprecedented opportunities and conveniences for the vast multinational population of its member states. Trade, travel — no problems with anything bought a country or two away — even freedom to live anywhere in the Union are all benefits.

Turns out, that comes with liabilities. Orders of magnitude more complex than Americans experience with NAFTA. On one end of the spectrum, manipulators of money have created opportunities for exploitation on an unprecedented scale. At the other end, Eastern European countries, still struggling from decades behind the Iron Curtain, have wages that are a fraction of those in Western Europe — and are a fraction of what's needed to survive in the West.

It's where both ends collide. Financiers want the lowest wages and prices to function as the common denominator. That played a key role in taking down the Greek economy and mortgaging that country to German banks.

It didn't stop there. The media's insistent misrepresentation of "worker reforms" in France are wholesale piracy of wages and benefits that are "too high" only because of insistence by the financial class on a race to the bottom.

Of course, anyone with marketable skills in a place that pays poorly wants to relocate to a place that pays well. Add to that the crushing pressure of refugees from Syria and other places where forces and factions are trying to kill them. Of course, those refugees want to go where they believe their labor will be compensated best.

That's the background that created Brexit. A popular referendum on whether Europe's most geographically and historically isolated island nation would remain one of many member states with supposedly, but not actually, equal status.

Now that Brexit has happened, it's definitely scaring the hell out of the banksters on both sides of the Atlantic. By Tuesday, we'll know to what extent that applies to Japan and China, as well.

The UK was always a uniquely self-limited member, anyway. It wanted the benefits while embracing some of the responsibilities. It kept the British pound while everyone else in the Eurozone adopted the Euro as the common monetary unit. And Britain, alone, had no issues of borders in physical contact with neighbors. Borders that needed to be open yet monitored. Plus, the "Hail Britannia!" legacy of centuries when the Royal Navy ruled the waves is the ingrained mindset of "an island race," as Winston Churchill called his countrymen.

It would be Monday morning quarterbacking to proclaim the notion that, if anybody was going to opt out, it would be the Brits. But the culture does differ from continental Europe.

Now that Brexit has happened, it's definitely scaring the hell out of the banksters on both sides of the Atlantic. By Tuesday, we'll know to what extent that applies to Japan and China, as well.

Americans, despite a poor understanding of it, have had no problem having strong opinions. Here's one exchange I witnessed. A Hillary Clinton supporter asserted that all the racists were the ones voting to leave. A Bernie Sanders supporter told him, "If I were a Brit, I'd likely have voted to leave because I'm sick of all the bloodsucking capitalists rigging everything for themselves."

Meanwhile, even economist and former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, an eloquent voice for progressive values and Sanders supporter, had advocated Britain remain in the UK.

Both sides have been veritable founts of apocalyptic warnings if the other prevailed. Familiar ground for Americans accustomed to politics being far more heat than light.

But outcomes seldom accommodate predictions. For example, in the avalanche of news since "leave" won, there's this. Spain is filing a claim with the EU to have Gibraltar put under Spanish dominion because most of the island's citizens commute daily to jobs in Spain. The Spanish are saying that Brexit means those workers, as English subjects, won't be eligible to do that any more, and Gibraltar has no hope of enabling them to support their families without outside jobs.

The whole BREXIT-from-EU thing is really far more complicated than American media has taken time to understand — both mainstream corporate media and alternative sources like this one. It was refreshing to hear one talking head say last week, "I'm not a Brexpert."

Who, on this side of the Atlantic, is?

Of course there has been this bizarre parallel to US politics through it all. The "stay" people tried to paint the "leave" people like Trumpsters — misogynistic racists. The "leave" people painted the "stay" people as caring more about enriching one-percenters than ordinary folks — paralleling Bernie people. All of it quite polarizing and imbued with gross oversimplifications.

Now that it's happened, it's time to begin formulating the big questions:

  • Will Scotland declare independence this time so it can stay in the EU? The Caledonians just voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. In their previous independence referendum, 40 percent voted to leave the UK. It was clear more Scots would have voted to break from Britain had they not been told by the EU they would wait years to join the Union on their own.
Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

  • Will the Brits have an epiphany and conclude their own economic problems are the result of years of government austerity and decreased funding for education that has created their need for foreigners trained in essential occupations, like nurses? And will they now spend on themselves or simply wallow in decline?
  • Will the French Frexit and Austrian Auxit and Netherlands Nexit and Greek Grexit movements result in popular votes? Each of those countries polls more than 50 percent wanting a national referendum on staying-in. Even the Czech Republic may vote to bail. Expect the Germans to spend heavily to defeat those movements anywhere they arise. German bankers need EU enforcement to guarantee repayments of loans.
  • Will the US learn in time from the UK 52-48 referendum that sending people to the polls without first taking all steps to facilitate an issue-oriented series of meaningful debates is a really bad idea?
  • Will both the UK and the US finally learn that your country can't prosper if your conservative economic policy allows your richest citizens and corporations to engage in massive tax avoidance?
  • Will the oligarchs and plutocrats now blame the "nativist, anti-immigrant English" for the coming global depression that the banksters own reckless greed is about to bring on us all? And being that they own the corporate media, will they get away with it if they do?

Of course there are so many more implications. Like Russia. The US has been aggressively using NATO to provoke the Russians. The massive BALTOPS earlier this month, with its three Normandy invasion D-Day-style "exercises" bracketing Russian territory in the Baltic, is the latest example, with more coming this summer. The winter had several, including one that looked like the Battle of the Bulge.

Britain Leaves EU

Without the Brits in the EU, what will that do to the enthusiasm for a NATO alliance that is expensive and has a dubious premise since the Warsaw Pact is long gone? Or will Putin overplay his hand?

If military-minded "forward force projection" Hillary is elected, will diminished support by other NATO members result in replacement "investment" subsidy from the US? Conversely, if Trump is elected, will his calls for Japan and South Korea to "pay their own way" for their defense be extended to NATO? (He has suggested as much.)

The direct outcomes and implications of Brexit have ripples, even sizeable waves, beyond the shores of the now more isolated islands of the UK.

Today's news will be filled with post mortums of how Brexit happened. Expect corporate media to be heavily oriented toward gloom and doom and the consequences of failing to preserve things as they are.

Because Brexit will prove something else: the wealthy always have a vested interest in perpetuating the status quo, whatever it is. They invest in controlling it, the way it is. Any change means the need to spend again, and entail risk, to buy control of some frightening new paradigm. Oligarchs always see change as chaos. It's easy to argue that it's why they employ fear to manipulate us, and have bought a hegemony of big media to facilitate that.

Some will cite the power elite rigging the system to protect themselves from the threat of a democratic socialist. It follows, with that reasoning, that pressure is being exterted on us now to protect stability in America. Specifically, by electing an advocate of interventionist-based foreign policy to protect their investments in the military-industrial complex, and the megabanks that manage it.

Megabanks that fund production of internationally illegal cluster bombs for the Israeli inventory, and for Saudi Arabia to drop on Yemen. It's profitable. It requires financial stability.

Of course, it requires creating a separate and exempt category of chaos, just for profitable war.

Otherwise, that hypothesis connects dots in a straight line. Leading to the conclusion that it's why we are "stronger together." Feeling the fear together. Easier to manipulate together. Without the chaos of breakaway radicals who must be vilified and held as frighteningly bad examples. Because others may follow those dangerous bad examples. Bringing chaos to the markets. Costing money.

It follows that in the wake of Brexit, the financial class can't have more surprises until the right interests are in place to profit from such "financial volatility."

So on our shores, and probably worldwide, alternative media will carry its own warning — That Brexit will bring a doubling-down to arrest the chaos.

larry-wines-formal

That will contrast with corporate media's fear-based warning of the utter necessity to just hold your nose to stop Trump. To "act responsibly" to "preserve the legacy of President Obama." And whatever new slogans the highly-paid corporate message crafters will devise to characterize change as chaos because it threatens oligarchs, but that all of us need to see as universally scary.

Big corporate media will dismiss those things as paranoid. Then they'll be caught just as unaware as they were when the Brits Brexited.

Larry Wines