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The election changes nothing - effective resistance needs to be built

category national | miscellaneous | other press author Friday February 25, 2011 12:31author by Andrew - WSM Report this post to the editors

Today, in an even more meaningless exercise then normal, a minority of the population of Ireland will choose between two almost identical options as to who will implement the ECB / IMF austerity plans for southern Ireland. Outside of this plan the wealthiest 1% will continue to set economic policy tomorrow as they did yesterday and have throughout the last decades. The electoral circus we are now going through provides the rest of us with the illusion of control even though deep down almost everyone acknowledges the ritual as having no real impact on what policies are actually implemented.

The outgoing Fianna Fail led coalition that protected the interests of the richest 1% by attacking healthcare, education, jobs & pay is most likely to be replaced by a Fine Gael led coalition that will protect the interests of the richest 1% by attacking healthcare, education, jobs & pay. Both 'alternatives' put protecting the souths ultra low corporate tax as a major priority, way ahead of the needs of workers in the south. This is almost unchallenged by anyone even though it means in effect we are involved in a race to the bottom that robs revenue from health and eduction services for workers elsewhere in Europe. If we expect workers elsewhere in Europe to come to our aid in resisting the ECB's demand for reparations for the debts run up by the wealthy 1% during their property war then workers in Ireland would be wise to ditch the counter productive support for the low corporate tax regime we have been told is in our interests.

continues at http://www.wsm.ie/c/election-ireland-2011-resistance

author by WSMpublication date Fri Feb 25, 2011 13:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Additional coverage and analysis from the WSM about the elections at http://www.wsm.ie/election2011

author by Amusedpublication date Fri Feb 25, 2011 17:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.....why do the WSM take the effort to post this stuff and become exercised when an election is on.
If it really didn't matter surely they wouldn't be bothered.

author by Gregor Kerr - wsm - personal capacitypublication date Fri Feb 25, 2011 20:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The WSM "take the effort to post this stuff and become exercised when an election is on" because we care.
We have ideas, we like to share them and discuss them with people. In that way, some people might become convinced of what we say. Likewise people might engage in discussion with us and we might be persuaded by some of the points they make.
Discussing ideas, talking about things....and getting involved in campaigns in our workplaces and in our communities ---it's how change comes about.
I'd hope 'amused' that you might have something to contribute re whether or not you agree with the points in the article rather than simply wondering why we bother to think!

author by paulpublication date Fri Feb 25, 2011 22:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Their is no such thing as "southern Ireland" just the republic of Ireland known as Ireland and Northern Ireland

author by Tpublication date Sat Feb 26, 2011 00:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are missing the point. It is at election time that the public begins to think about the issues and it is probably one of the few times when they are receptive to questioning of how the system works. So it makes a lot of sense for the WSM to put their literature and ideas out there.

I believe that many people are deeply uneasy with the whole election farce and parliament but because they have never voiced their concerns in a serious way these lurking questions remain unaddressed.

Indeed for me, it was such critical analysis of this game of ineffective mechanism for the people to exercise their democracy through a simple multi-choice beauty contest held every four years made me realize the obvious. And the obvious is that no it does not remotely represent in any meaningful way the will of the people.

A good start is the attached document: Parliament or Democracy written by a member of the WSM a number of years ago

Tick A, B or C. See you again in 4 years!
Tick A, B or C. See you again in 4 years!

PDF Document Parliament or Democracy 0.38 Mb

author by Paddy abroadpublication date Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Botswana, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Mali, Ireland, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Mexico, United States...
Spot the odd one out?

Yep Ireland. 110 countries allow their expats to vote (or the right to spoil the vote for anarchists abroad), but not Ireland. What would happen if all us emigrants could vote??? It would be a far different situation. Sinn Fein wish to this situation changed. Fianna Fail and Fianna Gael dont.

Ireland remains one of the holdout countries in granting its overseas residents a vote. The common refrain from those who agree with disenfranchisement is ‘no representation without taxation.’ This rings hollow for the thousands who’ve left Ireland since the crisis hit and who were paying tax up to a few months ago. Dublin think-tank the economic and social research institute (ESRI) estimates that 1, 000 people are emigrating weekly, a massive number for a country with a population of some 4.4 million. With an electorate of a little over three million, there are reasonable concerns that the one million overseas voters could skewer the results.

The privilege for Irish citizens abroad to vote in national elections is reserved for diplomats and army or police personnel on official duty overseas. As it stands, some twenty-nine of thirty-three council of Europe member states allow non-resident citizens to vote. Globally, more than 110 states grant it, including Botswana, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Mali, Mexico and the United States.


More than 110 countries allow passport holders living abroad to vote. Ireland, with its long history of emigration, is not among of them. Unlike citizens of, say, Ghana, Mexico or the Dominican Republic, Irish people living outside the republic are barred from directly participating in the electoral process. Greece, the only other EU member with a similar policy, is in the process of amending its legislation following a successful appeal by two Greek nationals living in France that the law breached the European convention on human rights.


Irish emigrants deserve a vote - Supporting voting rights for Irish emigrants

There is a growing interest in emigrant voting rights as the number of emigrants rises. Many of these people who have departed from Ireland recently don’t realise that Ireland’s laws make voting illegal for anyone who plans on staying out of the country for longer than 18 months.


Ballotbox.ie is now allowing Irish expats to cast a symbolic ballot in this year’s general election in Ireland. The site is aimed at the three million Irish passport holders living abroad.

Sinn Fein came in with 23 seats, the third biggest party in the poll.


** Fine Gael – 63 seats
** Labour – 51 seats
** Sinn Fein – 23 seats
** Independents – 11 seats
** Greens – 10 seats
** People Before Profit – 3
** Socialist Party – 2
** Fianna Fail – 2

Irish expats symbolic ballot vote via Ballotbox.ie
Irish expats symbolic ballot vote via Ballotbox.ie

author by Pollypublication date Sat Feb 26, 2011 13:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sinn Fein were the only ones with policies aimed at restoring dignity to ordinary working people and the least advantaged in this country. BUT Gerry Adams' name is still too closely associated in people's minds with the IRA.If he were to stand aside I believe the Irish people would put the party's past behind them and Sinn Fein would gain a significant slice of power.
THEN as a people we might survive what FF have done to us and what FG are about to do...

author by Another amusedpublication date Sat Feb 26, 2011 19:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

67 % of the electorate voted - that is hardly a minority, a minority is 0.1 % like the workers party share of national support!

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/election2011/results/
author by Alan Davispublication date Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:40author email alan.bolshevik at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

While I think the WSM overstate things with the blanket statement that elections change nothing they are completely correct that in the concrete case of this election nothing fundamental has been changed.

Irrespective of the exact make-up of the government it is clear that working people will continue to be made to pay for the capitalist economic crisis. The key tasks for left-wing political activists remain exactly the same as they were before the election - building action networks of resistance to the attacks in the unions and wider community coupled with a culture of open political discussion and debate on the wider strategic questions of how to overthrow the this whole rotten system.

Related Link: http://www.bolshevik.org/Leaflets/2011IrishElection.html
author by Paddy abroadpublication date Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fintan O'Toole's question: "Is there any other democracy where 55% of the electorate would freely vote for a €15bn austerity programme combined with a €100bn transfer from citizens to banks?" While Greek protesters may have caustically answered this by chanting: "We are not Ireland, we will resist," the Irish political landscape has historically lacked a broadly European left-right divide, and its resilient conservatism requires some decoding.

From the Guardian article - Beyond the yin and yang of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil

author by Paddy abroadpublication date Sun Feb 27, 2011 14:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As it stands, it looks like the old days of FLIP FLOP might be over, from either FF or FG, to ULA + SF + INDEPENDANTS being a force to be reckoned with on the inside, while at the same time building on the work from below on the outside. Gerry Adams is in, looks like Sinn Féin are now the 3rd biggest party in the Irish state, what with 2016 soon approaching, maybe its time that the Irish people will requestion what it means to be Irish, what mess exists and what has to be done to get out of the mess.

Perhaps this is the moment when Ireland finally grows up a bit.

Heres vid of Gerry Adams reception on this important day:

Gerry Adams arrives at RDS
via http://www.sinnfein.ie/


Maith thu Gerry - A time for change in the FLIP FLOP world of Irish politics
Maith thu Gerry - A time for change in the FLIP FLOP world of Irish politics

Caption: Video Id: YOh0yU6nnhk Type: Youtube Video
Maith thu Gerry

author by xpublication date Sun Feb 27, 2011 20:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I know the WSM wouldnt ever get involved in electoralism, but I think its a shame. There are some intelligent and articulate people in the organisation, I think the likes of Aileen O'Carroll, Gregor Kerr and Andrew Flood would make good TDs.

You have to admire the WSM for their consistency, they've been calling elections a sham since they set up in the 1980s. But the people of Ireland (and elsewhere) just dont buy into anarchism, and the models of democracy that the WSM advocate.

Its unfortunate that some people who would make good politicians will always be on the sidelines instead of at the heart of where decisions get taken & debated.
On the full article on the WSM website, the writer mentions about the ULA people probably waking up hungover and wondering about their efforts. I think they'll be quite pleased with their results - they've now got an avenue to bring left ideas to a wider audience, same way Joe Higgins did before when he was a TD. A good example being the Gama workers.

author by Alan Davispublication date Sun Feb 27, 2011 20:43author email alan.bolshevik at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

x - I think the key problem is that you really believe that the Dail is "at the heart of where decisions get taken & debated." For the type of social change that the WSM are interested in (and I support them in this in general terms) the Dail is at best a side-show.

Now it is true that at this moment "the people of Ireland (and elsewhere) just dont buy into anarchism, and the models of democracy that the WSM advocate." But that isn't necessarily a reason not to be trying to change that - unless of course you think that capitalism and the limited form of democracy it provides is all that we can possibly hope to achieve, so we should just thank our lucky stars and limit our struggles to the structures of parliamentary democracy and give up on those silly ideas of participatory direct democracy of the workers council model.

Even the briefest knowledge of the history of class struggle in the last 100 years or so will show that the alternative forms of workers' democracy do at times become wide-spread - and this can happen even in seemingly never changing societies like Ireland. It is unclear how the mass of working people in Ireland will react to the fact that the new government of "change" and "stability" will just continue with the attacks but there is hope that some of the discontent that will inevitably arise will connect with those of us who are trying to build the alternative forms of workers' democracy.

I'm sure the ULA will be mostly very pleased with their efforts but that is because they give a lot of weight to the struggle within the parliamentary framework as the dynamo for social change. From my point of view the problem with the ULA is not the fact that will be using the platform of parliament to argue for left-wing ideas but rather that the content of those ideas will be mostly reformist rather than revolutionary.

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