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By Jason Michael
BREXIT IS NO ORDINARY POLITICAL EVENT. The decision of England and Wales to leave the European Union, taking Scotland and Northern Ireland with them as “one United Kingdom,” is an event with both purpose and meaning. Turning to our Classical Greek we may better think of Britain’s departure from the EU as a Καιρός as opposed to a Χρόνος moment; meaning that rather than being simply something that happened in chronological time, it is a defining moment in history which at once reveals its purposes and gives meaning to the various processes that produced it.
History, more especially the history of the collapse of democracy, is replete with examples of such Kairos. We have the foundation of the Corinthian League under Philip II of Macedon that ended Athenian democracy, Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon which led to the fall of the Roman Republic, the Coup of 18 Brumaire that ended both the French Revolution and the First Republic, and of course the appointment of Adolf Hitler as German Chancellor in January 1933 leading to the rapid demise of the Weimar Republic. These events are not accidental, but the fruition of carefully charted political ambitions and a multitude of methodical and incremental strategic moves – executed by many people acting together in a common plan.
Only at the defining moment of the success of such a plan – the Kairos moment – does the purpose of the various coördinating actors and their manœuvres leading up to this point become clear. It is at this juncture that we, the observers, can stand back and say: Now we know that they were up to. Having passed through the visible Pledge and the invisible Turn of the illusionists’ trick, their slight of hand has at last brought us to the confusion of the Prestige – which in politics is a form of checkmate, the point after which we are eating out of their hands. It is precisely at this moment the meaning of what has happened begins to be revealed.
Always, the meaning of the Kairos is encoded or written into the details of the plan and its execution. The rabbit pulled from the hat was there all along, we were only misdirected and too bamboozled to see it. Similarly, nothing done by the Nazis in the horrors of the Holocaust was not already evident in the rhetoric and behaviour of its leaders before they came to power.
Our world is connected and interconnected by technology, trade, and communications to a degree unimagined by Caesar and Napoleon, a brave new globalised world wherein a coup at the summit of international political and economic power – such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump are – is, by the nature of our reality, a coup de monde – a global coup. The apocalyptic imagination of Evangelical Christian fundamentalism foresees something akin to this in the coming of an antichrist and the creation of a one-world government before the Parousia – the “Second Coming,” and, while this isn’t that, it isn’t far from it.
Global capitalism, the dominance of the neoliberal Washington consensus, and the international geopolitical balance achieved after the Cold War have in effect brought about not a one-world government, but an internet of governance. This is an international system of political and economic order dominated by the hegemony of the United States and the fine negotiation of power over the largest liberal democratic blocs – namely North America, Europe, Russia, and to some extent the three remaining components of the BRIC economies; Brazil, India, and China. At the head of this Nebuchadnezzar’s statue are the United States and the European Union. The successful subversion of the head naturally secures power over the rest of the body.
It is now well understood that the confluence of whimsical liberal democracy, the power of national and international populist movements, and social media produces a vulnerability, a backdoor through which democratic society can be hacked. What we know of mass on and off-line surveillance, internet data harvesting, and the behaviour of Big Data analytics companies is that the accumulation of all the bits of our information can be deployed against us in the media and online by political agendas seeking a specific outcome from any given election or referendum. By using vastly complex mathematic logarithms companies like Cambridge Analytica and its proxy Aggregate IQ have been staggeringly successful, through individually tailoring “news” for each social media user, in directing how millions of people vote.
In doing just this the people behind Brexit in the UK and the election of Trump in the US have successfully gamed the system, convincing us – the electorate – to give them exactly what they want – power. Yet, this is hardly a coup de monde. Where’s the network of conspirators, the common purpose, and the seeds hidden in the reveal? Big Data is a tool available to everyone who can afford to employ it, and therefore it’s reasonable to imagine the Brexit Leave campaign and Trump’s campaign team used it independently of one another, and that power was sought in each case for power’s own sake rather than for some heretofore hidden and nefarious scheme.
But this isn’t the picture we now have when so many of the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle have been brought together. We know that Big Data and its use against civilian populations was pioneered and developed by Britain and the US’ military industrial complex during their clandestine dark or “psychological” operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know too that the people involved in these operations became private military and civilian contractors for their conservatively aligned political and establishment paymasters at home; the very same people who would come to direct and bankroll the Brexit and the Trump campaigns. Before the wholesale manipulation of our electorates had begun the political and establishment agents were talking, and strategies had been tested and were ready for roll-out. As far as a game plan was concerned, it was already in place.
What about the players? These too were all already on the board. In the US conservative and ultra-conservative politicians had been recruited and funded by a super-wealthy right-leaning fraction of the élite class, all the groundwork had been done with the compliance of the right-wing media and the agitation of the alt-right and far-right alternative media to build up a social base for support and the mobilisation of a growing populist right social movement. Once this structure was ready for operation it required only a charismatic shell casing for the payload, and in this we can see the man Donald Trump as little more than the perfect ticket on which the éminences grises could ride.
Much the same had been happening, as we know, in the UK. Here the more traditional route was taken. A centre right party, the Conservative Party, was led by the nose by a hard-right faction in hot pursuit of votes from the gutter politics of a newly re-energised far-right populist movement hepped up on the goofballs of anti-immigration rhetoric and Islamic terror scares and led by an interconnection of racist and xenophobic nationalist ideologies stemming from UKIP, the remnants of the BNP, the EDL, and the National Front.
During every stage of the plan the key political personalities of this transatlantic conservative movement were in constant contact. British rightist politicians brought with them their little black books of contacts to right and far-right movements represented in the European parliament and active on the streets of European and Russian cities. Right-wing politicians, financiers, journalists, and media personalities from Vladivostok to Los Angeles were on a carousel of meetings and conferences, exchanging ideas and swapping notes. At Trump Tower in New York Russian diplomats and spies were doing lunch with European and American far-right leaders, influencers, and outriders – and all the while a plan was being hatched.
Brexit, then, was the opening salvo in a Blitzkrieg-like operation, the purpose of which was to upturn the present ordering of the world and replace it with something new. This explains why we are so powerless – for the time being – to resist it. It is a done deal – it was over and decided the moment the starting gun was fired. This is why we must think of Brexit as a Kairos moment; it was planned out in advance – even down to its most minute details, and it means that everything is about to change. We cannot resist what is done, what it in the past. Rather, we are faced with the task of acclimatising ourselves to a completely new – yet old – global political reality and of working together so as to mount a successful rebellion.
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