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No National Solution: The New Wave Of Austerity Being Unleashed In Ireland

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | opinion/analysis author Sunday October 17, 2010 18:36author by Anne Mc Shane Report this post to the editors

Working class people throughout Ireland are suffering deep anxiety. With poverty, homelessness and unemployment escalating, the feeling is that we are on the edge of a phenomenal disaster.

That sense of dread has been exploited by a government bent on even more savage attacks on public spending. We had been told previously that we were facing €3 billion in cuts this December. Now it is certain to be much more. A new four year economic plan is to be imposed aimed at reducing the economic deficit to 3% by 2014. So there could be up to €7 billion in cuts this December, with more to follow. This will mean increases in taxes, in particular the introduction of taxes on the low-paid. It will also mean unprecedented attacks on health-care, social welfare, child benefit, pensions, education and just about every area of social provision.

The government has warned that if this strategy is not implemented Ireland faces loosing its independence. We will be taken over by faceless bureaucrats from the EU or IMF. They - unlike our own government - will not care about our national well-being. Unless we take the bitter medicine to be doled out by our own rulers, we will suffer more from foreign powers. It seems as though we are on the brink of an invasion.

In the face of such a challenge, the Green Party in its role as the junior partner in government has taken an initiative to “lead the country out of disaster”. Its leader John Gormley has argued that in the national interest all party politics should be set aside. He wants to set up a forum - or even a government - that will act together to ‘pull us out of this mess’. The Taoiseach, Brian Cowan, is not so keen, although a number of Fianna Fail TDs are supportive. Fine Gael has described the initiative as a piece of political theatre aimed at avoiding a general election. But with the opinion polls reporting mass disillusionment with all politicians, the pressure to unite is intense.

There is also external pressure. The reality is that the European Commission is already playing a direct role in overseeing the plan for the next four years. The austerity package is being examined in detail at this very moment in Brussels. It must be approved in full by the commission before it is implemented by the Irish government. The EU has made it clear that there can no derogation. Both the government and the commission are said to be extremely nervous about the destabilising impact of a general election. International finance capital is even more jittery about a change in personnel. So with only enough in the coffers to sustain public funding until early next year, the government and all the opposition parties will have to toe the line.

Of course the opposition has already pledged its commitment to EU and IMF directives. This is as true for the Labour Party as for Fine Gael. Labour leader Eamonn Gilmore is without doubt the most popular politician of the present time, consistently receiving steady backing in the polls. A huge groundswell of support for the Labour Party is predicted if there is an election. But Gilmore has made clear that there are very tough times ahead. People may have illusions that it will not be as bad under a majority Labour government but as we have seen in Greece it could be even worse.

A recent Socialist Workers Party article showed that Irish banks are two of the largest government bondholders ( Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland continue to receive state funding, which they use to lend back to the state. In this bizarre situation, the Irish working class is both directly funding these bail-outs and paying the massive interest rates on the loans. Meanwhile the highly toxic Anglo Irish Bank continues to receive massive injections of cash.

The SWP quite rightly attacked the idea of a national government - it would be used as a way of repressing any struggle against the consensus. There is worry in the corridors of power that the current anxiety will translate into fierce anger when the next round of cuts comes. The public sector is a particular concern. Last year’s militant strike action by government workers was ended by union leaders in exchange for a new social partnership deal. The only thing that appeared positive about the Croke Park agreement was that there would be no further wage cuts for four years. It was of course linked with an agreement that there would be greater ‘efficiencies’ and ‘flexibility’ within the public sector. But the worry about pay seemed over for the time being.

But the agreement, which was only signed in June, included a get-out clause which allowed the government to revisit this pledge in the event of a significant deterioration in the economy. They are now putting out feelers which indicate from their perspective that this time has come. It means little that the ink has barely dried on the agreement or that the current situation was easily foreseeable. The union leadership sold out the militant opposition of public sector workers for an agreement that looks unlikely to survive the year.

The question of what the left will do becomes ever more urgent. As I have argued in previous articles, the need for the working class to have a mass party based on Marxism is urgent. The nonsense of creating half-way houses should be well and truly ditched. The working class can see clearly that capitalism is not working and that the Celtic tiger was a hoax which has left them more debt ridden than ever before. As property developers and bankers continue to get bailed out while jobs are lost and houses repossessed, it is clear that there are two nations. There can be no reformist or national solution to the current crisis that will be of any benefit to the working class.

At a recent SWP event I questioned its leader Kieran Allen on precisely this issue. He assured me that there are plans afoot to set up a united left slate for the general election between the SWP, the Socialist Party and others. When I pressed him after the meeting, he would give little additional information except that there would be a meeting to ‘announce’ the coalition. He appeared surprised that I would take issue with their decision to meet privately to decide on the make-up and politics of this slate.

In his presentation to the meeting he had argued that the most important thing was to get the masses out onto the streets. We also needed to campaign “door to door” with a petition to demand the seizure of the assets of developers, linked to a refusal to pay off the government debt. The bailout could be stopped and instead (when the banks go bankrupt) a good bank set up, which would distribute finance fairly. All national resources should be taken into public hands. He believed that these “sensible demands” implied revolutionary change without saying so.

Despite his assertion during his presentation that now was the time for the left to present a challenge that is both “serious and practical”, it seems to me that very little has changed. This is in essence the alternative economic strategy proposed by People before Profit, the front organisation of the SWP ( It is a programme that seems leftist but is essentially national in nature. It reminds me of the demands of the Scottish Socialist Party, in particular the unfortunate call for the nationalisation of ‘our’ national resources. One SWP member in the audience went so far as to reassure us that it was of course possible to have a “little island of socialism in Ireland that would be an example for other socialists elsewhere”.

An attempt to present an Irish solution would of course dovetail in with the agenda of the Socialist Party in Ireland, well-known for its commitment to near-universal nationalisation. All the more important therefore for the debate on regroupment of the left to be had openly in front of the class.

Any concept of solving the current problem within Irish borders is simply lunacy. We need more than ever to be internationalists. Ireland is a tiny country on the edge of Europe. We simply could not survive without the solidarity of the working class internationally. We have seen socialism in one country in the travesty of Stalinism. That cannot be repeated.

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author by V for vendettapublication date Sun Oct 17, 2010 21:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The croke park agreement was just stalling. A scam to dissipate anger for a while and buy time.They'll break it when it suits them.
Union leaders are too well paid and we can't really trust their motives any more.
The unity multi party government of right wing parties is a cynical exercise in blocking a frustrated angry swing to the true left in a general election which would not please our corporate / banking / elite lords and masters and their servile FF/FG/PD/GP/Labour servants
The unity government is also the only way that FF / GP can hang onto any power and still dictate right wing policies. They know otherwise they will be decimated in a general election. It's all just another cynical ploy. When will we learn that we just cannot trust these people. If they really gave a damn about getting the country back on it's feet then they had ample opportunity and finances over the last ten years to do so instead of lining their friends and their own pockets, selling off our resources for a song, privatising our public services and cynically foisting huge gambling losses on the taxpayers of Ireland.

Turn off your TV's. Insist on a purely issue based General election. Accept no more FF scams

author by beckettpublication date Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"We have seen socialism in one country in the travesty of Stalinism."

The problem was Stalinism itself, not the fact that it was confined to one country.

author by Ewan McGregorpublication date Mon Oct 18, 2010 13:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"We need more than ever to be internationalists. Ireland is a tiny country on the edge of Europe. We simply could not survive without the solidarity of the working class internationally"

Yeah look where that and rapacious capitalism got us:

Our Fish: Gone
Our Gas: Going / Gone
Our Agriculture: Crippled
Our Brightest people: Going / Gone
Our Future: Gone paying off debts
Our Health: Gone as per poor people in US without insurance
Our Trees: TBA
Our Water: TBA
Our currency: Gone
Our prices: Gone (up)
Our Soverignty: Gone
Our Hope:....??

sing along now everyone:

Choose capitalism:

Choose capitalism.
Choose a job.
Choose a career.
Choose a family,
Choose a fucking big television
Choose washing machines, cars,
compact disc players, and electrical tin openers.
Choose good health, low cholesterol
and dental insurance.
Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments.
Choose a starter home.
Choose your friends.
Choose leisure wear and matching luggage.
Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase
in a range of fucking fabrics.
Choose DIY and wondering who you
are on a Sunday morning.
Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing
sprit-crushing game shows
Stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.
Choose rotting away at the end of it all,
pissing you last in a miserable home
Nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish,
fucked-up brats
You have spawned to replace yourself.
Choose your future. Choose capitalism.

..well I'd choose something else......

author by D_D - PBPA - individualpublication date Mon Oct 18, 2010 13:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An international, particularlly a European, dimension to the policies and the demands of the left is essential. Actually the establishment (bankrupted in fact and consequently in ideas) has been forced back onto one main, killer, argument: austerity or international players (the market, the EU, the IMF) will shut us down or take us over. Even where they have to 'admit' the injustice of it ('yes, it is awful to bail out the banks and cut welfare simulateneously') the international compulsion is the justification: 'we have no choice'.

Of course when a group is presented with a bill from an outside source, say a restaurant bill for a whole table, there is still the question of who in the group should pay what and how much. So there is still an internal, or, if you like, ' national' dimension to whether the bill is paid by the poorest diner or the richest who has, furthermore, eaten the most by far.

Never theless the creditor may be saying, as 'the markets' are saying, 'pay up or the price (the interest) goes up', or, as the EU is saying, 'clear your debt now (or by 2014) whatever the cost'. What comeback have this little group, this Little Island, got in the face of the empire? What specific international policies and demands that can be taken up here and fought for here should the left adopt? What leverage as a practical slogan has 'drop the 3% by 2014 deadline!'? I believe it IS a pactical demand, which should of course be made, yet weakens when it is interrogated as to the power we have to enforce it. Obviously, for little us, it requires link ups with the French, Greeks etc. Links not built overnight, especially when the trade union leaders are intent on opting OUT rather than into the Continental protest movement. Of course these international demands (and links) should be made, but it is inevitable that a viable economic alternative (viable in that it can be taken up by large numbers in the short term) would put the 'nearby' measures - drop the bank bail outs, tax the rich, stop the cuts, invest in jobs - towards the top of the list and shout them in the direction of those we can put the most direct pressure on.

Incidentally, the service KA's piece did was to reveal how some of the big bad foreign bondholders are not so foreign after all, and are very accessable indeed: we even - theoretically - own and have political control over some of them.

A dearth of international demands, expressed concretely and lucidly, admittedly remains. This is where specific suggestions and proposals would be welcome.

author by Reds in the bedpublication date Mon Oct 18, 2010 13:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Contrary to what you imply/say, I think we've yet to see true socialism in action anywhere.

It always gets hijacked / sabotaged before it has a chance to develop.

It might be nice for once to actually see it one day so we could actually talk about it without always mixing it up with top down authoritarianism.

Joe higgins seems a decent guy and talks a lot of sense. Maybe we should give him and his party a try? Voting FF/Labour/FG/Green/PD never made any difference. Lets "choose something else", as a previous poster suggested

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Oct 18, 2010 14:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well you could start with the Tobin tax on all financial transactions.

A second issue , for me, would be the setting of a MAXIMUM wage, so that personal incomes are kept sub-astronomical no mater what responsibilities you shoulder. A ratio of 20:1 to reward initiative and input without syphoning the public wealth into private hands as prevails currently.

Then there is the issue of work hours.Why should anyone who wants to work be relegated to idleness while others are getting paid for playing golf or football? A forty hour rigid work week makes no sense if all who are willing and able could get by on thirty hours without the exclusion of the last-come-last-served lottery(unless you have the pull-factor in the family tree).

As for capitalism, its the nature of the beast.The task is to manage it, as it said on the democratic tin, by the people FOR the people.,i.e. in the interests of the total population.

Thats the theory.But we're up against a global corporate sector that has carved up the resources of the earth, starting with land, and has increasingly taken control of military security in its own protectionist interests. Fascism without the actual overt fasces.

And, as happens in economically mismanaged downturns, the movement to the right and into the trenches accelerates.Obama is a captive, at best, of Washington's usual suspects, Merkel is appeasing the far right(ditto Sarko).
The right will use the anger of workers for destruction of the very infrastructure we need to implement egalitarian policies, and then instal their next set of stooges by appealing to lowest fears of the uneducated.
Finally, I would hold that there is no dichotomy between global and local/national. All fronts simultaneously.Main eye on the global ball. As the granny used to say, sure you might as well dream here as in bed.
Contradict away.

author by V for vendettapublication date Mon Oct 18, 2010 16:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Little to contradict there.
I Find myself largely in agreement...

Maximum wage
tax on financial transactions
share the working hours
harness the beast in service of society instead of the opposite
see the fascism inherent in global corporatism and fight it
etc etc

Stop telling it like it is opie. You'll ruin it for everyone!! People might get ideas :-)

recently posted link to rolling stone article was illuminating in case you missed it

Don't expect too many folks to support what is good for them though

(look at healthcare debates in US!)

Expect either FF/FG right wing coalition or Labour /FG right wing coalition and in either case, ten years of austerity to cover the gamblings of the rich.

Democracy: The tyranny of the stupid

still as I always say, why can't pie in the sky be food for thought? :-)

author by Tim Johnstonpublication date Tue Oct 19, 2010 03:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

why a maximum wage?

What right has anyone to decide another has too much money?

Some of those other ideas are quite sensible, although global corporatism is the opposite of capitalism pretty much.

author by V for vendettapublication date Tue Oct 19, 2010 06:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"why a maximum wage? What right has anyone to decide another has too much money?"

Corporations decide this for their employees all the time. They love nothing more than pushing down their wages. Evidently because a dollar a month in their sweatshop is "too much money".

I guess Opus and myself just think this should apply to management and executives as well as the people who actually make things useful to society and don't just fuck people over and bullshit for a living or deliberately create economic bubbles and abstractions like CDO's to rob us.

I guess we just think it's rather vulgar that a small number of useless people that contribute nothing of any real intrinsic value to the community make a huge amount of money for working the same number of hours or probably less than the poor brown people in their sweat shops who actually make real things but can barely afford to buy food and live in rubbish tips.

Guess you don't Tim. Not surprising really.

I guess we don't believe a minister for education who thinks einstein came up with the theory of evolution and would fail junior cert latin or a drunken idiot who led the country to ruin and has sentenced our children to indentured slavery to the banks for the next decade or more (and both clearly unqualified to do their jobs ) deserve a similar wage to the president of the US. Because what have they actually done to earn it?

author by Tim Johnstonpublication date Tue Oct 19, 2010 14:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Even if that's all true, if someone wants to pay someone a large amount of money for something who are we to say it's too much? Don't you think there's an issue of freedom there?
What should the maximum be?

As for pushing down wages, when and how does this happen? Even Henry Ford said that if he paid lower wages, who would buy his cars?

author by Alan Davis - IBTpublication date Tue Oct 19, 2010 16:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The SWP/SP capture something important with their call to make the capitalists pay for their crisis and that working people should put forward demands for how that could be done - drop the bank bail outs, tax the rich, stop the cuts, invest in jobs etc.

However the reality is that the bosses and their government, along with the alternative govt. of LP & FG, are all committed to making working people pay hidden behind the myth of the "national interest". There is no such thing as the "national interest" - there is the interest of the bosses and there is the interests of working people. These divergent interests exist in every capitalist country and the extent to which working people are able to win concessions is largely the result of exercising our strength as an organised class. This strength is of course mediated through the prism of our reformist leaders in the trade unions and wider workers' movement but still what reforms they are able to obtain are premised on the threat of our strength if not always its immediate exercise.

So the SWP/SP are also right to point to the need for working people to exert their strength in response to the current crisis. If that doesn't happen it is almost hard to comprehend the degree of misery and deprivation our class faces in the next period.

But the problem with the programme being put forward by the SWP/SP is that this is a very real economic crisis and even if we can mobilise a movement articulating the radical reformist demands proposed by the SWP/SP there is the problem that Irish capital has virtually no wriggle room to meet those demands, even in a partial way - as we can see with the writing on the wall for extremely partial, to say the least, Croke Park agreement.

Any movement of working people that starts expressing our strength as a class in even a semi-mass way is immediately going to run up against this problem and the reality that the bosses will use their armed thugs in private security, the garda, army and to defend their privileges and profits

I believe that we have to be consciously building a mass movement that is committed to an insurrection to overthrow the whole rotten system. A movement which is necessarily part of an international movement that can challenge capital on the world stage. I agree with Anne that this also necessitates the building of a communist party, on that same internationalist basis.

But even those who reject this revolutionary perspective as premature or just plain crazy must recognise that even to build a movement capable of stopping the worst of the "pain" the bosses want to inflict on us we are going to have to do it based on building an organisational framework within our class that is capable of physically resisting the bosses thugs who will be at the sharp end of implementing the attacks.

We are going to need committees against repossessions to stop the bailiffs and private security goons. We are going to need militant organised stewarding to defend our demonstrations against the garda. We are going to have to have rank-and-file controlled strike committees that can physically implement the policy of "picket lines mean don't cross". We will need defence squads to defend our strikes and occupations from the private and public police thugs.

Side-by-side with this we need to build organs of real workers' democracy where the tactics and strategy for the movement can be discussed and developed. Within these there will need to be a hard political struggle against the reformist and populist forces who will seek to have us limit our struggle to the deadend of parliament and respect for the capitalist's "law and order" as against the militant class struggle required to really defend ourselves.

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author by V for vendettapublication date Wed Oct 20, 2010 04:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Even if that's all true, if someone wants to pay someone a large amount of money for something who are we to say it's too much? "'re often the people paying and often most of us actually wouldn't want to pay out these daft wages We also pay a lot of corporate welfare.

And in answer to your question, WE are part of a community of people for whom society was structured presumably for the greater good of everyone, and as a community, we don't think it is healthy for 5% of the people to have 40% of the wealth. I think it's perfectly reasonable to keep greed in check a little. It's a pretty ugly part of us. We keep other ugly destructive parts of ourselves in check so why not that?

"As for pushing down wages, when and how does this happen? "

*cough* IBEC *cough*

Maximum wage is a good idea. Would save a fortune in semi states, public service and politics. Might help our competitiveness too.

author by Alan Davis - IBTpublication date Wed Oct 20, 2010 07:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"WE are part of a community of people for whom society was structured presumably for the greater good of everyone"

This is what the rich would like you to believe so that they can justify their massive profits in the good times and the attacks on working people in the bad.

"Might help our competitiveness too"

"Our" competitiveness - this is really just the competitiveness of Irish capitalism and the multi-nationals so they can maintain their obscene profits at the highest possible level and f*ck working people who are going to have to bear untold misery and hardship.

For proof of this see the following story by the WSM - using the CSO's own figures:

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author by Alan Davis - IBTpublication date Wed Oct 20, 2010 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This idea of "We in Ireland" is a dangerous myth that only serves the interests of capitalism.

One part of this supposed "we" (the capitalist class) have decided that their interests are best advanced by having Ireland as a low-tax haven for multi-nationals and international finance companies. And with a wealth of at least 1.25 Trillion (as per the latest CSO figures) they have every right to think that this plan is working.

This same part of "we" has no qualms about invoking the also mythical "national interest" as they wreck havoc on the lives of ordinary working people as we "share the pain".

Interesting however that "sharing the pain" doesn't include touching the capitalist's obscenely high pile of ill-gotten wealth.

"Sharing the pain" also doesn't involve changing the sacrosanct corporate tax rate.

Our capitalist rulers are committed to their course. There is absolutely no chance that the relatively small-fry capitalists in Ireland are going to risk offending the big boys of international capitalism by any kind of nationalisation of, or significant taxation on, the oil and gas fields.

Freeing working people in Ireland from the austerity and impoverishment we now face cannot be done within this rotten capitalist system. It needs to be overthrown and replaced with a system of rational planning based on human need not profit.

author by EduKatepublication date Wed Oct 20, 2010 14:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good luck trying to convince people of the need for insurrection, if you can't even convince them of the need to tax the rich and invest in public services.

author by V for vendettapublication date Wed Oct 20, 2010 14:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Alan, I agree with much of what you say. For the purposes of this discussion I limited the scope of my response. There is no "we" in an every man for himself ideology bubble. Only in an eco village or an interdependent autonomous collective ( maybe the quakers!) is there a true "we".

It's more like a deliberately atomised group of brainwashed zombie consumer / worker units.

Can't be saying that all the time though. The zombies might come after me and eat what's left of my brain.! ;-)

author by children_of_lirpublication date Wed Oct 20, 2010 15:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It was fall out from predatory practices and no accountability. The banks were over extended and not prepared for any degree of crisis. The robbers have gone now. The Government allowed it to happen with open eyes and open pockets.

author by Alan Davis - IBTpublication date Wed Oct 20, 2010 16:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well children_of_lir, you can pretend that this was just about the mistakes and excesses of the Irish banks and government - but you are only fooling yourself.

As you have probably noticed, there is a global crisis of capitalism happening. While there are particular details about how the international economic crisis manifested itself in Ireland it is obvious that these are of secondary importance to the effects of that overall crisis.

Now perhaps it was a case of every capitalist economy in the world being run by robbers and it is just a matter of getting rid of them and good old decent capitalism can start working again.

Of course this "every country had the bad luck to be run by robbers" scenario is rather far-fetched unless you understand that this is just normal operations for capitalism - the crisis was caused by the inherent contradictions of capitalism.

And of course you also can't explain the enormous horrific human toll that even capitalism in the "good times" wrought upon working people in the so-called "third world". Or for that matter the complete inability of capitalism to deal with the ecological crisis the planet faces.

All over the world it is working people who are being expected to "share the pain" while the capitalists protect their profits as best they can. The reality is that capitalism is by its very nature a viscious and nasty system built upon pursuit of profit at any expense, with a complete disregard for any human suffering it may cause. It has long outlived its usefulness to humankind and must be overthrown.

author by children_of_lirpublication date Thu Oct 21, 2010 13:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Getting into a debate over communism vs capitalism is like getting into an argument over religion.

author by Platopublication date Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The simple fact of the matter is that it is dangerous and unsustainable to allow small numbers of people to amass onto themsleves huge fortunes. There must be an upper limit and a lower limit so as to ensure that some level of fair distribution occurs.
We are now witnessing people like Rupert Murdoch using their fortunes to support the slash and burn policies of right wing govenrments as they try to protect and defend the capitalist system. We the people have little or no resources to counter the propoganda and the danger is that the situation will be pushed so far as to create a violent backlash, Barry Andreqws was on RTE last night frightening the old, the sick and those on welfare with stories of cuts in their meagre incomes. Not once did he refer to the need to properly tax wealth. Nowhere did suggest that politicans pay should be halved, the Seanad abolished, the stopping of govenrment spending on "advisors" and spin doctors, a cap on incomes or the abolishing of "bonus's" for bankers. The most vulnerable are the only ones that Fianna Fail, the Greens and the PD have their sights on.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Oct 25, 2010 13:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and Rupert has his cubs here, from Sir Anto, through Madam PD to our local enterprenuerial hero Dinny O'B and his ex-pat(ex-Pat?)offshore piracy of the Carribean, now that he has absconded, tax-free, with the proceeds of several generations of taxpayers investment in telecoms.Harney is selling off the health service to the US sickness industry, and third-level education is being flogged globally as a resource for the wealthy across the global elites, while our own kids will be blocked by elevated fees and surcharges, and, get this, its being done in the name of 'The Smart Economy', soon to replace the long worshipped National Interest as soundbite of choice emanating from a gobshite near you. Even as our educated (by the taxpaying worker)decamp with their skills to serve the global octopus of Wall Street wherever they can get a toehold.

Oh, and for Tim Johnson back there with 'why a maximum wage?'.

Because, Tim, all wealth is generated from the common pool of global resources that are our human heritage, starting with the earth itself. Its our birthright because we got ourselves born here, not on Mars, where those who have purloined that wealth over centuries seem to have a strange yen to return to. I've been wondering for a while why nobody alludes to their excitement over finding traces of water on Mars or down the throat of a lunar crater while the bones of a billion kids dont have clean water because of problems that can be solved with a fraction of their , literally, stellar budgets.

And the logic of 'free market'(How do you like your oxymorons, sunny side up?) economics, as practised, is that eventually, unless we use law as a brake on this voracious ego-frenzy, one individual will scoop the whole pot, leaving the rest of us as tenants on his planet.
We might get lucky and someone with a brain cell might win this monopolist's Lotto. More likely it will be someone like Big Pharma's Von Rumsfeld.
Outlandish paranoid scenario?Ask the Palestinians, or the San bushmen of the Kalahari, or the Australian Aborigies or native Americans. For that matter, ask Irish emigrants going back to the Norman privitisation of this island, replacing a flexible land tenure system that took need into account in adjusting ownership and acreage with polulation changes. How about that, back at the property market. This crisis only started for the vested gamblers in 2007. Its been running for a while for the majority, despite their reluctance(just like the speculators)to face it.

author by Tony Moranpublication date Tue Oct 26, 2010 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't know whether it was this or another thread but there was a very interesting and scary comment about starting an Irish Tea Party along the lines of the far-right radical US anti-tax movement.

I say scary, because while the left is disunited and disorganized, there is a greater liklihood that organized populist resistance to the political status quo will emerge from the right, leaving the left sidelined.

This is now a real danger to those who see the present economic crisis as an opportunity for a socialist and progressive future. Ignoring the potential threat of right-wing populism will not make it go away. The left needs to have strategies prepared when this happens (which I think is almost inevitable as the angry middleclass lashes out as its secutity and priviledges dissapear in the depression, and acts to protect its interests)

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Oct 26, 2010 16:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sure hasn't Bertie set it up in his closet already?

Mind you, if we get Enda de Nayshun it wont be herbal tea. The problem is, the people have been so fucking conditioned by their churches that there is an allergy to anything other than 'clinging to nurse for fear of worse'. Irish rebellion was always a minority inclination.Look at the docile response to the famines. Not dissimilar to the lambs to the Auschwitz slaughterhouse that the Zionist 'Prominents'(see Primo Levi, among others)assisted.

Just how much further right can it go?We're up to our tonsils in the WW lll kicked off with Iraq/Afghan resource grabs and escalating towards Iran and all points resistant to the VOA. Bent over to take it any and all ways from the IMF and ECB without waiting for instruction, selling off all public resources like the last boot-sale and about to reduce the borderline impoverished to destitution to keep the fatted cats in even more luxury than is customary to date.
With Coghlan, Biffo, McCreevy, Bertie, Wee Willy and Cullen and Heil Harney and McDowelleiter unresisted its just a matter of time before they hold a referendum on the melting of antisocial(i.e. the socially excluded)elements down for some new smart economy generated synthetic wonder substitute for asphalt for the potholes.
Reasons to be cheerful?Joe Heller and Ken Kesey.No, hold the Barry's moment, mines a shot.

author by retired readerpublication date Tue Nov 02, 2010 15:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I had stopped reading indymedia for a couple of years but it seems to have improved a little lately. I have seen some critical and original thinking from Opus Diablos on a few issues lately. This is a pleasant change from the usual left speak that switches people off and explains why the left has already sidelined itself a good few years ago! I was amazed to hear of that issue that dare not speaks its name or as was put so well above the "sacrosanct corporate tax rate" This is an issue that none of the brave revolutionaries will touch in Ireland and that includes Labour, SF, SWP, PBPG etc They are afraid of even mentioning never mind having an actual policy on corporate taxes nowadays in case it might upset somebody in the mejia or ibec or the EU or whoever.

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