Bank Bailout to State Bailout
On the morning of September 28th 2008 the Dublin government caused European-wide panic when it announced its intention to underwrite the liabilities of the private banking sector. Despite all of the evidence to the contrary the then Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, later claimed that it “was the cheapest bailout in the world so far”.
Just two years later, in November 2010, the fallacy of Lenihan’s words was sorely exposed when the Dublin government was forced to accept a bailout of its own. On this occasion no amount of bluster from government ministers could downplay the significance of the Troika of the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund taking effective control of the Twenty-Six County state.
Right-Wing Take Advantage of the Crisis
Right-wingers have long understood the opportunities that present themselves during periods of deep economic and political crisis. They understand that people who are in shock are easier to manipulate; that people who are afraid are less likely to fight back; that people who are desperate are willing to accept help from wherever it comes. In short they understand that they can use a crisis to force through right-wing policies that would be soundly rejected during periods of non-crisis.
And so, like circling vultures, they wait for a crisis before offering their poisoned ‘help’. In Pinochet’s military dictatorship of Chile in the 1970s, in the chaos of post-soviet Russia in the 1990s and in the aftermath of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger the IMF and their allies were only too willing to offer their ‘help’, albeit with plenty of strings attached.
A Right-Wing Revolution
In return for their ‘help’ the Troika, with the full support of the gombeen men in Leinster House, are now rolling out a right-wing revolution – a revolution which will fundamentally alter the shape of the economy, the government and society for generations to come. The targets of this revolution are clear. Vital public services like healthcare, education, social welfare and housing, public sector workers, the organised labour movement as well as publicly owned companies and natural resources are all now in the firing line of the Troika.
If the Troika and their Irish quislings succeed with their revolution the people will end up as nothing more than beggars in their own country, never more than one pay cheque away from the poor-house. Make no mistake about it, if the right-wing revolution triumphs the average citizen will end up working longer hours, in poorer working conditions and for less money – that is if they can get work in the first place!
And with their reduced wages they will be forced to buy virtually everything from the private sector. Healthcare, education, housing and even water will become products to be bought and sold on the ‘free’ market. Those who cannot afford to pay the price will just have to go without. That is the post-Troika future that awaits those living in the Twenty-Six Counties.
Towards a Socialist Republic!
The solution to the current crisis will not come from any of the existing mainstream political parties. In Leinster House and in Stormont Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin have all shown themselves as willing stooges of the super-rich, happily trading the people’s wealth, rights and services in exchange for their own generous wages, expenses and pensions.
And the solution will not come from tinkering with the current capitalist model. Since the partition of Ireland the Twenty-Six Counties has loyally followed the capitalist doctrine, and for what reward? Nine decades of high unemployment, emigration and poverty punctuated by a couple of short periods of economic ‘boom’. Nine decades of political corruption, inequality and discrimination. Nine decades of the state being run in the interest of the vested interests and the super-rich.
No, the solution to the current crisis will only come from the people themselves taking direct control of their own futures, to create an Ireland where the wealth and wealth-producing resources of the country are brought into collective ownership, to be used for the benefit of all. In short we need to reclaim our country through the creation of a Thirty-Two County Democratic Socialist Republic.
The Fight Back!
Before the people of Ireland can hope to create that new Irish Republic they must first stop the right-wing revolution in its tracks. And that can only be done through the creation of an all-Ireland resistance movement which is focused on halting and reversing the austerity programmes of the Leinster House, Stormont and Westminster administrations.
In the Twenty-Six Counties éirígí is at the forefront of the emergent anti-austerity movement. Through broad fronts like the ‘Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes’ and the ‘Campaign for a Social Europe’ éirígí is working with other like-minded individuals and organisations to mobilise popular opposition to the draconian agenda of the Troika and the Dublin government.
And through éirígí’s own ‘The Fight Back!’ campaign éirígí activists have successfully highlighted and challenged the injustices perpetrated by the Dublin government. ‘The Fight Back’ campaign incorporates many types of political activism including:
- The mass production and distribution of leaflets, newsletters, stickers, banners etc
- Protests, pickets, rallies, public meetings etc
- Direct actions
- Engagement with the private media
- Web and social media based activism
Taken together these activities have made a valuable contribution in raising public awareness and bringing ever greater numbers of people into the arena of active struggle. Some examples of ‘The Fight Back!’ activism to date include:
- The distribution of hundreds of thousands of leaflets, newsletters, stickers and posters, many of which can be viewed here
- Protesting the presence of the EU/ECB/IMF ‘troika’ overseeing the implementation of severe austerity measures – Click here for more
- The occupation of Anglo Irish Bank headquarters in May 2010 – Click here for more
- Louise Minihan’s ‘red paint protest’ against the Minister for Health Mary Harney in November 2010 – Click here for more
- Picketing the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis in January 2009 for attacking workers’ pay and pensions to pay for the bank bailout – Click here for more
If you like what you have heard so far why don’t you read through some of ‘The Fight Back!’ related stories from the éirígí archives below. And if you are ready to take a stand and join the fight back then click here.