The Right Left for Europe

ATHENS – The United Kingdom’s referendum on whether to leave the European Union created odd bedfellows – and some odder adversaries. As Tory turned mercilessly against Tory, the schism in the Conservative establishment received much attention. But a parallel (thankfully more civilized) split afflicted my side: the left.

Having campaigned against “Leave” for several months in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, it was inevitable that I faced criticism from left-wing supporters of “Brexit,” or “Lexit” as it came to be known.

Lexiteers reject the call issued by DiEM25 (the radical Democracy in Europe Movement, launched in Berlin in February) for a pan-European movement to change the EU from within. They believe that reviving progressive politics requires exiting an incorrigibly neoliberal EU. The left needed the resulting debate.

Many on the left rightly disdain the easy surrender of others on their side to the premise that globalization has rendered the nation-state irrelevant. While nation-states have become weaker, power should never be confused with sovereignty.