Presentation by Paul Feldman
The 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union sent shockwaves around the UK and beyond. Over 17.4 million people voted to Leave. Despite warnings from all the major political parties, voters narrowly rejected the proposal to remain in the EU.
Understanding what lay behind the result leads to a dialectical analysis of the contradictions within the vote, the process which led up to the referendum and the current political impasse at Westminster. Evald Ilyenkov’s concept of the Ideal – which concretely in this case is about the state and democracy – provides us with a tool to explain these contradictions.
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A contribution from
The worker voting to leave the EU is rebelling against certain aspects, the ruling aspects you could say, of social and political culture as transmitted to her through an extensive, lifelong, experience of it, starting with the earliest socialisation and on through life and life roles as child, adult, worker, mother, political animal (voter), etc.
She expresses this rebellion through ideas offered to her by those who present themselves as the alternative – leaders with a voice, to put forward a nationalist, racist and historical explanation of her predicament, and an idealised future outside the EU. She takes this on as a single piece of cloth, momentarily, for the duration of this political episode.
There is a material basis for her decision. Her life as a citizen of the EU is hard; she is poor and sees inequality all around her plus terrible dissonance between what the popular culture tells her life should be and what her income will achieve. Continue reading →