What Does Europe Want?

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Late in his life, Freud asked the famous question “Was will das Weib?”, “What does a woman want?”, admitting his perplexity when faced with the enigma of the feminine sexuality. A similar perplexity arouses today, apropos the Brexit referendum: what does Europe want? The true stakes of this referendum become clear if we locate it into its larger historical context. In Western and Eastern Europe, there are signs of a long-term re-arrangement of the political space. Till recently, the political space was dominated by two main parties which addressed the entire electoral body, a Right-of-centre party (Christian-Democrat, liberal-conservative, people’s…) and a Left-of-centre party (socialist, social-democratic…), with smaller parties…show more content…
So what does Europe want? Basically, Europe is caught into a vicious cycle, oscillating between the Bruxelles technocracy unable to drag it out of inertia, and the popular rage against this inertia, a rage appropriated by new more radical Leftist movements but primarily by Rightist populism. The Brexit referendum moved along the lines of this new opposition, which is why there was something terribly wrong with it. To see this, one should only look at the strange bedfellows that found themselves together in the Brexit camp: right-wing “patriots,” populist nationalists fuelled by the fear of immigrants, mixed with desperate working class rage… is such a mixture of patriotic racism with the rage of “ordinary people” not the ideal ground for a new form of Fascism? The intensity of the emotional investment into the referendum should not deceive us, the choice offered obfuscated the true questions: how to fight “agreements” like TTIP which present a real threat to popular sovereignty, how to confront ecological catastrophes and economic imbalances which breed new poverty and migrations, etc. The choice of Brexit means a serious setback for these true struggles – suffice it to bear in mind what an important argument for Brexit was the “refugee threat.” The Brexit referendum is the ultimate proof that ideology (in the good
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