The dominant neoliberal economy sorts people into winners and losers. Brexit is a revolt of the losers.
The winners are the credentialed professionals, the cosmopolitan, the affluent. The losers are the uncredentialed, the provincial, the working class.
Losers are revolting across the Western world, from the USA to Poland, and their revolt mostly takes the form of nationalism.
The reason the revolt takes the form of nationalism is that the world’s most important international institutions—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank—are under the control of a global financial elite that does not represent their interests.
I don’t fully understand the decision-making process in the European Union, but looking at its web site, my impression is that public debate is not a part of it.
The only vehicles for exercising democratic control, at the present moment in history, is through democratic national governments. I am in favor of international cooperation, and I don’t know how I would have voted on Brexit if I had been British, but I certainly can understand Britons who don’t want to be at the mercy of foreign bureaucrats and the London governmental, banking and intellectual elite.
Democratic nationalism is the only form that democracy can take until there is a radical restructuring of international institutions. Without a strong progressive democratic movement, the only alternative to neo-liberal globalization is right-wing anti-democratic populism as represented by Donald Trump, the United Kingdom Independence Party, Marine le Pen’s National Front in France, Greece’s Golden Dawn and others.