Britain's decision to leave the EU has so far turned out to be as successful as America's decision to build a wall on the southern border, exit Afghanistan, and narrow the trade deficit.
That's because the intended vehicle for these changes was the very party that started the mess in the first place -- the Conservatives in Britain under May and the GOP in America under Trump, each the disjunctive descendant of neoliberal pioneers Thatcher and Reagan. Like bloody hell a systemic realignment would come from the party that has benefited the most from the status quo, by founding and sustaining it all along.
These regime dynamics are what's missing in the recent discussion of Brexit on the What's Left podcast. Aimee Terese and Benjamin Studebaker correctly point out how Britain is in no position to take on the entire rest of the EU -- they're a far larger bloc than even a major member like Britain. So no matter who is sent to negotiate on behalf of the Brexiteers, they will never receive favorable terms from the EU.
The Conservatives, or any Brexit party that amounts to a spin-off of the Conservatives, is guaranteed to fail because their own party has benefited the most from neoliberalism, including EU integration. Labour, once realigned under someone like Corbyn (a Eurosceptic from the left), would face less headwinds from their own party's elite sectors.
But the point remains that Britain cannot take on the big bad EU all by itself. However, this assumes that the EU is monolithic and without its own tensions, especially the potential or actual realignments among its major members, all of which are pointing toward disintegrating the EU and trying to salvage economic nationalism (proto-socialism) from the Mid-20th century.
Italy is already on its way toward such a realignment. The dominant coalition during the neoliberal era there -- and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, including France -- has been the left, whereas the dominant coalition during the more egalitarian Midcentury was the right. (In Italy, it was more centrist, but when the opposition is the Communists, the centrist coalition is the relatively more right-wing of the two.)
Salvini hails from the right, but has struck a deal with the left on the welfare state -- agreeing to a wealth transfer from the prosperous North to the poorer South, in the form of a "citizen's income," in return for pursuing a more nationalist program on immigration and EU membership.
Most would dismiss Italy as a partner in an anti-EU coalition along with a Labour-led Brexit movement, because it is so heavily indebted and not in a strong position to dictate terms. Still, its GDP is 4th among Europe (after Germany, Britain, and France), and its population is also 4th behind those countries. It is not a minor country, but its debt levels leave it more at the mercy of its peers, especially the German banks. But Corbyn should still pursue an alliance with Salvini, even if it will not by itself deal the fatal blow to the EU.
That would require pitting the two other major, not-so-indebted countries against each other -- France and Germany. There is currently almost no Eurosceptic political movement in Germany, and it's not surprising since that country has benefited more than any other from the EU system. Why radically alter what has been working so well for you? They are a distinct 1st place by GDP in Europe, and much of that is real productive output -- industrial-scale manufacturing, not only financial services. That massive weight and ability to make its own real stuff gives it an outsized advantage over the other countries.
So, that leaves France as the nation to partner with for the Brexiteers. Studebaker mentions this possibility, but doesn't pursue it to the logical conclusion -- that Corbyn must form an alliance with Le Pen. As a Mediterranean country, France has been led by the left during the neoliberal era, in contrast to being led by the right during the proto-socialist Midcentury. That points to the right being the coalition that will realign the system away from the current regime, and clearly that will be the National Rally led by Le Pen, which unlike the other right-wing parties of this era, has decided to defend and expand the welfare state, in return for a more nationalist approach to immigration and EU membership.
There is a national election in France due for early 2022, and already the opinion polls show that Le Pen has closed the gap with Macron by 20 points compared to the last election in 2017. Back then, the status quo left candidate Macron won by 66 to 34, while recent polling shows him only winning 56 to 44. There is a major recession or even depression that will strike in the early 2020s, so we can expect those numbers to flip in favor of Le Pen by election day.
Even if the central bank of the US holds off on triggering the recession until after the 2020 US election (far from a certainty), that still leaves over a year for it to impact the 2022 national elections in France, Britain, and Germany.
In Britain, that would mean the end of the Conservative dominance during the neoliberal era. Already opinion polls show Labour + Brexit at about a 50% majority outright. The major trend there is the Brexiteers splitting off from the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats splitting off from Labour. If Corbyn can get those who have left the Conservatives over the single issue of Brexit, then the realignment will be a done deal.
They will need some reassurance, though, and partnering with Le Pen and Salvini will convince them that he's not just a partisan do-nothing, but serious about transforming the system with bipartisan support. Such an alliance would also convince voters that Corbyn could actually deliver the goods on Brexit, unlike the Conservatives, who would not be caught dead partnering with Le Pen or Salvini (UK Conservatives are the status quo party, not the realignment party).
Only by partnering with like-minded leaders in France -- and Italy for good measure -- could Corbyn pull off a Brexit deal with favorable terms, since his delegation would not be facing a monolithic EU delegation, but one fragmented into Germany on one side and Britain, France, and Italy on the other.
"Like-minded" leaders in France and Italy will not be from the left, who are the dominant status quo party in the Mediterranean. In the southern countries, Corbyn must partner with Eurosceptic populists from the right -- the only option to choose from in that region. He might like it if realignment were coming from the left in France, but it is not. Quite the opposite, the left is the source of the disjunctive defense of the status quo, namely Macron.
"Left" and "right" are only minor variations on the theme of the zeitgeist. Neoliberalism has been implemented equally by the right (in the Anglo countries) and the left (in the Mediterranean). Before that, proto-socialism was implemented equally by the right (in the Med) and the left (Anglos). As we transform the system, realignment will come equally from the right (Med) and the left (Anglos).
That is what the task at hand is -- major realignment of the system, not just switching from one variation to another within the same regime. The Corbynites' job is to find other Eurosceptics who will be the ones in charge of the new regime in their countries over the course of the 2020s, whether they are on the left (the Bernie people in America) or the right (in the Med).
I've already predicted that realignment in the US will have to wait until 2024, since the Democrats are not ready to surrender their braindead partisanship and pick off the populist Trump voters (ewww, disgusting contamination from ritually unclean scum). That is true for both the Democrat elites as well as the common voters, both of whom are poised to pick Biden over Bernie during the primary. This is like the two terms of disjunctive rule that preceded our Civil War, the only other time in our nation's history when polarization has been this intense.
I'm sure polarization is also bad and rising in Europe, but it cannot be as awful as it is here. The proof is that Italy has already kicked off its realignment -- and Italians can rarely agree on anything, especially regarding wealth redistribution from the North to the South. The Yellow Vests protests in France have been bipartisan or nonpartisan, and the original Brexit campaign was similarly bi/non-partisan. If they can forge the alliance by the 2022 elections, that will allow a cascade of realignments to be set off in Europe ahead of our election in 2024, which ought to be when we realign under a Bernie-style Democrat party.
Partisan self-indulgence will not only derail any attempt to become the new dominant coalition in one's own country, it will also prevent the international alliances necessary to wield enough collective leverage against the status quo.