BREXIT! You will hear this world a lot these days. But what does this mean for the United Kingdom and the European Union? This post will focus on the political future of Europe and will present both a positive and a negative circle that could follow yesterday’s referendum.
Google trends indicate that only now many people in the UK want to find out what the EU actually is and what it means to leave it. If these searches are actually coming from the UK this signal is troublesome for democracy. It would mean that the “all-curing” medicine democracy can be deadly as well. Enough populism and simple truths paired with unreasonable fear from the old people can bring down an entire country. What does that mean for the future of democracy in Europe? We will come to that in a bit. But how did the UK actually vote? Demographics clearly show that the overwhelming majority of the 18 to 24 year old voted to remain in the EU. In addition northern Ireland and Scotland voted almost uniformly to remain in the EU. The big cities also voted to remain. But they all got overvoted by the rural areas which have been hit the most in recent years due to cuts in social spending and the general neoliberal policy.
This exact point reveals a dangerous but potent combination. The old people are threatened by poverty and rely on the National Health System in the UK. Both parties after Blair represented the neoliberal agenda and in turn created the misery for many old people in the UK. The Remain campaign was spearheaded by David Cameron who fullheartedly stands for neoliberalism. The Leave campaign was supported by UKIP - a nazi-like party who advertised with posters almost identical to old Nazi propaganda from the 30s. So both choices seem poisonous. The problem increases because some Leave campaigners argumented with 350 million pound being paid to the EU monthly that could be better suited for the NHS. It turned out that the number is entirely false. It appears however that many Leave voters didn’t know about this and disregarded all Pro-EU arguments as propaganda. If we have come to a point where you don’t listen to the arguments of foes anymore we have a serious problem at hand. The correct choice would have been to vote for Remain and demand serious policy changes and align for example with Diem25 who demand a more democratic EU. But that kind of argumentation is now futile and somehow pointless. It leaves a bitter aftertaste though, because it seems that many Leave voters were not honestly informed.
The rest of Europe cannot continue with business as usual. The reaction cannot be to continue on an even more right-wing route. Instead a real democratic Europe must come NOW. The european countries must get their shit together and overcome false sentiments. The future can only lie in a united Europe not a disintegrated one. But this means a united answer in the refugee question and a different outer policy. It means a radical shift in social policy towards the left to give large portions of the youth in southern Europe a perspective. Brexit was a warning shot fired towards the EU. We can either ignore it and continue in the neoliberal path of disaster which will further bolster right-wing nationalist, racist and outright fascist movements and parties throughout Europe OR we change course towards an Europe of solidarity, cooperation, democracy and civil and digital liberties.
It is OUR generation who will face the consequences of the decisions made in the coming months. It is therefore US who must stand up for a better future not just for us but for all people in Europe and throughout the world. Europe can begin a century of darkening and 2045 can symbol the success of what was militarily defeated in 1945. Alternatively Europe can recover from the mistakes made in the past and steer towards a Europe that is a role model for the world. We cannot undo the history and atrocities committed by all major nations in Europe to millions of people worldwide but we can learn from our mistakes, embrace diversity and refugees and together build a future we want to live in. The resources are available for that. What is missing is the political motivation of millions of young people. Let us retake the political process and enact a real and powerful democracy for all people.
Therefore engage in Diem25, protest against CETA on September 17 in various cities in Germany, vote for a real change in 2017 by electing a party in Germany that really stands for solidarity, peace and a better future and MOST IMPORTANT: Get others to do the same. We are the future of the world. Let us take on this responsibility and shape it the way WE want to live.