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Budget Day Dáil Protest: More a polite knock on the door rather than a storming of the Bastille?

category dublin | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Wednesday December 08, 2010 19:09author by TD - Galway Unites Against Cuts Report this post to the editors

"Heading towards a nastier society" (Vincent Browne)

It's cold comfort that yesterday's inhuman budget was the last sting of a vicious, dying government, chilling to realise it was allowed to flourish and pass by the broad mass of the Irish people standing idly by and not engaging in mass protest.? Yesterdays proceedings outside the Dáil were mild, ultra-mild and weak when compared to the mass protests in Greece and France and the fact that the EU/ECB/IMF attacks on our poor, vulnerable, working classes and middle classes, through their willing government catspaws, are far more severe here than the aforementioned countries.?


Fintan O'Toole in his new book; Enough is Enough mentions this problem: What the great and the good really mean when they use the word is not that the financial fallout is manageable. It is that the people are manageable. The assumption is that you can squeeze health and education, do almost nothing to create jobs, lock the economy into a downward spiral of cuts and depression, and there will be no long-term political or social consequence. Underpinning all the gambles on the banks is the ultimate gamble - on the infinite masochism and/or gullibility of the Irish people.

Whether its our "infinite masochism and gullibility" or more banally and fanciful, perhaps, the opium of X Factor, TV soaps and suchlike escapist bilge that was responsible for yesterday's abysmal turnout is a moot point, but it begs the question what exactly will galvanise the survival instinct of Irish people - as in '98, pitchcaps and walking gallows, another Israeli genocidal attack on Gaza or a far worse attack on Iran, perhaps, or is it just a case of the Stockholm syndrome writ large.?

The dismaying truth is; apart from the thousands who marched against health/pension cuts and other matters the past two years and the 100,000 who marched in the recent ICTU Dublin mockery of a "protest", even though the wolf is now inside their doors, the broad mass will not be moved and through their enertia acquiese in their own immiseration and dehumanisation.?

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Caption: Budget Day Dáil Protest 7-12-2010

author by Jason Michaelpublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 19:25Report this post to the editors

A Chara, thank you for this long overdue honest appraisal of the weakness of the Irish spirit in the face of the heartless barbarism of its so-called democratic government. Last night was a complete washout. Not even the cold weather can be used as an excuse, as more people were Christmas shopping of Grafton Street than were amassed outside Leinster House. In our small group who joined the protest there were five persons, myself included. There were two Dubliners, two Americans and one Scot (myself). The two admirable Dubliners (brother and sister) represented one single Dublin family and only 40% of our little flying mob. It is beginning to appear likely that social justice in Ireland requires the arrival of International Brigades.

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author by TD - GUACpublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 19:46Report this post to the editors







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author by TD - Galway Unites Against Cutspublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 19:53Report this post to the editors







author by TD - GUACpublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 19:55Report this post to the editors


Sean Ryan
Sean Ryan

author by Stephen Cunninghampublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 20:01Report this post to the editors

Thanks for your honesty in that news report TD. Its refreshing, if overall disheartening...!

I feel that last night was a really big missed opportunity.
Along with last Saturday.

I am curious to hear some similar honest reflections and reports from other people on the marches at the Dail yesterday.
I've been scanning the web today but the only report backs I've seen so far is on the WSM site, which is just a report of the timeline of speeches.

author by Jason Michaelpublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 20:14Report this post to the editors

Stephen, there is a link at the foot of the first comment on this article to the "homophilosophicus" page where I have written a reflection on the events of last night. You are correct that it is disheartening, but we can build from here; it can't possibly be worse.

author by pseudonympublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 20:25Report this post to the editors

I was there yesterday too and what TD has written is absolutely, unfortunately true. What struck me was the crowds in surrounding streets totally indifferent and apathetic to, or ignorant of the treachery and financial rape being committed against our country. The number of foreigners there as well, who were prepared to come out on a cold night and possibly risk Garda brutality if things had turned nasty, was notable as well.
It's not a pleasant thought to have to face but it has been staring us on the left in the face for years. Is it simply that ideals of social justice and equality do not appeal to these people? You can't help getting the feeling that they sort of deserve it if they're not going to stand up for themselves. I would not stand up to a Garda with a baton for them. I would sooner just emigrate and let them live in the cesspool they're leaving for their children.

author by pseudonympublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 20:28Report this post to the editors

by the way who were those people-a group called tir na saor or something. they were like hippies with a sign saying free your mind and they were playing 'everything's gonna be alright' bob marley. it was just so vacuous and dispiriting to see them...positive thinking and good vibes is the last thing we need in this situation

author by Tiny Timpublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:31Report this post to the editors

A couple of hundred turned up!

Where are the rest of the Irish people??????

author by eh man - absolutely nonepublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:07Report this post to the editors

I have written about stuff like this before on this site and been derided, but there seems to be a Dublin-centric approach to all this. I heard this demo was happening but was in a different part of the county and couldn't make it. But do the maths. The population of the Rosses, Gaoth Dobhair, Cloch Cheannfhaola and Glenties, the catchment area for the demo in Dungloe, has a population less than, say, Crumlin.
It was a bitterly cold night in Donegal and the electric was cut for about 4 hours at the time of the demo.
Yet there were still over 100 people out protesting the killer Budget.
We're not all apathetic!
By the way, I have nothing to do with éirígí. I don't like Republican politics.
But fair play to them for organizing this demo.

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author by Madam Kpublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:52Report this post to the editors

Many people hold strong opinions but simply can`t get to protest`s or feel alienated by protest`s

At the same time the Left have been asleep , where was everyone when the IMF were in town ? THAT was the time to mobilize.

Here`s a short video of views from Dublin`s streets

author by Jerry Corneliuspublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 13:21Report this post to the editors

2,000 people were protesting at the Dail by 6.30 pm after the 1% Network march arrived. Even the Irish Times said 1,500 were there. It wasn't a great turnout but theres no need for TD to say only a couple of hundred were present. Maybe he went home early.

author by TD - Galway Unites Against Cutspublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 15:18Report this post to the editors

"only a couple of hundred were present" : no numbers, hundreds or thousands, whatever, were mentioned in my Indymedia piece except that the turnout was abysmally low considering the vicious nature of the Budget.?

"Maybe he went home early" : Leaving the scene of the crime at 11:45PM to catch the 12:15AM GoBus to Galway is "maybe" going home "early" Huh?

author by JCpublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 15:27Report this post to the editors

People extrapolated from your comments that only a couple of hundred attended. You did not correct this. Some of us worked very hard to get out the 2,000 who did attend. Maybe we shouldn't have bothered. Some would be happy if only 200 had attended theprotests.

author by Stephen Cunninghampublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 15:54Report this post to the editors

Even if there were 200, 2000, or 20,000 there last night - what difference would it have made anyway if everyone just marches to the gates of the Dail, listens to some speeches, and then goes home?

It doesnt seem to matter which group it is that calls the march - the methods seem to be the exact same across the board, from the union brass to the anarchists and republicans in the 1% network, turn up at the gates and shout a bit - except that the content of the speeches gets more radical in inverse proportion to the size of the crowd that turns up.

This Government (and others in the past) have shown that they can simply just ignore a march outside on the street to their content. They did it with the union march last Saturday week.
You would think by now that the Left would have learned, or be learning that lesson. But it seems not.

People in the past have done symbolic direct actions (fence storming at Shannon, blockades at Rossport), what happened this time around?
What are you supposed to do if you're not a worker and cant go on a general strike, e.g. one of the 400,000 or so unemployed?
Where is the outlet to fight the cuts on any militant level?

author by pseudonympublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 17:08Report this post to the editors

You are spot on Stephen. I have on more than one occasion heard such protests referred to in the media as people 'venting their anger' and I am beginning to think this is what's going on here. I don't mean to slag off those organising them and the people who turn up; fair play-at least they care enough to try and do something, but it has become increasingly apparent over the years that protesting represents absolutely no threat to the political establishment, even if thousands turn up. How many thousands marched against the war in Iraq and what effect did it have on the government's policy towards letting the Americans use Shannon? Sadly, none at all. They are aware that it is in their interests in fact to let people march and shout a bit and vent their anger, and go back to their everyday lives and we continue as normal. The only real power that we have over them is our labour and the power to withdraw it. Ultimately they depend on the majority to run society and generate profits for them. Unfortunately the vast majority of workers belong to unions (if they even belong to a union) which do not represent their interests and offers no real leadership or alternative in the current crisis. The powers that be would be shitting themselves if they thought there was a real possibility of a general and indefinite strike. What the parties of the United Left Alliance, the SWP, WSM etc. need to asking is why they are almost wholly without influence in the workplaces of Ireland, and not just the work-places traditionally seen as 'working-class' like manufacturing, but the call-centres, the shitty mcjobs that made up a great proportion of work in Ireland, even when times were 'good.' I'm not suggesting the fault lies with the left alone, but this is a huge stumbling block to any sort of viable resistance to the oligarchies who run our country.
Sorry-a bit long-winded but I need to let off steam...

author by readerpublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 18:43Report this post to the editors

"I have on more than one occasion heard such protests referred to in the media as people 'venting their anger' and I am beginning to think this is what's going on here."

its just our orwellian societys particular version of the "two minute hate". Our European masters don't mind if we rail a bit and let off steam against lapdog lenihen and cowen. Probably why they insisted on the shape of the budget, to divert anger from euro banksters (the real problem) and onto the (zombie) FF govt.

"Within the book, the purpose of 'the hate' is said to satisfy the citizens' subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading such a censored lifestyle."

author by TD - Galway Unites Against Cutspublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 18:46Report this post to the editors

"People extrapolated from your comments that only a couple of hundred attended" : If the "people" you speak of watched my accompanying video they would not be in a position to "extrapolate" as the footage clearly shows more than a few hundred and even if 5,000 attended, it doesn't vitiate my contention that the turnout was abysmally low in the circumstances.?

If, as you say, you worked very hard to get out the 2,000, Galway Unites Against Cuts, I amongst them, inputted a huge amount of energy and time in organising last Saturday's protest march (in Galway), for instance, for the two weeks prior to the demo, 4 or 5 activists were out six days a week in Shop Street for two hours - or sometimes three - at lunchtime manning an information stall and distributing flyers. Yet, with the poor attendance - some 300, we didn't find refuge in "Maybe we shouldn't have bothered" negativity, as we shrugged off our disappointment, girded our loins further and besides two actions, tomorrow and Friday against local government politicians, we are building for the next one and for that matter, a healthy number of GUAC activists were outside the Dail on Tuesday.

Numbers matter; one has to ask the question, if 300,000, 200,000 or even 100,000 were outside the Dail, would the Budget have been passed.? if it were, one can safely surmise, to put it mildly, the anger and outrage would have levitated that building and its venal contents into outer space. Numbers matter, an engaged population will be the engine for a just, equitable society and we have to strive mightily to externalise the massive rage, desperation and sense of betrayal in this country at the moment whether on the streets or otherwise.?

If, at the moment, it's only a few against a few, sooner or later, once they shrug off their passivity the many will be with us.?

author by angry citizenpublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 19:22Report this post to the editors

i think this is the best discussion on here in ages. These HYPED up marches need to take on radical but constructive changes very soon or we wont reaach out to people. As one of the posters said there earlier there are new, non alligned people out there and in a way thats optimistic in that they have no baggage of sectarianism and shite that goes on most of these marches. People are afraid, we need even if its a sizable number like a few hundred do something that shows we dont care or fear our masters. Does a sacrifice other than a hoarse voice or a sniffly nose have to be made, is their a fund amongst the alliances for people who may get charged if they want to step it up, and when i mean step it up, i dont mean missles on the Dail (yet, ha) i mean colourful, intelligent, direct, focussed actions that out wit the powers that be. There is so much to be doin. I dont think anyone is thinkin like this. Am I mad? How far do we have to be pushed.

author by Conorpublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 19:40Report this post to the editors

This is a stimulating conversation to say the least. But what now folks, what now?

author by Sinéadpublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 19:43Report this post to the editors

First, they went after the immigrants in a racist referendum
I didn't care because I wasn't an immigrant.
Then, they scaremongered the sheep into voting for Lisbon 2
I didn't give a shite because I was all right Jack
Then, they went after the pensioners
I didn't care because I wasn't a pensioner
Then, they went after the students
I didn't care because my student days were behind me

Then, last Tuesday, they went after the ill, unemployed, poorly paid, the mentally ill, the weak and suffering
Enough is enough, Now, I'm engaged and madder than hell

author by Rory - Free Education for Everyonepublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 22:32Report this post to the editors

Shock/horror, the IT is reporting that the effete parasites; Charles and Camilla's car was "struck and daubed in paint as they made their way to the Royal Variety Performance in central London" but, happy, happy days "When the royal couple arrived at the theatre, they appeared relaxed however".

Respect and solidarity to the student protesters who fought running battles with police in the centre of London after parliament voted to increase fees paid by university students and who broke down a door into Britain's Treasury and fought with police who were inside the building chanting "we want our money back" as they clashed with the pigs "before being driven back".


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author by Rory - FEEpublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 23:03Report this post to the editors

Pics taken from the Guardian.






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author by Stephen Cunninghampublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 23:04Report this post to the editors

So now (a bit late, perhaps) you're engaged, Sinead?

What does that mean? Are you going to stand around outside the Dail and listen to speeches?

What are you actually willing to do, yourself?

I'm just curious what people mean when they say "fightback!" (instead of cutback).
What does fighting something actually mean, in reality?

author by Rory - FEEpublication date Thu Dec 09, 2010 23:11Report this post to the editors







author by Observerpublication date Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:25Report this post to the editors

The "Royals" were forced to leave a concert at The London Palladium in a Police Riot Van .Earlier their state car was surrounded by protesters chanting "off with their heads" Now there a cutback!

But back to our own apathy marches change nothing as the Union March clearly demonstrated .Give the people a walkabout them send them home .ICTU are entirely removed from those that they supposedly represent. Social partnership benefited the top brass in the unions in return for their co-operation in pacifying the membership.
As the March arrived at the G.P.O ICTU’s carefully laid plans had ensured that the crowd close to the podium were ICTU faithful – no doubt paid union employees there to act as the Praetorian guard for the media.

The Irish Times reported “Along with speeches from union leaders, some of whom were booed, musicians Christy Moore and Frances Black also performed.“ The Sunday Times reported that O’Connor and Begg were “loudly heckled” and that angry marchers shouted “get off the stage”. The Irish independent today said “As they spoke of the politicians’ failings, cries of “You’ve sold out” and “You’re in bed with them” could be heard from angry protesters on the packed O’Connell Street. RTE made no mention of the heckling.The union leadership, when calling their members to action in street protest and getting huge numbers to attend, finally face the calls of “traitors”, “bluffers” and “surrender monkeys”. The simple fact is that, for all of their solemn intoning of great Irish labour leaders, Begg and O’Connor are far closer to the appellations heaped on them at the march than they are to Larkin and Connolly.

What hope of a general strike the only real effective protest ?

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author by Sinéadpublication date Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:18Report this post to the editors

Oh dear! oh dear! it's clearly escaped your attention my offering was a variation of Pastor Martin Niemöller's powerful: First they came ...
From the provocative, negative tone of your comment, you'll be unhappy to know I'm already active, active, even hyper active.

What are you actually willing to do, yourself?

First they came ...
First they came ...

author by Obseverpublication date Fri Dec 10, 2010 15:38Report this post to the editors

If you have to start spelling it out we are truly Fecked.

Stephen Cunningham would you like to say something to the woman now? ..

Back to the important issue NOTHING will change till a real threat of general strike is made .We need to make our own "cuts "
Off with the heads !!


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