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(3,813 posts)
Sun Jun 26, 2016, 11:09 AM Jun 2016

Greenwald calls-out the dominant Brexit narrative [View all]


Brexit is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions

THE DECISION BY UK VOTERS to leave the EU is such a glaring repudiation of the wisdom and relevance of elite political and media institutions that – for once – their failures have become a prominent part of the storyline. Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting one’s own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility. Virtually every reaction that falls into the former category emphasizes the profound failures of western establishment factions; these institutions have spawned pervasive misery and inequality, only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object.

The Los Angeles Times‘ Vincent Bevins, in an outstanding and concise analysis, wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for thirty years”; in particular, “since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.” The British journalist Tom Ewing, in a comprehensive Brexit explanation, said the same dynamic driving the UK vote prevails in Europe and North America as well: “the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact.”

In an interview with The New Statesman, the political philosopher Michael Sandel also said that the dynamics driving the pro-Brexit sentiment were now dominant throughout the west generally: “a large constituency of working-class voters feel that not only has the economy left them behind, but so has the culture, that the sources of their dignity, the dignity of labour, have been eroded and mocked by developments with globalisation, the rise of finance, the attention that is lavished by parties across the political spectrum on economic and financial elites, the technocratic emphasis of the established political parties.” After the market-venerating radicalism of Reagan and Thatcher, he said, “the centre left” – Blair and Clinton and various European parties – “managed to regain political office but failed to reimagine the mission and purpose of social democracy, which ­became empty and obsolete.”


Corrupt elites always try to persuade people to continue to submit to their dominance in exchange for protection from forces that are even worse. That’s their game. But at some point, they themselves, and their prevailing order, become so destructive, so deceitful, so toxic, that their victims are willing to gamble that the alternatives will not be worse, or at least, they decide to embrace the satisfaction of spitting in the faces of those who have displayed nothing but contempt and condescension for them.

(boldface emphases added by me)

As I write this, two of the top five "Greatest Threads" here at DU are precisely the dominant Brexit narrative that Greenwald eviscerates above (with plenty more detail and evidence at the link). I think that DU can and should bring a more critical eye to the Brexit issue, and take the lessons of it to heart before the USA's politics goes similarly off the rails.

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"only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object" Android3.14 Jun 2016 #1
Amen 840high Jun 2016 #81
distract. "muddy the waters" tk2kewl Jun 2016 #199
Does Glenn Greenwald ever get tired of being wrong? NuclearDem Jun 2016 #2
Any evidence you might have regarding this particular issue is welcome. Nt appal_jack Jun 2016 #6
Scotland! pkdu Jun 2016 #66
Or that the people voting to leave skepticscott Jun 2016 #146
Is he wrong? KPN Jun 2016 #22
Not to worry...just a 3-word knee jerk that failed to pass the libdem4life Jun 2016 #61
He's not wrong. 840high Jun 2016 #82
Do you have a specific objection to the article, and, if so, can you elaborate on your analysis? nt xocet Jun 2016 #27
This message was self-deleted by its author stopbush Jun 2016 #76
What exactly is wrong in this article? TheFarseer Jun 2016 #165
And I bet you believe tea party didn't form the second we elected a black president. Drunken Irishman Jun 2016 #232
So you believe the tea party wouldn't have formed if Hillary had won in 2008? TheFarseer Jun 2016 #234
lol Obama had been in office all of two months. Drunken Irishman Jun 2016 #235
Not when he has hordes that will eat up every embarassingly wrong utterance he makes with a spoon Number23 Jun 2016 #183
Really? Lot of smart people on the leftwere arguing for Brexit before it happened rpannier Jun 2016 #185
"But not now with Boris Johnson around to steer the ship" in the wake of Brexit. Mr. "Neoliberal pampango Jun 2016 #196
Typical response from a cipher nikto Jun 2016 #194
I think the binary thinking is dangerous Cal Carpenter Jun 2016 #3
+1000 nt Mojorabbit Jun 2016 #10
+100 this, and thanks to the OP too. bbgrunt Jun 2016 #24
K & R Thanks. ancianita Jun 2016 #25
It's strong with who is still here on DU arikara Jun 2016 #133
+1000 smirkymonkey Jun 2016 #216
Greenwald. LOL...nt SidDithers Jun 2016 #4
LOL..nt transatlantica Jun 2016 #111
Wow, another substantive post... ljm2002 Jun 2016 #138
He (the person who responded to you) would have said in 1774 rpannier Jun 2016 #184
precisely! thank you! n/t wildbilln864 Jun 2016 #220
He's right. LWolf Jun 2016 #5
And your prediction is 100% correct. Thanks. nt appal_jack Jun 2016 #88
He's not only wrong, but very wrong Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #7
It's worth asking why people embraced such hatefulness and believed such lies. appal_jack Jun 2016 #30
And to that point, xenophobes are still going to vote. Jester Messiah Jun 2016 #71
Yes, that would be useful. Nt appal_jack Jun 2016 #72
People become more xenophobic when steeped in economic insecurity. cprise Jun 2016 #142
+1 TubbersUK Jun 2016 #31
But do you really think 52 % of all British voters are KPN Jun 2016 #43
No, but I think that enough of the "Leave" vote came from xenophobes to represent the winning margin Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #46
Using your reasoning it could very well be that the majority of Brexit voters were not xenophobic... Human101948 Jun 2016 #53
Please stop with the "screwed by one percenters" nonsense. Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #59
What are your qualifications as a pontificator on this subject? Human101948 Jun 2016 #141
My qualifications? Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #143
Leaflets under the door..unimpeachable anecdotal experience... Human101948 Jun 2016 #144
Actually having a firsthand acquaintance with the "Leave" campaign... Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #145
Others, more credentialed than yourself, agree with me... Human101948 Jun 2016 #155
Here's what your argument without deeper explanation says: KPN Jun 2016 #207
Okay, I see, you're a crank. Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #208
Were you intending to call yourself a "crank?" Human101948 Jun 2016 #209
Post removed Post removed Jun 2016 #210
You are making all kinds of assumptions about what people here are saying. KPN Jun 2016 #214
Really? So what is the basis for the vast populism today? KPN Jun 2016 #203
Yes, most of those people are irrational. Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #205
just, wow In_The_Wind Jun 2016 #213
"Just tired of being screwed by the one percenters." EU countries have some of the highest pay, pampango Jun 2016 #77
Spot on n/t TubbersUK Jun 2016 #126
Quotations? TomVilmer Jun 2016 #140
Not could well be ... EXACTLY! KPN Jun 2016 #202
So what do you know about xenophobia KPN Jun 2016 #58
Xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment is highest in areas with the lowest levels of immigration Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #63
OK, so you are a neoliberal. KPN Jun 2016 #201
LOL. Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #204
Fabians is a good source. But those statistics are not really relevant to your argument. KPN Jun 2016 #211
"have a conscience" = "I want to bring back hanging and whipping" Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #212
Lol. KPN Jun 2016 #215
politics makes strange bedfellows, in this case some voted the right way AntiBank Jun 2016 #67
The Brexit vote wasn't monolithic though TubbersUK Jun 2016 #90
Exactly. The Left, Jeremy Corbyn, British unions (not to mention Bernie) supported Remain. pampango Jun 2016 #75
That is a thoughtful and interesting read. Thank you for posting. cali Jun 2016 #8
GREENWALD!!!!! MohRokTah Jun 2016 #9
Post removed Post removed Jun 2016 #70
How sad. rhett o rick Jun 2016 #113
I know, the idiot is really sad. MohRokTah Jun 2016 #114
Using that ridicule emoticon is sad on a politically liberal message board. Don't you agree? nm rhett o rick Jun 2016 #116
If what you say is correct, then blame the Admins, not me. MohRokTah Jun 2016 #117
So if the Admins set a gun on the table and you picked it up and shot someone, you want to rhett o rick Jun 2016 #119
I want to use this opportunity to use this as an example of the split in our Party. rhett o rick Jun 2016 #118
. MohRokTah Jun 2016 #120
There is just as much a split in the Republican party over this as ours ConservativeDemocrat Jun 2016 #148
Here we are again with you calling the Progressive Wing extremists. And here again I will rhett o rick Jun 2016 #170
And here I'll answer you very clearly... ConservativeDemocrat Jun 2016 #221
And again you failed to answer. You have no idea how I will vote. To say rhett o rick Jun 2016 #222
I just took you at your written word... ConservativeDemocrat Jun 2016 #223
And again I ask where you disagree with the left and again you won't respond. rhett o rick Jun 2016 #237
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ still_one Jun 2016 #130
MohRokTah!!!!! ljm2002 Jun 2016 #139
Great read. And the responses in this thread are perfect examples of what he is talking about. fbc Jun 2016 #11
So we going to fight the Primary over once again?????? Cryptoad Jun 2016 #16
Post removed Post removed Jun 2016 #20
Nope, both Greenwald and those who agree with him are perfect examples of forcing a narrative stevenleser Jun 2016 #105
Someone does not understand surveys... happyslug Jun 2016 #167
Yes, it's quite possible the anti-immigration number was higher PaulaFarrell Jun 2016 #188
No, Greenwald doesn't have evidence. Here's evidence: muriel_volestrangler Jun 2016 #12
Add the non-immigration responses together and you get 76%. appal_jack Jun 2016 #18
No, the 'non-immgration' ones only add up to 52% muriel_volestrangler Jun 2016 #26
The effects of immigration is a valid concern and is not xenophobia/nativism. JonLeibowitz Jun 2016 #32
... Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #37
If you were trying for an incomprehensible post you have succeeded. JonLeibowitz Jun 2016 #40
There is a link, there are words there, surely you know how to click (n/t) Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #41
Yes but the words have nothing to do with my point. JonLeibowitz Jun 2016 #45
They have everything to do with your point Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #48
My point was that the 14% and 10% figures are in the wrong category. JonLeibowitz Jun 2016 #49
don't mean to but in your marchellojones Jun 2016 #162
Trump is counting on it. Xenophobia and nativists are, by definition, anti-immigration. pampango Jun 2016 #74
But not all concerns about immigration are by nativists. This is a logical fallacy JonLeibowitz Jun 2016 #83
Of course not. But they can provide the winning margin. This is clearly a victory for the right, pampango Jun 2016 #89
We agree on much, but read some of the numbers differently. appal_jack Jun 2016 #52
Not necessarily 'xenophobia', but they're about immigration muriel_volestrangler Jun 2016 #54
+1 DCBob Jun 2016 #78
52%: The number of immigrants coming into Britain TwilightZone Jun 2016 #34
Wow, just wow is that a silly way to look at it. mythology Jun 2016 #64
+1 uponit7771 Jun 2016 #152
There it is then uponit7771 Jun 2016 #150
Someone does not understand surveys. happyslug Jun 2016 #168
Dismissing what people say their reasons are is condescending muriel_volestrangler Jun 2016 #189
k and r Scientific Jun 2016 #13
neither side in this issue Cryptoad Jun 2016 #14
Greenwald an UKIP on the same side. baldguy Jun 2016 #15
And Sarah Palin and Donald Trump TwilightZone Jun 2016 #35
Seeing as how Greenwald made his bones defending a Neo-Nazi in Illinois... MohRokTah Jun 2016 #96
Gee, what a surprise, his analysis of the meaning dovetails with what he WANTS it to mean. stevenleser Jun 2016 #17
LOL. That's rich... JonLeibowitz Jun 2016 #33
Yes, it is, and obvious if you observe Greenwald for any length of time. nt stevenleser Jun 2016 #60
Wow. A Hillary slam and a Brexit defence in long ismnotwasm Jun 2016 #19
The "official DU" stances are: "Brexit was xenophobia" and "Greenwald is a hack." PSPS Jun 2016 #21
Most of the posters here who are actually in the UK will tell you it was xenophobia Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #23
Getting a better idea .... Dworkin Jun 2016 #92
Many people seem to be kind of confused on the subject Spider Jerusalem Jun 2016 #93
it ...facts matter (link) uponit7771 Jun 2016 #153
Every corner is using the Brexit to support their treestar Jun 2016 #28
thanks for posting. Good article. bbgrunt Jun 2016 #29
We do have options bucolic_frolic Jun 2016 #36
The Chris Hayes tweet is right on point as well. n/t DirkGently Jun 2016 #38
Given GG's problematic immigration stances, it's hardly surprising he wants to deny xenophobia.... msanthrope Jun 2016 #39
Holy shit. Odin2005 Jun 2016 #44
Yes...someone with those views on immigrants is who we should listen to? msanthrope Jun 2016 #51
This stuff is why as a Socialist I am suspicious of people calling themselves "left-wing populists". Odin2005 Jun 2016 #56
+1, he's a piece of work uponit7771 Jun 2016 #156
Oops. "Obama cultists" lol TwilightZone Jun 2016 #50
His Neo-Nazi civil client is a real peach, too. Although everyone deserves a criminal defense, I msanthrope Jun 2016 #57
WOW! TubbersUK Jun 2016 #97
That POS sickens me. joshcryer Jun 2016 #132
you forgot to post this part (no surprise) --> nashville_brook Jun 2016 #135
You mean his non-apology where his excuse is that he was new to blogging? msanthrope Jun 2016 #149
+1, as if he couldn't just look shit up on the thing he was using to blog with uponit7771 Jun 2016 #159
When he blamed it all on "Obama cultists", the sincerity of his "apology" TwilightZone Jun 2016 #157
+1, also he had the means to look at both sides of the story vs just taking RW word for it... uponit7771 Jun 2016 #160
+1 uponit7771 Jun 2016 #154
Greenwald = Contrarian dipshit. Odin2005 Jun 2016 #42
unfortunately, that's untrue. they're an extension of Thatcherism. but carryon. nashville_brook Jun 2016 #136
That's surprisingly articulate writing for Donald Trump YoungDemCA Jun 2016 #47
LOL SunSeeker Jun 2016 #84
for those who disagree with Greenwald, what about elites screwing the rest? Is that wrong? yurbud Jun 2016 #55
Biggest problem is, we have polling from those voting to leave stevenleser Jun 2016 #62
It's mind-boggling that we're being accused of "smearing" people by calling them xenophobes when Chakab Jun 2016 #106
Message auto-removed Name removed Jun 2016 #107
Absolutely... truebrit71 Jun 2016 #122
Pro-Brexit elites used that line to get workers to vote against their own interests. SunSeeker Jun 2016 #87
Why did some elite want it? I don't have a definite opinion on this, I'd like to hear yurbud Jun 2016 #98
Ask them. Why does Trump do it? SunSeeker Jun 2016 #100
If somebody has a lot of money, they rarely act without making more in mind yurbud Jun 2016 #101
Trump is out to help Trump, but he does illustrate a bigger problem TiberiusB Jun 2016 #121
those who reflexively dismiss Greenwald do more harm to their reputation here than his yurbud Jun 2016 #128
Well said! LuvNewcastle Jun 2016 #164
+1000 smirkymonkey Jun 2016 #217
Vulture capitalists wysi Jun 2016 #137
Because EU rules keep them from removing British labor laws Recursion Jun 2016 #190
Yup. truebrit71 Jun 2016 #123
You're certainly describing modern UK Conservative Governments TubbersUK Jun 2016 #108
thank you so so much for this post!!! AntiBank Jun 2016 #65
This part in particular Jester Messiah Jun 2016 #68
.+1 840high Jun 2016 #85
Absolutely agree with Greenwald. Because of "free trade" and Akamai Jun 2016 #69
The UK did not have 'free trade' (though it likely will under Boris Johnson's 'neoliberal fantasy pampango Jun 2016 #99
Young adults in England and Europe know what austerity is doing to their countries, their Akamai Jun 2016 #104
The UK Conservatives are quite independently wedded to austerity TubbersUK Jun 2016 #131
You have stats that show kids up to 30 have no complaints about austerity? I think that would Akamai Jun 2016 #179
That's not my point, as you well know TubbersUK Jun 2016 #186
Young adults overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU, so that's wrong too. nt stevenleser Jun 2016 #151
Seems to me that you are saying pretty much every youngster in the UK voted to stay in the EU. Maybe Akamai Jun 2016 #181
The Leave leadership Denzil_DC Jun 2016 #182
Only 21% of ages 26 and younger voted to leave, so as I said, overwhelmingly voted to stay. nt stevenleser Jun 2016 #195
Of course, all this globalism.... Adrahil Jun 2016 #73
+10! reACTIONary Jun 2016 #169
What non-sense. DCBob Jun 2016 #79
Another petulant incoherent ramble from GG struggle4progress Jun 2016 #80
Good read. Thank you K/R 840high Jun 2016 #86
This is part of the need to force a contrived narrative Cosmocat Jun 2016 #91
It's like when we talk tariffs and are accused of being anti-trade. Spitfire of ATJ Jun 2016 #94
Post removed Post removed Jun 2016 #95
well, the neolibs support their masters and hate GG for many of his critiques directed at them stupidicus Jun 2016 #102
Economic problems foster xenophobia among conservatives. DirkGently Jun 2016 #103
Message auto-removed Name removed Jun 2016 #109
+1 nationalize the fed Jun 2016 #110
using the word swamped to describe immigration shows it right there. treestar Jun 2016 #112
Well they're clearly afraid of something. DirkGently Jun 2016 #115
It's also used as a tool by the conservatives/ neo-liberals to control the public. rhett o rick Jun 2016 #124
What I'm not following is this "progressives are the real racists" DirkGently Jun 2016 #125
It's very strange that some people that want social justice will sell their souls to rhett o rick Jun 2016 #127
Social justice is free. Profitable, even. DirkGently Jun 2016 #134
Yes but the Powers That Be love to use social justice issues as a divisive tool which they rhett o rick Jun 2016 #171
Mr. libertarian, claiming that xenophobia had nothing to do with the Brexit. Funny that the voting still_one Jun 2016 #129
+1, also the data clear says the majority voted on brexit cause of immigration here uponit7771 Jun 2016 #161
That is a very important point, how close the referendum was still_one Jun 2016 #163
Xenophobia is a tool used by the neo-liberals to stir up hatred and draw attention away rhett o rick Jun 2016 #172
xenophobia is a product of the conservatives, and the history of Europe has been filled with it still_one Jun 2016 #174
It's a tool used by conervative/neo-liberals to stir up hatred similar to what Hitler did in Germany rhett o rick Jun 2016 #175
Have fun with your conspirisy theories still_one Jun 2016 #177
Without looking him up with google... fleabiscuit Jun 2016 #147
Most everyone here loved Greenwald nationalize the fed Jun 2016 #166
He's a libertarian who's been published by The American Conservative pnwmom Jun 2016 #180
The American Conservative also endorsed Sanders, in fairness. They're an odd bunch. Recursion Jun 2016 #191
Probably because of his states rights positions. In the past, pnwmom Jun 2016 #192
Foreign policy Recursion Jun 2016 #193
Thanks. Libertarian party affiliated, he's American then? nt fleabiscuit Jun 2016 #219
Yes! Due to lack of alternatives, everything clearly OUTSIDE establishment does Better Than Expected Land Shark Jun 2016 #158
I don't know much about some guy Jun 2016 #173
It is a populist thing. Unfortunately the laziness of the average person PatrickforO Jun 2016 #176
It seems that view doesn't seem to match the facts still_one Jun 2016 #178
K&R for very uncomfortable truth Betty Karlson Jun 2016 #187
Years ago he was ok guy, but now he's just a Alex Jones rockfordfile Jun 2016 #197
what pure BS... Jones is freaking insane Fast Walker 52 Jun 2016 #198
Hmm. davidthegnome Jun 2016 #200
I normally agree with GG, but he is miles off on this one. truebrit71 Jun 2016 #206
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! malaise Jun 2016 #218
But Brexit was conceived, led and voted for by Thatcher's heirs and their supporters. TubbersUK Jun 2016 #226
Precisely malaise Jun 2016 #227
Yep TubbersUK Jun 2016 #233
Reagan/Thatcherism were half baked, but their followers very rarely were racists Albertoo Jun 2016 #229
I've never done this before, but there comes a time: TubbersUK Jun 2016 #231
:) and yet, I maintain my point Albertoo Jun 2016 #236
Greennwald's analysis is obviously self serving nonsense Albertoo Jun 2016 #224
I'm not saying that any 2-choice vote was 100% logical or consistent appal_jack Jun 2016 #225
Ed Milliband, a neoliberal? I'm not sure we got the same facts on the table. Albertoo Jun 2016 #228
Message auto-removed Name removed Jun 2016 #230
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