Upcoming Events

National | Elections / Politics

no events match your query!

Blog Feeds

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2019/09/17 ? Open Thread Tue Sep 17, 2019 09:00 | Herb Swanson
2019/09/17 08:00:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link The Terrorists Among US ? The Coup Against the Presidency Mon Sep 16, 2019 23:05 | The Saker
by George Eliason for The Saker Blog For the last few years, a deep state coup against the presidency has been in the media off and on. Starting in 2015

offsite link On the ground, feeling the pulse of Protest Hong Kong Mon Sep 16, 2019 23:01 | amarynth
by Pepe Escobar – Posted with permission Fringe practicing wanton destruction for destruction?s sake surely have learned tactics from European black blocs What?s going on deep down in Hong Kong?

offsite link Personal message from the Saker about emails (please read!) Mon Sep 16, 2019 20:01 | The Saker
Dear friends, I was hoping to be able to cope with all the work I have (fulltime day job plus at least 6 hours per day on blog-related issues) but

offsite link Gulf War Report: Houthi Strikes Shut Down Half Of Saudi Arabia Oil Production Mon Sep 16, 2019 19:06 | Scott
https://southfront.org/gulf... Saudi Arabia continues to suffer consequences of its unsuccessful invasion of Yemen. On September 14, the Armed Forces of the Houthi government carried out a successful strike on facilities

The Saker >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link UN Human Rights Council Should Address Human Rights Crisis in Cambodia Sat Aug 31, 2019 13:41 | Human Rights

offsite link Fijian women still face Human Rights violations Mon Aug 26, 2019 18:49 | Human Rights

offsite link Saudi Human Rights Violation Fri Aug 09, 2019 20:41 | Human Rights

offsite link China?s LGBT Community Mon Apr 15, 2019 19:19 | Human Rights

offsite link Declaration of Human Rights at Sea Mon Apr 08, 2019 07:31 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link And the Dáil returns 08:06 Tue Sep 17, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Electronic counting? 12:18 Mon Sep 16, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Those ?alternative arrangements?? 10:19 Mon Sep 16, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Left Archive: Workers Party, John Lowry and Paddy Woodworth debate ? Excerpt from Making Sense No. 2... 07:14 Mon Sep 16, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Not so close encounter with an asteroid? 12:17 Sun Sep 15, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link Some Thoughts on the Brexit Joint Report 11:50 Sat Dec 09, 2017

offsite link IRISH COMMONWEALTH: TRADE UNIONS AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE 21ST CENTURY 14:06 Sat Nov 18, 2017

offsite link Notes for a Book on Money and the Irish State - The Marshall Aid Program 15:10 Sat Apr 02, 2016

offsite link The Financial Crisis:What Have We Learnt? 19:58 Sat Aug 29, 2015

offsite link Money in 35,000 Words or Less 21:34 Sat Aug 22, 2015

Dublin Opinion >>

Referenda: A Strategy for Success?

category national | elections / politics | opinion/analysis author Wednesday January 18, 2012 10:22author by Andrew Report this post to the editors

The idea that calling for a referendum is a good strategy for winning significant reforms often crops up in campaigns. It seems logical, as a referendum is a chance for the population to directly make a decision on the issue to hand. But the reality is that the demand for a referendum is seldom, if ever, the best way to build a struggle for a reform. Here are five reasons why:

Lobbying


Under the Irish constitution a referendum can only be held after a bill has been passed by the Dail and the Seanad setting out the proposed amendment to the constitution. In other countries and some US states a referendum can be called if enough people sign a petition. That is not the case in Ireland. So in Ireland a referendum will only happen if you convince the government parties to call one while allowing them control over the wording that will be voted on.


Influence


The nature of a referendum debate is such that it will be almost completely dominated by those with money, power and influence. Independent media group, which owns the Evening Herald, Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday World and the Irish Daily Star, as well as 14 regional titles and two free newspapers, has been dominated by the O’Reilly family since 1973 and has the ability to put the equivalent of a long leaflet in everyone’s hand every day.


Isolation


The nature of referenda is that we make our decisions in the isolation of the ballot box, an isolation designed to amplify the influences of the political parties and media. Outside of family & pub arguments there is no process of collective debate and discussion. We observe the opinions of the wealthy 1% and their hirelings and then choose between them.


Result


The nature of a referendum is that once the vote has happened the vast majority of people will consider that issue to have been settled for a number of years. That means referenda are not good ways of building a struggle because if you fail to win them many will see it as being all over. From that point of view, there is no point in a referendum being called unless there is reasonable confidence of winning.


Power


A referendum is only another state process by which we face the power of the 1% and, like all the other processes of that type from court cases to elections, has been designed to maximize the influence of those who have power and money over the results. All these processes are designed to give the impression that all are equal before them but in all cases this is not true.


Our struggles for change that are based around using tools designed by the masters will be weak and powerless. We need to develop and use tools that do the opposite, that build on our strength and make us powerful. These are the sort of tools that are based on mass collective discussion and action rather than either listening to or following the actions of the few.


Our tools are the strike, mass demonstrations, assemblies and mass organisations that we build and have some control over. When we fight for reforms it may well be that when we show our strength, the state will seek to compromise and diffuse that through offering referenda but, if so, that is something we have won not through seeking a referendum but by frightening them into calling one.

© 2001-2019 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy